Domes

Van Dweller Gypsy Prepper Community ©

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 24, 2016

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One of the most common debates amongs people who are collapse aware is determining when it is actually time to GTFO of Dodge, aka move away from the big shities and out to a less populated area to begin the process of trying to live off the land once again.

There are numerous obstacles to doing this for many if not most people.  First off is the up front expense of buying your own "Doomstead", a patch of land somewhere out in the boonies with a livable domicile of some type on it.  If you are just able to afford your regular rent in the apartemnt near your job, where are you going to get the money to buy a doomstead?  This option is generally only open to the 1% of the population earning $250K and up.

The second financial problem is that any area that is remote enough to be considered viable as a doomstead also has near zero in the way of job possibilities, so if you give up your job inside industrial culture,  you're likely to be without income entirely.  How then do you pay your taxes on the land, assuming you could afford to buy some?

http://i.imgur.com/Un8idyh.jpg For as long as money is still functioning, you need it.  To outfit your doomstead well with good preps like your own renewable energy supply (solar or wind usually), that costs money.  To buy Pigs & Chickens and build fences and barns costs still more money.  Having your domicile up to the local building codes, still more money.  It gets EXPENSIVE pretty quick!

Even if you do have the wads of cash necessary to buy such a doomstead and outfit it while you are still working in the big shity, there are still problems.  If nobody is occupying the place most of the time, you can have problems with vandals, thieves and squatters.  There are regular maintenance chores to be done.  Unless the doomstead is pretty close, you're not going to be able to get to it that often.  If it is close to the big shity, then you have the issue of what occurs when people come streaming out of that city because the taps have run dry and the shelves at Walmart have gone empty?

RE-BackpackBecause of all these problems, many preppers have dispensed with the idea of having a permanent doomstead and focus more on "Bugout" scenarios and equipment to have ready for the day TSHTF in your neighborhood.  I spent the last couple of months on what is currently a 6 part series on Bugout Bags, that topic is almost endless.  One of the main hypotheses with the pedestrian based bugout is that there won't be gas around to buy, so your SUV will be worthless.  However, as long as you keep the tank full all the time and have a couple of extra 10 gallon Jerry Cans of gas, you always should have enough for one final run for safety on SHTF day in your neighborhood.  The new Van Dweller Gypsy Prepper Community© system is based on this.

RE-BM-Front2The first decision is what is the best vehicle to have for your Bugout Machine?  Although I currently own a Tioga RV which I bought for the purpose of a Bugout back in 2009, my conversations with Van Dweller who spent the last 50 years living out of his van since the 1960s convinced me that Stealth Vans were the way to go.  A Stealth Van looks like a normal passenger or cargo van from the outside, but on the inside has all the basics you need for living. 

Although many folks like Van Dweller make do with just the Van, a significant number of others add to this a Cargo Trailer, which also fits th Stealth category.  From the outside it doesn't look like a typical RV trailer used as a domicile.  For Stealth Van dwellers, sometimes it serves as a domicile, but more often is used to store supplies and tools you just don't have room for when using the van as a living space.

For myself, although I have lived in some very small spaces including a Closet sized Dorm Room around 8' x 15' and studio apartments in NY Shity measuring around 15' x 20', I'm not a big fan of living in such a confined space, at least not long term anyhow.  So I pondered on how to increase living space but still be able to carry it all along in the trailer or on the roof racks.  What I came up with was using Geodesic Domes for this purpose.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e8/61/6b/e8616b7bc8f90bf2687919fdf65b48d8.jpg The Geodesic structure is relatively easy to assemble if you have your Connectors and your struts cut to the right size.  Once the structure is up, you can surface with just about anything, going real cheap and temporary you can do it with roll plastic sheeting.  Making it leakproof is something of a chore, but I have some proprietary methods of doing that so this is not a worry.  Other surfacing materials you can use are cardboard, foam insulation panels and plywood, moving up the ladder here in commercially produced materials.  You could even cover with sheet metal from abandoned carz! 🙂  You'll need some good cutting tools for that though.  You can't carry all the panels you would need precut in a small van-trailer arrangement, but hopefully you can acquire these once you set up your bugout location.

If things have devolved to the point such materials can't even be scavenged, you can go with natural materials, such as tree bark for instance.  You can weave grasses on the panels and then cover with leaves or make an adobe mixture to spread over thin saplings lashed to the struts.  There's always some means to cover the dome.

Every year many people gather together at the Burning Man expo putting up temporary domes of varying levels of professionalism and quality.

https://graphics.stanford.edu/~munzner/dome/gallery/brc.domenear.jpg

http://www.zenzibar.com/CosmicSteel/photos/COSMdome.jpg

Because Geodesics are entirely self-supporting, all the interior space is useable, nothing is taken up for walls and structural support, so they have a much "bigger" feel when inside them than the footprint they take up on the ground.

http://www.shelter-systems.com/images/playa5.jpgA geodesic with just a 14' radius will give you all the living space you need, particularly if you have your cooking and sleeping facilities in your Stealth Van.

