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OrganicSu

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Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« on: November 27, 2016, 07:24:27 PM »
There are specific survival forums on the net, but given the amount of comments alluding to potential societal collapse on this fantastic forum, I think this thread may have some benefit. To prepare for potential societal collapse I have the following recommendations:
- you need water, food, security from other humans, knowledge
- buy a piece of land, at least 1 acre, at least a few km from nearest village. No cities, major towns or major roadways nearby. Land should be hidden from roadways. Ideally in a place where population has been reducing for decades.
- plant the entire border with evergreen trees. Plant perennial bushes, shrubs and trees with as much diversity as possible.
- put a caravan or container on the land.
- Do not apply to build a house. It attracts unwanted attention from others, consumes your attention, time, energy, money from much greater priorities like growing a perennial food forest, acquiring knowledge. Causes the very thing you are running from. You can't eat your house. If your loved ones will only come if there is a house then, my strongest advice, if you want to prepare, is no house.
- you need your own source of water
- improve your soil - you are going to be depending on it. To improve your soil fall in love with nature - no pesticides, no ploughing, all weeds, ants, bugs etc are your friends not your enemies. They are helping improve your soil and when their job is done they will not bother you anymore. Even if they eat all your cabbages forget about it - you can still buy food.
- find what food is locally forageable
- small off-grid energy system. How much energy can you safely use after collapse without attracting attention? It will eventually break beyond repair and you will have to adapt, so the smaller the adaptation required the better.
- eliminate your dependence on society for water, food, energy, knowledge as quickly and as much as possible. If you can be fully independent before collapse then you have a better chance.
- what is good for you is good for the planet - notice that all the above reduces your carbon footprint.
- when you become fully independent, duplicate it for a second piece of land. Think of all the stored carbon in the trees and soil. Another bonus for the planet.
- if you can't afford it then you are looking for land in the wrong place.
- the hardest part is only tell those you are willing to have turn up on your doorstep and be able to feed. But they may bring friends, so, my best advice is tell only those who are moving with you and doing this with you.
- move sooner rather than later. Self sufficiency takes much longer than you would expect.

in4apenny

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 07:38:17 PM »
Shhhhhhhhh.

Let the ideologists argue amongst themselves but war is coming ( it's always coming--- we're human) it's only a matter of time.

We've never had a better opportunity to learn & prepare.

Ps just realised there maybe an app for the technically educated to get through Armageddon   ::).

« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 07:51:50 PM by in4apenny »

pileus

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2016, 08:42:38 AM »
What's the point of all this if the broader society collapses?  Seems like a lonely, isolated, and sad existence.  And the hungry people are going to find you, eventually.  Then what?  Thunderdome?

I'd rather be in the mix and go down with the ship.  Persisting after the collapse seems like it would suck, and be really hard.

Humanity doesn't deserve to go on if we can't not ruin our one and only biosphere.  That would mean we self selected out, while taking a lot of other species with us.

be cause

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2016, 11:20:14 AM »
join with me in bringing about the New Jerusalem instead . Love ,not fear ,will raise humanity . :)
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 + 2 = 2021 + 1 =  ' if only we could have seen it coming ' ...

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2016, 11:37:23 AM »
 Try to think of how you can make an income while you put together a self sustaining food system that can feed several dozen people and ideally can be scaled up to feed something like a small town. There will be a bit of security in numbers. The fallback is a very small family and a totally primitive existence. Very hard ,very insecure.
 Oaks, pigs, salt, biodiesel,diesel equipment, passive cooled meat curing room, solar power for water pumps , biodiesel production plant and LED lighting.
  Most of the pig and human diet would be foraged acorns. A garden would provide some nutrients,fish would provide most of the remainder of food requirements although a small goat herd could probably be maintained for some milk and cheese. Goats would need foraged foods.
 I would prefer to use technology I have currently working and all of the above I have currently on my farm.  Yes if there is societal breakdown there will be a period where none of the above is defendable so think of systems that can be broken down and hidden till things settle . This needs to be in your plan but it might be decades before this becomes necessary . This also means having food and shelter to provide for your group while things are falling apart. This will be very critical because foraging during the worst times will be impossibly dangerous. Pigs can be salted and cured and can provide lots of food calories, acorns can also be stored . Beans and rice. Think two or three years in hiding with pig ( and maybe goat breed stock ) . 
 Know your animal husbandry ( amateur vet skills ). Keep a supply of human and animal medicines and maybe learn how to do some sterile culture so you can make antibiotics into the future. Learn your native plant skills for medicine and foraging.
 Think about how to trap small rodents for extra protein and to protect your food stores.
 If you can make it through the first few years in hiding then emerge and utilize the tools hidden for a ramp up to a small village with human and livestock expansion you will probably need to plan on a slow revision to native skills like hunting , foraging and fishing to extend your group past the breakdown of your solar and biodiesel powered equipment ( think decades ).
 At that point we will be back in something closer to long term sustainability with our planet and much , much fewer in numbers.
 I think those few who do survive to the native culture stage will have happy fulfilling lives... Very very few of us old men will make it but making some plans for how to get some others through the bottleneck is at worst a waste of time. Otherwise it is trying to develop( and live ) a very low carbon lifestyle that is as independent of dependence on a civilization committed to driving most human and mammal species towards extinction. So maybe some sacrifice and hard conditions are a small price to pay for the longer term well being  of this beautiful planet.
 Anyway it is a challenge and not as difficult as most people think. Kind of like thinking forward and backward at the same time.


 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 07:42:41 PM »
OrganicSU, I am thinking the reason that this thread or the Walking the walk page are some of the least read or commented on has something to do with who the membership of the forum are and to some degree that is a reflection on the general population. On this forum of somewhere north of a thousand members we have zero commercial fishermen ( I am retired ), one rancher ,and zero farmers . People who live in cities, even if they dabble in small gardening efforts, have a very difficult time imagining how they can transfer their knowledge into an existence where there is no longer a government support structure, no medicine, and violence beyond anything in their life experience . They have to realize the chances of supporting their families , feeding their families and defending their families under collapse conditions is remote. The odds on surviving such conditions is very poor even for those of us who at least have life experience and a plan. I don't honestly believe anyone on this forum is planning on following any advice I might offer on the subject although I do have a few people in my immediate family who have enough faith in my abilities to show up if times demand .
 Somehow society is bifurcating into classes of people that do not communicate with each other and frankly do not share common values. If there was a way to bridge this growing chasm , walk back our pursuit of a magic technological fix and pursue less rather than more I might have a little  faith in workable solutions. I don't know how to harden my rather sensitive nature to the violent outcomes I foresee .

ritter

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 10:53:46 PM »
OrganicSU, I am thinking the reason that this thread or the Walking the walk page are some of the least read or commented on has something to do with who the membership of the forum are and to some degree that is a reflection on the general population. On this forum of somewhere north of a thousand members we have zero commercial fishermen ( I am retired ), one rancher ,and zero farmers . People who live in cities, even if they dabble in small gardening efforts, have a very difficult time imagining how they can transfer their knowledge into an existence where there is no longer a government support structure, no medicine, and violence beyond anything in their life experience . They have to realize the chances of supporting their families , feeding their families and defending their families under collapse conditions is remote. The odds on surviving such conditions is very poor even for those of us who at least have life experience and a plan. I don't honestly believe anyone on this forum is planning on following any advice I might offer on the subject although I do have a few people in my immediate family who have enough faith in my abilities to show up if times demand .
 Somehow society is bifurcating into classes of people that do not communicate with each other and frankly do not share common values. If there was a way to bridge this growing chasm , walk back our pursuit of a magic technological fix and pursue less rather than more I might have a little  faith in workable solutions. I don't know how to harden my rather sensitive nature to the violent outcomes I foresee .

