Let's take a leap here. Say you were already persuaded that we are in our civilization's final century.
In other words, you do NOT believe that concerted human action might avert the collapse of civilization, prolly because you have educated yourself that we are already far past the point of no return (see Dave Pollard's reading list).
In which case, you are prolly looking for means to what Pollard calls a softer landing, and a head start for a possible next civilization.*
This means you have prolly read James Kunstler's book The Long Emergency, and started incorporating his prescriptions for a softer landing.
In a nutshell, says Kunstler, "We will have to make other arrangements for virtually all the common activities of daily life".
Bear in mind that plenty of folks hear 'gloom and doom' yet refuse to see the solutions right in front of them. This reflects what Kunstler calls "the cognitive dissonance in our culture" which, he says, "has gone totally off the charts."
"If you're depressed, change your focus. Quit wishing and start doing. The best way to feel hopeful about the future is to get off your ass and demonstrate to yourself that you are a capable, competent individual resolutely able to face new circumstances."
As Pollard points out, we cannot wait for systems to collapse to start learning the skills we will need when they do, and to start creating local networks for the production and distribution of what we need to live, and to start planning for precisely what we will do, assuming we can depend on no one else. Katrina (and Iniki, on Kauai) taught us that, if we didn't already know.
So, time to get learning new capacities:
- how to grow your own food, make your own clothes, make your own furniture, and repair everything you own.
- How to set up a business you can run from home that serves local needs.
- How to manage your own health, and that of those in your community who cannot care for themselves.
And time to create new local networks:
- community renewable energy co-ops,
- local farm markets and delivery services,
- neighbourhood craft and skill networks that make and fix beautiful, durable, essential things from local materials.
Pollard wonders: "Will we relearn these essential capacities, establish these critical local networks, and recreate communities that work, before cascading crises are upon us and it's too late to do so?"
"It will probably depend on how soon they occur, how many hit us at once, and how severe they are. Most of all, it will depend on how many of us see the value in acquiring these capacities and creating these networks and rebuilding self-sufficient communities that work, for their own sake, now. And doing so together, not just as neo-survivalists trying foolishly and selfishly to create resiliency just for themselves and their family. We'll do what we must, when we must. Maybe in time for a softer landing, and in so doing perhaps create a model for the next, gentler, lower-footprint society."
Oh, and, if you are an Ishmael fan (see #4 on Pollard's list), check out IshThink's new site intended to help people through the "Now what?" feeling that frequently follows reading Mr. Quinn's work...
* (For what it's worth, this is a large part of the reason I'm living on Kauai and why I wrote my book about building Kauaian sustainability from the bottom up...)