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The 2012 India Blackouts: A Great Example of How our Education System and Media Coverage are Leaving us in the Dark

Wed, Sep 5, 2012

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by Pepper Givens

This summer, hundreds of millions of residents in India endured two days of stalled productivity, traffic jams and pretty much chaos as the country endured back-to-back power outages. Suffering the largest blackout in the planet’s history, the country went dark and, while the world noticed, no one seemed to really understand why — or at least the mainstream media made no attempt to delve into it.

They, rather, covered the devastation and lost company time that came with the territory. They documented stopped traffic and citywide collapse, but when it came to the root of the problem were next to silent. Do you think anyone from the general public could give a thorough, educated reason for the events — most likely not. Sure, specialists in the field who know what to look for, but what about the average Joe? Well, with the current media and educational systems we have in place, it’s no surprise the answer is no.

To clue those of you in who might not know where I’m going with this, the cause of these massive outages was a combination of things — a bad system setup, high demand and out-of-whack temperatures caused by a climate that is a bit off track all because of global warming. Sure, the Indian electrical system is challenged on a regular basis as it tries to pump energy throughout the veins of such a large population — that’s nothing new — but factor in the intense heat and extreme conditions the country as a whole was battling because of missed monsoons and you have the recipe for disaster.

But, as I already suggested, the blackout itself is not the problem here. The problem is the lackadaisical approach so much of the world seems to be having toward this ever-growing issue of climate change and environmental stress. Educators, leaders, policy-makers and of course, “talking heads” alike are, for most part all side-stepping the tough issues and rather distracting with other problems.

Granted, there are the select few who seek to spread awareness and knowledge, but the overwhelming majority does their part to silence them, for whatever reason. Perhaps they just don’t want to deal with it and are in a state of denial; perhaps there’s some ulterior motive involved (although I’m pretty sure we all lose when it comes to dramatic climate change); perhaps they are just at a loss and struggling to buy themselves sometime while they look for an answer. Whatever it is, the current approach is pathetic at best, leaving the world with nothing but a bunch of ignorant consumers who “know not what they do.”

But seriously, how many of you give the issue of climate change a second thought? What about over consumption of resources? While the people reading this blog might consider these issues, think of the other billions of people on the planet. A good deal of them would look at you like you were speaking a foreign language if you delved into the ins and outs of the scientific issues, and that’s a problem.

Our system of awareness and education needs to improve for our children, students, businesses and families. This is especially true when talking about something such as electricity — a luxury most of the developed world enjoys and utilizes throughout their days. People need to stop being kept in the dark about the issues that could potentially affect their future on this planet. The more we know, the more we can work toward positive, effective change that makes difference.

So, yes, the rolling blackouts throughout India are a great example of how our planet’s responding to extreme environmental issues. We need to start taking notice and action to ensure we prevent something even larger from happening. In these situations, the best defense you can have is knowledge and information, so let’s stop depriving our public of that, deal?

In an ideal world, it would be just that simple.

______________

Pepper Givens is a freelance blogger and webmaster who commonly writes for onlinecolleges.net. Pepper welcomes your questions, comments, and any other kind of feedback you’d like to offer.

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182 Responses to “The 2012 India Blackouts: A Great Example of How our Education System and Media Coverage are Leaving us in the Dark”

  1. Michael Harris Says:

    It might also be possible that the world’s electrical grid is the Achilles heel of civilization. Thus for those that believe it is our unfettered belief that civilization as we know it must go on, despite where it is taking us (oblivion), then this Achilles heel may be the fastest route to the kind of cathartic collapse needed for a sustainable alternative to emerge.

  2. Jb Says:

    There are very real and numerous compounded reasons why the grid in India shut down including loss of rainfall to power hydroelectric dams, corruption, lack of coal, lack of monitoring, poorly built infrastructure, illegal tapping of grids in the slums, increasing demand, and overpopulation.

    “The events of the past week have made clear that no system exists to prevent a repeat of the grid collapse, and no one in government has articulated a clear plan to address the crisis. Hours after Monday’s blackout, the central government promoted Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to one of the cabinet’s two most powerful posts, that of Home Minister. He told reporters his performance as Power Minister was “excellent” and said “this country does not need to worry” about the electrical shortfall.”

    Uh huh, right.

    “The cause of the grid collapse remains unclear. Many power experts predict it will eventually be shown to have been human or mechanical failure. But most of the blame is being pinned on “greedy” states that sucked more than their share off the power supply, which is apportioned out in ratios determined by the central government. The states angrily deny they were overdrawing, saying they were no more than 5 per cent above their allotted draw – but the national ministry has produced evidence that, for example, massive Uttar Pradesh was warned no fewer than 402 times between June 1 and July 16 for exceeding its allotment of electricity.”

    Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/the-lights-are-back-on-in-india-but-the-future-is-dim/article4462554/

    It is my opinion that we are not kept ‘in the dark’ so much as we voluntarily keep our own heads in the sand. The information about our dilemma is available to anyone who takes the time to read it.

  3. Robin Datta Says:

    Richard C. Duncan, the author of the Olduvai Theory and an Electrical Engineer by training, put the date for the start of widespread blackouts at 2012. Maybe his engineering background may have helped.

  4. Robin Datta Says:

    An oldie but still very relevant:

    The U. S. Electric Grid: Will It Be Our Undoing?

  5. Guy McPherson Says:

    The latest data from the Arctic, provided by Applied Physics Laboratory/Polar Science Center at the University of Washington , support the earlier assessment by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group regarding exponential loss of Arctic sea ice. Bottom line: “In conclusion, it looks like there will be no sea ice from August 2015 through to October 2015, while a further three months look set to reach zero in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (respectively July, November and June). Before the start of the year 2020, in other words, there will be zero sea ice for the six months from June through to November.”

    “And, events may unfold even more rapidly, as discussed earlier at Getting the picture.”

  6. Ken Barrows Says:

    How can education help at this point? Most schools in the USA have taught evolution for many years yet a good proportion of Americans won’t believe it. Our culture, with its emphasis on consumption, will sink or swim but it won’t change. It will, of course, sink.

  7. BC Nurse Prof Says:

    A much better article on the power outage in India is here:

    http://theautomaticearth.com/Energy/india-power-outage-the-shape-of-things-to-come.html

    with very revealing pics.

    The PIOMAS data is not as extreme as Paul Beckwith, but it’s been my experience that doctoral students know everything. They have to, because they’ll be examined at length by people who THINK they know everything.

  8. Robin Datta Says:

    The “school of hard knocks” is, for some people, the only school capable of imparting an education. But as General Patton had said, “Those who sweat more in peace bleed less in war”. The prospects for substantial bleeding seem to get better with each passing day (or more dismal, depending on one’s point of view). Maybe Dr. McPherson might get a tenured faculty position at that school? Not to imply that he will in any way be proud of it.

  9. Kathy C Says:

    It could have been worse at Fukushima – Arnie Gunderson speaks
    http://fairewinds.com/content/it-could-have-been-worse
    How many times do we get lucky?

  10. Kathy C Says:

    Arctic collapse dramatically increases global warming news

    03 September 2012

    Parts of Arctic Siberia are releasing 10 more carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, a University of Manchester scientist and an international team of researchers have found.

    Writing in Nature, the scientists, led by Stockholm University, discovered that much more greenhouse gas is being released into the atmosphere than previously calculated, from and ancient an large carbon pool held in a permafrost along the 7,000km desolate coast of northernmost Siberian Arctic – dramatically increasing global warming.
    Rest at http://www.domain-b.com/environment/20120903_dramatically_oneView.html

  11. Kathy C Says:

    But wouldn’t it be ironic after worrying about peak oil, solar flares, grid failure, climate change – if an asteroid slipped in behind Mars and did us in

    From spaceweather.com

    NEAR-EARTH ASTEROID: A relatively large asteroid, just discovered on August 28th, will fly past the Earth-Moon system on Sept 14th only 2.8 million km (7.4 lunar distances) away. 2012 QG42 is about as wide as three football fields and comes to us from just beyond the orbit of Mars. Astronomers who are now monitoring the space rock say it shines about as brightly as a 15th magnitude star. [3D orbit] [ephemeris]

  12. Michael Irving Says:

    Wow, reading about the Indian blackouts was shocking but not as much as reading the Automatic Earth article (thanks BC Nurse Prof). I kept thinking, “Boy, those folks are in deep trouble.” Then, Shazam! The light went on (pun not intended). All my records (internet shopping, health, insurance, computer help, dog only know what else [electronic banking, taxes(?), Social Security (?)]) seemed to be massaged and stored in electronics hooked to the Indian grid. You have to love that plan of off-shoring our services to the lowest bidder.