Bruce,

I'll bite. I went through a time where catastrophic thinking was really all I could manage. I planned and planned and just couldn't jump. It was like trying to walk in two different worlds. Analysis paralysis. But primarily, it was the fear that, if I was wrong, I'd just dragged my little family into a lifestyle they didn't necessarily want that kept me from jumping off the main-stream wagon.

Several years ago, I transitioned from these thoughts and inaction into spending my free time and a portion of my professional time focusing on local climate adaptation work with a small group of like minded folk. We're educating our local politicians and city/county planning agencies. We're educating the public. We're working toward creating workable policies that will recognize climate change and create resilience though land/health/labor/emergency management planning. Who knows if I'm making much difference but I'm giving it the 'ole go. I have found it gives me purpose, allows me to retain that "sensitive nature" you reference, and gives me hope that it might be in time, or at least buy some time.

The dark thoughts still nibble away and I've prepared for those too, at least mentally. Living in earthquake country is a good and justifiable reason to have at least modest preparations on hand without throwing me into the survivalist group. I have solid friendships and family relations. If hard times come, we know where to find each other and, collectively, we have a pretty broad skill set.

All this said, I am alarmed every time a thread of this nature pops up on this forum. It only confirms my suspicions that we are indeed that far down the rabbit hole.

sidd

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 11:07:42 PM »
" ..zero farmers."

What's a farmer ? Me and a couple other guys have this year, some 60 acres in various grains that go into cattle feed, vegetable oil and eventually biodiesel. Some 30 acres in vegetables.

" .. one rancher ..."
 
Whats a ranch ? Running couple dozen or so head of cattle, sheep,  a couple hundred fowl. Assorted cats and dogs, two donkeys to stomp coyote, but that aint working too good so far. Mebbe look at llamas, but they are harder to confine. Too small to count as a ranch, i guess.

I must admit i dont spend too much time on the ground except at sowing and harvest and flying visits on my way in and out of the big smoke. But i do what i can.

sidd

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 01:32:56 AM »
How about zero carbon by 2060 ?   Maybe zero is just too provocative and edging close to trolling.
I could have hedged a bit , maybe we can all soft shoe our way to zero carbon emissions. I'm just totally stumped on how we are going to get there with the divisions between us getting deeper. Who is the enemy can't be how we decide our political leadership but that is exactly how we are operating in the U.S. and maybe also in some other advanced ( rich ) countries.
 Every relative/ friend I have who voted for D.T. expressed contempt / hate for Clinton .Most of us who voted for Clinton feel similar contempt / hate for Trump.  None of this gets us collectively moving towards any zero carbon goals.  There are clearly divisions we are not resolving and having half of the populous in denial whilst the other half is in denial about how dependent they are on farmers, truckers and the flyover part of the country is just crazy. We aren't talking to each other and if I framed that in some way that offended anyone please point out how you think we might reverse this trend.
 I really think the liberal side of this equation better figure out how to feed the cities because I just don't see how anyone can expect the conservative wing to accept environmental dictates from people they hold in contempt. I would really like someone to show me how agriculture /fishing ever achieves zero carbon and still feed 7.5 billion people.    I have lived this close enough to understand this point of view .  You can't possibly be a fisherman without understanding what I am talking about. 
 This is just sounding too much like a rant. I really don't have any ideas about how to solve this other than to trying as one small farmer to get to zero. I know I can't do that and at the same time financially stay afloat . Every farmer out there could easily explain why.
 

Martin Gisser

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 02:37:23 AM »
Bruce, I hear you and am thankful for many of your posts. You hit two nails in this thread. Except perhaps the zero carbon farming thing:

But I'm not yet a practicioneer in that, except for some carbon negative gardening experiments. I was a terra preta biochar pioneer without knowing it first. Yes, carbon negative: I guess it's 1 ton sequestered carbon in char and new humus where there was just rocks and sand before on ca. 50 sq m

A friend of mine here in Bavaria has switched his inherited small family farm into extreme organic (certified anthroposophic). After >10y his soil organic carbon is still low (biochar is against his ideology) but it got more and one can see it when digging in the field that was once almost wrecked with corn and industrial fertilizer by his parents and grandparents. Technically I guess he's not zero carbon, since they have a car a harvester etc. and import rock dust. But they are close. And he is earning real money with his pigs: Some delicatessen sausage factory is paying quite a premium. Now if he only could get back the bones etc. and would be allowed to compost the dead cow or horse...

DrTskoul

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 02:46:41 AM »
How about zero carbon by 2060 ?   Maybe zero is just too provocative and edging close to trolling.
...

Even if we were not split into two antithetical groups, going towards zero carbon emissions - or close to - would be a rather difficult problem given the universal desire for energy use and synthetic fabrics and heating and cooling and food and plastics etc.  Such a transition will require a conversion in desires and psychology and aspirations that only experienced global calamities can produce. I dont gave any example were we got mobilized to such extent to avert a future multigenerational possible event...

Avalonian

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 03:25:46 AM »
Hi folks. My take on this is that the intermediate scale is best to work at, rather than the individual or the urban. I live in a town of 4000, in the middle of nowhere. Since mostly giving up on academia (I can do research at home anyway - palaeontology's easy in that way!) and moving there a few years back, my wife and I have set up a repair cafe and a free community orchard through the local Transition group. The repair cafe brings together people with skills that have mostly been lost, and which we're going to need. The orchard... well, it's a start towards self-sufficiency.

The key point is that we're not working alone. One woman in the town did a Master's degree on the land areas needed to support the local population, and found it to be surprisingly small; she's now gathering volunteers to try to get some of it implemented among the local landowners. Others have skills in renewable energy, and are looking into viable sources for that on a local scale. We have friends with carbon-neutral houses, who share their knowledge on insulation, heating, and making best use of sunlight. A permaculture (fancy word for effective natural gardening and the philosophy that surrounds it) hub is being set up here, and there's an annual fair showcasing local cottage industries. We have a very good herbalist, and experts on wild food, etc., etc., etc...

This scale of town works because there is the diversity of skills needed to make a sustainable community viable. It's virtually impossible for one person to live a self-sufficient farming existence in any comfort, but the difficulties don't scale. In bigger towns and cities, you have a lot more problems, partly because the population has mostly lost all the skills, and the sense of community to make it happen. The doom of human society will, in my view, be urbanisation.

