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A Resource Index for Bioregions
(from Chapter 14, Strategies for an Alternative Nation,
Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, by Bill Mollison)
A bioregional association is an association of the residents of a natural and identifiable region. This
region is sometimes defined by a watershed, sometimes by remnant or
existing tribal or language boundaries, at times by town boundaries,
suburban streets, or districts, and at times by some combination of the
above factors. Many people identify with their local region or
neighborhood and know its boundaries.
is an obvious conflict between the need to live in a region in a
responsible way (bioregional centrality) and the need to integrate with
other people in other places (global outreach). We need not only to
"think globally and act locally", but to "act and think globally and locally".
region is our home address, the place where we develop our culture, and
take part in bioregional networks. Through global associations and
"families of common interest" we cross not only the regional but also
state and national borders to set up multicultural alliances.
as bioregions need a federal congress periodically, so do they
occasionally need global congresses; societies or families also need
global meetings to break down the idea of defended regional boundaries
to humanity. Ethics and principles of self-governance, interdependence, and voluntary simplicity or restriction of human numbers on earth still apply at regional and outreach levels. Intermarriage,
visits, mutual trade and aid, skills exchange, and educational exchange
between regions of very different cultures enrich both. This is
the antithesis of "integration" (bureaucratic genocide) that is
promulgated by majority groups who disallow language use and cultural
life to minorities. In particular, reciprocal education values both
sets of knowledge and world concepts, and respects others' lifestyles.
the region so defined can be limited to that occupied by from 7000 to
40,000 people. Of these, perhaps only a hundred will be initially
interested in any regional association, and even less will be active in
it. The work of the bioregional group
is to assess the natural, technical, service, and financial resources
of the region, and to identify areas where leakage of resources (water,
soil, money, talent) leaves the region. This quickly points the way to
local self-reliance strategies.
can be called on to write accounts of their specialties, as they apply
to the region, and regional news sheets publish results as they come
in. Once areas of action have been defined, regional groups can be
formed into associations dealing with specific areas, e.g.:
· Food: Consumer-producer associations and gardening or soil societies
· Shelter Owner-builder associations
· Energy: Appropriate technology association
· Finance: An "earthbank" association
so on for crafts, music, markets, livestock, and nature study or any
other interest. The job of the bioregional office is complex, and it
needs 4-6 people to act as consultants and coordinators, with others on
call when needed. All other associations can use the office for any
necessary registration, address, phone, and newsletter services, and
pay a fee for usage.
services and links can be built by any regional office; it can serve as
a land access center. It can also act as leasehold and title register,
or to service agreements for clubs, organizations, and societies. More
importantly, the regional office can offer and house community
self-funding schemes, and collect monies for trusts and societies.
regional office also serves as a contact center to other regions, and
thus as a trade or coordination center. One regional office makes it
very easy for any resident or visitor to contact all services and
associations offering in the region, and also greatly reduces costs of
communication for all groups. An accountant on call can handily
contract to service many groups. The regional group can also invite
craftspeople or lecturers to address interest groups locally, sharing
income from this educational enterprise.
of the topics that can be included in a regional directory are as
follows. These can be taken topic by topic, sold at first by the page,
and finally put together as a loose-leaf notebook (volunteers enter
local resource centers and addresses under each category; the system is
best suited to computer retrieval). The following Resource index for Bioregions has been compiled by Maxine Cole and Bill Mollison for the Northern Rivers Bioregional Association of New South Wales, Australia.
The primary categories are as follows:
A. Food and food support systems
B. Shelter and buildings
C. Livelihoods and support services
D. Information, media, communication, and research
E. Community and security
F. Social life
G. Health services
H. Future trends
L. Transport services
M. Appendices (maps, publications of the bioregion)
All of the above sections can contain case histories of successful strategies in that area.
Practical resources (people, skills, machinery, services, biological
products) essential to the functioning of a small region, and assisting
the conservation of resources, regional cash flow, the survival of
settlement, employment and community security. (Security here means a
cooperative neighborhoods and ample, sustainable resources for people.)
Criteria: Native and economic species, organic and biocide free, products of good nutritional value
Al. Plant resources
1.1 Nurseries and propagation centers, tissue culture, sources of inoculants, mycorrhiza
1.2 Plant collections and botanical gardens, economic plant assemblies, aquatic species
1.3 Research institutes, horticultural and pastoral agencies
1.4 Seed sources and seed exchanges
1.5 Native species reserves and nurseries
1.6 Demonstration farms and gardens, teaching centers, workshop conveners.
1.7 Government departments and their resources, regulations
1.8 Voluntary agencies involved in plant protection, planting, and propagation
1.9 Skilled people, botanists, horticulturists
1.10 Publications and information leaflets of use in the region, reference books, libraries, posters
1.11 Contractors and consultancy groups: implementation of plant systems, farm designs.
1.12 Produce: products and producers in region, growers
1.13 Checklist of vegetables, fruits and nuts which can be grown in the region and species useful for other than food provision
2.1 Breeders and stud or propagation centers, artificial insemination, hatcheries
2.2 Species collections, including worms and like invertebrates
2.3 Fish breeders and aquatic species
2.4 Useful native species collections and reserves, potential for cultivation
2.5 Demonstration farms, e.g. free range, bee culture, workshop conveners, teaching centers
2.6 Government departments and their resources, regulations
2.7 Voluntary agencies and animal protection societies
2.8 Skilled people, farriers, vets, natural historian
2.9 Contractors (shearers, etc.) and consultancy groups, farm designers
2.10 Publications, posters, libraries for the region
2.11 Produce: species and suppliers in region
3.1 Insectaries and invertebrate predator breeders and suppliers of biological controls
3.2 Suppliers of safe control chemicals, trap
3.3 Information sources on IPM
3.4 Pest management of stored grains and foods
3 5 References and libraries
3.6 Checklist of common pests and predators, and safe pest control procedures
4.1 Suppliers of processing equipment
4.2 Food Processing Centers (FPCs)
4.3 Information sources on food processing and preservation
4.4 Sources of yeasts, bacterial and algal ferment materials
4.5 Processed-product producers in region
5.1 Local markets, farmer’s markets
5.2 Delivery services
5.3 Export markets and wholesalers
5.4 Urban-rural co-op systems, direct marketing
5.5 Retail outlets
5.6 Market advisory skills and groups, contract and legal skills
5.7 Roadside and self-pick sales
5.8 Market packaging and package suppliers, ethical packaging systems and designs
5.9 Annual barter fair, health fairs, conferences, etc.
6.1 Residue testing services for biocides, also nutrient, mineral and vitamin content (food quality control)
6.2 Soil, water and leaf analysis services for micronutrients and soil additives, water analyses, pH levels
6.3 Hydrological and water supply services (dams, domestic water), design and implementation.
6.4 Fence and trellis suppliers and services, cattle grids and gates
6.5 Suppliers of natural fertilizers, mulch materials, trace elements, soil amendments
Farm machinery, garden and domestic tool suppliers (see also
processing), appropriate and tested equipment, fabricators and
designers, repair services, hire and contract services
6.7 Land planning services
6.8 Greenhouse, shadehouse, food dryers, suppliers, and appropriate materials.
6.9 Lime quarries and sources, stone dusts, local trace mineral sources, regional geological resources
B1. Construction materials
1.1 Timber growers and suppliers, community timber plantations
1.2 Stone and gravel, earth materials
1.3 Plumbing and piping, drainage, roofing
1.4 Bricks and concrete products (tanks, blocks, etc.)
1.5 Tiles and surfaces, paints (non-toxic)
1.6 Furniture and fittings
1.7 Tools and fasteners, tool sharpening services and repairs, glues and tapes
1.8 Library and research resources
1.9 Current state of housing in the region (numbers seeking housing, rentals available)
1.10 Sources of toxins and unsafe materials in buildings, appliances, furnishings, paints and glues; high voltage equipment
2.1 Home appliances for energy conservation and efficiency, energy saving and insulation
2.2 Hot water systems, solar systems
2.3 Space heating and house design for the region
2.4 Power generation systems for region: current and proposed
2.5 Appropriate technology groups, research centers and demonstrations
2.6 Designers of low energy home systems and buildings
2.7 Sources of information, publications, trade literature, and library resources
2.8 Reliable contractors and builders
B3. Wastes, recycling
3.1 Sewage and greywater disposal (domestic)
3.2 Compost systems and organics
3.3 Solid wastes disposal and collection (boxes, bottles, plastics)
3.4 Occupations based on waste recycling
CATEGORY C - LIVELIHOODS & SUPPORT SYSTEMS
C1. Community finance and recycling
1.1 Barter and exchange
1.2 Small business loans
1.3 Community banking and investment systems
1.4 Land access systems, cooperatives, leases, trusts.
1.5 Legal and information services.
1.6 Local currencies
C2. Livelihood support services
2.1 Small business service centers, business incubators
2.2 Skills resource bank: business, legal and financial advisory services, volunteer and retired people
2.3 Self-employment (work from fulfilling regional needs: job vacancy lists)
2.4 Training courses in region
3.1 Clothing and cloth (spinning, weaving)
3.2 Footwear and accessories, leatherwork
3.3 Basketry and weaving, mats and screens
3.4 Functional pottery
3.5 Steelwork, fitting and turning, smithing and casting, welding
3.6 Functional woodwork
3.7 Engines and engine repairs
3.8 Functional glasswork
3.9 Paper recycling and manufacture, book trades, printing and binding
3.10 Catering and cooking (food preparation)
3.11 Drafting and illustrating services
3.12 Soaps, cleaning materials
CATEGORY D - INFORMATION SYSTEMS, MEDIA SERVICES, COMMUNICATIONS AND RESEARCH.
