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opensheart

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Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« on: May 23, 2014, 06:13:31 AM »
Suppose you had the ability to build a time capsule that would be opened say 50 years from now.  But this was not your ordinary time capsule.  Not one where you leave something cute to be found 50 years from now.   And you were not leaving notes or picture of what your life was like now.   No this was a special purpose time capsule.

This time capsule would be open by survivors.   People who had survived what ever bad things happened in the next 50 years.   They were coming to your time capsule looking for things to help them survive in the world they find themselves in.

What would you put in this time capsule?  Tools?   Seeds?   Books?      What things do we have now, that if put away and protected would be the most helpful to them then?

opensheart

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 06:14:03 AM »
I'm wondering if we should start hiding away such useful items.   Not necessarily for us, but for someone who might come after us.   It would be like sending a care package to future people.

People often feel the problems are too overwhelming.  There is nothing they can do that would make a difference.    Could creating such stashes be an answer?  Something the individual could do, that would be a significant aid to future generations?   

Nothing extravagant.   Just some hand tools,  wrapped in plastic?  Or painted with extra protective coatings?   Or seeds sealed in something?    Just hidden away somewhere where they would keep.

Is this a good idea?   Are things truly grave enough to warrant it?    Would it give individuals something they could do?   Someway to extend their influence into the future?   And would it be useful to people in the future?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 06:34:06 AM by opensheart »

Neven

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 09:42:05 AM »
Condoms!  ;)
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TerryM

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 11:15:46 AM »

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 05:04:39 PM »
I'm wondering if we should start hiding away such useful items.   Not necessarily for us, but for someone who might come after us.   It would be like sending a care package to future people.

People often feel the problems are too overwhelming.  There is nothing they can do that would make a difference.    Could creating such stashes be an answer?  Something the individual could do, that would be a significant aid to future generations?   

Nothing extravagant.   Just some hand tools,  wrapped in plastic?  Or painted with extra protective coatings?   Or seeds sealed in something?    Just hidden away somewhere where they would keep.

Is this a good idea?   Are things truly grave enough to warrant it?    Would it give individuals something they could do?   Someway to extend their influence into the future?   And would it be useful to people in the future?

Much depends on available volume and storage conditions. The smallest package you could leave that strikes me as being useful is a good knife, closely followed by certain other metal tools, and maybe various durable minor survival tools.

Seeds and books are also potentially interesting, but much harder to find the right choices and both have very definite shelf lives - especially in a worst case outcome.

On the whole though, I wonder why one would feel a need to bury such help - it seems a pretty inefficient way of targeting help to people later. Could you not help people in the current or nearer future sense without some nebulous notion that whoever is left later will have the time and energy to dig around hunting a few vague capsules buried somewhere? How big an impact do you think you can have without putting some real effort and strategy behind such a notion? (not that it's a bad idea, quite the reverse - it's probably one of the first times I've seen anyone out there thinking of provision for people in the future along the lines in which I think).

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 05:06:38 PM »
Condoms!  ;)

X1,000

Terry

They're a finite consumable, so no, not really. Better to leave a surgical description of how to sterilise a person in there? In any case one suspects population will have come crashing down by then and human numbers will be enforced in the same way they were for most of our history - early deaths.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 05:16:13 PM »
Ccg, Thanks for giving some support to the concept that both you and JimD have raised in former posts. I am not able to get too far into detail right now but I think seeds would have to be high on the list. Some seeds can be stored in dry ,low oxygen environs for extended periods. Hiding them where someone might find them in the future might be an interesting subject in itself. Go team.   

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 05:46:00 PM »
Ccg, Thanks for giving some support to the concept that both you and JimD have raised in former posts. I am not able to get too far into detail right now but I think seeds would have to be high on the list. Some seeds can be stored in dry ,low oxygen environs for extended periods. Hiding them where someone might find them in the future might be an interesting subject in itself. Go team.

How many useful seeds do you know that remain viable potentially over decades in conditions of uncertain storage? (though if buried reasonably deep one presumes reasonable stability at least, if not ideal temperatures)

You'd also need to bury instructions with them, explaining what they are, how to grow (and harvest and use) them. This might also include instructions in the construction of relevant tools from first principles.

Certainly seeds could be potentially useful - I just think it's ideal as much as possible to keep them under cultivation where you keep them as viable as possible (ie make such a project a "living" enterprise).

