Who’s the doomer?

by Kathy Cumbee (bio here, at her first essay for Nature Bats Last)

How many of us have been told at one time or another that we are doomers? I was thinking about that and, although it might be correct to call some of us Cassandras , we are not doomers.

Suppose a wife tells her six-pack-a-day husband that he is going to die from lung cancer or emphysema? Is she a doomer? Or is he the doomer, as he continues to do things that may doom him to an early death?

Is a scientist who warns of global warming a doomer, or are the dirty coal-burning factories the true doomers?

Is someone who warns of the dire possibility of the collapse of more and more
fisheries a doomer, or are the factory fishing boats the doomers?

Are those who warned of a housing bubble doomers, or are the folks who sold unsuspecting retirement funds bundles of dicey mortgages the ones who are doomers?

Are the people who warn about building nuclear power plants on fault lines
doomers, or are those who build them there the doomers? Would living with less
energy in Japan be a worse doom than Fukushima?

In my opinion, warning of potential doom does not make you a doomer. But participating in activities that make that doom more likely: that makes you a doomer.

If we are to be called doomers, let it be for our participation in the culture that eats the future, not for our ability to see and our willingness to speak of the devastation that culture is bringing upon us.


A new classified ad has been added, and will remain under the “CLASSIFIEDS” tab. I’m also pasting it below:

My wife and I are both 35 and civil engineers by profession. In the last decade, our world view has profoundly shifted from the conventional “you are born, go to school, work, work, work, retire and die” to life is meant to be lived NOW and not deferred to the future.

Not being born in wealthy families, we have had to work to build a small nest egg. Currently, I work as an environmental engineer (Note: my job has nothing to do with protecting the environment, only abusing it more while filling out paperwork appropriately) while my wife is a stay-at-home mom, having worked as a structural engineer for 6 years. I plan on quitting my job by the end of the year or thereabouts.

We have a 3 year old daughter to whom we do not want to pass on the cultural messages we were exposed to growing up. Rather, we want her to grow up in as close to our prehistorical ancestral setting as is possible.

We have (more so I than my wife) come to believe that the only truly sustainable way of life is what we arrogantly and derogatorily call the “stone age”. But for various pragmatic reasons, including the fact that we are vegetarians and essentially have no wilderness survival skills, we are trying to find balance in voluntary simplicity and living as close to the land as possible.

We firmly believe in the healing powers of nature and the company of other like-minded people.

We find joy in natural parenting (non-coercive, co-sleeping, extended in-arms phase) and watching our daughter growing up into a happy, quasi-wild child and desperately seek for her the social nurturing that can only come from living with a varied group of people of all ages.

My wife and I are originally from India where we spent the first 22+ years of our life and have mixed feelings about the manner in which we were raised. While we grew up in the typical informal social setting widespread in India, we do not have extensive experience in communal living.

We are big believers of our experiences and have no patience for sky-god(s), sin, reincarnation and the like. If forced to label our views, would call ourselves agnostic-animists.

We believe that health is wealth and consider organic/whole foods a wise investment.

If you are interested in an alliance, please email us at rschwarzg@gmail.com.

Comments 153

  • Was there a point in history when someone said; “Hey, I’ve got an idea…. lets do everything wrong an see what happens!” ??

    Well, the human species has been doing everything wrong pretty consistently for a long time now and it looks as though we are about to “see what happens” fairly soon.

    Converging crises: overpopulation, environmental tipping point, peak oil, financial meltdown, declining water and food availability…. have I missed anything?

    I find it fascinating to try to grasp just what characteristic it is in our makeup that caused such a mountainous accumulation of bad choices. It is sad to contemplate that, if a few survive, they may go on to repeat the same tediously absurd cycle of self-destruction.

    A lot of people seem to believe that “human nature” is unalterable; that we are incapable of thinking and behaving in a rational, life-sustaining way. It’s depressing to hold such a pessimistic belief, and even if it is true, for me the question of how humans might (theoretically) live in balance with nature is endlessly interesting.

    It ain’t over yet!

  • It’s depressing to hold such a pessimistic belief, and even if it is true, for me the question of how humans might (theoretically) live in balance with nature is endlessly interesting.

    Ah Tamnaa, but it is true….I do not believe we have it in our nature to live in balance with anything – ourselves included. Though I must say that many have tried. We always get sidetracked onto something that we think is going to make things better for us – and it never does…What is interesting to me is watching it all fall apart….there is something wickedly intriguing about witnessing Collapse…hate to admit that, but that’s the way I feel. I feel like I am privileged to see the last human empire begin to crumble. I just hope I can last until much of it is over – my curiosity at this stage overpowers even my fear…. :-)

  • BTW, bad choices come from seeing only the short-term opportunity, not the long-term consequence. It is on a genetic level that we take such action. The results could have been much different but we, as a species and like other species, weren’t different enough to make sensible choices. Too bad.

  • Tamnaa.

    ‘A lot of people seem to believe that “human nature” is unalterable; that we are incapable of thinking and behaving in a rational, life-sustaining way.’

