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The Long Emergency - Page 6

post #101 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
The Middle East is part of Asia, which you did name.
ah, i stand corrected. When I named Asia, I was thinking specifically of China, the largest country in Asia, in which life for the vast majority for millennia has been miserable. An amount of peoples that far outnumber the Americas, plus the !Kung, plus the fertile crescent. Life in Russia nd the steppe has been pretty hard for as long as I know. Still is.

Most of Africa, pre-1900 lived in huts or tents. This is JMHO, but that is a pretty mean existence. I personally have lived in a tent (medium sized, 9 man) for 6 months, and it was pretty miserable to me. By the end I was planning a long vacation in the Tuscan hills, and dreaming of flushing toilets.
post #102 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
I always wonder about the suburban thing. I mean, how can it be better to be rural if you are many, many miles away from town? Many suburban lots are large and sunny enough to accomadate some serious food production (vegetables and small farm animals) and the houses are close enough together to function like a traditional small town. The houses are large enough to house two or even three families easily. The garages are large enough to be converted to general stores and shops so regular deliveries can get made to small economies and be distributed throughout the neighborhood. And the houses are often good candidates for solar power (even community solar) and a community windmill. When I look at suburban lots I see lots of potential for a new model of small town living. I mean, why not? Just change the *&^%& zoning laws!
Being on a farm means theres lots of land to grow stuff. You can trade with your neighbours for what they 'produce'... Going to town would be a once a month if that sort of thing. What would you need in town if you grew all your own veggies fruit and then traded with your neighbour who raised animals for meat and milk?

I agree that there could be some potential for the suburbs. They just need to get rid of all those lawns and grow food instead! Did you know that lawns were first 'invented' be the monarchy to show that they didn't have to use all their arable land to grow food. So now we all think we have to show our 'wealth' with our large consuming lawns. Lawns suck.
post #103 of 260
You know, though, a well-made hut or tent is not so bad, depending on the climate! When the Europeans first made it to the Americas, they were astonished by how comfortable the indigenous people's dwellings were. And how comfortable their clothes and shoes were, etc. etc. And this is the Northeast -- hardly a tropical paradise.

I don't think it's fair to discount the Americas as being unusual -- for one, they were more heavily populated than was imagined (even more than Europe at the time!), and two, the success of the myriad cultures across the two continents wasn't dependent on an equation as simple as rich natural resources/arable land. Many of the largest and most successful cultures weren't farmers in a sense that we would recognize today, although they did shape the world around them -- with fire, by planting the orchard that is the Amazon, and so on. Some cultures made serious missteps and collapsed, but until the time of collapse, there's evidence that for many, many of the people in those cultures (not just royalty), life was not unpleasant.

Yes, life was "nasty, brutish, and short" in many places, and in many times. But there are lots and lots of times when it wasn't -- and to assume that the European Dark Ages is the fate that awaits us is an egregious error made without benefit of full historical and anthropological evidence.

* * * * *
I am looking forward to an edible lawn, myself, and some chickens or even goats. Food not lawns!
post #104 of 260
We just did away with 30% of our lawn. It is huge. I had already expanded the garden and we still had too much grass to deal with (and dandelions) so I just put landscape fabric down over a large swath, framed it in with landscape timbers (not rr ties) and filled it with cedar bark. It looks great even though we have no idea what to do with it. But what a relief to have less lawn. We still have enough lawn leftover to have a green area for the kids, a chicken area for 2-3 chickens (at least!), and we have about 5% of the lawn already planted with 6 fruit trees (we'll be getting the first fruits this summer!). It's fun to get creative with changing out your grass for something else. It doesn't have to be a huge garden. You can cover it with smooth rocks and stepping stones and a bench and native drought-resistant plants and it will look fantastic.

I also don't use lawn chemicals so I dug out all the dandelions by hand which I found strangely relaxing and addicting. After a week of doing this, the lawn looks great. We also torched the puffy heads every night for like a week. So far they are staying away considerably.
post #105 of 260
Quote:
I dug out all the dandelions by hand which I found strangely relaxing and addicting.
If you're not spraying and can be fairly certain of your growing space, dandelion are pretty tasty! The greens make a tangy salad, and the flower heads can be batter dipped and fried.

But I agree... suburbia has a lot of promise in terms of being self supporting.
post #106 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
You know, though, a well-made hut or tent is not so bad, depending on the climate! When the Europeans first made it to the Americas, they were astonished by how comfortable the indigenous people's dwellings were. And how comfortable their clothes and shoes were, etc. etc. And this is the Northeast -- hardly a tropical paradise.
Hmm... the average worker man's house from the 1600's is no longer around. Good housing material and nice homes were for the wealthy. And most non-aristocracy homes that I've seen in Europe dating to the 1600's are dark, dank, and not too spacious. So I could see where a well made hut would be not too bad in comparison. Also, European clothing from the 1600's...shoot, before the 1920's, was uncomfortable. I love my Italian driving moc shoes, but would not want to wear the corsets, unpadded heels, or muff like things that Europeans wore.
post #107 of 260
The estimate for expected 1st quarter gdp rose at an annual rate of .6%. is it low? Yes. However, it's not as dire as we keep hearing in the media.
post #108 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post

I agree with you about the huge split between the have and the have-nots and the disappearing middle class. And I see an economic crisis - but not "devolution" - and dissolving of society like Jared Diamond describes in Collapse. I think it will be more like the Great Depression.
Just because I don't want it to get missed, I wanted to second the recommendation for this book
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.

