(This is of course a key question, of what positive solutions are being proposed and organised here. And the answers are likely to be evolving ones. For that reason I envisage to be updating this particular post into newer versions rather than just freezing it in the first version that emerges. Besides sending replies to this post, you are welcome to email suggestions or critiques "offline" to blog[at]energyark[dot]net .)
The central idea of an energyark is that we may not be able to prevent major social and economic upheavals in an unplanned progression of energy descent. The article on this site "Will there be an abrupt collapse?" discusses how this might come about. There may be failures of food supply, law and order, and so on. It may be difficult for people to survive through such circumstances let alone work on needed changes. Especially in or near larger cities.
For this reason, it may be wise to prepare "lifeboats" or "energyarks" to relocate to. A key idea is relocation (rather than the relocalisation being promoted by the Transition (Towns) movement). A few people may already be resident in suitable relocation areas, but most will not. And others have already wisely pointed out that it may be unwise to invest all one's hopes in a particular location. One may need to be ready to adopt a travelling lifestyle, or alternatively move from one ark to another as needs dictate or suggest. Ideally there will be a network of arks rather than just one.
A suitable location and its community should satisfy the requirements of resilience against energy descent. Some conditions, requirements and resources would be as follows.
- Sufficiently remote from large urban settlements
- Land and weather suitable for food-growing
- A natural water supply, including sufficient for irrigation
- Not particularly vulnerable to attack but preferably in a defensible location
- A community of people ideally in the range of 100-300
- Members who have a cooperative mentality rather than grasping or parasiting
- A diversity of people rather than just rich or intellectual ones
- A collection of key skills
- Hand tools
- Reserves or supplies of key products
There already exist some projects which satisfy some or all of these criteria.
Energyark members could come from a variety of situations. They may already be living in suitable relocation areas (in which case their support would be particularly welcome). Or may be very unsuitably located such as in a city centre. Or equally unsuitably in a commuter-dormitory village, devoid of far too many key local resources. Or a farmer in a location which like that village lacks some resilence requirements despite its ruralness.
(to be continued)