What is your vision for the post-oil age?
A Story for Our Youth by Willi Paul
American Indian Leadership vs. U.S. Governance
- Leaders were chosen as leaders for their knowledge, experience and contribution.
- Leaders were chosen by the tribe and thus remained leaders as long as the tribe needed them.
- Leaders had no power over others and could not command.
- Welfare of the tribe protected through maintaining culture and traditions.
- Consensus was driving force behind decision-making.
- Spirituality inextricably intertwined in decision-making.
- Restitution-based justice which was focused on restoring relationships.
- Leadership is a position.
- Leaders seek and are employed or elected to a position. They serve for a specified term or for the duration of their employment.
- Leaders can create laws which are enforced by police and justice system.
- Protection of individual rights. Protection of nation through economic growth and maintenance of private property.
- Decisions arrived at by majority vote.
- Rationality is the driving force behind decision-making.
- Retribution-based justice.
“Gas is officially pre-historic again, Piper.”
“Like it never even got discovered and refined,” Riko mused.
2012 AD. She was gazing at the solar powered New York Times front page story on the library Mac.
“LAO (Life after Oil!)” tattoos and bike stickers are all over the place. Luckily the community has a few trucks and a bus that run on re-smooched cooking oil.
“Check the North Platte array and make sure the turbines are sending data every 30 seconds,” she shouts.
Starting back in 2010, gasoline ran out in drips and splats in different parts of the State as some folks were closer to the end of the snake than others.
In reality, the moment that OPEC, Shell, Union, Star, BP and the rest of the petro-chemic al plug announced that their wells and derricks had finally run dry was anti-climatic for many GreenLoc groups. Wind and solar had long since dug in their heals in the race to erase the dirty clothes called gas and oil.
GreenLoc 34 is the former town of Andersonville, California, incorporated back in 1845 with the gold rushers and hookers that staggered in after them. In 2009 the town joined the New Urban Community Network (NUCN) and transformed their land, energy track and spirit into a post-chemical oasis.
Streets were freed of their black top concrete strangle and became walking and bike paths and gardens. The sewer system died, rose above ground. Grey water, rain barrels and cisterns gurgle in it’s place.
The parking garage was revitalized into a small business incubator, an indoor farmers market (when it rains) and IT Central , topped with a roof top demonstration garden.
But technology didn’t die it just got re-purposed, and often with recycled parts. Like the wind mills with car parts. Riko’s 3 speed has a gear cluster from 1994, a chain from last year and front and rear racks from kingdom gone!
After rigorous debate and much consensus stopping arm waving, the town’s folk pitched the idea of selecting one of the local churches to be the new Spirit Dance Exchange. Turned out that the Quaker Meeting House was the winner. The other players, Methodist, Episcopal, and Catholic, were renovated for housing and a community cooking school and communal kitchen.
Piper always notices the small wrinkly card board sign by the well, out by the trail head to the wind mills. A yellowing bulleted list of community values:
- Take only what you need
- Recycle as much as possible; re-use more
- No toxics
- Whole foods
- Not profit but productivity
- Grow more and barter with the GreenLoc Coops
His parents helped write these markers and they have proven invaluable in the localization struggles that emerged after Obama came to power in D.C.
But now, the wind mills are singing….
The food and garden coop is now run out of the former auto repair shop on Bend Avenue, right past the new flour mill and GreenLoc Green Gift Shoppe, popular with the bus people from the City and their weekend “come-and-see’s.” Riko needs a bag of spicy humus for a party later on. She also wants to hang and say hey to her honey Taza.
“Hiya Phil Girl,” she shouts, floating past the standing avocados. “How’s that energy audit coming?”
“Fine, fine, Riko! But you aren’t in here on official G-Comm business, she laughs.” The Green Committee is the central environmental planning body in GreenLoc . Everything from ripping down the highway overpass to the dip sticking the ragin’ waters in the hot tub circuit is under their sustainable thumb.
Taza is chopping wheat grass as Riko appears behind a grin.
“Hi Slim Jim.”
“Howdy, Kid! I thought I heard your silly vibe.” Taza likes the power and vision that Riko brings to the scene but often misses her subtle sarcasm.
“Are we going to Moon Shot tonight?” he croaks.
“Yah, baby.” Humus or not, Riko was shinning with the moon later on. The fall harvest festival has just begun.
There are plenty of other coops and non-profits in the GreenLoc business array. In addition to the food and garden coop, there is the jam, flowers and honey coop; fruit trees and bees, dig? Another key group in this time of scarce water is the Grey Water Company who designs and implements water re-use projects for the area. Students from UC – Davis took over the old water works company in 2011 in a bloodless coup when the rains stopped and the CEO ran off for moister land.