What can individuals do, though? Loads. I've been giving talks about the near-term potential of climate change (not extinction-level alarmist, but worst-case realistic, which is quite alarming enough), and running courses on ecology and natural history. I've been learning foraging skills, and putting together a database of useful edible fungi and plant locations. More importantly, though, is just to get out and do things. For example: want a repair cafe? What you need are a couple of people to help, insurance (use some local umbrella organisation that already has it), a venue (village halls, cafes etc. - look for somewhere that benefits from having lots of people turn up once a month), and posters around the town to rope in some fixers. After that, just keep it ticking over. No need to make it complicated. Just get out there and do it.

If you don't want to do anything social, look into native food plants, processing and storage. I made acorn bread from scratch in one afternoon, and it was rather nice. Develop skills that will be needed when you can't get plastic any more, the lights go out, and the fridge doesn't work.

Basically, I think Bruce is spot on. I do think we're going to hit societal collapse pretty soon - at least within my lifetime, and I'm 40. I also do think that humans will survive, and in some areas will survive well. But populations will crash, and cities will burn, and only those communities that are prepared will manage to thrive. Individuals, in a country like the UK - I'm afraid they'll have to be very lucky. Now is the time to start re-educating ourselves, and preparing to work as local communities again.

AbruptSLR

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 05:07:03 AM »
Per the linked article entitled: "Where should you live to escape the harshest effects of climate change?", some cities make better refuges than others:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/science/9-cities-to-live-in-if-youre-worried-about-climate-change.html?_r=0
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

P-maker

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 10:36:48 AM »
Hi Avalonian

Wellcome to the Forum and thank you for a very positive contribution:

Quote
4000
is a fine number!

Considering we are about 1000 active users here, and taking into account that each of us has 2-4 close relatives/friends, we should be close to that ideal number you mention.

I should also think that the skills brought forward here are as diverse as in any village that size.

Hope to learn much more from this thread, which has already started so well.


@Bruce

concerning modern fish farming, we may have a few hints up our sleeves, which I will come back to one day, when I have more time available.

Avalonian

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 01:37:55 PM »

Considering we are about 1000 active users here, and taking into account that each of us has 2-4 close relatives/friends, we should be close to that ideal number you mention.

I should also think that the skills brought forward here are as diverse as in any village that size.

Thanks for the welcome, P-maker!  :)

I think that if the forum participants set up a post-apocalyptic community, it would be the envy of the world... I suspect that the skills sets on here are quite spectacular.

That of course is the counterpoint to the really big problem that any surviving community is going to face, i.e. other people. Even in our little Shangri-La there are a large proportion that don't really try to contribute much. Some just like grumbling about everything, but others don't seem to think about what a community is, at all; they're just out for whatever they can get. When we planted the free orchard, someone stole some of the trees. The dog-walker brigade got on the case, though, and we soon had most of the trees back again, with a donation and an apology... it's that sort of a place!  ;)

It is a serious question, though: how to engage the unengaged, and the ones who just don't want to look ahead, or simply don't believe there's anything to be worried about (tabloid readers, for the most part!). Many people can't imagine a world without Tesco, and see no point in trying. George Marshall has written an excellent book about how humans are basically hard-wired to avoid planning for impending catastrophe (Don't Even Think About It), and in general that's what we see, even in our 'Little Town in the Sheepwreck'.

Any thoughts? We all need our neighbours to be invested in any plans for a local-centred existence, but they've got to want to be involved. I can't even imagine how hard it would be to get a majority interested in somewhere like London...

pileus

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 07:14:43 PM »
Transitioning en masse to a plant based diet would be very helpful across a number of variables including carbon footprint, but of course the howling from a large part of the US would be overwhelming.  Git your gubment hands off my meat!  As I age I find less and less rationale to continue eating animal flesh, including fish, but a plant based diet can be a real struggle in the early stages.  It's pretty boring IMO if you go true vegan.  But if society collapses I think the survivors should give animals a break and just eat plants.  Isn't our omnivore status one of the primary drivers of climate change and environmental disruption?

In terms of the US liberal/conservative divide, you also have the right wing that creates a cartoon sketch of California being a hippy pot smoking gay paradise.  It's the most important state and as we know produces a huge contribution to feeding the country, as well as being the largest economic engine, not only in the US, but in the top 10 in the world.  Yet a few hundred thousand people with "economic anxiety" in rust belt and flyover states get to dictate the direction of the country.

It will be an interesting dynamic as climate changes forces an increasing migration of US coastal elites and city dwellers into the rural and inland areas.  People tend to care less about your position on gay marriage and abortion when their kids are starving.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 04:44:47 AM »
Pileus, If you want to live off a plant based diet you need to think about how you plan on working your soil and fertilizing your soil. I suggested acorns as the major dietary component because trees require less tractor time. Sidd raises some grains and soy beans that are converted into vegetable oil and then biodiesel. This requires tractors, combines, threshing, and an oil press. I am trying to reduce the need for so much machinery. Pigs ( lard hogs ) can convert acorns into fat which when rendered provides oil needed to produce biofuel. Bottom line is " Zero Carbon by 2060 ".  If you take a shovel and work like hell you can grow a lot of potatoes. You will need to add compost and fertilizer to get a crop on the same ground a second year. Feeding even one family with a shovel is very , very difficult. You can't scale up to a small town and the slackers Avalonian refers to is one of the reasons why.
 Some of the first farmers in Europe migrated up the Danube and brought wheat and domesticated pigs with them when the Black Sea flooded.They and their pigs also utilized acorns. I am trying to add a tractor to the mix and get enough production to scale up to feeding more than one family. We need working models that can get to zero carbon ( science based verification of calories in and calories out ) with an EROEI large enough to feed multiple families or small towns and provide enough food stores to cover for bad years.
This isn't as difficult as people imagine it to be but we need to keep our options open for how to achieve the Zero carbon goal . When you start with the no meat diet and animal rights restrictions on using beasts of burden you are insuring failure IMO. I would be willing to consider all possibilities but only if a working verifiable example can be supplied.

Martin, Glad to hear the bio char is working. We are struggling through year six of a nasty drought.
Not sure coppice would work under these conditions, I am surprised the acorn crop isn't worse than it is. There has to be multiple ways to achieve these rather humble goals, I wish more people were working on it.
 





OrganicSu

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 10:08:01 AM »
If you are going to move to a new location, then IMHO 4000 people in the middle of nowhere has better odds than the locations in the NYTimes article linked above. I felt the article was akin to outsourcing the personal, indepth thought process required. A place good for one person may not work for another.
My area has a couple of other advantages I failed to mention
- we are already starting to collapse (increasingly intermittent water and electricity supplies, drought). Therefore: people will not be coming here for safety, residents are getting a bit more independant of the grid, open discussions re collapse are increasingly possible and hopefully afterwards the real community planning can begin while somethings needed can be sourced from outside.
- all the locals are better prepared than I am. The memories of how they survived during the WW2 occupation are known and shared, every family and "clan" have multiple water wells and have always grown a substantial portion of their food and meat, foraging is the norm not the exception.
- as the population has reduced there is an abundance of wild places, fruit and nut trees.
- I've been here 8 years. A lot of local knowledge acquired. Although I'm under no illusions that the contacts made will count for anything when we are really in the shit, surely it's better than starting again.

