This has me smiling: a California family that grows three tons of organic food a year — on 1/10 of an acre.

I’m sharing this because a) what can I say, I think it’s nifty, and b) it points out the problem with apocalyptic thinking.

Humans currently use various resources in horribly inefficient and destructive ways. But that’s because of the specific way we prioritize inputs such as labor, capital, energy, etc. Change the priorities, you change the inputs.

In this case, the priority is expressed by the owner of the suburban farm:

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“Everybody wants more land,” Dervaes says. “We decided to find out how much we could accomplish on this piece of land.”

So instead of the oil-intense, capital-intense, land-intense, and (relatively) labor-mild system of conventional agriculture, the Dervaes simply spend a lot more labor — and massively increase output in exchange.

I certainly don’t want to pretend it’s as simple as that everywhere (especially for those of us not living in California), but it’s one example of lifestyle changes more people are likely to make as the costs of land, oil, and capital go up.

Maybe the silver bullet solution to peak oil is simply to put everybody on a 24-hour work week, giving them more time to tend to their home farms, green roofs, and biodiesel coops. (Even if it isn’t, can I still get the time off?)

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