There are a range of oilseed crops, such as sunflower, rape seeds, soy, palm and jatropha, which can be converted into biodiesel used on its own or blended with conventional diesel. A range of cellulosic materials, such as various waste products from crops (including grasses, trees and wood) can be broken down with enzymes and turned into bio-ethanol. Bio-ethanol can also be produced from a number of crops including sugarcane, sugar beet, barley, corn/maize, grain, and cotton. Using cellulosic biomass to produce ethanol would lessen the strain placed upon standard agricultural land needed for growing crops. Butanol is currently a potential second-generation bio-fuel produced by fermentation from a range of organic material, such as molasses left behind by sugar production or whey from cheese production. Butanol has several advantages over ethanol in terms of higher energy output and being easily blended with diesel. In the future we may see regional areas, and localized communities, adopting a bottom-up biofuels market that would serve to create energy-sufficient lifestyles. This can be achieved not only through a supply of recyclable waste but also through citizen-managed low-scale farming. Genuine biofuel schemes could be located within sustainable programs based within active communities and separate from corporate top-down energy suppliers. This would involve a move from mass production to distributed and localised schemes which would aid many communities. It is foreseeable that these, and more, energy innovations will begin to manifest through grass-roots pioneering and newly emerging citizen information networks. The corporate control and monopoly upon such natural resources, and primary human needs, will be rejected for local empowerment projects. Part of the civil revolution will occur when people, desperate in terms of supplying basic needs, will be forced to create these supplies for themselves. Then there will be no going back; no return to former dependencies.
Projects and schemes already underway around the world include gardening workshops for growing-your-own. Information made available for ‘self-farmers’ will encourage food production to be once again a prime aspect of family and civic life. There is currently a growth in the number of urban gardens and communal composting. Neighbourhoods are sourcing water supplies and introducing local permaculture schemes. Social networks are already established that seek to bring home-gardeners together to share tips, advice, and friendship. One such social network - Freedom Gardens – describes itself as ‘a food security movement person to person…A modern gardening era/movement for the 21st century resulting in efforts to become free of foreign oil, corporate controls, contamination and food miles while creating a sustainable future by promoting local food production’. Inspired innovators are currently developing new sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture that push towards forming a ‘post-industrial food system’ that is less resource intensive and more locally-based and managed. An array of such start-ups include BrightFarm Systems,SPIN-Farming, Virtually Green, Aquacopia, and NewSeed Advisors. Similarly, new networks are emerging of investors, donors, entrepreneurs, farmers, and activists who are committed to building local food systems and local economies.
In a similar manner the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) elders suggest a re-vitalizing of sustainable, locally-orientated cultures; they suggest the creation of 'liberation technologies'. By this they mean technologies that can be created and used by people in a specific locality to enhance self-sufficiency and respect for the natural world. Wind turbines, solar power, biomass plants, and organic agriculture are all examples of liberation technologies. Likewise, Dhyani, who puts forth Cherokee teachings, states that
This age ending has been a time when people have gathered information about building and about inventions to make life better. Now it's time for people to recognize that the inventions are a creation of mind, to put aside such inventions as cause harm, and to bring forth and further develop those activities that benefit all beings and the future generations.
Alternative technologies are arising that seek to bypass traditional dependencies as the civil movement grows in power and determination. There are now markets for rocket stoves, vegetable oil generators, solar fridges, cheap wind generators, and reusable water bottles used as solar lamps. Innovations are also turning shipping containers into virtually cost-free homes. Social information networks are advising people on how to make their own soap, toothpaste, clothes, and much more. Instead of re-cycling there is now a movement towards pre-cycling; that is, training people on how to exist not only on what they have but to transform their conception of necessity so that non-primary needs are taken out of the equation. Individuals and communities are learning how to live more on less. Part of this re-education is a perceptual paradigm (a ‘new mind for a new world’). For many of us, if we don’t choose to think and behave differently in the upcoming years, then we may be forced into change – and perhaps brutally.