The schools and spirituality coop is flourishing. It’s taken a little bit from most of the religions puttering around on the planet. A sort of greatest hits from the heavy hitters, including Jesus, Gandhi, King, Yogananda, Buddha and Allah.
But the kids and their parents also enjoy song prophets like Lennon, Marley, Stipe, Hitchcock and other rock musicians who sang about the fall and the re-birth of post-carbon culture long before the tanker hit the can.
The love of music – and the community spirit it fosters – has often been the one lasting source of strength in the trouble times.
BlackLight.us was trying to hack the grid again. BL is a renegade remnant of a alliance that tried to horde oil back in the last days of the petrocide. Piper is watching the reverse code carefully for algorithms and dirty souls.
“IT > Piper.”
“BL marching, NW.01 server stack.” How’s your fire wall there?”
“Intact. Green lights splashing.”
Having saved the place from the dark force, Piper peddled hard to rub on the trance band at the Spirit Dance Exchange.
Riko loves working in her solar kitchen. Under the recycled skylights from the old insurance agency down the street, many family and friends have enjoyed her organic culinary wika. But sustainable economics was on her mind up on her PDA this morning.
True Cost Pricing is a central tenant of the GreenLoc Community and it’s localized governance system. The web site spit out this overview:
Agribusiness farming practices have externalized many production costs, and relentlessly destroy natural resources. You still pay for these costs, but not at the checkout counter. If you calculate these hidden costs of food you pay indirectly, and add these to the cash price, food prices would be much higher.
What are these hidden costs and how did they arise?
- Medical costs from poisoned, unhealthy food.
- Farm subsidies.
- Toxic cleanup costs.
- High global military costs.
- Government debt and interest costs.
- Environment and resource destruction.
- The accounting system ignores resource costs.
Peering down the ingredients list for her bran pumpkin muffin recipe, it looks like the food and spices are grown locally – or bartered from the regional Coops.
“Cool man,” she mused aloud.
Taza, clanking away at the PC in the study, was still online with his family back in Austin. He danced long and hard last night! The smell will soon change his view!
“That was the most awe-fullest fake food jive turkey dinner that I’ve ever tasted,” he called from the sun porch.
Never one for holding back, Riko smiled.
“Rubber turkey vegan what?” he groaned.
What happened to the Bank? The old NorCal Savings and Loan is now the School for a Sustainable Future and Day Care Coop.
At the new Credits and Barter Coop, debit cards have been replaced by barter cards. Cash, loans and credit lines are pitch forks from the BlackLight mob.
Bricks and mortar have now morphed into handshakes, vegetables for home remodeling. Dig?
Piper and his pals are getting the word out for the next barter faire – this time with a discount barter pass on recycled card stock. They will hand drop the invite via bikes to the community. Sometimes offline announcements get more peeps.
A barter faire (or fair) is a communal experience. It is a peaceful gathering of people coming together to share the fire and their wares and trade with each other. Some are more like flea markets, some are more like villages. A barter faire is a time to get back to nature, camp out with friends, and experience the best of the barter system. It can feel like a counter culture revival; or just a simple and peaceful gathering open to all. A barter faire will give you a taste of a communal, peaceful, and possibly revolutionary lifestyle that you may not find elsewhere.
“Hey Green Man, its Piper on the text box.”
“Must be about that hot tub gig,” Taza shouted.
“Ask him about the south array data set ok?”
Banana in mouth, he quickly text Piper back and kissed his groovy girlfriend on the cheek and hit the pedals.
“I need to check the energy grid and see how much fun heat we can drop,” he mumbled.
Monday is still Monday in LAO world. It was time to weed the Bubble. The Biosphere 4 and Biosphere CR are sister glass-domed, solar powered research labs in GreenLoc and Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica. The AG Coop is constantly testing new high temperature, low water food crops. NorCal genetic material is often cross-fertilized with its southern cousin’s pool to develop new strains.
“Weed the Bubble” was coined by Piper when it was discovered that Mary Jane had taken up residence in the lab many months ago. She has since went up in smoke.
In 2011, the worlds’ coasts started to rise at an alarming rate, far faster than the corporate controlled government in DC had predicted. Washington was known around GreenLoc as the “sunken ship of fools.” The White House was now a hostel, network hub and concert hall – a monument to the power of the people to take back control of their government and start to build the foundation of a trans-global, green democratic system.
Under the watchful eyes of sustainable design and civil engineers from the Netherlands Dyke Improvement Bureau, members of the New Urban Community Network and a staggering cadre of eye balls from the local Coops, GreenLoc was refining the art of the canal, filling some with sea water for desalination tests and others with run-off from the Sierra, when there is some water running.
