My Thoughts Travelling Home

My inquisitive mind was wandering all over the place on the way home tonight.  I am going to share my thought pattens, even though sometime it may seem a little out there.  Here goes trendsetters!

First my thoughts were drawn to the preparation work that Kim and I have to do this weekend for Sustainable House Day.  Call it a spring clean if you will.  Weeding, tidying, building, etc.  Should be a great weekend I thought.  Building a wicking bed, and adding another layer to the cob oven and fixing up some cracks.

Then I thought deeper about the concept of Sustainable House Day, and that one day it will not be needed.  That day would be when everyone grows their own food out of necessity, and has chooks, fruit trees and veggie patches, and lives within their means.  Whether it be because of peak oil, or climate change, or economic downturn or all three is besides the point.  The fact is that it will probably happen and I thought that I am glad that I am well down the path towards a more sustainable lifestyle before TSHTF even if it does happen in very slow motion.

Then I thought about the most unsustainable house that humans have ever made.  The news today talked about a Russian unmanned space craft that was ferrying supplies to the International Space Station.  The ISS would be in my humble opinion, the most unsustainable house in existance.  It has to truck in food, oxygen, water, and everything else that humans need to survive, and don’t even try to work out the food miles!  Yes, it may be expanding our knowledge of space and science, but the costs to maintain it must be enormous.  No wonder NASA canned their manned space program.

Then I thought about the most sustainable house.  A Yurt came to mind, and so did a Wattle and Daub hut.  Easy to maintain, weather proof, easy to heat/cool and the materials are low cost.   Very sustainable, and probably very comfortable.

I kind of went off track in my head about this time as I began to actually listen to the podcast “More Hip than Hippy“, which I enjoy on my commute and have a laugh once in a while.  Val and Dori were talking to a lady somewhere in California that gets by without a car, and who lives in the ‘burbs.  Big deal I thought, and they were waffling on and on about how hard it is.  Yes this lady’s hubby had a car, which they jointly own.  Well that is not really getting by without a car now is it.  I might as well interview Kim on my podcast and ask her how she gets by in the suburbs without a car!  Same thing really, as we only have one car, and Kim chooses not to drive at all.  So underwelmed I felt, I skipped past that part of the podcast.  People must be really attached to their cars in the US, I suppose a bit like Aussies when I think about it.

Then I started listening to the Kunstlercast, and James and Duncan were talking about the Standard & Poors downgrade of the US governements credit rating, and The Long Emergency.  High unemployment, housing prices/values falling, people just getting by with crap jobs, and not many people taking about peak oil like James does constantly, which is quite important to the US seeing they use 25% of the worlds oil resources.  A little blip like a revolution in an overseas oil exporter and they have to start eating into their oil reserves, which is dwindling all the time.  He also talked about the leadership stalemate (or lack of said leadership) and that he was waiting for some left wing equivilent of the Tea Party to start up and start doing the things that the Democrats are, in his opinion, not capable of anymore.  Sound a bit like our Green party to me.  Then I thought that things just don’t look very pretty for our allies.  However I could have it all out of context, because I just listen to podcasts from the US, and am not living the experiance. 

My mind turned to transport, and the lack of a good public transport system.  Traveling on the train in the mainland capitals of Australia is very ancient Rome like.  All roads, and in this case, trains, lead to the city center.  A truly well designed rail system would have orbital lines that connected all of the lines to each other at various distances from the city center, a bit like NY, Tokyo, London, and Paris.  I remember that traveling in London and Paris when I was in my 20’s and how easy it was to get around on the Tube and Metro respectively.  All because the systems were well planned out and interconnected.

Interconnected.  I then remembered that we are all interconnected in the world, this world of Globalisation, and wondered how much longer it would last.  Cheap trade is not possible without cheap fossil fuels and now that is a thing of the past the cracks in the fabric that holds Globalisation together must be streaching hard at the seams ready to burst.

Then I pulled into the train station and traveled home in my hybrid car.  I wondered when more cars would be manufactured as hybrids or electric, and wondered when the price of petrol (gasoline) was going to get so high that people would start to abandon their SUV’s and massive 4×4’s on the side of the road because they couldn’t give them away!

It was about then that I pulled into the carport, met the dogs at the door, and gave Kim a big kiss and a hug.

There is no place like home!


  1. says

    We are a one car family, and I don’t drive, we live in the burbs too. I’m lucky I’m only 15 minutes walk to the local shopping strip (and quite a big one too), and 20 minutes to the local kinder and school. I get a kick out of getting around on my own two feet, the pusher makes it easier with the little ones, and I can put my food shopping underneath it too. I would much rather walk wherever I need to go, than to slog it out in a gym. Great post Gav!