    Until relatively recently most human behaviour was directed towards short term reproductive advantage. In the late nineteenth century money-lenders and corporations began to doninate human soceties, and government policies became increasingly directed to the short term financial interests of money-lenders and corporations, rather than the intersts of people (or anything else on this planet).

    It can be argued that people are no longer in control and that words on pieces of paper will determine humanity’s fate.

    There is little doubt that everything will get rapidly worse until coporations are dismantled. Catch 22: corporations are in control and write the laws.

  • Rita, I have purposely not prepared for looting and thievery. We don’t even lock our doors. Of course we are rural, not able to be seen from the road, and small and rustic enough to not present a highly desirable target. I don’t want to kill anyone to extend my survival (before others start getting hyper that is personal and not meant as a judgment on those who are willing to kill others to extend their survival). I might end up doing it but frankly I am not trained and hardly think I would be successful. I could get some looters smashed on my stash of booze I suppose and then decide.

    But except for those highly trained in martial arts it seems like eventually you will loose – lots of ex soldiers out there, mafia types, soon to be at loose ends policemen, etc. Lots of guns out there. If one wants to extend survival by might and doesn’t have fighting skills, latching on to a “strongman” and trading skills for protection.

    I am going to die. I am fatalistic about that because being born is always fatal. So I intend to use what preps I have made as long as I can, but I do not intend to fight for my life. That is not how I want to live the rest of my life.

  • Kevin, I agree that people have handed over control of their fate to corporate interests. It is proving to be a disastrous mistake because corporations have no interest in the general good. We are dependent on these corporations for everything; employment, food, shelter, medical care…. as well as for issuing the credit/money needed for both producing and consuming.
    How do we dismantle corporations?
    To me it would mean not working for them, not buying their products, not using their money and I’m fully in favor of all this. Is this approach more radical than that which you have in mind?

  • Tamnaa, just re-watched Ghandi the other night. What an inspiring man, what efforts he went to – almost starving himself to death twice – to avoid violence. What a great feat to send the British Empire packing. What a grand mess India is in today, farmers drinking pesticides to kill themselves because of debt for instance.

    I would like to think you are right, I have hoped for that and worked for that in my life. But now I am quite sure that whether or not agriculture is the worst mistake humans made, humans are the worst mistake evolution made.

    All that said, I value your positive attitude. It is not like the gungh ho, “we are going to survive while we let others die or kill them” that at least one commentator on this site has ascribed to. Rather it is based in the love and respect you have for your rural community and the people who live there. I don’t know if they are special or you are special or both but I am glad you and they exist in the world for however long you can.

  • Kathy C; Everything you wrote above, about Ghandi, India, the community here went straight to my heart! Beautiful and sad.

    “I don’t know if they are special or you are special or both…”

    Well, I know I’m not special and, like you, I accept death as inevitable. I’m old enough now to feel very grateful for the life I’ve had so far.
    I don’t think the rural people are special either, really. I mean, there are still people in many areas of the world capable of living quite well without modern industry. They are probably in the majority.

    Like Victor, I’m constantly curious to see what will happen next.

  • I find it fascinating to try to grasp just what characteristic it is in our makeup that caused such a mountainous accumulation of bad choices.

    It is the nature of organisms, programmed into the DNA, to freely use their substrate when it is plentiful, and in the absence of “checks and balances” until it becomes scarce. This is seen not just with microorganisms, but even in more complex forms such as reindeer introduced into islands. A variant is seen when flora & fauna of exotic provenance are introduced into an ecosystem: the foreigner tends to overrun the natives, as the cane toad in Australia, and European Homo sapiens in the Americas and Australia. 

     It is sad to contemplate that, if a few survive, they may go on to repeat the same tediously absurd cycle of self-destruction.

    In many organisms that in their genetic history have been through repeated cycles of overshoot and dieback, sporulation and encystment have evolved as a workaround. 

    Question to all – do you all prepare for rioting and thievery?

    For one thing, building a fortress is not the answer.  The Maginot Line and the Battle of Fort Eben-Emael are prominent examples. A strong community is a much better prospect. A community rooted in the land may be uprooted as were the kulaks by the Bolsheviks, while one may note that the nomadic Chukchi fared much better under the Soviet regime. 

    In the late nineteenth century money-lenders and corporations began to doninate human soceties, and government policies became increasingly directed to the short term financial interests of money-lenders and corporations.

    Corporations are fictitious entities under the aegis of the state that shield individuals and groups of individuals from personal liability for their actions. Only handfuls of individuals were responsible for the decision-making that led to the Deepwater Horizon episode: none of them is exposed to personal liability, courtesy of the state. And when a corporation crashes, the shares can decline only to zero, no matter how far the corporation is into the red, thus limiting shareholder loss, again courtesy of the state. 

    The fastest part of the economy to grow is the tertiary economy, particularly with fractional reserve banking, and then with fiat currency, becoming a lucrative target for the state’s appetite for revenues. In its self-interest the state will have a preference for the unbridled growth of the money-lenders at the expense of the slow-growing (if growing at all) secondary and primary economies.

