F.A. Farm

  (Ferndale, Washington)
Postmodern Agriculture - Food With Full Attention
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Psychological Stressors Are Already Arising

Today's Seattle Times (4/9/09) had a front page story on middle-class types stressing out because of the recession, even though they still have jobs and property. Here is a comment; "I felt like a neurotic middle-class, middle-aged woman too weak to deal with life on my own. I should be stronger, it was simply money, and why do I have to take pills to not worry about money."

This little quote is an example of one of the variables about the current economic restructuring and the upcoming peak oil problem that is only minimally appreciated. People usually pay lip service to psychological variables, but hardly ever factor them into their vision or future calculations. There are those of us, however, who do treat the psychological response as an independent variable that will also have an interaction with the other variables of supply disruptions, inflationary pressures, governmental impotence, etc. In point of fact, the psychological responses of billions of people will likely shorten the timeline of crisis, from 20 years to 10 years. In other words, based solely on peak oil, we are likely to face an accelerating dieoff, starting in 2030. However, factoring in the psychological responses, especially those from privileged middle-class Americans and Europeans (who have a broader impact because of their broader access to resources), we are likely to get a dieoff starting in 2020 AND this dieoff is likely to accelerate faster.

So, what to do? My response is always the same.
1) Grow some of your own food
2) Buy food directly from local farmers that you trust. If you don't know any, get off your duff and find some.
3) Make choices when you shop at the store.

Some people have thought of moving to different parts of the country, but this alternative has been closed off by a frozen real estate and job market. A better path to follow is to stay where you are and build community with those you know and like. Starting all over in a new place may still be a viable option for those who are really destitute, but for most of us, we have resources all around us of which we are not aware. I suggest you extend yourself and take a look around. The bottom line is this may alleviate your anxieties. Perhaps the middle-class anxiety attacks are really caused by a lack of community.
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