Preparing in Place

There are various ways to ready oneself for the trip down the peak-oil curve, as well as for climate chaos. Most importantly, as I’ve indicated many times, is psychological readiness. If you are mentally prepared for a future radically different from the past you’ve known, you’re well on your way to thriving in the years ahead.

Also, as I’ve indicated many times, there are a couple general approaches one can pursue along the path of climate change and simultaneous collapses of the industrial economy and the living planet. You can hit the road, or you can mitigate in place. Either way, you’ll need to secure clean water and healthy food, maintain body temperature, and create and maintain a decent human community.

I recommend a life of travel for most people, although I’ve taken a different route for personal reasons. Either way, an adventure-filled life awaits. On the road, you’ll need quick wits, good interpersonal skills, and astonishing amounts of creativity, compassion, and courage. Ditto for mitigating in place. In this post, I’ll address the primary concerns associated with mitigating in place, with a particular focus on me and the mud hut (my favorite subject and my favorite location, respectively).

If you’re staying put, I suggest you pay attention to the 3 Rs of the future. No, not the educational ones from years gone by. And it’s far too late for the three Rs targeting reduced consumption in a nation build on consumption, two of which we have ignored because there is no financial profit in reducing and reusing. Recycling — the only one of these three relevant actions fascist Amerika promotes — is like an apology after a punch in the face. We punch the planet in the face with every cultural act, and then we apologize by sorting plastic and aluminum into separate bins.

The three Rs of interest in this post are relocalization, resilience, and redundancy. We’re headed for a severely constrained future with respect to transport of materials and humans. The days of the 12,000-mile supply chain are nearly behind us. Forget about cheap plastic crap from China, expensive watches from Switzerland, and decent hand tools from the Sears Roebuck catalog: We’re going to have to make do with what we’ve got in the very local area. Before the supply chain breaks, we should work toward building a resilient set of living arrangements steeped in redundancy. After the supply chain breaks, it’ll be a little late to start digging a well and learning how to grow food.

Here at the mud hut, we pay serious attention to multiple sources of water (two solar pumps, hand pump, rainwater harvesting from two rooftops, and the nearby river), food (wildcrafting, orchard, gardens, goats for milk and cheese, eggs from ducks and chickens, and in the future, hunting relatively large-bodied animals), body temperature (well-insulated, passive-solar house, multiple awnings, proper clothing, and abundant water and firewood), and human community (abundance in this category exceeds my patience to explain again, but search the archives for a few hints). I’ve no doubt we’re missing some things that will ease our lives in our post-carbon future. Some of these items will remain unknown, even to us, until it’s too late. I’m already missing a few things, even before the impending big crash leads to “lights out.” (As Dmitry Orlov uncharacteristically suggests, the day draws near. As “Tyler Durden” characteristically suggests, the day is near enough to be seen by a blind man.) And as I’ve mentioned a few hundred times, skyrocketing greenhouse gas emissions, along with wholesale destruction of the living planet, will seal our fate as a species unless we crash this luxury ship, and soon.

I know you’ve read this one before, but I’d love to have a solar ice-maker to cool our drinks and our bodies. But if the industrial economy reaches its overdue end within a few weeks, I won’t. And I suspect we’ll muddle through, until we don’t. I’d love to have more time to convince my human community to climb aboard the collapse train. But if the industrial economy reaches its overdue end within a few weeks, I won’t. And I suspect we’ll muddle through, until we don’t. I’d love to make a few more trips to discuss the dire nature of our predicaments with people who are aware and interested. But if the industrial economy reaches its overdue end within a few weeks, I won’t. And I suspect I’ll muddle through, although I’ll miss trips tentatively scheduled to Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, New England, and various places nearer the mud hut.

Closer to home, and closer to my heart, I’d love to have time for my parents — and the thousands of other winter immigrants descending on this area — to make the return trip to their northern homes. But if the industrial economy reaches its overdue end within a few weeks, or even within a few months, they won’t. And I have no idea how we’ll muddle through.

All things being equal, I’d rather have the solar ice-maker in a community fully on-board with collapse. All things being equal, I’d rather make a multitude of excursions to exotic places. All things being equal, I’d rather my parents experience collapse in their own home. But all things are not equal and, more than all these things, I’d rather have a planet marked by much more abundance and far fewer extinctions than we’re currently witnessing.

Comments 109

  • “Recycling — the only one of these three relevant actions fascist Amerika promotes — is like an apology after a punch in the face (credit Mike Sliwa). We punch the planet in the face with every cultural act, and then we apologize by sorting plastic and aluminum into separate bins.

    The three Rs of interest in this post are relocalization, resilience, and redundancy.”

    I like the 3 Rs–catchy. We’ll need redundancy in electric vs non-electric systems as we hop down the descent hill. The relocalization is obvious. The resilience term irks me a little–the term is a function of the other two words, and it implies we don’t have to change to get to where we’re going. Why not replace resilience with some word meaning cooperation, since that is the realm of transition for human social endeavors that will soon eclipse everything else, since there are too many of us? Relationships? Reciprocity?

  • Iaato, I like your idea a lot. Let’s ditch resilience and call it 3 Rs –relocalization, redundancy, and reciprocity — with relationships embedded within reciprocity.

  • Generally speaking I get the whole end of the world as we know it scenario. What I am not entirely sure of is why you think that the collapse of civilisation should occure so soon. I understand that the current economic climate, the high oil prices and so on are extremly bad news for industrial civilisation. But why wont they simply result in an economic depression. I can see collapse happening eventually. I just dont get why you are so sure it’s now?

  • Sue Day, the world’s industrial economy is comprised of three primary components: Europe, the U.S., and China. If any of these countries fall apart economically, the world’s industrial economy goes up in flames. I explained how the ongoing collapse could be complete soon in this essay from seven months ago.

    In the wake of oil priced at $147.27/bbl in July 2008, western civilization nearly tanked several times (as even Ben Bernanke admitted, much later). May’s rise in the price of oil to $126 is nearly exactly the same as $147, priced in Euros, as I noted here (and as shown below).

  • People who want to get away from current civilization, understanding it will collapse, and needs to collapse soon, and are willing to work by more fundamental understandings of redundancy and reciprocity, seem to be rare. Those that do understand and want out, may not have money to relocalize, nor money to give in reciprocity, but currently those are the conditions imposed on them. Such people are a valuable resource yet are ignored under current systems of valuation. In holding onto the values of empire (money market values) in defacto rejecting these people, I am not seeing the significant change of thinking logically needed to survive.

  • Thank you for your patience with me Guy. I am reading it but I just can’t take it in as real. My brain keeps telling me that you must be mistaken. That you are overstating things. Unfortunately i cannot find fault with your logic. I know it makes me a coward but I can’t help fervently hoping your wrong. And I do appreciate that makes me a coward as I know how neccesary it is. Infact it must make me much worse than a coward. What a lowering thought, I always thought of myself as a good person. : (

    I really hope I can truely get this before we run out of time. better get my skates on then.


    I’ll spend a few days in the rotten civilization in order to have a couple conversations with a lawyer. Very soon, a half dozen families that lost everything with the crisis will convert their expensive mortgages into cheap farms next to mine: 15 hectareas each one, and we’re thinking about collecting a common fund to get a little bit more land to feed a few cows: (kids like milk, I like cheese, and we shall need leather, as well!) we shall take just what we need to live reasonably… less than a 5% of the land we shall defend, in fact. The reamining 95% belongs to the nature… and we will only be visitors there.

    We’re thinking about becoming a village (officially!!) in order to get some extra autonomy. We’ll be able to approve local laws… I guess that it will be a nice beggining. The winter is seriously cold, so we will use it to build houses (it’s stupid but in my country you need a official permission to build a house in the middle of nowhere) and other structures. The percent of people who are aware of the problem of energy crisis and climate change is small, but now it’s far enough to plant the seed of a healthy world.

    In a couple months, we will be 47 people (20 of them, adult men in military age, a couple of them with military experience). My purpose in life is protecting that precious seed. And we shall overcome! :-)

    I’ll be here until tuesday. I’ll keep you posted, my friends.

    PD–> I have a new member in the family: his name is Rita, my cat: I never imagines how useful a rat-killer can be in a farm… over all if you want to defend your weath!

  • Guy; It’s enough of a job to “… secure clean water and healthy food, maintain body temperature, and create and maintain a decent human community.” while established in one place, isn’t it? I just don’t see how hitting the road and moving from place to place would work as a strategy for providing these necessities.

  • Tamnaa, it is a big job to take care of business in place. But considering climate chaos to come, it’s certain to be a futile effort. Ergo, my preferred strategy of hitting the road, with extended stints in places that are desirable for the moment (or longer).

  • I love finding websites like this one!
    If you have water, you can make an evaporative cooler. It won’t make ice, but water that is cooler than ambient temps is still a luxury. Remember those old canteens that had canvas covers? When the canvas got wet and dried, the canteen contents were cooled off a bit. There are much larger versions, including one that uses two ‘nesting’ clay pots, the outer one being porous. The space between the clay pots is filled with wet sand. It’s not as good as an electric fridge, but it works. It should work better in your dry climate than it does here in Redneckistan.
    From a couple posts back, I was amazed to see your clay oven had a wooden door (well, I thought it looked like wood). I use a rusty cookie sheet with a few rocks piled up behind it, and aluminum foil wads to fill any cracks (instead of the traditional mud). With such a system I can make charcoal, which I use in my nasty clay soil. I hope to wean my garden off of fertilizer very soon!
    “People should really concentrate on what they can do in very immediate, practical terms with their time, with their hands, with the things around them, as opposed to waiting for somebody to come up with a solution or a transition plan…it all comes down to what you can do with your time and your hands and your head.” Dmitry Orlov

  • “Let’s ditch resilience and call it 3 Rs –relocalization, redundancy, and reciprocity — with relationships embedded within reciprocity.”

    I’m sitting here listening to a conference panel in Anchorage called One People One Earth, composed of students, scientists, various faiths, and AK Native Peoples. The goal is getting people in local communities talking to each other again, and in developing a new value system for a very different world. Any hope of relocalization with a different standard of living is going to require a lot of cooperation.

    Sue, sustainable systems require a pyramidal hierarchy of energy with an additional magnitude of energy in support of each new level of the pyramid. Fossil fuels have allowed us to build unsustainable, upside down pyramids of debt, nonproductive work (Wall Street), nonproductive people, and non-functional bureaucracy far beyond the traditional ecological food chain–that is overshoot. Due to our attachment to a very dense, high quality, limited form of energy, we have developed an extended hierarchy that is very imbalanced in terms of number of levels, types of feedback, and overgrowth of sheer numbers that will be our downfall.

    The downturn in fossil fuel inputs is beginning now, but will accelerate as oil exports/imports diminish and the global trade system degrades. Some regions or countries with sustained energetic inputs may do OK for a while. Others with marked changes in resource availability will suffer from degraded standards of living or population levels, or both. The trick is to stay ahead of the pack in adaptation, and to build in redundant systems for a patchy, non-binary future.

