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How Are You Preparing to Survive?
Alex Steffen, 21 Feb 08

A reporter from a big news organization you've heard of is looking for some help with a story he's working on:

"With all the talk about possible serious environmental and/or economic crisis on the horizon, have you found yourself taking steps in the last couple of years to be prepared for a worst-case scenario? What specific things are you doing to prepare for the worst? Are you scouting for rural property to build a place to escape to? Going off the grid and learning to grow your own food? Stockpiling food or other essentials? Cashing out on stocks and buying gold or hard assets? Leaving aside post 9/11 fears of terrorism, for the moment, please let me know what other specific threat--natural disasters due to climate change, economic meltdown due to the credit crisis--has motivated you to take steps, and specifically, what those steps are. Thanks."

Though we hew close to the path of optimism here at Worldchanging, we also recognize that being prepared for disasters, thinking ahead about what to do in an emergency and paying attention to survivability are not signs that you've given up on making the world better. Taking reasonable steps merely indicates that you're planning to be around to see the bright green future when it gets here.

Personally, while I have a decent emergency kit and food cache, I draw the line at preparing for the downfall of society, mostly because I know that most so-called preparation for societal collapse is fantasy, but also partly because it makes me crazy (as in less happy, less smart and less useful) to constantly anticipate the apocalypse.

So, what do your survival plans entail? What threats are you preparing against, what are you doing to meet them... and why? And how do you keep from being crazy about it?

(If you're willing to be interviewed, please leave a contact email.)

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Comments

I'm willing to be interviewed. tbro@whitewolfmedia.net


Posted by: T. Brogan on 21 Feb 08

Not only is paying attention to survivability not a sign that you've given up on making the world better, its also an opportunity to increase your efficiency at it.

A mentor of mine used to help me make decisions by asking me: "are you running away from something, or to something?" (suggesting I do the decision which would pursue the latter). Its a useful theme when deciding how far to go or follow my ideas- and perhaps explains why I'm taking some actions (below) when I still have my stocks, and am not stockpiling, or hoarding treasure like a leprechaun.

I have made many changes to my life moving closer to family, gardening, fishing, thought out the implications of broken shipping lines, mass migration etc, I've downscaled, given up my car, I will ship building material for a future minihome this summer (because I think it will be more expensive as I wait) and will invest this summer in installing a wind turbine... but these are things I _like_ doing, so I'm doing them out of enjoyment- not out of fear.

I think when folks focus on the idea of impending material losses, and fear of social dischord, they lose sight of how daily life is actually experienced under hardship- that is, there's the potential for a lot of cooperation, frugality, cameraderie, humor, chutzpuh, learning, and a return to 'what really matters' (whatever one thinks that to be: family, caring, rewards from hard work, etc etc).

I prepare for surviving by following the things that deep down I know are most important to me (family, especially) and knowing that even if we were subjected to tremendous hardship, and were to all die miserable deaths- with them, it simply wouldn't be all bad anyway.

I also think of how fortunate I was, statistically speaking to have drawn this life out of all of the possible human lives lived on this earth- and if you are reading this (warm, well fed, at a computer)- face it, statistically you've won the life lottery. Why look at all we have to lose and freak ourselves out? I'm surrounding myself with the ones I love, and if I manage to go to the grave without a bunch of hardship between now and then, well, its just icing.


Posted by: fishprint on 21 Feb 08

an email for the pollyanna above is lychee353 at yahoo.


Posted by: fishprint on 21 Feb 08

I've always been of the opinion that if you're not preparing to survive it must not be very important to you. I'd be happy to chunter on about it of course, valid email filled in for this comment.

I'll plug one of the best survival-oriented sites ever: survivalblog.com It's blissfully thin on the standard 'survivalist' blather and there's much in the archives that's worth reading.


Posted by: Skorgu on 21 Feb 08

agreed with skorgu & fishprint - survival is different from 'survivalist,' and may be beneficial. Knowing your landscape - how to grow food, how to store it, what plants are edible, how far can you travel sans car, and so on - not only may help you survive, but connects you with your place, and provides a sliver of independence from industrial systems. Always worthwhile (as are relatives in rural locations! :) Willing to be interviewed...


Posted by: justus on 21 Feb 08

Community. I don't survive if we don't survive.


Posted by: David Foley on 21 Feb 08

While no "survivalist", I enjoy finding new ways to live that are more practical, efficient and healthy, and use less fossil fuels. My job includes research in the climate and peak oil challenges so it's always in the back of my mind. I find myself approaching it as a "game" of sorts. Sure, I'm willing to be interviewed
joycej@wsu.edu


Posted by: joyce jimerson on 21 Feb 08

I'm building community where I am. I do favors, take favors, and take the bus. I've learned a lot from what Thomas Homer-Dixon had to say about resilience in The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, & Renewal.


Posted by: Aikos on 21 Feb 08

While I don't feel under threat, I am finding the better path for me is to lessen & lighten my load, and generally move into a more nomadic, less sedentary state of mind.

Battening down the hatches, going off to the woods, or learning to grow all my own food isn't so interesting to me. I'd rather explore how I can live more flexibly, less constrained, and less dependent on energy sources and the usual house/car combo.

Email me if you want: johnl at johnlabovitz.com.


Posted by: John Labovitz on 21 Feb 08

You could go back and read about 20 years of Whole Earth Review :-) or buy _The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook_ by Bates. Build/modify the best housing possible, but keep it in community since there is no other way to survive. Teach. Figure out what kind of useful things you can do in this new world.
http://online.mcad.edu
c.mcnamara@ieee.org

Curt


Posted by: Curt McNamara on 22 Feb 08

I've been meaning to pick up the book "Worst Case Scenarios" by Cass R. Sunstein.

I gather that it takes a very different view from those worriers focused on a single risk. That's interesting in itself, that the "risk community" has a very different world view from say "peak oilers."

I think the book takes the IMO sensible view that fuzzy risks are properly addressed with "insurance" programs ... simple inexpensive steps that mitigate a low-priority event should it come.

Of course, we can re-adjust along the way if what had seemed low priority suddenly looms with more obvious presence ... but I think the worriers, the pessimists, the doomers, are starting way too soon. They are freaking about things that are way out there, still over the horizon.


Posted by: odograph on 22 Feb 08

We're having an annual family disaster preparedness day and try to make it fun: from teaching the kids to get out of their bedroom through the windows (always a hit) to sounding off the fire alarm, to unpacking last year's emergency box and having a picnic with the emergency food.

Some other interesting thoughts from a business preparedness perspective from Katrina survivor and Intralox business executive Stuart Smolkin there: http://sic.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3227.html


Posted by: Bernadette Clavier on 22 Feb 08

We're having an annual family disaster preparedness day and try to make it fun: from teaching the kids to get out of their bedroom through the windows (always a hit) to sounding off the fire alarm, to unpacking last year's emergency box and having a picnic with the emergency food.

Some other interesting thoughts from a business preparedness perspective from Katrina survivor and Intralox business executive Stuart Smolkin there: http://sic.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3227.html


Posted by: Bernadette Clavier on 22 Feb 08

The present system looks in big trouble - and we are already experiencing big impacts from climate change here (vast dying forests due to insects from warming winters, big unusual storms, rivers drying up early, etc)

My wife and I bought a large lot in a small village (780 people). It is in an agricultural area, with a pleasant climate, that may only get better (in S. Canada).

Our bi city is projected to have a million more people in 15 years. It is totally dependent on shipped in everything, with 3 days supplies, at best, in the supermarkets.

We intend to can and bottle our own food, at harvest time when it's cheap, use wood heat, solar energy (not depending on the ever-more expensive grid). Everything is within walking distance.

Now - if we can just save enough financially to build a solid home there! Who knows, as the big banks thrash around in insolvency. Meanwhile, just the land and the dream help keep us going.

Alex.


Posted by: Alex Smith on 22 Feb 08

Very little-because there's very little that I can do within the constraints of the people around me. I have pig-ignorant, controlling relatives who will steadfastly refuse to listen to me because I am under 40 and an atheist, little in the way of job prospects despite my own best efforts, and a community that largely ignores me because I am not white and among other people of my own ethnicity, belong to a generation that they have apparently decided is cheaper to completely write off rather than deal with in any honest or rational manner.


