Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Wed 7 Sep 11 14:52
I've posted the technology tiers concept to the Miiu wiki, in a slightly more developed form. Thanks for the suggestion.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Fri 9 Sep 11 04:35
Ok. I'm back. Didn't have much time since the trip was much more difficult than anticipated. The entire easter half of PA is flooded. A 3 hour trip took 12 on Wednesday. On the positive side: I drove on a turnpike that had been turned into a fast moving stream. Hadn't done that before.
Travis Bickle has left the building. (divinea) Fri 9 Sep 11 04:57
Perhaps that experience will come in handy on some future occasion! John, I've been reading along here with interest. I used to be a land use planner, as well as a community development person, and I subsequently moved into health care policy and strategic planning. One of my areas of interest and research has been mass casualty event preparedness, along with analysis of what went wrong in past events and the responses thereto, which I referred to during those projects as "worst practices". I have found the technical points in this discussion very interesting, but I notice that neither the essence of community- relationships- nor the value of skilled planners and organized emergency responders have come up. I know that these are both deep and wide topics, but would you like to speak to either or both? Thanks!
John Robb (johnmrobb) Fri 9 Sep 11 08:23
Javier's questions: 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? Here's the aggressive response: A crisis of capitalism swings the door wide open. At that point, there's nothing but innovation between us and a dark age. Nothing like a little pressure.... A more prosaic response: economic failure yields opportunities to bootstrap new economic systems. Ideological blinders fall. Politics doesn't offer solutions. Need to innovate rises. 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? Not sure that the state defense systems will make the transition. They'll just shrink. Some will take the "biggest gang" on the block approach to keeping non-state rivals in line. 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? Still working on that.
From Jordan Peacock (captward) Sat 10 Sep 11 09:28
vie e-mail: Localism can be attractive for the ecologically concerned and the xenophobic. The local-only fallacy is simply a macro-scale version of the isolationist libertarian fantasy that Robb's "pitchfork factor" rightfully skewers. It pays to be locally prepared, but relationships cannot be ignored; outside of your family, or your immediate community. However, the refrain here thus far has been on stationary communities; this has been an artifact of modern life, and really ever since agriculture. However, nomadic patterns are being examined once again, and I'm curious as to whether this poses an unexplored possibility for resilient living. In particularly, I've been reading A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Feliz Guattari which touches on the micro/macro scales of things, and the tensions between hierarchies and "meshworks", but I think the blog post by Venkatesh Rao "On Being an Illegible Person" (http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2011/07/31/on-being-an-illegible-person/) captures the notion even better. A selection: When voluntarily chosen, nomadism is not a profession, lifestyle, or restless spiritual quest. It is a stable and restful state of mind where constant movement is simply a default chosen behavior that frames everything else. True nomads decide they like stable movement better than rootedness, and then decide to fill their lives with activities that go well with movement. How you are moving matters a lot more than where you are, were, or will be. Why you are moving is an ill-posed question. This is not really as strangely backwards as it might seem. Rooted people often decide to relocate somewhere based on a general sense of opportunities and lifestyle possibilities, andthen figure out how theyll live their lives there. Smart rooted people usually target regions first, jobs, activities and relationships second. Nomads pick a pattern of movement first, and then figure out the possibilities of that pattern later. While I havent found a sustainable pattern yet, Ive experienced several unsustainable ones. As the benefits of large, immovable infrastructure begin to be outweighed by their liabilities or insufficiencies, I can see something of a new nomadism being a mode of existence for many; a migratory life, with all the problems and conflicts that poses with extent stationary populaces. Related only somewhat, what think you of the more severe line of thinking towards post-climate catastrophe resilience explored at The Archdruid Report? <http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/>.
Additionally From Jordan Peacock (captward) Sat 10 Sep 11 09:29
On a different note, I was recently asked to give a presentation on technology, values and activism at a Christian anarchism conference in Minneapolis hosted by Missio Dei and Jesus Radicals. Missio Dei is an example of an urban "neo-monastic" community, with an emphasis on enacting a community lifestyle that challenges the assumptions of contemporary capitalism and defense. They have three communal homes in the Twin Cities, and links to other communities across the U.S. and the world, which resulted in the Community of Communities (http://www.communityofcommunities.info/), and have urban garden plots and community meals. Have you encountered other examples of these sorts of communities in urban areas? I'm not a believer myself, but I find the work these communities are doing and the mindsets they are inculcating as invaluable going forward.
