Thursday, February 28, 2013

Buy Local, Save Your Life

A lot of people like to buy whatever they can for noble reasons, like saving the planet and bringing prosperity to their local economy. Those reasons are all very admirable, but there are some good selfish reasons to buy local as well. Not the least of these is that it might save your life in the near future.

"How can buying local products, produce and services save my life?" you might say. In order to understand the answer you need to know what, "peak oil", means.

I does not mean that there isn't any more oil, it means that it is harder and harder to come out ahead on the energy you use to get that oil out of the ground and ready to use it. We have already used up the oil fields with the easy-to-get-out nice clean oil that burns well without a lot of work to clean it first.

Sure there is plenty of oil in the Canadian Tar Sands oil fields. The problem is that it is some of the dirtiest oil in the world. It is also very hard to get the oil out of those tar sands. It can take the equivalent of two barrels of oil in energy to get out three barrels of oil. That doesn't even include refining it so it won't kill your engine if you use it. 

By the time the Canadian Tar Sands get oil ready to use in your car, we barely get above breaking even in energy. That leaves out the enormous damage getting all of that filthy oil does to the Earth. It ruins vast areas of land, water and air and kills off plants, animals,fish and people in the process. Here is a link to look at what it does:

The supply of oil worldwide is not even. Some areas and some people are already feeling the pinch of the oil shortage. My area is one of them. 

That means, unless you live in an oil exporting area, you should start worrying now. Alaska has been an oil exporter for years. Next year our largest city in the state, will need to find oil to keep the municipal power plant going through our long, cold winter.

Right now, the United States government helps with shipping costs for food for the people who live in Alaska. Only a tiny fraction of the food eaten in Alaska is produced here. The rest is shipped from thousands of miles away. The state of Alaska is estimated by our government to have only about three days of food supply on hand.

We are in trouble if there is a problem with shipping or prices for it go up much. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that shipping prices will go up very fast and very soon. 

Our national postal service is cutting delivery days and raising prices because of its own problems. None of this takes into account having our two main political parties playing chicken with the comfort, safety, and even the lives of the rest of us.

I was vastly relieve to discover today that other Alaskans are thinking about our supply chain problems in our state. I found this site:

They are an Alaskan family who grow and raise wheat and other grains and grind it to sell in our own state. They mention that part of the reason they do this is to help achieve "food independence" for Alaska. 

We do have farmers in Alaska who grow lots of other foods during the summer, but these are the first I have known of who produce enough grains beyond their own needs. 

This is what more people need to do worldwide. We all need to work for food independence and stop counting on cheap oil to allow us to ship food, that can be grown locally, thousands of miles instead.

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