Sunday, February 27, 2011

Small world - big world

Yesterday I found out a couple of young people I know are somewhere in New Zealand. They haven't been heard from since the quake. They were supposed to be out hiking the day of the quake. If they got off on time, they are probably okay, just out of touch because they are off in the wilderness. There was some concern that their trip may have been delayed, stranding them in Christchurch. If so, their disappearance takes on a more ominous turn. Really hope they are fine.

We live in the middle of nowhere, far from big cities or any other place normally thought of as an International crossroad. In spite of that, we seem to know people in nearly every trouble spot of the world. Yesterday, I asked my wife if we knew anyone in Libya. We don't. It's a relief.

Cheap energy made it possible for normal working class people to travel. How many people fly for their job? It's a small world.

How much longer will it be a small world? My wife was going though the local history of our small village. It wasn't too long ago a eight mile trip to the next town was an all day adventure. Horses can only travel so far, so fast.

Liquid fuels are used for travel. We might be able to keep the lights on with domestic coal, hydro, and nuclear power, but those energy sources don't fuel our cars or planes. A significant amount of liquid fuels come from unstable far away places. What domestic production we have will be most likely be rationed for government use. If we are lucky, the ambulances, and firetrucks will be a priority. Personal travel will be a rarer, slower, and more expensive pursuit.

As energy prices rise, the world becomes a bigger place. The circle of people we know will shrink. Personal connections to distant places will diminish. Even though I worry about friends in far away places, at least they experience a wider world.



  1. Wouldn't you know it, I think I may have time to travel in my RV this year, and the price of gas is going up. Of course, if you went my horse and wagon, the price of oats is going up, too.

  2. At least the wind is still free. Hence, the sailboat. Of course, getting it to the water might be an issue.

  3. It's always a little nerve racking to have friends in far off places that you haven't heard from after a disaster!

    I do hope they are OK!

  4. We just got word. they are fine. They were in the woods farther north in NZ and only heard about the quake yesterday. ... and now they are busy answering frantic emails!

  5. Sixbears, the wind being free is the driving force behind my want of a sailboat. I was born with the wanderlust, but not the knack for making boatloads of money. Unfortunately, the eCONomy has driven all of my relatives inland. Which makes sailing a lonely proposition. But it's in my blood. Not so much sailing per se, but the sea in general. It's that Celtic DNA floating around in my body! The Irish, being island bound, were a seagoing people...

  6. I'm a wanderer at heart -even if I have to do it on my my two feet. The sailboat has been a dream. Heading out on the water again tomorrow. Got some new tricks to try.

  7. There are many of us who hear the call of the wild geese.

  8. So I'm Irish too... and that be where it comes from aye.