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Cheap Oil, Peak Oil and Kitchen Gardens


By T. Vijayendra

A pamphlet on World Kitchen Garden Day (August 25)!

The idea of kitchen garden is becoming popular because of:
• awareness on growing healthy food
• rise in vegetable prices
But why have prices risen?

Cheap Oil
‘Green Revolution’ has increased the production and brought down the prices because it was dependent on cheap petroleum products –
fertilisers, pesticides, irrigation, farm machinery and transport. This means we are eating oil! Green revolution also degraded the soil and
began to need more and more inputs pushing the prices. With ‘Peak Oil’, the era of cheap oil has come to an end. Oil price, and all other
prices are continuously on the rise.

What is Peak Oil?
Peak oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has
powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil ‘production’ – meaning extraction
and refining (currently about 85 million barrels/ day), has grown during the last century. But, after using up about half of the original
reserves, the growth in oil production is likely to stop and begin a terminal decline, hence ‘peak’. However, this does not signify
‘running out of oil’ – but the end of cheap oil.

Grow Soil
Green revolution has converted our soil to dust, and no lovely flowers or vegetables will grow from it. So our first task is to improve the soil and where there is no soil, grow it. However, growing soil is difficult unless we persevere and spare no pains. We have a better chance of success and in it lies the strength of the soil and its great expectations, as well as its reward. For when a beautiful blossom grows from the soil, all who see it naturally take pleasure in the sight, including the soil itself. You need not be a blossom yourself to feel a lifting of your spirit – the soil has a spirit too.

Soil and Soul
To succeed, we require a change in our attitude towards nature, to our neighbours and to our community. It has to be a part of an overall transition to a fossil fuel free world. The outer work of transition needs to be matched by inner transition. In order to reduce our dependence on energy we need to rebuild our relations with ourselves, with each other and with the natural world. That requires focusing on the heart and soul of transition.

Life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling than the present alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and
the myth of perpetual growth. By shifting our mindset we can actually recognise the coming post-cheap oil era as an opportunity to
design the future low carbon age as a thriving, resilient and abundant – somewhere much better to live.

Growing Soul and Soil Together
We sweep our house every day and gather a handful of dust. This dust is loose soil. Our job is to convert this dust into soil. Just put the
dust in a home composting bucket, along with other biodegradable waste in the house. Within a few months you would have converted
dust into soil. In the process you have grown aware of the relationship of waste and soil. You would have learnt to grow your soil and soul!

Happy composting and kitchen gardening!
T. Vijayendra
Hyderabad Platform, Peak Oil India
Email: [email protected]
Blog: t-vijayendra.blogspot.com
Mobile: +91 94907 05634

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