Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Green Lightning At The Blue Moon: Talking Disaster Blues

My transition group met last night at the Blue Moon coffee house on Lake Street. (It's something else with the same name, Kate.)

Transition is a movement to replace oil with community. The idea is that climate change and peak oil are a one-two punch that will cripple industrial economy. The powers that be either can't or won't stop sawing away at the branch upon which we perch so precariously, so it's up to us. ("Grass roots" mixed the metaphor too hilariously to use or lose, so I had to put it in parenthesis.)

We're reading Sharon Astyk's Making Home. We covered chapters 4 & 5 last night, but Schroedinger's cat still has my copy, so I listened and doodled surreptitious caricatures of the seven people at the table. Michelle, who is local, but just moved back to the Twin Cities after eight years in Sarasota, FL, chaired the conversation, and very nicely kept it, more or less, on topic.

In a prior meeting, we had established that it is important enough to keep your home that you sacrifice some pretty important stuff to do so. Home is a base of operations, site for workshop and garden, and toehold in your community. In hard times, let go of your phone, gas, and electrical services, if this will help you make your rent or mortgage payments. Good trick in Minnesota, I guess but freezing in the dark is better than being homeless. The part that sticks in my mind was that we could sort of run drills. Lee and her family have shut off their utilities for a day, much to their teenagers' dismay. When their drier crashed, they didn't replace it.

We also talked about a backhoe accident downtown that flooded a parking garage, diverted traffic, shut down businesses, and cancelled Guthrie Theater performances.

Even for economies, "In the midst of life, etc."

We are enjoying mild weather up here on the 45th parallel, this second week of January. We could see temps in the forties, and it's already been above freezing. There's a chance of rain on Thursday, with a return to normal temperatures behind that. Somebody from Kansas City last night mentioned that down there, what happens is the rain freezes on the branches, which snap off and fall onto the power lines.

"There was all this green lightning, and nobody could figure out what it was. It turned out that the transformers were exploding."

If this stuff is all true, I'm not the grasshopper anymore. I'm a freaking ant!

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