Posted by: Left Behind on 22 Feb 08

My best friend and I always called it training for the post-apocalyptic future (or, more familiarly, PAF training). Mostly it was doing sprint workouts and drinking beer, but sometimes it was long hikes without appropriate training, preparation, or clothing.


Posted by: Alexis Madrigal on 22 Feb 08

Solar IS Civil Defense - your emergency flashlight, radio, and extra set of batteries should be solar and dynamo powered. That means you have access to low voltage DC power as long as the sun shines, you can turn the dynamo, and the batteries hold a charge. Preparedness can speed the transition to renewables and an ecological society, if we do it intelligently.


Posted by: gmoke on 22 Feb 08

Survival preparedness, I really get a kick out of people who plan to take to the woods or mountains. I have spent a good part of my life living in remote areas, because of my job. I live in places that are covered in snow ten to twenty feet deep in the northern Rockies in the winter and I have lived in the blistering heat of the southwestern deserts in the summers. But I have always had steady supplies of food, water, what ever I needed, provided by mule trains or helicopters depending on where the work was. One mule can only carry about 200 pounds of supplies, so you can do the math. Start weighing water, see how much one mule can carry or anything else you will need not want, need. Food is also heavy as is beer. Don’t worry about the mules they can find food and water, and you can eat them too and you will. Hard liquor is best it is lighter and gives more bang for the buck and you will need it after about a week in the back country. A strong man can maybe manage 100 pounds of gear and supplies, so depending on where you go you better plan on how to get water because you won’t be able to carry enough by mule or man for a long stay. I would predict that the inexperienced person would last maybe a month or less, most people who ventured from the cities will be dead by the end of the first winter or summer depending on where you are. The devastation to the woods or wilderness will be on a catastrophic scale if we all head out to the boonies. Everyone will be cutting anything that burns just to stay warm and alive, imagine millions of people in the forest. Wild life will become extinct by the end of the first winter, with everyone hunting for food, so you better like rats, mice, and bugs because that’s what’s for dinner after the first year. Water is hard to find and those who do find it will keep it at the cost of your life. You better know how to purify water too, or your dead, dysentery and other bacteria borne diseases will kill tens of thousands the first month. This isn’t your week long backpacking trip. Dehydration kills and it kills without mercy. As for berries and roots and bark, they are seasonal and you will have to spend a long collecting enough to survive a winter, but remember your competitors are collecting too. So then if there are any bears or other big predators left out in the woods you will be on their menu, because people will have eaten all their foods sources. And I think large predators will do well with so many tasty slow humans as a staple in their diet. Remember this, a Grizzly Bear can run down an elk or a horse so you have little chance to escape and they do eat people sometimes even now. Back to all those camp fires everyone will be burning to cook and stay warm. Wild Fire will be a major threat during the dry season and they will surely happen, what will you do when the million acres you are in the middle of is burning with no rescue. Then there is the medical issues, how much training do you have because if you or people with you get sick or injured you better know what to do and how to take care of them, because again, No Rescue, No Doctor. A broken leg, ankle or even a severe sprain can kill you. I remember a rescue where the nearest helicopter was an hour flight away. A hiker was suffering from heat stroke one August; he went into convulsions and heart failure. It took eight of us to keep him alive, with solid emergency medical training and equipment until the medi-vac helicopter arrived. We were fortunate because they had a place to land close by and we did not have to carry the 200 pound man far while doing CPR. Yes he lived, but just think about the journey by foot, the nearest help, the nearest hospital was over a hundred and fifty miles away over mountains and through dense forests. Yes most of you would die sooner that later out in the wild. I like to joke about keeping a list of vegetarians, free range vegetarians; they are” what’s for dinner” year two. So all of you better start thinking about how we can make the system better, make it work, build sustainable communities and develop regional farms for food production. Because, it is really the only hope our species has if we are to survive. Learn to grow food where you are, learn to make your own energy and learn to help your neighbor you need him or her. Going it alone in the wilderness is a fantasy for most people. Yes some of you could do it, but really most of you couldn’t. And if we all tried it would spell failure for the whole system. We need to slow down and prepare our selves with knowledge and we need to work together, remember it takes a village to survive on a long term scale. Think I am full of crap, well you better hope you don’t run into me or someone like me in year two out in the boonies after all the animals have been hunted out and the woods are bare of their fruits. Because I know how to survive and your what’s for dinner. I always laugh about Survivor the TV show, cause if it were for real I‘d be the only guy who gained weight on the desert Island. In the end survival is brutal. So stay in town and find solutions where it can work. Many old ways can be re-invented to work where you are now and they can work better and sustain your community, hell try walking, it will help you prepare for the wilderness. And for God's Sake get some wool socks!


Posted by: David E on 22 Feb 08

On a journey discovering a path that allows my sociopolitical enviro views within the frame work of my yoga teachings into a kind of eco-spiritual fusion.


Posted by: L summers on 23 Feb 08

@David E: I've always thought people didn't really realized how scarce berrys and wild foods are.

So i have to agree with you upon "running in the forest won't help".

Conserving old jobs like black-smith, tailor, chemist (ie medicine seller) and all the jobs that were of common in the 1800's would really help.
Because in that time they didn't had that much dino-juice to power everything.
Horses were of great help too. But it will be difficult to keep them alive in time of starvation.

America is not the best place to imagine what it was in the 1800's because you didn't had that much of an history by the time.
Europe has much more to remember, we still have walkable center towns, most people's family is often 40 km or so from where they live, we produce a lot of food.

If you want an idea of what it will look like when gasoline wil be 4 or 5$ /USgal, take a tour of Europe, it is roughly 8$/USgal already and ... we're still alive :-D
We travel less, use trains instead and of planes etc ...


Posted by: litteuldav on 24 Feb 08

Exactly, the redevelopment of sustainable crafts and regional agriculture are the only real solutions. In America we are still developing on the 1960 model of suburban expansion, making it very difficult if not impossible to get rid of the automobile. We have built our infrastructure in such a way that we cannot walk to where we want and need to go and make public transportation economically feasible. In fact most of the food we eat is transported hundreds and thousands of miles from the source. Our homes are extremely energy dependent. And the solutions of alternative energy or energy self sufficiency are based on our current model of intensive energy use. In fact most people live 20 miles from where they work and they do not have public transportation unless they live in cities. Our rail system is in terrible shape. Shipping by rail could save millions of gallons of fuel each year, instead of shipping by truck. We need to learn to work closer to where we live and we need to develop sustainable public transportation where it will work now and later re-develop the suburbs to better accommodate future needs. We need to also find people who want to be farmers and train them. They we need to grant then land to grow food on in out communities and then process our foods where we live. In America we may also have to abandon unsustainable cities like our cities in the southwest and other regions where we do not have sufficient water. Also we need to shift agriculture back to areas that have sustainable water to grow food, not grass on golf courses. We also must engage in wide spread technology redesign and power down our major appliances, like refrigerators, water and home heating systems. And we need to discontinue our throw away addictions and re-develop reusable containers for products like dairy and other drinks and anything else. That means the dairy will have to be closer and that means a sustainable job for many people. A return to a more agricultural base close to cites will be mandatory for sustainability. We all have to eat and drink. It will mean that global markets will have to be scaled back or the collapse of the system will surely happen with devastating results. That does not mean there will not be a global market what that means is functional necessity’s will have to be produced where they are needed. Bread will be baked where you live, not in a city five hundred miles away and trucked too you, so if you want to be a baker you will have a job. The wilderness should be spared and kept as it is, it is already limited and may even today be unsustainable if we do not stop wasting resources and land. Much of the best agricultural, sustainable land is now covered with subdivisions and will have to be re-developed to meet future agriculture needs. The home garden or city garden will be an important part of a sustainable personal food supply. As will food storage drying and canning, not freezing or frozen foods. It takes too much energy to freeze and store frozen food. And the risk of loss is very high if power should become unsustainable to keep the freezers running. Out diets will have to change. Fresh foods may be seasonal only. Of course we can develop sustainable green house technology even in the coldest climates. The grid has to be redesigned to a system that is based on local power generation, that will run sustainable appliances. If the region in which manufacturing and commerce is smaller in area vehicles that use alternative power like electric cars can be practical. Yes Blacksmiths, wood workers, potters, weavers can all find work in a new market. But that will require training and re-thinking old systems that will work today. But what a wonderful place to live, communities of artisans and farmers. Just think if our music were local as was our theater and other arts. If we slow down and enjoy the gifts our society has to offer life will improve and we will be happier in the end. We will not have to fight rush hour to get to our jobs that stress us out and offer little satisfaction. We will be able to realize the fruits of our labor because they will be the table our food in eaten on, food that we produce, drink we produce drank from cups out neighbor made for us with us in mind. It could be a mindful existence instead of a mindless one.