  • ‘I just hope I can last until much of it is over – my curiosity at this stage overpowers even my fear…. :-)’ -vic

    be careful what u wish for, victor. u might get it. do u surreally wish to be a witness to something much worse than the carnage and genocide of the past century? chances are the entranced observer becomes an unwitting participant/victim at some point.

    ‘I think there are many sage voices these days but not easy to find due to search-engine obscurity.’ -tamnaa

    as long as the internet remains in business sage voices will find one another on sites such as this.

    ‘Tamnaa, just re-watched Ghandi the other night. What an inspiring man, what efforts he went to – almost starving himself to death twice – to avoid violence. What a great feat to send the British Empire packing. What a grand mess India is in today, farmers drinking pesticides to kill themselves because of debt for instance.’ -kc

    i feel the same way about mlk jr and gandhi. it’s a crying shame our best become noble martyrs overcome by more powerful perverse spirits. it makes me wonder as it must any perceptive rational sherson about the purpose of life, or lack thereof. perhaps if human history has a fateful point, it is when civilization came to be, as u’ve often speculated. at that point, the purpose of life for those at the top became the accumulation/consolidation of wealth and power, by all means available, including systemic propagandizing/indoctrination which seems eerily to have taken on a life of it’s own. rampant dogma addiction, and no hope for appeals to fact or reason.

    ‘How do we dismantle corporations?
    To me it would mean not working for them, not buying their products, not using their money and I’m fully in favor of all this.’ -tamnaa

    fortuitously and not coincidentally, voluntary disengagement from the ‘global economy’ has become the best survival strategy. much easier said than done. those who in large part do so have my respect.

    ‘I don’t know if they are special or you are special or both but I am glad you and they exist in the world for however long you can.’ -kc

    i feel that way towards u, kathy cassandra.

  • I apologize for my earlier remarks – and will keep your words in mind. I didn’t mean harm – but I understand words have meaning. Choosing words carefully is important – and I thank you for the reminder.

    What I do have to offer – is where I purchased some low-cost water filters. The link will be here: http://shop.monolithic.com/products/just-water-ceramic-drip-filter

    Perhaps fittingly enough, this is from a Christian based organization that provides these to disaster zone areas. They include a ceramic filter/ spout/ and optional carbon charcoal filter. You merely add plastic buckets and drill some holes. These have actually been used in “the field”. The price is very reasonable – Please give the site a look-see. I think you will be pleased. I ordered one – plus a spare – at much less than the cost of a Big Berky.

    Once again – I apologize for being out of line.

    Tim E.

  • So here we go again – back to the gas fracking issue. The process apparently uses huge amounts of sand and fresh water, two commodities already showing some scarcity in the States and elsewhere. Indeed, sand is becoming so scarce in the states, according to the article, that if you own it, you can pretty much charge what you want. As fracking takes over the UK and Europe (and other places in the world), the same will hold.

    And does it matter to the corporate and political powers that be that your area is short of fresh water as is the case in North Texas where this article is concerned? Nope, not at all. Profit is more important than water supplies and people’s lives.


  • ‘I think there are many sage voices these days but not easy to find due to search-engine obscurity.’ -tamnaa

    as long as the internet remains in business sage voices will find one another on sites such as this.

    So we hope:

    Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

  • Having been in contact with a lot of people over here, over the last year once again, concerning different issues, it was astonishing how many people very well understand the ongoing ill behaviour. F.i. one of the last contacts, state conservationist, scientist himself, contacted by me due to the worrying amount of trees in bad shape in mid summer already. It was possible to talk about possible reasons, about further reasons for home made species loss, to some extent to possible actions (actually inactions;-) like not mowing every strip of the wild next to forests, rivers, roads small and large, have a look at the pesticides,… Ah, well the agreed meeting to have a look at those trees never was possible though. He is not allowed to see.
    Mainly same experience as up to 30 years ago when started to engage in “green” politics. People understand and know, but then have to switch to survival mode, survival within their present situation. That behaviour, to me, is the sole reason for why individuals (even if they grasp what they are doing) keep up inventing dangerous technologies and so on. Once they are forced to see what! they are doing or being part of it, turn against Cassandra or at least avoid contact.
    Staying with and for people, for family here this takes that Cassandra B. turns quiet. That’s what I’ll do and get some work done. :-) Thank you NBL and audience.


  • Thanks Tim E. – I’ll look it over.

  • A short read to start your day or finish it:


    I’m not Karl’s biggest fan, but he has been right more than he has been wrong.

    Great posts up above. Thanks to all of you.

  • Robin Datta; when you say; “It is the nature of organisms, programmed into the DNA, to freely use their substrate when it is plentiful, and in the absence of “checks and balances” until it becomes scarce.” it sounds to me like “genetic determinism”.

