Local energy production through biogas, empowerment and local communities

Centralisation and our fossil fuel future

Centralisation and our fossil fuel future

Globalisation seems to mean centralisation, which means that people are expected to travel more and greater distances as the world becomes “smaller”. Today I had to travel to Sydney in order to get my (Dutch) passport renewed. Up to now I have always been able to do it in Brisbane, so imagine my shock when I was told that now Dutch passports can only be renewed in Sydney. Australia is a big country, and now every Dutch person in Australia has to travel to Sydney to get their passport renewed. So for me that meant traveling to Brisbane by car (2 hour trip), then taking a plane to Sydney (1 and a bit hours each way), train to the consulate, then having to spend the day in Sydney waiting for my return flight… Talk about pointless fossil fuel burning… And all this for a process which took less than 15 minutes.

Local energy production through biogas, empowerment and local communities
Local empowerment and energy production instead of fossil fuels and central/global-isation

On this morning’s 5am flight were a lot of blue and white collar workers, which made me wonder whether they were going to Sydney for the day or the week? How many people fly in and out for work whilst living elsewhere? How long do we expect we can continue this madness?

We are already seeing the small corner store replaced by global franchises and mum and dad stores being replaced by shops selling cheap imports from China. For some reason stuff made overseas is cheaper than stuff made next door. Fossil fuel is so cheap that we have all but killed local trade in favour for imports and extravagant food miles. Skills once common place within a small town are now no longer there, as repairs are obsolete due to the ability to find cheap replacements (imported of course!) The worrying thing is what will happen once fossil fuels have depleted. I once read that the energy of a car is equivalent to having 100 people working for you, how can we maintain that?

Thank goodness that due to people’s innovative nature we have solutions already available to us, unfortunately not many people are implementing these solutions. Biogas is one incredible solution to a multitude of problems like waste management and energy production. Every household should have a biodigester, where their kitchen scraps, animal manure and humanure can be deposited and gas created. If you are against fracking and shale extraction, this is a solution you can look into. It is fair enough to protest against fracking and shale extraction but if you still buy gas, the protesting alone will not get you very far. As long as the market demand is still there, companies will keep pursuing any way of extraction. Instead support small businesses that make biogas biodigesters if you live in the city, or build your own if you live in the country. We can be responsible for our own energy needs, so that the impact of fossil fuel reduction will not hit so hard. We still live as if there is no end to energy production on a global scale, but as with everything, whether it be food, household products or services, we need to keep it local. If we each can take responsibility for our own energy and food production, we empower ourselves and become more localised, thus creating more sustainable and stronger communities by supporting local goods, services and people. We have to understand that we cannot go on this way, and the more people become responsible for their own energy creation, the more momentum this movement will gain, ultimately culminating in reduced fossil fuel needs and hence hopefully better environmental practices.

We cannot vote in the ballot box; voting is done by actions. What we spend our money and energy on directs which industries grow and which fail. Our actions and choices can make a huge difference as to the direction this world goes in the future. And as to whether we will live in a strong, mutually supportive and sustainable local community, or in a global community of depletion, illness and lack. Our choices, our decisions, daily.

©2016 Zaia; diyfoodandhealth.com, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance, self sufficiency, sustainability, food, health and homesteading, a day in Sydney, fossil fuel waste in order to centralise


  1. Incredible that you had to go to Sydney to get your passport renewed. Why couldn’t you do it by post? Presumably, that’s what you’d do in Holland – it’s certainly what I do in Britain.

    Anyway, the vagarities of bureaucracy aside, centralisation is dehumanising one way or another as well.

    Our village shop was taken over by a national company and the quality of everything just isn’t the same. It used to sell local food and unpackaged goods. Not so anymore 🙁

    1. No, they do fingerprinting, so it has to be in person…
      I agree, the fading away of the local shops definitely is a huge issue, keep supporting your local businesses, farmers and anyone in the local community, and boycott the large multinationals that offer cheaper goods. The cost of these goods come in somewhere, usually by abusing people and/or environment. I hope you still have local alternatives in your village Helen, we are blessed that our local businesses are supported here, we hope they will stick around!

      1. Oh yes, I see (re finger prints – that hasn’t come in here, possibly because of the logistics rather than concerns about the environment).

        Unfortunately, the village doesn’t have a local food shop, though just outside of it there is an organic farm, where I buy a large part of our provisions.

        On the other hand, we do have an independent bike store (sales and repairs), so something is going right!

  2. Hi Zaia,
    I love this post. I couldn’t agree with you more.
    Are biogas biodigesters sold in Queensland? I’ve been reading about yours but would love to know more.

  3. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your comment!
    At this stage I don’t think biogas biodigesters are sold in Australia. I know there is an American startup company that have just released a model, I do not know whether they plan to export it to Australia. If you are interested in making one yourself, plans are readily available on the internet. Best of luck!

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