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inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #51 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Mon 5 Sep 11 06:56
    
Christian,

The one thing any community has vs. any exterior group:  They are
defending their homes.  Their family.  Their property.  

Also, I wouldn't think of any gang as a monolithic enterprise.  It's
segmented, not hierarchical.  A good example of this is how quickly the
militias took over favelas in Brazil from the larger drug gangs (not
that many of the militias are any better than a drug gang in some
instances).

JR
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #52 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Mon 5 Sep 11 07:10
    
This isn't for everyone.  Getting ready for a decade of global
depression and potentially, a crisis of capitalism, isn't something you
can sell most people on.  Nor would I want to attempt it.  You either
see it too, or you don't.  

As a result, most folks are going to learn what it takes to get by
*after* it happens.  
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #53 of 195: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Mon 5 Sep 11 08:06
    
>The question is what we can do before that point.

Exactly.  I think it's a matter of leading by example, at least in my
fair borough.

We've decided to start pushing the boundaries here by getting rid of
our front lawn.  We've converted half of it to hardy, native plants
and are slowly preparing to let the rest of it "go native" in a way
that the borough can't complain about.   In a couple of years, we'll
be able to have some edible flowers and decorative plants in place and
loan the reel mower to the neighbors.

And ever so gently, I've been bringing up the issue of composting and
raised beds with the neighbors.  They're impressed with the two small
ones we have in our back yard and I've offered to help them set some
up using stone or native hardwood.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #54 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 5 Sep 11 10:30
    
At Worldchanging, we talked about getting to a sustainable, practical
and resilient lifestyle with a relatively high standard of living, not
defined as owning a McMansion and and SUV, but having all needs met,
strong and supportive community, zero environmental footprint, etc.

We could always avoid buying into a dystopian or apocalyptic vision of
the future and assume that things can actually be better than they
are. Wondering how to construct viable "better" scenarios acknowledging
the difficult state of the world.

I suppose I could start by ordering a pair of 5.11 tactical pants...
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #55 of 195: Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 5 Sep 11 11:47
    
and do all the knowledge workers/symbolic manipulators become blacksmiths?
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #56 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 5 Sep 11 13:06
    
Well, no. Because metal working is just going to be one of the many
skill sets required in a resilient community. Go down the list and see
what it takes to actually have a decent, reasonably comfortable life.
I'd argue, in fact, that metal work is actually fairly middle of the
list somewhere--food, heat, and medical care are probably much higher
up. The skills and assets would also have to be fairly well distributed
throughout the community to work--John recently described something
that he calls the "pitchfork factor," which could be roughly defined as
"the likelihood that your neighbors are going to come and loot you
during a crisis." Short lesson--don't hoard. Be prepared to get with
the neighbors and do your bit. 

Which leads me to ask, what are the required assets, both skills and
artifacts, required to make a community "resilient", and at what scale?
Obviously there are things a small town could achieve that a
neighborhood couldn't. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #57 of 195: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Mon 5 Sep 11 13:27
    
There are levels of these skills.  There's the metalworking needed to
make/fix hand tools, that's down there on the blacksmithing end of
things, and while not trivial, is easily learned and doesn't require a
lot of precision tools.  Sheet-metal work is harder and requires
fancier tools and supplies, and at the high-end, there's machining on
a mill or lathe and welding, all of which require significant sources
of power, accurate equipment, and a lot more infrastructure in general
than blacksmithing requires.

The same is going to be true for medicine -- it's probably way more
useful for someone to have basic first aid knowledge and one or two
people who have extra skills like suturing or splinting. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #58 of 195: Paulina Borsook (loris) Mon 5 Sep 11 14:10
    
<just thinking about this particular mcmansion area --- where everyone there
is an exec in finance or big pharma or is an academic --- and how their
skills might repurpose). other people are a few miles away --- classic
exurban sprawl...
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #59 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 5 Sep 11 14:48
    
Electrical and networks and sewage systems are high on my list. Can
resilient communities roll their own?
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #60 of 195: Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Mon 5 Sep 11 16:26
    

I have been thinking for quite some time that we may need to go to a
"barefoot doctors" model for a lot of nursing/care/medicine that doesn't
have to be done by MDs.  My husband came home from the hospital recently
with a tummy feeding tube and a drain to an abscess.  In the hospital all of
this is dealt with by RNs or LVN/CNAs who have lots of training and
experience.  We, otoh, were sent home to do the very same tasks with little
knowledge and experience and certainly no licenses.