Posted by: David E on 24 Feb 08

Despite David E's return-key phobia :-0, I have to agree with him that it's all about supporting your locality in a variety of ways. To answer the reporter's question, my wife and i recently chose our area and first home for reasons that included the possibility of let's say a "downward spiral" of life as we know it. I think that spiral, if it occurs, ends at a stable return to a local economy for most things, but that it might be painful for a while. So we planned for that by choosing our location carefully.

We bought a house in a semi-rural agriculturally diverse area, near a community of friends, with a south slope for a garden, and local access to wood for the wood stove. plus lots of great DIY types around to learn from. Even though we could drive not far to the global supermarkets, we buy as much as possibly as locally as possible, and are becoming involved in our town.

Thing is we realized this is the world we want anyway, this future "local" world. We just want it to evolve slowly. So no harm in planning for the best and worst at the same time. I can be interviewed at wch@jeffreyrusch.com


Posted by: Jeffrey Rusch on 24 Feb 08

I'm with you, Alex. Survivalist rhetoric tends to be escapist, as well as motivated by a self-serving impulse to watch out for one's own behind (with the exception of one's family). It's so much easier to stockpile for the eco-collapse than to figure out how to prevent it. Given that, it's somewhat ironic that when disasters occur, they tend bring out people's altruism.


Posted by: jennb on 25 Feb 08

I think communities and their local governments should be looking ahead intelligently at how things might change and how they - in their particular location - might be affected. Open local reasonable discussion, not infected by panic or pessimism, and plan for adaptation.

They call this "building resilience" and I'm all for it. The Web is a good platform for this kind of information exchange, and networking different communities facing similar challenges is another dimension of smart planning.


Posted by: Cliff Figallo on 26 Feb 08

Transition Whidbey is working on an island wide "adaptation"/resilience effort. This work is taking the conversation out of prediction and into working through the real issues of how to create lasting change in real communities that actually have sufficient capacity to make a decent life. I call it a "Plan A/Plan B" strategy. Plan A is that changes come slowly enough for natural adaptation/life goes on much to all our amazement. Plan B is that big shocks require major adaptation for local communities to survive. Since we don't know the future, changes we work for need to work in both Plans A and B. They make a better life - healthier, more convivial, gentler, saner - and they also are the foundation for survival should fractures in global or regional systems widen. I am willing to be interviewed.


Posted by: vicki on 26 Feb 08

The combined threats Jared Diamond discusses in "Collapse" and podcast to SCIAM sometimes tempt me to think about a "go bag" or food stockpile — but to cut a long story short, I found campaigning about peak oil more personally satisfying. The imminence of not just peak oil, but "peak exports" is the real threat. Google "Export land model" to understand just how quickly an oil exporting nation can become an oil importing nation because of a rise in domestic consumption. The UK did it in just 9 years after their oil production reached peak daily capacity! 9 years, and they were importers! The world "market" for oil could dry up in 9 years if the "Export land model" is correct, and then it'll be each nation to it's own domestic capacity, and dang the consequences. They'll just have to.

How do I personally cope with this stuff? As one commenter above put it, "We all survive, or no one survives". In other words, a lone bunker in the bush is a fantasy. As David Brin's "The Postman" points out, the most dangerous thing to a highly armed survivalist is... another highly armed survivalist, so they pick each other off first. Only communities and the truly psychopathic road-warriors survive.

So whether or not I am deluding myself as to my chances, I've taken the road of trying to inform Sydney politicians to gradually turn Sydney Australia around. And if it does go "Mad Max", then at least I tried. But going down with friends and family seems better than being holed up alone in the bush, up all night like a paranoid crazy flinching at every cracked twig because the "Road-warriors" are coming to eat me.


Posted by: Dave Lankshear on 27 Feb 08

Engage the essential. There have always been and will always be doomsayers and doom dayers...Hey! Truly we have this moment right here right now, beyond that...grow a garden. And yes, save the earth-one vote, one soul, one obstacle at a time...but truly, we would be crazy if we interpreted the mass hysteria as the end of all.(Many interpreters are willing to translate it for you-join this, join that, co-op, become a member, we accept credit cards, etc. If you don't use that mushy gray stuff between your ears...think for yourself, well- that could be the end as we know it, welcome to zombie land.) C'mon...we're just at the beginning. This blog is case in point, the level of consciousness is elevated-the atmosphere is no longer encased in the bubble of "it's all about me." We're all finally connecting, well...maybe not all, but still!! Seems to me that folks are a bit more open to one another, more accepting. Seems to me, solutions are being discussed more than "Hey! You did that wrong and screwed us all for eternity!" I'm no academic and I don't watch TV, probably a Pollyanna too-I just know this one sure thing. You may quote me. "Pissin and moaning, bitchin' and groanin' is like sitting in a rocking chair expecting to take a trip...you ain't going no where." Most folks just sit...in rocking chairs- but oh so many now, young and old- aren't rocking to and fro anymore...they're actually tripping. Yep. Good to see, hear and hope. Take care-


Posted by: terry on 27 Feb 08

I am willing to be interviewed.

Living in New Orleans, this issue has come to bear on a number of different levels. My awareness of how susceptible our society is has led me to make significant life decisions. My experience with disaster itself has led me come to terms with material preparation, as well as the need to acquire certain skill sets. On a different level, my everday life is confronted with the deterioration of our society. My experience is likely similar to those in the american urban centers after deindustrialization, or perhaps just the developing world, but it nonetheless jarring and increasingly problematic. Adequate health care is not something I can depend on, even if I have the finances for it. Nor can I rely on the police for personal safety. I have resigned myself to the fact that I live in poisonous environment, with earth laden with arsenic and petrochemical, severe water pollution and bad air quality. Interactions with my neighbors is inconsistent. I have had to come to terms that those fellow citizens I depend on in my daily routines likely have a degree of post traumatic stress, especially if they are young. Many also have been exposed to dangerous levels of fromaldyhide. On the macrolevel, my actions are typical. I ride a bike most places, or walk. I try and eat locally, to cook for myself. I rarely go anywhere requiring air travel. Day to day, life can not been lived on a survival regiment, so I do not have one. I just know that this is my home and I do my best to make it better when I can. Gain skills that will makes me useful when it all comes down; medical training, carpentry, construction, digital mapping. Beyond that, just forget about it and try to enjoy the beauty of it all as it is.


Posted by: alan williams on 27 Feb 08

This reporter should talk to my mom. Seriously.

In 2003, Mom moved to rural Missouri to homestead a 154-acre farm all by herself. She was 48 at the time, and she had devoted herself to the principles of permaculture and organic gardening for as long as I've known her (25+ years). She bought the acreage plus a decent-sized house for the same price as a two-bedroom condo in Chicago.

Today she has two cows, some chickens, a small flock of sheep, a handful of border collies (to control the sheep), four horses (transportation), two artesian springs and a pure-water well. She's met dozens like her in this small Missouri town, and I sincerely hope I can call on her and her resources in the event of a societal breakdown. The only problem would be making the trek from Chicago to Missouri...

Email me: patrick [at] yochicago [dot] com and I'll put ya in touch with her.