Actually, seeds are a real headache. More problematic for cross border transport than firearms in many jurisdictions. Smuggle such things and you run significant risks - leaving the only other option to cache them at least temporarily in some situations).

That last point - about potential short term caching of sensitive materials - actually probably gives you the answer to how people find them - you tell them where they are (somehow).

The idea seems good to me, but an effective strategy must solve that problem. You want to get the resources you are leaving to the future (in itself a great idea) to the right people, ie not the aggressive violent sociopaths who will likely do well initially - but instead to the civilisation builders (whoever they might be, if there will be any - maybe the grandchildren are a second best bet).

SteveMDFP

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 05:55:57 PM »
Suppose you had the ability to build a time capsule that would be opened say 50 years from now.  But this was not your ordinary time capsule.  Not one where you leave something cute to be found 50 years from now.   And you were not leaving notes or picture of what your life was like now.   No this was a special purpose time capsule.

This time capsule would be open by survivors.   People who had survived what ever bad things happened in the next 50 years.   They were coming to your time capsule looking for things to help them survive in the world they find themselves in.

What would you put in this time capsule?  Tools?   Seeds?   Books?      What things do we have now, that if put away and protected would be the most helpful to them then?

A solar-powered laptop, loaded with hundreds of textbooks and most of Wikipedia. 

Ned W

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 05:57:17 PM »
Are there items (of other than sentimental value, or "collectibles") that you wish someone had buried 50 years ago for you to find today?

I'm having trouble thinking of anything that would be of great benefit. 

I'm not suggesting that I and my family haven't benefited from what my grandparents did 50 years ago.  But the things they did that were helpful were saving money, raising their children well and providing them with educations ... things like that.  Not burying material goods for us to dig up.

wili

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 06:30:46 PM »
"not the aggressive violent sociopaths"

But doesn't that pretty much exclude the entire race as a whole?

Given our track record, does anyone really think we have earned a second chance?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 07:17:38 PM »
I'm not suggesting that I and my family haven't benefited from what my grandparents did 50 years ago.  But the things they did that were helpful were saving money, raising their children well and providing them with educations ... things like that.  Not burying material goods for us to dig up.

That was on the up slope approaching peak modern civilisation though.

The down slope (or likely, cliff) is an altogether different world - one in which my parents and grandparents - and what they did - are irrelevant (in fact, in the big picture view they were part of generations that really damned us, so relevant for the worst of reasons - certainly I perceive nothing helpful from older - and current - generations).

"not the aggressive violent sociopaths"

But doesn't that pretty much exclude the entire race as a whole?

Given our track record, does anyone really think we have earned a second chance?

If you're a child born on the edge of famine and conflict in a nation used as a resource base to prop up the affluent westernised nations, why shouldn't you get a chance? And in this instance - we're not talking second chances, we're talking first chances.

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 10:14:47 PM »
I think you underestimate civilization's ability to adapt.  That adaptation often comes at the expense of the environment ... and at the expense of other people, too.  But I don't see any kind of apocalyptic civilizational collapse as necessary or likely in the next century.

wili

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 10:33:46 PM »
ccg, you seem to be confusing the individual from the species/breed. If you keep purchasing rottweilers and they keep eating your babies, it's not a matter of blaming a particular next rottweiler baby to decide not to get another rott.

As Neven suggested (I think) with his condom remark, the primary imperative for humans from now on is to learn how to limit ourselves. But we were all brought up in and continue to live out the anthropocentric ideology that the primary imperative of all humans is to be sure the human project survives and thrives, and this is among most of our most basic un-examined assumptions.

I just would like to point out that assumption, and question its utility in this crucial stage in the history of life on the planet.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Neven

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 11:13:47 PM »
They're a finite consumable, so no, not really.

In that case I suggest a book with jokes. It's important to laugh.  ;D
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Anne

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 11:36:34 PM »
If you want people to remember things you have to teach them songs. Good songs.

(The alternative is songs with an associated sacred tradition, which means they will learn them like it or not.)

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2014, 03:17:20 AM »
ccg, you seem to be confusing the individual from the species/breed. If you keep purchasing rottweilers and they keep eating your babies, it's not a matter of blaming a particular next rottweiler baby to decide not to get another rott.