    Actively moving away from the dominant paradigm, developing new values, and acting as a role model will make you a change agent and part of a new system better suited to our evolutionary background. Maybe we can keep the google for a while, please? I need to figure out how to pluck a chicken–one of our pullets turned out to be a cockerel.

  • ‘If you are mentally prepared for a future radically different from the past you’ve known, you’re well on your way to thriving in the years ahead.’

    i don’t think anyone knows the timetable or specifics of how collapse is going to play out in the decades ahead. personally, i most fear a return to extreme violent ruthless authoritarianism when it becomes clear the global economy is in it’s death throes and more and more sheople are suffering and dying while the erstwhile wealthy party on like it’s 1999. at that point it will take extreme violent repression to maintain some sort of status quo. here in america the most likely form such authoritarianism will take imo is a move to theocracy.

    but who knows? we live in a bizarre, unpredictable surreality. i expect surprises, some good, but mostly bad, for those who don’t manage to find a remote location and establish an independence from civilization. in other words, i expect conditions to progressively deteriorate in a convulsive manner for those who remain enmeshed in and dependent upon mainstream economics, but the timetable and specifics of events will remain largely unknown until they happen.

    for sheople like me who are ‘aware’ but also still effectively in denial/shock, i think more analysis is in order as to the discouraging effect of living amidst extreme cultural/spiritual dissonance, stubborn dogmatic ignorance and delusion. perhaps more attention should be given to the strength/character required to choose the difficult and lonely path of becoming an island of sanity in a sea of lunacy. i find it very hard to come to terms with the dissonance and determinedly seek a saner existence. getting away from civilization isn’t easy when it’s invaded and conquered practically all desirable places to live. i also expect many will be ‘heading for the hills’ as collapse plays out, so even currently very remote unpopulated locales are likely at some point to be faced with an invasion of desperate refugees. i fear violence will become pervasive, and the price of survival for many will involve killing either in aggression or self defense.

    on one hand we need encouragement and hope however forlorn for the future, but i suspect that speculation of thriving in the years ahead is guy at his most optimistic, in sharp contrast with pessimistic other statements anticipating a climate catastrophe likely resulting in human extinction by mid century. if extinction is coming that soon, any period of thriving in the years ahead for the well prepared shall be short lived.

    ‘On the road, you’ll need quick wits, good interpersonal skills, and astonishing amounts of creativity, compassion, and courage. Ditto for mitigating in place.’ -guy

    i suspect i’m deficient, in some cases grossly so, in all these aspects. i also suspect that similar to any talent/gift, these traits aren’t easily acquired if indeed it is even possible to do so. many are fated to die during the bottleneck and i’m probably one of them.

    in conjunction with the ‘good’ traits guy mentions as desirable to have to survive the bottleneck, i also fear that ‘evil’ traits such as extreme ruthlessness, selfishness, and aggression will be the key to survival for some. considering that our world has come to be ruled by extremely ruthless, selfish, aggressive maniacs, it’s obvious that such ‘evil’ traits have short term survival rewards. unfortunately, short term survival requirements will likely predominate during the bottleneck. thus i fear anti-social traits/genes will be more advantageous for surviving the bottleneck. i hope i’m wrong.

    as usual, my main disagreement is with the notion of near instantaneous economic collapse, where one month it’s still possible to fly around the globe, and the next we’re essentially on our own wherever we find ourselves as everything comes to a crashing halt. this, along with the notion that extinction is likely by 2050 if runaway agw isn’t somehow avoided. however if life teaches anything it’s that we all have our flaws, including those who are most admirable in many ways. so i’m happy to participate here and rooting for u guy, and all others who seek a better, saner world while trying to survive the bottleneck. and i’m very thankful to u, guy, for creating this blog, this unique forum of discussion for the aware inclined to face surreality head-on.

  • Guy, I’ve no doubt we’re missing some things that will ease our lives in our post-carbon future. Some of these items will remain unknown, even to us, until it’s too late.

    You’re years ahead of me with your preparations, of course, but I know what you mean in this regard. To help us prepare better, Josh and I have a habit of asking a question about everything we eat, drink, or use: “Where will this come from when there are no more stores?” For so many things, I just don’t have an answer – so maybe I really won’t need those things. In a similar vein, I’m hoping to start doing some collapse dry runs soon – assuming we don’t experience the real thing before then.

    Sue Day: I feel your pain – your reaction sounds very similar to mine when I first began to read Guy’s writings. However, they were very instrumental and instructive. Keep reading them. Not only will they scare the daylights out of you, but they also will help you be better prepared.

  • I’m sitting here listening to a conference panel in Anchorage called One People One Earth

    They have overlooked something when they say “One People”. The Esquimaux are not one people with the Bedouins, nor are the latter one people with the native tribes of the Amazon rain-forest. Relocalization means Many Peoples, One Earth.

    Maybe we can keep the google for a while, please?

    What are the Internet’s dependencies?

  • Jean, great to hear from you and exciting that your community is growing. You have made tremendous progress in a very short time. While I think that getting through the bottleneck is in fact not very desirable personally, being past peak age probably plays strongly into that thinking. Philosophically I am not sure that our species should do anything but extinct itself given its dismal track record. But emotionally I find myself hoping you achieve your goals. Once things totally collapse we will never hear from you again, or anyone else on this web site. But I carry a picture of you with the Donkey and now the cat and your growing community in my head.

  • Jean is back! I for one am extremely happy to here of your progress. I would be interested to know how you gathered such a group together in such a short time? We here in the US have those same silly things called building permits. Lucky to live in the country, as long as you pay your 35 dollars, they pretty much leave you alone. More details on what you are up to would be welcome.

    Sue: Here is some math for you to consider (these are just rough numbers folks). The world produces 33B in a year in C+C, and there are 7B people. The world adds 200,000 people per day. The CEO of Shell Oil says we need to find and develop 4 Saudi Arabias within the next decade just to stay even. I find it hard to look at those numbers without concluding we are all screwed.

  • Guy (or anyone else), would you mind commenting a bit on Tyler Durden’s post that you link to. I understand how important liquidity is in the system. I don’t understand the stuff about margin calls. I do get that he thinks the shit might be headed to the fan, I am just not sure of the exact mechanism :) Not that it matters that I understand – que sera sera, but being human I like to understand.

  • Terry, just keep reminding yourself that even ruthless people have to sleep….

  • Kathy,

    Say I want to buy 1000 shares at $10 a share, but only have $5,000 of my own. I can borrow $5,000 from my broker. That means I have 50% equity in the shares. But what if the share price drops to $7 a share? I now only have $2,000 equity or 2000/7000 = 28.6% equity. If the brokerage has a maintenance margin of 30%, I would get a margin call to put more money into my account to bring my equity up to 30% again, in this case an extra $100 (2100/7000 = 30%). Now it seems that the CMF has just raised the maintenance margin, which means there will be a huge number of investors around the world scrambling to find money to top their accounts up with – and we’re not just talking hundreds of dollars here. A margin call is very bad news for commodity and share traders. If they can’t find the money, the broker can sell whatever shares they have at whatever price they can get to get the maintenance margin covered again.

    When I was trading, I worked on the premise that I only ever traded with 1% of my equity in any one trade because I was so scared of a margin call. But I guess many traders are less cautious than I was.

  • Kathy C, Zero Hedge has provided further clarification: “So basically the CME is implicitly putting all of its existing and current clients and customers at further risk by onboarding the accounts of those clients who, like lemmings, held on to their MF Global accounts until after it was too late. Because while the lower Initial margin may apply to MF accounts, it will also apply to any Tom, Dick and Harry beginning Monday, who will suddenly see a 30% reduced gating threshold to put on a position. Any position, no matter how risky.”

    There’s much more, at the link, and thanks to Nicole for the clear explanation from her insider’s perspective. In addition, another exchange has joined the high-risk party.

    Piling on, as Graham Summers points out: Europe. Is. Finished.

  • In case you missed this news item . . .

    Biggest Spike Ever in Global Warming Gases for 2010

    From the article:

    Harmful carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels made their biggest ever annual jump in 2010, according to the US Department of Energy’s latest world data released this week.

    China led the way with a spike of 212 million metric tons of carbon in 2010 over 2009, compared to 59 million metric tons more from the United States and 48 million metric tons more from India in the same period.

    “It’s big,” Tom Boden, director of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center Environmental Sciences Division at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, told AFP in an interview.

    “Our data go back to 1751, even before the Industrial Revolution. Never before have we seen a 500-million-metric-ton carbon increase in a single year,” he said.

    The 512 million metric ton boost amounted to a near six percent rise between 2009 and 2010, going from 8.6 billion metric tons to 9.1 billion.

  • Nicole, Guy, thanks for making things a bit clearer.
    Dr. House, Thanks (I think) for the news on warming gasses. I think that climate chaos of a much greater degree is the future and it does make sheltering in place dicey. Certainly trees are great things to plant, but who knows if by the time the bear the climate will be right for them. Annuals give you an annual flexibility at least. But chaos means that even one season is going to be difficult to predict, much less a decade.

  • How the hell can basically making yourself a refugee be a good idea??
    Unless you are in mortal danger I cannot see how drifting around can be better than staying in place. No support network, no access to all the most pressing needs of life. Except on a haphazard basis. Utterly stigmatised by any and all people you encounter as a challenge to their resources. I would have thought that would be the absolutely last ditch effort at survival you could possibly make.

    You are right Guy, you are indeed an optimist.: )

  • Sue, if the climate changes such that you can’t grow food where you are at, you can shelter in place till you starve, or move. Starvation is a form of mortal danger is it not?

  • Sue Day; I think you’ve got it right. The argument for moving around seems to be that nobody knows what climate change will do to any given location. Okay, but how will anyone know that that where they are heading will be any better?
    I tried to imagine hitting the road while preserving clean water, healthy food, community… all I could come up with was gypsy wagons pulled by donkeys (maybe goats?) or a fleet of Orlovian sailboats perhaps.

    Hiking through unknown territory with uncertain prospects for water ahead is always a hazardous undertaking.

    My choice would be to adapt in place.

    It’s important to remember that all these predictions are just people talking. None of this conjecture, sincere though it undoubtedly is, will turn out to be perfectly accurate.
    The truth is, we just don’t know exactly what will happen.

    My attitude is; even if there is no collapse and zero climate change etc. we humans should still be changing our ways and doing what we can to improve the situation. We have today and we very likely have tomorrow so let’s get at it.

  • History has been kind to travelers, particularly when news from far away is rare. If the past is an indicator of the future, people will feed travelers and provide them a place to stay in exchange for news from far away — like 100 miles. When humans are extirpated from the desert I currently occupy, the mud hut will seem a durable, but still ridiculous, notion.

  • Kathy C; of course anyone would move if facing starvation. Guy recommends
    “a life of travel for most people” as opposed to what he is doing so, if you are in a good place right now, with water and food and shelter all in place, you should be “hitting the road” because “it’s certain to be a futile effort” to attempt to live where you are. It’s unclear to me how anyone can be certain that moving around will improve chances.

    Thinking independently can be a valuable survival skill, too.