    One definition; ” The theory that human CHARACTER and BEHAVIOR are shaped by the GENES that comprise the individual’s GENOTYPE rather than by CULTURE; ENVIRONMENT; and individual choice.” (Upper case not mine)

    Is that what you mean to convey? Do you hold to a strong personal belief in that theory? Is learning and free will not possible?

    This idea seems to be quite popular. I’d like to hear what others have to say about it as well. Is it taught in school these days?

  • With thanks to Kathy Cumbee, I posted a new essay by Anonymous. It’s here.

  • Rita and Kathy C – there are several wonderful women (and men) like you, trying to shed the industrial lifestyle, in Japan. They are profiled in (what has become my bible): A Different Kind of Luxury – Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance.”. If you

    Ed – tons of oak trees in our area’s “Moose Yards” but no acorns (lots of shell piles by the ground hog holes). Like apples, I guess they can vary greatly in their fruiting seasons.

    I am going to harvest wild rice with some area natives. Not sure when exactly yet, but if I learn anything worth passing on I’ll do so. Maybe I can get one of them to make a wild-ricing post here, or a video or something. I think I have FINALLY (praise the deity of your choice) found one local native individual who has not fallen under the spell of industrialism/capitalism (cross fingers, knock on wood, piss into the wind…).

    “Re. “Emoto” – please, please be careful with this one. Maybe he is related to David Copperfield, or P.T. Barnum, I don’t know. But I know chemistry, and microbes, and physics, and I know how quickly and easily the human mind can “makes shit up” when the shit does’t exist. “Fooled by randomness,” coupled with deliberately selective observations makes for a great delusion/illusion.

  • navid – thank you. I just now checked up on Emoto and was surprised to see that he is not a scientist like I thought, and cannot replicate his experiments. Guess I will gather up all his books and sell them. I should have already done this.

    Yes – A Different Kind of Luxury is on my list. I heard about it from Llloyd Kahn’s blog (who writes the Shelter books and is coming out with a new one soon).

  • Navid: Trying to figure out the acorn thing. I can find trees, mostly red, with huge acorns with caps from last year, but so far nothing this year. Getting lots of white acorns but most without caps which isn’t a good thing. We have shade cloth under them. I think it is still early. We are zone 5 latitude 42 degrees. I’ll keep posting, waiting for the tons of acorns to arrive. We are going to set up an outdoor cooking area where we can make molasses, maple syrup and process acorns.

    We just seeded one of our ponds with wild rice and gave some to two other people in the hopes they will do the same.

  • So who is the doomer in this case?
    As my legal middle name indicates I think having children is the most inhumane action a person can do. Because the shitstorm is here now, and it looks more than likely all children alive today face a short bloody life, with most dying in ugly ways – starvation, violence (state and neighbours) disease, cancer, or radiation, but defiantly not from old age.
    Or is the person having the child a doomer?

  • there’s been a rob atack sighting! even nightmares sometimes have nice moments. continue enjoying life while u can, rob, if u can!

  • Rita, if/when you get a chance to read a different kind of luxury, let me know if you think Atsuko Watanabe is a Japanese version of Kathy C. One great relief for me while reading that book was to find others who value being “lazy.”

    The other day my wife was boiling down a pile of tomatoes for lasagna when a friend dropped by. The friend had no idea what my wife was doing, and when informed the friend remarked, “why no just buy a jar of pasta sauce for a couple bucks?” My wife is rather late in joining me on this little path, but now she is beginning to understand the demoralizing attitudes I have been putting up with from my friends and relatives for the past decade (everything I do is “stupid – just buy it/hire someone”…. one friend proudly said, “I don’t do manual labor, I pay someone to do manual labor.” )

    Ed, re. the lack or lateness of an acorn ‘crop’ – I noticed this year quite a few things in the garden misbehaved all season, so I wonder if the trees are doing the same thing? The tomatoes were very late, some beans barely made it to production before the first frost… I live 40 miles northwest of green bay, wisconsin (great lakes), not sure if it’s a regional thing or not, but it seems several people here on NBL have noticed similar oddities this year.

    I know very little about oaks (red/white ???) but am learning on the fly, so I really appreciate your posts on the subject. The huge oak on are tiny campus is like you describe – a few old acorns from last year, none this year (yet?). I put up a sign requesting students etc bring in acorn or any other nuts they have in their yards. I’ll see what I get.

    The outdoor cooking area sounds great. That reminds me of the old kitchen counter I found in the barn when we moved it – clearly meant for outdoor use, pretty old. Maybe I’ll “restore it” and set up a similar shop – I especially like the maple syrup idea. And for canning – keep the house cooler (as pointed out here previously).

  • navid – about being seen as lazy: I had to drop out again. Also, I believe the best thing is not to reply, but to just smile enigmatically, if you can stop yourself from reacting.

    Today I made soymilk and tofu. I washed some curtains in the bathtub and hung them out. Then I went to the park and did crossword puzzles. I usually only feel like doing a couple of chores a day, but if there is something pressing, I can put in 16 hour days for weeks.