Criteria: Essential community information, aids, and research
D1. Communications networks
1.1 Regional radio and C.B., ham radio
1.2 Regional news and newspapers, newsletters.
1.3 Audio-visual services, photography, television, film
Business and research communications e.g. fax, telex, modem, card
files, computer, journals, libraries, graphics, telephone answering
1.5 Computer services and training
1.6 Libraries and collections of data in region
1.8 Bioregional groups and contacts—local and overseas
1.9 Standard documents and data sheets available via the bioregional center
CATEGORY E - COMMUNITY AND SECURITY.
E1. House and livestock security
1.1 House siting
1.2 Neighborhood watch
1.3 Cattle and livestock watch
E2. Fire volunteers and reports
E3. Flood (cleanup)
E4. Woodland, cliff, beach rescue services
E5. Communication systems
5.1 Report center.
5.2 Emergency communications
CATEGORY F- SOCIAL LIFE.
Criteria: Assistance for isolated people to meet people of like mind
F1. Introductory services
F2. Think tanks
F4. Work groups
F4. Art, Music, Theater, Dance, Play
CATEGORY G - HEALTH SERVICES.
Criteria: Basic preventative and common ailment treatment, necessary hospitalization, accident treatment, local resources
G1. Medical and pharmaceutical services
G2. Surgical and hospitalization service
G3. Gynecological and midwifery services, home birth support
G4. Profile of morbidity in region, life expectancy, infant mortality, causes of death, ailments in order of importance, under:
4.1 Accidents & injuries; infectious diseases; addictions & drugs.
4.2 Genetic and birth defects; nutritional problems.
Note: until the above listing is made, no region can assess health priorities.
CATEGORY H - FUTURE TRENDS & POTENTIAL THREATS TO THE REGION (AS A SERIES OF RESEARCH ESSAYS).
H1. Climate change
H2. Ozone depletion
H3. Water pollution and biocides: radioactives and chemical or waste pollution.
H4. Financial collapse: recession
H5. Implications for policy making
H7. Soil erosion
H8. Fuel shortages
H9. Food shortages
I1. Barge and river systems
I2. Draft animal systems
I3. Joint or group delivery/ portage
I4. Innovations: local fuels and new sorts of vehicles
I5. Transport routes, bikeways
I6. Air and ultralight craft, blimps
CATEGORY M - APPENDICES.
Sources and reference to maps, suppliers
Access and roads
Conservation land and easements
Rivers and water supplies
that if essential services are listed, deficiencies noted, and leaks of
capital detected, then there is immediately obvious a category of "jobs
vacant" if, in addition, there is a modest investment or funding
organization set up (itself a job), then capital to train and equip
people to fill these gaps is also available. When basic needs are
supplied locally, research and skills will reveal work in producing
excess for traded this excess can be as information and education to
Anyone reading the relocalization, power down or transition town manuals knows a clear action for getting our communities back on the path to sustainable and regenerative living is to run for elected office with these concepts as our platforms. It’s for this reason I’m running for City Council of Pacific Grove in the central coast area of California.
The push to run for city council
Funnily, when I was first approached by some local sustainability advocates about running for city council I said, “Heck No! You’ve got to be kidding!”, for all sorts of reasons. It was a bad time; my business was doing poorly, so was my husbands, my savings account was close to being empty, my kids were having troubles in school, my dogs had problems, too... I’m sure,... grabbing at ideas to steer away from thinking about it further. I dismissed the suggestion and was done with it. But when I laughingly mentioned it to my husband, he promptly decided it was the best thing I could do for the community and my efforts in relocalizing, and urged me to reconsider.
I tested the idea again with a neighbor. She laughed and asked, who pissed me off enough to consider running? I was indignant and said, “No one...I wouldn’t run as a protest candidate. I felt it was my duty as a citizen of this community to offer my services, that it was the ultimate expression of democracy and I was proud and honored to be able to run.” The neighbor looked at me with a face full of surprise and delight and declared that if that was my true intent, she would most certainly vote for me.
And so the process began
I marched myself to the City Managers office and picked up the filing paper work. This daunting pile of forms sent me into fits of hyperventilation which was quelled when a kind-hearted soul volunteered to be my treasurer (my mom) and took half the pile away with her. Another friend offered to manage the volunteer lists and another offered to host a kick-off party. People came out of the wood work to help do certain tasks, breaking the whole into many smaller, more manageable pieces... and the campaign was under way.
Developing a platform
I began to announce my intentions to the larger community. I’m here because I believe I have something positive to offer. I’m here to ensure that we can hand something good to our children. I’m here because we need to do work now to prepare us for the future. I chose to make Peak Oil a small part of the campaign, in fact, I only mentioned it once in my brochure under the title of forming a committee to review our energy dependence. My gut told me I wouldn’t get elected if I ran on that ticket. So it became climate change with a dash of energy independence. But I brought up everything else; plastic bag ban, bike lanes, solar panels, water catchment, ocean conservation, local shopping, emergency preparations and so on.... with the full intent of bringing up Peak Oil once elected and looking to the models San Francisco, Oakland, and Willits are using.
Going Carbon Neutral
We made the campaign “Carbon Neutral”, meaning we calculated everything we made, everywhere we traveled, everything we ate or drink while campaigning, and every time we got on the phone, computer or printer. It’s a big job and it’s managed by The Offset Project. The offset will go to one of our local schools, preferably the high school, so we can keep the project local, but also so the kids can get some hands on in the new green jobs movement. I spoke with Gillian Caldwell of 1 Sky and this type of carbon neutral project has never been done... so even if we lose the election, we ultimately win if the practice gets picked up by other campaigns.
Getting the word out
We made signs, we made brochures, we went to election training's held by local Democrats, we went to Fair Political Practices training, we got endorsed by some papers and not by others, we had a kick off party, we asked for money, we shopped local, we put ads in the paper, we walked door to door, we stood at the post office, we held “coffees”, we went to the town hall forum, we wrote letters to the editor, we tabled at the farmers market. It’s a big race... 8 candidates for 3 vacancies.
I’m the youngest and least knowledgeable about the workings of a council. But the response has been very positive... people know of me from my daily radio show, Tomorrow Matters, and from my co-founding Sustainable Monterey County and more specifically with co-founding Sustainable Pacific Grove. Even though I haven’t been an active member of SPG for some time, people know me and my name. Ultimately it’s about getting your name out there. Good or bad, the more your name appears in the news, on the street, in an email or any where.. the better.
Coping with challenges
It hasn’t been all fun and games. The media hasn’t been friendly, but who really ever expects that? Many long-time residents of this community adamantly oppose my candidacy, citing 4 years of living in an area doesn’t give me the necessary historical knowledge to lead it. Some consider green practices not to be the material of a campaign, but personal lifestyle choices, and “what’s wrong with the environment in our area anyway.... we have a good climate here”. Also, my lack of business experience has concerned many, which I understand to be a true concern, as Pacific Grove is currently in financial crisis. We’ve overcome these concerns by offering me as a part of a palate of candidates. Choose X for their budget qualifications, choose Y for their historical background, and choose Deborah for her green innovation experience. So far it seems to be working.
As much as it sounds like we knew what to do, we didn’t. We talked with folks who had run a campaign before and asked what had worked for them and what didn’t. We set a goal of raising $10,000, but so far have only raised $4,200. We stood on the platform of “Economy, Environment, Equity”, based on the permaculture principles of “People, Profit and Planet”; the triple bottom line. It was clear right from the beginning, if we put environment or equity first, we wouldn’t win.... most folks wanted to know their budget was secure before they wanted to think of environmental or social justice.
