Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 18th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
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I expect that most of Aardvark's readers will recall that quaint and sometimes funny British TV series "The Good Life".
The premise was that, if you worked at hit hard enough, self-sufficiency in food and energy was possible, even in a middle-class suburban English setting.
Of course anyone who has tried (or is still trying) knows full-well that it's pretty much impossible to become self-sufficient on a small pocket-hanky-sized portion of land and energy self-sufficiency requires quite a capital investment. What's more, bureaucracies are rife within our central and local governments -- to the extent that most of what you want to do would likely be illegal or subject to onerous "consent" processes and payments.
However, should this put us off striving for such a goal?
The reason I ask is that right now, Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the East Coast of the USA, forcing millions of middle-class folk into "survival mode".
Power to large parts of New York City is already being cut so as to avoid catastrophe if/when the combination of flood surge and high tide could send massive amounts of salt water into the subway system with catastrophic results.
The subway system is electrically powered and salt water a fairly good conductor -- the combination of the two would have predictable results -- hence the pre-emptive power cuts.
Elsewhere in the region, supermarkets are reporting a rush on food products, leaving shelves unusually bare and resulting in some would-be customers leaving empty-handed.
While it's obviously impractical to become even slightly self-sufficient in the urban jungle, might it not be a good idea for those who do have a little land and a little roof-space available to actually invest in some preparedness for "the worst"?
With climate change now something that is irrefutable (it's merely the cause that remains an issue of disagreement in some circles) we're told that "once in a century" weather events will become increasingly common. If that's true then surely having a few solar-cells on the roof makes a whole lot of sense.
Likewise, having some kind of garden which can act as a supplementary and emergency food source might also be a very wise move.
While it's pretty cheap to pick up a small generator these days that can deliver enough power to run the fridge and freezer intermittently, keep some lighting going and run the TV -- these things suck fuel at an alarming rate and, if a real disaster hits, fuel supplies will also be affected. For this reason it makes more sense to use a renewable source for your power.
I know that some of Aardvark's readers are "off grid" and probably coppice their own trees as fuel for their winter heating needs -- but how many in suburbia have really considered the extra benefits of some solar generation and a nice big vege plot in the back yard.
Will changing climate and an increase in weather-related "natural disasters" change your mind?
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