    Michael Irving

  13. Guy McPherson Says:

    Interviewed by Helen Caldicott, Arnie Gunderson says triage on Fukushima will be complete on Fukushima in 2015 or 2016. Does anybody really believe we’ll be using heavy machinery and intergovernmental cooperation to work on nuclear power plants in 2015 or 2016?

  14. Michael Irving Says:

    I have an off the subject report based on some discoveries today.

    First, the hugelkultur spud bed worked (somewhat). Those parts of the bed closest to the logs produced much bigger spuds. It was, of course, not the best hugelkultur bed (two rows of semi-rotted firewood blocks about 8” in diameter, hardware cloth underneath, with the whole bed about 25 feet long) but at least it proved the case to me enough that it is worth trying again next year.

    Second, my daughter discovered today that the bottom foot of a straw bale (barley) that her son had been using for archery practice, and that had been soaked during the spring rains, is still wet. We have not had any rain since July 13.

    Third, she was tearing apart a brush pile we’d made this spring of mostly green fir branches (with needles attached). The bottom foot of the pile is quite damp (no water added).

    Fourth, I have a volunteer squash (zucchini maybe?) that’s growing out of an unused part of last year’s compost pile (about 8” deep). I’ve watered it once this summer and it looks great and is beginning to set fruit (it started way late).

    All of these seem to be pointing to the idea that water conservation methods (hugelkultur/heavy mulch) are a great idea in times of water scarcity.

    Fifth, my squash plants, after stopping production for a month, have suddenly started setting fruit again. I’ve been irrigating religiously throughout that period. The difference is that during the hiatus the temperature was in the 90s every day. For the last week+ it has dropped back into the low 80s. I think that, at least in my garden, temperatures over 90 degrees retard the development of new squash fruits. Of course this is only a guess on my part, but it does fit. During the same week+ the lows have been between 30 and 38°F, but I doubt that is what is driving fruiting of a Mesoamerican plant.

    There you have it.

    Michael Irving

  15. Judy Says:

    Michael, thank you for those observations. I plan to build some hugelkultur beds as well, and I already have a tiny one for herbs. It is interesting that your potato hugel did as well as it did.

    Have you read Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden? If not, he discusses the use of deep mulch as one method to conserve moisture (based on Ruth Stout’s book). He had a comical story about how he at first was a reluctant mulcher (worried about slugs, etc.), but once he finally bit the bullet, he was amazed at how well it worked. Of course, there are many more techniques to conserve moisture, and some of them Guy has illustrated in a few of his videos.

    We,too, noticed a drop off in productivity of our squash plants, and so did many of my friends, during the hot spell. Our production is starting to pick up, too. If you are growing broccoli, how is it doing?

    I’m pretty sure you have already found this site, but have you been to Paul Wheaton’s Permies.com? For everyone interested in a permaculture way to grow food and work as best we can with Nature (and each other), this is a site that is a wealth of information.

  16. Kathy C Says:

    Guy, Arnie is a great source for information about Fukushima but doesn’t seem to let his horizons stretch beyond that. Not unusual these days. Few can see the whole picture and of course the whole picture is so devastating that those who could, don’t. I agree with you, by 2015 we will probably just be seeing all the nuclear power plants going Fukushima without anyone to tend them at all. Nice future eh?

  17. OzMan Says:

    Regarding the classic capitalist model for developed economies it appears that there are two main ways for profit to come good in such economies.

    The fist in times of economic growth, expanding production is the way to go. There is largess to go around and the post World Oil War II boom is a typical example, made possible from the spoils of Oil. Most of readers know this.
    Second is efficiency in labour and production. Efficiency is the same as economic growth in the sense that production increases with far less capital outlay than would be needed otherwise to get the return.
    In times of bust or what is now called ‘economic contraction’, ‘recession’ or ‘depression’, in an attempt to get stable returns efficiency is squeezed to breaking point, by way of suppressing wages, letting go of worker conditions and entitlements, and breaking industrial agreements wholesale. Offshoring to lower wage labour forces not only has moved dirty pollution to other countries, but has been the method to keep the prifit, and economic growth continuing for the last 2 decades.
    My guess is that since the peak oil time line of 2005-2008 has been achieved, the pipeline is sputtering and no growth in real terms is coming down the pipe. The large variability in sectors in the world economy notwithstanding, what we are seeing, and it will increase very fast from now on, is the drawing back and slashing of all worker entitlments,(many of which are simply not paid in the USA and pending legal challenges from ordinary workers…?), letting go of more and more ancilliary employment, like cleaners, and infrastructure fixers,(which are not really discretionary), and longer days and more days of work, as posted by Morocco Bama, with respect to Greece for now.

    Some were bagging Richard Heinberg on earlier blogs. I would point out that his book, ‘The Party’s Over’, gets the message accross with just the title. That is worth fifteen obscure but accurate books of the kind IMO. Heinberg bangs on about the uninspected softer collapse can come from reducing the demand side of fosssil fuels, however, Tim Jackson, in his book, ‘Prosperity Without Growth’ shows that the existing market capitism scenario is drivern by economic growth, EG, through derivatives and bonds etc. Easing up on EG as is the looming reality without a collapse will necessitate well nigh slavery as Morocco Bama predicts, not from wishing for it I presume, however.

    As I have put up before, the worst case is a drawn out decline where degradation of a bankrupt way of life gets to dominate everywhere, including the Biosphere. A rapid collapse will lose perhaps all the limbs of the patient, but maybe the main body will survive.

    If banks fail first, then it will run down much quicker.

  18. Judy Says:

    “Few can see the whole picture and of course the whole picture is so devastating that those who could, don’t. I agree with you, by 2015 we will probably just be seeing all the nuclear power plants going Fukushima without anyone to tend them at all. Nice future eh?”

    Agreed that this might be the case. Until then, chop wood, carry water, and prepare as best we can for an uncertain future, because none of knows with absolute certainty what is coming down the pike and when. Something will be left out of the preparations, I know.

  19. OzMan Says:

    I should add to this statement :

    ‘…the worst case is a drawn out decline where degradation of a bankrupt way of life gets to dominate everywhere….’

    …that those slavey conditions have been the dominant way of life in the so called ‘developing countries’ and zones of exploitation by Empire for many centuries in our past. It will merely be the wholesale spreading of the blanket wider and wider, as is evident from the 1% vs 99% wealth distribution.

    We should really stop calling them ‘Developing Countries’, and just settle for ccloser to an updated reality term like:

    Slave Labour Countries.

    That is what they have been for so long anyway.

  20. Robin Datta Says:

    Few can see the whole picture and of course the whole picture is so devastating that those who could, don’t.

    One thing or another coming the way of our society, no matter which direction we look. Jim Kunstler’s title for his blog, “Clusterf**k Nation” could be modified to “Clusterf**k World” as a subtitle for “Nature Bats Last”.

  21. Judy Says:

    By the way, Kathy C, I know you are far ahead of me in those preparations. Some of us woke up belatedly (me).

    Michael Irving, I wanted to tell you that the salamanders in my “failed ponds” are doing just fine. Apparently, there are some types that lay their eggs in ponds whose larvae remain there for about a year. I’m not sure what type I have, but a few remain. And, from a few threads back, you noted, and I got a giggle from, that apparently the failure of the ponds was in the eye of the beholder (me). You are so correct, and I’m glad I discovered the critters before I drained the ponds.