I have gone to plenty of council meetings in Pacific Grove, and surrounding towns, but not many before I declared my candidacy and I never sat on a commission. I got some flack for this but very quickly earned respect by learning the current local issues and speaking about them clearly. I read the city’s charter and current budget, I met with the Police Chief, the Mayor, the Museum Director, and the President of the Chamber of Commerce and others. If someone asked me a question I didn’t know, (which was many) I found out the answer and called back right away. I have public speaking and investigative skills which served me very well. I’m a good listener, and if I might say so, I’m fairly charming... all of this has worked in my favor. Most people want to feel heard and witnessed, even if you don’t agree with them... listen, smile warmly, be thankful and touch their arm or back kindly ... it goes a long, long way.
Some advice for those thinking of running
I would suggest if you’re considering running for an elected position, which you might be able to do as early as next fall depending on your local election schedule, then find a city board or commission that needs your help. Check your city’s website and see what they offer... find one that suits your passion and when they meet. Attend a few meetings, see if they have any vacancies and get involved. This way you get to know your community, they get to know you and you can use this experience to build up your confidence for when it’s time to submit your candidacy papers. Also, begin to attend council meetings as regularly as you can, and speak up during the open comment period to make your ideas heard. Someone may embrace your comments and decide to join your campaign.
I joke that as a disciple of the Church of Peak Oil, my ministers: Heinberg, Darley and Hopkins have instructed me to go forth and get elected, much like the religious right must have done 20 years ago. It’s time for us relocalization devotees to be elected so we can make some real policy change and effectively transition our communities to this new energy and climate future.
This is why I’m running for city council. This is why I encourage you to do the same.
Tomorrow Matters - "Talk radio for a Better Tomorrow" airs weekdays from 2 to 3 pm on KRXA 540 AM based out of Sand City, CA and is available live from the KRXA website at www.krxa540.com. Deborah also led KRXA to became the first Green Certified Radio Station in the Central Coast region through the Monterey Bay Green Business Certification Program. Visit the website, www.deborahlindsay.com, for show details. Contact Deborah by email at decal @ deborahlindsay.com.
On a local community level, democracy manifests itself through participatory action where people demonstrate their
engagement in issues that matter to their community. People contribute to democracy in many ways, not limited to casting a ballot. Democracy is aided through open communication where participants have the opportunity to explore different views and are able to gather information to make informed decisions.
In representative democratic systems, officials are elected by their constituents. As a member of the community or local group, there are several ways that you can aid the democratic process including:
Photo credit: makelessnoise
Martha Stewart, of home and garden fame, is holding a $10,000 contest called "Dreamers Into Doers." One of the finalists is Laura Masterson, a CSA urban farmer bringing relocalization to life in Portland, Oregon! Not only would a win by Laura shed national light on organic farming, sustainability and other relocalization, her excellent 47th Avenue Farm CSA would win $10,000!
If you'd like to help put urban farming and relocalization on the national radar go to
click the "meet the finalists" button, scroll down and vote for Laura. You can vote every 24hrs so vote early and often! (You will, however, need to register with the website. Also note that the voting doesn't seem to work on Firefox, only MS Internet Explorer.)
Laura is a real leader in CSAs and relocalization -- and not just because she plows her fields with horses. Learn more about Laura and 47th Avenue Farm here:
Post Carbon Cities
Some of you may have been following the progress of our test tube experiment happening here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia.
We started our journey a couple of years ago now. I studied for my Permaculture Design Certificate in October 2006 and a fellow student on that course was Andi Hazelwood of Sustainabundy. Andi showed a powerpoint presentation on peak oil and talked about this relocalisation network.
I knew of peak oil - I'd seen the End of Suburbia when it was first released - and now here was a path to actioning change. So I started a relocalisation group - CASSC - Creating a Sustainable Sunshine Coast. From there I formed the Eudlo Relocalisation Group in my home town.
I also started working on developing a course on energy descent action planning for the community that would create the environment for ideas and solutions to come from them to put to council - much like the Kinsale energy descent action plan. I heard David Holmgren speak on regional sustainability in an energy descent future, I saw An Inconvenient Truth, and I heard local environmentalist Professor Ian Lowe talk about climate change, peak oil, population growth and the threat of economic collapse. This was in a very short period in 2006.
I worked closely with my permaculture teacher Janet Millington in getting something together and the Time for an Oil Change course was born. As was the Sunshine Coast Energy Action Centre - a shopfront for the community to drop in to see films, hear guest speakers and join discussion groups. All our actions were framed within our mantra "positive solutions to climate change and peak oil".
We completed the Time for an Oil Change course and work started on Australia's first Energy Descent Action Plan.
This was a new process for us and we made some mistakes along the way and learnt some valuable lessons. But now, the EDAP is back in our hands and we are finally getting the final draft ready to go to the graphic designer then the printer.
It's been a long, slow and at times difficult process. We feel the weight of responsibility of this being Australia's first EDAP and as far as I know, and I've checked with Rob Hopkins in the UK, only the second ever - clarifying that the second ever done by the community in the spirit of transition towns, relocalisation networks and the Kinsale EDAP of 2005.
I know some councils and local government have written documents on peak oil etc, but this is different - it's by the community, from the community and owned by the community. It can't be censored to remove inconvenient truths from it. It's there in its entirety and in good faith from those who contributed to it. We owe the students who were part of that course that respect.
We will soon be releasing it publicly. We'll send copies within our region, to the community, to groups we've worked with along the way, to local government and to our international linkages - the Post Carbon Institute, Richard Heinberg, David Holmgren, Rob Hopkins, Post Carbon Cities, and also to our state and federal governments.
We will form a taskforce to act as a steering committee to ensure the document will remain active, be resourced appropriately, and be reviewed regularly. The taskforce will also act as EDAP ambassadors and advocates, promoting the idea of collective action within their industry sectors.
Thanks for reading this far, and yes, the much awaited (in my world anyway) Sunshine Coast Energy Descent Action Plan will soon be released and then the real work will begin.
Transition Sunshine Coast
Those of us familiar with what constitutes good urban design know that the front porch plays a central role in establishing a sense of friendliness and community on a residential street. So I am putting out a call to all municipalities, builders and developers, and homebuyers to accept nothing less than a house pulled close to the street and fashioned with a nice, big front porch that can hold a porch swing, a few Adirondack chairs, a mailbox, and nice big welcoming front door. With Halloween approaching fast, what better house to pick for trick-or-treating that the warm, inviting house with the big front porch...maybe the one with the life-sized mummy sitting on the chair next to the front door.
A theme I hope to encourage within a relocalization framework is good residential urban design and neotraditional or new urbanist design principles strongly encourage houses closer to the street with front porches, sidewalks and tree lawns, and good street trees. Aesthetically there is no question that this pattern of development is more attractive, efficient, and functional. It also facilitates a return to an earlier, more community oriented design that encourages human interaction and a sense of neighborliness. This of course is one of several reasons why older residential neighborhoods in small towns and cities retain their attractiveness and value and lean times ahead will require us to reform many of the community and neighborhood ties that we jettisoned as we bought large lot homes with winding driveways leading to a rear loaded garage. We essentially never have to leave the confines of a building or vehicle in this model and this never see and greet our neighbors.
Municipalities should use their zoning ordinances and bylaws to mandate good urban design and consider form-based codes as a rigorous framework for assuring the type of design desired. Builders and developers are notoriously conservative and avoid new (old) ideas like the plague. While many larger or better informed builders are coming around to new urbanism and realize that larger profits and better sales are usually resultant, the vast majority of homebuilders are small "Mom and Pop" outfits that keep with the tried and true template. As a result, I would suggest that some form of licensing or accreditation be added as a standard to homebuilding that requires some knowledge of historical and innovative design patterns just as architects need to be knowledgeable about historical architectural schools and designs and fashion designers needs to know about the preeminent practitioners in that field. Finally, homebuyers should know the range of possibilities and not be satisfied with the narrow range of existing or new homes in their immediate area. Put pressure on developers to provide the product that satisfies your needs and desires and if no sidewalks or front porches can be found in new homes, buy a fixer upper in a revitalizing neighborhood and show the market what it needs to build.
The front porch and closer siting to the street may and hopefully will bring people back outside, sitting on the porch, and greeting their neighbors as they walk by to the corner store or library. As Putnam's Bowling Alone suggests, re-engaging with neighbors will help rebuild social capital and bring communities together again at a time when cooperation, collaboration, and just basic old fashioned civility are sorely needed.