  • Guy; “people will feed travelers and provide them a place to stay in exchange for news from far away” yes, that may be. The point is, there is no certainty of finding people who have food to share or any people at all for that matter. After all, since they opted to stay in place, these established people would be struggling in their “futile effort” to survive, wouldn’t they?

  • i think sue day makes some very good points in the staying put vs. hitting the road debate.

    kathy, i’m not sure what u mean by ‘ruthless people have to sleep too…’ i surmise this ambiguous comment is necessarily intentionally so, in which case my response is that as long as ruthless ‘elites’ are able to afford multitudes of soldiers, police, and body guards, they’ll continue to be able to enjoy their rest in near complete comfort and security.

    thanks all for the great comments and information, as always.

  • To reiterate: “Ergo, my preferred strategy of hitting the road, with extended stints in places that are desirable for the moment (or longer).” The term “extended” is purposely ambiguous because we do not know which places will become uninhabitable at what times. But I suspect the most habitable places, such as tropical locales where the food grows on trees, will become uninhabitable before areas closer to the poles.

  • i think it’s been nearly 6 days since victor last posted. hope he’s ok.

  • I’m planning to stay put for the foreseeable future, gathering skills and maybe riding out the initial wave of die off. However, I want to be prepared to move in case I have to. I’ve just sent off for plans on building a gypsy wagon. I’m learning how to drive horses. I’m building a network of friends around the country. Given that no one knows what will happen, being flexible and adaptive is going to be essential.

  • Tamnaa, “Thinking independently can be a valuable survival skill, too.”

    Are you implying I don’t think independently? Is that a subtle insult?

  • Kathy C.; nothing personal or insulting intended at all! I’m just talking about the general principle that nobody is an authority on what will actually take place over the next decade or two. I’m not, you’re not and Guy isn’t either. Predicting the future is a tricky business (Harold Camping may disagree :-) )and all these ideas are only opinions, open, I would hope, to careful examination and question.

  • I think the nomad idea will only work long after the dust has settled on the collapse. I don’t think it is a viable strategy in the near future except as a last ditch effort of survival. Imagine you live in the USA and collapse happens overnight. How many communities will be able to grow food and survive? Where could you travel to that would not be overrun by desperate hoards of people? Let’s say you somehow made it through Mexico, now controlled by the drug lords, and found yourself in Central America. Do you think the people living a subsistence lifestyle would welcome you with open arms? I’m guessing that the urban people in those countries will have already tried to disperse into the countryside and the people already there will not be happy to have more mouths to feed.

    Or perhaps you could head north to Canada and Alaska. The best food supply in the north is hunting and fishing. The locals will probably feel the need to shoot you if you try to eat their caribou or the few remaining salmon.

    Long after the collapse, when the die-off is over and local communities of self-sufficiency are reestablished, there may be good reasons (climate change) to hit the road, but before that you most likely will be taking a serious risk to do so.

  • Tamnaa, Hiking through the desert not knowing where water might be ahead, would indeed be close to suicidal. Desert nomads did not do that, they lived in small groups, and sent scouts ahead to be sure of what was there. They also knew where water and food was likely to be, they were nomadic in known territories, but they still needed to check it out. A place might or might not have gotten scattered rainstorms and had its natural tanks filled and started vegetation growing. You wouldn’t start out with that sort of knowledge of the potential of an area in as much detail as you would hopefully
    end up with later, but looking at topo maps can give you an idea of where water might be,and a group planning to do this would look at maps, send scouts, work out where resources are, before the need for actually jumping in and living this way hit.
    Deserts look good to me for the reason that others here have mentioned, such places are less likely to be already occupied. Other places presently unoccupied are long desert coasts and coasts with cliffs and mountains in back of them. Nothing that is unoccupied is going to be an easy place to live at all, that is why they are not occupied, but there can be resources there, and radical efficiency as I’ve written about before, could bring some through. If other actions are taken to speed up the collapse, that would also help a lot. I think there are cracks in this trap. They aren’t big, you will be squeezed hard to get through, but it looks possible. As far as climate change, if we can trigger collapse and get that part of things over with, that would open up considerably the ability to migrate as needed.

  • I would agree with James here – migration is probably not an option until it is the only option outside of dying. That is to say, migration doesn’t become feasible to most until one is forced to migrate, which is what will happen to many, many people as climate change takes hold. Those who migrate in today’s world will find it tough to find places that will accept them, as gypsies and other travellers, expert nomads, will testify. Having said that, if you survive the coming years, you will likely need to prepare for just such a moment in your lives.

    Of course, the point can be made that there is migration, and then there is migration. Typical migratory tribes would migrate on a seasonal basis between lands they knew were hospitable and could support them from season to season. Then there are those who, for whatever reason, had to permanently migrate from an area to other less known areas to survive. The latter will likely be representative of migrations in the future, I would think.

    Try migrating today and you are hit immediately with land owners, laws unfriendly to ‘vagrancy’, and open hostility, unless you have money to buy the necessities. In tomorrow’s world, you will be hit by hostility from those who might welcome news from afar, but only if it is delivered by those who intend to keep moving on, as these folks will not likely wish to share the valuable and scarce resources of the local area with newcomers on a more permanent basis. Indeed, you are more likely to be met with suspicion than open arms.

    Migratory patterns will in all probability tend northward as climate change settles in. Unfortunately, the most northern areas are not conducive to proper agriculture, but only to hunting, fishing and some foraging of natural plants. Very often the soil is simply not arable for intense agricultural purposes, nor is the growing season long enough.

    One also has to consider the effects of abrupt climate change on local eco-systems – can they survive? Big question. Whilst humans have the adaptability to change quickly, most eco-systems do not, and cannot migrate fast enough or adapt to different seasonal changes quickly enough.

    The world of tomorrow is a big question mark at this time.

  • Having been homeless for a significant portion of my childhood I can assure you it is no picnic. Even within the society we have today. It would surely be 10 times as dangerous in the event of a collapse. I suspect that any slow moving cumbersome vehicle like a gypsy waggon would be a constant target for attack.
    psychologically it is extremely difficult too. At least when it is involuntary and there is no one to come and save you if you get into difficulty.
    If I had to migrate somewhere, and I appreciate that that could become neccesary due to circumstances. I would probably do it on foot in a group and heavily armed. Even though I have horses and bikes. Moving slowly would be a trade off I would be willing to make to keep a low profile. Any thing that suggests you have anything worth taking is liable to get you into trouble. After all in my opinion this isn’t like the old days where people are willing to trade news for a bit of food. If you are struggling to survive it is very likely they are too. It might well be a question of shoot first and ask questions later.

  • As far as climate change, if we can trigger collapse and get that part of things over with, that would open up considerably the ability to migrate as needed.


    Good points, but on this one, I think the best you can hope for is that climate change is put off a bit by collapse. Unfortunately, that which is already in the pipeline will force the world we are talking about now. Without quick Collapse, I am not optimistic much flora or fauna will survive the future.

    But as others have rightly indicated, it is hard to predict these things – too many unknowns at this point. But when you already have acidifying oceans, dying ecosystems, melting tundra, receding ice packs, an ever-accelerating decrease of the earth’s albedo effect, deforestation, increasing loss of biodiversity and extinction, then you must consider what might possibly happen to reduce or reverse these effects (nothing, until a new equilibrium is reached) and that our options are dwindling fast.

  • Moving for any reason is a toss of the dice for sure. However you will note that in the world today there are already mass migrations, some temporary, some not. Famine has created large numbers of refugees in some parts of Africa. The Dust Bowl sent the Okies to California. While relocating hasn’t worked all that well in those cases, it would seem that people usually chose to move for the possibility of food rather than starve in place. Seems like having such a plan as Nicole does ahead of time might make moving more successful if it comes to that. Having foresight and moving ahead of others might make moving more successful. Many in the Dust Bowl hung out as long as they could, and when they finally strapped all they had on their old Ford and headed west, they were driven off because California had already absorbed all they could. In fact the great migration to the US from Ireland and and other countries of famine meant that those people usually did better than those back home. Trouble is there are precious few places on earth that aren’t already full.

    Considering all possible strategies ahead of time might extend survival. I will make one strong prediction – within 100 years all of us posting on this blog will be dead. I challenge anyone to challenge that one :)

    At the link some iconic pictures from the Dust Bowl
    “California, the state that had once advertised for more migrant workers, found themselves overwhelmed by thousands of new migrants a month, many more migrants than they needed. So for several months in 1936, the Los Angeles Police Department sent 136 deputies to the state lines to turn back migrants who didn’t have any money. The neighboring states of Nevada and Arizona were angered by the fact that California was dumping its “dumb hobo’s” in there state. the overall opinion of the okies and other migrant workers was disdainful, they were treated poorly because of the low economic status due to the great depression and dust bowl”

  • Tamnaa, thank you for the clarification. I don’t think Guy is an authority and collapse. However I was delighted to find his blog because he says things clearly that I had already decided were true. If I echo him a lot it is because I started commenting on this blog because I felt my ideas and his were quite similar.

    BTW I told a friend I had predicted the subprime housing mess coming about when it did – she got really pissed with me – HOW COULD YOU KNOW – well it wasn’t that hard, I had already read about when the loan resets would start to kick in. That was fairly easy. Predicting the beginning decline of oil is not to hard either although less precise – since we have been on a production plateau for several years. And the more I learn about how interconnected our world really is the more I am sure that unlike the 2008 collapse, this one we will not be able to stop. And thank dog for that. The sooner it happens the less babies will be born who have to live and die in chaos, and the more likely climate chaos might not become climatic extinction. IMO of course. Sometimes you just have to wish for the lesser of two evils if two evils is all you have to choose from.

  • Guy, some of the people who take your advice to travel, rather than settling in one location, building shelter and producing food as you have done, may eventually show up at the mud hut. I gather from what you say that you and your friends will be happy to feed and house them for an extended period, in exchange for news from 100 miles away.

    I have a little experience which I think may be relevant. Many years ago I lived with a couple of others in an isolated cabin out in the Canadian north woods. Occasionally in summer somebody would appear after a harrowing 3 day struggle up the trail, hungry, exhausted, bug-bitten and usually frightened.
    We were generally friendly and welcoming to these people. They ate a lot of our food, dried salmon and moose-meat as well as supplies we had back-packed up the same trail they had come on. They were not only useless, nursing foot blisters or other ailments, but they were needy and demanding of our time to listen to tales of their “big adventure” (hiking to our place).
    When they finally got it together to leave, we would give them food and other helpful items, hoping that they could safely make the trip back to civilization, but… a few actually returned after a day or so, because they got lost or saw a bear, so they would be on our hands for several days more.

    Winter was nice. Nobody came up the trail.

  • Off topic

    Grandma got molested at the airport – a cheery holiday sont

  • Great discussion here, I agree with a lot of what James, Victor, Sue Day, and Kathy C. have said.
    Question for Arthur Noll: Sounds to me that you speak from experience. If you find a reliable water source in the desert, would you tend to stay there and grow food or, would you continue the nomad existence and why?