No - not exactly. The individual matters, and if you try enough rottweiler babies you will - eventually - find one (and eventually some) that are different.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox

So actually, I would argue the potential to be different lies within human possibility - we would just need the right selection to move forwards. I'm not suggesting anything quite as crude as directly applied eugenics (liable to be flawed and fail), but rather that a society evolves individuals through the values and rewards it delivers. Thus in modern society a person who breaks into a vulnerable persons house and steals their money is a criminal and punished, and a bank can take many peoples actual houses and be rewarded and valued for it. This doesn't actually necessarily translate into reproductive success in the modern context - but is the shape of the idea clear at least? That we could design a society upon ideological foundations designed to reinforce sustainable behaviour (in all respects, not just reproduction) and that in theory if successful it would feed back into the expression of traits within the individuals? (obviously those individuals failing by sustainable metrics must be penalised and handicapped within the ideological framework thus established)

I grant it's a vexing problem as evolutionary imperatives put a lot of pressure on through short term advantage - but we are managing to defy evolution in one sense in that we are already destroying ourselves, so I argue it isn't an impossible situation to engineer (and we have already done it in a sense many times in domesticating animals).

As Neven suggested (I think) with his condom remark, the primary imperative for humans from now on is to learn how to limit ourselves. But we were all brought up in and continue to live out the anthropocentric ideology that the primary imperative of all humans is to be sure the human project survives and thrives, and this is among most of our most basic un-examined assumptions.

From what I have seen, it is not a question of teaching those living today - they are too set in their ways, too dogmatically tied to the destructive modern ideologies (and it is quite frankly an absolute waste of time to try in my view - speaking after nearly 7 years of trying). But if one could ensure the more successful remnants post collapse have learned these lessons...?

What I suggest may initially seem distasteful to most here, steeped as they will be in the values of the modern world - but let me be clear - those who are living today and unsustainably destroying my future and that of those to come - are committing a grievous crime. They should be punished (but may not be) and those behaviours must be punished (in the future, or else we cannot learn as a species).

wili

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 11:42:10 PM »
"those who are living today and unsustainably destroying my future and that of those to come - are committing a grievous crime. They should be punished (but may not be) and those behaviours must be punished (in the future, or else we cannot learn as a species)."

I agree completely, except I am less certain that we can 'learn as a species.'

Keep in mind one thing about leaving messages for the future--language changes, and we can't know which languages now spoken will continue into the future, if any.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2014, 03:50:07 PM »
I think you underestimate civilization's ability to adapt.  That adaptation often comes at the expense of the environment ... and at the expense of other people, too.  But I don't see any kind of apocalyptic civilizational collapse as necessary or likely in the next century.

Ned

As I and many others here have written extensively on our definitions of collapse and what our reasoning is as to why we think collapse is virtually certain sometime this century, you should do the same to support your contention.  We have provided a substantial body of work here to support our conclusions and I for one (counting all blogs and venues) have written over a quarter a million words in the last year.  The collapse debate is very similar to the AGW debate in how it is conducted.  All the evidence points one way and the general reaction is the other way. 

Please provide some substance which refutes what we have said so we have something to argue with.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2014, 04:59:33 PM »
Please provide some substance which refutes what we have said so we have something to argue with.

But preferably in a topic that isn't one of the very few where people actually look at ideas as to what people could do with respect to the oncoming future? (the idea floated by opensheart might need a little work, but in my view it's very much conceived from the right intentions)

wili

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2014, 06:32:51 PM »
This might deserve a new thread, but it seems like something that ccg and jim may appreciate even if they may not agree with all details. It's by one of the more thoughtful (of the many thoughtful) contributors to the old TOD, Nate Hagens.

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-05-19/humans-and-earth-transitioning-from-teenagers-to-adults-as-a-species

Humans and Earth: Transitioning from Teenagers to Adults as a Species

Quote
...we are unlikely to do anything meaningful ahead of time to mitigate some of the major risks (finance/currency, poverty, economy, biodiversity, ocean, climate etc.).  I have discovered that telling people the whole story – firehose style, is kind of like a curse, unless you proffer some action steps.   It’s why I largely stopped speaking a couple years ago (other than on Earth Days)- I could explain the various risks and their intersections, but had no clue what to tell people what to do – I am getting (slightly) better at that and have even more ideas since this talk was filmed. In the end I think its about acknowledgement, integrity and accountability.
Essentially mankind has never had a plan or a goal. We pass the baton each day, each week, each year, each generation without a collective realization of our historical trajectory and future fiduciary.  Many in the tribe of Man think about deep-space. How many are thinking about humans and deep time? If we want a livable world in 100, 500, 10,000 years, with things we value, some long term ethos has to precede any actions we might take.
 
