Let the Sun Work

A New Understanding of Etiquette and Manners in the Post-Petroleum World

As we learn new ways to live in community in the days after the Triple Threat (combination of peak oil, catastrophic climate change, and overpopulation) has kicked in, we will need to develop new customs and mores, so we can step more lightly on the earth, conserve our limited resources, and help each other get through this. Here are our guesses at post-petroleum etiquette:

  • When two friends meet, the one who agrees to travel will be making a sacrifice, so it’s only appropriate for the one who stays home to offer a shower, a charge for the plug-in hybrid, or bus fare, or at the very least to be the one who provides all the food.
  • The person who keeps a lush, green grassy lawn is the object of pity, resentment, and scorn. The one who grows food in her front yard is regarded with a mixture of respect and envy, morphing to pure adulation when she shares some of her bounty with her neighbors.
  • We appreciate and respect those who find a way of dressing that works and stick to it day after day. We’re confused by and vaguely suspicious of those who believe they need to keep changing how they look.
  • Makeup makes sense for aging whores but not the rest of us; we don’t expect nice women to spend money on cosmetics, which take huge quantities of petroleum to produce, store, and ship.
  • It’s just hard-down tacky for an able-bodied man to urinate in an indoor toilet and flush three gallons of perfectly good water down the sewer, when he could easily go outside and pee on the ground, enriching the soil with his sterile nitrogen-rich urine. Nobody expects a woman to do that, but those women who do inspire admiration, excite men, and eventually spawn imitators.
  • We’re not quite sure what to do with someone who keeps his home or apartment at 72 degrees F in the summer or at 76 degrees F in the winter; it’s just so quaint and, well, stupid. We expect a house to be no warmer than 66 degrees F in the winter and no cooler than 80 degrees F in the summer. That’s what the seasons are all about, isn’t it?
  • We know better than to leave precious food on our plate. If we can’t finish it, we save it for another meal, or use it for compost. Can you believe people used to seal up perfectly good food in plastic bags and truck it to a landfill?

Are we on track? Please let us know.