Post Peak Panic?

One of my ever-growing volunteer ‘jobs’ is an organic wholefood co-op at Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project. We get stuff through the Infinity Foods catalogue and sell it at not-for-profit prices, plus people can order stuff at the wholesale price.
On Thursday morning last week while ‘working’ there (more like shopping while helping others to shop really), I possibly witnessed my first post-peak-oil-panic-buy. A guy came in and spent £69 on three 25kg sacks of rice to put into storage. He openly admitted he was doing it because he’s uncertain how much longer rice will be available. Eeek!
If this turns out to be the first of many panic buys, surely that will hasten the food shortage and inflate the price of grain still higher?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about please read this and then this. I know the basics of peak oil but it will be much quicker and easier to understand if I just refer people to the experts rather than attempt it on here!

Meanwhile I have now made it to the allotment twice. I now know how to plant peas and also how to ‘green mulch’ (I think that’s what it’s called). I’m also growing some stuff on my windowsill at home… well, the mint hasn’t completely died yet so there is hope… and I’m sure the tomato plant will keep it company now, even though they are only about an inch high each and can’t see one another over the tops of the pots yet. Still need to buy some potting compost for the basil, lavender (I know you can’t eat that but it will make my flat smell lovely) and thyme. Does anyone know where I can get veganic peat free compost???

The Landfill Prize

Somebody posted a link to this site on an e-list. I have been wondering what I would nominate for the Landfill Prize.

Looking at the nominations so far, I think I would award the prize to

The £150 toothbrush
– “The Philips Sonicare Flexcare brush comes with it’s own ultraviolet-light sanitising equipment, as well as a whole lot of other bells and whistles. But a survey by Which? in November 2007 found that it performed only as well as a £3 electric brush. Ordinary manual brushes can prove just as effective as high-end electrics if used properly, adds the survey.”


I used to work in a fancy dress shop in Brighton. I loved it apart from the boss, who has since sold the shop. The new manager offered me some work there again recently. I was tempted, it seems a much healthier working environment these days. But as I looked around the shop, taking in the dozens of small plastic, flashing, glittering, sparkling, novelty items and the huge array of pvc clothing, giant rubber boots and life-sized skeletons, rubber bats and inflatable parrots I realised a shocking fact: there are a huge number of businesses that are fundamentally unsustainable. What on earth will small businesses like this one do when plentiful cheap oil starts to run dry?

I’m part of the Transition Brighton and Hove Business and Economy Group. This is just the sort of thing I envisage us being asked for help with. I just don’t know where to start. Our whole economy seems totally unsustainable, not just individual businessses. One thing that gives me hope is that we are fully addressing this conundrum as a group. I feel like we’re taking the problem seriously and not just looking for the easiest answers. I just hope there are some answers out there for us to find.