    The other thing I’ve never seen in my yard before are western skinks. We’ve seen several of them now. Do you have frogs/toads?

  22. Judy Says:

    Amen, Robin

  23. navid Says:

    Michael,

    “I think that, at least in my garden, temperatures over 90 degrees retard the development of new squash”

    Almost everything was “retarded” in my garden this year – especially by that heat. The peas – 5 kinds – were all stunted in both vine growth and flowering and pea product quality. The few exceptions – a couple pole beans that came up like weeds from last year’s dropped seed that wintered in the ground did well, and two odd squash from the compost pile look incredible. Apple tree blooms croaked with the spring’s warm/frost combo, tomatoes, peas,etc. all bloomed very late and erratic – everything except the compost squash seemed to have odd flowering times this year, late and jerky? I wonder what the insects thought ; ).

    The squash I watched every day, fairly closely. Most of the time during the weeks of unusually high heat the squash hung tough in that compost pile. It spills out onto the “lawn” and was the only green thing present most of the summer.

    In the >90s heat and in direct sunlight the giant leaves on the squash always looked like limp elephant ears. The stems stood tall, above the grass, but the leaves were completely limp, so they were conserving water big time. At these times most other things looked a little “in shock”.

    But if a 15 minute cloud-burst hit in that heat, the leaves quickly inflated into giant stiff “cups” to catch water for their stem-roots below – and they stayed that way after the brief rain and until the shade passed and the sun hit them again, then they would wilt again – in a row, one at a time down the vine. Incredible.

    Similar in the early mornings and evenings – you could see the leaves deflate/inflate in a row down a vine as the sun rose and set. My wife is tired of hearing the daily reports about “those damned squash” ; )

    —————————–

    About education – I agree its too late to “Educate the Public.” We do not have enough generations for education to work. The media and educational institutions are a product of our culture, and our culture is – simply put – very ill. Terminally ill. And it is suffering Multiple Mass Delusions.

    Still, two of my favorite people carry on the struggle to promote science education :

    Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss

    Discussion focus was on Science education, but the discussion also covered religion, physics, evolution and more.

    (Good luck gentlemen !!! But please glance outside the Ivory Tower windows once in a while to make sure the heathens are not storming the gates 😉

  24. Jeff S. Says:

    Kathy C Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    It could have been worse at Fukushima – Arnie Gunderson speaks
    http://fairewinds.com/content/it-could-have-been-worse
    How many times do we get lucky?

    Well, it’s not over. The spent fuel pool at Unit 4 is severely damaged, any mid-size quake could provide the final blow, and then the pool goes critical, draws the rest of the complex into the cauldron, and then we’re in unchartered waters.
    But good point you make later about the unlikelihood of plants being taken care of in 2015-2016. I was amazed to hear Bill Clinton tonight still talking about restoring “growth” and increasing energy supplies, and even more, to see a huge audience totally buy into such stuff.

  25. Kathy C Says:

    Jeff, Yes, it is far from over at Fukushima, but as Arnie notes just the fact that it happened on a weekday saved us from worse. There were far more workers there than on a weekend or evening, and those workers – he calls them heroes – were one very important part of why we didn’t have more plants go Fukushima. There were actually 14 plants along the coast that were affected by the Tsunami and earthquake.

    Judy, I don’t know that I am ahead in preps. I started early but in the meantime my body couldn’t keep up. However I do wash our clothes by hand with a James Hand Washer and wringer – about 10 years now. I wonder how many others are washing by hand = the handle on the washer broke twice so I really just use the washer as a tub and bought a plunger – I would recommend to others a double tub, plunger and washboard. BUT I am not making my own soap. And the thought of pumping the water from the hand pump well in order to wash is daunting. One needs to make preps for using wash water multiple times before putting it in the garden – for instance rinse water could become bath water.

    I wonder if anyone is making their own oil for cooking. It is not necessary of course one can boil stuff. But people like using oil. As for me I expect the Klan or the religious nuts or the robbers to save me the trouble of trying to add a few years survival in a world in chaos. A few extra years means less and less the closer you get to a natural end.

    Navid, last year the heat stopped my beans and field peas from gilding. Did better this year as it was so warm in March I put most of my garden in mid March. Funny to have the freezer mostly full in June and wonder what you are going to do the rest of the season other than water perennials. But late rains and some respite from the heat are giving me a bumper crop of field peas and bringing back enough green beans for fresh eating. All in all this has been a better garden year than last.

  26. Kathy C Says:

    Not that it will matter by 2030 BUT –

    Saudi Arabia will Cease to be an Oil Exporter by 2030: Report:

    Saudi Oil Well Dries Up

    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    September 05, 2012 “The Telegraph” – – If Citigroup is right, Saudi Arabia will cease to be an oil exporter by 2030, far sooner than previously thought.
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100019812/saudi-oil-well-dries-up/

  27. David W. Says:

    Look up now, near the sun. The reset button has been pushed. There are none so blind as those that will not look.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WGybUmFw4A

  28. OzMan Says:

    Morocco Bama

    You ask for some clear self reflection on some apparently incommensurable dicta of how ‘to be’, given the dire warnings, and mounting evidence.

    I think many are yet to see the clearly definative change properly congealed into a collapse. If it was so, many would know which eggs to keep and eat, or hatch, whatever mataphore applies.

    Guy refuses to predict actual dates for an end to BAU, and I’m in agreement for many reasons.

    I am in a position of being a lone crazy making motions in many directions to keep some irons in the fire, and so I can pick the ones that fit the next stage, however it goes. That does not include weopons like firearms etc, BTW. I can’t see a better risk averse strategy for ‘our’ situation, and I am speaking as someone who has done some pretty out of the box things in different stages of life, so I can ‘do’ unacceptable thing by the normal FUBARed social norms.

    I get you are not going to revive a dead cat, so what is your best approach, or is it just to get on and take it as it comes? Is alcahol pert of your solution? It could be.

    I feel I and some dependent children will need some food sometime, and I figure I can’t grow it all, but I am getting started, on living without the usual centralised energy and materials, developing scavenging skills and local knowledge about where discards from BAU are to be found, etc.

    Many have their own strategies, and how else can it be?

    Guy’s response is to rely on his/their version of agrarian anarchy, which seems like a plan with some drawbacks like others, but the strengths are well defined and there is a shared destiny and responsibility.

    Being very honest I think if I had no family responsibilities or ties I would be seeking out some situation such as Guy describes. MY kids are too meshed in their world to take my rantings seriously, so far.

    My take on “chop wood and carry water” is just an exhortation to be practical with every action and decision, and therein lies the problems – when it is still unclear how the ripping will start and move, it is crazy to jump too far too early with some actions. For some people it is a financial question, others social, and yet others it is a geographical one, or some combinations.

    I only have one question, what are you doing? Is there a strategy everyone else has missed. Or is it pointless to do anything to feel better able to cope? Please share it here.

  29. OzMan Says:

    An assessment of Oil’s rise since the 1970’s.

    ‘Oil’s Rising Baseline’

    http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/09/oils-rising-baseline.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=oils-rising-baseline

    An Excerpt:

    ‘History says that another baseline jump of 300% or 400% is absolutely possible – even likely. A new oil-price bottom of $200 to $300 per barrel would present a nasty hurdle for the world’s economies… but if you can’t beat them, join them. Oil companies shouldn’t be the only ones that benefit from oil’s rising baseline.’

  30. Kathy C Says:

    MB “Alright, we need to clear the air a bit,”

    You wouldn’t be postulating a rule now would you? The word

    Need
    verb (used without object)
    9.
    to be under an obligation (used as an auxiliary, typically in an interrogative or in a negative statement, and followed by infinitive, in certain cases without to;

    Of course you might have a different definition of the verb need, if so you might want to let us know so we won’t hold you to a dictionary definition. But in context it sounds like you are preaching to us on how we should be.

  31. navid Says:

    Kathy,

    After some of your posts about your garden and water situation this summer, it is very good to hear you’re now getting a bumper crop of peas and late beans! Thank Dog for brief respites in drought and heat.