We don’t know what will happen. But we can know with high confidence what won’t happen, and that is a seriously important thing. The future will also be a matter of degrees; near-infinite variation of outcomes which are not equivalent.  And as much genetic/cultural baggage we carry, we humans have never known and been aware scientifically about ourselves and our natural world the way we are now– there are emergent properties bubbling up at the intersection of our morality and our knowledge. Things might look dark, but there is always a chance for benign and fantastic trajectories for the future – and the odds increase slightly with every person that acknowledges this truth.  “We” might not know how to influence things. Our actions might just as easily make things worse as better. But if one views the future as a fan of possibilities, many are still available, and those in our small but growing demographic who are aware of supply and demand drivers might aspire, at least for some fraction of their time, to synthesize and uphold as examples what this tribe of humans COULD be like what they COULD manifest as, despite the tall odds.
 
My ultimate point in this lecture is not a call to action, but a call not to rule out action.   What matters?  Caring defines what matters. In the same way, not caring defines what doesn’t matter. We may not know exactly what or how to influence the future that increase the odds of better outcomes.  But our situation calls for dignity, integrity, creativity and probably some discomfort...

Some good comments, too.

As an educator, I face these questions nearly daily.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Ned W

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2014, 07:47:57 PM »
Ned

As I and many others here have written extensively on our definitions of collapse and what our reasoning is as to why we think collapse is virtually certain sometime this century, you should do the same to support your contention.  We have provided a substantial body of work here to support our conclusions and I for one (counting all blogs and venues) have written over a quarter a million words in the last year.
You may feel that's the best use of your time, but I wouldn't, so I'm not likely to engage you in some kind of war to see who can churn out the most verbiage. 

Quote
The collapse debate is very similar to the AGW debate in how it is conducted.  All the evidence points one way and the general reaction is the other way.
I'm interested in "AGW" as a scientific field, not as a "debate".   I've wasted too much of my time in the past "debating" climate science deniers.  Most debates on the internet are basically useless.

Quote
Please provide some substance which refutes what we have said so we have something to argue with.
You're speculating about what's going to happen to western civilization over the coming decades or century or whatever.  For all the talk of "substance" and "evidence" it all ultimately boils down to one's subjective opinion/outlook. 

I do think there's a tendency for certain voices here to dominate the discussion with a particular doom-and-gloom worldview.  I'm not interested in arguing about that but would just like to present an alternative viewpoint.  As I've pointed out in other threads previously, modern societies have a pretty good track record of persisting, adapting, and growing even in the face of calamities.  I don't see a reason that the challenges we're likely to face on the scale of the next 100 years should be un-solvable.

And, again, for the specific topic of this thread -- stockpiling a bunch of material goods as some kind of "Berlin Airlift" to our descendants 50 years from now doesn't seem all that useful.  There are probably better ways of helping future generations.

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2014, 09:02:53 PM »
And, again, for the specific topic of this thread -- stockpiling a bunch of material goods as some kind of "Berlin Airlift" to our descendants 50 years from now doesn't seem all that useful.  There are probably better ways of helping future generations.

If you are flying over the ocean, would you prefer that your aeroplane has a life raft - that you expect and hope never to need to use? Would you prefer that your life raft comes with no food on the assumption that you will be rapidly rescued via EPIRB, or would you prefer it have emergency rations just in case? By now, we've stocked up two just in cases on top of each other - so the probability you need that food is truly tiny.

Now, I'm not claiming passenger jets actually put the second just in case into practice, but nonetheless almost everyone will prefer the food to be there, even though they expect and hope never to need it and the probability of needing it is tiny.

If we can routinely plan such small probability just in case scenarios into every day life (why bother with fire extinguishers for instance?), why do people have such a blind spot and inherent resistance to the notion of preparing just in case contingencies for our future descendents?

You don't even need to take the risk of collapse seriously to understand the concept of insurance against catastrophe, do you?

Of course people individually and collectively tend towards idiocy, and thus you can see large numbers of people not vaccinating their children just in case, exposing them meanwhile to a much greater risk of fatal or crippling disease. In this case ignorance is harming their progeny - as it is with respect to the risks of collapse.