It is a fabulous book and it really helped me to understand what is going on now, and how different civilizations have fallen. What surprised me more than anything is the sheer size of some of the civilizations that have failed.
post #109 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
Hmm... the average worker man's house from the 1600's is no longer around. Good housing material and nice homes were for the wealthy. And most non-aristocracy homes that I've seen in Europe dating to the 1600's are dark, dank, and not too spacious. So I could see where a well made hut would be not too bad in comparison. Also, European clothing from the 1600's...shoot, before the 1920's, was uncomfortable. I love my Italian driving moc shoes, but would not want to wear the corsets, unpadded heels, or muff like things that Europeans wore.
Yeah, I think Europe circa 1300-1900 might not be the most attractive model for gracious living, at least not if we're going to be commoners!

Have you ever seen Aguirre: The Wrath of God? Kind of funny to watch the Spaniards traipsing around South America in their corseted velvet dresses and heavy armor...

Oh and Collapse is one of my other favorite books!
post #110 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
Also, European clothing from the 1600's...shoot, before the 1920's, was uncomfortable. I love my Italian driving moc shoes, but would not want to wear the corsets, unpadded heels, or muff like things that Europeans wore.
Whoa, now, veering off-topic, but the fashions in Europe between the 1600s vs. at least the late 1800s were really very different. I am no expert, but I've spent plenty of time in 1580s-ish European working-woman's wear, and I find it extremely comfortable. Europe at that time was in a mini-ice-age, which means their temperatures were usually below 70 degrees, and it made sense to wear underlayers of linen (very comfortable) and outer layers of wool. Where I live this is not practical in summer, but is very comfortable in fall, winter, and spring.

In fact, the other day I had on a long-sleeved shirt underneath a loose thin-wale cotton corduroy jumper, with one of my long (simple) costume aprons, and I had to laugh at how much I probably looked like a woman from the early 1600s, at least at a distance. (I also love the over-the-knee rolled socks that I wear with my costumes). And I was SO comfortable. I love wearing long skirts - and, as a person who chronically wipes her hands on her skirts, I find long aprons to be extremely practical, and wear one whenever I think of it. Linen is wonderful for undergarments, and wool is wonderful for outerwear.

This was before corsets hit the working class, though. A good fitted (boned) bodice can be as comfortable or more comfortable than a bra.

I will give you this: shoes have made a big improvement, with rubber soles and arch supports. And I do like wearing underpants, but not everyone even these days does!

I would generally agree with those who feel that several hundred years ago, average working people were not necessarily feeling any more oppressed by their lifestyle than we are now. I think it's common to say "what we are used to is the superior way," but I would imagine a woman of several hundred years ago would find many of our cultural norms and expectations oppressive.
post #111 of 260
It has been some years since my last anthropology class but lets see if I can remember these things correctly -

Often tribes along the western coast would take prisoners from rival tribes and sell them off, not usually people of their own social group, unless they had done something atrocious.

Foraging/hunting groups work considerably less than those who choose to farm. I can't remember the exact numbers but that is one of the first things they teach you aka we are all fools.

I agree, a bit OT, but I happen to enjoy wearing a corset.. yes that's right I'm a dork that goes to medieval fairs in costume. I love the layers and I love the corset, at least I don't have to keep adjusting it like I do my @#%$ bra I am expected to wear when I go into public on a daily basis.
post #112 of 260
so, are there some books we should all be reading to get ready for the emergency? like homesteading books or home building books or gardening books, organic of course?

do y'all have some suggestions? i would like to start reading up on these skills...just in case, heehee
post #113 of 260
There's lots of book rec's already in this thread. I think a survival book for you might be different then a survival book for me. You live in Texas (your username, so I assume) so the things you need to be aware of are different then the things I need to be aware of in the mountains of british columbia. Go to your local bookstore and see what you can find.
post #114 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasmommatotwo View Post
so, are there some books we should all be reading to get ready for the emergency? like homesteading books or home building books or gardening books, organic of course?

do y'all have some suggestions? i would like to start reading up on these skills...just in case, heehee
I really love the book from readers digest : back to basics.. its out of print but really nice..I have it from the library :
post #115 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
But I agree... suburbia has a lot of promise in terms of being self supporting.
They'll just have to overthrow the homeowners associations first!

Seriously though DH is an attorney and he predicts that states will pass legislation disallowing the banning of energy-saving practices such as clotheslines.