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Sat 10 Sep 11 17:00
John, I was wondering if you knew of anyone conducting "fire drills" for short term resiliance education? I spent a lot of time in the shop today and discovered that the brace and bit set my father-in-law gave me yesterday is the only thing in my house capable of drilling holes without electricity. While SWMBO would probably not be thrilled with my turning off the main circuit breaker for a week, I am somewhat curious to see what life would be like with an electrical supply similar to that in countries without a stable grid. Say, rolling dice every morning to determine how many hours of electricity I have that day or some other semi-random simulation of life somewhat-off-the-grid, almost like a board game. Draw two cards, the first tells you what resource is offline and the second tells you how many hours it's off. "Oh, hey, today we don't have running water for 12 hours!"
Jack King (gjk) Sun 11 Sep 11 05:52
Adding to the stuff listed at <http://www.austinhsem.com/go/doc/3603/976339/> I have those supplies (including enough MREs to last 2 people 6-8 days but I'm planning on first eating the perishables, canned tuna, sardines and crackers as long as those supplies last!), I bought a small digital television with rechargeable batteries that served me very well during Irene a couple weeks ago. The small rabbit ears only pull in a few of the 20-something local stations where I live, but all the local stations were weather news all the time, so I found it very useful when the power went off (also plays DVDs). Cost me $66 on sale at a local drug store and I have no buyer's regret whatsoever. Yes, it's a luxury, but if you can afford one, I recommend looking into it. Love my crank-powered AM/FM/SW, but I'm a TV-baby at heart. Also, the Austin HSEM site mentions having some "cash and change" on hand. Boy howdy, I want to underline that. When the power's out, your credit and debit cards don't work. A couple of dear friends of mine and their two dogs evacuated New Orleans in late August 2005 and were homeless for a couple of months and found out how difficult it was to find a motel room or food without cash for a few days.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Sun 11 Sep 11 17:32
Went to visit my parents (my mother's b-day party) this weekend. Unfortunately for her, some terrorists made the day infamous. Ok. ON to the questions. Working from the most recent backwards. Jack, Would definitely underline what you said. Also, take a look at the bug out bag on MiiU. Have a couple of recipes, including a low cost one. http://www.miiu.org/wiki/Bug_Out_Bag Bug out bags are a must for getting through a short term disruption, particularly those that involve an evacuation (many do). However, longer term crisis/disaster like a global economic depression/financial crisis, some deeper thinking is needed. In that instance, you need to grow a local economy from the ground up.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Sun 11 Sep 11 17:44
Eric, That's pretty interesting. Haven't seen that type of game before. Makes sense though. The goal is to get people thinking of not only enduring failures like that, but finding ways to locally generate power (on a community level). There are ways to do that.
Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Sun 11 Sep 11 18:09
Possibly stupid question - When power fails, i guess gas stations have to use generators to pump gas but failing that what do they do?
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Sun 11 Sep 11 18:32
They don't pump gas, in my experience. I've never seen a gas station running a gennie, but I have seen some in middle-of-nowhere Louisiana with old hand/crank pumps.
Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sun 11 Sep 11 22:58
There isn't going to be gas for awhile. Count on it. I drive diesel for that reason. There are a lot of farm tanks out here for the various tractors and other agricultural equipment, and maybe I could make a deal. Also, it's good practice to maintain at least a half tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. If you have a safe way to store fuel at home, you might want to put aside a couple jerry cans. "Safe" in this context means you should have a proper fire-resistant storage cabinet to put those cans in, however.
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Mon 12 Sep 11 07:50
and those cabinets aren't cheap. When I see them used around here they are at least $50 or so for a small one. One of the deciding factors in the house we bought is that it's walking/biking distance from everything we need. It might be an unpleasant, hour-long walk, but it is doable.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Mon 12 Sep 11 09:20
Jordan, Much of the dynamism you see in nomadic tribes can currently be replicated online. No need to actually travel. However, if we do see resilient communities emerge within the context of an economic depression and increasingly illegitimate governance at the nation-state level, we'll see a considerable amount of diversity in how RCs are governed.
Jack King (gjk) Mon 12 Sep 11 13:33
Always keep your gas tank near-full. I do, because I work in a city that always gridlocks during an emergency. When the early afternoon snow hit last January and all the government workers were let go at the same time, many people spent the night in their cars on I-66 and the George Washington Pkwy just outside town, to name a couple evacuation routes. Nearly the same thing happened Aug. 29, the day of the earthquake. One of the top reasons people didn't evacuate New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the Hurricane Ivan fiasco of 2004. Many people did evacuate before Ivan (which didn't hit New Orleans after all) and got stuck on I-10 & I-55 when cars ahead of them ran out of gas, and then they did too. There was a "never again" kind of attitude among some residents. That was a mess that took more than a day to clear. It really doesn't cost anything to keep your gas tank nearly full.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Mon 12 Sep 11 16:50
I do that.
