Rural Survival



Rural Survival

Man Digging

The era of cheap energy is coming to a close and everyone needs to sharpen their pencils and relearn what it takes to survive in the coming time of shortages and uncertain climate.

It is obvious that we need water, food and energy to live day to day but those things we take for granted may become problematic if not given thought to their management, possible alternatives and acted upon to be prepared.

Here in northeast Washington State the climate is getting more unpredictable and on the whole getting hotter and drier, a general symptom of the western states. Availability of water has not been an issue in the past but now water storage is not only a good idea but a necessity, to have a decent chance at rural survival, for the rains may or may not come, as the latter proved to be the case for the summer of 2007 with record setting heat and days without rain.

The end of cheap oil and high energy cost means 80 mile round trip weekly runs to the supermarket will be getting very expensive not only in terms of the rising gas prices but also food prices, a double whammy that's only going to get worse.

The solution is to grow most of what we eat, buy the rest in bulk and store it, cutting down the weekly town runs to a monthly or even a bi-seasonal event. The key is to have a place like a root cellar to store food properly. 500 lbs of potatoes will turn into a mass of composting heap rather quickly if not kept in a cool, dry and dark place.

Getting the water and food together means basic survival is secured. The last component to make it all work smoothly is energy. However the energy we use today may not be consistently available in the near future. Experts predict spot shortages and outages to be the rule as global demand outstrips supply of the remaining oil from depleting fields. Canadian and US natural gas reserves are beginning to play out and power grids set to be overloaded.

To lessen the impact of an energy crisis we need alternative energy sources. One way to stave off the inevitable for a little breathing room is to start conserving energy. This is where good home insulation can play a big role, for heating and cooling is the biggest energy draw for the average home. It is no exaggeration to say that there is no such thing as too much insulation and if enough there, burning an arm load of firewood would be sufficient on even the coldest nights.

In rural areas where firewood is available, wood heat is a good choice for heating homes and if there's not enough fire wood, a fast growing and renewable birch wood lot can be set up. To reiterate, home insulation is the key to reducing energy use. Electric heat is inefficient and really a misuse of electricity.

In looking ahead there are many fresh and refreshed ideas that look as though they may come to fruition. Recent breakthroughs in solar panel technology, where the holy grail of $1.00 a watt has been reached, promise great things to come. Setting up an affordable off grid system or a good backup system will become closer to reality for the average family.

There have been a lot of eye opening advances in electric cars but none more so than the emergence of air power cars. It turns ot that air propulsion designs and ideas are over a hundred years old and is just beginning to be resurrected to re-emerge as viable alternative vehicles. Air cars in fact look as though a better alternative than electric cars in terms of cost and simplicity.

"Put your future in good hands, your own." Anonymous


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