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

  • tomorrow is a national holiday in the usa called veterans or armistice day. curious about the possible international scope of this holiday on the anniversary of the ending of the first world war, i just read a wikipedia article linked below, which informed me that this is a peculiarly american holiday. i found that odd, considering ww 1 was fought primarily in continental europe between continental european powers with great britain heavily involved also. they bore the far greater brunt of the cost of the war in terms of casualties, cost, and devastation, so if anyone should be celebrating the end of it’s folly, it should be them, but they don’t. then i set to reading the rest of this brief article, and contemplating why nov. 11 would be a distinctly american holiday. here’s what i came up with.

    as some history buffs understand, this war was surreal in it’s stupidity and the scope of it’s destruction and carnage. ugly brutal trench warfare, first widespread use of deadly chemical gas attacks, many millions slaughtered for no apparent purpose. widespread civilian suffering in germany whose economy was strangled as sheople starved in big cities, and no doubt in other nations. also a time of social tumult as class consciousness grew and radicals openly sought revolution. fear spread among elites of communism gaining an upper hand, as actually happened in what became the ussr. with their hands thus full, europeans probably didn’t feel like celebrating.

    american elites were a different matter. this was a period when rapid industrialization, economic and population growth was turning the usa into a major power. in stark comparison to europe, american war losses were far fewer (although still shockingly in excess of 100,000 dead, considering it’s late entry into the war, the majority of these occurred in the last 5 months of that 4 year war), the homeland suffered no physical devastation, and perhaps most significantly psychologically, it was perceived as a victory. elites swelled with hubris in anticipation of growing wealth and power. in a mood to celebrate, with great public relations savvy, they came up with the idea of honoring military service and sacrifice with a holiday on a very memorable date. president woodrow wilson proclaimed nov. 11, 1919 as the first armistice holiday. the u.s. congress made it a ‘legal’ holiday with legislation passed 19 years later, declaring it ‘a day to be dedicated to world peace’ (with orwellian irony, considering how in later years it would rubber stamp numerous war declarations upon various unfortunate ‘enemies’). sigh. if only elite elites weren’t such cynical bastards, and common sheople more aware, nov. 11 could serve as a holiday in commemoration of ultimate human folly, and serve as a lesson/incentive to forgo competition and barbarity in favor of cooperation and peaceful cooexistence. i’m afraid this is too much to hope for from mortals with feet of clay.

    victor, loved your responses to tg. glad u’re back.

  • “I’d love to have a solar ice-maker to cool our drinks and our bodies.”

    Look for refrigerators that came out of campers. They have no solid moving parts, just ammonia and water, so they are virtually bomb-proof.

    All they need is a source of heat. Many of them are already fitted for 120 VAC, 12 VDC, and propane. All you have to do is substitute some other form of heat for the ammonia boiler.

    I’ve got a couple of these that I’ve salvaged from derelict campers, planning to convert them to run on home-brew biodiesel. But with some thermal isolation and perhaps a small fresnel lens, one of these could easily become a solar ice-maker.

    Refrigeration is something that will be difficult to do without. Modern ‘fridges, with their motorized compressor and exotic refrigerant fluid, manage to last a fairly long time, but they require electricity. The conventional approach to a “solar ice-maker” would be to use a high-tech inverter with a high-tech solar panel. These may not be around for long, and will be a pain to fix when they break.

    Plus a compressor ‘fridge won’t live for the fraction of the life of a decent ammonia ‘fridge — which has the considerable side-benefit of being “energy source versatile.” Anything that produces a candle’s worth of heat (including a candle!) will run these puppies! Plus, anyone who can solder and can get some ammonia can repair them.

  • Kathy: The article you linked does not back up Victor. Anyone can see that the bigger banks are royally screwing their customers with fees, etc.

    Not to mention the danger posed to them through their exposure to European markets.

