This journal will be an irregular account of my preparations for an unprecedented upheaval of our western society. It is based on my belief that there will be a collapse in both the supply of affordable fuel, and in the financial system. I’m hoping that there’s about five years left to make the transition from Prince to Frog. The Prince is how I have been living this last 50 -odd years, with cheap oil doing the work of dozens of servants, and allowing me to know more about the planet and visit more places on it than any ordinary man was previously able to do. The Frog is the shape of my future, with choices much-reduced and travel severely circumscribed. There could not possibly continue to be so many princes – not on a planet this size. The life of the frog however is feasable and sustainable – and so it shall be my roll-model for a while.
The ‘five years’ is quite arbitrary – the crash could catch me with my fancy pants half-down, and my new nobbly skin not quite in place – but it’s a guess based on the information that appears on sites like the Oil Drum where ‘discussions about energy and our future’ have been conducted over the last four years. It is now generally accepted in these circles, and increasingly in the wider world of the media, that oil production has already peaked. What is not certain is how long the ‘plateau’ at the top of the curve will be – nor when and how the down-slope will take effect. The world has never experienced such an abundance of such a potent and cheap energy source – so we are not mentally or emotionally prepared for its decline and disappearance.
I have tried over the years to shape the future of my life and the life of our family : as a self-employed business person and artisan/designer I have had more opportunities than many to do this. But I never pictured this scenario : that I would be preparing for my last couple of decades as a subsistence-smallholder, in a small village in the Languedoc.