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The Long Emergency - Page 9

post #161 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Try explaining airplanes!!
I haven't read this thread thoroughly yet, but I do occasionally read Sharon's blog, which I saw was mentioned earlier, and I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately. Just yesterday, as my friend and I were pointing out an airplane to our kids -- not unusual since we live fairly close to a major airport -- I thought, "I wonder if someday, in my son's lifetime or even in mine, this won't be such a common sight?"

This topic scares the hell out of me. I know in some ways it would be better to go back to simpler times. But generally it makes me feel as if the whole world is ending and that there's ultimately not much I can do to prepare. I mean, we live just outside a major metropolitan city in a lovely older walking community and I REALLY don't want to move somewhere with bigger yards or out in the country. I just don't. I do plan on developing our tiny yard into raised bed gardens and learning how to grow our own food on a bigger scale, and hopefully how to can food as well. But we can't have chickens so I'm not sure what else we could do.

I am thinking of putting a wood-burning stove insert into our fireplace (we have a 79-year old house with a traditional fireplace in it that needs chimney work anyway). Does that seem wise?

I guess one good thing is that we're right on one of the great lakes (1-2 miles away). Another is that we can walk to almost everything. But the food thing scares me.

Maybe I should read the book and this thread...
post #162 of 260
I was surprised to hear my husband say last night that we might be forced to be a one car family. We are trying to figure out a preschool for DD. While a nearby option is expensive, it's right on the frequent bus line. So right now it is feeling like a front-runner.

I was surprised that he is thinking along the lines of long term societal changes, too.

Cities will still be sustainable, I think. But they will definitely be changed. More limited (seasonal) produce options, more locally produced foods, more self-produced food. I think electricity (any power, really) will become more and more expensive and some uses will be a luxury. I'm already going through the house turning off all the lights and fans in the rooms we aren't in.
post #163 of 260
SCA- yeah, costumes/garb are optional though obviously the group is geared towards medieval stuff so most people are going to dress up. Large events tend to be "please wear garb" but the smaller meetings and classes are generally in street clothes. DH and I have been members since we were little (our parents are/were in the SCA) and we grew up knowing how to do a lot of the things people are now thinking about learning... like "what do you do if there isn't a fridge/freezer and no hot running water and you've only got a wood oven and an open fire but you still have to feed a dozen people without risking food poisoning?". Even if you don't attend meetings, there are lots of SCA websites that present this sort of stuff in a fun atmosphere... which can help get family and friends (or children) on board with preparations.

Which is why I mentioned it The SCA isn't a "survival/homestead" type group but it does teach members useful "survival/homestead" skills while keeping the whole thing fun/interesting/non-threatening. Which means it may be easier to get other people on board... you avoid the whole "society is dooooOOOOOooooommmmmmed" (thank you Zim!) discussion with the henny penny accusations. Of course, some family and friends will probably still think you're crazy, but such is life!
post #164 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
open fire but you still have to feed a dozen people without risking food poisoning?".
I had to comment on this. A friend and her DH are Civil War reenactors. Their kitchen is being remodeled and she was joking about cooking over an open fire in the backyard - since she has always cooked over an open fire for reenactments.
post #165 of 260
Yup, almost any of the historical reenactment or recreation groups will teach you these skills (assuming you want to learn, and you're not going to just stick a cooler and a coleman under a tarp). Just look around and see what is available!

EcoVillages, Modern Primatives, Outward Bound, even scouting are all other options for learning these skills in a hands on way while having fun focusing on other things.
post #166 of 260
Oh yeah, I have friends who do Rendezvous, the whole wagon train bit. (Maybe that's bigger in the Midwest.)

Did anyone watch 1890s House? They lived in a Victorian in the city, but in that tiny backyard they had a garden and chickens. I think (I hope!) that as the foodscape changes, maybe the rules against chickens will be changed.

