Oct 162010

I hope that everyone will take a look at the link to Chris Martenson’s “What Should I Do?” (to build resilience into our lives). Chris Martenson is the author of The Crash Course and is one many who beat the drum predicting a coming financial and societal crisis and begging people to take at least some baby steps to get ready. Chris recently attended the ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil) Conference and came away with the conclusion that things may unravel faster than he previously thought. And, it’s his conclusion that no one has a Plan B to deal with Peak Oil. He reports on a presentation “…given by Rick Munroe, who did his best to discover where within the civilian governmental departments lie the plans for what to do in a liquid-fuel-starved future. To cut to the chase, it turns out that virtually every department that he contacted in both the US and Canada denied having any such reports.”

It’s really not too surprising that the wise men and women of Washington are not looking ahead. After all, they are the same people that brought us to the precipice. We are left with the option of planning for ourselves.

Chris Martenson gives us the outline of a plan, the elements of which have been discussed on this blog over the last several months. His outline provides  a nice road map to follow on a personal or family Plan of Resilience.

Step 1:  Is  Getting Started

Read the whole thing via the link just above.

There are six concepts to getting started.

The first concept  is to build RESILIENCE into your life. Chris writes:

“Resilience, then, becomes the lens through which we filter all of our decisions.  It is a great simplifying tool.  Should we buy this thing?  Well, how does it make us more resilient?  Should we invest in developing this new skill?  Well, how will that help us be more resilient?  Should we plant these trees or those?  Well, which ones will add the most to the natural diversity and abundance around us?”

“The second concept of preparation is that actions are both necessary and insufficient.”

“But let’s be perfectly honest:  Any steps we might take to prepare for a potential environmental, societal, or economic disruption, no matter how grand, are nearly certain to be insufficient.  Nevertheless, they are still necessary.  They will be insufficient because being perfectly prepared is infinitely expensive.  But actions are necessary because they help us align our lives with what we know about the world.  In my experience, when gaps exist between knowledge and actions, anxiety (if not fear) is the result.  So it’s not the state of the world that creates the anxiety quite as much as it is someone’s lack of action.”

“The third concept of preparation is to set realistic goals.”

“There’s an enormous difference between being zero percent and 10 percent self-sufficient for food production.  In the former case you rely on the existing food-distribution system.  In the latter case you have a garden, local relationships with farmers, fruit trees in the yard, perhaps a few chickens, and a deep pantry.”

“The fourth concept of preparation is that your community needs you to get yourself prepared.”

“Some have commented that they think of personal preparation as a selfish act, possibly involving guns and bunkers, but that’s not what this is about.  My experience in life tells me that being a good community member means having your own house in order.  If you do, you’ll be in a better position to add valuable resources and skills to any future efforts.”

“The fifth concept of preparation is to start with small steps.”

“Examples might be taking out a small bit of extra cash to store outside of the bank in case of a banking disruption, buying a bit more food each week that can slowly deepen your pantry, or going online to learn something more about ways you can increase your resilience with regard to water, food, energy, or anything else you deem important to your future.  It doesn’t so much matter what it is, as long as an action is taken.”

“The sixth concept of preparation is that community is essential.”

“I would recommend working with people you trust or with whom you already share basic values.  The closer they live to you geographically, the better.  One of my core values is this:  I have no interest in living in fear, and my plan is to live through whatever comes next with a positive attitude and with as much satisfaction and fun as I can possibly muster.  So it has always been important to me to be in community with others who share this outlook.”

These are brief excerpts. There’s much more. Chris Martenson is a very bright guy who has done lots of research, thinking and acting in this area. I urge you to read the whole thing. And, I’ll be sticking with Chris for awhile as he talks about “Storing Water,” “Storing Food,” “Growing and Preserving Food,” “Health and First Aid,” “Heat, Power and Communications,” and “Protecting Wealth.”


  5 Responses to “What Should I Do?”

  1. The reason there is no plan B is because there are no viable alternatives to cheap fossil fuels. It is a fiction that there is something the government can do or that we all can do to evolve into a future without fossil fuels that will have even a modicum of todays lifestyle. And make no mistake I am not talking about cars, nice clothes or junk food that you may be happy to see disappear I am talking about health care, community safety, adequate food, etc. There are no commercial alternatives to cheap energy and when it’s gone it’s gone!! The world will not be able to support 7 trillion people in a post cheap energy world. What that means is billions and billions must die and die quickly and horribly. They will not “go gently into that good night”. There will be war, revolution, civil insurrections, massive upheaveal. In every country in the world the hungry and angry will come to your home with guns and other weapons and take what you have saved and they will believe that YOU caused the problem because you hoarded all the food. If you do not believe that will happen you are naive. The ONLY good news in all of this is that peak oil will not happen suddenly (unless Iran attacks Israel) and we won’t run out of coal and NG anytime soon. But when it happens we will be thrust into another dark ages where power and might rule and everyone else is a starving peasant.

  2. Gone with the Wind….do you have any thoughts on how to cope with the future you’re describing? Perhaps you could share them with the readers of this blog. BTW…my name is Bert Sagara. I’ve lived and continue to live on Lummi Island for the past 21 years. Do you live on Lummi Island?…and if you do, in the spirit of community, there’s no reason to remain anonymous amongst fellow Islanders. I know who Gary, Randy, Wynne, Nancy, Jim are. Just curious.

  3. Thoughts: I don’t think the “worst” is on us. I do think there will be some bad economic times for awhile and I expect it to get worse. I don’t believe we will “run out” of oil, coal NG and other energy sources in the next 20 years or so. I do think that eventually the cost of oil will become prohibitive and some of the effects will be similar to a peak oil situation.
    In theory I actually believe it is possible for humans to transition to a sustainable society. But it isn’t human nature to do this. We are pretty knowledgeable and have a lot of Yankee ingenuity but we continue to do things that are contrary to our best interests. For example: ethanol from corn. We actually put in about 130% of the energy we get out and most of that energy into the process comes from oil and NG. And yet we do it and continue to expand it. It is no secret that it doesn’t work efficiently but there it is growing every year. Our world population is too large and the majority of countires have a population the at is too large to be governed easily. We govern by making concessions to powerful special interests and I don’t necessarily mean corporations. These special interests drive legislation and regulation and that is how we get paradox like ethanol from corn. An individual can build a solar hot water collector for under $100 and save himself $100 a year. A corporation (in conhunction with government) can build a solar hot water collector and sell it to you for $3000 but charge $1000 of it to all the taxpayers and it still only saves you $100 a year. And by the way the government will consider it a great success. Ford can build a little tiny EV that costs $45K and sell it to you for $35K with the taxpayers paying the other $10K and it will only go 100 miles and will save you $500 a year (unless the $17,000 battery pack goes belly up and you have to buy new ones). After 10 years if you are lucky you saved $5000 and it only costs you and the taxpayer $45,000 to do it. The point I’m getting at here is we CAN do some significant things to mitigate the problems we face but if the government and corporations do it we will fail horribly.
    Gardening holds a lot of promise for the future. Anyone can garden and it is actually possible to raise 90% or more of all the vegetables and fruit you need. But it is an example of how human nature works against us all (7 billion of us) solving the problem. If you know fellow gardeners you tend to think everyone is excited about it and willing to put in the time and effort. But it isn’t true. Most people in the civilized world would not be willing to do the work actually required to raise all their produce.
    I do most of the cooking at home and I pride myself on being able to feed a family of four for about $5 a day. I admit I don’t do that every day, I enjoy trying different things and enjoying what is available rather then try to live on what is affordable. But the point is I can and anyone can if they learn how to. This goes to the idea of surviving hard times and living on less.

    I do not live on Lummi Island and only get to visit the San Jauns from time to time. I live about 330 miles South of you. I am aware I am an interloper. I was attracted by an article on a Russian Dacha’s since it is a model I would like to emulate.

  4. Gone windy, I appreciate your perspective on these issues. You do however make me want to buy a gun while this site motivates me towards rake, shovel and community. Obviously you are a free thinker with experience growing up broke and making it, how about tempering the devils advocate with some ideas on how little communities can be self sufficient. I’ll pose this question to you. In the event of a long term social meltdown, what kind of governing body do you see for an island of 1000 people and how would it be structured. Jim Lane

  5. I like the Swiss model (it was also practiced in New Hampshire) where you have direct democracy with everyone voting on every decision. I would prefer requiring a super majority for all tax issues and limits on the ability of a majority to legislate or control freedoms. However I think that history has shown that the best governments/societies were those run by a single benevolent, intelligent leader with full powers. unfortunately history has shown that this is also the worst form of government when the leader is not benevolent. The lesson is that there is no perfect system and it will be a constant struggle to keep the strong and ambitious from taking over. I do believe a ship or a plane would not be able to funtion without a single “captain” in charge. The last thing you want is to run a government or a business by committee. So you need a leader choosen by direct vote who’s responsibility is to only do what the community decides (s)he should and no more and you would want the ability to recall or elect a different leader by vote of the majority.

    I would not consider myself a gun nut. I think everyone should own a gun to protect themselves and their family and to hunt. I have always liked the Swiss idea of requiring every ablebodied man (person) to have a rifle and ammo in their home and to be part of the self defense of the country. But I hope I never have to use a gun to protect myself. I spent 20 years in the military and never fired a shot in anger and I hope to leave this world without having ever harmed anyone. But I truely believe that if anyone is faced with a real self defense situation some day it will be their reluctance to act that will get them killed. You have to know going into it that you may have to make a split second decision and failure to do so will get you killed.

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