    Victor: Hey I said that they have, for the most part, totally behaved themselves. Your comments that the police infiltrate and then incite the simple minded to riot is little more than tinfoil. I’m going to have to ask for proof of that one ’cause I’m calling bullshit. My thought is that there’s always four or five idiots that capitalize on crowd anonymity start the stupid, then once things officially get out of hand, beat feet. You honestly think the police have to incite them to act stupid? Come on now, there’s more than enough stupid to go around, and there’s always going to be someone in that crowd that’s going to get dumb.

    You think I should be protecting their rights? So my being FORCED to stand out there and protect them from each other twelve hours a day for the last couple months *ISN’T* protecting them? They’ve been supplied, at city expense, port-a-potties and police protection. (Rock throwers can, do, and have gone both ways.) For most events I get paid in excess of $60 an hour to be there. Not this time. Regular rates apply, and I’m detailed there when I should be paying attention to far more important things, like A. Picking my ass. Or B. Picking my nose.*

    *Not necessarily in that order.

    For your second post about the drug dealer: You actually think that if we all had enough money, education, etc there’d be no crime? You fail to factor in human greed and stupidity. Back in the heyday of the USSR everyone had PLENTY of money, education, services, etc. and crime was rampant. Still is over there.

    But again, when you need us most, givve that nice feller down on the corner selling crack a call and see if he’ll help you when someone’s kicking in your door, you get into a car accident, or someone’s beating you up.

  • TG

    If someone is kicking in my door, it will more likely be a lost SWAT team…. ;-)

    I never said that jobs and education would eliminate crime – after all, you will always have bankers, corrupt government employees, and criminal politicos. I am saying that the combination of illegal drugs traffic (controlled primarily by criminal organisations, corrupt law enforcement, bankers and the CIA worlwide), concentration of wealth, planned economic disruptions on the part of international bankers, and multi-national corporate greed feed a system that often deprives people of quality education and jobs, and drives the victims of this inequality into crime. The REAL criminals live and work behind your police lines, not in front. And obviously, you don’t give a damn as you seem to blame the victims.

    Police Provocateurs – Are you serious??? I find it literally unbelievable that you are not aware of this method of police oppression – and it IS a form of oppression, seeking to destroy peaceful assembly. Here are just some of those that are discovered. Who knows how many go undiscovered!

    Peaceful protesters stop police provocateurs from starting a riot

    The Toronto G20 Riot Fraud: Undercover Police engaged in Purposeful Provocation
    At Tax Payers’ Expense

    G20 Summit 2009
    G20 police ‘used undercover men to incite crowds’

    Quebec 2007
    Police Provocateurs stopped by union leader at anti SPP protest

    At the Republican Convention 2004

    At the Democratic Convention 2008
    ACLU wants probe into police-staged DNC protest

  • Turboguy, You said “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.”

    The article says “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.”

    You will note the words “or a combination of consumer reactions to the new bank fees plus the social media-inspired “Bank Transfer Day,” Nov. 5.”

    Banks raise fees all the time. Have you ever heard any note before of a massive moving of bank accounts to credit unions in response to a new bank fee. Have you ever heard it noted on the news when a new bank fee was initiated or interests rates on a credit card raised.

    This report does not say what bank people moved from(my neighbor moved money to a credit union in response to OWS but was not a Bank of America customer). It represents a 13 times normal rate of new membership.

    Had there been no OWS and Bank Transfer day and the heightened awareness they brought I doubt that more than a few would move because of the new bank fee.

    But at any rate you do understand what the word OR means. I will help you – “used to connect words, phrases, or clauses representing alternatives”
    Therefore the Bank Transfer day is one of the reasons why funds were moved. Since banks other than Bank of America have debit cards with no fees, the move specifically to Credit Unions rather than other banks has more in fact to do with Bank Transfer Day than just fees alone. In other words, the choice of Credit Unions rather than another big bank is related to the growing anger at the big banks and the stupidity of BOA just was a precipitating factor.