    This is bliss. I live on a tiny amount of money, but time is the new money. I raised four daughters without child support. I deserve this. I was as busy all those years as I am now relaxed. I have no savings at all, but I also have nothing to lose and that gives me peace.

    About the garden this year – tomatoes were weird. Beautiful, but non-productive. Other things I could maybe understand, but the tomatoes were pampered and yet recalcitrant. I know we are continuing to get radiated and that changes the ph in the soil – I am trying to remove it from veggies I pick by bathing everything in pascalite clay or adya clarity.And I avoid going out in the rain.

    Also, I am watching where the sun and moon rise and set and it looks different to me. If it is true, then it should be even more noticeable where you are. Have you noticed? The north pole is shifting about 35 or 40 miles a year toward the north east. Right now I wonder if the solar minimum is what I feel. The sunlight is not as strong.

    I do have some bees. Not as many as before, but enough, I think. For now.

  • Rita Vail:

    Which pole? Magnetic or celestial? I take it you mean the celestial. What is your source?

  • Curtis – I realized after I posted that I was confusing two things and unsure of another. The magnetic north pole moves, apparently every day, according to USGS, and the Canadian version of USGS, and it is moving north west of me, not north east. But the sun is another mater and I remember finding a utube interview awhile back of some native arctic peoples that were concerned about the changing sunrise. I wondered if any of you all are seeing this, too. I have lived in the same place for 20 years and it has only recently come to my attention because I am trying to keep some plants from getting shaded. This would mean a slight shift on our axis.

  • TAMNAA – in regards to your genetics question – free will VS. determinism. This is also an issue I remember from my involvement in Christianity. It basically stated some were created for destruction, some for glory – but all by the hand of god. It would imply determism, and the debate has raged in the church ever since.

    It does seem, from some of the information I have read, that traits and characteristics are passed down genetically. Traits often run in families – and I have read reports that scientists believe gained knowledge may be passed down genetically – although I have no reference at tis time. (I go every were on the Internet). From my own experience, I was adopted, and while my adopted Father has a hard time operating a screwdriver – I have a natural ability to be able to take things apart and put them together – and figure out complex mechanical mechanisms – since childhood. It lead to frustration because my hobbies and interests did not coincide with my adopted Fathers abilities.

    Perhaps a study of “twins” would shed some light –

    Genetic memory is, in my mind, a part of life. As in the past, scientists dismissed certain internal organs – to call them “vestigal organs” – only to discover their purpose later in life – so today scientists call many segments of DNA superflurous, yet studies have showed by turning genes on and off radical transformation in an organism may be achieved. Of course, this is where part of my fascination with Sasquatch comes in – and promptly labels me a nut. If unreleased, but if hinted studies are to be believed, if Sasquatch exists – it’s DNA is identical to humans – only different genes are turned on. Starchild (http://www.starchildproject.com/) is fascinating – because it would confirm ancient American Native “Myths” of interbreeding between humans and Native Americans.

    When I studied books that tried to recreate how the Native Americans lived, and created bows, arrows, clothes, shelter, etc. I was astounded. Low tech – high tech? There is a tremendous amount of knowledge that was there and passed down. It was a sustainable technology, however populations were at the mercy of climate and chance. I’m almost sure that I am incapable of such feats – because of my modern perspective. Knowledge lost is hard to re-gain, and what is coming, in the future, current knowledge and skills, mostly, won’t work. If I truly imagine life without the modern conviences of a modern world, quite frankly, not sure I want to exist – for it’s what I know.

    Rambling commentary from a rambling man. Hope this gives you something to think upon.

    Oh yeah! Orang Pendak – Perhaps another bi-pedal humaniod. These creatures live within the constraints of Nature – and actively avoid human beings.

  • Rita Vail – the North Pole is clocked at moving 40M.P.H. and compasses in areas have been required to be re-calibtrated.

    “The location of the magnetic North Pole is moving toward Siberia at about 40 miles per year — and every few hundred thousand years, the North and South poles switch positions entirely. Geophysicist Ronald Merrill explains what’s known about the inner workings of the Earth’s magnetic field.”

    And, yes, the Magnitude 9 quake moved Earth off its’ axis, and the sun did ride earlier.

    “Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).”


    Did the sun rise 2 days earlier in Greenland? http://www.livescience.com/10417-strange-claim-sun-rose-2-days-early-greenland.html

  • Victor – in lieu of 5 gallon buckets, I went to my local bakery shop and purchased plastic buckets, with lids, that were approx 2.5 gallons, and previously held fillings for pasteries, at the cost of $1.00 each. While a 5 gallon bucket sounds good, and obviously holds twice as much – it is twice as heavy – a thought that needs to be taken into consideration. Try lugging 2 – 5 gallon buckets VS. 2 -,5 gallon buckets. Get the lids to contain the water. I have a pond approx 400 ft away, and a small river 1 mile away. 5 gallon buckets, by hand, are simply out of the question. Please note that the ceramic filter, properly care for, and cleaned – will last a lifetime.

