Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recreating Local Economies

With the growing expectation that abundant and inexpensive fossil fuels are quickly becoming a thing of the past, there is increasing talk about the need to recreate local economies. However, one of the largest challenges facing Americans, is that for almost anyone now alive, understanding exactly what that means is far from clear. We have grown up under the creation of global networks that bring us almost everything from baby bottles to toilet seats from across the globe. A growing circle of experts are sowing doubt about the feasibility of keeping 13,000 mile supply chains strong and financially competitive in the absence of inexpensive oil.

I do want to be clear that creating local economies which supply us with everything we need is both impossible and unnecessary. But shifting the current balance from 95% non-local to more like 75% local is worth the effort and would have a tremendous positive reduction on our usage of non-renewable liquid fuels like oil and natural gas.

The task of first re-imaging and then taking the necessary steps to implement a local economy, is both a necessary and imposing task. Because this is such an important topic these days, I feel a need to begin a series of posts which focus on how this kind of local economy would work and what would be the most critical elements to begin the process.

A concept of this magnitude needs a framework within which to help organize a coherent response. It feels obvious to me that I must lay out what elements are the most important and then drill down into each area over time. The areas I see as most critical include, food, energy, shelter, and clothing. By designing re-localized economies that can consistently provide us with these basics, I believe we can lay the foundation for resilient local economies.

Stay tuned...

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