Ned W

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2014, 10:05:32 PM »
OK.  But when I'm flying across the ocean, I don't feel the need to bring my own personal life-raft in checked luggage, and another one in my carry-on just to be safe.  Insurance against catastrophe is fine, but since there are opportunity costs, one needs to think about whether doing something in the name of insurance makes sense.

And I would suggest that trying to figure out what material goods people will need 50 years from now during some kind of hypothetical crisis is not all that realistic. 

It makes sense (IMVHO) to think periodically "What would I need in the event of a natural disaster like X?" where X will vary depending on where you live (winter storm, flood, earthquake, whatever).  Keep those things on hand, or have some kind of plan. 

But beyond a few years out, your knowledge of what your descendents will want or need pales in comparison to their own knowledge.  If you want to help the people of 2064, give them the best education, values, community, etc. that you can, and then trust them to make their own decisions about how to cope with whatever the world throws at them.

Thinking back to 1964, it's quite possible that someone concerned about civilizational collapse back then would have felt that the proper "gift" for me in 2014 would be a bunker/fallout shelter stocked with guns to fight off the invading Soviets, lots of antique batteries and radio equipment, medical supplies typical of the 1960s, etc.  But none of that would be any actual use to me today!  Instead, I'd rather that they spent their money on something to make the world a better place starting in 1964.  Or just invested it and let me figure out the most useful way to  spend the accumulated proceeds.

Anne

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2014, 10:25:46 PM »
<snip>
Thinking back to 1964, it's quite possible that someone concerned about civilizational collapse back then would have felt that the proper "gift" for me in 2014 would be a bunker/fallout shelter stocked with guns to fight off the invading Soviets, lots of antique batteries and radio equipment, medical supplies typical of the 1960s, etc.  But none of that would be any actual use to me today!  Instead, I'd rather that they spent their money on something to make the world a better place starting in 1964.  Or just invested it and let me figure out the most useful way to  spend the accumulated proceeds.
Hindsight...  Are you so very sure that that the financial institutions we know and love ( ::) ) will still be around and honouring their contracts in 50 years?

Ned W

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2014, 10:38:33 PM »
Who knows?  I'm not offering investment advice for the future.  Just pointing out that over the past 50 years it would have been more useful than a basket of "survivalist" goodies.

You could stockpile seeds in your time capsule -- and it would turn out that your great-grandchildren had no need of seeds, but instead needed gold to bribe the 31st Sector Security Officer to let them emigrate.

Or you could stockpile gold, at great expense, and then have it be useless to your great-grandchildren due to the ready availability of transmutation of elements in 2064.

IMHO it makes more sense to try to build a good community now, as a foundation for the future, than to try to skip ahead and meddle directly in the future.   To quote myself:

 
Quote
If you want to help the people of 2064, give them the best education, values, community, etc. that you can, and then trust them to make their own decisions about how to cope with whatever the world throws at them.

Ned W

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2014, 11:02:47 PM »
All that said, I've got nothing at all against the idea of people saving heirloom plant varieties, etc.  That's a great thing to do, even without the motivation of some kind of civilization-ending collapse.

icefest

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2014, 12:08:59 AM »
Personally, considering the previous malthusian catastrophes and other expected doomsday scenarios, I don't think collapse is inevitable. 

As far as preparing for future people, I prefer the idea of the Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault.

Other than that, agitating and being involved in societal change, as Ned said, is IMHO a better use of time + money.
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Bruce Steele

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2014, 02:23:05 AM »
I think heirlooms seeds,seed catalogs and the current trendy appreciation of them is great but heirlooms are the residual result of individual gardeners selecting for unique color, vigor, size ,or taste etc. The seeds represent the skill of many millions of gardeners over many  thousands of years of individual efforts.  I have selected out a red onion that volunteered in a planting of yellow onions and after crossing it with another red variety I have contributed to this process.
 I also am trying to perpetuate a unique variety of pigs that nearly went extinct very recently. Keeping
rare breeds for the future is just as important as growing and seed saving of vegetables. I worry however that the destruction of small farms by the economics of corporate ag is quickly eroding this heritage. I keep an I eye out for nice gardens and livestock when I travel and there just aren't that many nice gardens I see and even fewer heritage livestock breeds. I talk with other farmers and we all can see the declines from the dairy herds, pig varieties, and small farm efforts of our youth. What we remember , the seed we keep, and the livestock we perpetuate are part of a knowledge base that is quickly disappearing. The Internet does allow our declining numbers to still maintain genetic viability of rare breeds or seed that used to be traded locally but we are becoming dependent on technology that I don't personally think comparable to a strong local community. Most of us who have shunned modern ag are financially punished for our truculence. We are slowly dying out. You can't simply bury me in Svalbard and dig me up later. The transmission of colloquial knowledge much like the keeping of religious song is dependent on new membership and like the death of ancient language ,or books, the internet is not a replacement for mentorship and honoring ancient traditions. Sorry for the lament       