  • Tamnaa

    I have been thinking to answer for a couple of days now, finally I’ll give it try.
    “genetic determinism”. Although the fate of every single human civilisation seems to back this opinion. For my part, I don’t believe it.
    Strong evidence to me are the results of the work of James W. Prescott, about “the origins of violence and peace”. http://www.violence.de
    We are apes who deprive themselves, from earliest stages on, of simple, fulfilling pleasures. Peace to me does not only mean peace within human relations but also with everything, meaning to understand that we have to kill to survive, (other beings, plants, seeds, other animals) but to do this only within the limitations of the “renewable resources”.
    This again inflicts the understanding, that there is no such thing as environment, understand that “we” are part of everything connected to everything else, may this be due to countless interconnections.
    I believe there is kind of determinism, not genetic but due to the “wiring” of the brain from early stages on. And this “wiring” can only be changed (but it can! change) by very strong differing experiences to the “always known”, this and/or enduring for a very long time.
    Example. Working in industry, this company was very heavy on control and monitoring, but social orientated on the other hand, so quite inconsistent. In this “environment” I worked on building teams, meaning not only work by the outcome but in the first place quality of life, based on trust and mutual assistance. (this my definition of team).
    The results were astonishing. Some people considered “useless” before, emerged to become most valued team players, doing great work and assisting others, the team accomplishing things thought impossible before. I remember a couple of people that took next to ten years to finally grasp the idea, it works, but it may take “some” time. The controlling and monitoring attitude by company wasn’t helpful, but it worked despite! this.
    People can learn, change their behaviour, without the slightest doubt.
    But I’m very doubtful that this will or can happen on a world wide scale, the “wirings” set into place are very strong, looking at the “unrests”, war in Africa, Middle East, social “unrest” in Europe, or religions in general, as long as people are not willing or capable of understanding our “predicament” – this same inability to understand is the assurance of the predicament and worse to occur.

  • Please note that the ceramic filter, properly care for, and cleaned – will last a lifetime.

    Tim E

    Thanks for the info. I am wondering about the ‘cleaning’ process for ceramic filters. Intuition (as I might be wrong about this!) tells me that this kind of ceramic is very porous with lots of surface area to ‘catch’ things, which is of course, one of the reasons it is used as a filter. Being porous, however, means that contaminants are captured internally as well as internally on the surfaces of the pores. This means that over time these contaminants build up, reduce the flow of water passing through, and so in order to properly clean the ceramic, you must do something special outside of simply cleaning the outer surface of the filter. So I guess my question is – how do you do this? And do I have the right understanding of this?

  • Rita:

    Yes, the magnetic pole shifts everyday by up to 50 miles or so and makes a circle over time. This is due to the molten core of the earth.

    The north celestial pole is the northern point of the earth’s axis.
    The earth spins like a top. It has 3 main motions.

    1. Rotation around the axis, creating night and day.
    2. Revolution about the sun, creating seasons and year.
    The year is measured by the earth’s changing position against the background as it travels around the sun.
    The seasons are caused by the axis being tilted 23 1/2 degrees to the earth’s plane of revolution about the sun. Since the tilt points us always toward Polaris (within about 1 degree), the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun during our winter, and tilted toward the sun during our summer.
    3. Precession, or commonly thought of as the wobble of a spinning top. This causes the axis to very slowly change the direction it points to in the sky. At some time in the future, Vega will be the north star, as it has been in the past. The complete cycle of precession takes 26,000 years. Not to be noticed in our lifetime.

    What you may be experiencing is a change of your local background.
    Growing trees, melting glaciers, eroding hills, changing your point of observation. This can only be measured with the most exacting instruments.

  • Oops. meant to say 50 miles per year for N.M.P.

  • Tim E.:

    Thanks for the link about the atmospheric possibilities. As an amateur astronomer, I must aim my telescope at a slightly higher altitude than calculated for objects low on the horizon.

  • Day and Year.

    The Earth’s magnetic poles move. The magnetic North Pole moves in loops of up to 50 miles (80 km) per day. But its actual location, an average of all these loops, is also moving at around 25 miles a year [ref]. In the last 150 years, the pole has wandered a total of about 685 miles (1102 kilometers). The magnetic South Pole moves in a similar fashion.


  • Tim E – whenever my Berkey takes longer to filter, I take it apart and carefully scrub the filters with a soft brush. How often varies.

  • Rita,

    It sounds like you will are already living “a different kind of luxury.” When you say “this is bliss…” your description sounds very much like the people profiled in the book.

    And yes, the word “lazy” just brings a smile now. So often people will say this to defend some nonsense they feel is important – like mowing a giant lawn, or worse, “weeding” a lawn. And they rarely apply “lazy” to thinking – because they have no time to think, and just repeat what the television, or their parents, etc have told them to think.

    I’ve not noticed any changes in the sun or moon, but I have not been watching.

  • Navid – I read the excerpts and the book sounds wonderful. I think they are living my true ideal life. I eat like a Japanese peasant, but I am in town now. In the 70s and 80s I was on a farm without running water and with a big garden. Thank you for suggesting this book. Everyone needs inspiration.