Despite this I have several times this year felt the urgent need to leave for somewhere better (start packing immediately kind of feeling). I especially felt this when my nearest (almost private) water spring dried up. To stay would be clearly suicidal. I'm staying. I learnt some things - my tomato and aubergine plants survived 3 weeks without a drop of water in July despite 40 degree celcius and facing the full sun due to being planted in dung with a 15cm mulch cover. I must stop spending water and time growing annuals in summer. I've trippled my water storage capacity. I started measuring the water table depth locally and found some hidden gems. On one occasion I found a bore-hole, deeper than I could measure, hidden in the corner of an unassuming field, on a dirt road with nothing about. I am not the only person preparing and others are still much more prepared than I am.

Bruce and all - your actions and community initiatives are brilliant and aspiring.

Bernard

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 01:55:53 PM »
This thread is puzzling me. All participants seem to be smart people who have thought about this issue a lot. But for me this kind of debate is moot. Either things go bad, but not that bad, and my ethics would command me to struggle with my fellow humans, all of them, whoever they are and whatever they think and feel. Either things go very bad, like runaway greenhouse or thermonuclear war, and no place will be safe.
In other words, we (read : humanity as a whole and the biosphere) together manage to handle the upcoming global crisis and somehow move further (as life did since billions of years), or we are doomed. All of us.

Avalonian

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 02:51:28 PM »
Hi Bernard,
    There are lots of shades of grey. True, if we get into a runaway greenhouse, then it's all moot; we just have to hope it doesn't. I think most of us assume that the worst-case scenario is something like an end-Permian crisis, in which case probably some (if not many) will survive. The most likely option is that population crashes, and communities in some places re-emerge on the other side.
   In that situation, we need to think about how best to arrange our knowledge and populations to allow the survival to be as comfortable as possible. We also, I think, need to aim to preserve as much of our accumulated knowledge as possible... which means not ending up having to burn all the books to stay warm. Sure, people will respond to a crisis as it happens; but a crisis is a lot less critical if some people are at least partly prepared for it.
    In the case of essentials like food supply, if we're starting local subsistence from scratch when it all goes to pot, then it's not going to very well. Starting now will allow viable methodologies to be established, and the basis of the system we'll all need to be already initiated.
    Finally, don't forget that although we all want to co-operate and work together, not everyone is like that. I suspect there'll be a frightening amount of atavism when we and our neighbours get hungry, no matter how good people they are. Even for those who stay level-headed, we have to bear in mind that the majority won't have a clue how to survive on their wits.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2016, 05:19:40 PM »
Bernard , I have been stressing zero carbon by 2060 because that is what the IPCC says is necessary to avoid crossing tipping points past +2C.  The reason I am focused on food production is because I see so very little work on how that rather important part of our future is going to change to reach our carbon goals. We have about 40 years to convert a food structure developed over the last couple hundred years into something much different. Failure to adapt our food structure will insure we fail at the larger goal of saving this planet. Continuing our prolific CO2 emissions will send the oceans into an extinction event that currently is only a terrestrial event. When I retired from 40 years at sea I decided an attempt at changing our land based food systems was my best shot at saving the oceans.
  An old man has to do something to keep his bones working. I have no idea if any calamity will befall civilization before I check out but my pursuit of a very low carbon lifestyle is surely doing no damage to the larger society that surrounds me and largely ignores me. I am willing to share anything I learn, I am here blogging because maybe I can help a few people get through some tough times but I do not see how everybody is going to get through the tight spot together. So the " all of them " " all of us" bit  sounds more like someone not willing to change but willing to pull everyone down together. I know that sounds harsh , I would very much like you to explain how a civilization in overshoot voluntarily brings it's numbers back into harmony with the carrying capacity of this planet in less than one generation.
We needed to figure that out fifty years ago, we are out of time.

Bernard

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2016, 06:58:08 PM »
Avalonian and Bruce Steel thanks for taking the time to answer my rather laconic and certainly oversimplistic comment. Both of you make good points. Sure enough, anything anyone aware of the upcoming crisis is making towards local resilience has to be done. And all we can hope is that the collective strength of thousands and thousands of those local efforts will be eventually enough to curb the future in the good direction.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2016, 09:29:06 PM »
Considering the stakes and the late timeline you would think somebody might want to document and quantify claims people may have about being able to run a zero carbon farm.  Perfection is probably a high bar  but I think leaving open the possibility ( hoping for, praying for ) a perfect solution exists. There would need to be some sort of depreciation schedule to pay back the carbon it took to creat the zero carbon farm in the first place , tractors, infrastructure ,etc. and the more equipment heavy the system starts out to be the more difficult it would be to pay back or maintain. Building soil carbon potentially is a way to pay back  ( sink ) the borrowed carbon. 

I believe 2000-3000 lbs. of acorns can keep one human and two pigs fed for one year and provide about fifteen gallons of biodiesel when the pigs are harvested.. A very efficient tractor can easily keep two acres plowed on that amount of fuel and two acres well tended can provide calories and nutrition in enough excess to feed a family of four. Collecting 2000-3000 lbs. of acorns is not prohibitive and a small electric bike would suffice to collect the foraged acorns.
 I think of this project as simply creating a starting point that can be scaled up into the sort of community that Avalonian is working on.
 We need thousands of people with thousands of plans adapted to their local environment . My plan won't work if you don't have access to oaks nearby. Chestnuts would work just as well but the point is to figure out how to feed a farmer and provide enough fuel/xenergy that the farmer can feed and provide for larger group of people and livestock . The ideas need to be able to scale to larger groups and we need to catalog and verify as many working plans as can be documented. This is where government might be useful but because government and academia are AWOL we need something closer to viral adaption. Government will quickly catch on when they realize people have figured out how to drop out. When they do show up it probably won't be to help.
 

be cause

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2016, 10:02:20 PM »
In my part of the world just allowing ivy to grow and mature on the trees would shift farms a way toward zero . Multi-dimensional farming (permaculture-like) can quickly boost carbon capture , increase life and abundance , and reduce the need to zero for artificial fertilizer . (funny .. I just realized we have always referred to it as 'artificial' .. not 'fertilizer' in rural Ireland . After all , real fertilizer is 'real' .
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 + 2 = 2021 + 1 =  ' if only we could have seen it coming ' ...