icefest

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2014, 08:37:13 AM »
The transmission of colloquial knowledge much like the keeping of religious song is dependent on new membership and like the death of ancient language ,or books, the internet is not a replacement for mentorship and honoring ancient traditions. Sorry for the lament       
I agree, though would like to add that the internet is still better than no replacement.

Regarding the continuation of heirloom species, plant tissue culture, along with cheaper an cheaper genome mapping should help document the myriad of lost varieties for future neogenesis.
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opensheart

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2014, 01:33:01 PM »
I would rather not debate a collapse here.   There are plenty of places to debate that.
Regardless of whether there is a posible collapse, or the severity of the collaspe, there are people now who believe in a collapse.   There are people who are used to getting things done who have a growing fear that nothing they do will make any difference.  My first thought for this thread is to give a gift to the people now.   To give them something to do.   Something an individual can do and feel like they did something to directly affect the people they are most worried about 50 years from now.

If someone does lay up such buried treasure there are several possiblites.
1.  It is never found.   Does not matter if anything collapses or not.   No one ever finds it.
2.  It is found but not needed.  The people then can say,  "Oh look what those people 50 years ago were worried about.  Ha, Lets put it in a museum."
3.  It is found and useful.   Who knows how useful, but it is put to good use.
4.  It is found, and would be useful, if people knew what to do with it.   This is truly the worst case.

In any of those cases,  the people who prepared and placed it can feel like they did something special.  something IN ADDITION to their efforts to make the world a better place now.   Sort of both a now and later effect, to double their possible contributions to the future.

And would not just the process itself.  The process of planning, preparing and doing such a thing be an act of more long term thinking.   A practical way for individuals to start thinking in terms of generations from now. 

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #31 on: June 02, 2014, 08:00:17 PM »
In any of those cases,  the people who prepared and placed it can feel like they did something special.  something IN ADDITION to their efforts to make the world a better place now.   Sort of both a now and later effect, to double their possible contributions to the future.

I guess that's the question though - is this mostly a placebo thing for the benefits of the person doing it or a genuine venture to help those in the future - or those in the present who must see the future in question? (not so much those in the present it seems to me).

Either way, it's hard to see it being harmful.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2014, 02:04:06 AM »
Saving the DNA -- genetic information -- I think we will soon be able to do that electronically via genome mapping.  Also soon, we should be able to recreate that DNA artificially.  (This assumes our scientific ability doesn't collapse.)


One thing our descendants might appreciate would be a collection of books, articles and commentary showing how our generation felt about climate change during these critical years.  What did we feel were the most important scientific findings?  How could deniers refuse to see the truth?  How did the fossil fuel companies push their agenda?  And how did governments struggle to act (or not act).  What positive actions -- or catastrophes -- finally caused the world to come together to address a planet in peril, instead of withering under a riot of reckless individuals, policies, and countries? 

Whatever kind of planet we leave for the next generation, I'm sure they will want to know:  what the heck were we thinking?
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

opensheart

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #33 on: June 05, 2014, 11:08:01 PM »
Seeds has been mentioned a couple of times.   How can seeds be kept long term?   Could they be stored embedded in something like wax?   

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2014, 04:14:12 AM »
Seeds has been mentioned a couple of times.   How can seeds be kept long term?   Could they be stored embedded in something like wax?

Bruce and others with more experience can probably tell you better, but it really depends.

As a general rule my understanding is storage is optimised by a cool (or even frozen) dark environment with low humidity and not too much oxygen (but more than none). That will act to slow down the low level metabolic processes that keep a seed "alive" enough to germinate.

However, you really need to go seed by seed - different seeds for different plants have different rules. Some are much better suited to longevity than others (moisture context plays a role, for instance). Some things (tubers) cannot be kept easily long term. All seeds will statistically lose viability from year to year - so you need quantity to mitigate against that (again smaller seeds are easier to store in bulk.