  32. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    With respect to Saudi Arabia being an oil IMporter by 2030. I’m sure most here would agree that’s laughable and the whole premise is absurd. Assuming business as usual, who in the world would KSA buy from? If they are the largest exporter today, that would mean that all of that oil would have to be replaced on the world market, AND there would still need to be some leftover for KSA to purchase. If even by some flight of fantasy that would be possible, how would they pay for that oil? Sure they have lots of money now, but as we know, that’s a fleeting situation when you’re essentially paying off your people to keep them from revolution, not to mention importing the bulk of your food.

    Of course, based on everything happening today with climate, social unrest, etc., the likelihood that there is even an economy, much less a working government in KSA by 2030 is highly improbable.

    Frankly, I don’t know how humans will even be able to live in that region by 2030 given the elevated temperatures anticipated there by then, particularly when you consider that they will almost certainly be operating without any electricity and/or fossil fuels.

  33. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Morocco Bama,

    For me personally, “preparing” has changed with my understanding of what’s unfolding. When I became aware of climate change a’la Al Gore, I began looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint, be more efficient, buying solar cells, etc. Then, when I became aware of peak oil and all it’s implications, I began preparing for a low-energy world, thinking that things would go on pretty much as before but without a lot of the “stuff” and conveniences we have currently. As all the pieces of the puzzle began to come together (climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, etc.) and massive die-off became more clear to me, the emphasis behind my preparations changed yet again even if the actual preparations didn’t. Now, as it seems that there will likely be near-term human extinction, my preparations continue on for what life I have left, but my thoughts are much more self-centered.

    In other words, I am preparing to survive as long as I can even while things go down the shitter. I know that I will die someday – could be today, could be in 20-30 years. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to live each day as if it was my last while not ignoring that it probably won’t be.

    Another thing that I remind myself is that collapse is happening already. It is coming in fits and starts and as with all changes on a massive scale, it will pick up speed slowly but surely. I have to be prepared to survive the mini-collapses occurring along the way to total collapse. Am I prepared for the power to be off for a week? A month? What would I do if gas goes to $8 a gallon? How will I and my employees survive financially if the U.S. government stops making medicaid and medicare payments? Do I have enough water stored if this drought causes wells to go dry? If I can’t get seed corn next year, what will I feed my chickens and goats? On and on it goes.

    Admittedly, it would easier if we knew a planet-sized asteroid was going to take us out on such and such a day and there was no way any life would survive. Then we could all just party on until our demise. Our situation is more problematic. We know we’re toast, we just don’t know when or how long it will take for the bread to burn. So what to do in the meantime? Prepare? To each his or her own, I guess.

  34. Judy Says:

    OzMan: “My take on “chop wood and carry water” is just an exhortation to be practical with every action and decision, and therein lies the problems – when it is still unclear how the ripping will start and move, it is crazy to jump too far too early with some actions. For some people it is a financial question, others social, and yet others it is a geographical one, or some combinations.”

    Exactly. It means different things to different people. For me, it’s just a reminder to live my life as best I can and to take joy in simple things. That’s what I’m doing.

    I’m sure this conversation will continue to go where it wants to go, both forward AND backward, unless our gracious host feels the need to step in to change the direction.

    KathyC, I’m not washing my clothes by hand yet, but when my dryer gave up the ghost far too soon after I purchased it, I’ve been either drying outside or hanging things inside in the winter. I live in the city and so am on city water. I have planned for emergencies, though.

  35. Judy Says:

    TRDH, Your post resonates with me. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’ve already experienced a few mini-collapses and have had to adapt. Things are a lot simpler, though, and I welcome that simplicity.

    You said: “Admittedly, it would easier if we knew a planet-sized asteroid was going to take us out on such and such a day and there was no way any life would survive. Then we could all just party on until our demise. Our situation is more problematic. We know we’re toast, we just don’t know when or how long it will take for the bread to burn. So what to do in the meantime? Prepare? To each his or her own, I guess”

    This is something I talk about quite a bit with my friends who are on the same page. We don’t know when, where, or how we’ll meet the Grim Reaper, but depending on the circumstances, the Reaper might not be so grim after all. I know I cannot be prepared for all eventualities, so I just continue to do what I can to hone skills that will be useful in at least some of the circumstances. A key thing for me, though, is that I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m going to go anyway, so why waste time doing something I don’t enjoy?

    In another post, you mentioned that your “beloved” Buffalo River had run dry due to the drought. I cannot remember if I commented on that or not, but I have many fond memories of canoeing on the Buffalo. It is so beautiful, and I was saddened to hear this. Much more sadness in my future, I’m afraid.

  36. ulvfugl Says:

    Fortunately, no KKK where I live… and my neighbours get a positive mention in the national press, and support from the local gvt.the Welsh Assembly.

    On the northern edge of the Preseli Hills, set against the slopes of Carn Ingli – or Mountain of Angels – stands a 19th-century smallholding. In one direction, unspoilt hills roll on for miles; in the other, forested land stretches as far as the eye can see. Brithdir Mawr’s founding members bought this spot as a ruin back in 1994 and have since restored the main residence, a rambling grey-stone farmhouse, to its former glory. Members either live here or in one of the outhouses set across 80 acres of lush countryside and unspoilt woodland, from which a small river leads to the sea about a mile and a half away.

    There are goats, ducks and chickens moseying around the site today, taking a break from producing enough eggs, milk and cheese to supply the 11 adults and four children who live here. This morning, some residents are busy baking bread and making gooseberry jam and chutney. There are no fridges or freezers, so it’s all stored in a cool room heaving with shelf after shelf of jars.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/easy-living-the-truth-about-modern-communes-2020668.html

  37. Michael Irving Says:

    Judy,

    Thanks for the feedback. I have tried deep mulch before and had good results but for whatever reason got away from it (it may have had something to do with perceived neatness in my wife’s eyes). Anyway, the best results we every had with corn was with a deep rotted alfalfa hay mulch.

    As Arthur Noll reminded us in the last NBL post, most organic gardeners are importing material into their garden. His assessment is that importation is at the expense and impoverishment of the outside source. I think that can be over done. For example, even here farmers get three cuttings of alfalfa (with irrigation). Probably one cutting returned to the soil would keep the land fertile. Also, rotten hay is spoiled hay that has been wetted over the winter by exposure to the elements. Most farmers see this hay as waste and often burn it. Arthur does have it right that fossil fuels are being used to produce that hay in the first place (replanting every six years, swathing, baling, hauling, etc.). In any case, I am trying to produce as much mulching material and composting material here on the home place as I can but I am not likely to turn down a good source when it becomes available (you know, reuse/repair/recycle).

    Following up on that thought, biointensive methods include growing nutrients on site via rotation of beds, sheet mulching/green manure, and composting. I’m going out today to plant compost mix into the beds my soup beans just came out of.

    And one more thing about the hugelkultur bed. This is totally unsubstantiated but in my somewhat alkaline soil, prone to scab in potatoes, the spuds closest to the logs were completely scab free. Of course I tried some new varieties and always look for scab resistant varieties but I was happy with it. The varieties Warba and Yukon Gem look especially good. But, there could be some other reason. It’s just something to look at in the future.

    Michael Irving

  38. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Michael, thanks for mentioning the hugelkultur bed. I had not heard of that technique before so did a bit of reading on it. I think I’ll give it a try. If there’s one thing I have plenty of, it’s trees. After the ice storm 3 years ago, we also have lots of rotting wood. It will be an interesting experiment.

  39. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    Judy, according to the Buffalo River page by the USGS there are still quite a few spots on the river marked as “very low”. We have received some rain in recent weeks, first with Isaac and then scattered thunderstorms since. So, I’m sure the water is flowing now but obviously not like it does usually.