  • tg, u say too many stupid things to merit a reply, other than such stupidity/ignorance is sadly very common, and why i’m completely pessimistic about the future. the only reason i’ve read some of your posts since u recently began doing so again here is because i guess hope springs eternal, and i hoped that perhaps in the months u’ve been away perhaps u’d done some soul searching and undergone profound change. now that i see that clearly isn’t the case, i’ll be returning to my previous practice of skipping over your posts, since my purpose here isn’t to read disgusting bs such as can be found most anyplace else.

    i will say one thing about police provocateurs, which i think generally applies to all under-cover spies, assassins, jackals, narcs, etc. on down the line of all those who sell their souls to the devil establishment: they routinely break the law in the service of their masters. my understanding of police provocateurs at mass protests is that they actually start the violence, hoping to incite others to join in, but even if they don’t, this violence caused by just one or a few individuals is all riot police need as an excuse to move in and start busting heads or whatever it takes to disperse the crowd. i’m not going to cite any sources for this, as it does no good with someone like u who is convinced that black is white, and vice versa, or so u would have us believe. the only thing i can make of people like u is that u must be crazy or evil or something, and the wisest course of action is to have as little to do with u as possible.

  • an addition to the comment i just posted: police who routinely violate the law in the course of doing the dirty work of their masters do so with near complete impunity. we live in a disgusting culture that on moral grounds alone is worthy of destruction. indeed, it’s destruction will be the silver lining to the cloud of collapse.

  • Hey Terry, I find it quite funny that you, a complete and total ignoramus of BIBLICAL proportions, has the audacity to say I’m in any way stupid. More often than not I think you’re not only a client of the Tinfoil company, you OWN the place! I’m simply regularly astounded that you’re even able to write a complete sentence, much less figure out elbow from ass.

    Secondly, I’ve been forced to guard the Useful Idiots on a twelve hour rotation for the last couple months. Hence I haven’t been able to post.

    So, by all means, skip away. I’ll continue to extend my middle finger at you with a smile on my face just because I know it burns your wimpy little ass.

    Victor: What you posted as “Proof” of the police inciting stupid to act stupid is nothing more than opinion and belief. The one from the Guardian was particularly funny as there was simply no more proof than he said, she said, I saw, proof from a biased source. Good read, but sadly lacking as a credible citation. Most of the rest can be ignored as that’d be like me citing Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck on the best Presidential candidate.

    Kathy, Thanks for defining what the word “Or” means, however, the amount that left the large banks over stupid fees/general asshattery on the banks part vs the media driven OWS “Bank Transfer Day” Tomfoolery is significantly on the side of the former. Apologies, but the OWS crowd has delusions of grandeur, and your sympathies, while impressive, simply aren’t rooted in reality. Not only are they a far and away significant minority, not representing anywhere near ninety-nine percent, much less even ten, but they as a movement are so insignificant as to be laughable and ignored. If the OWS crowd had money between them, they wouldn’t be begging others for sleeping bags, tents, and cold weather gear. They could all transfer their money out of the larger banks at the same time and they’d *MAYBE* account for a whopping .1%. I highly doubt BOA gives a rat’s ass. That’s why they reversed course on the fee/surcharge game they wanted to play.

    Which issue is their main thrust today? Tuberculosis? Yeah, that’s going around down there. (Icky) Rape? Stabbings? The OWS New York Tent City has areas that the protesters are afraid to go, AND THEY’RE ON THE SAME SIDE, whatever side that is! (Or so they say) How many deaders have they found down at the various rallies lately? Those are probably police conspiracies too. Silly me… But I digress, which idea is the one the OWS social retards are championing today? Instituting communism as Victor eloquently advocated? (Ref: The banks idea) Well, you’re going to have to kill right around fifty million Americans, good luck with that. How about forgiving debts? Now that one I actually agree with as I’d love to seethe big debtor nations pulling their hair out. Ooh! Here’s one that will probably be near and dear to Guy: Free college! Then, who pays those professors? The government? Then you’d give the government power to tell him what he’s going to teach, and nobody wants that.

    Seriously, those freaks need to get a clue.

    Here at “Occupy Minneapolis” there’s a grand total of about a hundred Patchouli smelling dirtballs camped out down there. From what I see of them, and I get to see them every day, they probably didn’t have a home nor legitimate gainful employment in the first place, so they’re just using that area that’s literally become a garbage dump, as a convenient Pikey campsite.