Can We Experience Joy in a Post-Petroleum World?
We always get a raised eyebrow or two when we talk about joy in the
post-petroleum world, and for understandable reasons. How on earth can we even
talk about joy in the context of catastrophic climate change, resource
depletion, and economic decline? We can, of course, because we must. We humans
must find ways to experience and share joy. If we don't, our very humanity is at
So how will we do it?
- We will return to community. One of
our mamas or grandmamas (we can't remember which one) taught us years ago that
shared joy is twice the joy; shared sorry is half the sorrow.
- We will spend less time listening to music of others and more time making
- We will spend less time watching others entertain us and more time
entertaining each other.
- We will revel - yes, revel - in the joy of eating and sharing the first
tomato we grew in our own garden.
- We will rediscover the thrill of repairing a machine that's broken so we
can avoid replacing it with a shiny new one.
- We will relearn the art of savoring the seasons, which will change not
only how we dress but what we eat and how and where we spend our time.
- We will read more.
Are you ready to experience joy, real joy, in the post-petroleum world? Here
are some ways you can begin to prepare:
- Pick up that old guitar or flute and play it a little. Of course you
sound raunchy now, but you'll be amazed how fun it will be after a little
- Sing or whistle while you do simple tasks. It really does help the work go
faster, and it will intimidate your children.
- Bake some cookies and take them over to your neighbor's house while
they're still hot. Then sit around for awhile and visit over them.
- Organize a party for your neighborhood or apartment building. Get an
impromptu talent show going.
- Save an old pair of blue jeans.
- Avoid driving at all, or if we must drive, drive an
ideal vehicle for the post-petroleum age.
- Write a poem
- Stake out a claim to a little dirt somewhere, even if it's just in a
window pot, and grow something you plan to eat. And when it's ripe and ready,
share it with somebody.
- The next time something you use breaks, scratch your head and see if you
can't fix it. At a minimum, you will learn more about what makes it work, and
you just may learn a valuable new skill.
- Carve out an evening each week when there's no television or radio, just
quiet time to read and interact with others in your household. And if you live
alone, invite somebody over for supper.
- If somebody invites you over for supper, offer to wash the dishes with
them (yeah, without the dishwasher).