I found myself recently, after assembling a book shelf that came in a box, stripping the box of cellophane tape and staples *before* putting it on the stack of cardboard in the garage that is awaiting similar treatment before it can be used to sheet-mulch with. This change in the work flow for handling cardboard packaging is advantageous in that it makes the stripping of tape and staples a lot easier on my hands (doing that repetitively is drying and irritating), can be done in a carpeted area, and decreases my internal resistance to getting started on a new sheet mulch, since the cardboard won't need that irksome chore done on it.
Just found this over at wikipedia while researching attic insulation types:
Most city codes will require a vapor barrier for any external wall. Most US cities will consider an appeal of the requirement if proper reasoning is provided. In March 2008 The US city of Portland, Oregon, approved an appeal to waive the requirement for a vapor barrier/retarder when using cellulose insulation. The appeal can be viewed in the Portland Bureau of Development Services search form by searching for appeal ID 4996. Fundamental to any appeal is mentioning that recent studies show air movement is the primary problem for vapor, that cellulose is an effective barrier to air movement, and that cellulose acts to diffuse vapor.
(I'm researching because in the free Home Energy Review I had done by the Oregon Energy Trust, the analyst suggested that I replace some cellulose insulation in the attic.)
WCPO has helped me keep in mind the sustainability of insulation materials. go WCPO!
(Photo by Abdulla Alfoudry)
Writing from Andy Rowell at his Oil Change blog -
( "Just as European leaders are faltering in their efforts to tackle climate change, a new survey of the science by WWF has found that the climate is changing much faster, stronger and sooner than even the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) forecast." ... )
On indications that people aren't very concerned about global warming
(in a post titled "Talk to the birds ...") -
"The uncomfortable truth for climate campaigners is that despite the increasing urgency of the issue, and despite the huge political and media coverage global warming has received over the last two years, the public is becoming LESS concerned about it. Let’s quickly look at Britain. In 2005, polling by the authoritative polling company MORI found that 44 per cent of the British were very concerned about climate change. In 2008, that figure had dropped to 30 per cent."
"World CO2 at Record Levels" (in May)
"The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a record high, according to the latest figures."
"The figures, published by NOAA confirm that CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than expected. From 1970 to 2000, the concentration rose by about 1.5ppm each year, but since 2000 the annual rise has leapt to an average 2.1ppm. Last year it was 2.14ppm.
Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its natural ability to soak up billions of tonnes of CO2 each year. Martin Parry, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s working group on impacts, said: 'Despite all the talk, the situation is getting worse.'"
(That writing in Andy Rowell's "World CO2 at Record Levels" post all seems to be an exerpt from an article by David Adam in The Guardian.)
Gardening is a funny thing. In some ways it feels like everything we do is so insignificant, so transient and instantly erased by the forces of nature as soon as we relax and look away. But in more subtle ways the consequences of our choices and actions propagate through time forever.
I have been contemplating this matter when considering the best way to help beginner gardeners start growing their own food for the first time. Beginning a garden is hard work. The soil is usually hard and poor. The weeds are well established and abundant. Dozens of new skills need to be acquired rapidly in order to prevent problems from escalating and all that hard work and expense (not to mention the tiring job of wishing and hoping) coming to little or nothing. In contrast managing a well set up garden is staggeringly simple.
Beginners also are most likely to demand instant results and gratification, not yet coming into tune with the long slow rhythms of the garden. Solutions to this problem include growing radishes for children- a hair brained idea if ever there was one. The garden instructor aims so low that even success is unsatisfying should it come. The opposite tendency is to attempt to do too much and master too many skills all at once, leading to a complex and overwhelming mess. The important point is that both approaches usually yield something of a result, only that the effort involved in getting things up and running is totally out of proportion with the meagre returns. When this fact gradually dawns on the gardener they are well justified in finding other ways to spend their time and energy.
No garden in its first year can ever be regarded as a success. No matter how perfectly skilled the gardener is. No matter how much fertiliser and labor is poured into the soil. No matter how abundant and perfect the crops. The investment of labor, inputs and money can never be repaid in a single year. In subsequent years the absence of the enormous effort of claiming the space, of fighting the worst of the weeds and as the soil gradually improves: only then will the garden more than pay for itself in money, energy or time.
All gardens begin and end with the soil. So my solution to the dilemma faced in guiding people through their first garden is to strongly advise that the first six to twelve months be predominantly spent on improving their soil. From their larger space a small subsection can be put aside to receive a small amount of fast tracking soil amendments like animal manure and compost. This small area serves mainly as a teaching laboratory to allow them to learn the soil boosting, weeding, germination, irrigation and harvest techniques of a small range of crops. This small test space will not produce enough to make the household self sufficient in vegetables in the first year, merely provide encouraging hints at what is possible. The rest of the space is cycled through solarising or other sod killing techniques, deep cultivation, weeding, green manuring and accumulation of plant and animal wastes to boost the soil condition and prepare a sufficiently weed free bed.
Success in gardening comes from continuously following one action with the next in order to extract rewards from earlier efforts again and again. Nature uses the same techniques. The nutrients hard won through the weathering of rocks by microbes or the mining of subsoils by deep roots are recycled again and again in the top soil and biomass, magnifying the value of that initial hard work.
Patience, gentle persistence and follow through are essential for successful gardening that provides real benefits.
Honor the soil above all things, place its health first, and everything else will follow.
An open pit coal mine
(Photo by Christopher Herwig)
Coal is Dirty -
"Debunking the myth of 'clean coal.'"
Other writing -
Patrick Barry in Science News -
"Carbon Capture and Storage Will Increase Pollution"
Stacy Feldman at SolveClimate.com -
"How Coal Is Not Cheap and Why It Never Will Be Again"
... "It’s hard to know where to start" ...
Kevin Grandia at The Huffington Post -
"Bees, Trees, Wind and Dynamite" (September 10th)
"There's a showdown in West Virginia ... pitting old dirty energy against [alternatives] -- and one side is armed with explosives." ...
(Photo by Stephen Strathdee)
Our municipality is planning a conference on World Town Planning Day. I hope to get as many members from our outpost to attend as possible. If there is one taking place in your area I would suggest checking it out with the possibility of attending.
Prolog- I added this as a comment on Richard's blog.
I am deeply saddened that the Green Party won no seats(as of the last look at the charts). PM Harper has a plan for the environment that allows more polution not less. He is run by the big businesses( mainly Oil interests) and it is OK with him that an entire lake and surrounding countryside are being turned into a large dump for the crap coming from the oilsands.He does not listen to protesters. He does listen to huge amounts of people if they are all behind an idea. He did give in to pressure to allow Elizabeth May to debate at the Leader's table. He was seen as weak and afraid by many who made it known what they thought, so he bowed to pressure. If he had not, I am sure there would be more Greens voted for just out of anger at him. The Greens actually got 2% more votes than they had before which is close to a 50% increase from the last election.Canada is in meltdown mode and only a fractured government is going to be able to pass any laws by passing what is agreeable to all since it is a minority government. The opposition party is going to be split again when the question of leadership comes up in May. When that happens, I pray the PM does not call yet another election. He called is one to stop a Green party member one day away from a by-election from a very good chance of winning the first Green seat. Harper is Anti-Environment. The US government is just as bad.Then we have Mexico, who is not known for it's environmental policies. That makes North America a prime dumping ground and major poluter of the world. I don't know the exact numbers about China, but if the coal stations go up that just means ton's more polutants in our air. We will die choking on our own wastes. The solution is to have a renewable, sustainable energy source. We have it right now with wind and solar power. I want to focus on the solutions. Fighting the problems is not going to work like it once had. Good luck folks, we are going to need it.
Michael J. Kaer, Author of "What Money Can't Buy"
Postscript- Our area is close to the same climate as northern California so we can grow a wide amount of foods. We also happen to be surrounded by great lakes, so water is not a big issue. Some of my small group of friends have gathered to learn how to do things like crochet,make candles, make soap,can food and save money by making group purchases. We have several large windgen units going up in our community and we do not have to go far to get food. I am in walking distance to farmland. Again- good luck folks. Michael
We have gas at around $2.75 nowadays around here. We just got done with our electric car, so we probably caused this to happen.
I think prices will stay down until the recession is over. What do you think?
Hello out there all you peakers. The price may be down, but we're not out yet.
We meet upstairs of the UU Church in the meditation room at 10:45 every first Sunday of the month. Our next meeting is on November 2nd, and we'll talk about other ways of doing housing. Co-ops, Co-housing and even rentals will be discussed. Bring your ideas. I think we'll have to move closer to transportation hubs, or know somebody in the bigger towns. We may have to stay over in big towns until the bus comes.