As my midwife's bumper sticker says: "When chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens!"
post #167 of 260
I am reading this book right now and have been blown away by what I'm seeing. The things he's written down are what have been floating thru my head recently. All the systems we have built are based on a finite, non-renewable resource that is quickly running out. The future looks very scary. I am normally an optimistic person but not so much this time.
I am just doing every thing I can to try to insulate my family from the effects of the coming times. Someone asked about retirement and I am thinking similar thoughts. We plan on trying to be as self-sufficient and as low maintenance as possible during our senior years.

A lot of the things in his book are ALREADY happening. Like suburbs turning into slums. Recent foreclosures have caused this already in parts of the country and I heard about this on CNN. Gas is going to go UP, not down. Why would they lower prices, if we're already paying 4 bucks a gallon? I just traded my SUV for an economy car and have already felt the difference.

I'm trying to grow some tomatoes, dry clothes on the line, reduce electricity, set thermostat at 79 (and I live in HOTTTTT southern Georgia), condense shopping trips, cloth diaper, and am teaching myself to sew. I am preparing myself and family for hard times, because I believe they are coming.

Those with skills (carpentry, growing, building, sewing, etc) are going to be the ones we will need as our communities move more towards a local economy out of necessity. The signs are already here, I just hope it's not as bad as he predicts.
post #168 of 260
I am hopefully getting a position with my local food security network as an apprentice I've been gardening, getting a 25$ deepfreeze, and get goat milk at the neighbors in exchange for helping them in their garden................................ My blog.. http://jasanna.blogspot.com/
post #169 of 260
I just waded through this whole thread for my exciting Saturday night.

I'm not a huge fan of Kunstler but I do love Sharon Astyk. Kunstler is just a little too gleeful at the prospect of what effectively works out to the deaths of millions for me. But I am glad that Kunstler came up with the title The Long Emergency because it fits the situation perfectly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomInFlux View Post
I find myself baffled by those (not necessarily in this thread) who believe that technology and innovation and the powers that be will save us and all will be just fine. And that people survived just fine before petroleum and will survive after petroleum. As A&A pointed out, pre-oil, there were a whole lot FEWER people, and a whole lot MORE resources to go 'round. And we're not just talking peak oil. We're talking peak oil and climate change and looming financial crisis. Hydrogen cars alone aren't going to reduce carbon emissions enough to head off global warming.
I am of two minds about this. I do think that the forces of human innovation and the market will bring us out of the current mess eventually (probably at the same time landing us into a new one that we're not even aware of now that will eventually become the next problem to solve). However, I don't think of it as "saving" because I don't think that process will be a very pleasant one for most of us. So, will we get through it? Yes, eventually we'll muddle through, and I think innovation and technology will come with that process, but it's going to be very, very hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
This may have been addressed I read the first two pages then skimmed) but if the assumption is a total lack of resources for personal vehicles, how does this integrate with the idea of moving back to the land?
One of the major problems I have with Kunstler and his cohort is that I think they've got an unrealistic and borderline fetishistic view of living in the country. I'm from an extended family of homesteaders, people who live off the land significantly. I have a lot of first-hand experience with that life, and the idea that people can just homestead as a solution to peak oil strikes me as naive and ignorant. Rural living now, even for those who homestead, is tremendously dependent on cheap oil. Living a rural life without oil is extremely difficult (of course this really depends where you are, but speaking in generalities here).

I think urban, walkable areas might perhaps have more likelihood of violence but in a post-peak-oil world, in general I think they'll be easier places to live.

Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
Firstly it may be worth remembering that until recently, life for most humans was a miserable and mean existence. You start working very young, you do a lot of work while there is light, then you go to bed when dark and repeat when the sun again rises. You do this 7 days a week (weekends being a recent phenomenon) and die sometime in your 30's-40's. Food and shelter were the main goals and hunger was a common feeling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
All my books are packed away now 'cause we're moving, but I read an anthropological study of (I think) the !Kung San in southern Africa, done maybe 50 years ago, that found that everyone got more than enough to eat (including enough protein, fat, etc), people under about 18 and over 60 or so didn't really work at all, and the typical adult worked an average of about 18 hours a week. By "work" he meant food gathering, hunting, food preparation. This isn't true of the !Kung San any more, but it was then.
I think it's reasonable to say that for a lot of human existence, life was pretty miserable. Even in communities that had luck with the weather, no major natural disasters, luck with war for a period of time, natural abundance (e.g., the !Kung San at the time of the study) still lived very, very hard lives. For starters, for the majority of human existence, humans have lived with very high rates of infant mortality, infanticide, etc., even in those places with otherwise serendipitous circumstances. Add to that accepted practices like slavery, rigidly enforced social rankings and other problems, and it's not a pretty picture. (I'm not saying we're really enlightened now about all this. I doubt there is a consumer in the entire western world who hasn't bought something made with slave labor at some point; just that we shouldn't idealistically whitewash life before oil.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post
Not only that, but in MIL's HOA she is not allowed to run the dishwasher/washer/dryer before 8am or after 10pm.