  • My childhood and my 20s were spent moving frequently – my dad pastored small country churches and I continued the nomadic theme through adolescence. I rather enjoyed the lifestyle. I met lots of different people and experienced many types of cultures – admittedly they were all American. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding experience and one that I think added greatly to my understanding and tolerance. A possible drawback was that I didn’t have to worry too much about burning bridges – I could always move on.

    For now, I think if a person can swing it and they have lined out places to go, it could be a fascinating way to live. I would love to come spend a month or two with Kathy and learn about her chickens and gardens. Also would really like to spend some time at the mud hut and see everything that Guy has done there. Ditto with Nicole and Ed and all the others here who are making serious efforts at transition (this is not a veiled attempt to garner invitations, by the way). Unfortunately, I’m not one who could “swing it” at this point in my life.

    That being said, when the shit starts hitting the fan, I want to be nowhere except in my home. Psychologically, it’s where I’m strongest and most secure. I’m sure that’s a false security I’ve built up in my head, but it doesn’t matter. It’s home and it’s where I belong. And, I echo what several others have already said, if things are bad here, they are likely to be bad wherever else I could go.

    A random thought inspired by the discussion here: I think it’s interesting that we all discuss the urbanites fleeing to the countryside when things go South. Either we’re wrong and are just superimposing our own feelings on the situation, or it’s an indication that even those who’ve been raised in the inner-city and have never seen the countryside, know deep in their subconscious mind that they don’t belong in that environment and that true living is found in nature.

  • That being said, when the shit starts hitting the fan, I want to be nowhere except in my home. Psychologically, it’s where I’m strongest and most secure. I’m sure that’s a false security I’ve built up in my head, but it doesn’t matter. It’s home and it’s where I belong.


    My wife would say amen to that. Home makes all the difference in the world. If I am going to die, it is best at home.

  • Dr House, if you do find yourself driving through Alabama before the crash you and Josh are welcome to come see us and our chickens.

    While I think hitting the road might be what many do, for good or for ill, I too plan to stay put. Besides home being home, I am tired of moving and want to never move again. And I have less years of living to loose so I have less years that I might try to survive a bit longer…. So I will take what comes right here, which looks like more heat and drought, race wars and witch hunts….

  • On 18 June 1918, a man made a speech in a country given over to the power elite. For this speech the man was given a 10 year sentence at hard labour.

    The man was Eugene Debs. The country was the United States of America, home of freedom and the American dream. The message was the same message we hear today.

  • Thanks, Victor, for the link to Debs’ heroic speech. I quoted Debs in this essay, from nearly a year ago: “While there is a lower class I am in it, while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

  • With the usual caveat that history cannot tell us what will happen, but it does tell us what can happen, I would suggest that in any collapse scenario, most people on the move will be refugees fleeing certain death rather than nomads moving to better conditions. Many 20th Century famines were created by militaries confiscating civilian food, as in Stalin’s Ukraine or when the Japanese confiscated the Vietnamese rice crop in 1945. Something similar is going on in Somalia right now.

    If our civilization responds to the current crisis by becoming more authoritarian, the fate of the gypsies in Franco’s Spain is a best-case scenario, Hitler’s Germany the worst.

    That said, when the climate passes human tolerance, you have to move. The desert southwest of this country have been hotter and dryer than they are now within the last few thousand years, so we know that that region can be harder to live in than it is now. But climate change is impossible to predict–there are too many variables, and the most elaborate computer models inevitably miss a bunch of them. About all you can say that climate refugees will increase as the climate gets more energetic due to an increase in greenhouse gasses.

    Most of the people I know who are preparing for collapse/die-off are paranoid about thousands of starving people showing up to take their food. In their imaginings, at least, they are quite capable of killing human beings who haven’t prepared as well as they have. Absent the rule of law, it looks like more people would die by bullets than by starvation. In the presence of the rule of law [especially martial law] more people would die of starvation than bullets. I’m old enough and have lived a good enough life thus far that I could opt out of either world without thinking I’d be missing much.

  • Hi Guy

    Daniel Yergin from ~11:00 – 15:40:

    ~ “tech. will save us – esp. shale oil and gas.”
    “efficiency is another great source” and other gems, LMAO.

    La Curée

  • Tamnaa, I don’t have much experience with deserts, I have just been interested in the potential and have been attracted to reading whatever I could find and watching documentaries over the years. I have also herded goats in Maine during the warm months for most of a decade, and learned something about herding them.
    I think it is unlikely you will find places with enough water to consider growing things, but if you did it could be an option. Problems that come with that are how much control you have of your animals, and that they will tend to overgraze an area around water if you stay too long and don’t control them well enough. The natural pattern around water sources in deserts is that predators limit how long herbivores hang around. They slip in, drink, and get out fast. That stops them from hanging around indefinitely, destroying the vegetation, fouling the water. That can also happen in less arid climates, as well. Wolves really changed the patterns of big herbivores along streams and rivers in Yellowstone, in ways that were overall beneficial to the ecosystem.

    Of course, I’m thinking in terms of my own experience with goats, handling them by myself, and if I had more help I’d have had more control of them, so I might be seeing a problem that is not as serious as my experience suggests. Certainly crops are grown at oasis-es in the Sahara, and herding is also going on, for example. But to find an oasis that does not already have someone there could be a very rare thing, not something I’d count on finding.
    Something I remember from a train trip across the US, about twenty years ago, was the way the railroad followed rivers, since the old steam locomotives had needed regular fillups of water. We went through hundreds of miles of desert and semi arid lands. I’ve thought that rivers flowing through such land could be a way for people to manage. Goats will go about 3 or 4 days without water, you drink up at the river and then make a loop out grazing the sparse vegetation, then back to the river at a new spot. There was one problem with that in that the river was often in a canyon and there were cliffs to negotiate. Not always, but it was definitely a common situation. That sort of thing needs to be figured out, for sure, but it might be possible. You have to look closer at it to see what might be done. Ropes and pulleys might be brought along and water hauled up, if the cliffs aren’t too high, or you might find ways down. Goats are very good at negotiating steep terrain, but they have limits. Again, I see looking at maps as a first step, then scouting things carefully, trying things out, before you commit your life to it. Desperate times can call for some desperate measures, though. You cannot expect things to be easy, if living in a place was easy, people would be there.

  • Victor, I agree there are a lot of unknowns. As military types say, plans seldom survive first contact with the enemy. But you still make plans anyway, test them as best you can, make backup plans as well. I think doing this is definitely better than just planning on muddling through somehow. Perhaps we are doomed, but perhaps not. You don’t know until you have given it your best shot. I am thinking big and looking at simultaneously drawing people together to try their luck in small groups all over the planet, and working to trigger collapse in the rest of the population as that is done. Some of these groups will probably not survive, other groups would hopefully survive. Again, some military style thinking in that, send a bunch of men up the hill and some aren’t going to make it, others might. Nature often works on these kinds of statistical ways, as well. Make billions of sperm, one gets through to an egg. I definitely feel we would be better off to have a quick collapse, and soon. I think there is a good possibility it can be done. It is the basic strategy I’ve given before, bring basic observations of human biology and general biology and physics to people. Some small number have the mental flexible not to fight with that, the rest can’t do it. The ones who cannot deal with it, react with increasing denial and fanaticism about basic science, and bring collapse on themselves. Again, I don’t have perfect vision of the future here, maybe this won’t work, but we won’t know unless we try.

  • Goats … nubians are great for milk … but in the short run, if you can find them, get a pair of angora … the hair harvested until the grid collapses will provide a dash of income. IF you can get hold of one, a kasmiri pair would be money in the bank … but you’d better live at altitude. Another thought, along these lines, is perhaps llamas … or a group of dogs that like goats … . Predators will be an issue … let them eat rabbits or whatever they can find … co-existence will be a good thing. And, you may end up losing an animal now and them … consider it rent on the watershed you occupy …

    Learn to weave, and if clay is handy, how to throw a pot. Those skills will enhance your future (assuming or presuming there is one). Incidentally, unless you are so AmeriKKKan to the core that goat meat seems unpalatable, the excess males can provide a good source of protein after you harvested that first (and maybe second) year of high dollar hair. Money will matter until barter sets in … .

    Think windmills and junk yard alternators for a low power 12 volt system … which could provide some assistance … though frankly not much. Figure out tallow from fats and candle making … or make sure that a bartering neighbor has.

    Were I younger, I’d try … but age, with attendant arthritis et al, prevents me from going off grid. I may end up there … but that would mean the collapse would have to be truly on top of us. I don’t think so …

    Guy makes VERY good points, and I do think he is correct, though his timing is (perhaps) a little too fast. The collapse will be, in my opinion, incremental and will depend on the agency of force. I suspect our emphasis on our military is really because we are preparing to be the last man standing as a nation … . It may not happen in the time frame McPherson has suggested … but it WILL happen. Faster than we might want … but not instantly … ?

    Good luck …

  • Arthur Noll; interesting about the predators protecting the ecosystem around water. The life of nomadic goat herder would be quite a shift from the typical North American style. I’m not interested in it myself but I can understand the attraction. I guess you plan to eat a lot of goat meat and, if you have access to enough water, you can get milk, too.

    Foraging for pine nuts and wild greens would be a possibility. It all takes time to learn, doesn’t it?

  • Arthur Noll
    “..and working to trigger collapse in the rest of the population while that is done”

    Sorry I didn’t understand what you meant by that statement. Perhaps you could clarify what you meant and how you intend to achieve it for me please.

  • Sue, if you go back to June in the archives, you will find a piece I wrote there, Principles for Society, where I go over this. And there are more details to what I’d try to do than is covered there, and make the whole thing even more powerful. I have some observations that throw serious reasonable doubts on how mystics interpret things in religious history. That could be another article, to go over that. I know from personal experience that this can really shake religious believers. It seldom converts them, but it shakes them hard, and that is all I need to do for this. Doubts cause fanaticism and fanaticism is just one short step from actions that bring self destruction. The suicides of cults is an example. If you aren’t being scientific about things, I think you have a cult, with some cults just being a lot bigger than others. The bigger they come, the harder they fall.

  • Tamnaa,

    I haven’t gone goat walking myself, but I understand from reading and from friends who have, that the goats can get enough moisture from the vegetation they eat, even in a desert, to meet their needs *and* produce milk which can provide you all the hydration you need. You can pretty much live on goat milk and some foraged extras. Pretty amazing potential.

  • Ah, the myths of goats … no they are NOT all that wonderful. Yes, compared to other herd animals goats, do not require as MUCH water as others … but they do require some. They are hard to handle and very independent minded. Like a good dog though, a good goat is very loyal and even though very bull-headed and sometimes somewhat destructive, they would be my choice. Sheep are, so far as I can tell, pretty dumb, though the churros of the Hispanic southwest are pretty resilient. Yes, you can live on goats milk, but I sure as hell would prefer some relatively clean water.

    Triggering the collapse? My take, aside from what Arthur has to say is that we needn’t do much. We can do little things to accelerate, but that is on the assumption that quick is less messy than slow. I am NO expert … so I will only say that sometimes we look forward to closure … and an accelerated collapse would then bring the solace of having met the inevitable at last.