    I’ve changed my mind. The right word is not “lazy” – it is “slow” because I am always doing something, but the pace is relaxed. Now that I am alone, I have spoiled myself rotten. I only do what I want. I do some sort of work all day, but it is the work I want to do. There are consequences, of course, and I pay them.

  • Victor asks how to clean a ceramic filter – a very good question indeed. With the water filtration system I ordered – I also ordered the pre-filter- a “sock” might you say. Intuition tells me that by providing back pressure – or REVERSE FLOW – along with mild abrasive action – such as my fingers – would flush and wash away the majority of contaminents. The Instructions say to use a soft tooth brush or 3 M pad and cold water. I can advise you, from my familiarity of working with filters as a mechanic – this would be on the exterior surfaces, where the contaminants would catch. You are trying to clean the exterior surface, without forcing the contaminents to interior surfaces. If you find the filter contaminated from incoming to outgoing surfaces – you have problems that would indicate a compromised/ineffective filter. The direction of flow should always be in the same plane – never revese the filter – the bulk of any contaminents will be on the outside – or where the flow originates from.

    A ceramic filter is merely an advanced form of a sand filter – which you may construct – or even exists – naturally. It is important, if you construct a cistern, drawing upon rainwater from your roof or property runoff – that it is filtered first. On your roof /ground is feces from birds/insects/pollutants from human activities, that may harm you. When you dig a well, you are accesing filtered water that has found it’s way underground, then been purified by passing through layers of earth, rock, and sand. Here is some more information – hope it helps. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Slow_sand_filter_EPA.jpg

    To clarify – In the filter system I purchased – I prefer a 5 gallon bucket for quantity – but I suggested the smaller buckets for use in toting water to the purifier. This is merely a matter of practicality.
    i.e. I strongly sugget attempting to carry various loads with actual carrying capacitys prior to being forced into having to utilize such measures. i.e. It is difficult, even for strong people, in the best of situations to carry 2 – 5 gallon buckets, side by side, fully loaded, for any considerable distance. The 2.5 gallon buckets from the Bakery are food grade, well constructed, much more realistic weight-wise to carry over a distance to the filter.

    Hope this helps.

  • Rita Vail – you describe the correct measures to clean your filter. You own one of the premium built filters in the World. Carefully cared for, as you describe, it will last you generations. Good choice.

  • Bernhard: from the article you quote


    “Through the work of James W. Prescott, Ph.D. and various others until the mid 1970s it was established that these previously neglected senses are of overwhelming importance for the development of social abilities for adult life. Their deprivation in childhood is a major cause for adult violence.”

    It is my opinion, from the observations I have made in my life, that this therory is correct. There does seem to be a big difference between those who were lovingly cared for as infants – and those whose care was only because the law required it and society required it.

    The same behaviour has been observed in Chimpanzee Society – for what it is worth:


  • Curtis A. Heretic – if you haven,t already found it — let me show you some websites you might want to add to your favourites :

    Spaceweather – An awesome sight giving updates and coordinates on the
    happenings in our universe. http://spaceweather.com/

    For those wishing to keep a record of the Earthquakes happening –

    A fellow Doomer site -:


  • Tim E.

    Many thanks for your advice…It is nice to have stumbled onto a ‘filter expert’!… :-) So I do not have to worry about ‘internal’ surfaces – I thought they might fill up over time….it is good to know that most of the bad stuff is on the outer surfaces. I feel much better about this now.

    Not certain how one would produce a reverse flow though the filter, given its shape?

  • hi victor/all
    i didn’t see any info on calcium hypochlorite with this water doom u have. BTW this discussion brought me to go ahead & get 2 of these type less expensive filters [i had a couple of katadyns] & the calcium hypochlorite[basically a powdered bleach[like] substance w/ very long shelf life, which is not true for bleach]. i’ve been looking but lots of pool shock…another name, & has other ingredients. the stuff is fairly hazardous, & storing is an issue too, & u need the right formula for the % chlorine it gives off. but it is a great sanitizer; my current need as i have good water. a little goes a very, very long way.

    because of the complexity here is a link to some [incomplete] info; also research storing it too, survival blog is one place, as it gives off some chlorine constantly. do your on due diligance.


  • Tim E., good advice on using smaller buckets for toting water as 5 gallons of water weigh almost 42 pounds! Also good advice to start now getting used to the effort instead of waiting until you don’t have any choice. If efficiency is a concern, I suggest using a two-wheeled “dolly” or hand-truck. It makes carrying almost anything much easier. I figure when the rubber tires wear out on mine, I’ll make some new wheels out of wood or something (hopefully many years in the future).