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2016, 03:50:16 AM »
I went to collect acorns this afternoon. I put the acorns on a scale and they weighed 250 pounds . If my  estimates  are correct that is enough to feed me and two pigs for a month. I am going to put it to the test. I am planning to put two pigs in a pasture by themselves and feed them on acorns for a month. I am also going to limit my diet to acorns and 30 pounds of pork. At the end of the month the pigs and I will be doing just fine ( i already have the pork in the freezer )Ideally I would weigh the pigs and check whether they gain weight. If I eat a pound of acorn meal and eat a pound of pork I will need to work to keep from gaining weight. I also plan on using eggs that will be produced from chickens fed on flint corn I grew a couple years ago. That will allow me to make cake and crepes with the acorn flour I process.
I will also get the garden preparations done on one acre and document the number of gallons of biodiesel I use. I need to move some compost from the compost pile into the garden area and do the tilling.
Starting a self sufficiency test in January means the garden won't be providing variety like  it would during the summer but that is part of the test. Winters are the difficult time to prove up.
Years ago I wrote about my solar powered rototiller and after the tractor work gets done I will limit most of my cultivation to the solar powered tiller and if I need to pull the cultivator blades through with my tractor I will keep track of the fuel use.
 The well is already run on solar power.
 My wife was curious whether she had to follow my new diet but for now I don't think winter would be a good time to convince her about the wisdom of my choices. Maybe when the garden is going I might see if she will agree to go a month without going to the store. 
 For me this is fun so cheer up , bacon & eggs, acorn cake & crepes, Osso Bucco , guanciale , acorn noodles , and nothing I didn't grow , forage or cure. 

 
 

sidd

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2016, 05:24:52 AM »
"A very efficient tractor can easily keep two acres plowed on that amount of fuel ..."

Agrees with my experience. I probably burn 10 gallons per acre, but i am not optimizing since i got more oil than i need, even after all process needs including heat and electric.

Have about 70-80 acres wooded, acorns galore, but i havent collected yet. They need soaked, dont they ? Got walnuts out the wazoo. Havent really looked at collecting nuts, should find or buy a walnut sheller and run the meat thru the press, make some walnut meal and walnut oil.  I probably can find some kids to run about in summer and bring me walnuts. Leave the acorn for the squirrels, take away their walnuts, they have a horrible habit of finding all the walnuts, eating half or less,  and dropping em on vehicles making huge stains and dents. Then they sit in the tree grinning thru their blue stained mouths and chitter.  Walnuts are awfully cheap round the farm tho, about a hundred US$ for a dump truck load, and i think a lot of that is for the fuel,driver and time.  Might just buy em.

sidd

« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 05:41:38 AM by sidd »

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2016, 05:59:43 AM »
Thanks Sidd, Nobody really has any reason to believe my claims and that is why some sort of independent verification would be helpful. I am glad that someone else is already making their own biodiesel ( or has done so in the past ). Tractor fuel is a very small part of the expenditures that go into running a farm, at least for me they are a very small part . Any consideration of farming demands a tractor however. Don't need it all the time but when you need it you need it.
 Alfalfa is over $ 16..00  a bale so a tractor is way cheaper to keep around than the horses. Keeping pasture is a springtime pastime as this drought drags on. Horses used to get year round pasture, no more.
 I have some walnuts stored in the one pest proof building I have. It ventilates well enough to dry them after I blast the green part away with the pressure washer. I have English walnuts from roadside trees on county land. Black walnuts are still on my list of potential feeds but I gotta figure out how to crack em for the pigs . So far I am stumped. I am no fan of squirrels , some of the best producing oak trees have resident squirrels that makes collecting very unproductive.
Lawns , roadsides, and nice bare ground make collecting easier than acorns buried in lots of leaves.
I used a rake and a dustpan today and raked the acorns out of a lawn onto a road where I could use the dustpan. I have a machine I push around on the side of the road but I didn't use it today. You might try using a leaf lower to some advantage if leaves are too big a problem.
 There are four different acorns I use to make flour. Some of them require 9 or 10 days leaching and some only need a couple days but for humans the local oaks all need leaching.  Although pigs can eat all four kinds of acorns I collect  without leaching I don't like to feed the live oak acorns that are very very tannic. I think it  might  adversely affect flavor. Because we have a Mediterranean climate both Holm oaks, and cork oaks are locally planted. They are the two types that feed the famous Iberico pigs in Spain and Portugal. Both also make good flour but surprisingly the live oak makes very good flour if it is leached properly. A very high oil content makes baking or cooking with it different than the other acorns.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 06:34:38 AM by Bruce Steele »

OrganicSu

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2016, 09:50:08 AM »
Game on. I will do the 1 month acorn test. Why?
- It is the most abundant forageable food available
- I've made edible acorn bread twice but I have so much to learn. Yesterday I threw out 10kg of partially leached and cooked acorn meal.

Dear Bruce, I would greatly appreciate your help, re recipes etc. I'll open another tread specifically on Acorn, as it is but 1 part of preparations needed.

To Bernard and all, I believe there will be a time gap between bad and very bad. Even if eventually moot, I have an instinctive desire to survive. I believe almost all humans are hard wired for it. When I hear someone say they would prefer to go down with the ship (a commonly expressed sentiment) I believe the person has never seen their own will to survive manifest itself strongly and so may be unaware of how strong the will to survive is.
Also. I have never been happier, more challenged, excited as I am now, trying to prepare. I've never had a lower carbon footprint. I've never been as angry too - I see many things in a different way.
 

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2016, 04:48:50 PM »
   
http://honest-food.net/2013/09/26/acorn-flour-recipe-cold-process/
                                                                                                                                     OrganicSU, Acorns may offer one of the best alternate foods capable of feeding you in tough times. The tannic ones ( like coast live oak , a calif native )can be dried in the shell and stored for over a year without refrigeration and not go rancid.The less tannic ones ( like cork oak ) need to be processed and stored in a freezer as flour but they require less leaching. Holm oaks are my favorite because I like the flavor the best . Valley oaks have big acorns and are easy to collect but their flavor is bland, not bad but I think they are good fodder for the pigs. As you go through a few seasons picking you will notice that the various oaks drop their nuts at different times of the year. Around here the valley oaks start in late August-Sept.  the  coast live oaks fall in Oct. and the cork oaks and holm oaks fall late Nov.into Dec.
 After picking you need to sort out the leaves and cracked acorns and throw away the ones with holes from grubs.  If you have lots of acorns to deal with you can put them in a wheelbarrow and use water to float the leaves and sticks away. The good acorns sink. You need to have good drying conditions for this trick however because mold can ruin them if they aren't dried thoroughly .
 After they are dried a month or two you can run them through the cracker. I use one called
Davesbuilt nut cracker


http://shop.davebilt.com/Davebilt-43-Nutcracker-43.htm

After picking the good meats out put them in a jar of water and let them soak in the refrigerator over night like you would dried beans. They will soften up . Then one cup at a time with a couple cups of water put them in a blender ( like for margaritas ) and blend them to a consistency like very course cornmeal. Pore the ground acorns and water into one quart Masson jars and put in the refrigerator . I usually process about 7 to 8 cups at a time . Pour the water off once a day and refill the jars with fresh water. Repeat for a few days. Taste some of the meal and if it's still bitter keep leaching. When the bitter is gone pour through a strainer and spread on a cookie sheet to dry. I put them in the sun in a window and they are done in about a day but it is hot and dry around here. Otherwise you can dry them in an oven set very low. Once dry you need to turn them into flour. I use a small electric flour mill
 There are tools that work to collect acorns. I have one called Bag-A-Nut . It works well on hard ground but doesn't work in areas with lots of sticks and leaves. A leaf blower can help if that is a problem
 I do have some recipes . I haven't put recipes on the forum yet, poems yes but no recipes. If you start another page I will .
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 05:01:51 PM by Bruce Steele »

SteveMDFP

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2016, 06:50:12 PM »
I'm also a bit dismayed by this thread.
Certainly, if any prepper enjoys what he/she is doing with her life, and leading a sustainable low-carbon lifestyle, that's wonderful.
But I don't think it's activity that's likely to contribute to solving society's problems, nor be actually successful in the event of societal collapse.

