Thinking ahead: second order impacts?

With the realization that there is still a lot of uncertainty (both with the trajectory of the virus and people’s behaviors towards it) I’m curious what types of second order impacts (or third/fourth order impacts, at this point) might be in store for us.

For example: if stay at home orders persist, or people’s choices leave them at home (voluntary telework, etc.) more this summer – presumably everyone will be running their A/C on hot days, rather than leaving it off while at work.  Would that increase the strain on the electrical grid as compared to “normal” conditions and thereby increase the odds of rolling brownouts, etc?

At this point its all speculative (maybe people will spend more time outside instead?) just thinking out loud.  Any other medium-term impacts on the horizon?  Doesn’t have to be doom and gloom (I’m eating better/healthier, saving money, and fairly happy with my at-home haircuts, would be glad to maintain some of these new habits!).


  • Comments (10)

    • 1

      hadn’t thought about people using more ac this summer. and not to run down the climate rabbit hole but it’s not like it’s going to be any cooler anywhere. so you have a good point. i think the results from texas and other states will be a sort of test to see if it was too early. i already saw a headline about a spike over there. so if it’s a real bad idea based on numbers, maybe more people will stay in? and then there’s your ac issue. hard to say

    • 2

      I don’t have data behind it, but it seems like the grid load from ACs might be down this summer, since larger work spaces tend to be massive and inefficient culprits for AC loads in normal times.

      Happy to see the average personal savings rate has gone up. US society sucks at saving, so hopefully that continues.

      I’m curious to see how undergraduate programs shake out after all of this. It was already on an unsustainable path (eg. crazy tuition growth over recent decades), and students/customers are already pushing back (even suing). Maybe it’ll be a catalyst for positive change in the higher education system.

      Another positive will be the growth in telemedicine, something that has needed to happen but faced headwinds due to older practitioners who didn’t want to transition to Electronic Medical Records, etc.

      • 3

        Even better re: post-secondary education would be the resurgence of and increased respect for tradecraft and (craft) manufacturing in the US. Our society has been enthralled by the false dichotomy of “four year degrees or else” and far too many people get pushed into the college debt accumulation machine with little to show for it. Humans, at our core, make, create, tinker and explore, and so many hands-on/builder folks don’t have viable career options in the current structure. Education is important, but college doesn’t necessarily equal education. The information economy and overseas manufacturing has gutted so many sectors, and I’d love to see a 2030 where significantly more students could pursue their innate talents rather than get hammered into ill-fitting undergraduate degrees. Sure, that’d throw a wrench in the financial industry’s debt packaging wizardry, but oh well. And I say all this as a career educator with two graduate degrees: we’ve been doing this all wrong for too long, and this crisis represents a long overdue opportunity to adjust.

    • 2

      I’ve thought about this, too. At this point, your guess is as good as mine but neither are as good as actual data. That said, I do understand where you’re coming from because, well, we want to prepare for the possibility. Unfortunately, I’m not a hard core data analyst, so this is beyond my personal scope. I do, however, know what I know and that is this:

      At the home base, I currently have a single, 100W solar panel and plan to add at least two more (and a few more batteries) to my array setup. If I have to, I’ll move my refrigerator/freezer to that circuit to keep food preserved. As for keeping myself cool, I currently have 4 solar sails that provide decent shade and usually resort to groundwater temperature baths during the height of summer. 😉

    • 3

      I’m preparing for a second wave that I think is inevitable. Every time I go to the grocery store I buy a pack of toilet paper, paper towels, and bottled water.

      I’m mostly just saving money like I never have before, and pulling out cash every time I go to the ATM.

      I’m also worried about a grid failure, but a lot of my prepping is double dip, so I’m not doing anything that I haven’t already done – except finally buy a water filter with some of my stimulus check.


      • 3

        I think this is a brilliant strategy. Little, almost imperceivable steps, still get you where you want to be -and without making it noticeable/obvious to the outside observer.

        I’ve been doing something similar. Every time I go to the store, I buy coffee -even if I don’t need it. Because, I’ll be damned if I’m going to subject my family to my caffeine withdrawal. LOL

        I’m with you on the grid failure and I think getting a water filter/purifier is a great investment with a potentially massive payout.

      • 3

        HA. I have a percolator and a coleman camp stove for exactly the same fear about coffee.

      • 2

        Yup. A love of camping and having the equipment already really helps! 😉

      • 2

        LOL. I actually don’t like camping at all and I literally bought the coleman stove and peroclator after having one too many power outages and needing coffee.

        Like I said- beginner prepper. haha.

      • 2

        We’ll make a camper out of you yet! LOL