    Otherwise, my take is that what will be will be …

    and if someone stupidly reads some sort of religious claptrap into that … then it is their problem, not mine, and not what I said …

  • rg the lg:

    Looks like another player with a no nonsense attitude. I like that.

  • Yes, Tamnaa, a lot to learn, I certainly haven’t learned as much as I’d like, still have questions.
    I have read that a goat in dry desert conditions, no rain for some time, but getting daily water, can give about a half liter a day, and two goats giving a liter is close to satisfying protein and calorie requirements. These numbers sound reasonable compared to my experience with milking animals. Some people would need to make it into yogurt, of course, and severe lactose intolerance would make the lifestyle untenable. In that case I think you might do better to try the option of deserted coastlines and try to live on fish, seaweed, and whatever other wildlife is abundant. Maybe bring something to desalinate seawater. Though of course, you might also try herding some animals along these coasts, as well. The fishing-hunting options look stronger on these coastlines than in deserts, though I don’t know that for sure. For the desert herding option and those who can at least eat yogurt, some greens and pine nuts or acorns or whatever else is available or brought with you to begin, would fill out the diet pretty easily. Pine nuts or acorns are seasonal, and you would probably start off bringing something else. If there have been recent rains plumping up grass and bringing fruiting to cactus, and the weather not hot, goats may not need to drink at all and still give two liters or more a day. Such conditions will probably not last very long, of course. A lot of the water the goats drink is needed for cooling. They don’t sweat but if they can drink relatively cool water and urinate warm, they are cooling themselves. If the choice is between horns and no horns, take horns. Horns are full of blood vessels and are good cooling devices. Sponging water on their horns might help cool them more than drinking that water, too.
    These numbers depend on the stage of lactation and the goat, of course. Sanaans and related breeds are known to sometimes milk continuously for years. I once milked a Sanaan for two years. Nubians have much better tasting milk in my opinion and many agree, but Nubians are not known for this kind of long term milk production, the ones we had certainly never did that. Nubian wethers also have a poor reputation as pack goats. Wimps, compared to the Swiss breeds. Put a pack on them and they lay down in the trail and cry. I have not tried packing goats, but I felt that Nubian does were wimps compared to Swiss breed does, so this sounds like it could be true. Not all of them are wimps, of course, some might do ok. I haven’t packed goats, but I have played around with packing donkeys, and donkeys are another species that could be useful for packing and also milking and other things, like bleeding. Again something I have not tried but it has been common to many herding cultures. This makes a lot of sense to me, as you can get ongoing high quality food this way, from the male animals. And blood is more nutritious than milk. But of course you cannot bleed them too much, it can’t be done as regularly as milking and if you bleed them they cannot work as pack animals very well. Tradeoffs again. More animals helps, but you don’t want to overwhelm what the food and water supply is.
    If you have two or three milking does per person and the same number of wethers, you should be able to get good nutrition for fairly long periods of time, assuming enough water and food for the animals. And another advantage of the animals is they can often drink water that would make you sick and turn it into milk that is safe.

    But if you start thinking about eating goat meat or donkey meat or whatever you are herding as a primary source of food, you could eat a goat a week pretty easy, and that would require a great many more goats. Living on milk and blood, you are under ten animals per person. Living on meat, you would need over fifty. Herders tend to rely on milk and blood and not much meat from their animals. There is some meat, of course. Meat for herders is more likely to come from hunting wild animals, and is certainly a welcome addition, if wild animals are there to hunt. And there may well be quite a few small animals to hunt and trap. Big game is likely to be rare for some time,but should make a comeback as people go.

    As for this being way, way off current lifestyles, very true. And if people aren’t willing to listen to common sense on carrying capacity, I see this contrast as good thing, because the amount of carrying capacity to do these options is small. The “lifeboats” we have here are tiny in size and number, not nearly enough for the “ship”, but if hardly anyone wants to get in a lifeboat, that isn’t a problem. Incidentally, that was true for the Titanic. People made a big deal of the fact it didn’t have enough lifeboats, but the fact is that the lifeboats that got away were about half loaded. Nobody was fighting to get into a lifeboat. There was confusion about whether the ship was really sinking, and in that confusion, the choice between this state of the art giant ship and a tiny lifeboat in the North Atlantic, was not an easy one. By the time it was obvious the ship was sinking, it was too late to get in a lifeboat. We have much the same situation today, only on a much more massive scale. The metaphor even fits with regards looking at the weather when the Titanic went down- calm, no storm, and climate change for the current situation. Things aren’t really terrible right now as far as climate, at least compared to some forecasts. But just as someone might have refused to get in a lifeboat on the Titanic, saying to themselves, “it is calm now, but if the wind comes up, or a storm, that is sure death to be out there, I’m not going”, people might look at climate change and lose heart the same way, refuse to even try. And they might be right, but again, I prefer to try things. There is range of predictions about climate, and if we get this collapse to happen sooner rather than later, it might be ok, might be survivable.

  • I need to clarify the number of “over fifty goats”. That would be with a doe giving one kid a year, when it is more likely to be two kids a year. I do remember one year when 7 out of 10 goats all had singles, though. The reason was a lot of first fresheners, though. So it could be a smaller number than fifty. Say maybe 25-30 per person, but that is still far greater that the milk-blood diet number. And that is brood animals, if you are wanting to eat one goat a week, that is a full grown goat, which means you have a great number of growing goats romping around with the brood does for a long time. There are other variables, too, if you aren’t working hard you might not need to eat nearly as much, also how fat the goats are is a really big factor. If you aren’t working hard and the goats aren’t either, and are well muscled and fat, then you might be looking at one goat every two weeks or so. Desert conditions generally will have the animals moving a lot to stay fed, and nights can be cold while the days are hot, both take more energy for both animals and people. So while there is considerable variation possible, in general you are looking at a much larger number of animals when you start making meat the mainstay of your diet.

  • They are now getting around to estimating the health system costs related to climate change, a previously unreported externalised cost of climate change, results that usually are measured in terms of property and infrastructure damage, not human costs. And the results are disturbing to say the least:

    The researchers examined morbidity and mortality data — including expenditures for hospitalization, visits to the emergency room and other medical services — arising from a California wildfire in 2003 and a 2006 heat wave in the same state; the 2004 hurricane season in Florida; an outbreak of West Nile virus in Louisiana in 2002; a river flood two years ago in North Dakota; and nationwide ozone pollution between 2000 and 2002.

    Although none of these scenarios can be definitively linked to climate change, all six were chosen as emblematic of the types of episodes that experts expect to see more of as the planet warms. They were also selected, Knowlton said, because robust health impact data for each was available in the peer-reviewed literature.

    In reviewing that data, the researchers concluded that these six events resulted in 1,689 early deaths, 8,992 hospitalizations, 21,113 emergency department visits and 734,398 outpatient visits, with estimated costs totaling more than $14 billion. Almost all of that expense — 95 percent — arose from the foreshortening of human life. The researchers used a valuation developed by the Environmental Protection Agency that puts the health cost of each premature death at $7.9 million. Encounters with the health care system in these six scenarios accounted for as much as $740 million.

    The highest health costs were associated with ozone pollution, which tallied $6.5 billion, and the California heat wave, which came in at $5.4 billion.

  • Some are looking for cooling without the use of electricity.

    Provides a link to the page of Yasuyuki Fujimura.

    Still looks pretty “hightec”. On the other hand, a system like this, provided corrosion is taken care of, can last a “hundred” years without the need of repair.

    Energy saving. The past days I didn’t use the wooden stove on purpose. Also the 15 degrees inside indicate a “need” for fire, tried to see how low can we go. It’s a matter of getting used to it – again. Just failed to lit the fire, try another day and night. Saved a basket full of firewood so far, which again took 20-40 years to grow. When being a kid, the only room heated was the kitchen, at the same time for cooking purposes also. Sleeping rooms were indeed cold (double windows frozen inside).
    Heated stones from kitchen stove, clothing and feather beds did the rest to preserve the warmth needed.

    We could ride down the dwindling resources ride, we could. If only enough intelligent and empathic people got the idea. But be assured there wont be enough to make that change ;-)

    Austria, yes, how did you guess?

  • Monbiot has another good article this week:

    To my way of thinking, this accounts for a significant portion of today’s troubles – reckless and self-serving decisions by bloated egos and psychopathic incompetents.

    The Self-Attribution Fallacy
    November 7, 2011

    Intelligence? Talent? No, the ultra-rich got to where they are through luck and brutality.

    By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 8th November 2011

    If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren’t responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the ruthless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.

    The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves(1). He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers, across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

    Such results have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers across Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out they blanked him. “The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture.”(2)

    So much for the financial sector and its super-educated analysts. As for other kinds of business, you tell me. Is your boss possessed of judgement, vision and management skills superior to those of anyone else in the firm, or did he or she get there through bluff, bullshit and bullying?

    In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses(3). They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses’s scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact on these criteria they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

    The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.

    In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded(4). Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family you’re likely to go to business school.

    This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills. As the bosses have shaken off the trade unions and captured both regulators and tax authorities, the distinction between the productive and rentier upper classes has broken down. CEOs now behave like dukes, extracting from their financial estates sums out of all proportion to the work they do or the value they generate, sums that sometimes exhaust the businesses they parasitise. They are no more deserving of the share of wealth they’ve captured than oil sheikhs.

    The rest of us are invited, by governments and by fawning interviews in the press, to subscribe to their myth of election: the belief that they are the chosen ones, possessed of superhuman talents. The very rich are often described as wealth creators. But they have preyed upon the earth’s natural wealth and their workers’ labour and creativity, impoverishing both people and planet. Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

    What has happened over the past 30 years is the capture of the world’s common treasury by a handful of people, assisted by neoliberal policies which were first imposed on rich nations by Thatcher and Reagan. I am now going to bombard you with figures. I’m sorry about that, but these numbers need to be tattoed on our minds. Between 1947 and 1979, productivity in the US rose by 119%, while the income of the bottom fifth of the population rose by 122%. But between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose by 80% , while the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%(5). In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%(6).

    In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%(7). The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in this country from 26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009(8).

    In his book The Haves and the Have Nots, Branko Milanovic tries to discover who was the richest person who has ever lived(9). Beginning with the loaded Roman triumvir Marcus Crassus, he measures wealth according to the quantity of his compatriots’ labour a rich man could buy. It appears that the richest man to have lived in the past 2000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. This makes him 14 times as rich as Crassus, nine times as rich as Carnegie and four times as rich as Rockefeller.

    Until recently, we were mesmerised by the bosses’ self-attribution. Their acolytes, in academia, the media, think tanks and government, created an extensive infrastructure of junk economics and flattery to justify their seizure of other people’s wealth. So immersed in this nonsense did we become that we seldom challenged its veracity.

    This is now changing. On Sunday evening I witnessed a remarkable thing: a debate on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral between Stuart Fraser, chairman of the Corporation of the City of London, another official from the Corporation, the turbulent priest Father William Taylor, John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network and the people of Occupy London(10). It had something of the flavour of the Putney debates of 1647. For the first time in decades – and all credit to the Corporation officials for turning up – financial power was obliged to answer directly to the people.

    It felt like history being made. The undeserving rich are now in the frame, and the rest of us want our money back.