Posted by: Patrick on 27 Feb 08

I have a job and a 401(k). You guys has lost grip with reality.


Posted by: Bill on 28 Feb 08

This is "Mom", referred to above. I am doing what my son said, and having a great time doing it, living more in tune with nature. But, the important things are educating other people about how to be more self sufficient, as with out Organic Gardening Club, planning food security, building community, encouraging others, like my niece and nephews and other city kids, to bond more with the earth, and so make better choices in the future. These choices would be better use of water, better food buying choices or growing some of their own... just thinking about effects on the environment before they make decisions.

Feel free to email....


Posted by: Lisa Rollens on 28 Feb 08

Hi Mom, good for you, yes I think you are on the right track. I can see cities where urban landscapes can become urban gardens. Just think if cities began setting aside land for urban farmers to grow sustainable organic, heirloom foods. Oh how I wish I had learned more from my grandfathers who were both very successful small scale farmers. They produced most of their food and traded honey and other foods for the things they could not grow themselves or make them selves. When I was a boy I used to rob the bees for their honey with my grandfather and then while working in the honey house my grandmother would come with fresh baked biscuits, boy I miss that.

I don't know what the return key phobia means?

davideuabnk@bresnan.net it is OK to write me


Posted by: David E on 29 Feb 08

For me gardening, tinkering, building and canning that sort of thing are all things I enjoy. Good food is food grown by humans close to me. I live in NYC now and fantasize a lot about my little place where I grow my own. But I also enjoy watching NYC think and plan around sustainability. I think crisis or not the changes will be made. As we enter the crunch - innovation becomes much more profitable than staying the course to destruction...In my view we live in the most interesting time ever. It is maybe a very important metaphysical task - to keep the focus on what we want rather than what we don't want to see happen. Worldchangers seem to do that by disposition. But the best seem to be hard core practicalists in this regard too. We don't seem to have much time for fretting! Keeping head and heart open seems is everyone's main task!

I have a hard time conveying to most folks who seem to see evironmentalists as the doom and gloom crowd...that we are really at an unprecedented moment of potential as well...


Posted by: Cityzenjane on 1 Mar 08

Also - when I started seeing all this coming, along with getting old - I decided to learn an instrument! I now pla traditional irish music in NYC - occasionally with legendary players! But my thinking was that this future does not need to be all that dystopic. There will be music, there will be good food - maybe storytelling and poetry will have a renaissance. The houses will smell of fresh baked bread. And maybe the children will start playing games with the grownups more!

Maybe the things around us are not contributing as much to our general happiness as we imagine?


Posted by: Cityzenjane on 1 Mar 08

When my grandparents moved to the city, Akron Ohio, every night was story night. The neighbors all came and joined them on the porch and talked way into the night, until bedtime. We kids all hung out and listened and talked too, no round the clock TV. Then there were the nights when we had music. On the farm picking or playing music was what you did. That tradition was continued and when the fiddles, mandolins and guitars came out it was a night to remember. Now I live in Montana and work in the wilderness. We go out in crews and some people bring their instruments. I have thought about getting a mandolin and learning to play. Now maybe I will do just that. Yes food you grow yourself is just better. I love to pick my strawberries that I grow in my yard as ground cover for my breakfast. I have the ever bearing type that grows all spring, summer and into the late fall. We grow all of our herbs and grapes too, all as ground cover instead of grass and ornamentals. We grow indigenous plants and vegetables also. All of this on a small lot, in a small town. Some people may think that water is abundant in Montana, but it is not. So conservation is important. I also envision a day when golf courses are plowed under and become community farms. The waste of fresh water in the west for the sake of golf is tremendous. In some communities the golf courses use more water than the population. I think we all need to be aware of our regional resources and I hope we begin to transfer the lost knowledge of canning and drying along with real cooking and baking skills. I really believe that small businesses, entrepreneurs, which start small farms, craft goods and anything practical that a town might, need, will be successful in the future. The individual is the only defense against globalization and corporate domination. This in itself is a doomsday scenario. The volume of global consumption is almost un-imaginable today. The volume of waste is too. I worked with a kid who had been working in Africa for two years. He said; if you want to learn how to recycle just go to Africa. Dump a truck load of trash on the ground and then watch what happens. Follow the people who pick it up and watch what they invent out of it, how they use it, there is no trash, nothing wasted in Africa he said.


Posted by: David E on 1 Mar 08

First of all, get clear on this: Ain't none of us, neither we nor our children nor our children's children are going to survive the "long emergency" that even now is revealing its leading edges. Even if we and they are fortunate enough to die of old age and natural causes, the multifaceted collapse that is now underway will manifest itself over decades and centuries. Getting used to the idea of deep time and certain mortality is a good first step. Add to that the certainty that civilization's collapse will play out differently and unpredictably at different places and different times. It is fair to say that places like Somalia and Dafur, to name but two obvious examples, are already experiencing the strife and suffering to be played out in greater or lesser degree, sooner or later, all across the globe. I am preparing by getting my mind wrapped around the distinct possibility of a world class worst case scenario. I keep my household prepared for short term emergencies such as a Katrina or earthquake. As far as the long term, I am doing my best to keep light, liquid and informed. The most crucial ingredient in general preparation is an ongoing dialog with others like minded. Freak out now and get over it, there will be a real need for cool, capable heads later on.


Posted by: LLPete on 2 Mar 08

Being a suburban survivalist located in suburbia ~45 miles from a major city, I am a big advocate of stocking up on critical supplies, tools, and building skills. My stockpile includes ~2000+ lbs of grains and long-storage life freeze dried foods (12 to 18 months supply for family of 4 with two small kids), 18,000 rounds of various caliber rifle, pistol, shotgun, and 22LR ammunition, investments in solar panels and generators, storage of 1 year worth of cooking fuel and kerosene for lamps, radiation monitors, machine tools, etc. I have part of my capital in silver in my physical possession and our investment accounts are heavily weighted towards energy, commodities, agriculture, foreign currency, and short (financials and commercial real estate) funds. Perhaps almost as important, I am mentally prepared for a wide variety of scenarios, including fuel shortages, economic depression, nuclear war, 1918 style flu pandemics, and societal collapse, and invest my time in building useful skills - ranging from firearms and FEMA training at one extreme to learning how to be more self sufficient. This country has lacked leadership for way too many years (40-50+). Ultimately, we will need people like myself to provide leadership when hard times come.

P.S. Survival Blog http://www.survivalblog.com is a good resource for tips on how to prepare (and how not to prepare).


Posted by: Suburban Survivalist on 2 Mar 08

What I am doing to get ready for problems, is trying to do container gardening, also I have bought 7 solar panels (slowly), made plans for rainburrow. Since I am disable I do not expect to live long into down turn as I am very depending on SS and medicade.
I have started to bake more with the news about wheat and those prices. I do have some emergency food for short lived problems. And I am still trying to add where I can as long as I can before A large downward slide starts.

All one can do is what they can. I wish all of you well in doing that. As for interview I have said all I can say on subject your welcome to what I have posted.


Posted by: Gwyn Charlton on 2 Mar 08

What I am doing to get ready for problems, is trying to do container gardening, also I have bought 7 solar panels (slowly), made plans for rainburrow. Since I am disable I do not expect to live long into down turn as I am very depending on SS and medicade.
I have started to bake more with the news about wheat and those prices. I do have some emergency food for short lived problems. And I am still trying to add where I can as long as I can before A large downward slide starts.

All one can do is what they can. I wish all of you well in doing that. As for interview I have said all I can say on subject your welcome to what I have posted.


Posted by: Gwyn Charlton on 2 Mar 08

Please do interview me.
My preparations for the coming collapse actually began when I was a little kid and I realized that at some point "we" would run out of stuff. That was 45 years ago. A big part of my preparation has been a lifetime of formal & informal study & teaching of science.
J.