  • Rita,

    “I’ve changed my mind. The right word is not “lazy” – it is “slow”…”
    “Now that I am alone, I have spoiled myself rotten. I only do what I want. I do some sort of work all day, but it is the work I want to do. ”

    Those words sound almost like direct quotes by many in that book. I love you say you eat like a “Japanese peasant” and then say you spoil yourself rotten. Hilarious -)

    That is perfect. You will love Kogan Murata when he says, “chin-tara, chin-tara ( p.124,) Translated: “Lazily, dawdling, slowly, slothfully, take a break…”

    Murata was telling the author how plant rice by hand. The author said, “when I use this phrase around other Japanese people later they laugh out loud. It seems Murata my be the only person in the world who gives this word a positive connotation.”

    Andy (the author) is incorrect of course. Apparently there are at least two more of us out here ; ).

    (If you like the book, please write Andy and let him know. He gives his email in the book. )

  • I probably eat more like a monk than a peasant. I adopted the macrobiotic diet 45 years ago.(wow! can it be that long ago!) The children corrupted me a bit, so how I eat changes sometimes. But it is the diet I return to whenever my health needs a boost. Also, it is very cheap. These days, I seem to be sticking with eating mostly raw in the summer and back to the rice, beans, seeds, seaweed, miso, etc – in the winter.

    About two years ago, I began the experiment of seeing if I can live on my social security, before deciding to sign up. I can! EXcept that I also need the money I make writing for the Farmers Almanac. If I sold the car, I might not need that.

    Food is the hardest expense to chisel down. I constantly look for ways to get by without money, but I have always eaten organic, highest quality food. I must make everything myself to keep it cheap, so that I only have to buy sacks of grain and beans and seeds. I grow what I can. No meat or dairy.

    I do identify with the Japanese monks and I think this diet was devised by them because they lived up in the mountains and encountered robbers when they traveled. They needed to be very strong. Long hours of meditation in the cold meant they needed to be hardy. It is the diet that gives the highest nutrition with the least toxicity of any diet I have tried. And it is the cheapest, and it is easy to store. It is low tech. …lots of cultured foods (pickles, miso, tofu). Refrigeration is unnecessary. But it is colder there than where I am. If I have a food cellar, I am ok, though.

    My former husband and I had a wood shop and made furniture that was Japanese inspired. That was 20 years ago. I don’t know why I have all this Japanese culture in me, though. My heritage is more Scottish-Irish, French-German, and native. I’m a melted pot.

  • Tamnaa – Are you ok with all the flooding. Is the rice harvested? Hope all is well there.

  • Tim E.

    Thank you for reply and link.

    when reading over there plus another link, it looks if some people in the comments section seriously are looking at violence between apes as proof that humans also have to be violent.
    Violent apes as excuse for violent humans, how low can one go to find an explanation that we CAN’T do otherwise?

  • re filters:here is a link to a video…scroll down; re installing the filters [similar ones anyway] but the info about shaking the filters, & especially how to hold them when screwing in or shaking seems important[Tim E. please comment if otherwise]. the gifts, & the devil is in the details.

    victor re backwashing a filter; put a tube on the exit & create low water pressure w/ a ‘head’ of water using a container[w/tube of water up several ft. high[a siphon type arrangement should work]; or other means of low pressure, then clean as [backwash]flow gets going. i’m presuming this procedure works like my older backpack filter does. victor some stuff does collect inside slowly over time.

  • Thanks, Rita, it’s good of you to be concerned. Yes, Thailand is getting an unusual amount of rain this season and it just won’t quit, it seems. It’s as if someone was continually dipping big buckets of water out of the South China Sea and splashing it across S.E. Asia. There is pretty serious flooding in many areas but no problem in our location, as yet. Our rice is okay. Our roof only leaks right over our bed!
    We live very close to a river (Mae Nam Chi) and I take a look at it every morning on my walk. It is rising slowly, for sure. Our village is protected by a dike which has always been adequate in the past.

    Having trouble typing this with my fingers crossed. ‘Bye for now.

  • interesting conversation lingering on here.

    i’ve just spent a pleasurable hour or 2 browsing the web beginning with nbl, and ending with this delectable sounding vegan dish i’d never heard of before:


    i happened to have eaten lentil soup recently, very good canned from a supermarket (i’m an idiot/hypocrite still hooked on ‘the global economy’. i know better, but sometimes knowledge is inconvenient…). i love lentil and bean soups. the idea of combining lentils with whole rice and onions roasted in veg. oil, well seasoned, yummy!

    also read a little about permaculure, grains, etc. i’m beginning to surrealize how utterly inadequate my education is in practical terms. how little i know of subsistence independent of fossil fuels and ‘the global economy’.

    it seems to me a smart strategy for local communities anticipating collapse to focus on developing permaculture grain and legume staple crops. potatoes, wheat, and corn are staple crops where i live. not so much legumes. i don’t know why beans and lentils aren’t popular here. ed, if u’re reading this, i bet u know and can enlighten me.

    practical knowledge of how best to produce grains and legumes locally shall become increasingly valuable as collapse progresses, i think.

    tamnaa, perhaps in your part of the world climate chaos will result in more frequent heavy rains and flooding. relocation to higher ground may be forced upon those living in flood plains. many difficult adaptations lie ahead.