That is crazy-making.
post #170 of 260
Okay I have clicked on this thread at least four times.
  • I'm scared to read the posts because I'm worried I'll become anxious about the state of things
  • I checked out the book but I'm also scared to read it.
  • I feel like we're moving in a direction of preparedness but I really don't want to feel helpless and afraid that something will come crashing in at any moment
  • I alread feel this way a little bit and am afraid this book/thread will feed it, and yet I still click...
:hale:
post #171 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
One fun way to prepare with children is to join a group like the SCA (society for creative anachronism http://www.sca.org/).

I love SCA! If the local chapter had actually formed (but the lady spearheading it died) we so would have joined! The closest chapter is 40 min away I did get to go to a couple of meetings though, so much to learn, so little time!
post #172 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
Oh yeah, I have friends who do Rendezvous, the whole wagon train bit. (Maybe that's bigger in the Midwest.)

Did anyone watch 1890s House? They lived in a Victorian in the city, but in that tiny backyard they had a garden and chickens. I think (I hope!) that as the foodscape changes, maybe the rules against chickens will be changed.

As my midwife's bumper sticker says: "When chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens!"

Oh! Did you see ranch house! That was so much better! IMO.

Just finished my first look through of The self-reliant homestead. Has lots of interesting things, most of it is geared toward those with land though. Still good reading.
post #173 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinybutterfly View Post
Things would be bad at first, people would have to make changes and they would.

Honestly, I would be more afraid to live in an urban area during such a crisis if it should occur.

Life would change. It might be more like our grandparents or great-grandparents lives and they managed.

In general, people are adaptable, resourceful and clever when they have to be.

But...I am an optimist.
Excellent points
post #174 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Yes and No. Kunsler's point is that subdivisions have neither the benefits of the rural areas NOR the benefits of the city. So, "suburbia" is the WORST of both worlds. I think Kunsler actually leans toward rural living.......where supposedly less violence will take place because you'll have fewer people.
Urban design theorists have been writing about this for years. "The Geography of Nowhere" is a good one. Going back further, any of the Jane Jacobs books are great.
By the 1950s, we had forgotten everything we ever learned about building functional towns. The automobile lobby had incredible success in killing public transit. It's sad all around.
post #175 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azuralea View Post

I think it's reasonable to say that for a lot of human existence, life was pretty miserable. Even in communities that had luck with the weather, no major natural disasters, luck with war for a period of time, natural abundance (e.g., the !Kung San at the time of the study) still lived very, very hard lives. For starters, for the majority of human existence, humans have lived with very high rates of infant mortality, infanticide, etc., even in those places with otherwise serendipitous circumstances. Add to that accepted practices like slavery, rigidly enforced social rankings and other problems, and it's not a pretty picture. (I'm not saying we're really enlightened now about all this. I doubt there is a consumer in the entire western world who hasn't bought something made with slave labor at some point; just that we shouldn't idealistically whitewash life before oil.)
I'm back! lol

As for the !Kung San and natural abundance, they lived in the harshest region with the least natural abundance and still did pretty well.

What I was trying to say was not that life wasn't hard, but that it STILL is hard, kwim? Back then, yes, many infants died. They still do outside of the Developed countries. So there hasn't been much change there.


But, back in the day, people were also not killed in driving accidents. Wars were horrible (still are), but one could run away without worrying that bombs were falling from the sky. Etc, etc, etc.

Life, I think, OVERALL, hasn't gotten much better or worse, just DIFFERENT. Yes, we don't need to worry about 3/4 of our children dying young, but people back then didn't have to worry about getting killed/maimed by cars, massive hard-core drug problems (think heroin, meth), etc. Then again, right now, we are sorely missing the close physical connections to friends & family. Until recently, humans have lived very close to family & friends. How many of us can say we live next door to either a close friend or family? This creates a different type of stress on us. So while life wasn't easy in the past, I don't think it's much easier now. I think we just have gotten too attached to creature comforts to think about it being otherwise.

Ami
post #176 of 260
I haven't read the book, but I'm reading about this more in general now, and have a couple other books on order. The thing that bugs me about the indictment of suburbia is that it's often painted with a (biased) general brush. I used to rent in a suburb that was on the city transit line, and was more like an extension of the city. I also grew up in a quiet suburb that was on the train line, had a small central uptown, and I walked everywhere- to school, the library, parks. My mom biked to get groceries. I'd rather be in a suburb like that than a more crowded city should things disintegrate. Isolated, car-culture suburbs are not at all ideal, but around here they're often cheaper too, which is why I guess some people choose to live there. But not all of "suburbia" is subdivision urban sprawl, so I guess when some people go on about the "suburbs" the generalizations get on my nerves a bit.

I'm looking forward to reading "the Party's Over" and a few others I found on amazon reading reviews. I also just pulled Jared Diamond's (of Gun, Germs, and Steel fame) Collapse off of my shelves. I had forgotten about it. I"m hoping those are informative without being alarmist.

I'm inclined to think that a our economy will be forced to go more green and most Americans will be forced to follow suit. If that's where the money is, that's what happens. Incidentally I know of more and more people- educated, traveled people- moving closer to extended family. I think there is already a huge trend toward localing food sources, moving closer to family, slowing down, working less, being greener, downsizing lifestyles. But maybe that's just me or maybe it's just trendy and not substantial.

Before reading some of this stuff, I assumed we'd go the way of Europe and, with these higher gas prices, just stop driving so much and adapt. I think our economy will go greener b/c it has no choice. Reading some captions from his book, my first reaction is that he enjoys coming up with scary scenarios. To answer the OP, I've had some alarm for awhile just about the economy, and the more I read the more I might worry about food shortages, violence, etc. I tend to be a worrier, and I'd like to be more self-sufficient for a lot of reasons. But from what I've read of his predictions, I'm not worried that much.
post #177 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post

I don't know if Europeans ever did EC.
.
hate to off topic, but as far as i know they did. My greatgrandmother, who was lithuanian did ec, not sure if you would consider that european (eastern) or not.
post #178 of 260
Late to the party, but I just finished the book. Is it terrible to say that I laughed a lot while I was reading this? Kunstler has a really dry, wicked sense of humor and gleeful is definitely the right way to describe his writing on the coming global shitstorm.

I'm not sure that I buy it all, though--I mean, he seems to be piling on catastrophe after catastrophe and when you are reading it all seems very linear, but in reality these events could be hundreds or even thousands of years apart. An example of that is when he is discussing climatic shifts that have happened at intervals of 30,000, to 14,000 years or maybe one is happening right now. Or maybe it will happen in 7000 years. And if the ability to fly in airplanes has brought us SARS and AIDS, and in the future we can't fly planes anymore, but yet we will still be killed by viruses from the rainforest?

I do think that oil is depleting, and that the world is going to change substantially due to that. I think he makes a really convincing argument regarding the foolishness of suburban sprawl and our wasteful, wasteful existences. I loved the part about Walmart and the other big box stores, and how we basically sold out our towns and neighbors for cheap crap.

But I think, realistically, the changes I will see in my lifetime is a lessening of the globalization that we enjoy right now. By the time I die, we'll probably lose the ease to travel where ever, when ever, we want economically. I probably won't be able to have feta cheese unless I have neighbors with goats. I probably won't be eating as many foods that have had to be shipped from who knows where to get to me. My things might actually matter to me again because they won't be so easy to come by, or as disposable as they are now.

I think I might welcome a lot of these changes. And I also think that before we descend into utter darkness we'll have made some very big shifts in the way we live to accomodate an oil-less world. I don't think it's going to be Armageddon. One thing that does worry me though, would be if our entire society does break down, and we all lose our jobs, and no one can pay their mortgage, and we get kicked out of our homes and we are all walking (because there's no gas this time) Grapes of Wrath-style trying to find day work for food. Okay, that would suck! (Mental note, pay down mortgage...)

I am going to be one of those foolish optimists he talks about, though, and put my eggs into the basket that great minds (my own included) will find ways to keep our society going, and if not the lights on, at least keep a vestige of civilization.
post #179 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Late to the party, but I just finished the book. Is it terrible to say that I laughed a lot while I was reading this? Kunstler has a really dry, wicked sense of humor and gleeful is definitely the right way to describe his writing on the coming global shitstorm.

I'm not sure that I buy it all, though--I mean, he seems to be piling on catastrophe after catastrophe and when you are reading it all seems very linear, but in reality these events could be hundreds or even thousands of years apart. An example of that is when he is discussing climatic shifts that have happened at intervals of 30,000, to 14,000 years or maybe one is happening right now. Or maybe it will happen in 7000 years. And if the ability to fly in airplanes has brought us SARS and AIDS, and in the future we can't fly planes anymore, but yet we will still be killed by viruses from the rainforest?

I do think that oil is depleting, and that the world is going to change substantially due to that. I think he makes a really convincing argument regarding the foolishness of suburban sprawl and our wasteful, wasteful existences. I loved the part about Walmart and the other big box stores, and how we basically sold out our towns and neighbors for cheap crap.

But I think, realistically, the changes I will see in my lifetime is a lessening of the globalization that we enjoy right now. By the time I die, we'll probably lose the ease to travel where ever, when ever, we want economically. I probably won't be able to have feta cheese unless I have neighbors with goats. I probably won't be eating as many foods that have had to be shipped from who knows where to get to me. My things might actually matter to me again because they won't be so easy to come by, or as disposable as they are now.

I think I might welcome a lot of these changes. And I also think that before we descend into utter darkness we'll have made some very big shifts in the way we live to accomodate an oil-less world. I don't think it's going to be Armageddon. One thing that does worry me though, would be if our entire society does break down, and we all lose our jobs, and no one can pay their mortgage, and we get kicked out of our homes and we are all walking (because there's no gas this time) Grapes of Wrath-style trying to find day work for food. Okay, that would suck! (Mental note, pay down mortgage...)

I am going to be one of those foolish optimists he talks about, though, and put my eggs into the basket that great minds (my own included) will find ways to keep our society going, and if not the lights on, at least keep a vestige of civilization.
I looked for a way to trim my quote, but I loved everything you said. I also thought he seemed perversely excited, apocalyptically giddy if you will. Call me naive, but I also have some faith in mankind, even though I think changes are in store. I just don't think they will be as dramatic as he thinks they will be.
post #180 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ary99 View Post
I looked for a way to trim my quote, but I loved everything you said. I also thought he seemed perversely excited, apocalyptically giddy if you will. Call me naive, but I also have some faith in mankind, even though I think changes are in store. I just don't think they will be as dramatic as he thinks they will be.
I agree with alot of what you and madskye have said. I have a lot of faith in MOST of mankind...and I don't think we will anything near the devestation Kunstler predicts. I do, however, see where he gets the predictions from. Just because many will band together, live locally, and recreate society on a smaller more sustainable scale doesn't mean that there won't be groups who refuse to adjust to the new ways and could create major problems for everyone else.

I wonder if people's optimism/pessimism on this subject are influenced by where they are. Are people located in regions with worse predictions more worried than others? Are people is cities/suburbs more worried because of lack of resources? I think part of my optimism comes from living in a small community that is walkable and surrounded by farmland. We are not quite rural, but we are not suburban. It's similar to old style towns that Kunstler feels have the best chance of adapting. I'm curious if others see their opinions on all of mankinds ability to adapt influenced by their personal situation?
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