Riko looks after her tattoos like they were her frickin’ kids or something. BaBa GAzOO!
“That was kinda of a silly morning,” smirking between sips of a GL Honey in the Rock Wheat Beer from the local Coop with a similar name. “DAD” was all it said.
“Everybody needs a daddy.” “Or keys to the hydro-electric scooter….,” shouted Taza.
In their case, transmission codes to the International GreenCommTE70 satellite, launched by a consortium of private investors lead by Al Gore and a NASA / Mission Mars splinter group.
Satellites – those running, blinking dots in the sky – are not very expensive in the post-oil world. With the collapse of the oil men and their money, space-based, earth-based exploration systems went cheap. GreenComm passed over GreenLoc every 12 hours and transmitting deep earth soil profiles and agricultural data that supports the farms in the community. “Recycle that Sat,” so the saying goes.
“Trans,” murmured Piper. “We have some solid juice on the BlackLight glow pod. GreenLoc Security Coop, please read.”
“Copy that, Piper.”
“They moved it again. Sector 14.009.” The pod is a type of reactor waste that is highly radioactive. BL went backwards into the future by experimenting – and gambling – with nuclear power. Keeping their waste out of the planet ecosystem is one of the many chores in the GreenLoc survival portfolio.
The time was coming fast. The BlackLight.us’ of the world need to be ping-ponged with a venomously green light intervention.
“OK Gang, hurry up and take a seat!”
The GreenLoc – UC Berkeley Learning Exchange was now filing up with little peas from Mr. Singh’s advanced archi-eco class.
“I trust that you charged your laptop batteries over lunch, peeps?”
The web-based course on permaculture was downloading and there will be an e-Quiz on the material right afterward.
“Key on the inter-relatedness of the process and the three ethics,” he notes.
‘Practically speaking, a successful permaculture design is based on three guiding principles:
First, each element of the system performs multiple functions (for example, an orange tree in my yard supplies fruit for food and a cash crop, rinds for compost, leaves for mulch, dead twigs for kindling, and shade for me, my cat and other plants).
Second, each desired function of the system is supported by multiple elements (further shade in my yard comes from an overhead trellis with grapevines and several native trees).
Finally, and crucial to permaculture design, everything in the system is interconnected to everything else. This is vital, because the susceptibility and output of a system depend not on the number of elements it contains, but rather how many exchanges take place within the system (think of an old growth forest vs. a monoculture tree farm).
The term permaculture, meaning “permanent agriculture” was coined in the 1970’s by Australian Bill Mollison. It was a beneficial assembly of plants and animals in relation to human settlements, mostly aimed towards household and community self-reliance, and perhaps as a “commercial endeavor” only arising from a surplus from the system. However, permaculture has come to mean more than just food sufficiency in the household. Self-reliance in food is meaningless unless people have access to land, information, and financial resources. So in recent years it has come to encompass appropriate legal and financial strategies, including strategies for land access, business structures, and regional self financing. This way it is a whole human system.
Permaculture, then, is a design system that encompasses both “permanent agriculture” and “permanent culture.” It recognizes, first, that all living systems are organized around energy flows. It teaches people to analyze existing energy flows (sun, rain, money, human energy) through such a system (a garden, a household, a business). Then it teaches them to position and interconnect all the elements in the system (whether existing or desired) in beneficial relationship to each other and to those energy flows. When correctly designed such a system will, like a natural ecosystem, become increasingly diverse and self-sustaining. All permaculture design is based on three ethics: Care of the earth (because all living things have intrinsic worth); care of the people; and reinvestment of all surplus, whether it be information, money, or labor, to support the first two ethics.’
The International Adoption Service is the top web site on the GreenLoc Health and Safety Coop website. Prospective parents from the planet can meet and chat with kids in orphanages form Chili to Vietnam and Vermont. The net has made this a much more involved two-way street as the population rate in “Coop Town” has been negative for many years, so there is always room for new faces. One World knows no color in GreenLoc.
Rouge was doing little else but staring blankly into data trails and electronic landforms and urban annotations. A loosing chess game with a woman in Madison, Wisconsin was over 23 minutes ago; he just hadn’t to logged-off. Retired HP and Stanford hacker, and military code red chaser, he has lost a few zillion brain cells siting on his ass playing RISK in his mind with a mouse in his hand.
These days Rogue’s cyber wall of solar-powered monitors in his Valley Forge hide-out camouflage his better days as a defender of the public good and HCI designer. Red wine carries the day as he chases the wireless from satellites and clothes lines.