Posted by: Jeremiah Johnson's cousin on 2 Mar 08

Please do interview me.
My preparations for the coming collapse actually began when I was a little kid and I realized that at some point "we" would run out of stuff. That was 45 years ago. A big part of my preparation has been a lifetime of formal & informal study & teaching of science.
J.
email the-windchaser@hotmail.com


Posted by: Jeremiah Johnson's cousin on 2 Mar 08

Please do interview me.
My preparations for the coming collapse actually began when I was a little kid and I realized that at some point "we" would run out of stuff. That was 45 years ago. A big part of my preparation has been a lifetime of formal & informal study & teaching of science.
J.
email the-windchaser@hotmail.com


Posted by: Jeremiah Johnson's cousin on 2 Mar 08

I've never seen the sense of some enormous stockpile of stuff, and a bunch of guns. If you have guns and stuff someone with more guns will come and take your stuff.

What's more important is the ability to make stuff - skills in growing, repairing, and so on. And with that goes people, even if you're out in the sticks sitting on your ammo crates and tins of spam, you need someone to sit watch while you sleep ;)

Seriously, though, the skills are key, I think.

What am I doing to prepare? Well, I think certain changes are inevitable. It's inevitable that fuel will become more scarce, and food more expensive, and economies slow or decline. So we'll have to change how we live. We can change now by choice or later when we're forced to; it seems prudent to change now by choice. And so I strive to live a low-impact life, aiming at achieving a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions (compared to a Western average of around 12t). This lifestyle also builds skills, physical health and fitness, and reduces spending in a lot of areas.

If things turn out something like I expect, I'll be well-prepared. If they turn out much the same as things are today, I'm still better off because I'm physically healthier and have saved lots of money.


Posted by: Kiashu on 2 Mar 08

To give you a bit of background, for 12 yrs I have run a marine engineering company in Hong Kong - in fact, my principal contracts are with the HKSAR to provide and maintain their "shark prevention nets" that exclude predators from all the supervised swimming beaches. Because of my job, and because I have been here for nearly 18yrs, I have been able to witness the dramatic and scary changes in in our local and regional environment over this period of time.

I have a small group of close friends who have shared my passion for exploring all literature on climate change and looming energy shortages for many years. The tone and tenor of our conversations have become increasingly gloomy - 10-12yrs ago, climate change was something that was viewed as starting to have noticeable impact within 30 - 40yrs. Given the huge amount of research in the last six years or so, our understanding of the mechanisms and feedback process has exploded and as a result the time-line has shortened dramatically.

My closest friends and I have given up on any wide-scale adoption of low carbon industry or lifestyles - the political will-power is lacking and the dynamics of our economic system have far too much inertia. As a result, our vision has narrowed down to trying to preserve our families and immediate relatives, in so far as is possible.

The scale and depth of the impact of climate change (combined with the effects of peak oil and enhanced extraction of coal) make it very difficult to "get your head around". I carefully researched Chile, Canada (where I have already lived for 2yrs) Australia and New Zealand. I have been to Brasil to have a look around (I speak Spanish and Portuguese) and with my friends we have made several trips to Australia.

There are many factors we considered; traditions of civil society, common-law systems, human/natural resources, distance from potential migration flows/population density (which put Europe off the list for me), top-soil and agriculture, power sources/mix - etc; the list was extensive...

In the end, and for different reasons we all opted for different "safe-havens". Because I have an Aussie passport NZ was easy for me to access (and top of my list in many other areas). My best friend John Newson (who had a write-up a few months ago in the "Financial Times") opted for Slovenia. Another friend has bought in the high Basque country, Spain.

Everywhere I go, I bring up the topic of climate change - with guides, taxi-drivers, hoteliers etc... I have just returned from 3 weeks in Sabah, Borneo. Whenever I raised the topic, I was startled by the immediate response (I am used to being regarded as a nutter) - all immediately replied in the positive; can't tell when the rains come anymore, temps rising - can't grow same crops near Mt. Kinabalu etc.. My wife, who has been a sceptic, and is tired of my mono-mania - was confounded.

To cover over a decade of research, amounting to several hours a day, in a few lines is impossible. I conclude that the time-line for serious impact in terms of food supply and catastrophic ice-loss in both Greenland and WAIS is far shorter than commonly predicted. Both Aus and NZ have lengthened the residence requirements for citizenship recently from 3 to 5yrs. There have been a number of interesting articles in the NZ papers discussing the potential for "aggressive migration", with no policy responses suggested - the topic is sensitive, and I am sure that nobody would like to answer fundamental questions like that prematurely. It's a nightmare.

In short, I am positive that young well-read professional couples - particularly those with kids (I have three) - are already moving towards safer-havens. Looking at my circle of friends - lawyers, engineers and writers - a good percentage are considering their options. Some have bought already, and a few - like John Newson - have moved already. I am sure we are just the start of what will be quite a movement, of both people and capital. It is quite a wrenching thing, when you are well established in your life, to up-sticks and move on. I have placed seven properties on the market and a similar number of boats. I will move to NZ, a small economy where I am under no illusion that I will have a red carpet rolled out for us - all the best jobs and contracts, naturally, will go to freinds and relatives in a country of only 4 million. However, I think we will witness some terrible things happen within the next 10yrs - which will be only the start of what is to come - so I think that now is the time to move, which allow us time to establish ourselves in a new environment and make myself, I hope, a useful and valued neighbour. I hope more than anything, to be wrong in my dystopian vision of the future.


Posted by: Anthony Havens on 2 Mar 08

The question of how to prepare for a major environmental or economic crisis is something I have been thinking about a fair amount in recent months. It is hard not to when my current work with the youth climate movement involves thinking about global warming on a daily basis! My current approach to the issue is significantly influenced by a writing by the Venerable Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. He specifically addresses the issue of how to prepare for the worst without driving ourselves crazy in an informal letter he sent to his friends and community October 12, 2007.

I have copied below relevant excerpts. You can see the full letter at http://deerparkmonastery.org/news/TNH_Letter_October_2007.pdf

Please note that Thich Nhat Hanh is referred to as Thầy (meaning Teacher in Vietnamese) by his followers and friends.

Letter from Thầy

Blue Cliff Monastery. October 12, 2007

“On October 2nd 2007, at the University of San Diego, Thầy talked about the worry, fear, and despair

in relationship to the danger of global warming. The number of people becoming ill due to worry,

fear, and despair is increasing each day. They realize that if humans continue to live in ambition,

hatred, and ignorance, then the earth and all species will not have an opportunity to escape from this

danger. This realization and fear may overwhelm and paralyze many people, and there will be those

of us who die from mental illness, before the danger of global warming take place fully. In the

Dharma talk, Thầy offered the practice taught by the Buddha: to acknowledge and accept the truth

and not run away from it.

The Buddha has taught us to practice looking directly into the seeds of fear in us, instead of trying to

cover them up or running away from them. This is the practice of the five rememberances. 1) I will

have to grow old. 2) I will have to get sick. 3) I will have to die. 4) One day I will have to lose the

things I cherish today, and the people I love today. 5) When my body disintegrates, I cannot bring

anything with me except my actions of body, speech and mind - they are the only inheritance that I

can bring with me. When we can practice accepting these truths in this way, we will have peace, and

we will have the capacity to live healthy and compassionately - no longer causing suffering to

ourselves and to others. When people with cancer or AIDS are first diagnosed and told that they only

have 3 months or half a year to live, they often react with anger, denial, and despair in the beginning.

They cannot accept it. However, once they can accept the truth, they begin to have peace. When

they have peace, they will have the opportunity to practice living “deeply” every moment of their

daily lives. As a result, they have the chance to live longer, even 15 years more. We have the

example of sister Dam Nguyen from Hanoi. She came to Plum Village one year with the intention to

live with Thầy and the Sangha for a few months, then she would return to Hanoi to die. The doctor

told her that she could only live 3-4 more months. When she arrived at Plum Village, sisters

suggested that went to she see a doctor, but she refused to. She did not feel the need to see a doctor.

She accepted her death, and she lived wholeheartedly every moment she had with the Sangha during

those three months. When her visa was about to expire, she bade farewell to the Sangha. An older

sister suggested she see a doctor “just to see” what had happened to her cancer. Sister Dam Nguyen

agreed, in order to please that sister. The doctor informed her that all the metastatic sites in her body

had receded to one place, and that she was doing very well. Our sister went back to Hanoi with great

joy. It has been 14 years since she left Plum Village for Hanoi, and she continues to live.