We'll meet for about an hour.
THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
-- the end of a livable country as we might have known it.
By Jim Miller
“It is coming to theaters near you” announces the latest blockbuster thriller movie trailer. The sordid story of Wall Street, a compliant Congress and the assured self-destruction of the “American way of life” -- what ever that meant to you – is at hand. Make no bones about it, this movie had script writers, producers, directors, financiers, actors, props, distribution agents and viewing venues. It even has movie review critics like Naomi Klein and George Monboit (me too).
IT'S SHOW TIME!
The movie was scripted by the acolytes of Milton Friedman, the champion of the “free market”. Translated into common language, that motto means -- “enrich the top-down capital owners at the expense of the other 95% of the population”. Also, financially rape the U.S. Treasury.
Friedman was the leader of the “Chicago Boys”, a band of students in Friedman's Department of Economics, University of Chicago, now all growed-up, who have seized the reins of corporate and Federal power and are making the privatization of America happen. We feel we are on the movie set, observing a pirate movie being shot. If they can “successfully” take over the oil fields in Iraq at the expense of American taxpayers and American lives, why not take over the productive private and public assets of America? It's “pedal to the metal” time.
The clear and present danger is signaled by Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine.
“Now is the Time to Resist Wall Street's Shock Doctrine
By Naomi Klein - September 22nd, 2008
I wrote The Shock Doctrine in the hopes that it would make us all better prepared for the next big shock. Well, that shock has certainly arrived, along with gloves-off attempts to use it to push through radical pro-corporate policies (which of course will further enrich the very players who created the market crisis in the first place...)” MORE .... [ http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/09/now-time-resist-wall-streets-... ]
During the 1970's and 1980's the Chicago Boys, with the help of the CIA, State Department, DOD, USAID, Ford Foundation, Rockefellers, GM, GE, investment bankers, engineered the take over of many Latin American countries. These take-overs are well document by reputable scholars in many books and articles. The method of privatization and the after math is chronicled in Sin Patron published by lavaca.org.
These take-overs were led locally by juntas, picked by the bankers and raiders. The illegal actions of these juntas were tolerated by the Chicago Boys, including murder, genocide, riots, sale of state industries and utilities at nearly “gift' prices and roll-back of social enterprises and government health and welfare care of the poor populations. The same is happening in America today. The members of Congress who voted for the bail-out, did so because of a real crisis engineered by the Chicago Boys and financed by the members of the Travistock elite. Congress fell into the trap carefully set by the mega-rich movers and shakers.
These take-overs are right out of the play book of the Travistrock Institute, [http://masallp.wetpaint.com/page/TRAVISTOCK+INSTITUTE?t=anon] a body of the extremely rich families, tribes, companies, bankers and institutions of the world. There is more to come as they unroll their plans and institute them. Naomi Klein weighs in on the “free market” fraud:
“Free Market Ideology is Far from Finished
By Naomi Klein - September 19th, 2008
Whatever the events of this week mean, nobody should believe the overblown claims that the market crisis signals the death of "free market" ideology. Free market ideology has always been a servant to the interests of capital, and its presence ebbs and flows depending on its usefulness to those interests.” MORE .... [http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/09/free-market-ideology-far-finished ]
George Monboit is a professional op-ed writer who has a respectable following in the Guardian. His take on the expanded privatization of America is:
“The Other Bail-Out http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/10/07/the-other-bail-out/ Posted October 7, 2008
Another set of corporations is pressing for public money. Governments should let them die. By George Monboit. Published in the Guardian 7th October 2008. While all eyes were fixed on the banking bail-out, a bucket load of public money was quietly sloshed into the pockets of another undeserving cause. Last week, George Bush agreed to lend $25bn to US car manufacturers. It’s a soft loan, which will cost the government $7.5bn(1). Few people noticed; fewer fought it. The House of Representatives approved the measure by 370 votes to 58. The great corporate bail-out is spreading like the plague.” http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/10/07/the-other-bail-out/ ]
I am greatly alarmed, as you might imagine, and very frustrated. I don't have millions to pour into the economy or into a fight against the Chicago Boys and the minions of the Traverstock Institute. I do have a good mind and access to the Internet. In order to “do something”, I propose a new political party – a really different approach to participative democracy. Anyone can join, regardless of political affiliation and express any point of view. There are no dues and no requirement of face-to-face meetings. No stomping around the precincts. Just hacking away at your computer and posting your thoughts on the wikiwebsite for:
LEAGUE for a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC Our Logo:
the WebCam Our motto: Our eyes, ears and minds are open
The LDR is not Jim Miller's party, but OUR party. You have a full opportunity to shape it, drill it, sand it and varnish it, using wikiweb tools. Let's have fun and, with some sense of purpose, dispel the hate and disdain of the Chicago Boys and the minions of the Travistock Institute for the rest of us good folks.
LET THE RESCUE BEGIN!
Jim Miller jimmiller
October 8, 2008
A WORLD OF DARKNESS AND DISPAIR VERSUS THE JOYS OF THE EXTREMELY RICH
-- We are living through the third stage of the New World Order, headed toward the final stage, the Technotronic Era.
By [Name withheld for sake of personal safety].
“Futurist” Alvin Toffler, in his book The Third Wave, describes the take-over by Technocrats of virtually all of the wealth by a tiny elite, “and the relegation of the vast majority of the populace to a Third World foraging in the garbage heaps of the rich.” This book along with Drucker's The Age of Discontinuities, Boulding's The Meaning of the Twentieth Century, and Bell's Beyond Post-Industrial Society, and Toffler's Future Shock, describe the events we have witnessed during the 20th Century and into the 21st Century, toward the fourth and final chapter of the Travistock Institute play book. (1)
The Travistock Institute for Human Relations has a murky beginning. Some attribute the beginning to the British Secret Service Directors who were advocates of Fabian socialism. (2) Another more credible source reports that Major John Rawlings Reese, on orders of the Round Table's Royal Institute of International Affairs (aka Chatham House) in cooperation with the American Council on Foreign Affairs, founded the Travistock Institute in 1919 during the Versailles Peace Conference. “At the end of World War II, Reese called for the creation of a “psychological shock troops” who would fan out from the Travistock Institute to engineer the future direction of society”. Reese advocated any social group to be treated psychiatrically without resort to legal means and even if they do not desire such treatment. (3)
Early in its existence, Travistock was governed by an “invisible college, using antique occulatists terminology reminiscent of he Freemasons founded by British Intelligence. This college was composed primarily of psychiatrists then working from the British military. It was funded by anonymous grants from benefactors, with a large portion coming from the Crown, with supplements coming from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Institute, the World Health Organization and the British Home Office. “Travistock is also interlinked worldwide with a vast network of other organizations and think tanks, including UNESCO, WHO, the World Federation for Mental Health, the Rand Corporation, and Stanford Research Institute (SRI). (4)
In 1933, Travistock was put under the control of German psychologist Kurt Lewin. He founded and was the first director of the National Training Laboratory and was the director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic. He was also a key player in the creation of the OSS. Lewin's main contributions was his research into mass brainwashing applying the results of repeated trauma and torture in mind control, to society at large. His theory was tabula rasa, a regression of the mind to a blank state so that the subjects could be reprogrammed to submit to greater control. He termed this regression to “social chaos fluidity”. At this stage, Travistock became the front group for the psychological imposition of the New World Order. (5)
The Rockefeller Foundation, in vetting a group for its donations imposed compliance of both the donee and its personnel:
“(a) The invention of the command psychiatrist a a medical-social role carrying out reconnaissance in a large structure an defined group, leading to the ascertainment and recognition of critical problems in the sphere of human relations [Ed: mass population mind control]
(b) The invention of social psychiatry as a policy science permitting preventative technical intervention in large scale problems... [Ed. Conducting large scale, secret, mind control with legal impunity].
(c ) The fashioning of a whole series of military institutions which concretely and effectively implemented the policy advocate. [Ed. The employment of psychological warfare].
(d) The invention of new types of therapeutic communities [Ed. Death squads].
(e) The invention of cultrial psychiatry ... [Ed. This meant the creation and/or support of “cults”, including SLA, James Town, Alanon, Esalen, and many more]. (6)
Travistock's modus operandi is based on the Freemason's motto, Order out of Chaos. The Travistock vision is to institute its work for the long-term objective to destroy a target population prior to reprogramming, regardless of the wishes of the population. This is their “global vision” of he Technotronic Era.