  2. says

    Hi Gavin, fab post. My mind does this on the bus to work.

    Having pondered alot on all different things like you. I have taken the idea of subtle changes. Like yourself with the Coffee shop lady, by using your own cup. She made a change to her establishment that could save thousands of disposable cups. You, one man, have made this change possible.

    More people will take this up as they not only think only in money value, but they recognise that most food containers cant be recycled easily.

    the lady gets to save costs on the cups and the people bringing their own cup, will think ‘I am saving’.

    So with this in mind, all my extra produce from my garden, I have randomly left it on peoples desks at work. Freshly picked that morning. they have all commented that they taste far superior to supermarket food. And my answer to that is. “I picked it this morning, it hasnt sat in a ware house for months. Do you have a garden? I can help you grow your own”.

    Small steps. But can you imagine if they then gave their family, home grown veg, surplus from their garden? they might tell someone else and then we have a huge movement, to all growing our own.

    We are very fortunate in this country (dont know about any others), we have people like Hugh Fearnley whittingstall, who is a chef, who petitions the government and supermarkets, and has a tv show, that includes all of this.

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    I think your blog and others are the beginning.

    Keep up the inspirational posts.

  3. says

    My mind wanders on these very same topics Gavin. I loved the stream of consciousness you gave us, it felt really true and real. If only more people had these same type of everyday thoughts… It can get exhausting though, sometimes I can’t think about it anymore, it just gets me down.

  4. says

    My mind wanders on these very same topics Gavin. I loved the stream of consciousness you gave us, it felt really true and real. If only more people had these same type of everyday thoughts… It can get exhausting though, sometimes I can’t think about it anymore, it just gets me down.

  5. says

    Fabulous post Gavin and lots of food for thought. It just takes one person to verbalise and post their thoughts then many others to read that post and before you know it the whole world is talking and making changes. Or at least that’s the way it should be. Like public transport that interconnects we need the same as a global society. When will those in power realise it’s not a us and them situation with regard to our planet? It’s a world wide problem and solution.

    Off to plant onions and let my thoughts roam while I work.

  6. says

    Don’t even start me on the space program!

    Public transport is something that I am truly loving at the moment. We are in Berlin with no car and absolutely no intention of getting one. The trains and buses run so smoothly and regularly that these are our main form of transport (apart from walking). The trains run regularly and are reasonably priced, something that is so different to what I am used to. There is no road rage, or worry about getting lost or not knowing the road rules. All of our outings are relaxed as we can all sit together and chat.

    I wish a similar system operated in Perth but unfortunately there are only 5 train lines – none link to any of the others except in the city. These aren’t very regular outside peak hours. We are encouraged to Park’n’Ride but if you don’t get there before about 7.30am, you can forget getting a space. I feel that public transport in Perth is really a bit of a token effort.

    Sitting on the train is certainly a great time to have a think.

  7. says

    Yeah, we loooove our cars (sigh). It is said there are more cars here in the US than there are licensed drivers to zoom around in them. I’m not sure if that includes trucks and buses or not. Still way too many. But it’s a huge country and the infrastructure was designed when we were awash in cheap oil. Who cares how far out the ‘burbs spread, right? What’s a 3 hour round trip commute when you can have a big McMansion in the burbs?

    Re: the Tea Party. They are not even close to Green. The Tea Party is an “astro-turf” (certainly not grass-roots) movement, bankrolled by the billionaire oil baron Koch brothers. The TP despise science, they believe that global warming was invented by Al Gore so he could get rich and the climate scientists could get more grant money. (I kid you not.) Their mantra is “drill baby, drill!” but peak oil is a myth. Their vision of government is to shrink it until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub. (I am not making this up!) Even as more and more 500 year extreme weather events take their toll, they parrot the climate-denial lies of their corporate masters on their favorite faux news propaganda channel. Already the 2012 Republican Presidential field is lining up and so far, it’s nothing but Tea Party-backed crazies. And Obama seems powerless against them.

    Gav, as frustrated as I know you get with the situation in Australia, when I read your stuff, I sometimes want to move there. It’s worlds better than it is here in the US. The situation here re: climate destabilization, peak oil, and the economy is positively bleak.

    I fear for this country and I fear for our planet. We, the US of A should be leading the charge. Instead our bought-and-paid-for politicians kowtow to their corporate masters while Rome burns.

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