  40. Kathy C Says:

    Michael, I do a mulched garden, never as mulched as I want. But I use leaves, preferrably pecan leaves – while we have plenty of leaves on the property I don’t like raking or depriving the soil around the trees so I get the stuff the people in town bag. Sure it uses fossil fuel to get there but for now I still buy groceries. I built a cage to go on the back of my truck – my carpentry is rough but it works. Baffles people to see a topless cage. I have a stretchy cargo net to throw over top when full so the bags don’t fly off on the way home. As I make my rounds I find discarded 5 gal buckets, discarded chairs (makeshift roosts in some of our pens for breeding etc), firewood, and other interesting stuff. I can’t help it if some people like throwing away their soil fertility – they are only growing lawn anyway. 🙂 Works pretty good – I probably have a larger population of slugs in the spring but wood ashes around seedlings is a good deterrent.

  41. Kathy C Says:

    Judy, hanging out clothes instead of a dryer is good on many fronts – they smell so fresh. But the switch from dryer to clothesline is worlds easier than the switch from washer to hand washing. BUT it encourages one to wash less often and one finds that washing all the time was not all that necessary after all 🙂

  42. Kathy C Says:

    MB you wrote “All I asked was let us, us meaning everyone who posts here and/or reads here, be honest with ourselves and others. It’s a contradiction to emphatically, and fervently, say it’s all over for humans, and over very soon, and then in the same breath say “prepare.” Prepare for what, exactly? ”

    First I think that most of us here have a much higher level of self honesty than most in the first world.

    It is NOT at all a contradiction to say it is all over for humans and then to say prepare. Why, because “all over” for humans is still somewhat in the future – the most dire for human extinction that I have seen is 2050. Since we don’t know exactly when and how collapse will take place we can each make whatever preparations we choose. One of my preps is a stockpile of booze. I don’t currently drink, but I may want to in the future. If I don’t choose self exit then I have no idea how long until someone or something else manages my exit. Thus I might also want to trade booze for other items, or use it to incapacitate some raider. There is no contradiction in my booze stockpile with my belief that humans are going to go extinct.

    People who have been told they have 6 mos to live often plan trips if they are able to go see something they have wanted to see. They make living wills, they ask family to come to visit. “All over” and making plans does not necessarily imply contradiction.

  43. Robin Datta Says:

    It is not a consensus here amongst the commentators, that the appropriate action in the midst of this unfolding catastrophe is to “chop wood and carry water.”

    The “chop wood and carry water” phrase does not promote a specific genre of action. It refers to the appropriateness of the action to the physical and social milieu, as well as the appropriate manner/attitude of acting in accordance with the mental/emotional milieu of the actor. 

    and these same people are particularly intense towards those who aren’t carrying water and chopping wood, but are envisioning a world that may rise after this one and moving towards it, even if it is improbable.

    It is the attitude with which the action is performed that matters. 

    “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water”.  In the latter state the action is non-volitional action, performed without a sense of agency. It is acting without any trace of the  perception that “I am the one who is chopping wood; I am the one who is carrying water”. The Chinese term for it is “wu wei”, and the Sanskrit term is “prabhapatitam karyam”: “falling into action”. 

    But, everyone should do the same, imo, meaning everyone needs to be honest with themselves, and in the least, don’t pretend that what they’re doing is the right and only thing to do in this situation.

    The very use of the term “chop wood and carry water” implies that understanding. 

    For a drone pilot:
    Before enlightenment, acquire target, “neutralise” target; after enlightenment, acquire target, “neutralise” target.

    For a blue-costumed policeman:
    Before enlightenment, pepper spray, fire tasers; after enlightenment, pepper spray, fire tasers.

    For a Wall Street Bankster:
    Before enlightenment, swindle billions, pocket millions; after enlightenment, swindle billions, pocket millions.

    For many folks on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg:
    Before enlightenment, sip drinks, listen to music; after enlightenment, sip drinks, listen to music.

    For other folks on the Titanic at the same time:
    Before enlightenment, don life preservers, board lifeboats; after enlightenment, don life preservers, board lifeboats.

    My take on “chop wood and carry water” is just an exhortation to be practical with every action and decision, and therein lies the problems –

    Indeed. Not only is one man’s meat is another man’s poison, making consensus on what is “practical” sometimes impossible, but it is an understanding rather than an exhortation. 

    I only have one question, what are you doing?

    Sipping drinks (non-alcololic), browsing NBL and other doomsayer sites.

    If you mean prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for your demise, then yes, I agree, that’s great advice that everyone would be prudent to undertake, but if prepare means “chop wood and carry water,” then to me, it makes no sense.

    Those who can “chop wood and carry water” as non-volitional action have also shed the sense of “I”, of the individual self. They have died the Great Death. If they are still alive in a physical sense, there still is a little death for the body, but they will have no perception of “I am the one who is dying”. 

    For those who act in the enlightened manner, there is no “sixth” stage (or for that matter, any other stage) of grief: there is neither perceived recipient, nor perceived receiving of the “gift”. 

  44. Robin Datta Says:

    Clarification:
    My take on “chop wood and carry water” is just an exhortation to be practical with every action and decision, and therein lies the problems –

    Indeed. It is an understanding rather than an exhortation. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, making consensus on what is “practical” sometimes impossible.

  45. ulvfugl Says:

    If ‘chop wood, carry water’ is being used in the zen sense, (from which I believe it derives) I’d say it means something like this : At the heart of each moment lies eternity, ( for want of a better term, maybe nirvikalpa samadhi ) and eternity doesn’t change or move, even though the moments flow and everything else changes. So, what does a person who understands this do ? They chop wood, and carry water. In other words, they attend to whatever needs to be done. The past has gone forever, the future has not arrived, there is only this, this very moment, filled with immense potential…

    Remaining at the still point at the exact centre of the spinning wheel, ( of samsara ) which does not move, nirvana, thus nirvana and samsara are one and the same…

  46. Robin Datta Says:

    I’ve been either drying outside or hanging things inside in the winter.

    One suggestion for those who hang-dry clothes: turn them inside-out before hanging. The results are much better. 

  47. Kathy C Says:

    Ya’ll do listen the the Caldicott/Gunderson interview Guy posted http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/?p=6397 Helen pushes him and he says more than I have ever heard him say on the situation at Fukushima and at one point believe it or not leaves Helen speechless – not for long of course, Helen Caldicott speechless is a contradiction in terms.

  48. Robin Datta Says:

    Remaining at the still point at the exact centre of the spinning wheel, ( of samsara ) which does not move, nirvana, thus nirvana and samsara are one and the same…

    There is no spinning wheel, no still point, no nirvana, no samsara. The aware ones grok this. Many a time has it been said in the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures: “There is no bondage and no liberation”, there is a certain choir to whom it does not have to be preached.

  49. Robin Datta Says:

    We don’t know when, where, or how we’ll meet the Grim Reaper, but depending on the circumstances, the Reaper might not be so grim after all.

    If the “I” has died the Great Death, there is no one to meet the Grim Reaper when it comes for the body. 

  50. Michael Irving Says:

    Navid,

    Now that’s interesting. As my daughter said when I read your comment to her, “WOW!” Neither one of us have grown anything other than zucchini before so we are new at it. Historically, we have about 70-75 frost-free days here so anything that takes longer needs all kinds of special care. Have you every tried to cover squash to keep it from freezing? Then we started talking about the various kinds of summer and winter squash we’re growing this year. I have one squash (forgive me, I have no idea what kind) that has a fruit that looks like a smooth, shiny skinned pumpkin that behaves like yours, all limp during the middle of the day no mater how much I water it. This is nothing as dramatic as yours but follows the same principle. All the others stay pretty much pumped up all day. One winter squash that I have been watering stays pumped all day. Another of the same variety, but grown as an experiment with little water, deflates rapidly every day, pretty much like yours.

    Also, I would like you to remember that even though we have had no rain since the middle of July we had a very wet spring, unlike nearly everyone else in the country. It is also interesting to note, re global warming, that we had almost three weeks more growing season this spring (of course how do you prepare for that the first year). We planted as if we would have frost the first week of June and the third week of August and the August frost came right on schedule. Now we are in some kind of Indian summer, really cold (but no frost) in the morning and back up into the 80s every afternoon. Even here, where we have been very lucky, things are changing.