“No sustainable intell, he barks at the keyboard,” and another cartoon in the life of a former Green Masher sinks into to the dusk into the skylights above.
Place: South Detroit River Bottom Hang
Susan Browning sat wondering under a collection of ripped construction tarps and pieces of shattered bill boards, trying to look less starved and frightened than was actually hard-wired in her post oil burn-out.
“Can’t seem to grow anything in this soil,” she sighed.
“My government coupons don’t last the two weeks ‘ther printed on.” Mz. Browning holds a B.A. from Michigan State in Business Administration but looks and sounds like a 1930’s sharecropper. Barefoot and dirt face’d.
“My degree presumed a functioning capitalist economy which lost both hands when the oil wars burned down Houston and spread back draft to Saudi lands and the expansive Moscow refineries.”
Susan is a prime example of imploded.
Browning and her husband Kurt D. now live day to night to morning, hour to minute to seconds in a Goodwill series of handshakes, back stabs and blink blink blinks that never have any promise except to repeat in the next black dog breathe or two.
The city buses near-by are long stopped cold swamp meets, street light dead and gone. Open fires fuel the nights.
Kurt D. had a side business for a while collecting and recycling fryer oil for the bio diesel converted but parts for even these transports are looted dry or abandoned along the roads of the former car capital of America.
There are some horses in North Detroit but these guys survive behind barbed wire and surveillance.
Susan Browning has the following food for Chef’s Choice: gov’t tuna from China; the severed head from a pineapple that the kid next door dropped by in exchange for some rusty nails; and a small baggie of dead ants.
“Hope Kurt brings home something green tonite,” Browning chanted.
“Blacklight.net is after cleantech digital,” shouts Piper to no one.
The main GreenLoc server bunker, an underground retrofit swimming pool “capsule” off Jefferson Street, is from the old high school, now long recycled into new solar pumping systems and brick houses across the town.
“Serious Breach, Code Black!” Piper types like a guy without pants in a January Wisconsin wind chill. This time the alarm goes out to the entire green security grid banging up the sleeping from New Hampshire to Oaxaca.
The data beam also hits the computers of the Defenders of the Wire Coop – a collective much like the volunteer fire department in the oil days. But the fire is digital now and the hooks and ladders are keyboards and code.
Rogue intercepts the green com, too.
“Finally. They’ve played their hand. Time to bore a white hot hole in the eLock at Blacklight.net.”
“The War for the Green Web Begins in GreenLoc,” muses Rogue. He wonders if the perma-green-hippies in NorCal have the fire walls and faith to stick this out, saving the world from the bad fossils at Blacklight.net won’t be easy!
“Perhaps a little nudge in the right direction, Sir Piper?!” Click, click,… send.
A tiny window suddenly appears on all screens at the combined mission control. GreenLoc Security Coop and Defenders of the Wire Coop meshed tightly with more monitors than peeps in the basement of the old hospital on Elk Street. Piper’s jaw is slow to be retrieved from his key board.
“He does exist!” he shouts.
“I have called this person Code Runner for years.” But now he’s here, although the gender is up for grabs.”
“What’s this mean, the scrolling data sets in the text window?
Meanwhile, back at the Blacklight.net server mash, the down-state monkeys are jumping on the work stations, never quite reaching the fluorescent lamps of a lost dream.
They saw Rogue’s little window of code, too, but the dna was changed to protect the green.
“It’s an .exe file of some sort,” Riko shouted to no one.
“Put it on test server and wall it up.”
The next big moment was too big for the organic owls and many lost it on the spot…
An avatar appeared on each of the screens in the GreenLoc war room, arms folded gentle in appearance.
Tazo was the first to recognize the presence.
“You missed the catch-dump on line 2330 Piper,” said the animate.
“No problem, I recalibrated the code. We need to attack immediately.”
Blacklight.net had a much different pixar-party on their hands.
“Sit down everyone. Who are you?”
Someone with the power to further your cause.
“What’s in it for you?”
“Purely academic, man. Call it research.”
“Then you know about our fight with GreenLOC?”
“The NORCAL Greens.”
“Vaguely familiar.” The localized community north of Berkeley?”
“They are cancer to the old ways.”
Rogue sent the next batch of cookies straight into the Blacklight.net’s server array in South Detroit. White lightning from Zeus to the mob.
Code changed code, machine melt-down. The avatar giggled back onto the NORCAL screens like Mr. Magoo chasing a high school cheer leader….
“I punctured all of their hardware and software,” he shouted.
“Titantic!” The basement sighed a collective defrag.
Outside, unaware of the hard fought victory below, co-opers hung their sheets on the line, grubbed for early potatoes and listened with keen ears for sounds of change.
copyright: willipaul.com 09