Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crisis as Opportunity

The NY Times reports that last months record jobless figures are far worse than the official numbers. This because lots of people have simply given up looking and they are not recorded. i wonder about these people. i wonder what percentage of them - perhaps only a few percent would consider a radical possibility.

Let say we organized citizen based volunteer public works construction projects. Where groups of people who are unemployed and want to work take risks on projects which are decided consensually by the group and the influenced community and then fix, repair, renovate, upgrade what ever a space.

People would be housed and feed by folx who were benefiting from the project, or in other dorm or donated circumstances. There would be no guarenteed wage and there would be efforts made to raise funds for the workers from various sources, including the positively influenced local area and governments and philanthropic organizations.

So lets take some steriods and make this an anarchist wet dream. Let's say we are looking at an economic down turn, combined with peak oil and climate change concerns that starts to shift our use of heavy equipment and high tech manufacturing. Let's take the missing grid problem in the mid west and say you want to solve it a different way. Instead of takign a centralized power, with emminant domain and realtively low labor and high hardware solutions. You take decentralized power, community level negotiations about where these tricky lines should go and how they should be laid (underground in some cases) and then use labor intensive installation solutions to save on hardware. Instead of huge high tech/hig energy pillars, you do more erector set construction, lighter, more labor intensive and likely larger foot print.

You could even not have the entire route planned form the beginning and figure it out from both ends as you worked to connect the grid.

It's late. I'll abandon this wildness and see if i think there is anything worth pursing tomorrow - oh one last thing, miners - unemployed coal miners used to build this new infrastructure - just 1% of them.


setenergy said...

We definitely have an opportunity in front of us:

There are pretty intense changes in US energy (especially driving) habits taking place. One exciting result is that we are consuming more than 5% less oil in ‘08 and thus carbon emissions are poised to fall 2.5% this year. See details at:

Even China emissions are falling this quarter as electricity consumption falls a record in November. See details at:

The real challenge will be how we continue emissions reduction once the economy picks up again.

If you find the SET daily blog on major energy and climate developments useful at , please consider adding it to your blogroll.

Onwards to sustainability,

Nexus said...

Hell, yeah!

Though instead of electricity, how about starting more community gardens to directly address food needs, and to ween people off of high fructose trans fat benzoate.

As for the other 99%, as Bob Black said, "workers of the world, relax!"

Nexus said...

One more thing: coal miners don't need more backbreaking, dangerous work, they need a good massage! Maybe some peeled grapes and someone to fan them. Instead, let former Lehman Brothers employees do some hard work for a change.