John Robb (johnmrobb) Tue 13 Sep 11 06:33
I think most of the folks reading this are missing the elephant in the room on resilience. Simply: we are in the first stage of a global economic depression. That's the event that is going to frame your life for the next couple of decades. Within that context, resilience is about bootstrapping an economy that works for you, your family, and your community. About taking control and being in charge of your future. Granted, it's a big shift in thinking. We live in a culture that's based on complete and utter dependence (I don't buy into the fantasy that just having a big savings account or a pile of gold makes you free).
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Tue 13 Sep 11 09:36
Yes, I sometimes look around the suburb I live in and wonder how soon people would start going hungry if trucks stopped rolling up at the stores. Not long, I'd say. Of course, the obvious alternative presented to a big savings account or a pile of gold is a basement full of ammo and freeze-dried food. The survivalist dream/nightmare is probably no more realistic than thinking that we can keep on going the way we're going. Still, imagination does not easily provide alternate templates. I've read some of James Kunstler's fiction which sort of envisions the future as a re-run of the 19th century, but I'm not sure if I buy it.
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Tue 13 Sep 11 09:47
>We live in a culture that's based on complete and utter dependence I don't disagree with that at all, but this is what I was getting at earlier with "how do I convince my neighbors to start being more self-reliant without sounding like a nut job?" On a personal level I've been trying to support local businesses and manufacturing in hopes of keeping them in business. That's a drop in the ocean, to be sure, but I've been trying to convince my friends to do the same. However, I've started reading _Endless Novelty_ at the same time as a friend of mine in Japan. It's a detailed look at the local manufacturing climate that existed in the US around the turn of the century, and from what my friend in Japan says, they still have a lot of this capacity that we have lost. I live in what used to be one of the bigger manufacturing hubs in the rust belt and there's now barely more than a few pages of machine and fabrication shops in the yellow pages. So yes, even tho one of us might be reasonably self-sufficient, our greater region is probably screwed.
Tuppy Glossop (mcdee) Tue 13 Sep 11 09:57
Looks like an interesting book: <http://www.amazon.com/Endless-Novelty-Philip-Scranton/dp/0691070180/ref=sr_1_1 ?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315933008&sr=1-1>
J. Eric Townsend (jet) Tue 13 Sep 11 10:08
It really is, if you're into the history of manufacturing and such. I knew we shipped a lot of our manufacturing capacity overseas, I just had no idea how much.
From Phil, Via E-Mail (captward) Tue 13 Sep 11 10:09
For the last 75 years our politicos and the economists in their employ have assured us that it is possible to replace the old Adam Smith memes of hard work, sound money, savings and investment with new, improved economic memes. If sound money was replaced with a rapidly expanding money and credit supply and artificially low interest rates. Then savers would be forced to become speculators to preserve their wealth and society would benefit from more rapid wealth creation. Losers in this more Darwinian speculative process would be caught in a 'social safety net.' Or so we were told. Now, you are implying that this new magical meme set was on which the politicos have risk all of our futures is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Yet another scam for allowing politicos to centralizing power, just as communism proved to be. We have only been living a bubblicious delusion of prosperity that has only served to leave both our governments and ourselves up to our necks in debt. If the economic memes around which we have built our globalized trading system are, in fact, bad memes. Then we are not simply facing a second Great Depression. We are in for something an order of magnitude worse than that, call it the Great Collapse. A world where not just 1/3 of our businesses have gone bankruptcy, as in the Great Depression, but where nearly all of our private and public institutions windup bankrupt and ineffectual. A world where confidence in national currencies could fail and our entire globalized just-in-time economy could grind to a sudden halt. If these new economic memes are bad memes, then we could be looking at a potentially civilization destroying event here. Are we facing something this potentially dire?
Travis Bickle has left the building. (divinea) Tue 13 Sep 11 14:00
Hey, John, I asked a question back in post 78 that relates to what mcdee is saying, and to the looming or current depression. Is it not something that you want to address, or did it get lost in the shuffle?
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Tue 13 Sep 11 18:51
re: 93: Ever since reading Dmitry Orlov's "Global Collapse Best Practices", I've become somewhat a fan of global collapse scenarios. But I confess that I still think they're low probability - there's a big difference between a long-running recession and collapse. What should I be reading that might convince me otherwise?
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