We live in a fossil fuel-intensive society.  Crafting a personal life free of that societal norm is labor-intensive, time-intensive, and exacts opportunity costs in one's life.  All that time and effort would, in my view, be far more socially productively spent agitating for more sustainable *societal systems*, even though focusing one's efforts here might come at the cost of a personal lifestyle that doesn't exemplify sustainability in the present.

Then there's envisioning what actually happens if/when society collapses.  It surely won't be instantaneous, nor happen equally everywhere on the same time scale.  Military operations and civilian governments will be the last to collapse.  Isolated, rural enclaves will be the first to lose protection from these sources.  Isolated, rural enclaves will be the first targets for refugees, roving armed gangs, and for securing resources by the residual civilian and military forces.  Your lovely self-reliant, sustainable communities are likely first to be ordered to house and feed thousands of refugees, then have arms confiscated, then have tools, supplies, and food stores confiscated.  People who possess food stores and arms won't be the last to survive, they'll be the first targets.  People who "own" and live on agriculturally productive land will more likely to ordered off to refugee camps than allowed to stay put in peace.

Urban areas are likely to be the better-policed places for ordinary civilians, even as food may be scarce. 

Then there's the ethics of the scenarios of the preppers.  In a post-collapse society, setting oneself up to be prosperous while the vast majority of humanity suffers and perishes -- isn't that just an attempt to set oneself up as the 1%, in a different social system?  Is that any more noble than being a selfish 1%er in today's society?

SteveMDFP

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2016, 07:09:11 PM »
Robert Scribbler made these points more succinctly in a comment to his post, linked by AbruptSLR in the "Conservative Scientists" thread.  A very disturbing post.  See:
https://robertscribbler.com/2016/12/02/beyond-the-point-of-no-return-imminent-carbon-feedbacks-just-made-the-stakes-for-global-warming-a-hell-of-a-lot-higher/#comment-101063

Archimid

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2016, 07:36:01 PM »
I think the recommendations so far are great, but somewhat extreme for most people. Not that is wrong, just not for everyone. I will share what I have done in preparation.

I think preparing for climate change is like running away from an angry bear. You don't have to be the fastest in the group. You just have to run faster than the slowest one.

Water: I have 1000 gallons of water in reserve, which I continually use. Worst Case scenario that can buy me months of drinking water. I have the capacity to use rain water collection, but I don't do it right now.

I have located several streams in my vicinity.

I have transparent plastic tarps to desalinate water in the case that rain does not fall before my reserves are depleted.


Food: I have planted several fruit trees, including 2 breadfruit trees. I plan on planting more.
I have taken up gardening to provide at least a small supply of food. I have successfully grown tomatoes, peppers, carrots and several greens. Because of this I have a very good idea of what it will take to be self sustaining. It will be fucking hard.

My big challenge is heat. In 2015 it got so hot and dry that I lost several trees.  The drought forced water restrictions, which I combated for a time by watering before the sun came out and mulching heavily.  Even then, my trees got sick and died when I was out of town for a month. They were young. I hope I have time for my other trees to grow.

As my biggest enemy is heat, I'm trying to create a micro climate by planting trees around my property for their shade and fruit. That should help me growing everything else with less water.

I also have a nopal cactus. The nopal is fully edible and gives fruit. It is extremely heat and drought resistant. I will soon plant several more.

I have a considerable seed collection, but seeds without knowing the preferred environment and proper care of the plants are useless. So I keep experimenting. I've grown lettuce at 100f + average temperature. It is not very tasty, it requires shade and constant attention but it can be done. I have also experimented with Malabar Spinach with great success.  I'm always on the look out for heat resistant plants and strains.


Shelter: I live in a concrete house,on top of a hill. The ocean is about 300 meters to the north of my house with very good views of the east and south and a tree line to the west. It is a very defensible position.  I have many neighbors that I've known since childhood and there is plenty of land to grow if need be.I do not have enough seeds for me and my neighbors, but that's on the wish list. Many of them have water reserves and emergency power plants. Water and power outages here are so common that is needed.


Power: I have a small generator,but if SHTF i do not count on finding fuel. Fuel will be the most difficult to find resource of all. I have a 100 watt solar panel, two 12v deep cycle lead acid batteries and a small inverter. That is enough power for many applications, like a small refrigerator, charging battery power tools, lighting and to power communication equipment.

Eventually I plan on a full solar array with a battery, and a wind turbine. I would love to buy an electric car but that is beyond my means right now. An electric car that can be charged at home with solar panels/wind will provide a huge advantage over others.

Hopefully the arctic holds for long enough for me to finish these preparations.







I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2016, 08:26:32 PM »
Steve, I have tried several times now to explain that my goal is achieve something close to the zero carbon goal set by the IPCC.  The soil carbon feedback and all the future bad news coming isn't gonna change unless we figure out how quit emitting CO2. Everything else is noise if we don't change agriculture right along with every other part of our infrastructure  ( like modern medicine ) .
 You can tell people the cold reality of what the new soil carbon feedbacks mean and a small percentage of your audience will finally get a little scared and change things a bit but even the most educated well meaning converts fail at getting anywhere near the zero rate goal. If you confront people with very hard choices and no examples of what ZERO looks like then what are you offering? 
Maybe you're right and not that many people are really ready to leave the safety of their cities but
there are still people that would like to be farmers, even poor ones
 So in addition to the public work and debate of ocean acidification and climate change I already participate in I will also try to offer an alternative that gets as damn close to perfect 0000 as I can invent, assemble, grow ,buy, grovel, forage or culture.
 Like OrganicSU said and I would like to repeat ,this makes us feel good.
 What harm am I doing? And feeling good about something these days is getting tougher .
So no not prepping really ,  living like a poor farmer. There are worse options.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2016, 10:43:32 PM »

 So in addition to the public work and debate of ocean acidification and climate change I already participate in I will also try to offer an alternative that gets as damn close to perfect 0000 as I can invent, assemble, grow ,buy, grovel, forage or culture.
 Like OrganicSU said and I would like to repeat ,this makes us feel good.
 What harm am I doing? And feeling good about something these days is getting tougher .
So no not prepping really ,  living like a poor farmer. There are worse options.