I think SOME subdivisions have the potential described, but I'm not sure what's typical (or if there even is such a thing). DH's sister for example lives in what I think of as a McMansionette...like, a biggish kitchen/DR and large master BR with large fancy master bath, then the rest of the space is cut up into little tiny rooms, if you ask me the layout is just horrible. It's probably at least 1600 sf but somehow manages to feel smaller. Their lot is maybe an 1/8 of an acre, and with houses on either side and behind, it's very very shaded. There's one large tree in the front also really shading that area, I suppose at least the benefit there is the cooling factor on the house. But seriously I don't know that they could grow anywhere near a sufficient amount for their family (or for trade) on that lot. And the hundreds of houses in their subdivision are all pretty much the same way. And it is just one of dozens of similar subdivisions out their particular road, which is several miles from much of anything--even a strip mall, and a good 30 miles from her workplace, or her DH's workplace.
post #116 of 260
I've been reading this thread for a while, and I'm now delurking, lol.

As for life being miserable before the common era, ummm, depends where and when you are speaking about.

Hunters & gatherers have it the best in regards to time spent working vs. leisure time. The !Kung San someone mentioned earlier do around 4 hours of work a day, and they live in a very harsh desert area, so many anthropologist think that people in other, more forgiving places (which is most of the rest of the world), would have to work even less.

As for places like China and Russia being miserable places, I don't know. Russia would be miserable if one is an oppressed agriculturalist who is being taken advantage of by the ruling class (recent history). However, hunting & gathering Russians would probably have it as easy as the Inuit did pre-assimilation. Which is to say, not too bad. And agriculturalists do have the freezing temps on their side which would allow them to store meat and other perishables a lot longer than somewhere where there are no freezing temps (like where I live). It just took more planning than what we are used to.

Actually, pre-1900, living in the cities was pure hell. Until covered sewer systems and better public hygiene, cities could only sustain themselves through more people coming in to them. In other words, most people died very quickly in cities.

Oh, and with regards to lifespan, the estimate of 40 to 50 is not correct. What lifespans do is total all the range of ages (from one day old to 110 y.o) in a population and divide by the number of people. Therefore, societies where there is a LOT of infant mortality, lifespan is artificially lowered. From what I've read, if a child lived to be older than 3 or 4 y.o. (during the majority of history) then that child had a good chance of living well into their 60s, 70, 80s, etc. The most vulnerable time in a child's life was actually when they were weaned, since they now had to fully sustain themselves without any back-up help from momma's milk.

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Oh, and ITA with getting rid of zoning laws and HOA!!! It irritates me to no end that a handful of tyrants can impact so many people negatively! Argh. Like using a clothesline would really hurt anybody? And think of the money it would save people!! And I think letting people set up businesses in their homes would help a lot of people NOW. I mean, how many chiropractors, midwives, etc, etc, could just use their converted garage or a spare room as their office? Ok, mini-rant over, lol.

Ami
post #117 of 260
Good Books to Read:
Umm, everything! lol

I second Reader's Digest:Back to Basics

Build your Dream House for a Song: And Own it free and clear in five years by David Cook (great ideas on getting good land inexpensively)

Mortgage-Free!: Radical Strategies for Home Ownership (Real Goods Solar Living Book) By Robert Roy

Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves by Kiko Denzer & Hannah Field

A good place to start would be your library. Type in Readers Digest: Back to Basics. See what else the recommendations are based on that one book. Here's the example from a library near me:
http://mill1.sjlibrary.org/search?/t...kills&1%2C1%2C

Just dive in and grab a skill to work on right now, be that canning, sewing, gardening, foraging, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, etc. And yes, I do believe breastfeeding is a good skill to work on, so that you can help other mommas during these times. These things can't all be learned from books, so while a book is a good place to start, you need to just do it. Learning self-sufficient skill can be quite addictive.

Ami
post #118 of 260
I've never lived anywhere that had a covenant/agreement... the mental image that comes is from an X-file episode in which a supernatural critter was killing people who broke the homeowner agreement! I had no idea they were so restrictive.

Though there is some irony since the most restrictive community near us is an eco-village...

In terms of history, a dense population center surrounded by farmed land is sort of classic. So a subdivision of homes on small lots surrounded by "empty" space of 10-15 miles would be fine. I mentioned it up thread, but The Fifth Sacred Thing is set in a near future of limited means. One of the main settings is San Francisco and there's a fair amount of description about how a city like that could become more or less independent (obsessive reduce/reuse/recycle, composting, communal living, water conservation, rooftop/park farming, very little meat other than ocean fish, social norms and customs that would facilitate CL, etc). It's not a "how to" guide, but it's an interesting vision.

And in a more immediate sense, urban homesteading is gaining ground (pun only margionally intended )
post #119 of 260
I also really like the RD Back to Basics. I was actually given it by my grandmother before I heard of PO and wanting to become as self sufficient as possible. One day I was browsing my bookshelf and saw it sitting there and then realised what a wonderful all-round resource it was.

I also John Seymour's Self Sufficiency book and various ones on growing and using herbs medicinally and gardening.
post #120 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
the mental image that comes is from an X-file episode in which a supernatural critter was killing people who broke the homeowner agreement! I had no idea they were so restrictive.


My friend has a HOA and I think of that episode every time!!
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