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Stabilizing Strategies for a Wobbly World

 The Future Analysis Branch (FAB) of the German Ministry of Defense has researched and published a landmark report of interest to everyone concerned with food production and consumption. That's all of us.

The report -- Peak Oil: Security Policy Implications of Scarce Resource -- has just been translated into English. For realists, the report is worthwhile reading.

FAB's report explores a host of crucial matters: food and water, consumerism, economics, climate change, social stability, and  so forth. It's written from a vantage based on the reality of the modern world's absolute dependency on precious, profoundly polluting oil. In that context, the report addresses the potential meltdown of social order and municipal services as oil becomes less and less available, more and more costly -- a process now well underway.

In addition to delineating the looming dangers -- including the very real threat to the industrial agricultural system which feeds the modern world but is totally dependent on cheap, abundant oil -- the report acknowledges possible, positive proactive measures that communities can and should undertake.

Of interest, the FAB report quotes from another landmark report, the 2009 Task Force recommendations to the city of Bloomington, Indiana -- Redefining Prosperity: Energy Descent and Community Resilience. That report outlines the utter vulnerability of a typical American community to the ongoing hike in oil cost. It also proposes numerous mitigation strategies -- ways to move toward stability in our increasing wobbly world, wherein economics and environment are wildly whirling.

The Bloomington report is premised on the reality that oil infuses just about every aspect of our lives. We rely on cheap oil for necessities such as transportation, electricity, and food production and distribution. The whole of industrial agriculture is built on a foundation of increasingly scare oil - a glaring vulnerability.

Key among the task force recommendations:

  • Promote economic relocalization. Producing and processing more goods within the community fosters greater security while strengthening the local economy.
  • Accelerate local food production by training more urban farmers and removing legal, institutional and cultural barriers to farming within the city.
  • Plant edible landscapes throughout the city.
  • Incubate community food businesses.

Just now all across the USA, Canada, and in other nations, thousands of these kinds of positive, proactive, stabilizing initiatives are underway. I strove to give an overview of them in The Call of the Land: An Agrarian Primer for the 21st Century published in 2009, and via the links on this website.  But so prolific were the arising agrarian initiatives that I had to enlarge the book tremendously for a 2nd edition published this year. Now we are at a phase where the wobbling necessitates far more widespread embrace and emulation of movement toward sustainable and stabilizing responses to urgent the call of the land.