If you were literally burying them, waterproof sealed packets would probably last a fair while, but be wary of degradation of the packing materials - plastics, metals, you need to consider longevity of that too (and resistance to pests).

Personally I try to keep mine in the fridge whenever possible, but might need to temporarily cache them sometimes.

You should also note that most seed banks of note will periodically do "grow outs" to rejuvenate the seed stock. If you're hoping to cache them for 50 years, that's pretty ambitious for most
seeds in my opinion... perhaps even absurd for many (in the storage conditions postulated).

Just to make life even more complicated, not only do you need to consider the ability of the seeds to retain viability over the timescales in question - you also need to consider the utility of your choices. Hemp or flax might be more valuable than radishes and turnips, for example. Don't just think food - seeds can produce all sorts of other things - materials, medicine, etc.

Who will know the location and how will they recover the cached items/seeds? Will they know what to do with them and what conditions are suitable for each species?

Anne

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2014, 04:31:35 AM »
Who will know the location and how will they recover the cached items/seeds? Will they know what to do with them and what conditions are suitable for each species?

This. The most important thing to pass down is knowledge, know-how. In the absence of this, the seeds would most likely just get eaten.

Bruce Steele

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #36 on: June 06, 2014, 05:52:42 AM »
I tried to find some answers about seed longevity on google and it looks like there aren't many well documented long term seed storage ( at room temperature)studies. There is a museum collection or two that has had some germination from hundred year old seed but garden seed longevity stress tests at ~ room temperature and low humidity aren't readily available. I have old heirloom tomato seed still viable at ten + years but I don't really know about twenty year old seed. Different vegetable seed are viable longer than others but in a tough spot even getting a couple new crops in the garden might be important. I read about mung beans and Chinese lotus being very long lived seed but it looks like old wife's tales may be just as good a source as a google search in this case. That happens to make me happy.   

opensheart

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2014, 04:37:13 PM »
what about taking a block of wax,  in room temp, solid state;  drilling a hole in it with a common drill bit.   Just big enough for the seeds of choice.   Dropping seeds in the hole, then adding a small amount of soft wax.   Just warm enough to be able to press into the hole and seal it.   

Wax would be soft enough for someone to get them back out when they wanted to.   

Or perhaps even better,   dip sealed packages of seeds in wax.   Would that not protect the package from degrading.    Or wrapping the seed package in saran wrap and then sealing with wax.

Would laminated paper/picture instructions keep?

ccgwebmaster

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2014, 08:21:58 PM »
what about taking a block of wax,  in room temp, solid state;  drilling a hole in it with a common drill bit.   Just big enough for the seeds of choice.   Dropping seeds in the hole, then adding a small amount of soft wax.   Just warm enough to be able to press into the hole and seal it.   

Wax would be soft enough for someone to get them back out when they wanted to.   

Or perhaps even better,   dip sealed packages of seeds in wax.   Would that not protect the package from degrading.    Or wrapping the seed package in saran wrap and then sealing with wax.

Would laminated paper/picture instructions keep?

If you're going for 50 years, I would think sealed seed packets inside a sealed ziploc bag or two (to limit oxygen exchange), inside a sturdy (fairly small) plastic container would probably last long enough?

I would expect almost all seeds to have lost viability before the packaging broke down?

With respect to viability, Bruce mentioned he couldn't find studies at room temperature - underground is of course not room temperature (dig deep enough and it's constant temperature and that is well worth a thought, even if recovery is harder then - how will you indicate the precise spot to dig?) - but I recall seeing viability estimates for normal storage for the first few years in a gardening book at one time.

The loss of viability from year 1 to 2 for many common vegetables was considerable.

One might hope for a long tail but it really all depends on exactly how seed metabolism operates (and I have no idea how they remain dormant for so long with such little energy inputs and still retain the ability to detect when the conditions for germination are met and find the energy to grow - suffice it to say I think you ought to take the view seeds are alive in a sense, until they lose viability).

In short, there might be hard limits and no long tail past a point - especially as you can't get to cryogenic storage (I avoided putting mine in the freezer as I can't guarantee a stable temperature and don't want to expose them to the shock of repeated freezing/thawing cycles).