Bruce,
I don't disagree with what you've written.  You choices are above reproach.  I'd be inclined to look at you as a real hero.  There are a number of real heroes on this forum.

It's more that I worry that when such brilliant, concerned folks focus heavily on personally "walking the walk," a real opportunity might be wasted by detracting from efforts to promote wider change.  There are only  so many hours in a day, in a lifespan.  Living a zero-carbon footprint life, in today's society, seems to be far more than a full-time job.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2016, 01:11:32 AM »
  Humble beginnings                                       Whether your ideas work out (with some documentation )on a  personal level is the first step. Whether your ideas scale to other people in other places is the next hurdle. Whether your ideas suffer the test of time and are attractive to larger groups is some sort of third tier. I am more than happy that Organic SU is willing to walk a similar path, and I would like it if he might challenge me to something similar that he finds important. Communities are built that way, even if they are Internet communities.
A few committed like minded people with a good plan , executed well and spread via our modern communications networks ,can provide something like a platform for others to build upon.
 I have lived long enough to know how effective a small tenacious group can be. Long odds can be fought and it is suprising sometimes how things work out.
 I know we are all looking at some terrible potential outcomes . If we can share our little successes, if we find some reason to believe in each other, if we can find friends willing to chip in we still have something to hang on to. Something to show somebody having a hard time there is a reason to hold on. We need something to look forward to that can overpower our darker thoughts.
 I don't know if that's what " promoting wider change " means but I know it's something we are all going to need to work towards. Communities are built on trust, one small step at a time.

P-maker

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2016, 01:29:19 AM »
In order to reverse the current trend – we lose appr. 3 sq. m of sea ice for each ton of CO2 we emit – we should think carefully about how much CO2 we emit and we should think even more carefully about how we change our own lives, our own communities and how this may impact our – increasingly inter-twined – societies.

Taking my own example, I have made a number of deliberate choices to cut our CO2 emissions by more than 50 %:

•   Moving from a 2.5 car family to a 1 car family with a 50 % higher average mileage per car
•   Improving our house  - e.g. by insisting on double glazing, and doubling of the floor insulation and a 50 % reduction of our circulation pump energy use
•   Cutting overseas travels by plane  down to 1 flight every second year, and using only energy efficient and new, cheap  air carriers
•   Making sure that we are located at least 30 m above mean sea level and that no  houses are exposed to flooding from excess rainfall (e.g. by avoiding most popular basement solutions).

Concerning the community aspect – which also carries a wider democratic aspect – we have decided to live in a secluded community of 58  semi-detached dwellings. Each house has a 50-80 sq. m private garden and together we share  a common green area  of equal size ( roughly 3600 sq. m). We share fruit trees (including a.o. about 16 apple trees and 16 hazel nut trees). There is still plenty of room for more trees on communal grounds.

By agreement with the municipality, we have communal heat, water, electricity, street lighting, waste collection, recycling and sewer arrangements. In addition, we have our own 80 m groundwater borehole, which is not used as a well right now. The TV signals and high speed, broadband cables have been dug into the ground, and access may be bought on commercial terms.

Our society however, is going backwards. Emissions are going up, car use and congestion is getting worse, public transportation is under constant pressure and old fashioned agriculture practices are being favoured. The most ridicolous new invention in this country is the “Moon Pig”. I will spare you the details…

Harvesting acorns here has become more difficult after a democratic majority decided to fell 16 mature oak trees over the past few years. Getting acorn-fed pigs on to the premises is not strictly forbidden at the moment, but it would require some persuasion to get through the various democratic fora.

At this stage, I would have liked to dwelve into my ideas about the pyrolysis technologies, the burying of charcoal, sustainable greenhouse growing and fish farming (using recycling of water) concepts, but I have run out of time, and will save those adventures for another rainy Sunday.

I see some here draw the line between "surviving as an individual" and others trying to create "communal solutions". Just hoping that those "public companies" we have entrusted to deliver e.g. water, energy and waste handling will survive and deliver, when the "going gets rough". At the moment, our current government is simply trying to sell the whole thing in order to lower taxes and maximise immediate profits. 
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 01:36:39 AM by P-maker »

OrganicSu

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2016, 07:13:52 PM »
To agitate or not to to agitate, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to accept defeat when I cannot get my nearest and dearest to reduce their carbon footprint or to pursue unknown wider audiences?
Would there be more fun and just as much affect on global  emissions if one was to agitate what's between the legs all day rather than agitate the public?
Let's be honest - the members of this fantastic forum are aware of the science, the current and future consequences but how many are really trying to continually reduce their carbon footprint?

I personally find a lower carbon footprint life gives me more time. E.g. if I need to go somewhere 3km away I could walk or drive. Walking is much slower but I've started to see that the time spent walking is time spent living whereas in the car I feel kinda dead as I'm not connected and so I loose time. I'll try to rephrase something said upthread - "A zero-carbon life is living full time. Work. What's that?"

Avalonian

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2016, 04:59:20 PM »
There's an interesting divide here, isn't there? To some, trying to anticipate and prepare for disaster is effort that would be better spent preventing it; to others, prevention now seems impossible. We need both sets of people, and this thread happens to be about the latter.

I would love to be able to say that political lobbying and raising awareness will take us off the road to nightmare. I just can't see it. As far as I can make out, even with a screech of carbonaceous brakes we're past the self-perpetuating point. As a result, I'm kind-of phlegmatic about reducing our global carbon footprint, because quite shortly it's going to be reduced for us.

Now, I may be dead wrong. There may be negative feedbacks waiting in the wings that will slow things down enough to give us all a chance to keep our amazing civilisation. If that's the case I'll be eternally grateful for the political agitators and campaigners for emission reduction. In fact, I already am; because even though I don't believe it will help any more, it's vital that we try nonetheless. Just in case.

On the other hand... if I'm right, and there follows a rapid decline into lawlessness and famine, then it will have been even more vital that we remember and put in place the sustainable agriculture and the old, low-tech skills that will enable some communities to survive, and keep the vestiges of society with them. I'm not thinking on the individual scale, but rather on changing the way we see communities working, and a refocus on a largely local existence. The worst that happens as a result is that we have societies that can run on a far lower carbon footprint than the modern western way, plus lots of happy people with a glow of self-satisfaction.

There are enough concerned citizens on here for both approaches to be entirely valid and worthy, and each of us should follow what our gut tells us will end up being the most useful route. We don't know for certain how it's all going to pan out, even if we think we do; the Earth is a very tricksy thing. I don't know about you lot, but I realise that I'm as shortsighted as it comes (both literally and figuratively). That's why I'll carry on hedging my bets, but going with the preparation angle. And getting in some extra pairs of spectacles, because I might really, really need them...