    Michael Irving

  51. Judy Says:

    Michael and KathyC,

    Thank you for the additional information. I agree with Arthur Noll’s points which you reiterated, Michael, and I am attempting to use permaculture principles in my garden. This is my first year of implementation, and I have a long way to go. I have a mountain of materials in one corner of my yard which will eventually be incorporated into the soil. There are many trees in my neighborhood, and I plan to take the leaves from people who don’t want them a la KathyC. Down the street, one neighbor has 14 hens and one very-fortunate rescued rooster. They are giving me some of the excess coop waste. What I want to do is have my own coop eventually. However, with what comes from my own yard and my neighbors’ within walking distance, I should be able to accumulate plenty of biomass. I am planting nutrient accumulator plants like comfrey not only to provide nutrients, but also to attract bees and provide even more biomass for the garden.

    I am interested in water catchment systems to help with the dry periods i.e. rain barrels, swales, more hugelkultur, and maybe a small rain garden. There is a ton of work to be done, but fortunately, there is a couple who wanted to share gardening space who have helped tremendously.

    Michael, I have a feeling your wife might not like my parking strip which I mulched with straw. Eventually would like to have a wood chip mulch, but I need to find an arborist who is working in the neighborhood who can drop some off for me. That does, indeed, involve fossil fuels.

    I am intrigued about the potatoes closest to the wood not having scale.

  52. BenjaminTheDonkey Says:

    .

    We evolved to keep fighting, for sure,
    But, knowing there isn’t a cure,
    Perhaps we will find
    Unforseen change of mind
    When the pain is too much to endure.

  53. Judy Says:

    Kathy C, my washer is a front loader, so it doesn’t use quite as much water. However, it does run of electricity. I don’t use the washer very often because most of my clothes I do wash by hand. I have noted your recommendations for a dual sink and wash board. Thank you.

    Robin, I already wash my clothes inside out, so that’s how they are hung to dry (pockets, and all that.) As for my “I”, I know I don’t have to tell you this, but it’s not dead yet.

  54. Judy Says:

    MB, I don’t worry about bacteria on my clothes as I’m not germ phobic; it’s the dirt I’m trying to eliminate. I would not even worry about that so much if I didn’t have to work. As you have noted, if we go Fukushima by 2015, I won’t have to worry about a job, either, for obvious reasons.

  55. ulvfugl Says:

    “There is no spinning wheel, no still point, no nirvana, no samsara. The aware ones grok this. Many a time has it been said in the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures: “There is no bondage and no liberation”, there is a certain choir to whom it does not have to be preached.”

    Of course there is no spinning wheel, etc, these things are mere words, used to convey ideas, metaphors, analogies, similes, notions, depictions, so that people can communicate, otherwise there would be only silence, and a blank computer screen.

    If there is no bondage and no liberation, then there are no ‘aware ones to grok’ and no choir needing or not needing preaching either.

    The problem is, you’re just regurgitating Hui Neng, no dust, no mirror, no nothing…

    And yet, and yet, what is this hunger in my belly, this pain in my head, this hard table leg that stubs my toe, this beautiful world that is being defiled and destroyed ?

    Neither the Hindus nor the Buddhists can answer… all they can do is hide and cower behind ancient grimy tatty dead doctrines and worn out dogmas. No use to me at all !

  56. Michael Irving Says:

    Judy,

    Failed ponds–NO SUCH THING! Ha, I’m glad you discovered the salamanders and that they are still doing well.

    ln answer to your question, yes, we have frogs and toads about in the same numbers we would expect to see. It is not a bumper year where they are everywhere. I have not seen any western skinks this year and rubber boas seem few and far between. In fact, now that you mention it I’ve only moved three snakes off the road this year (a lot less than normal), but that is hardly what you’d call a “rigorous” study of herpetology.

    Michael Irving

  57. Ryan Says:

    Has anyone here ever heard of Bill Black and his essay “The Abolition of Work?” That’s the kind of future I strive for (maybe not entirely, but the jist of it). What I don’t understand is why so much of the population can’t see it, don’t want to see it, or simply can’t see how possible it really is.

  58. Michael Irving Says:

    TRDH,

    Hugelkultur may not be the answer to everything but it does bear another look. I have not figured out how to build up a waist high bed surrounding a core of logs. I don’t have very much top soil as it is so building a pile would strip the rest of the garden of soil That’s why I went to other way and buried the logs in parallel trenches on either side of the bed. If I had been smart I would have figured a better to configure my system–maybe alternating rows of planting beds and logs. Of a single bed consisting of plantings on each side of the buried logs, like this (P=plants L=logs) Read this as if you were looking down on the garden from a helicopter, viewing only a small part of one row/bed that would extend down off the bottom of the page after the “etc.” with plants growing on either side of the logs. Sorry, it is a clunky way to show it.
    PLPPLP
    PLPPLP
    PLPPLP
    PLPPLP
    etc.

    That might give more access to water and better utilization of the ground instead of what I did:
    LPPL
    LPPL
    LPPL
    etc.

    Also, repeating Navid, check out deep mulching ala Ruth Stout. You probably already know that. Also, “Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture” is interesting.

    Michael Irving

  59. ulvfugl Says:

    Yeah, i’ve read BOB Black. I like him.

    http://www.zpub.com/notes/black.html

  60. Michael Irving Says:

    Kathy C,

    You’ll like this one. Last night my daughter WAS NOT using the humanure outside toilet, luckily. We had a huge wind storm and the top 50-60 feet of a 90 foot ponderosa pine tree blew out. It crash down with the top about 10 feet to one side of the toilet. She notes that if it had happened when she was sitting there it certainly would have helped her get her business done.

    As it was she was in her cabin about 40 feet away–it shook the whole building.

    Michael Irving

  61. Robin Datta Says:

    Doesn’t radiation kill bacteria?

    Indeed it does. But no all to the same extent.

  62. ed Says:

    Michael:

    We hired a bulldozer 4 years ago to come in and dig two 25′ x 50′ trenches 2 ft deep. First layer was rotting logs, then brush, then pure manure, then rotting hay/straw, and then something that resembled compost/top soil. We have one of these holes filled, and some things do really well in there some not so good. When it is this dry anything growing in the top 6 inches doesn’t do very well. As some of you noted, with a little rain we are gettying quite a pop in growth. Even saw some blueberries starting to blossom. Surprise to them, frost free here (Fingerlakes NY) ends 9.21

    Right now we are digging foundations for house and water solar arrays. There is a little moisture in the first couple of inches, and then it’s concrete the next 3.5 feet.

    Everything we grow now, needs to depend on access to water. We have 3 wells, and two very healthy spring fed ponds, but moving the water around is complicated.

  63. Robin Datta Says:

    As for my “I”, I know I don’t have to tell you this, but it’s not dead yet.

    It is not so much a matter of its dying as becoming aware that it is a mirage, like the water seen ahead on a hot desert road.

    Neither the Hindus nor the Buddhists can answer… all they can do is hide and cower behind ancient grimy tatty dead doctrines and worn out dogmas. No use to me at all !

    Indeed. 

  64. Judy Says:

    ” I would not have wanted to be a fly on the wall of one of their overwhelming dwellings”

    Neither would I, Morocco Bama.

  65. Judy Says:

    “It is not so much a matter of its dying as becoming aware that it is a mirage, like the water seen ahead on a hot desert road.”

    Thank you, Robin, for your very gentle instruction. I do know this on some level, but I clearly don’t have the same awareness that you do. That’s why I said my “I” is not dead, and I was teasing you just a wee bit, too.

  66. ulvfugl Says:

    “Indeed”

    You agree with me ? I was expecting some dispute, Robin Datta 🙂

  67. ulvfugl Says:

    Re washing, odours, etc, people at that time were used to living with farm animals all around, even sharing their houses with cattle and sheep to add warmth in winter, I think they were used to strong stink, we’ve had a century of advertising by industries that profit by brainwashing us about the virtue of cleanliness and instilling paranoia about dirt and disease… Not that I object to people wanting to be clean and smelling pleasant.