Over the years and using a high order of funding, Travistock has been able to infiltrate and place its operatives in critical places of power and influence.
Queen Elizabeth's palatial estate in Deauvill, France, hosted the Travistock Conference on Transatlantic Technological Imbalance and Collaboration, sponsored by the North Atlantic Assembly and the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In attendance were:
Travistock's Harland Cleveland.
Willis Harmon of SRI, an off-shoot of Travistock's
Dr. Zbigniew Brzxezinski (Carter's future National Security Advisor), the Trilateral Commission's founding director. He is believed by some to have been a KGB mole. (7)
Fred Emery, who delineated the stages of social disintegration in Futures We Are In.
Dr. Aurelio Peccei, later as the CEO of the Club of Rome, which advocated zero-population growth by all means possible. He was the then chairman of he Atlantic Institute, a NATO think tank. (8)
Sir Alexander King and Sir Solly Zuckerman, advisors to the Crown.
Henry Kissinger. At the end of WWII Kissinger was a member of the U.S. Army 970th Counterintelligence Corps and involved in the “rat lines” which enabled many prominent Nazis to escape prosecution at the end of WWII.
Fritz Kraemer of the Pentagon plans division, a mentor of Kissinger, groomed Alexander Haig. Kraemer's secret life during WWII was as Hitler's special lieutenant. (9)
President Bill Clinton who tried to lease the Long Beach Naval Yards to the Peoples Republic of China.
Newt Gringrich. Gringrich was mentored by Toffler and was a Trojan Horses offered by the Republicans under the banner of conservative family values. (10)
Alvin Toffler was a protege of Kenneth Boulding, who along with his wife, founded the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The couple built bridges between the Fabian “societrists” of Travistock and the New Left in the 60's.
The subject of Eugenics has always been on the list of policies of the Traverstock Institute. Lord Montagu Norman, who had been a staunch supporter of Hitler before WWII and held a position with the Bank of England, created the British National Association for Mental Health, renamed the National Councils of Mental Hygiene, a group which heavily pushed eugenics. While working under the radar after WWII, the functioned as the controlling body and Travistock front. NAMH soon became a leader in world psychiatry. (11)
By 1961, Travistock's Robert Felix (a Masonic controller), had some of his colleagues instilled in the CIA's MKULTRA program and into the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. One segment of the college was the Study Group for the Effects of Psychotropic Drugs on Normal Humans. A study and report by MKULTRA concluded that there was a vast array of chemical substances available for mind control. One of the authors, Nathan Kline was a eugenicist and a Columbia University professor. The report stated, “If we accept the position that the human mood, motivation, and emotion are reflections of a neurochemical state of the brain, then drugs can provide a simple, rapid, expedient means to produce any desired neurochemical state as we wish.” “The sooner that we cease to confuse scientific and moral statements about drug use, the sooner we can rationally consider the types of neurohemical states that we wish to be able to provide for people.” This explains why there has been and is not now any effective interdiction of the drug trade and why TV, Sports and video games are pushed onto to our children and the general population. (12)
October 10, 2008
Keith Jim. Mind Control, World Control, Adventures Unlimited Press, One Adventure Place, Kempton, IL 60946 USA, p. 50.
Dicks, Henry Victor. Fifty years of the Travistock Clinic, Routledge & K. Paul, London, England; Douglas and Thompson, New Attempts to Cover Up the English Side of th Bolshevik's Trust, EIR, June 5, 1987; Wolfe, L. The Travistock Roots of the 'Aquarian Conspiracy', EIR, January 12, 1996.
Mind Control, p. 43.
Ibid. at 44. After WWII, Travistock became part of Britain's Psychological Warfare Bureau, working on projects involving brainwashing whole populations.
Ibid. at 45-46.
7. Out of the Travistock Conference, Brzxezinski wrote and in 1968 published his book, The Technotronic Age, which replaces competition with “amusement focus” and “spectator spectacles (mass sports and TV). Id. @ 48.
Aurelio Peccei, by the time he was conference chairman, had written The Chasm Ahead. He restated the one-world government by the rich was the only solution to world problems.
Ibid. at 47-48. According to Mae Brussels, a conspiracy researcher, Travistock's view was it did not matter which side the controlling agents were on during WWII or the Cold War, as long as they served to foster the synthesis of the New World Order. “ 'New forms of control may be needed to limit the indiscriminate exercise by individuals of their new powers. The possibility of extensive chemical mind control .. will call for a social definition of the common criteria of restraint as well as utilization'. And some think that Buy DeBord's Society of the Spectacle isn't literal.” Id.
“Gingrich was ushered into the Travistock orbit in 1965 when, as an undergraduate at Emory University, a professor at Georgia Tech introduced him to the work of Boulding and Toffler.” After getting his Ph.D. Gingrich took a teaching job at Georgia State College, an East Coast node of the “humanist psychology movement”. Jimmy Carter, put Gringrich in charge of Carter's A/D Goals for Georgia.
Ibid. at 55. Norman's wife, Priscilla Reyntiens Worsthorne Norman, was instrumental in assisting German rearmament by releasing 6,000,000 British pounds in Czech gold to the Germans after occupation of Czechoslovakia. Otto Niemeyer, Norma's assistant at the Bank of England, became NAMH's treasurer. NAMH became a front for Travistock. p. 55-56.
Id. at pp. 57-58
Sharon Astyk October 2nd, 2008
readers have asked me to do a piece on what to do if you have been
procrastinating about food storage, but plan to stock up before the end
of the world (I’ve heard that Paulson and Bernanke have scheduled that
for this weekend, but it could potentially be moved due to a conflict
with some other disaster ;-).) So for all you procrastinators out
there, here are my suggestions.
let’s note - my first suggestion is not to procrastinate. Because
unless you are fairly well off, procrastinating and buying a lot of
food probably means putting it on your credit card and paying it off.
Not only is this extremely risky (I would not bet on any version of the
apocalypse that doesn’t actually involve real zombies to get you off
the hook with your credit card - and I’m pretty sure that they have
zombie collection agents already, so maybe not even then.), it means
that you will pay interest on the food, thus mitigating much of the
benefit of even having it. But I do also know that sometimes one gets a
big check, bonus, windfall, sells something or maybe the food is worth
the price. So let’s assume that you all know better, and are doing it
Let us also assume that you
are doing this shortly before everyone else starts their panic buying
or shortly after (which makes it harder and makes the selection of
stores more crucial), and that one or two stop shopping is the name of
the game - you need to get as much that is useful as possible, as
quickly as possible, perhaps not using much gas. So let’s start with
where to shop.
My top few choices, in no particular order:
BJs/Sams Club/Costco: This is probably the most accessible (ie, lots of
people have these reasonably nearby) and has most of the things you’ll
really want. The downside is that often the bulk prices aren’t really
very much or at all cheaper than smaller sizes, that the warehouses are
huge and shopping there annoying and that they probably won’t have
anything ethnic, or a large selection of nutritious things. Also will
probably be mobbed if there’s a real or perceived immanent crisis. My
tip for shopping here: if there isn’t an immanent apocalypse, you can
probably get a free 1 shot membership to do a stockup even if you
can’t/don’t want to pay the fee - they usually offer trials, and if you
say you’d like to check it out, this can often be arranged.
2. An Asian grocery store of some sort. Best grain source for rice and
often some kinds of noodles in quantity and quality, often have large
quanties of spices and useful flavorings quite cheaply. The downside is
that unless you cook asian food you will be confronted by many
unfamiliar items, and you may find yourself with all the ingredients
for Nasi Goreng, or Palak Paneer and no recipes, or idea whether you
like it ;-). Also, not common in areas without large Asian or Indian
subcontinental populations, so it might not be available. Tip for
shopping here: go when it is quiet (weekends are tough) and ask for
help - there’s usually someone who can help you figure out what you are
3. A feed store. If a panic
has already begun, this might actually be your best bet for getting
large quantities of edible grains and pet food (plus livestock feed if
you’ve got this). If you buy organic, whole feed grains, they should be
adequate for human eating - and they come in 50lb quantities. Pick up
your emergency supply of dog or cat food, some seeds for spring, and
cracked corn and whole oats for you (and your horses). The downside:
feed grains may not be especially tasty, organic feed is pricey, feed
mixes may have things you don’t want, unless you live in a reasonably
rural area, there probably won’t be one. Tip for shopping here: human
consumption grains would be a better choice - save this option for food
for yourself for a true crisis.
