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Motoring for a long descent by wisconsin_cur on Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:33 am
My attitude toward the fast crash v slow decline debate has always been that one should not bet on the apocalypse but it is good to be insured against it. What this means in terms of preparations is that I have sought to prepare to be permanently poor in a world with decreasing amounts of resources and increasingly local. While I am not preparing for the current state to the fall of the grid overnight, I do try to insure against it. It is realatively cheap to make sure one has a couple of years of calories on hand. An alternative source for clean drinking water is useful regardless of how the future plays out. I can keep my house warm better with electricity; but we will be just fine without. I do not expect the apocalypse but I do keep in my car all that I would need to hike home (in any season) in case of an EMP attack.

With that disclaimer, I feel that we must be prepared to live in a world where I need to motor to work and to town in a world where we are increasingly poor. A...

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The Bridge by wisconsin_cur on Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:56 am
A few weeks ago construction unceramoniously threw me off of the interstate and back into the neighborhoods of Minneapolis/St. Paul. As I followed my route and drove through a very nice (and expensive) neighborhood of St. Paul. I enjoyed the older, modest bet very well kept homes of that upper 10% of the metropolitian area which chooses to live within the traditional boundaries of St. Paul. Had I driven through at a different time the scenic path near the river would be full of beautiful people jogging and biking, talking and sauntering. All fairly oblivious to their privlidge and what lays beyond the natural boundary that I was seeking to cross.

Crossing the river into Minneapolis one immedietly enters a space of high rise apartments occupied, primarily, by immigrants. Three hundred yards from executives, consultants, tenured professors, lawyers and surgeons live cab drivers, hospital cleaning staff and the lady who gets you your latte.

On one side of the bridge are the people...

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Of loyalty and place by wisconsin_cur on Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:03 am
Wendell Berry has written at length regarding the colonization of rural areas by urban economic interests. Like any other colony, rural areas are stripped of their raw materials: their minerals, their soil, their best and brightest young people and sold finished products from the cities. In one of his essays Mr. Berry even complains memorably that even the pastors that are assigned to rural areas are interns who are just biding their time, waiting to get a better assignment in the city and, as such, are not really invested in the people they are called to serve today.

Even if they lack a liberation vocabulary to give voice to their frustration, the frustration of the colonized is felt in many rural areas. Upon successfully completing my first interrogation by neighbors when we moved to our current location they disclosed a disdain for the "big city millionaires" who build their McMansions near...

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Cutting through expectations by wisconsin_cur on Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:38 pm
If learning about peak oil has taught me anything it is that we must all learn to expect the unexpected. A problem arises, however, as our expectations change; we think we have our bases covered and no longer need to expect to be surprised.

Making plans for the future need to be versatile. I have read some people who use this as an excuse to not prepare, they plan to remain mobile. How, I would like to ask, will you adapt if the future presents a surprise where one needs to stay rooted where they are in order to thrive? Just because we have been disabused of some false expectations does not mean that the future is obliged to meet our new one's.

The future is open. Even if certain constraints make a certain outcome necessary does not mean we know exactly how the path from here to there will progress. Even if we can know the megatrends for the next one hundred years, this is not the same thing as knowing how those larger trends will impact our micro-existence or that of our neighbors...

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Remote doomsteads - initial reflection by Jack on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:02 pm
It appears that many who consider the possibility of peak oil have a doomstead some distance away - hundreds of miles at least. The premise seems to be that at some point, some level of danger, the individual(s) will go on a trek to the new location and ride out the storm, secure with freeze dried food and a variety of weapons. In essence, they have assumed both a slow, or even a gentle decline and also a uniformly graceful degradation of the system.

Let us explore these ideas. When some sort of crisis occurs, the first and natural instinct is to hoard. When people believe that something is about to happen, or has happened, they clean out the store shelves and fill their tanks with gasoline. Thus, even if the supply lines for goods and fuel are at normal levels, human reactions tend to disrupt the flow and cause shortages. The concern provoked by such occurrences exacerbates the reaction leading to panic.

Now suppose that the problem is neither brief nor immediately transitory....

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