  • no6ody

    Clay oven – charcoal. May I ask you to explain how you go about this?

  • Interesting experiment, Tamnaa. I am currently living in a relatively mild climate, winter temperatures seldom go below freezing, but such temperatures still get very uncomfortable, especially when the air is humid, as it generally is in winter. It goes from desert dryness in the summer here, (central valley of California) to just the opposite in the winter. A few years ago I built a frame over the bed and covered it with blankets. The body heat of two people keeps this warm enough here, I can type or do other small things without gloves or mittens in this spot. We almost never put the heat on since I did this.
    This strategy is not at all a new one, nothing invented by me. I have an internet friend in Holland who tells me the old houses there had very small bedrooms, sleeping chambers, that no doubt would be very similar to what I’ve done. Siberian reindeer herders have a small, well insulated tent within their larger tents, heated by a fat lamp, for sleeping and I would guess also used for doing things like sewing that need bare hands. I could make this “bed tent”, as I call it, much warmer if I wanted by adding more insulation.

    The key thing is ventilation, and I seem to have that worked out ok now. What works for me to have the sides at the bottom rather loose. Warm stale air that you breath out, goes to the top of the chamber, slowly cools and falls down at the end and out. Fresh air is drawn in at the sides. Your warm breath is the engine driving this circulation. The warm stale air collecting at the top heats the top surfaces, if they are insulated well enough they radiate energy back down. Increase or decrease openings to get the ventilation balance right. The top wants to be air tight and well insulated. This has worked pretty well for us and I think it could work in colder climates. Obviously the reindeer herders worked out the ventilation problems enough that they aren’t killed by carbon monoxide with their fat lamps.

    I wish I knew the details of how they did that, if it is similar to what I’ve worked out.

    Having a warm spot where you don’t need gloves, where you can wake up in the morning and get dressed in a warm spot, even if it is tiny, makes life much easier in a cold house. I really wish I’d had the energy to try this this when I was living in the yurt in a much colder climate. The thought did occur to me, but I was often low on energy to improve things, struggling with undiagnosed celiac disease. There are a bunch of things I’ve learned since then that would have made that experience much better, not least of which is what I can eat… it is real easy to get into situations where your energy level is too low to make improvements that would in turn increase your energy efficiency. You can have both positive and negative feedbacks with these things, spiraling up or down.

    Roubini The Next MF Global Collapse Could Be Goldman Sachs

    By Henry Blodget

    November 08, 2011 “Business Insider” — Nouriel Roubini was was in fine form yesterday, scaring the bejeezus out of his followers on Twitter by saying that several huge financial institutions could collapse in the blink of an eye like MF Global.

    These houses of cards, Roubini tweeted, include:

    Goldman Sachs
    Morgan Stanley

    The problem, as Roubini has consistently warned, is the banks’ dependence on short-term financing to maintain their long-term asset leverage and run their businesses.

    What killed MF Global, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, AIG, and other huge financial firms, after all, was the sudden refusal of short-term lenders to continue lending money to the firms.

    Every day, the big Wall Street firms borrow tens of billions of dollars in low-cost short-term loans. They then use this money to make long-term bets on assets that yield more than the money costs to borrow. And then they happily keep the difference between the two.

    In good times, the banks come to take this funding for granted: They just keep rolling over their huge debts every day, repaying the old loans with the money from new ones.

    When the overnight lenders suddenly get suspicious and the money disappears, however, it’s as if the oxygen is suddenly sucked out of the room.

    In additional tweets, Roubini argued that JP Morgan and Citigroup were actually less at risk because more of their funding comes from insured deposits. So that’s some good news for you. Dan Freed of TheStreet has more on Roubini’s tweeting.

    If you don’t understand this short-term funding dynamic, and the enormous risks it creates, read this excellent William Cohan article on how Jon Corzine just flew MF Global into a mountain.

  • Arthur; “Interesting experiment, Tamnaa.” I think you mean Bernhard, right? No problem keeping warm where I am.

    Bernhard; it was a guess based on Blogspot showing me where in the world my trickle of page views comes from.

  • Sorry, Bernhard. Saw “Tamnaa” at the end of your post, didn’t check the top.

  • I figure I’ll just leave this here…

    In the run-up to the international climate negotiations in Durban later this month, China has responded to efforts to ban the trading of widely discredited HFC-23 offsets by threatening to release huge amounts of the potent industrial chemical into the atmosphere unless other nations pay what amounts to a climate ransom.

    China’s threat comes after the European Union and other nations moved to ban HFC-23 credits from internal carbon markets in recognition of the perverse incentives created by these credits under the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The vast amounts paid for HFC-23 offsets have led factories in China and elsewhere to manufacture far more HCFC-22 and its HFC-23 by-product than necessary, just to maximize the amounts paid to destroy HFC-23 through the UN-backed carbon trading scheme.

    In a shocking attempt to blackmail the international community, Xie Fei, revenue management director at the China Clean Development Mechanism Fund, threatened: “If there’s no trading of [HFC-23] credits, they’ll stop incinerating the gases” and vent them directly into the atmosphere. Speaking at the Carbon Forum Asia in Singapore last week, Xie Fei claimed he spoke for “almost all the big Chinese producers of HFCs who “can’t bear the cost” and maintain that “they’ll lose competitiveness”.

  • Turboguy!
    The concept was insane in the first place. And earned huge sums of money to people for doing nothing except exchanging papers, world wide, not only China.
    Only sane responding to depletion of ozone layer would have been a complete ban of HCFC altogether. But we couldn’t, we never can, can we?

    “Happily for China and India, which hold many of the developing world’s refrigerant factories, investors are prepared to pay up to Euro15 for every HFC-23 derived carbon credit – that’s still cheaper than reducing emissions in Europe or the US.

    Two Indian companies, Gujarat Fluorochemicals and SRF, have cornered about three quarters of the 16 million credits issued so far for confirmed HFC-23 destruction, though Chinese companies have more future projects registered.

    Michael Wara, a lawyer and CDM expert formerly of Stanford University, California, estimated recently in Nature that the projected total cost of destroying HFC-23 via carbon credits up to 2012 was about Euro4.7 billion, though installing the necessary gas scrubbers would cost less than Euro100 million. As he points out, this distortion isn’t just an expensive loophole: it also squeezes out more preferable CDM projects, like biomass or wind power, and may create a perverse incentive for companies to expand refrigerant plant capacity purely for the greater profit of destroying HFC-23 byproducts.

    This practice isn’t allowed under the CDM, but China argues that it should be, as long as there is a market demand for HCFC-22; Canada and Japan agree, because they see HFC-23 credits as a relatively cheap way of meeting their Kyoto targets.”

  • Big banks start to grovel….I already had my money in a locally owned bank so I can’t join in the fun.

    Whole article is a great read but here is the conclusion

    “Even though the government may keep throwing money at the dinosaurs, the Basel regulations do have some capital requirements, and so the big banks need to bring in some actual deposits to fund their casino gambling.

    Moreover, if too many depositors leave, the illusion that the big banks are serving the American public will be burst, and a critical mass of consciousness will occur, so that the banks’ questioned control over the American political and financial systems will start to be questioned.”

  • Arthur.
    Good idea, “tent” inside. “..breath out, goes to the top of the chamber, slowly cools and falls down at the end and out…”
    Is this some kind of special construction like the top having different levels? Considering things alike can spare huge amounts of then not used energy. Celiac. Would you mind telling what kind of foods you can eat and which you have to avoid in any case? If so, please use email BernhardRohrbeck(at)gmx()at.

  • Victor; ” this accounts for a significant portion of today’s troubles – reckless and self-serving decisions by bloated egos and psychopathic incompetents.” your whole post was very interesting and it reminded me of a book and subsequent movie which has probably been covered before: Joel Bakan’s “The Corporation”. Corporations are legally constituted entities, something like an “artificial person” and, as such, they display traits that, if they were actually persons, would lead to a diagnosis of psychopathic personality disorder (more about this:

    Small wonder then, that the people who rise to powerful positions in corporations have these character traits. Lacking any understanding of love, empathy, beauty or the common good, it is as if they are “dead inside” and can find little reason to go on living except, perhaps, for the “will to power”. Nietzsche articulated this very well as; the drive to dominate others and generally the world, compelling everything to serve the interests of the great individual (ego).
    If Nietzsche was not a psychopath himself, he was an abject flatterer of psychopaths in power. He had no concept of love or friendship or altruistic behavior that was not inherently self-serving in nature.

    All we can do to rectify the enormous mistake we have made in allowing psychopathic personalities to dominate our lives is to stop buying from corporations and stop working for corporations (including banks, of course; stop using money). The enormous difficulty that most people would have in making this change illustrates how successful psychopaths have been in gaining dominance over our lives.

    Gandhi’s idea that “swadeshi” (producing what we need ourselves) was the only way to “swaraj” (independence or self-rule) was essentially correct, I think.

    It’s about happiness, too. If I cannot be happy without buying something from a corporation, I cannot be truly free.

  • Tamnaa

    you rock!!

    I am loving your posts you really are an asset to the comments section. I am learning loads from you thank you.

  • Kathy, G.W. Bush also warned of the Subprime mortgage crisis long before it started, but was widely ridiculed by Bawney Fwank and the mainstream press.

    I guess a clock really is right every now and again.

    The banks aren’t worried about what the OWS crowd is doing. I find it quite funny that those that pay no taxes, have no bank account, etc are the first ones to scream for pulling your money out of the big banks (A smart move regardless of reason those useful OWS idiots are saying. I’ll touch on this later) and raising taxes on anyone. What percentage of the Big Bank’s portfolio really is an account of the OWS crowd? 1%? LOL!

    I’ve been enjoying our local brand of protester around the Minneapolis area. They’re going to freeze their booties off for one, and secondly, they’re protesting the wrong place. I expect we’re going to be removing them in December when it starts hitting forty below, but I don’t think many will be left then. Cold is quite a bitch.

    The banks are *FAR* more worried about what’s going on across the pond in the Eurozone, and are trying desperately to get their exposure to that area to a minimum ASAP! Greece isn’t even remotely figured out yet, and now we’re seeing Italy take a crap. Problem is that we’ve still got Spain, Portugal and Ireland to go and the Euros are caught between a rock and a hard place! Will they A: Kick the leech countries out of the Eurozone? Or B: Devalue their money and throw tons of freshly printed Euros at their problems?

    If they go with option A, they’ll run into people questioning why Germany even entered into that economic union in the first place, and how many banks etc own Euros that would have to be reconverted into Drachmas, Lira, Pounds, Escudo etc. This could cause banks there to take a hit, possibly but not a huge one, but you’d leave the kicked out country’s currency and economy in shambles.

    If they choose option B, they run the risk of making half the Eurozone banks instantly insolvent, risk runs on banks, etc. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that that would be a bad thing, like a Great Depression baaaaad thing.

    Either way, our American banks are very, very exposed to Eurozone debt. Since we’re all interconnected, if they start failing there, we’re not going to go unscathed. What’s going to happen? Who knows, but those OWS tools aren’t going to have one thing to do with it.

