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Monday, June 1, 2009

Future jobs

wal-mart-2We need to prepare young people for a future of relocalization -- where globalization has unwound. Image by Spring Dew via Flickr

A guy posted the below to The Oil Drum. Pretty good list.

Now think about how well your local educational institutions are preparing young people for the future they are likely to face.

Most of our oil based enterprises will cease to exist in the near future. If you hope to put food on the table, you need to reassess your career plans. Several weeks ago a particularly astute young reader of my letters asked, “What business opportunities do you see going forward?” Following is my current list of potential viable business opportunities. The ideas are not ranked by importance.

1. Maintenance of existing essential equipment – mechanical, electrical, electronic
a. Transportation
b. Manufacturing
c. Farm
d. Household

2. Maintenance of existing housing stock and modification to accommodate multiplefamily occupants.

3. Medical services, midwifery, and emergency medical service with out medical clinic or hospital backup.

4. Local manufacture of essential equipment. For example wood cook stoves and wood heaters.

5. Fabrication/rebuild of repair parts for existing essential equipment

6. Commercial distribution of essential equipment and supplies- Wholesale/retail (We will go back to the mom/pop kinds of business. The Wal-Mart/ Home Depot business model will not survive. Even those such as Weyerhaeuser will have difficulty surviving because their structure has become too rigid. (The ‘gypo’ logger and small local saw mill will replace them. )

7. Elder care. Short term for those who have money but no family or no responsible family. Long term people will by necessity take care of their own or let them depend on the charity of the community which will be in short supply. You fifty year olds and younger need to make sure that your children and grandchildren love you and are trained to assume responsibility for your care in your old age. You can forget about Social Security, Medicare, savings and private pensions. Most are insolvent even now. My generation has already ‘eaten your lunch, breakfast and dinner’.

8. Farmer market type food production and commercial distribution

9. Local food processing – canning, freezing, etc.

10. Training/retraining for all of the above. A Boeing machinist would be lost initially in the new environment. Many will not be able to make the transition even with retraining. The new environment will require much less specialization, more flexibility, and far more personal initiative because the current support systems will not be affordable.

11. Managing the acquisition and distribution of minimal food, clothing, and shelter for large masses of unemployed people. This will be a welfare program on an unimaginable scale.

12. Private security forces.

I do not consider the above to be negative, pessimistic, or defeatist. Rather it is a realistic and desperate call for you to get serious about planning and preparing for coping with the unfolding chaos.

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A sister capital city also begins the transition

Nice op-ed in The Olympian introducing readers of that paper to their Transition movement. Excerpt below.

Salem has a small transition group forming now (STIR, the Salem Transition Initiative for Relocalization) too. We're in the early stages of coming together and figuring out how we want to help co-create answers to the questions the writer mentions (the central questions our elected and appointed officials should have on their walls and on every piece of letterhead):

“How are we going to
  • drastically reduce carbon emissions (in response to climate change);
  • significantly rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil); and
  • greatly strengthen our local economy (in response to economic instability)?”
Resources available now to begin the transition toward life we’re seeking
The Transition Town Movement – a grass-roots initiative spreading around the globe – is asking, “How are we going to drastically reduce carbon emissions (in response to climate change); significantly rebuild resilience (in response to peak oil); and greatly strengthen our local economy (in response to economic instability)?”

The movement, originated by Rob Hopkins, a UK ecological designer and permaculturist, provides a roadmap away from this triple threat and toward a sustainable future.

Transitioning encompasses the work we must do in the outer world, but equally important, it invites the inner work we must do to adapt to unprecedented change in our lives.

This roadmap is a 12-step process resulting in a community generated re-localization and energy descent action plan (REDAP). In the last 150 years we have quickly climbed to a peak of energy consumption fueled by cheap oil and now we face descending the other side. Without a plan we are likely to experience chaos and catastrophe. With a REDAP we can downshift to lifestyles that are simpler, more pleasurable and sustainable.

It is not coincidental that this movement contains 12 steps, since one of the triple threats we face is our addiction to cheap oil. People working within Transition Initiatives hold deep-seated confidence in our collective genius – within our communities and as a species – to solve the problems we face and create a desired future.

Recently Paul Hawkin, renowned entrepreneur and environmental activist, said: “If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.” . . .

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