The Buddha taught that all phenomena are impermanent; there is birth, then there is death. Our

civilization is also like that. In the history of the earth, many civilizations have ended. If our modern

civilization is destroyed, it also follows the law of impermanence. If our human race continues to

live in ignorance and in the bottomless pit of greed as at present, then the destruction of this

civilization is not very far away. We have to accept this truth, just like we accept our own death.

Once we can accept it, we will not react with anger, denial, and despair anymore. We will have

peace. Once we have peace, we will know how to live so that the earth has a future; so that we can

come together in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood and apply the modern technology available

to us, in order to save our beloved green planet. If not, we will die from mental anguish, before our

civilization actually terminates.

Our mother, The Earth, the green planet has suffered from her children’s violent and ignorant ways of

consuming. We have destroyed our Mother Earth like a type of bacterium or virus destroying the

human body, because Mother Earth is also a body. Of course, there are bacteria that are beneficial to

the human body. Trillions of these bacteria are present in us, especially in our digestive systems

(known as intestinal normal flora). They protect the body and help generate enzymes necessary to us.

Similarly, the human species can also be a living organism that has the capacity to protect the body of

Mother Earth, if the human species wakes up and knows to live with responsibility, compassion and

loving kindness. Buddhism came to life, so that we learn to live with responsibility and compassion

and loving kindness. We have to see that we inter-are with our Mother Earth, that we live with her

and die with her.

Mother Earth has gone through re-birth many times. After the “great flood” caused by global warming

takes place, perhaps only a very small portion of the human race will survive. The earth will need

over a million years to recuperate and put on a new whole, beautiful green coat, and another human

civilization will begin. That civilization will be the continuation of our civilization. To the human

species, one million years is a very long time, but to the earth and in geological time, one million

years is nothing at all; it is only a short period of time. Ultimately, all birth and death are only

superficial phenomena. No-birth and no-death are the true nature of all things. This is the teaching

of the Middle Way in Buddhism. This letter is already long, so Thầy does not wish to expound on

this teaching. The retreat has begun, and in another half an hour, Thầy will join the Sangha. Thầy

wishes all of you peace and deep practice.

With love and trust,

Thầy”

I hope this helps. Please do contact me if you have any more questions.


Posted by: Praween on 3 Mar 08

Apologize for the bad copy/paste job in the earlier post. Here it is again.


Letter from Thầy

Blue Cliff Monastery. October 12, 2007


“On October 2nd 2007, at the University of San Diego, Thầy talked about the worry, fear, and despair in relationship to the danger of global warming. The number of people becoming ill due to worry, fear, and despair is increasing each day. They realize that if humans continue to live in ambition, hatred, and ignorance, then the earth and all species will not have an opportunity to escape from this danger. This realization and fear may overwhelm and paralyze many people, and there will be those of us who die from mental illness, before the danger of global warming take place fully. In the Dharma talk (at UCSD), Thầy offered the practice taught by the Buddha: to acknowledge and accept the truth and not run away from it.

The Buddha has taught us to practice looking directly into the seeds of fear in us, instead of trying to cover them up or running away from them. This is the practice of the five rememberances. 1) I will have to grow old. 2) I will have to get sick. 3) I will have to die. 4) One day I will have to lose the things I cherish today, and the people I love today. 5) When my body disintegrates, I cannot bring anything with me except my actions of body, speech and mind - they are the only inheritance that I can bring with me. When we can practice accepting these truths in this way, we will have peace, and we will have the capacity to live healthy and compassionately - no longer causing suffering to ourselves and to others. When people with cancer or AIDS are first diagnosed and told that they only have 3 months or half a year to live, they often react with anger, denial, and despair in the beginning. They cannot accept it. However, once they can accept the truth, they begin to have peace. When they have peace, they will have the opportunity to practice living “deeply” every moment of their daily lives. As a result, they have the chance to live longer, even 15 years more. We have the example of sister Dam Nguyen from Hanoi. She came to Plum Village (monastery in France where Thay lives)one year with the intention to live with Thầy and the Sangha (community) for a few months, then she would return to Hanoi to die. The doctor told her that she could only live 3-4 more months. When she arrived at Plum Village, sisters suggested that went to she see a doctor, but she refused to. She did not feel the need to see a doctor. She accepted her death, and she lived wholeheartedly every moment she had with the Sangha during those three months. When her visa was about to expire, she bade farewell to the Sangha. An older sister suggested she see a doctor “just to see” what had happened to her cancer. Sister Dam Nguyen agreed, in order to please that sister. The doctor informed her that all the metastatic sites in her body had receded to one place, and that she was doing very well. Our sister went back to Hanoi with great joy. It has been 14 years since she left Plum Village for Hanoi, and she continues to live.


The Buddha taught that all phenomena are impermanent; there is birth, then there is death. Our civilization is also like that. In the history of the earth, many civilizations have ended. If our modern civilization is destroyed, it also follows the law of impermanence. If our human race continues to live in ignorance and in the bottomless pit of greed as at present, then the destruction of this civilization is not very far away. We have to accept this truth, just like we accept our own death. Once we can accept it, we will not react with anger, denial, and despair anymore. We will have peace. Once we have peace, we will know how to live so that the earth has a future; so that we can come together in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood and apply the modern technology available to us, in order to save our beloved green planet. If not, we will die from mental anguish, before our civilization actually terminates.


Our mother, The Earth, the green planet has suffered from her children’s violent and ignorant ways of consuming. We have destroyed our Mother Earth like a type of bacterium or virus destroying the human body, because Mother Earth is also a body. Of course, there are bacteria that are beneficial to the human body. Trillions of these bacteria are present in us, especially in our digestive systems(known as intestinal normal flora). They protect the body and help generate enzymes necessary to us. Similarly, the human species can also be a living organism that has the capacity to protect the body of Mother Earth, if the human species wakes up and knows to live with responsibility, compassion and loving kindness. Buddhism came to life, so that we learn to live with responsibility and compassion and loving kindness. We have to see that we inter-are with our Mother Earth, that we live with her and die with her.


Mother Earth has gone through re-birth many times. After the “great flood” caused by global warming takes place, perhaps only a very small portion of the human race will survive. The earth will need over a million years to recuperate and put on a new whole, beautiful green coat, and another human civilization will begin. That civilization will be the continuation of our civilization. To the human species, one million years is a very long time, but to the earth and in geological time, one million years is nothing at all; it is only a short period of time. Ultimately, all birth and death are only superficial phenomena. No-birth and no-death are the true nature of all things. This is the teaching of the Middle Way in Buddhism...With love and trust,Thầy”


I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions (praweend@gmail.com).


Posted by: Praween on 3 Mar 08

I have been following this conversation for a while now. Here are some things I have noticed. There are those who live in fear of tomorrow, yes it is un-known what changes will come and where they will come, but they will come as they always have. Then there are those who are living a mindful life a life of awareness, who are watching and preparing. Then there are the ones who are trying to decide which they should be, mindful or fearful. Here it what I know today. In the past throughout history many great countries have ceased to exist. The evidence of lost civilizations marks all parts of the earth with the remains of their existence. This will never change, it is the nature of all things as one posts points out. Pay Attention to your world; be mindful of what you do. When your neighbor comes to you no matter how bad it is offer him a bowl of soup not a bullet. He may then return the favor. Collapses really will be an un-looked for benefit. As the industrial world slows and oil is all used, the very cause of the problem will pass with the passing of what is today. If you are lucky enough to be here then, you can decide how to move forward and you can teach your children and you can teach your community through the way you live. Those who believe violence will be their salvation will perish by their own actions. Live life today right now and plan for tomorrow, but live in the present because it is all you have. In the 1970 many artists of the world developed the idea that conceptual thinking was art. There were in many cases where their art was their actions of the moment. No materials except the brain of the artists and viewers were used. Many people thought this strange. But a little time later the personal computer was developed as a tool to transmit these invisible ideas across the globe and the universe. Who would have thought about the internet 100 years ago. Today our industry is attached to the material parts of the things throughout the world the world. This is how we make our money, this is how we live, we manufacture and we consume. But how much is manufactured that we do not need or really even want? How could the future be different? How could wealth be different? Today we live in a global society of reversed needs. Items are invented and manufactured and then the need is developed; then marketed. If that idea is reversed; needs will be identified, solutions invented and then manufactured. Pay Attention to your world today! And live like you want a tomorrow.


