As I type this (despite being on multiple work deadlines), much of the world is in a fairly precarious position. There is no need for any expansion on that subject.
Well run businesses and households often have failsafe systems in place to protect against possible or unforeseen events. For example, a company whose existence and customers rely upon digital information (most today) ensure their data is backed up across physical hard drives and cloud services. In the event of a disaster at one end, the other can be relied upon to recover any lost information. Failure of all systems will only occur due to co-incidence or human error.
An example of data backup working was on 9/11. Whilst the loss of life was the key issue, the objective of the attackers (as they stated) was to damage the economy. It did no such thing. The data used by the financial institutions in the twin towers was safely backed up. Their physical presence did not reflect the location of the data their tenants relied upon.
Some families keep an inventory of their possessions and install smoke alarms. This ensures that whilst there can be no substitute for the loss life or personal effects, the odds of survival are increased and obtaining the correct amount of insurance compensation is made easier. Life can go on.
However, when it comes to the stability of society as a whole, currently, no widespread failsafe exists, meaning that if our source of income, warmth or sustenance is cut off, things can spiral of our control very quickly. I have always believed our complete reliance on the ‘middleman’ to be our Achilles heal because it not only allows us to be exploited by the less well intentioned but even well meaning arrangements put the lives of many in the hands of entities whose fate is uncertain.
Artists / graphic designers: I wanted to insert a picture of a toggle switch here – one position showing a power station, the other, the sun. Alas, unable to create it from scratch and cannot locate any top down view photos of a toggle switch to Photoshop. Anyone creative out there want to knock one up? Free Bottle Of on me!
Therefore, individual families and organisations need a built in system offering backup not reliant on the state or ‘grid’ based infrastructure.
- Local sustainable energy generators need to be installed on as many homes and businesses as possible. These should charge batteries that can be relied upon when the energy generators are not functioning or external grid based power is unavailable. The only way to make this viable is for a compact and efficient mass produced sustainable energy generation and storage system to be developed. This can be activated to keep core systems operational, such as computers and heating or air conditioning. (The latter until naturally ventilated buildings are commonplace.)
- More importantly, there needs to a backup food source. Here in Oxford, such a system is already well established in the form of the increasingly popular alotments. No, not a replacement for efficient ‘mass produced’ produce designed to feed the 7 billion of us, but a backup. Just as the mass produced produce system is a backup in case ones alotment is washed out by an overly wet period of weather.
Without wide-scale adoption of these two core components of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, society will become too vulnerable (if it is not already) leading to scapegoating, civil unrest and even war.
Fight back club: a) Apply for that allotment. b) Entrepreneurs (including this one) need to bring mass produceable sustainable energy sources to the home and small businesses as quickly as possible. I have my own ideas on this and have been testing one on a small scale for a while now. Every little helps!
Update (Monday 21 May 2012): Look what Mr. Clegg has to say on the matter.
Update 2 (29 March 2013): Cannot believe no one spotted the typo in bullet point 2 above, I spelled ‘feed’ as ‘feel’ by mistake. Well, I didn’t spot it either, but I am often in a hurry as explained in the about page of this blog. Sorry!