What’s Your Motivation?

I was contacted out of the blue last week by a grad student doing a research project on the peak oil movement. I’m not totally sure how she found me, since I’m hardly a central figure of the ‘movement,’ nor does my blog generate enough site traffic to make it one of the main sits out there. I’m guessing that any of the big sites get more hits in an hour than I’ll get in a day or more. Anyway, we had a short chat, and she asked me several questions regarding my motivation for blogging, and how I got interested in peak oil. I gave her honest answers to her questions, and hopefully I didn’t come off like too much of a crackpot.

The interview made me think about why I am doing this. Long story short, the data behind both peak oil and climate change is compelling to me, and I don’t see a whole lot of urgency in the mainstream media. This blog gives me a chance to share information with other like-minded people, and it allows me to get this stuff off my chest without boring friends, family and co-workers to death. A few years ago I had no idea how to cook (other than from a box), nor did I have any clue how to garden or do much anything else that wasn’t very technical. I’m a computer geek by vocation and upbringing, and for the longest time I eschewed anything that smacked of domestic work or manual labor. After deciding that our current high-tech world has a relatively short shelf life, I’ve started to get to work learning more practical skills for a low-energy world. If I can learn how to do this stuff, so can you.

I’ve updated my ‘All about MEOW’ page with some more information about what makes me tick and what influences my writing. If you’re curious about that at all, I invite you to check it out, along with the booklist and reources pages.

My main motivation is to learn the skills to keep my family alive and relatively comfortable no matter what occurs.   If you’re  a regular reader of the site, I’m assuming you have similar worries for the future.  What’s your motivation?

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6 Responses to What’s Your Motivation?

  1. Beo says:

    My motivation was to find some action to beat the apathy. When I sold my sportscar I made a conscious choice to Be the Change I want to see in the world-mainly for my kids. My family is normal-2 new cars, subdivision home with the .5 acre lot. 3 dogs, and I work for a Fortune 500 Company. But I also cut about 15 tons of carbon out of my footprint last year while laying the groundwork to save $6000 dollars this year in efficiency savings and food generation. Heck if my side bus. keeps up its trend from the first 6 weeks of 2007, I will have given myself a net 35% raise by Going Green between cost savings and new revenue sources. The sum of that is that Ecomama and I want to show that its easy to Be the Change-you don’t have to be a freak chasing a whaling ship in a dingy to change the world. But also, I need to get the ideas out or I might go loopy.

  2. Jim says:

    I also believe in the “Be the Change” mantra. But I have given up on being an advocate for change, except in my own life. What other people choose to do (or to not do) is not my concern.

    I was raised in an environment where we did a lot of things the way people did things in the low-energy past. We raised, hunted, gathered, and purchased from local farmers much of our food supply – I would say more than 75%. I know from experience how to butcher a hog, snare rabbits, tan furs, grow tomatoes, and shear a sheep (though I don’t know how to make a sweater from the raw wool). We also heated our house exclusively with firewood, albeit cut with a gas-powered chainsaw. On the other hand, because of the remote location where we lived this life, my dad drove 140 miles per day for his round-trip commute to his job. And my round trip to school when I started driving was 40 miles.

    After I’d been in the big city for awhile, and I bought my own house, I started a garden, which grew to occupy much of my backyard. I disliked the labor of gardening when I was forced to do it a kid, but now I find it a pleasurable alternative to the grocery store down the street. I then figured out how to compost a large portion of my non-recyclable household trash, which doesn’t save me any money really, but is satisfying to do. I soon started to look for other ways to be more self-sufficient and to have less of a “footprint”, and this led me to riding my bicycle 9 miles to work one day. My lack of physical fitness was evident, but I still had a blast getting to work that way. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve driven to work since that day, as I sold my idle car a few months later. I later spun my new interest in bicycles off into a business, where I work a short two-block walk from home.

    Last year, with a baby and a new business, my garden was mostly fallow, assimilating a thick layer of compost I spread on it. This year my wife has even taken an interest in gardening. With her help, and with the baby and business more mature, I hope to grow and preserve a large quantity of food this year. On the to-do list: bees, chickens, and surreptitious (and moderate) hunting of rabbits and squirrels on my tiny city lot.

    Living on my own terms gives me great personal satisfaction, in addition to insulating my family and me from whatever instabilities are ahead.

  3. Jared says:

    Well, I started by hearing that my friend Karl biked to work, and as I was quitting a job in security to go to school locally, I figured I’d save money and get a bike, getting fit at the same time. At some point I came across the [in]famous LATOC site and read it and every link it provided. That’s about when I got really terrified; later I chatted with Karl and another friend about it and kept reading, and the really dire picture did two things: terror, yes, but also liberation.
    Globalization fills me with unease; the ads, the lifestyles, the goals that are promoted in mainstream America have been at odds with what I believe for some time, but as I was reading the psuedo-doom, it gave me a sense of justification for not agreeing with the mainstream, for pursuing my own values. And the values inherent in a post-carbon world started to become my values.
    Also, in Fight Club, Tyler Durden tells the narrator about his dream, of hunting and gathering in the old cityscapes, of vines overgrowing the skyscrapers, and I really liked that image. I’m one of those who wouldn’t mind a societal collapse, although I probably shouldn’t admit it.
    But from then on, I looked at my life and my environment through eyes seeking sustainability, and I’ve done some of what I can to live as such. I too think it makes a stronger case if I can live it than if I just talk it. Especially since I’m so young; if a kid like me can do it, there’s even less excuses for the rest.

  4. This sounds almost creepy, but a lot of the reasons behind my transformation are exactly the same as you. My blog started as a place to talk bikes and share stories with my family. It’s morphed into so much more than that. As I got more into cycling and reducing my footprint it naturally led to Peak Oil and things went from there. My blog acted as an outlet when I was most passionate about PO and allowed me to keep from alienating my family too much.

    As time has gone on I’ve been able to influence more action and change on my family because I didn’t overwhelm them with this heady information too much in the beginning. Blogging has allowed me to learn more and more about PO, gardening, eating and other such subjects and all of these things have allowed me to really develop and round myself out.

    My motivation is the same as yours. I want to be informed so I can make changes to my life to be ready when my family needs me. The blogging aspect just allows me share this with the world and bring people along at their pace. Most importantly, it encourages people because they can easily see the changes they can make in their life with some simple easy steps. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  5. Bart says:

    Interesting replies, everyone…

    I’m trying to ‘be the change’ as well, though for now I am concentrating solely on my own family’s needs. The scope of the problems facing us are so large that most Americans won’t want to deal with them until they get smacked in the face by them. At that point, I’ll be more than happy to share knowledge with people who are suddenly a more interested in hearing what I’ve got to say.

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