A coop or bulk food store. Coops are great because they tend to be run
by good people and have reasonable prices. Privately owned bulk food
stores also have good stuff - the thing is, most of these won’t have
large quantities of staples in large bags - you’ll have to empty out
the bins or place an order in advance. Still, not a bad place to get
unusual ingredients, seasonings, yeasts, salt, nutritional supplements
and meet special dietary needs. Tip for shopping here - you might ask
if they have any bulk grains they can sell in larger quantities lying
around - instead of asking for “50lbs of wheat” you might come at it
the other way, asking what they’ve got a lot of.
Odd lots store/dollar stores: These are unlikely to have large
quantities of things, but if you’ve got a big enough vehicle, you might
be able to buy a pallet load of weird cereal by a a manufacturer you’ve
never heard of for $1 box. These are good places to get canned goods
and to pick up bug out bag foods that are light, nutritionally dense
and portable. Soap and shampoo are often cheap here as well, and you
may be able to get a few needed household goods, a couple of extra
flashlights and whatever. Tips for shopping here: if you see something
you want, snag it then - inventory changes fast.
Supermarkets - this is the classic crisis food shopping space, and the
one that tends to get ripped into pieces until all that is left is
Preparation H. These are to be avoided if you can avoid them during an
actual crisis. If not, get there as early as you can, avoid the bottled
water aisle (store some water in empty bottles instead and save your
money for food). If you must hit one of these, choose one with a health
food section and bulk bins, and ideally, a supercenter sort of thing,
where you can also pick up anything else you need. Tip: Even if the
crisis is likely to be long term, most people see supermarkets as a
place to get short term needs met - so you are likely to find that
staple foods and things like vitamins sell worse than boxed chocolate
chip cookies. This is good, since you want more staples than cookies.
Drugstores, hardware stores, etc…: I’ve included these because you may
have to stop at one - you may need a refill of your medication, to fix
up the family first aid kit, or to buy flashlights. If you do need to
stop, and are doing them in a rush, take a couple of minutes and think
about other needs you might meet in such a place - drugstores may have
some food and cheap spices, hardware stores may have other useful
things at reasonable prices, like seeds. I’m not saying you should buy
everything in sight, just working under the assumption that you may be
able to make a limited number of stops. Generally speaking, though, if
you can, you might want to consolidate trips the other way, and get
your meds at a place that also primarily sells food.
now what to get. This assumes you mostly eat a regular American style
diet (which ideally you don’t), that we shouldn’t push you too hard,
and that you will be shopping at the above sorts of stores. That is, if
you normally eat a lot of dal or mung bean noodles, please do add them
to your plan. This is meant to cover mainstream ground - it is not
meant to imply optimalization.
what I’d concentrate on. I am not including quantities here, because I
don’t know how much you can afford, how big your household is, etc…
What you should do is get as much as you can afford/haul and *manage*
without spoilage. That means, get only what you can find a safe, bug
and rodent proof spot for.
assuming that you don’t have a lot of fancy equipment - ie, I think
life would be better for you if you had a grain grinder, but I’m going
to assume no.
1. Vitamins. Get
enough for everyone in the household. Regular, generic mulivites are
fine, and any special supplement you take (although if these are
optional luxuries and money is tight, forego the vitamin E capsules for
more food instead). Yes, it is better to get your nutrients from food,
but this is important. Also make sure you pick up children’s or
prenatal vitamins if anyone in your household has a special need for
these. You might also want to pick up a couple of bottles of vitamin C
2. Rice - as much brown
rice as you can eat (and remember, you may be eating a lot more of it
than you have been) in 3 months, plus as much white rice as you can.
Why rice? It is widely available - even supermarkets sell it in 10 or
20lb bags in many cases. It is comparatively cheap, it is
hypo-allergenic (ie, nearly everyone can eat it including infants and
the ill), and it is familiar to people in just about every culture in
the world. Brown rice is dramatically more nutritious, but it is also
prone to spoilage - maximum storage is about 1 year, and it often goes
rancid before that. A not-insignificant percentage of the population
can’t taste rancidity in grains at all, so won’t know if the rice is
still good to eat. So it is safest to get a short time supply of brown
rice, and then mostly use white rice (supplemented with more nutritous
2. Flour - get as much
whole wheat flour as you can use in 6 months, and then get unbleached
white flour. Again, you’ll be using the less nutritious form of the
grain, but at least you’ll have food.
3. Rolled or steel cut oats. Get as many packages as you can. These are
fairly nutritious and will help balance out some of the white stuff in
your diet. This is breakfast.
Legumes: These include beans, split peas, lentils, cowpeas, pigeon
peas, etc… Buy 1/3 of the weight of your combined grains (flour, oats
and rice) in dry form. Check out the ethnic foods section for large
quantities. These will provide protein, fiber and a host of other
goodies. Don’t be afraid to try unfamiliar things here - they have a
fairly wide taste range, but if you can eat one, you can eat another.
Something that sprouts. If you get stuck eating off your stored food in
the winter or a summer dry season, when not much is going on, sprouts
can save you. Ideally, you’d have a variety, from broccoli to onion to
mung bean… In reality, you may not have much of a choice. But a lot of
things in the bulk bins at whole foods or your health store, or
available other places will sprout. They include whole wheat, alfalfa
sprouts (just make sure you aren’t getting seed that is treated, and
only use organic), untreated sunflower seeds, and a host of designated
sprouting seeds. Nutrionally, if I had a choice I’d get broccoli,
alfalfa and sunflower, as well as wheat, but you’ll be fine with just
5. Some other protein food -
unless you are quite odd, you probably will not enjoy rice and beans
for dinner, bread and beans for lunch and oatmeal for breakfast every
day. You will be fine eating this - maybe even healthier, but you would
be happier if you had something with a bit more fat, flavor and protein
density, particularly if you are shifting from an average American
diet. You do not need a lot of this - you might prefer a lot, but it
1. Whole nuts, flaxseeds or sunflower seeds in the shell
2. Peanut butter. Not the natural stuff - you want it shelf stable and in large quantities.
Canned fish - don’t overdo this if you have kids, are pregnant or
nursing. But canned fish does have important nutrients, is tasty and
makes people happy. Canned wild salmon is lowest in mercury, but can
have high levels of PCBs. Don’t forget sardines, mackerel and other
unusual fishes. Don’t go crazy also because it isn’t good for what’s
left of the oceans, but occasional fish is good.
4. Shelf stable tofu, dried tofu sticks (asian groceries) or other stable soy protein.
Canned meat - I’m not a big fan of this, generally speaking, because
unless you have a ton of money, canned meat is always from horrible
sources, often troublesome in environmental ways, and doesn’t taste
good. But others love their spam, and I won’t try and turn you away
from it. Again, though, you don’t need that much - think occasional
treat, and enjoy the flavoring and fat.
6. Fat: Olive oil in metal tins keeps several years if kept cool -
that’s what I’d get of the choices available, with a bit of coconut oil
to provide a tasty, shelf stable fat for piecrusts and “butter.” If you
have to go cheap, get what you can afford that’s not too awful.
Dried fruit - if you are at a Sam’s Club type-place, you can buy big
sealed bags of dried raisins or cranberries or something. Otherwise,
you can take what’s available at the dollar stores or go hunting in the
bulk bins. You want this for nutritional reasons, and so that you don’t
get so constipated you can’t breathe. Also good for kids, to help them
transition, or picky adults who are kind of like kids.
Powdered milk, soy, or rice milk. This is for calcium, protein to
enable you to bake, to add creaminess to things, etc…. It will never
taste like real milk, but you can live with it. It lasts a long time,
and you can use it baking if nothing happens, so you might as well get
as much as you can.
9. Salt - get
a bunch, iodized for eating (you only need a little of this - and if
you don’t want to store iodized salt or want something better, you can
also buy dulse or kelp supplements to meet this need, but the easiest,
most stable source is iodized salt) and uniodized for preserving,
livestock if you’ve got it, brushing teeth, etc… This is cheap, and
necessary to life.
10. Sweeteners -
unless you have weaned yourself off of this entirely, you will want
these. Sugar is probably cheapest, a lot of bulk honey is watered down
or sugar syruped up. But you can use maple syrup, sugar, sorghum or
whatever is most easily available. You may also need to stretch it - so
work on reducing sugar now. We don’t need anywhere near as much as we
11. Canned vitamin rich
vegetables. Get a couple of flats each of pumpkin/squash/sweet
potatoes, and some kind of canned green (mustard or turnip greens hold
together better than spinach). If you are used to eating fresh, these
will not taste as good as fresh - but can be mixed into things in the
background to add nutrition. Make sure that you use the liquid from the
greens as well. Some canned fruit is nice too, if you have room/can
afford it. Canned pineapple is, to my mind, the best tasting
commercially canned fruit.