Along the same lines perhaps one ought to consider keeping them refrigerated until such time as it makes sense to bury them? That way you could preserve more viability for longer - but being cynical - that way you might as well just hand the damn packages to whoever was left and seemed suitable post collapse?

To me a buried resource in an area that one might or might not be able to get to, might or might not be able to operate in, might or might not look how it used to decades earlier - is relatively worthless compared to a resource "in hand". With something as important as seeds, I'd sooner keep it in hand and current personally. Don't forget the opportunity cost of going after such a resource in an environment where simple survival is an every day challenge.

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2014, 09:08:39 PM »
This might deserve a new thread, but it seems like something that ccg and jim may appreciate even if they may not agree with all details. It's by one of the more thoughtful (of the many thoughtful) contributors to the old TOD, Nate Hagens.

[snip]

Some good comments, too.

As an educator, I face these questions nearly daily.

It might, I managed not to register it until now (too much glancing, not enough reading).

Seems to be some good points in there.

If I might note - I think collapse itself provides in theory an opportunity to set ourselves onto a sustainable path. Changing the behaviour of 7 billion is surely much harder than changing that of a much smaller number desperate to survive and willing to consider "extreme" ideologies in the quest to do so?

If one can give that small number (who will adopt the "extreme" sustainable ideology) the tools and ability to ultimately become dominant (and to squash anyone who is not sustainable, to prevent the competing ideology just as surely as the reverse applies today) - can one not envisage a shot to ultimate human success even through the collapse process? (we're talking long after any of our lifetimes here)

One of these years, maybe I'll find enough time to expand some of my thinking/strategy into properly written blog posts to join the others that virtually nobody reads...

Bruce Steele

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2014, 12:27:18 AM »
Ccg, I know you have a blog out there so could you repeat a link for me?  It is nice to read Nate Hagens . I wish I was lurking when Wili and JimD were posting on the Oil Drum, but here we are.
 I have been thinking about the "stashing theme" going about chores. I think planting trees for future fruit and nut production in places where long term human habitation seems likely is a "stashing" option for old fogies like me. Some fruit trees are more likely than others to produce viable fruit than others using seed propagation. Seckel Pears are for example a good pear to collect seed for propagation. So with a little effort an old man might grow up a few thousands of fruit trees capable of 60-100+ years of production. Fruit and nut trees can outlive the nurturing hands of their propagators and well placed not require human care thereafter. Olives for example.
 I keep vegetable seed in less than ideal conditions that still will yield viable germination after ten years but that is pushing it for vegetables . Even stored at lower and constant temperatures you are not going to have much germination at twenty years. Freezing is of course an option but should be an adjunct to annual seed propagation not a replacement for timeworn technics. My opinion but tough to find vegetable seed studies on the subject.   This leaves vegetable seed storage and propagation in the hands of all of us willing to grow true to type and willing to offer up our seed. Even frozen seed needs thawing and growing out "new" seed .
 So if I were to want to freeze seed I would dry it to shatter dryness( dry enough to shatter when hit with a hammer) place in a mason jar with a silicon desiccant, seal and freeze. You can stretch seed viability in this manner but without good hands to take over thawing and propagation you still won't get producing crops into future generations like trees and long lived vines will. I know of Quince and Grape still living in a CCG camp untended since ~ 1930 and apple and european plum( prunes) from ~1900.
 Sorry for not linking relevant science but I think we are in uncharted territory. Just getting heirloom seed into the next generation is and had been a challenge for awhile. Thinking two or three generations out is new ground. Trees and a modern Johnny Appleseed or gorilla gardener approach just isn't documented.  Should be ,just isn't.     

ritter

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2014, 10:30:29 PM »
Seeds has been mentioned a couple of times.   How can seeds be kept long term?   Could they be stored embedded in something like wax?

You need one of these:


Svalbard Global Seed Vault

http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/lmd/campain/svalbard-global-seed-vault.html?id=462220

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Re: Stashing away 'care' packages for survivors
« Reply #42 on: June 27, 2014, 05:27:57 AM »
Ccg, I know you have a blog out there so could you repeat a link for me?

I don't have a lot really... and not updated for ages atm (just don't find them very effective so far):
http://civilisationcontinuitygroup.wordpress.com/
http://deusjuvat.wordpress.com/

And the main website I used to put little articles on - but too old/limited to bother quoting really.

Hopefully if I'm still alive and afloat in a few months, I'll be more active again online - right now, I'm only reading ~2% even here...