  • What percentage of the Big Bank’s portfolio really is an account of the OWS crowd? 1%? LOL!

    To date approximately $4.5 billion have been pulled out of the big banks as a result of this movement you laugh at. The banks are listening. Believe me.

    Who knows, but those OWS tools aren’t going to have one thing to do with it.

    Those ‘tools’ are people, normal people like those of us on this site – perhaps not like you, but certainly like us. Some have lost jobs and have little chance of regaining a new one. Some have lost pensions and benefits. Many have families and jobs, but see this protest as something worthwhile to contribute to, unlike yourself. All of them see a future that has been stolen from them by those you protect. All of them have come to the realisation that their coutnry is now in the hands of a relative few who have bought the government – Congress, the President, and the courts. This is only the beginning, TG. Winter or not, this is only the beginning of troubles for all people, the 100%.

    People, the ‘useful OWS idiots’ as you refer to them, represent the productive power of any nation. As this movement gains in strength across the world, and it certainly will in the coming years, the people you and your colleagues protect, the 1%, will have to listen and will have to make changes. If changes aren’t made, the movement will only grow. You saw what happened in Oakland. There will be debilitating general strikes and economies will be brought to a standstill. The people you protect will hurt in the end because of it, as will we all.

    Someday, I suspect you will have to make a choice – the 99% or the 1%.

    As for the banks, nothing better could happen for the world than for the countries to rise up and refuse to pay, causing the immediate failure of these vampires. All banks should be nationalised and turned into the public utilities they really should be. All countries should print and control their own money. If this were to happen, the world could carry on and not miss a step. The financial elite would be destroyed, businesses could still get their loans from the banking utility, and people like you could start protecting the 99% for a change.

    Don’t put people down because they fight with the only weapons they have at hand. You should be admiring them, not debasing them. You should be protecting their rights to peaceful assembly and petition, not verbally abusing them or making fun of them. Indeed, you should consider joining them or risk finding yourself someday on the wrong side of history.

  • Bernhard, there is nothing special about the construction. I made the top about half the width of the bed, and the full length,so the blankets would angle down to the bed and make contact with gravity on the sides, but not the ends. One end is against a wall. I’ve thought it might work just as well to be a completely rectangular shape, though. When sitting up, the top is about 60cm from the top of my head. I’m just looking at that, haven’t measured it precisely. I think this could be a few cm smaller, but I wouldn’t make it any larger. Given my experience with this sort of gas movement in other things like stoves, and what I’ve read, I think the shape and size are not highly critical. It is a very natural thing for the warmer gases to rise and then as they cool, to fall.
    Celiac is a problem with certain proteins in wheat, rye, and barley make the immune system of genetically susceptible individuals, overreact. Oats have been a question for some time too, what I’ve recently read is that the feeling is that oats are ok, but that it is very easy for oats to have a bit of wheat mixed in, and that unless you are sure the oats are perfectly clean, better to avoid them. East Asians and Sub Saharan Africans only rarely seem to have these genes except by mixing with other groups. In other groups, Europeans, for example, it is estimated that possibly 30% have the genes and are theoretically susceptible, but no one is sure why or what triggers this over reaction. Something that is growing clearer to researchers though, is that something is causing an increasing number of cases. Lots of theories about why, nothing positive. Over time the immune system starts destroying the lining of the small intestine, and there is growing evidence it may do damage to many other organs as well. Individuals vary a lot in how fast it progresses and how many symptoms they have.
    For a long time it seemed this had done so much damage to me that I could not eat any starches at all, and only simple sugars, but a few months ago I read that another good sized minority of people have trouble with digesting fructose. I got rid of fructose and found I could eat starchy foods again, introducing them slowly. Just the starch in most vegetables wouldn’t work before, now most of them are ok. I’d frequently tried to bring them in slowly before, no way. Even though I can eat some starch now, I feel my system is really geared for a high protein, high fat diet. A system for the far north, not surprising with my N. European heritage. Lactose is a problem for me, too. That generally gets lost to celiacs, but I read it also comes back for most. Hasn’t come back for me.

    I feel I am too messed up and too old to try to survive what is coming down, but if I were younger and not so many injuries, I’d go for more hunting-gathering than a milk based diet. Something I’ve thought about with that are some of the caribou migrations in Canada, they go over such rugged terrain that the natives never followed them and no one follows them now. But they were not trying to follow with reindeer pulled sleds. The natives said that they remembered people who had tried to follow the herds with dog sleds, and these people never came back. I’ve wondered if a reindeer pulled sled would make it possible. From what I’ve seen in documentaries, I think you would want your sled to also be a boat when needed. It looked to me that this was the problem, that the caribou were swimming some big rivers, across lakes and wading-swimming though large marshy areas. No way a dog sled could go through that, but a reindeer pulled boat-sled, might.

    No guarantees, but I think survival in a lot of cases is going to involve doing some things never done before. Take bits of culture and technology from various places and apply it in combinations never done before in other places.

  • Kathy: Finally received the wood cook stove today. I don’t see that Jean replied to either of our comments? Someone needs to have a word with him.

    We only have two rooms in our present house and 3 in the earthbermed home that is nearing completion. In our present spot we cannot warm up the sleeping area because we store alot of produce back there. On the really cold nights we fill a couple of 2 liter plastic bottles with hot water and stick them in the bed a 1/2 hour before we turn in for the evening. Works like a charm.

    TG: I kind of agree with some of what you write. Yes OWS doesn’t pose much of a threat right now, and yes Europe is the bigger problem, and it is what may bring down Wall street. The decision to “not allow” the CDS’s to be activated in the Greece bond “haircut” is going to be huge. But -40 in December

    Good stuff everyone, thank you.

  • Victor:
    Very well put. As usual.

    Have you actually spent time talking with some of the OWS folks? Or are you repeating what you’re hearing from Fox? You’re painting with a broad brush, in the same manner as some of the criticism directed at the tea party. The majority of people in both groups have the good sense to realize things are turning to crap. The majority are normal, every day people and not crackpots. Unique world views give different perceptions, but both groups understand things can’t continue the way they have. Do you suppose there’s any chance both groups could get together, compare notes, and discover they face the same enemy (greed gone crazy on a finite planet)?

  • Sue Day: Yes, I admire your posts too. Perhaps you and I have had similar experiences in life which have given similar shape to our values and views.

    Victor; “As this movement gains in strength across the world, and it certainly will in the coming years,…” I really hope you are right.
    ” …their coutnry is now in the hands of a relative few who have bought the government – Congress, the President, and the courts.” I would add: the military/police. It’s always critical in this sort of conflict whether armed forces remain loyal to corrupt power or split into factions, some siding with the people.
    “banks should be nationalised and turned into the public utilities they really should be. All countries should print and control their own money.” I agree and it should have been done long ago, although more radical changes are needed so that we will stop messing up the planet.

  • TurboGuy!, I was wondering what your thoughts would be about the OWS crowd. Now I now and I must admit I’m disappointed. I really hoped that you would give us some taste of the tortuous internal conflict you’ve been experiencing about the whole thing.

    Oh well. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    The irony of it is that I agree with the general gist of your comments, just not the tenor of them. I really don’t think the banks are too concerned with the OWS people – just as we’ve seen throughout history, the dictators are rarely worried about the downtrodden.

    Ultimately, it appears that collapse is picking up steam and nothing anyone does now is going to change that. The banksters, the OWS folks, the politicians . . . the 1% have definitely lost control of the situation and the wheels are about to falling off.

    Oil is above $95/barrel on Nymex in spite of the crazy economic issues, we’re pumping more carbon into the air than ever before, we’ve crossed the seven billion human mark, food production if screwed up all across the globe . . . Yeah. Collapse is here and it’s picking up speed. Hang on folks, it’s gonna get ugly.

  • But they were not trying to follow with reindeer pulled sleds.

    Reindeer and caribou are the same species: the difference is that the reindeer are domesticated. The PBS documentary The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odessey (available in full, free, online) touches upon the lives of the Chukchi, natives of the Siberian region, who follow migratory herds of these animals with reindeer-drawn sleds, as the animals move in search of their forage, lichens buried under snow. It also mentions the use of “tents within tents”. 

    Do you suppose there’s any chance both groups could get together, compare notes, and discover they face the same enemy (greed gone crazy on a finite planet)?

    The problem for both groups is the shrinking size of their slice of the pie. As long as energy availability was increasing, the whole pie was growing, and each individual slice however small was also growing. No one complained very much. Noe that the pie is shrinking, size matters. Those with smaller (or no) slices are complaining. What they do not realize that there will be progressively less pie with the passage of time, equitable distribution or no.  Wall Street is the Titanic: better to occupy a Mud Hut as Dr, McPherson has done. 

  • Victor: The 5.4 Billion that you cite, can you specifically point at that number and have the OWS crowd directly responsible? I’d love to see those numbers, but believe that they’re from something else entirely.

    Secondly, the OWS does not represent 99%, or even 50%. They are little more than useful idiots being used. Nothing less, nothing more.

    As for their not having a job, and having no chance of getting one, well, from the caliber of protester I’ve seen at the campsite, I don’t think they were looking in the first place. Here’s an idea: How about majoring in a salable skill so when you graduate college you might be able to actually find gainful employment. A bachelors in Women’s Studies, while a worthwhile topic of research, doesn’t lend itself as a skill that many a business owner goes searching for.

    The Oakland foolishness was the stupid acting immature. I am, however, all for them getting violent as they did. Wanna see every possible semblance of public support erode instantly from that “Movement?” Let them get violent. Keep letting the Anti-Semitic asshats get their moron hands around the microphone. The news media just plain eats that crap up and they’re always the first to get a news reporter to ask for an interview. The OWS crowd needs to purge themselves of the crazies before they’ll be taken as anything other than leeches to the system wondering why there’s less blood to feed on.

    For the most part, the OWS protesters have behaved themselves… not to be mistaken for “Bathed themselves” unless you count patchouli and only a few, very few surprisingly enough, decided to get retarded. One guy thought it’d be fun to set his tent down right in the middle of a three lane, 45 mph roadway and “Occupy” that. Three car accidents and a six block jam later, we pulled him out. Another thought it might be fun to throw a bucket of piss and crap at a passing police car from a bridge onto the highway, and then hide behind “Free Speech” as his defense. His defense was flimsy in the face of an aggravated assault charge. Other than those notables, they’re alright, if misguided.

    I always have a good chuckle when you say, “people like you could start protecting the 99% for a change.” Well, the next time you have a problem, call a drug dealer instead of 911. Comments like that are how people justify the most horrific atrocities our race has done to itself.

    Your last paragraph: I’m all for their right to peaceably assemble when they’re going to do so within the confines of public decency and safety, and thus far, they’ve done so nicely aside from the errant dummy, who would probably be one regardless of whether he was hanging out with the OWS people or not. Once it starts getting really, really cold though, they really should find a better place than where they are.

    Ed, those are averages brother. Some winters it’s significantly nicer, some it’s *WAY* worse. This one’s shaping up to be a bad one. We on average have twenty-three days a year below zero and those bad boys happen during December and January. Sometimes we’ll have a snap where it’ll sit at negative twenty with a windchill of negative forty for a week or two. I remember one year after that crap it was negative two outside and actually felt warm!