  68. Robin Datta Says:

    You agree with me ? I was expecting some dispute, Robin Datta

    The presumption is that one is in a flood, or that one has crossed the river. 

    As is mentioned in many places, the “enlightened” one has no use for any of the scriptures or doctrines. 

    By one allegory, ordinary folk go to a well to draw water: the enlightened one sits in a flood. 

    By another allegory, the teachings are like a raft one uses to cross a river. Once crossed, the raft is left behind as one proceeds on.

  69. Judy Says:

    KathyC, I forgot to say that I did take your point about washing clothes by hand being more difficult that the drying of said clothes sans dryer. Even though I do wash some by hand, I’ve not had the experience of washing them all by hand. But I’m sure I will.

  70. ulvfugl Says:

    My teacher, Jiyu Kennett, wrote a book called ‘Selling water by the river’.

    I never met her personally, only her followers.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houn_Jiyu-Kennett

    Yes, sitting in the flood. Which is the same as what I meant by the exact centre of the axis of the wheel. Waves and storms, lashing rain and broken houses, trees and dead bodies floating past, but nothing moves….

    Or, when the sun shines, blue sky, and people come, they could take the water for free, but they don’t understand that, so I sell it to them. Still nothing moves. 🙂

  71. Kathy C Says:

    Michael so glad your daughter was not taken out by the tree. Points out how iffy our existence is even without collapse. Which should remind us to tell people we love how much we love them often.

  72. ulvfugl Says:

    The Welsh have a reputation for sheep shagging, MB, never having tried it, I can only imagine. They are smelly old things. I think that if/when the collapse comes here, it’ll be possible to live on mutton for years. There’s many more sheep than people, all out on remote isolated hill country, perfect for cross bow hunting.

  73. Kathy C Says:

    Judy, Lehman’s has a good washing plunger that is easier than using a washboard http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Washing___Rapid_Laundry_Washer___66RW#66RW

  74. Kathy C Says:

    They also have a good wringer that attaches to a tub
    http://www.lehmans.com/store/Home_Goods___Laundry___Washing___Lehman_s__Best_Hand_Wringer___32823320#32823320

    It takes a bit to get a method for using the wringer on men’s pants but I am well used to it now and it goes pretty quickly. Of course it doesn’t get out as much water as the spin on an electric washer so line drying takes longer.

    My washer is outside under the house (which is on pillars) but I can look out over the garden while I work. Winter washing is not so much fun and I have to make sure water doesn’t freeze in my drain hose….. I have much respect for the women of yore….

  75. Judy Says:

    Michael, I drafted a reply to you earlier this afternoon, but somehow I managed to lose it. Thank you for your update on the frogs, toads, and snakes on your property. I have not found a single one here at my house, but I am hopeful that, just like the contingent of salamanders I found,they are here and I just don’t know it. I grew up with such an abundance of these creatures that I really miss seeing them. However, I don’t miss the abundance of poisonous snakes.

    I am intrigued with your method of building your hugelkultur beds and would love to hear how they are working out for you. Like you, I don’t have an abundance of soil lying around, so I dug the soil out of the spot where I have my small bed, filled it with small logs and chopped-up shrubs, and used the soil to cover it. Topped it off with shredded leaves. That’s how we plan to do the rest of the beds we will be building over time.

    If you and TRDH (and anyone else interested)have not found this link, this has much information about building the hugel beds:

    http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

    Also, Michael, I love Sepp Holzer. He’s such a renegade, and he is definitely using downed trees to his advantage. As you know, though, he uses a lot of heavy equipment. Maybe, like some have mentioned, we should not worry because it will bring down industrial civilization much sooner. It’s almost a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

  76. Robin Datta Says:

    When exposed to repetitive identical stimulation, there is the phenomenon of sensory fatigue. 

    When putting on one’s most comfortable shirt or pants, one feels how good they are. But in a while, one no longer notices them. That is not because the receptors in the skin have become quiescent, but because the brain is ignoring them.

    Of all the senses, the one most prone to sensory fatigue/adaptation is olfaction. The least prone to sensory adaptation is pain. 

    The story is told of two fisherwomen  returning home from a day at work who were caught up in a storm and sought shelter from a gardener on the way. He put them up for the night at a hut on his property where he kept some fragrant flowers. They could not sleep because of the smell of the flowers, so they wetted their fishing nets and spread them out to have a more smell – or should we say stink?

  77. the virgin terry Says:

    i have a few questions for robin datta (this name reminds me of an alien character in one of the ‘star trek’ series of sci-fi futuristic fantasies on american commercial tv for the past 45 years or so, named ‘data’ who is essentially emotionless, like the original mr. spock) and anyone else who cares to reply, regarding the consequences of choosing a spiritual path that encourages non-attachment as a way of life.

    first, non-attachment has it’s charms for any thoughtful creature who has suffered from an acute emotional loss of some thing or one. all good things must end, and that end is very painful sometimes. all is lost, so why get attached to any of it?

    but aren’t we genetically disposed to forming attachments? what if forming attachments has enabled our ancestors to thrive? what if we’re programmed to need attachments to experience happiness?

    isn’t attachment just another word for love?

    i have such questions because i’ve been alienated and lonesome a long time, maybe my whole life, and i wonder sometimes if i’m slowly going insane as a result, when i’m not thinking about how apparently insane everything and everyone else is. it can’t be good to be alienated and despairing, and it can’t be good to cultivate non-attachment to anything or anyone, from a survival perspective.

  78. Robin Datta Says:

    That spoils be “more agreeable smell – or should we say stink?”

  79. the virgin terry Says:

    otoh, perhaps cultivating attachment to a lovely world in it’s death throes is a sure ticket to insanity. seems we can’t win.

  80. Judy Says:

    KathyC, thank you for the information. I’m familiar with Lehmans for other products. Are you using any of their lantern/lighting products?

    As your house is built on pillars, are you in a flood plain?

    Thank you, too, for the reminder link to the Caldicott/Gundersen interview. I’ll be checking it out tonight.

  81. Judy Says:

    TVT says: “i have such questions because i’ve been alienated and lonesome a long time, maybe my whole life, and i wonder sometimes if i’m slowly going insane as a result, when i’m not thinking about how apparently insane everything and everyone else is. it can’t be good to be alienated and despairing, and it can’t be good to cultivate non-attachment to anything or anyone, from a survival perspective.”

    TVT, I don’t know how to answer this, but I can assure you it breaks my heart. You have established a virtual community here at NBL, and I’m a part of it.

  82. OzMan Says:

    It is no accident that the word FUKushima begins with the three letters FUK.

    It all looks lke the Aliens had better come by soon.

  83. the virgin terry Says:

    ‘think of the other billions of people on the planet. A good deal of them would look at you like you were speaking a foreign language if you delved into the ins and outs of the scientific issues, and that’s a problem.’

    surreality is just one great big problem, isn’t it? it certainly isn’t ideal, which is why ignorance is a huge intractable problem. as has been postulated previously, the agricultural revolution which gave birth to civilization involves the domestication of all life which can be tamed and exploited, including humans. we’ve been domesticated so long as a species our brains are shrinking. the masses have become dogma addicts mired in ignorance. ‘elites’ arguably are no better, possibly worse, imo. one huge insoluble problem. well, there may be one solution: the end of civilization, and a return to a more natural life, assuming the great anthropocene extinction somehow doesn’t extinct us.

  84. Robin Datta Says:

    Selling water by the river

    Master Sogaku Harada died at the age of ninety-one. At his funeral service hung a piece of calligraphy written by himself:

    FOR FORTY YEARS I HAVE BEEN SELLING WATER
    BY THE BANK OF A RIVER.
    HO, HO!
    MY LABOURS HAVE BEEN WHOLLY WITHOUT MERIT.

  85. Robin Datta Says:

    TVT:

    Non-attachment refers to the absence of attraction & aversion on the deepest level. As long as there is a sense of “I”, the identity of that “I” involves some attraction and/or some aversion.