Archimid

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2016, 05:26:09 PM »
I don't understand why preparation and prevention must be mutually exclusive. We should do everything we can to prevent the worst, but we should also prepare for it. Even if the worst befall us, we should try to lower emissions in an effort to slow it down. Even if we have a break of a few decades we should be prepared.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

pileus

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2016, 06:32:19 PM »
A "zero carbon" future will be untenable and unacceptable to most without a corresponding set of energy and sustenance (food and water) solutions that are modern, efficient and appealing on some set of basic human levels.  If that future means a primary diet of acorns and pork, that feels very depressing and unattractive, beyond a few months max.  Why not procure a large supply of ready-to-mix "emergency" food available is any big box store like Costco?  You can get 1 or even multi-year supplies, and it removes a lot of the time and energy involved with ensuring basic nutrition needs are met.  That stuff would get nasty after a bit, but it sure would offer more variety than acorns and pigs feet.


idunno

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2016, 09:33:16 PM »
A "zero carbon" future will be untenable and unacceptable to most without a corresponding set of energy and sustenance (food and water) solutions that are modern, efficient and appealing on some set of basic human levels.  If that future means a primary diet of acorns and pork, that feels very depressing and unattractive, beyond a few months max.  Why not procure a large supply of ready-to-mix "emergency" food available is any big box store like Costco?  You can get 1 or even multi-year supplies, and it removes a lot of the time and energy involved with ensuring basic nutrition needs are met.  That stuff would get nasty after a bit, but it sure would offer more variety than acorns and pigs feet.



OTOH, pileus, 99.99997% of the world's leading chefs beg to differ with you...

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/dec/01/pannage-pork-british-iberico-style-ham-acorn-fed-pigs

Avalonian

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2016, 02:25:51 AM »
I don't understand why preparation and prevention must be mutually exclusive. We should do everything we can to prevent the worst, but we should also prepare for it. Even if the worst befall us, we should try to lower emissions in an effort to slow it down. Even if we have a break of a few decades we should be prepared.

They're not mutually exclusive at all, Archmid - it's just that some people find more enthusiasm in trying to solve one aspect, and some the other. We need people who have enthusiasm for campaigning and politics to campaign for national and international policy change, and for those with enthusiasm for developing sustainable societies to focus on that. Both are very valuable. There just isn't time for individuals to be both, and we should stop expecting the impossible; everyone willing to do something to help should be applauded.

It's like Bruce's month-long experiment... I'd rather spend my time focusing on learning more about foraging for a diverse flora and understanding distribution patterns and various storage techniques, but I'm very glad that he's on the acorn-pig case. It's the combination of everyone's experience and knowledge that will work in the end, whatever the outcome may be.

Of course, people who are on the 'prepping' side are also by default reducing their carbon footprints, if they're doing it right. For example, our diet is supplemented by a wide range of sustainably-harvested wild foods, we don't have a car, and we support as many local ventures as we can. More importantly, we try to persuade other people to do the same. Most people have to be able to see a low-carbon life as fun and fulfilling before they'll start making changes (irrespective of dire prognostications), so leading by example is really just attacking the policy problem from another direction.

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2016, 02:47:18 AM »
Maybe you're right and not that many people are really ready to leave the safety of their cities but
there are still people that would like to be farmers, even poor ones
I'm one of the latter.
All I need is a mud hut, fire wood, water, and an internet connection, plus a competent and willing community to work the land together.

At the moment I'm broke but will have 50000€ spare soon. Want to invest in a little land preferably in Bavaria. Any hints?

meljay14

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2016, 04:04:27 AM »
Anybody exploring this kind of thing might be interested in these YouTube videos. I love their simplicity, no sound or commentary, and no great fanfare about what he is trying to achieve. He just does it because he likes it and finds it interesting. I believe he is in Queensland.



budmantis

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #44 on: January 07, 2017, 05:04:31 PM »
The linked article discusses the possibility of societal collapse in the foreseeable future, using historical and mathematical modeling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/peter-turchin-cliodynamics-society-collapse_us_586f1e22e4b02b5f85882988

Extract: Turchin is a leader in cliodynamics, an interdisciplinary field of study that sees historical events such as the collapse of empires as following predictable mathematical models based on historical data. 

SteveMDFP

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2017, 05:52:54 PM »
The linked article discusses the possibility of societal collapse in the foreseeable future, using historical and mathematical modeling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/peter-turchin-cliodynamics-society-collapse_us_586f1e22e4b02b5f85882988

Extract: Turchin is a leader in cliodynamics, an interdisciplinary field of study that sees historical events such as the collapse of empires as following predictable mathematical models based on historical data.

It's a critical subject, and he's a serious researcher.  But HuPo does a terrible job giving readers access to the deeper sources of information.  The HuPo piece is based on Turchin's editorial in Phys.org:
Social instability lies ahead, researcher says
January 4, 2017 by Peter Turchin
http://phys.org/news/2017-01-social-instability-lies.html

Which, in turn, references his earlier (paywalled) article in Nature:
Political instability may be a contributor in the coming decade
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7281/full/463608a.html

I haven't yet dug into this material in depth.  At first glance, I sense some of this latest work is, in essence, "see, I told you so," about the West's turn towards populism/xenophobia/anti-elitism/militarism/authoritarianism/violence.  That is, a turn in the direction of fascism.   And so he seems to have predicted.

Very sad, and very alarming.

budmantis

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2017, 05:35:23 AM »
Thanks for the link SteveMDFP. That article was written in 2010, almost six years ago.

logicmanPatrick

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2017, 12:35:37 AM »
To prepare for a likely harmful and long-lasting event, use the tools of the turn-key project, but consider real world economic.

A turn-key project is some design or plan.  The classic model is a mains standby power plant such as used by hospitals, stadiums, military etc.

What you need:
The hardware:
buildings, generators, fuel tanks, distribution cables, infrastructure etc.

Spares inventory:  sufficient spares to maintain the equipment for the life of the project, say 20 years.  Do not expect to be able to buy spares even a year on: companies go bust all the time.

Fuel:  make your fuel tanks as large as needed for emergency duration purposes: do not expect fuel deliveries in time of crisis.

Personnel:
even as you build the project, start training people in its safe operation and maintenance.  A power station without skilled operators is just so much scrap metal.

Accomodation and stores for personnel.

You get the idea.

As to economics:

There are only two kinds of goods really: goods produced and producer goods.  Producer goods are the machines of all kinds which we use to produce and deliver goods to consumers.

In a long-term crisis scenario the machines which are the means of production will gradually fail.  In the first phase there will be a consumption of replacement parts with no re-stocking.  It may be possible to kludge spares, but this lowers the efficiency of machines.

Ultimately, machines become lumps of corrosion due to lack of spares, and perhaps skills.  At this point, if the skills of a blacksmith can be found, internal combustion engines may be turned into crude steam engines, with further loss of efficiency.

If total disaster should befall the human race, the person with the foresight to mothball two traction engines, steam ploughing equipment and spares will be king - or queen.

si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes

sidd

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2017, 12:56:09 AM »
I, for one, welcome our new Amish overlords.

logicmanPatrick

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Re: Preparations for Potential Societal Collapse
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2017, 06:13:35 AM »
I, for one, welcome our new Amish overlords.

Yeah!  Bring it on!  Ernest Borgnine would have made a great POTUS - President Of The United Survivors.
si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes