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The Long Emergency - Page 2

post #21 of 260
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I would agree with PPs that Kunstler's regional generalizations are so broad as to be meaningless, and frankly unnecessary/irrelevant to his overall argument.

I live in the southeast, in an area I believe to be a very sweet spot in terms of climate and terrain and culture. Rolling hills, lots of farmland (mostly private/family-owned), doesn't get either excessively hot OR excessively cold, and sprawl here is fairly minimal. Everybody does not have a gun . And I am sure where I live is not totally unique.
post #22 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
One area I feel inadequately prepared on is water. We have some potable water stored, of course, but only about a week's worth. And really, it's not possible to STORE enough water for long-term needs. I'm crossing my fingers that really, public utilities such as clean running water are going to be prioritized even in a very dire situation. We do have a rainwater barrel but that water would only be suitable for irrigation. Long-term, we'd like to put a metal roof on the house and bury a cistern to store harvested rainwater, and have a filtration system to clean it for drinking. But that is a very expensive undertaking, not something we have the cash on hand to do or the will to finance
Yeah, we have a large water storage tank built as part of our porch/house (collects rainwater off the roof), but is not filtered etc. So would need to be boiled - that's adequate for safe consumption isn't it (now I'm wondering?)? We also have an irrigation hose feeding out of it for our garden. One of the guys from the council came around and reckoned it would be fine to drink with doing nothing as they did back in the 80's before there was town supply! But I'm sure that their bodies were probably used to things in the water and ours are not anymore??
post #23 of 260
Thread Starter 
We currently have asphalt shingles on our roof -- I've read it's not advised to drink water collected off that surface. Number one filtration is a problem, apparently, a lot of particles from the shingles end up in the water and will clog filtration systems. And then number two even with purifying unless you are talking about like a serious reverse osmosis system, there's potentially like petrochemicals and stuff leeching out of the shingles that you shouldn't be drinking. And an RO system requires energy, so it doesn't fit with the goal of maintaining a potable water supply despite inadequate energy resources. (Although, boiling is in the same camp.) In a pinch, you can add (tiny) amounts of bleach to water to make it safe to drink, i.e. kill bacteria/organisms. But that won't get the chemicals out.

A metal roof is supposed to be ideal for collecting water you intend to drink, although even then it should still be filtered and treated/purified (bird/squirrel poop, pollen dust, pollution, etc.).
post #24 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post

I live in the southeast, in an area I believe to be a very sweet spot in terms of climate and terrain and culture. Rolling hills, lots of farmland (mostly private/family-owned), doesn't get either excessively hot OR excessively cold, and sprawl here is fairly minimal. Everybody does not have a gun . And I am sure where I live is not totally unique.
See I guess this is why I feel sort of ( not completely, but sort of) comfortable about where we are. It does get hot/cold here in mid-summer/winter, but it is doable.

The soil is acceptable. I know there are locally owned cows just up the road from me, a couple of locally owned farms, an orchard, etc.

Guns...I grew up around them because my family hunted. My dad just got two new guns this year. Don't ban me, but when I drive around here and see big ol' geese waddling across the road, or deer running through the fields, or rabbits galore in the area, I feel good because I know that there is plenty of wildlife here. :

I know morels grow here, though we don't anyone who owns some land we could mushroom hunt on...people are very secretive about their mushrooms spots.

In our family I am the one gathering books and reading, but this has been going on for years. I've told my sons about how my brother and I grew up, and work on getting them involved in knowing how to do things for themselves. My husband ( although he is pretty mainstream) knows how to "do things." It's one of the things I admire about him. If push came to shove, we'd manage I think.

My brother just moved up the road and that helps.

I do wish we had more family nearby or my friend D and her family. We talk about this kind of stuff. Between the two of us, we know how to do a lot of things.

My brother thinks dh and I should buy the property that ajoins his and start our own little family compound. If we had the money, I'd do it in a heartbeat. We were talking about it yesterday...I was yakking about goats, bees and chickens...and he says "There you go, talking about those chickens again." I've been talking about chickens since I was about 19. I still don't have any, though.

There are fish in his creek and the same creek runs on the other side of our property really close by. We are also fairly close to a river.

And yes, these are all things I think about when we move somewhere...it's just second nature.

I wish I could get my husband to understand it's a GOOD thing to pay off the house. He seems to think there is some kind of tax benefit to having an unpaid mortgage and that drives me up a wall.

The good news is if we lost our house, we could all crowd in with my brother. His garage used to be the original house the people lived in before they built the little house he lives in...the garage has a kitchen, a woodstove, is set up for plumbing, there is a little bathroom area, etc. It's sweet. We could totally live in there...and it's about a 1/4 of a mile up the road.

We both have wild strawberries in our yard...

I think about this stuff way too much.
post #25 of 260
Thread Starter 
I love the family compound idea. We have some great neighbors, well the ones next door are great in a lot of ways, but they also just got bees! I figure it saves me the trouble. I'd wanted to have hives around but kind of didn't want to deal with it myself. They are also super-knowledgeable about alternative energy, the guy owns his business installing solar panels and all kinds of "green" home upgrades. They're a great resource to have right next door.

We don't really have any hunting experience or tools or anything, and being we're in a downtown area (in a small town, it's not "urban") we don't really have easy access to hunting ground. I am a little interested in possibly raising rabbits for meat. It's about the only game I think we could easily manage on our own property (a quarter-acre). DH is a little skeptical though so I think we won't go there unless it becomes more obviously necessary. We did slaughter some roosters a few years ago but neither of us is that enthusiastic about doing it again. It was a LOT of work for not much meat. But, we know how to do it now.
post #26 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
where food prices have skyrocketed
I don't think that food prices have skyrocketed, honestly. I think that they have gone up, yes, but I don't think they have skyrocketed.

I think we are in the beginning of a long-term change in things, but not necessarily in the beginning of an emergency.

dm
post #27 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
We currently have asphalt shingles on our roof -- I've read it's not advised to drink water collected off that surface. Number one filtration is a problem, apparently, a lot of particles from the shingles end up in the water and will clog filtration systems. And then number two even with purifying unless you are talking about like a serious reverse osmosis system, there's potentially like petrochemicals and stuff leeching out of the shingles that you shouldn't be drinking. And an RO system requires energy, so it doesn't fit with the goal of maintaining a potable water supply despite inadequate energy resources. (Although, boiling is in the same camp.) In a pinch, you can add (tiny) amounts of bleach to water to make it safe to drink, i.e. kill bacteria/organisms. But that won't get the chemicals out.

A metal roof is supposed to be ideal for collecting water you intend to drink, although even then it should still be filtered and treated/purified (bird/squirrel poop, pollen dust, pollution, etc.).
Hmmm, you've got me thinking now. We do have a metal roof, and I have a small supply of bleach for this purpose in my emergency bin (but obviously not a long term solution if bleach weren't easily available), but we currently have an RO system hooked up to our normal town supply. I wonder what it would take to convert it to filter the water from our tank?? Might do a bit of investigating - perhaps not the best though, coz we'd need a pump to drive the water from the tank into the internal plumbing which would probably need electricity. So I guess, in emergency we could get away with boiling and just ignore the dust/pollen/poop and hope the boiling/bleach process deals to any bacterial stuff.
post #28 of 260
Thread Starter 
I've heard of using a stationary bike to power a pump/filtration system. Don't really know anything about how you set it up tho.
post #29 of 260
I am not familiar with Kunstler's book but I do read his website, along with peakoil and a few others. I do believe we are in for a massive transformation in the coming years and that we are living today is just a small taste of what's to come. I feel quite unprepared. I do have a garden but I don't know much about soil or what to do when your veggies aren't growing. We planted fruit trees 2 years ago and are set to have peaches this summer, but we are selling our house. I guess if we can't sell the house then at least we have our own fruits and veggies and enough room in our backyard to have chickens.

We are moving to Costa Rica when we sell our house. I am very concerned about the affordability of power and heating gas if we stay here. We already pay $200 a month for those things and I know it is only going to get a lot worse. The wages are so stagnant that any increases in the cost of living are going to be unbearable for us. We had planned to build a small home in Costa Rica but alas the headline news yesterday there was "cost of building supplies double." You can't win these days! I would hate to be in the suburbs. Dh wanted to buy a house in the suburbs but I talked him into our current home which is 5 minutes from downtown. I can't imagine the gas costs of commuting. I really do feel for people with long commutes and/or SUVS that they can't get rid of. We have a 14 year old SUV. I am seriously thinking about buying a VW Bug to use for most errands and keep the SUV for special trips because I don't know that we could give it away now.

Having lived in Costa Rica, we are used to blackouts, water issues, infrastructure issues and the like, but we do have an excellent food producing environment and fruits grow wild in many areas. There will never be a shortage of mangoes! They grow with so little water. We planted 25 mango trees on our property there 5 years ago. Lately we figured we'd sell the property as it turned out to be a popular area but a) more and more I'd like to live there and forego the big profits of selling it and b) there is no water in the area so you can't build anything. That said, rainwater collection tanks and a yurt might be an option until the water from the nearby town's aquifer arrives. Life can be so short and I am very weary from worrying about all this crazy stuff happening and the uncertainty about the future. I am at the point where happiness, freedom and of course, family and health are the things that are the main focus of my life rather than material things and having a fat retirement account. Heck, we don't even have one at all. I think the smartest thing a person can do in these times is get self-sufficient, whether you have money or not. I have seen people lose their money in various ways and end up completely helpless. In any event, I want to be able to weather any storms that may come. I refuse to buy a car when we move. We will drive a 22 year diesel car and be happy with that. If something happens and we can't work, I don't want that to mean starvation and misery.

These are tough times but I do see the silver lining. People working for themselves is the best-paying job there is, IMHO. Being able to feed yourself, take care of your own home, even build your own home, making a radical shift to different transportation means and taking your health and well-being into your own hands is a wonderful result of this crisis. If things get really bad and we end up having serious water issues and the like then that is going to be really tough, but necessity is the mother if invention and I see great things being invented in the future to allow us to live in a world of dwindling oil supplies and environmental deterioration. The social aspect of it is something I prefer not to think too much about right now. I'm taking this one step at a time. I'd like to think people and communities will work together in ways not seen in decades and we will be able to weave a web of interdependency on one another rather than corporations and the old status quo. The information age may lead into the new agriculture age. Oil disappearing means local food staying local. That means a whole lot of farmers will be needed in many areas. We already see in Costa Rica that the government is ordering more rice production and has implemented a plan to get the country to grow nearly all of its own rice and beans. With this in effect, the country can be totally self-sufficient food-wise. They also really need to get the railroads going again! I am both nervous and excited about the coming changes. I know life for my girls will be so different but I am hoping it will be a good thing, a better thing than what it was for me.
post #30 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
Do you think we're really now IN "The Long Emergency"? Or do you think the predictions are exaggerated and things will somehow work out?
We're not quite there yet, but I think we will be within the next decade.
post #31 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceansEve View Post
I am scared to death of what will happen in cities such as mine. Majority of people do not have a clue how to take care of themselves. When w-mart starts shrinking their stock to what they can afford to bring in and suddenly there is not enough food to go around, what do you think will happen? Bread lines only last so long. People are going to start going hungry and that is when violence rises. In the end we are all animals. We all have the urge and need to survive at any cost.
ya, that's what I worry about... hungry violent gangs coming from the cities into our little towns. Gonna have to band together as communities to protect our gardens/stockpiles from people with no skills or aggro... But then of course some can be helped... I guess I'm thinking worst case scenario.
post #32 of 260
I wonder, though, how much of our panic is justified? I mean, isn't a part o the theme of "The Long Emergency" that it will be, well... long? And that nothing is going to happen all at once - we're going to spiral down in to (in theory) a less-technological, less wealthy society as we are unable to continue to use cheap energy?

I guess I feel like there's no point in being scared because what is going to happen is going to happen. And there is no point in running away and buying guns and holing up in some sort of bucolic agrarian compound while the world falls apart around you because it isn't going to do it in an immedite crisis kind of way. It does seem wise to make decisions that lessen your personal reliance on cheap energy, though, and to acquire goods and skills to insulate your family during the long collapse.

I also kind of think that people who have knowlege and skills that we'll all need running away into the hills and "striking" and not sharing those things with others is a bad idea, and am trying to find ways to share information with the greatest number of people possible for the greatest good. I think that's going to be the big thing that will help our communities, not guns.

But then, I really hated Atlas Shrugged too.
post #33 of 260
There was a mama in a diff forum posting how her chickens had been stolen for the second time. This is going to become the norm the higher and higher everything gets. I am supposed to stand by and say, "hey don't steal it I'll give you some chicks next time they hatch and teach you to raise your own" to someone stealing from my childrens' mouths.... yeah.... don't think so. I'm not that big of a humanitarian. I'm more than happy to share with those deserving or willing to lend a hand, but I have a problem with that. As PP said (least I think it was this thread, may have been one similar), I was brought up where each household in my family had a gun (mostly for hunting) but was taught to shoot it if necessary.
post #34 of 260
Heh -- I'm glad I'm not the only one reading Kunstler and peakoil.com et al.

I think it's really hard to make accurate predictions about the future of large geographic areas, because climate change is so wonky, and because so much depends on the kind of community you're in. There are places in Kansas I wouldn't want to be, and places I would feel great about, you know?

Kunstler is right about the water. The Ogalallah aquifer (lies under most of the midwest, currently responsible for most of the country's corn and wheat farming) is near about pumped dry. Scary.

Anyway, for us, it does affect how we make our plans. We're moving out of the populous Northeast, and planning for a large yard for gardens, chickens, bees. (And no, not above defending my property.) We're trying to get the family to consolidate in our new home, long-term, and I'm also gradually preparing to become a nurse practitioner, as I see that job as having decent stability in a long emergency. At the worst I could run my own clinic out of the garage, right?

We do the best we can. Sharon Astyk wrote a great post about the imagined future here. And seriously, if you are at all interested in this topic (on this thread, I mean), I can't recommend her blog highly enough. Kunstler's great, but he's a dude, you know? Astyk is a mama, and talks about the place of breastfeeding in the long emergency, and women's role in the changing world. Good, good stuff.
post #35 of 260
I find it to be very overdramatic and pretty unbelievable.

I mean let's be realistic. We CANNOT make this drastic change in lifestyle as quickly as he seems to think we must. I am sure many people (and some of you) can move towards real self-sufficiency but you are the exceptions. I just don't believe the world will implode the way he suggests. And I really think it's silly to stockpile food and water, etc. The world is not ending. I will do the best I can, but our society can't change overnight, and I don't think the forces that be will leave 95% of us behind.
post #36 of 260
I would LOVE for this to all be overdramatic. I don't think it's ever a silly idea to stockpile food and water though?? Even if Peak Oil weren't an issue, the country I live is gets earthquakes, so at least I can pretend my stores are for that instead of Peak Oil which I honestly don't talk to people about because of getting the above posters type of response.

However, I can't get that analogy out of my head about boiling a frog slowly where it won't jump out until it's too late...

If anything, I'm finding life more satisfying working towards these things and don't feel a downer for the most part - so it's all life enhancing for me anyway.
post #37 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathansmum View Post
If anything, I'm finding life more satisfying working towards these things and don't feel a downer for the most part - so it's all life enhancing for me anyway.
I agree.
post #38 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selesai View Post
And I really think it's silly to stockpile food and water, etc.
Actually even the federal government urges every family to have a minimum 3-day supply of food/water/medications on hand, as a protection against ANY type of calamity:

http://www.ready.gov
post #39 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
where food prices have skyrocketed partly because of the increased cost of oil, and partly because a large amount of food crop has been diverted into "alternative energy".
Rising demand for meat production is also a cause for rising food prices. Americans have always eaten a huge amount of meat but now the burgeoning middle class in China and India are demanding more meat. It takes many more calories in crops to feed an animal for slaughter than you actually get in calories from the meat. This creates competition between animal feed and produce for humans.

Personally I have faith in efficiency and solar power. I don't see personal vehicles as becoming obsolete, or rural areas becoming slums. Ideally a massive and efficient public transportation infrastructure will eventually be built, anyway.
post #40 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
Actually even the federal government urges every family to have a minimum 3-day supply of food/water/medications on hand, as a protection against ANY type of calamity:

http://www.ready.gov
Yes, for things like hurricanes... not what's being discussed in this thread.

For everyone truly stockpiling, I have two words: Remember Y2K?
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