    But non-attachment does not mean callous indifference. Before enlightenment, “When I itchez, I scratchez”; after enlightenment, “When I itchez, I scratchez”. 

    In non-attachment, one continues to act in a manner appropriate to the circumstance, but without attraction or aversion to the anticipated results of the action.

    In the traditional teachings, it is said that such actions, and only such actions, do not generate new karma. 

  86. ulvfugl Says:

    I think you are spreading confusion, MB, I don’t think that clip has anything to do with non-attachment, and to the virgin terry, I’d say not to worry about it, non-attachment and all the rest are part of the Buddha’s recommendation to follow the Noble Eightfold Path. It was prescribed as a package, a bundle, so taking bits of it out of context doesn’t make much sense.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path%5D

    I think everybody is different, and each should seek a path that makes sense to them. There’s zillions to choose from. Personally, I think zen is the best, but I would say that wouldn’t I.

    http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/C%20-%20Zen/Ancestors/The%20Zen%20Teachings%20of%20Huang%20Po/Zen%20Teachings%20of%20Huang-po.htm

    It would be useless for someone like MB who doesn’t like rules. In the zen monastery I attended, every single thing was governed by rules, and if you broke them you had to leave. Those rules were nothing like as strict as the original 13th C japanese rules, they were considerably relaxed for soft modern Western students.
    In a book reviewing European retreat centres, it was described as ‘not suitable for spiritual dilettantes’. Not many people like such a fierce and committed teaching. However, it was exactly what I needed. It was the best thing I ever found in my life.

  87. ulvfugl Says:

    I find that idea of private cities very alarming, deeply sinister.

  88. Robin Datta Says:

    In the menagerie of Craig Venter’s imagination, tiny bugs will save the world.

    A single gram of soil may contain billions of microbes, and many thousands of species of bacteria alone. About 1% of the bacteria found in soil can be grown in the lab. 

    Analysis of the genetic material in such samples shows the presence of forms of life that are not otherwise recognised. These are referred to as biological dark matter:

    Biological dark matter is uncategorized genetic material on Earth that does not fall under the three existing domains of life: bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. Its presence suggests that a possible fourth domain of life may yet to be discovered.

    It should not be presumed that the release of a few or even many strains of “synthetic bacteria” into the enormously complex and almost entirely unknown wilds of Nature will have adequately predictable consequences. 

  89. ulvfugl Says:

    “Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-09-06/if-we-learn-our-history-we’re-not-doomed-repeat-it

  90. Robin Datta Says:

    It was prescribed as a package, a bundle, so taking bits of it out of context doesn’t make much sense.

    When one gets it, one gets it all. There is nothing piecemeal about it. 

  91. Nancy Says:

    I am very, very concerned about these issues and actively working on them. We need to educate people and step up to the plate. Humor works. Has anyone seen the Rogue Weathergirl who talks about climate change? 260,000+ views in a few days on YouTube! This gives me hope.

  92. Robin Datta Says:

    Rogue Weathergirl who talks about climate change? 260,000+ views in a few days on YouTube! This gives me hope.

    Wile E. Coyote is just beginning to feel around with his toes for solid ground after having run off the climate cliff. 

  93. OzMan Says:

    Morocco Bama

    That muppet clip is fun, however, my all time favourite pre-verbal musical piece is below:
    Manha Manha…

    Also, is it not possible the private cities will not be for the enslavement of poor workers, but the home of the rich, who wish to live amongst only themselves, and a small slave class who serve them, with a clear legal distinction?

    After all, if the rich elite PTB take up these residences, the rest of humanity can just cope with the breaking down of infrastructure.

    It looks like the beginning of phase one of some derivative of the Hunger Games farce, perhaps.

  94. Robin Datta Says:

    I drafted a reply to you earlier this afternoon, but somehow I managed to lose it.

    In Windows, use notepad and save it with a title before entering anything into it. When exiting Notepad, there is a prompt to save changes. Select all, copy all is under Edit; paste is easy with a right-click (left click if one has reversed the mouse buttons, as I have). Macs should have an equivalent method, but I have never used a Mac. I mostly use the iPhone (3G), including browsing and commenting on NBL. 

  95. OzMan Says:

    Robin Datta

    My experience is that it comes like waves, and when the wave engulfs you, for that peoiod there is a letting go of, what you refer to as the ‘attachment’, but Adi Da Samraj refers to as the self contraction.

    Those periods can be brief, or they can last in essence some years, and result in very high functioning, and relative ease in submission to the self transcending impulse. Creativity flows very fast and solutions to real or percieved impediments to growth or what is refered to as ‘problem solving’ are expediently mediated by the intuitive function, meshing in infinite timeing with the mechanics of the ordinary time based clockwork ‘reality’.

    In other times the ‘attachment’ is as thick and sticky as always, but for the recent experiential memory of another way of existing.

    Your comments I take as true for how you perceive it.
    No competition here, I just wish to put up that all or nothing is only one way of seeing it, however, when swimming perfectly, and sublimly, where has the water gone? In truth we are the river in that eternal now.( Yes… and the raindrop, and the steam, and the runnoff, and the lake and of course the great oceans – or none of these)

  96. David W. Says:

    The ETs are here now and have been long before our creation. We are the creation of ETs, 120k years ago. That is why we do not fit within nature. If you want to know our true history and have some clues about our future, I urge you to invest some time in watching this playlist by Lloyd Pye.

  97. ulvfugl Says:

    “When one gets it, one gets it all. There is nothing piecemeal about it.”

    Did you not notice, RD, that t v terry asked you a question concerning non-attachment, to which you did not reply ?

    You are surely not correct. An instant understanding of all facets of the Noble Eightfold Path to someone who has no understanding of buddhism ? Even someone devoted to that path might find it extremely difficult to practice, say, Right Livelihood, in contemporary Western soceity, where almost every job and career goes against buddhist teachings.
    Even if a person fully understood what Right Livelihood is, the practical problems of earning an income ethically could take years to overcome. And to learn to meditate correctly can take some people years. That’s why so many give up.

    Your ‘gets it all’ is based on your own experience is it ? But that’s not of any assistance to t v terry, is it. She asked powerful questions which deserve answers :

    “i have a few questions for robin datta (this name reminds me of an alien character in one of the ‘star trek’ series of sci-fi futuristic fantasies on american commercial tv for the past 45 years or so, named ‘data’ who is essentially emotionless, like the original mr. spock) and anyone else who cares to reply, regarding the consequences of choosing a spiritual path that encourages non-attachment as a way of life.

    first, non-attachment has it’s charms for any thoughtful creature who has suffered from an acute emotional loss of some thing or one. all good things must end, and that end is very painful sometimes. all is lost, so why get attached to any of it?

    but aren’t we genetically disposed to forming attachments? what if forming attachments has enabled our ancestors to thrive? what if we’re programmed to need attachments to experience happiness?

    isn’t attachment just another word for love?

    i have such questions because i’ve been alienated and lonesome a long time, maybe my whole life, and i wonder sometimes if i’m slowly going insane as a result, when i’m not thinking about how apparently insane everything and everyone else is. it can’t be good to be alienated and despairing, and it can’t be good to cultivate non-attachment to anything or anyone, from a survival perspective.”

    My answer says that it’s not ‘non-attachment’ that is the way of life, it’s the Buddha’s Eightfold Path ( if a person chooses buddhism as their preference ) and ‘non-attachment’ is meaningless outside that context. Most people are already alienated and lonely and lost, so confusion over what ‘non-attachment’ means will just make things worse for them.

  98. ulvfugl Says:

    “So, I’m guessing here, but it sounds like those afflicted with Tourette syndrome would not be welcome, and would ultimately be kicked out, or hidden in a back closet somewhere when the guests arrived.”

    I have no idea how they’d decide about a case of Tourettes. The general policy is/was that nobody be excluded on any grounds, if they were sincere and genuine. They asked to be told in advance of any special needs or medical conditions.

    Guests ? What guests ? It was more like a cave retreat in the Himalayas. Would a person with Tourettes, or the people responsible for such a person, see any benefit in taking them to such a retreat ?