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Monthly Archives: February 2012

  • 'Little House' Ecology

    For over 75 years now Laura Ingalls Wilder's books have reminded us of times gone by.  Her books are filled with tidbits of traditional ecological knowledge that today might pass for a contemporary homesteading manual.  The passing mundane contexts from which the story of the Ingalls family develops are endlessly interesting.  Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading the series to my six year old daughter.  Last night we began "Little House on the Prairie".  The book opens with Laura and family considering a move from their little home in the woodlands of Wisconsin to a new home out in the mysterious West.  My daughter turned to me as I began reading and exclaimed excitedly, "Just like us Dad!"

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  • Living at the End of Oil

    For several decades now the threat of peak oil has inspired a creative few to imagine what living at the end of oil might look like.  Their depictions  in movies, music, poetry, paintings, and stories range from science fiction to apocalyptic terror.  Now that peak oil and the constant threat of an energy crisis are upon us, I can't help but wonder why the built environment around me seems to very much resemble the way it looked before we felt the need to start dreaming up those scenarios.  Why does suburbia and our oil over-dependence continue in the face of such a terrifying energy shortfall?  Do we  not know how to imagine a future beyond the borders of the present?  Is the fear of a darker day simply set aside as we dream endlessly for wealth and development?  Do we believe blindly in a magical race of scientists confined to high-tech labs endlessly able to overcome all barriers?   Whatever the reason for the paralysis, few seem to be genuinely interested in change on any meaningful scale.

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