A friend of ours just spend 9 years caring for his late wife who had a nasty
form of leukemia, a stem cell transplant and enormous host v graft disease
complications.  He's writing a book about how much care can actually be done
at home and at a much lower cost.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #61 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 5 Sep 11 22:33
    
In fact, many communities working under dire economic straits have
"rolled their own" power generation and waste solutions, but the
results aren't always pretty. Many electrical systems tend to consist
of small diesel or petrol generators and whatever fuel you can afford
to run them. Waste management may exist at the level of "flying
toilets" or open sewage drains. 

The thing is, these solutions are based primarily on a lack of
understanding of community enterprise and available technologies. It's
somewhat difficult, but certainly not impossible, for a community to
create a sewage handling system that is much more efficient and
possibly generates additional benefits. For example, the development of
composting toilets in Nairobi is being used to support parks and
supplement local incomes. 

http://sustainablecities.dk/en/city-projects/cases/nairobi-compost-creates-inc
ome-for-park-maintenance

Those of us in the west may have a particularly hard time mentally
adapting to techniques such as composting toilets, but we are much more
materially and informationally advantaged compared to most people in
developing countries. If we can't shift to effective contingency
solutions under our current "stuff glut," we only have ourselves to
blame. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #62 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 5 Sep 11 22:43
    
By the way, we've gone several posts here without direct reference to
John's blog and the Miiu wiki, so for those just arriving to the
conversation here's where to look:

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/

http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Main_Page
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #63 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Tue 6 Sep 11 06:11
    
Lena, self care is possible in MANY cases.  Just need the equipment
and some training.  Currently doing that in my family with Type 1
Diabetes and Parkinsons.  Of course, my wife is a OR nurse, so that
helps.

Jon.  Community electrical is definitely possible.  Combo microgrids
and CHP/Sterling systems.  Going to omnivorous fuel
consumption/concentrated solar and heat storage as the end game
locally.  Sewage shouldn't be a problem either.  Biodigesters should be
everywhere, particularly in urban communities.  All it takes is the
will and the effort to do it.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #64 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Tue 6 Sep 11 06:23
    
>>Which leads me to ask, what are the required assets, both skills and
artifacts, required to make a community "resilient", and at what
scale?

That's a hard question and there isn't a simple answer.  Most of the
knowledge/skill we need is out there right now.  It exists in most
communities already.  However, I'm not talking about turning back the
clock to 19th Century production methods.  We have new tech.  New ways
of building and operating things now that allow a level of productivity
at the micro level that has never been seen before.  

Check out what Marcin is doing at open source ecology: 
http://blog.opensourceecology.org/  


>> At worldchanging:  We could always avoid buying into a dystopian or
apocalyptic vision of the future and assume that things can actually
be better than they are.

I would have done the same if my focus was climate change given the
time horizons involved.  My task is much easier.  The dystopian future
is emerging as I write this.  Economic depression is our future. 
Hollow, bankrupt nation-states are our future.  A crisis of capitalism
(the last great ideology) is in our future.  No buy in required.  It's
already on our doorstep.  

Will it get better?  It will.  Absolutely.  The best results, as far
as I can imagine, will be achieved through localizing production and
virtualizing everything else.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #65 of 195: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 6 Sep 11 06:57
    
I managed to write a blog review about my, uhm, pants.

http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/09/the-new-pants-revue/

Then me and the pants ventured over to Bastrop where they are having
the worst and biggest wildfire in Texas history.  Things were pretty
calm there, because the town wasn't on fire; it was mostly the
drought-scorched remnants of a state forest that was on fire.  And boy
was it ever.

If you were in the path of that inferno, it wouldn't matter much how
many multitools you had.  There's just not a lot left there to be
resilient about.

http://photoblog.statesman.com/tag/central-texas-fires

I took some photos myself.  The cops wouldn't let us get any closer,
they had the roads barricaded, they were chasing off clusters of
rubbernecking photographers.  Nice pants, cops.  Real handy.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brucesterling/sets/72157627602991156/

This oughta feel a lost scarier than it is.  It's a historically
unprecedented drought and without the high-tech air cover the whole
state could burn off.  It's tinder.  All of it.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #66 of 195: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 6 Sep 11 07:00
    
"No buy in required.  It's already on our doorstep."  Yup; and there
are some areas where it's already through the door and out the back
door.  
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #67 of 195: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Tue 6 Sep 11 08:02
    
