A rural family of four plus an elderly mother are working out how to live with less energy. The children are 3 and 1. The father Doug owns a small farm but the mother Joan occasionally drives an hour and a half to the nearest town to give her specialist art lessons. She spends a lot on petrol her 1996 Nissan Pulsar which is often needing repairs.
With three adults and two children, the quota is 8 Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) a week each. Between them they will get 16 TEQs a week. They know next year it will be fewer, which gives them the opportunity to plan ahead. They have to surrender TEQs each time they buy petrol or diesel.
The farm is a business so Doug will probably buy TEQs from a broker at the going rate. Doug finds he has enough TEQs this year but plans to buy a draught horse next year to relieve his quota situation. Electric tractors are too dear. He plans to breed draught horses and is learning about this.
Joan is faced with options when she is offered more work in town. Driving an hour and half for a morning session for a few dollars is surely not going to be worth it. Does she buy more TEQs? She could, but no she really can’t afford to do that and it isn’t a long term option. She tells the class and her boss she is thinking of leaving. But the Polytech doesn’t know of anyone else who can teach her specialty. Everyone thinks.
If she stays home, she could either keep her TEQs and pool with others in a similar situation to set up an appropriate business for the little rural community or else she could sell her TEQs for cash on the market. She tries selling them this year but continues to plan. She knows that her friends are in much the same boat as their old cars aren’t exactly fuel efficient and none of them can afford an electric car. The friends get together and work out a business that would keep them in the rural area, use less petrol, and they would spend less time on the road. They reckon this new business would attract others to their area. Maybe it has something to do with her art, maybe horticulture or something else.
Do you see the trend? Not only do Joan’s students have to work out how they will learn that special art without Joan, but the whole family decides as a group how to adapt. Joan and her friends are another group that has to plan together. Rona the mother gets involved with the family decisions. Doug learns about what alternatives he has to his diesel-driven tractor. The knowledge spreads around the small community. Everyone gets involved. Everyone has to adapt. And small rural communities are going to thrive.