Friday, February 20, 2009

Raising chickens will give me hope

I've just read "The Unthinkable: Who Survives Disaster and Why" by Amanda Ripley. She writes about why people survive disasters -- and why they don't. 70 percent of people in the Trade Centers took their time to make a few calls and gather things from their desks before evacuating?

The book is fascinating and frightening. It shows we humans are more prone to care about what our peers think than taking action.

At the swank Beverly Hills Supper Club outside of Cincinnati on May 28, 1977, an electrical fire broke out. Of the 3,000 people gathered there tfor special events, 167 died, most in the Cabaret Room. Employees had to scream at people in the dark of other rooms: "Get the hell out!" get them to take action.

Walter Bailey, an 18-year-old busboy saved hundreds of lives because he didn't care what other people thought He told his supervisor, "There's a fire in the Zebra Room." The supervisor did nothing. Walter was going to find the club's owners, and found 70 people waiting to enter Walter led them to safety. He told his supervisor again, "We need to clear the room." The supervisor ignored him.

Thinking, "I'm going to lose my job," Walter went to the stage, took the microphone from the performers, and calmly pointed out the exits and announced, "I want everyone to leave the room calmly. There's a fire at the front of the building."

His action saved hundreds of lives. He violated social protocol and hierarchy because he saw danger and took action that he had no status to take.

Our society is headed towards danger, and we're like the patrons of the Beverly Hills Supper Club. We're too busy worrying about our 401Ks, what we're doing this weekend, and going to the mall than to worry about planning for life after peak oil.

The busboys -- climate scientists -- are yelling, "WAKE UP!" but we ignore them because it's too overwhemling. How would we get around without our personal polluters?

My chicken adventURE is giving me hope that I might be able to survive post-peak oil.

I can't do it alone. We all must go on a 12-step program to give up our energy addiction and re-design how we do business, build buildings, get around, grow and transport food, and create local community.

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