I think a key to resiliency is "don't live where it's really hard to
live in the first place".  There's a lot of Texas and New Mexico and
Arizona that was only lightly populated for a very long time before
running water and the grid.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #68 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 6 Sep 11 11:00
    <scribbled by tcn Tue 6 Sep 11 11:03>
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #69 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 6 Sep 11 11:05
    
"No buy in required"...it's a hard sell in Phoenix and to my kids, who
I keep trying to move out of here. If it weren't for the grandkids I'd
be out of here in a flash...just entirely unsustainable from my point
of view....but the strip malls are thriving and you can still get gas
for your SUV's, Walmart's cranking and my kids think I'm crazy to see
it any differently....aaargh, so I'm hooking up with 'makers' and
'shakers' and trying to do some community work...nice to see some
links from miiu for Tempe and Chandler, will follow up.

OTOH, browsing at Barnes and Nobel this morning I ran into the Counter
Terrorist Magazine - a couple of mags over from 2600....there's just
something wrong when slick magazines start appearing - suppose hacker
chic, posers, and bumper stickers will be next. All this followed by
Kevin Mitnik's new book mentioning how he hacked the WELL to store his
info on its servers.  Sobering morning. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #70 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Tue 6 Sep 11 12:19
    
It's definitely pretty complicated trying to define what community
resiliency means, and at what scale. I've been trying to put my head
around this for some time. There are a lot of factors involved,
including the depth of the resiliency you expect to achieve--you can
only expect a community to take so many hits before bending or breaking
in some way. 

I've considered trying to organize technologies into various tiers,
depending on their complexity and utility. Tier 1, for example, would
be technologies that are readily deployed on a contingency basis by
people with little to no specialized knowledge, using available
artifacts. For example, the SODIS solar water distillation system would
be an example of Tier 1 technology for developing potable water.

http://www.sodis.ch/index_EN

Tier 2 describes technologies which are derived from low-cost
artifacts and can deployed by individuals or small groups with
readily-acquired specialized knowledge and short-term labor
expenditure. A tier 2 example for the potable water problem is the
solar distillation frame developed by the El Paso Solar Energy
Association. 

http://www.epsea.org/stills.html

Tier 3 describes technologies which show long-term sustainability and
utility, but which must be deployed by groups with highly specialized
knowledge and require advanced materials and considerable expenditure
of labor to develop. A tier 3 example for potable water production is
the Living Machines system developed by Dr. Jack Todd. 

http://www.oceanarks.org/Natural_Water_Treatment.php

I'm thinking that the use of technology tiers could provide a kind of
ladder that communities can use to move from short-term contingency
solutions to long-term sustainable solutions. This might be a good time
to confess I've been spending a lot of time surfing the web
downloading information on tier 1 and tier 2 solutions. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #71 of 195: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Tue 6 Sep 11 14:56
    
Not feeling too perky today.  May have been something I inhaled
downwind of the flames.

I'm poring over the perky, resilient, federal-local urgings here. 
When  did placid Austin TX turn into quake-jumpy Los Angeles CA?

http://www.austinhsem.com/go/doc/3603/976339/

You think maybe this guy had a bug-out bag and a shortwave radio?  He
doesn't seem to be carrying much.

http://www.worldcrunch.com/new-dramatic-footage-japanese-tsunami/3708
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #72 of 195: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Tue 6 Sep 11 15:15
    
<echodog>, I've been thinking along similar-but-different lines in
terms of bootstrapping fabrication technology.  I like your hierarchy.

The disaster planning and whatnot in Japan is truly amazing compared
to what we had in the bay area, forget places where the "only" thing
you need to worry about is a derailed train of chemical cars or tornados.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #73 of 195: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 Sep 11 16:23
    
Just want to repeat that readers of this discussion who are not
members of the WELL can still participate by sending comments and
questions to inkwell at well.com. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #74 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Wed 7 Sep 11 03:20
    
Eric, love the tier approach to technologies.  Put it on MiiU!

Hope you feel better Bruce.  

I'm headed off to the Army War College today.  Will try to respond to
any questions over the next couple of days until I get back.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #75 of 195: Javier Sandez (jonl) Wed 7 Sep 11 11:47
    
Questions submitted via email by Javier Sandez:

1)What would be the way for a western state's economic, political and
social systems to transition from their present state to a resilient,
open source form of organisation?

2)What would be the way for a western state defense systems to
transition from their present state to a resilient, open source form of
organisation?

3)How can energy/wealth be harvested from the collapse of capitalism
and transformed into the input/fuel of the building/transformation
processes implied in 1 and 2?
  

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