Posted by: David E on 3 Mar 08

I am prepared for everything I can think of.

I am set to rebuild things,
the downfall of society will not happen where I live if I can help it because I will try my best to see that it will not.

this is my list of things I am preparing for,

1: natural disaster or other infrastructure failure.

2: food shortage or contamination likely from global climate change.

3: invasion from bacterial, virus, foreign country or aliens.

4: some group set on depopulating the world.

5: zombie attack because that covers anything that I may have not accounted for (yes I am serious).

I see the next ice age as the biggest threat to people right now, mainly because people are getting set for global warming, and an ice age is way harder to get ready for. scientists are ignoring the evidence, go to iceagenow.com if you think that I am stupid or silly.

I stay happy doing it because if something happens, I will be able to help out many of my friends and I know that I have a reasonably good chance of living through the next earthquake that will happen where I live.

I have not scouted out property, but I do plan on buying some as soon as possible, because if you are not there when an crisis happens, then it is going to be to late.

lots of people could just go to abandon places if something happens fast, but most things are slow enough to really hurt, just imagine what will happen when food prices go up as people start moving from colder climates to where I live, land prices will go up and there will be no unused land out there to just go to when you need it.

the "bright green future" you speak of, I will be there because I will make it happen.

I have an extensive seed collection and know quite a bit about city infrastructure, modern and ancient so that I can set up things with whatever tools that I have.

and why would I be ready for all this ?
because I am really board and no one else near me is doing it, and the thought of being cold and hungry after the next earthquake is just worrisome to me.

I will not be selected out of the population by anything that I can see coming.


being interviewed sounds fun !


Posted by: adam on 3 Mar 08

I had been interested for years in topics around the environment, sustainability and have therefore also thought and read a lot about emergency measurements. One of the most important ideas to me was to do things that I can't do under worse circumstances (war, economic decline, post peak oil, decreased biodiversity, you name it) now, right away. That's why I started a round the world cycling tour 10 months ago, to see places, to meet people and make connections to prevent war, to show the fun in alternative transport. And this tour has so far been absolutely worldchanging for me!
The world is a wonderful place with so many friendly and peaceful people! I share the opinion of Alex and others that the idea to save this beautiful and exciting place keeps me going and keeps me cycling for a bright green future!


Posted by: Daniel N. Lang on 3 Mar 08

I am a nearly 60 year old white male, professional Architect-Inventor-Artist-Mechanic and some others!!
Back in the schooling days of the late 60's and 70's all the talk was about the end of oil and the ways people had to change to prepare for the coming end of resources.
Now 40+ years later not much has changed. The talk is again the end or all things we are accustomed to. The reality is that there must now be changes and it is just more critical because time is running out. There has not been real interest in the leadership of this country because all the focus has been on wealth creation and hoarding "STUFF"!
It is time for new leadership and I really do not see it in the present political parties. These people are just not dealing with the reality of the world. They are all millionaires so they just do not understand. There is now the true need for a New System! There are comments in some of the comments to this site that talk about the "System". There are even some candidates that talked about the need for changes in the "System"!
I want to tell you all that there is A New System!
We need to realize that there is a new way to think about this thing we call 'Money'. We have all the money in the world to make this world right!
It is time for the paradigm shift. It is time for a life that views money as just a medium that we use to keep track of things. When this country was created the founding fathers clearly set up this country in a way that we all owned the monetary system. This has been coopted by the "government" and turned over to the very people that Jefferson warned about: the bankers and the speculators. This has been going on for too long and it is time to realize that we can change how we use this thing called "Money".
In 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve System we turned over control of the money to the very people that Jefferson said were not to have the power: Central Bankers!
How many people know about the Bretton Woods Accord? This was the agreement after World War II that set the values of currencies of the developed world so that there was a fixed relationship between them. In 1971 Nixon at the recommendation of Paul Volcker and others in the Treasury as well as other institutions decided that the currency should float. No one paid any attention. The gold window at the Federal Reserve was closed so other counties could not exchange their dollars for hard assets: Gold!
This is what set in motion all the turbulence of the late 70's and all the inflation that followed the rise in oil prices, and the scare that there was an end to oil coming. All this did was to jack up the price of oil and the creation of OPEC to control their wealth. It was President Carter that appointed Paul Volcker to head the Federal Reserve to bring things back into some reasonable control. He did this by pushing interest rates up until all inflation was sqeezed out and OPEC was reigned in.
This was the way Reagan and Bush came to power by lying to people, blaming Carter for the stagflation of the 70's. These people set in motion this massive build-up of the military to protect the wealth of the rich and powerful. These are the very same people that are now in power in Washington today. Chenney, Bush, Rumsfeld. The list goes on. They are the reason there are terrorists today. The US sent massive weapons systems to Afghanistan through the CIA and zealots like Charlie Wilson, the Congressman from Texas. The US has been doing this all over the world for years, literally killing people all over the world as the CIA did in Chile, Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia.
These right wing zealots are the same groups of people that are now creating corporations like Blackwater and other mercenary groups that are trying to privatize all resources of the world. They are the power elite that tried to control the access to clean water in South America. They are the power elite that own most of the world.
It is time to return to sustainable ways and it is possible. We need to realize that money is ours. We can use it to make this world right. It can be used to build solar collectors, photo electric systems, heat pump systems, wind energy systems, and to do this we need to rely on oil, coal, gas, even some nuclear. We have the technology and knowledge to make these systems to create a sustainable world. We have the ability to feed the world. We have the ability to provide electricity to people, homes, clothing, clean water, health care, education resources.
We may need to put an end to some practices like Nascar racing, and all you can eat buffets, and all the throw-away electronic gadgets, all the useless toys that dumb down the children of the world.
There may be the need to end the useless gladiator shows, and return to some better entertainment that does not constantly consume scarce resources. It may mean the end to the endless trivia of the latest celebrity photos and the media paparazzi that follow these gluttons of the world. They may not survive when things really run out. We need to make changes now with the way we look at money! It is the one thing that is unlimited. We can make all we need to make the system of exchange work to create the sustainable technologies that will allow people to survive without killing one another.
This is possible! There were books back in the 70's about the limits to growth. This notion that there is a limit presumes a lack of intervention of human intelligence. We are the creatures made in the image of God. We can make a System that provides for all people. It must be an end to the production of weapons; all weapons!! It must be an end to the concept of conquest and imperialism and this idea of a "World Power"!
The US is the reason there are terrorists. We shot an airliner out of the sky over the Persian Gulf during Reagan-Bush! We used our covert operations to overthrow countless governments all over the world. We were not alone in this. England and others did this also, but it now must end. We could end the idea of terrorism by acknowledging our wrongdoing, by asking forgiveness from the rest of the world. They will stop the hatred. But we must use our unlimited intelligence to make this world right. We do not need to return to the woods and live in forests.
We can create a System where government operates as a function of an index we all agree on that allows government to spend as a function that is added to rather than subtracted from as we do with the concept of "Taxes"!
We can use the mathematical reality:
If: X - Y = Z,
Then: X = Z + Y
Allow money for government to be created as a number that is added to rather than subtracted from and it all works out the same. All people pay the same way. We use our incomes or profits or costs or some other variable to create spending that is fair to all, and then we manage inflation for full employment and create all the means to live in renewable ways that are sustainable.
There must be an end to wars for resources. There must be education for all people so raise living standards and reduce population growth. This happens when women are given the means to survive and men are taught that we need to end this idea that someone else is to take care of our sexual needs. Women must learn to keep their clothes on too. I say this not to demean women but I know that women do rape men. They are using sex to sell everything including themselves. It is a two way street ladies. Stop using sex to get what you want.
I could tell you a story about someone that did this. A woman walked up to a man working in his garden. She was buck naked! She forced herself on this man with threats to ruin his life, hurt him real bad if he did not stop what he was doing and "Make Love" to her right then and there. He complied out of fear and knew that if he resisted he would be destroyed; hurt real bad so he did as she said and they created a child. He is now paying for this with the constant control of his rights to see his daughter. He has been ruined by this woman who had stalked him for years. So it is time for women to take some responsibility for what is happening and end this constant cycle of creation beyond what is sustainable and share in this life the restraint as men must do to create a sustainable growth rate.
It is not just men but women also that must work together to slow the rate of growth of the populations of the world to be able to create a world that can be sustained and support those alive now and the future lives to come.
There is a New System. We can make it happen, but we have to realize that we have all the money in the world to make it happen, NOW! We cannot wait for others or just keep things as they are. We must end the waste of resources that are consumed for purely entertainment and greed. It means living in ways that use less so that we can live, period!
There are so many things that we can do and many of these responses to Worldchanging are talking about these things. Spending time growing food, gardening, walking, biking, helping neighbors, fishing in sustainable ways, fish farming even.
But there must be the mentaility that we can do this. We must make money something that works for all people, not just accummulate in vast amounts for the rich and power elite. We cannot take it with us. This idea that we must leave it for our decendants as with the Paris Hiltons of the world is just not sustainable. It is the gluttony that Christ talked about. It is the reality that Mohammed spoke of in sharing with our guests. It is the message of Thay ( I think that is how he wrote it).
We must and can make this world right. But it starts with a New System! It starts with the idea that there is another way to operate. It must be an end to the idea of wars to control resources and the reality of sharing as the sermon on the mount.
I am not too religious any longer and grew up in a Christain culture, but I know that there are messages that we must take as gospel. It is common to all faiths and also to the alternative faiths. It is the way to peace of mind. We can use the new technologies to make this world work for all people. It must be a paradigm shift from the concept of total free markets and this notion that Capitalism is the highest level of society and the profit motive is the only way to live. Self-interest is greater than this system.
Even the great thinkers such as Smith, Mills, and even Marx knew that all systems move to higher plains. Some talk about "Democratic Capitalism". It is much like Socialism in some ways without the negative connotations. But the idea of "Creative Destruction" is outdated. Things are replaced by better ways and means but we need to develop a New System that does take care of those that are left behind. We must create a New System that cares for those disabled or ill or old or less fortunate. We are our brother's keeper. It is why we are all decended from a common ancestor. We are family and can live as a family.
It can be sustained. Look at the earth. It is huge and abundant, but we are the stewards, and the keepers. We are created in this image for a reason.
There are simple ways that we must change the way we live, and we can achieve this higher state of life.
Write to me if you want. But know that there is a New System!!!
m_atkins@centurytel.net