  • Oh and I almost forgot.

    If the Occupy Oakland stinkers are going to hate on the big banks, they really shouldn’t be putting their money in a Wells Fargo account.

    OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — A group of Oakland anti-Wall Street protesters who blame large banks for the economic downturn have decided that one of those institutions is the best place to stash their money for now.

    Protesters at an Occupy Oakland meeting Monday voted to deposit a $20,000 donation into a Wells Fargo account. The move comes just days after one of Wells Fargo’s branches was vandalized during a massive downtown demonstration.

  • TG

    The $4.5B was estimated in an article I saw recently where they measured the spike in newly opened accounts at local banks and credit unions around that day. It was felt that was as good an indicator as one could expect. Maybe it was true. Maybe not. Sounded reasonable to me.

    As far as misbehaving OWS people go, let’s not start trading views there – I would bury you with vids of police officers all over the world who over-stepped. And those are just the recorded ones. Who knows how many others go unreported!

    As for protecting the 99% comment, you misunderstood what I was saying. The police should be protecting the rights of the protesters, not setting themselves up in a mindset of enemies to be contained. One of the most common little tricks of your colleagues is to infiltrate the crowd with provocateurs who try to incite the crowd to violence so that then the police have a right to use forceful means to disperse. Another is the infamous ‘kettling’ where you squeeze the protesters until they have to disperse – disallowing them the right to assemble. Another little fun thing you do is to set up ‘free speech areas’, designating places far from the intended target of the protesters, thus placing significant restrictions on their rights to assemble and be heard.

    Yes, there are always people who take advantage of the crowd to misbehave and to bring their own agenda to the protest, but more often than not, the police use these people to promote acts of violence against the crowd – these are indeed useful tools of the police.

    I often wonder just how bad the 1% have to oppress and remove freedoms before the army and the police realise that these folks are in reality not their friends. These are the folks who would remove your pensions and benefits in a moment if they thought they could get away with it – and it won’t be that much longer before they should be able to, given current trends. Indeed, the question arises in my head at times – just who ARE the ‘useful tools’ here? The protesters? Or the cops?

    As for the OWS putting their money in the major banks, I have to admit that was entirely stupid from a PR perspective.

  • Oh and as an afterthought – you mention calling a drug dealer instead of 911 the next time I need the police. Were it not for the oppression wrought through economic distress carried out through greed and criminal acts (that the police never seem to investigate), poor job/educational opportunities and CIA/banking support of international and national drug trafficking, society might not be so dangerous that the little people have to rely so heavily upon police. That drug dealer most likely works for a 1% fat cat who has the political power to keep your lot away and facing down the victims of society rather than the real criminals.

  • Irreversible Climate Change Looms Within Five Years

    In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5 degrees C.

    “Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of six degrees C.”

  • Ed, hope the stove works as well for you as it has for us. Jean said he was in town to see a lawyer – maybe he got all tied up with that and didn’t have time to respond.

    Neat solution to the going to bed in a cold room problem.

  • Turbo – here is the information on bank transfers that backs up Victor. The figures come from a survey of banks by the Credit union National Association CUNA –

    Elsewhere I read that last year for the WHOLE YEAR only 600,000 new accounts were opened in Credit Unions. Besides this others may be transferring money to one of the remaining locally owned banks, we would have done so, but had done so some years ago.

    “WASHINGTON — An estimated 650,000 consumers have closed their bank accounts and opted for credit union membership over the past four weeks, according to CUNA, bringing the approach to Saturday’s Bank Transfer Day to a crescendo.

    In a survey of 5,000 of its credit union members CUNA estimates that at least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America unveiled its now-rescinded $5 monthly debit card fee. Also during that time, CUNA estimates that credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts, likely from the new members and existing members shifting their funds.

    The survey results also show that more than four in every five credit unions experiencing member growth since Sept. 29 attributed the growth to consumer reaction to new fees imposed by banks, or a combination of consumer reactions to the new bank fees plus the social media-inspired “Bank Transfer Day,” Nov. 5.

    “These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans and higher return on savings.” said CUNA President Bill Cheney.”

    Cheney said the growth is particularly noticeable at larger credit unions (those with $100 million or more in assets, which account for about 20% of all credit unions – but count about 80% of all credit union members). The CUNA survey shows that more than 70% of these credit unions reported they have seen growth in memberships and deposits since Sept. 29.

  • The locally owned bank where we have had our money has the best CD rates around. It also has the best ratio of troubled assets to total assets of any bank around. One can check banks out at

  • Unusual weather in Australia
    VICTORIA’S State Emergency Service has responded to more than 1000 calls for help overnight after one of the wildest storms to lash the state this year.

    Read more:

  • More unusual weather in Australia
    SYDNEYSIDERS have sweated through what could be the hottest November night on record.
    Temperatures climbed to a top of 28.4C and never dipped below 26.5C, Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) duty forecaster Dmitriy Danchuk said.
    Previously, the hottest November night on record was in 1967, when the minimum temperature was 24.8C.
    The average minimum temperature for November is 15.6C.
    “So last night we had temperatures that were 10.9 degrees above average,” Mr Danchuk said.

    Read more:

  • Gov’t Report: Kansas detected Iodine-131 in grass at over 2,000 pCi/kg —
    “Attributed to Fukushima” — About 700% higher than highest levels reported
    Report of Radiological Environmental Monitoring of the Environs Surrounding Wolf Creek Generating Station, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, July
    2010-June 2011:

    Sample: WCFV-1-A-005-2.5
    Location: Sharpe
    Type: Pasturage
    Date: April 5, 2011

    “Sample contained 2072.0 ± 72 pCi/kg 131I and 503.0 ± 29 137Cs. This was not a result of WCGS operation, but is attributed to the Fukushima nuclear incident in Japan…

    The Kansas grass had 7.7 times more radioactive iodine-131 than grass from the San Francisco Bay Area.

    This is somewhat surprising since California is considerably closer to Fukushima, and Kansas was thought to be more protected because it is east of the Rocky Mountains.”

  • TG: Ah, windchill makes a difference. Those of us who live in cold climes don’t like to be one upped or down as the case may be. I saw two record colds for MN, 41 and 55.

  • The Erosion of Democracy in the USA and the Establishment of the Police State

    Basically, 4 acts passed by Congress since 9/11 have resulted in establishing the legal framework for the destruction of democracy in America, the erosion of Posse Comitatus and the establishment of the Police State.

    If you are a US citizen, you really need to familiarise yourself with these laws that have gone virtually unchallenged in America. Even if you are not a US citizen, you need to be aware of the serious implications these laws have on the potential for the US system to be mirrored in your country through political and military pressures.

    The four acts I have in mind are:

    2001 The Patriot Act
    2002 Homeland Security Act of 2002
    2005 Detainee Treatment Act of 2005
    2006 Military Commissions Act of 2006
    2007 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

    A summary of these acts would be to lay the legal framework for the dissolution of the Bill of Rights as contained in the US Constitution at a time and choosing of the President and under conditions defined by him (her). I encourage you to read them. They are quite frightening.

    Concurrently with the above acts, and indeed developing prior to them, is the militarization of the American Police forces across the country which, through a series of acts over time, have completely diluted the original Posse Comitatus Act which forbid the use of the military to be employed against the American people domestically – a separation of police and military, if you will. This is not a secret within the federal and local department concerned, as is explained in this DHS document, The Myth of Posse Comitatus

    Indeed, the following articles represent good summaries of the evolution of militarization of the Police in America:

    The US is a Police State
    Review of Andrew Kolin, State Power and Democracy
    By Prof. John McMurtry

    Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force – Alternet

    Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America
    by Radley Balko – CATO Institute

    Our Militarized Police Departments
    Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Crime
    Radley Balko
    Botched Paramilitary Police Raids:
    An Epidemic of “Isolated Incidents” – Cato Institute

    In all of this, the general attitude of the police on the street has become far more authoritarian and arbitrary since 9/11. There is an increasing tension building between the police and the public they confront. I say ‘confront’ because that is the now prevailing attitude on the part of police officers towards the public. Like the military and its enemies, the police have their enemies – the public – not the TRUE criminal element of society, the 1%, but the public.

    Derrick Jensen says it best:

    Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

    I believe OWS is composed of people who have indeed begun to break that illusion.

    The military, the police, the laws and the courts are designed to protect the rich and the powerful and to limit the ability of the less powerful in society to avoid their authority. The 1%, generally speaking (there are a few exceptions, but only a few), do not live by the same laws and under the same governance as we. If they did, we would live in a better world with far less crime and social upheaval.

  • Yes, Robin, I know that reindeer are domesticated caribou. That is why I feel they might have the capability to keep up with the wild herd. You are not likely to have enough reindeer to eat- getting any at all could be a problem, but if you could, they might keep you in contact with the wild ones, which could keep you alive.

    The problem of getting domesticated animals brings up two ideas about all this- one, to consider the possibility of using feral domesticated animals. Recently there has been controversy about killing feral donkeys in Texas, for example. If you can capture wild donkeys, horses, or sometimes goats, you have a chance of taming them and using them, and they will definitely be adapted to the local conditions.

    The other thing is to consider domestication itself. This might not be so useful in a very short time, but it might be. I’ve wondered about how wild caribou were domesticated. The common theme to domestication seems to be selecting the individuals out of a wide wild population, that are less frightened of people. With caribou, I suspect this selection may have been done by humans burning smudge fires to keep mosquitos at bay. That would have been an attractive thing to the caribou, who are equally tormented by mosquitos. But only the caribou that had a lower flight distance to humans, would come so close. And if humans rewarded them further by also protecting from wolves, you are on the path to domestication. The fact that humans are also preying on them can be softened by the methods humans use, less traumatic than being endlessly chased by wolves, animals are simply lassoed with a lot less chasing and terror, and a caught animal is also not necessarily dead, but merely examined or put to pulling a sled. I don’t know if it would be enough to try to start this process of domestication, if you could immediately select the lowest flight distance and with some handling get animals to pull sleds right off the bat. Pulling a sled doesn’t necessarily require huge amounts of domestication, if all you want is for the animal not to completely panic, or if it does that it loses its fear after running awhile- this happens with domestic animals as well, and you aren’t trying to train it to follow your directions very closely at all, but only let it move to do what it wants to do instinctively, which is to run with the herd. Definitely some questions there, that you would want to try to answer before committing yourself.

    I think there are less questions about the capture of feral domestic animals. They won’t be as tame as animals raised by people, but their ancestors were already selected for lower flight distance. People tame wild horses and donkeys all the time.

    It wouldn’t make sense for people to move long distances to get to caribou herds, or any other similar resource, if there are closer resources to work with. You always want to do the minimum work for the maximum return, but also keep it sustainable. For what I’m looking at, that includes the idea that what you do might not need to be sustainable for the long term, it is a survival mode where you can hopefully come back to easier places. The thing to do is look at what is in your area with a group of like minded people, also selected by this process of not fighting with the truth about themselves and the truth of the situation we are in.