Rod Dreher of Crunchy Cons just posted a list of “24 things about to disappear in America.” Some of them I think he’s right about; others I completely disagree. Maybe I’m just biased. But I thought it was a fun idea, so here’s my twist on it: 10 things that will make a comeback in America.
1. Family farms. Dreher thinks these will disappear. He’s right that they’ve been disappearing. But they’ll come back–they have to. As oil continues to decline long term, local, sustainable farms will be an essential source of food.
2. Trains. Both light rail and intercity trains are going to be rebuilt in the next ten years. They’ll have to be. We’ll need them. We aren’t going to be able to get around in cars forever–for practical reasons as much as environmental ones.
3. Living in community and depending on your neighbors. In times of need, people start to recognize how much we need each other. They’ll also start to share housing–especially those big McMansions that have been so popular in the last few years. Which will be a great way to conserve resources and help the environment.
4. Gardening. Especially in the city and the suburbs. Empty lots will become useful.
5. Thrift stores. Secondhand goods are going to be really popular as the economy continues to struggle. I remember when I was in high school, everyone made fun of me for shopping at thrift stores. My daughter won’t have to deal with that (which is lucky for her, since I certainly won’t be buying her new clothes).
6. Buying in cash. My generation has been buying everything on credit, but that is going to end. With the collapse of so many banks recently, credit is becoming less and less available, and people are beginning to recognize that just because you can get credit for something doesn’t mean you should.
7. Staying close to your family and living close to home. Our society is going to become a lot less mobile. Maybe not right away, but eventually.
8. Local arts. As there’s less mobility, people will begin to seek out entertainment closer to home.
9. Stuff that lasts. We live in a throwaway society: phones and computers are actually designed to be replaced after a few months or years, and things like furniture and appliances are not expected to last more than a few years at most. But as the economy continues to contract, constantly replacing everything will be less and less realistic for most people. People will start looking for things that will last, things that can be repaired and kept not just for months or even years but for generations.
10. Bicycles. Fewer cars means more bicycles. Yay.
11. Yes, this is supposed to be a list of ten things, but here’s my bonus item of a new thing that’s going to be big in the future: freecycle. Don’t know what it is? Google it. You’ll be glad you did.