Posted by: Mark R. Atkins on 4 Mar 08

I am willing to be interviewed.
Please contact me at ciataich@hotmail.com


Posted by: Colleen on 4 Mar 08

I am willing to be interviewed.Please contact me at ciataich@hotmail.com

After 35+ years of pondering and preparations, I have found focusing on aquiring skills & information that could be useful to pass on to those will come after me and doing what I can to preserve diversity & resiliency the world to be the most positive ways to face the future.

I was born in '68 in DC. I have been preparing for the coming changes since the oil crisis in the early 70's. I also became passionate about the Earth and environmental issues at the same time. (Thanks to the early Earth Days, a kid's book entitled 'The Last Forest' and magazine subscriptions from a cool great aunt - not to mention lots of time outdoors and a natural curiosity.) I wanted so badly to go back-to-the-land but I was not even allowed to cross the street by myself.

Early preparations included learning how to crochet and make butter & taffy from my granny, reading 'My Side of the Mountain' by Jean George, gardening with my dad, playing with my Sunshine Family dolls, studying science & nature and joining the Girl Scouts.

I watched as the grown-ups in America went from making reasonable sacrifices (carpooling, turning down the thermostat, wearing a sweater a la President Carter and driving 55) and long-term choices (like solar panels on the roof of the White House and environmental legislation) to making greedy, selfish short-term choices starting with the election of Reagan.

I did not want to grow-up to be like them.

By my mid to late teens I was using cruelty-free make-up, eating organic & vegetarian, collecting Mother Earth News magazines, learning about herbs & natural medicine, shopping mostly at secondhand stores, getting my parents to recycle, joining Medieval recreation groups to learn skills that did not require fossil fuels or electricity and attending the Institute for Social Ecology's 'Ecology and Community' program to learn about more about permaculture, ecological technology, bioregionalism, social activism, & community building. I also became a member of the Green party.

I started moving away from the DC suburbs by my mid 20's...first to western Maryland, then West Virginia and finally to WNC. I settled here almost a dozen years ago. I wanted plenty of time to weave myself into the fabric of the community and acclimate to the bioregion.

In recent years - I have joined a CSA, replaced lightbulbs, cutdown on driving, expanded my compost pile & garden, learned to make sauerkraut & kimchee, aquired a solar oven, rainbarrels & a bike, supported local businesses & farms, trained as a doula, continued to build an extensive library and strived to be a good neighbor & friend.


Posted by: Colleen on 4 Mar 08

Here's me:

www.kimspages.org

And I:

1. Re-cycle anything organic that enters my property via my chickens. I use shredded paper/cardboard for their bedding, then use it as mulch on the garden. All food scraps go to them as well, though I have to buy pellets as well. I consider the pellets eventual "fertilser," and use less according to the amount of waste food I have.

2. Just had two new water tanks installed (37,000 literes in all). Takes run off from the house, and the triple garage.

3. Use grey water for the garden & shade house. All waste water goes into a large concrete tank, and gets pumped out when it reaches a certain level - though I mostly leave the pump un-plugged, and then plug it in daily so I can water by hand using the hose.

4. I've got a front-loading washing machine (uses less water).

5. I always use a cold wash.

6. I never use a clothes dryer.

7. My car has a 1.3 litre engine (no public transport where I live).

8. I pay extra for "Green" electricity (can't afford solar panels right now).

9. I advertise this link every week in my local paper: www.jimboombamart.net

10. I have some stored food (dry stuff, and olive oil).

11. I've got a collection of about 200 packets of seeds (vegies). Plan to get more.

12. I've purchased a pile of top soil, and bags of compost.

13. I re-cycle plastic containers via my large shade house, using the topsoil/compost and seeds from the supermarket. Currently growing a forest of mango, avocado, paw paw, macadamia, pecan, pomegranate, lychee, longan, date palm, star fruit, lemon and custard apple (with plans for carob and coffee, and anything else I can think of).

14. I'm planting "Islands" of trees, using bamboo garden edging, topsoil, compost and what I've grown in the shade house.


Posted by: Kim Bax on 5 Mar 08

The most drastic thing I have done to survive is move from Texas to Minnesota. I moved to Mankato, Minnesota, a small city that is located on a railroad line and also has access to two rivers. The area is surrounded by productive farm land. With a state university in the town, plus a private college and a community college we have an educated population. I joined our city's Peak Oil Task Force, am a member of our community garden, and created a discussion group so that other concerned citizens in Mankato can connect so that we can prepare for the challenges ahead. I received my permaculture certification in 2005 and in 2007 I bought a house with a backyard. I will be planting fruit trees and perennials using no-till gardening methods.


Posted by: Monika on 5 Mar 08

I am willing to be interviewed. You can contact me at monikaantonelli@yahoo.com.


Posted by: Monika on 5 Mar 08

If we ever do really hit a food problem in the United States, we won't just sit and starve.

American people will start shoving potatoes in the dirt like they did in the 1940's. Quick easy carbs. Spuds are very easy to grow, after they grow a few roots or eyes, you got a seed potato or two are ready to go.

Old tires and plywood make great planters.


Posted by: Z on 11 Mar 08



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