Back to the ‘stuff’: so we have fed our family, what happens after food? Home and clothes would probably be next on our list of essentials. Even cutting back to as minimal as most of us are prepared to do and still be comfortable there are still issues with fossil fuels.
Of what are my clothes made? Anything with nylon or man-made fibres has oil as its base ingredient. Man-made fibres include elastic, buttons, lycra, shell suits, tracksuit fabric, the stretchy stuff in underwear and socks, and my jeans which mean I can actually sit down in them after dinner. Then there is waterproof clothing, fleece fabric, gumboots, slinky evening wear, shiny posh frocks…should I stop now?
Look in your wardrobe- how many items are only wool, cotton, leather, hemp and bamboo… are there any other natural fibres? Quite apart from the price rise in producing all these man-made clothing fabrics, what happens when the oil can not be spared for clothing? Flintstone style here we come!
Recycling fabric is one way of making garments last longer, and buying second-hand or trading is also useful. It is my experience though that a great many people simply lack the skills to sew their own clothing, or to mend, darn, replace buttons, make-do and look smart- a Worzel Gummidge look really isn’t for everyone!
Returning to food- a by-product of sheep farming is wool; we could be needing it soon, and not just for insulating our houses either. There’s a reason the Irish, Scots, Icelanders and Northern folk knitted Aran and Fair Isle jerseys, they didn’t like being cold. News flash- nor do I! And apart from wool production here in Ireland and Britain, post oil and locally, what will we have to wear? Seen any cotton fields in your vicinity lately- uh…no? Bamboo groves- enough for fabric production? Hemp?
Granted, I am looking at extremes but in order to figure where we are going with our lifestyle choices, don’t we need to do so? Sure we can import cotton and other fabrics…by ship? Train? What will fuel the transport- fresh air? Is anyone building cargo sailing ships? Bring back the Cutty Sark- all is forgiven!
Laugh away- the idea of fleets of tall ships delivering imported fashion clothing to Southampton Docks, and being distributed to retail stores via horse and cart is too hilarious to take seriously, but if fossil fuel use is reduced to ESSENTIALS where will it leave us? And will there be enough to go round everyone?