(and better), you might be able to hit a farmstand and get sweet
potatoes, cabbage and turnips, which would be much better for you,
tastier and local, but the assumption of this discussion is that you
aren’t doing that. Still, if there’s anyway to buy fresh food that can
be root cellared, you’ll be a lot happier than relying on canned
12. Something(s) to flavor
water/powdered milk. This depends on your preference, but if you are
using non-traditional water sources, or drinking powdered milk for the
first time, making it taste better will be worth a lot. Plus, if you
are a tea or coffee person, you will be sad without them. So get vacuum
packed cans of coffee, or lots of tea, cocoa. And if you have kids, or
vitamin C worries, or the water tastes horrible, you might want to get
some Tang or HiC powdered drink mix. The stuff is icky, but will add
some sweetness, and also some nutrition, while covering the taste of
13. This is
controversial, but you might want some alcohol. There are a couple of
reasons. First, if things are bad enough and you have no major
responsibilities, you might want to get drunk. Second, and more
practically, a small amount of alcohol in your water will kill many
bacteria, and is safer than inadequately filtered water. Oh, and you
can probably use it like money to get other things.
Lots of seasonings. Varying your meals is key. Buy lots of spices, and
you may also want ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, chili-garlic paste,
fermented black beans, chutney, worcestershire…whatever. Depending on
what you can afford and where you are, don’t forget this.
Get some treats. You will need them. So put some smoked oysters, a few
bags of chocolate chips, some beef jerky, peanut brittle - whatever you
or your family crave. I’d also suggest some kind of small candy that
stores fairly well (we use those tiny dum-dum lollipops which come in
bags of a zillion) to be doled out as rewards for children who are
eating their new diet reasonably graciously and responding to their new
reality - they are small and sweet and ease transitions. Adults might
need other bribes. Also, don’t forget the ingredients for your special
Easter bread, matza balls, or whatever other special occasions your
family will still want to remember.
Some things that are dense and require minimal cooking in case you have
to evacuate or if you are under stress - some ramen, some dried fruit,
energy bars, instant bean soups, canned soup, etc…
add some extra batteries (if you aren’t already stocked), gas for the
car and the can, a way to cook without power (sterno, camp stove,
woodstove, more propane for the grill), and water purifiers (it will be
easiest if you get this first). Ta da! You are ready for the zombies!
The final presidential debate on October 15 will focus on domestic and economic policy. Ask moderator Bob Schieffer to grill the candidates on energy policy. Submit your peak oil questions to Denise Li, Senior Producer of Face the Nation, at email@example.com.
Here's a sample question: "In 2005, a DOE report warned of "extremely damaging" and "chaotic" impacts that will occur if the US does not immediately embark upon a "crash mobilization" to prepare for the peaking of world oil production. The GAO echoed this call for urgent action in a February, 2007 report. As President, what will you do to ensure that the U.S. economy continues to function in the face of a finite and increasingly expensive supply of oil?"
Next week I will have a week off work to complete the last big push of planting in my gardens.
I have a large area under mulch mat and mulch for hardy ornamental plants- shrubs, groundcovers, bulbs and succulents, that once established only require pruning, weeding and propagation (and appreciation of course). These old fashioned plants are becoming rather hard to source these days as our subtropical climate places particular demands upon them. At the extremes we can have long hot dry summers, but many drought tolerant plants will fall to pieces when the summer is humid and soggy. Often a plant will perform beautifully for a year or two before collapsing in a pile of black slush. Some of these can be kept going with regular propagation to prevent old age from crowding their growth, but you have to seriously wonder if it is worth the bother. At the other extreme we have a little frost here and there, but the summer is by far the most limiting season.
The right plants for your garden will grow vigorously during the good times, persist solidly through the tough times, and increase steadily so they don't need attention too often, while adding some element of pleasure to the garden.
Right about now is the last chance to establish ornamental plants in the garden in order to give them a reasonable chance of surviving our difficult summers. The trick as always lies in allowing the transplant to form a functional connection to the soil before the top growth dries out severely enough to die. For most plants the root ball needs to be sufficiently disturbed to force the plant to grow new root hairs into the underlying soil. This process takes about half a week for most plants, making these first few days the most critical. In order to help the top growth survive this period it is useful to prune back the top part of the plant as much as possible, while leaving plenty of strong new shooting positions to initiate growth later on. Removing immature leaves is particularly important since these have an unformed waxy skin on them and lose much more water than older mature leaves. They also demand energy to grow, and since that will also be lacking for a few weeks it is essential they are removed as much as possible.
Another trick to reduce water loss by the top growth lies in burying the plant in order to shelter it from drying winds and the sun. Sticks, mulch, straw, short branches off a nearby tree- all of these can be built up around the transplant. Only the smallest amount of light needs to filter through. As long as the basic functional unit of the plant gets a start, ie the root system connected to the soil, and the capacity to grow new leaves, then success will come along sooner or later.
How you dig the hole will also require some consideration. Personally I prefer to spend as little time as possible putting in a plant as necessary in order to give a reasonable chance of survival. So if I have just bought a pricey plant that I only have one of, I will spend a little more time to dig a larger hole, and carefully crumble the soil back around the root ball and pack it down gently. If I am dividing a clump of something and have dozens to put in I will often trim the roots to a convenient length then simply open up a slit in the soil and cram each division in. Using this slap dash technique I may only achieve a 70% success rate, but I will take only a third as much time to do the job. By leaving a spare clump of the same plant to break up next year I can easily go back to fill in the gaps. This strategy of never putting all your eggs in one basket is invaluable. If you lift and divide the entire stock of one kind of plant then the weather can turns completely against you and wipe out everything. Always hold something back in reserve.
Watering by hand at this time can be a useful investment of time. These new plants only need small sploshes of water every few days to keep them hydrated. Doing so at the end of the day is the most efficient and will encourage the growth of new root hairs into the soil overnight. If this is not possible then early morning is acceptable, even at midday is better than not at all. Once most plants have enough of a connection to the soil to stave off wilting then it can be better to let them sit and suffer over summer. They will appear to barely grow, while actually their root system is going deeper and deeper as the summer heats up. Once the pressure eases off in autumn the top growth will make a massive jump to catch up.
By far the most ideal time to transplant whole plants is in the autumn and winter. This gives the plants a much longer time to get established, allowing them to coast through their first summer. Transplanting now is still possible but you cannot expect much more than for the small plants to survive their first summer, ready to take off next year.
At this same time I will be transplanting new varieties of capsicum and eggplant into the vegetable garden, using the same basic principles but being more generous with them in order to encourage rapid growth and production. For me the only vegetables that I will grow from transplants are these two types. For a start these are often slow growing in their early stages, so there is some time saving advantage in getting them to a decent size before giving them bed space. For the same reason they can be difficult to establish from direct sowing using commercial seed, which is often weak and supplied in small quantities. Once you have grown the first generation you should be able to save handfuls of strong fresh seed for direct sowing. All other vegetables are much better grown from direct seeding and I don't think anyone can truly call themselves a gardener until they have mastered this relatively straightforward technique. I'll write more about direct seeding in the next blog entry.....
Don't forget this Saturday at 6pm to come to the PCYC for the Sweet Releaf event- there'll be live music with local band 5 Days Late, as well as gowiiee and the Jimmy Watts Band, The Story of Stuff will be screening and you'll hear presentations from local environmental groups The Community Gardeners, The Shalom Environment Group and SustainaBundy.
Will be a great night- tell everyone you know and pass around the poster!
That also applies to electric cars and air cars.
By Andy Singer
powering down blog - "my commuter cycle"
... "In this post I'd like to share my commuter cycle with readers - the bicycle I ride to work and back." ...
Lloyd Alter at the Treehugger blog -
"For bicylists, there is safety in numbers"
"The more bicyclists there are on the road, the lower the rate of accidents" ...
Michael Graham Richard at the Treehugger blog -
"D.C. bike-sharing program launches today, first in the USA" (August 13th)
Diamond-Cut Life blog - "How to save money on gas"
"The way we drive has a huge impact on our fuel consumption" ...
No Impact Man blog - "A bike races a car and wins"
... "Once a year, Transportation Alternatives, which advocates taking the New York City streets from the cars and giving them to the people, runs its commuter challenge--bike vs. car vs. transit." ...
A Youtube video -
Bicycle train to Amsterdam from Berlin
Lloyd Alter at the Treehugger blog -
"Slow freight joins the slow movement"
... Certain "wine sellers are keen to display the ‘Carried by sailing ship’ label on bottles" ...
A related post -
Versatile bicycle parts