So in the final arrangement for the Van Dweller Gypsy Prepper Community © , the members of the community have their own vans, cargo trailers and geodesic parts to set up on site when they reach their Bugout Destination, and eventual Doomstead once everything is all set up.

The configuration of the Dome is set up so it has "ports" to dock both the Van and the Trailer, and a 3rd port which serves either as a Front Door or for connection to other domes, as illustrated at the top of the page.

Below here is the set-up for the individual Van/Dome Dweller:

SUN-Van-Garage-2  SUN-Van-Garage-1

I made the dome semi-transparent so you can see inside, although all I have it currently populated with is a Wood Burning Stove, to give some idea of the interior scale.  In reality, most of the dome would not be transparent, although you can make some transparent panels either from plastic or glass, assuming you either have them with you or can acquire them.

I began this article inside the Diner Forum on our Bugout Plans board, below here is my description of parts and setup from that thread.  There I included a prefab Greenhouse to attach to the dome, not included in the 3D community drawing, there I substituted Greenhouse "tunnels" between the large dome and the smaller ones.  Entry to this structure besides goin in through the Van or Trailer is a door on the side of the Greenhouse.

Components of the Design are:

1- Stealth Van
2- Cargo Trailer
3- 28' Geodesic Dome
4- 2 Carports to attach to the dome
5- 1 Lean to style prefab Greenhouse

The dome has 3 "ports" for docking the van, trailer and greenhouse modules. All are identical in size @ 8' wide X 10' high.  The dome itself is made from Bamboo Poles and connectors.  Surfacing material for the dome is purchased or scrounged and scavenged on location, only the poles and connectors are transported.  Carports may be either commercially available Carport Tents, or built on location out of available materials.  Greenhouse either a commercial one that will disassemble or one made out of bamboo poles that can disassemble also.

Van and Trailer carry most of the hardware, cooking equipment, toilet bucket, office equipment (laptop) and bed.  Dome space is Roaming space to stretch out mostly, but also has a Wood Burning Stove for a more permanent arrangement.  In a more permanent arrangement it also would have other furniture in it. Solar Panels for electrics are installed on top of the carports.

Estimated set-up time, 1 week to get the dome fully configured with panels to fill it out.  Surfacing can be done with almost anything, foam insulation panels, cardboard, plywood; super cheap and temporary would be to just staple plastic sheeting to the structure.  I have proprietary methods for sealing seams so it doesn't leak like many geodesics do.  Dome structure itself goes up in 2-3 days depending on who does the setup and how many people to help.

If/When the Housing Gestapo stop by and tell me my home is not "up to code", I say, "OK, I'll take it down and move on and I won't pay property tax in this neighborhood anymore." I am packed up and on the road again in under a week.  Prior to that I will sell them that this is just a temporary thing and show them my Building Plans for a full scale "up to code" domicile.  I can probably sell that line for a while.

Total living space here is about 60 sq feet for the van, 50 sq feet for the trailer, 50 sq feet for the greenhouse extension, and about 600 sq feet for the dome, without a loft built in which you could do also with a 14' center height.  So you probably get upwards of 1000 sq feet of living space from this, which is plenty for me.

Obviously, you can scale up this system quite a bit if you have a group of people and several vans and trailers.  The big advantage here is you do not need to build on your Bugout location BEFORE TSHTF, so there is nothing on the property to be trashed while you are not around or to pay taxes on either. You just buy raw land suitable for setup.  You use prior methods suggested here on the Diner for Caching Food supplies and tool supplies on these locations, so when TSHTF, you can Bugout, set up shop, and have enough food and materials to get you through the first year of post-industrial society collapse.  If you can make it through the 1st year, you will have upped your survival chances by several orders of magnitude IMHO.

After that, I went into specific scenarios of how you organize your Van Dweller Gypsy Prepper Community© , and how to set up when TSHTF in your neighborhood:

OK! I have expanded my Mobie Van Dweller Base Camp for a small tribe of like minded Preppers with limited funds and still needing to stay inside industrial  civilization to keep working and utilizing the earnings to buy more preps.

As we have noted before, moving out NOW while you still have a job to try going and living a subsistence lifestyle, be it H-G style or Permaculture Farm style has its own downsides and risks.  The new Van Dweller Gypsy Prepper Community (VDGPC) resolves these problems!   :icon_sunny:

Each member of a tribe has a Van, a Cargo Trailer and hardware to set up a small Geodesic Dome.  The tribe above has 5 Preppers, which may be individuals, couples or families.  Figure for this group there is one Individual, 2 couples and two families with 2 kids, for a total tribe size of 13 people.

Your Basic Requirements to be part of the Tribe are a Stealth Van, a Cargo Trailer and your own set of Personal Dome Geodesic Connectors.  These are not absolutely essential, but make setting up a dome much faster.  They can be purchased commercially or you can make them yourself by various methods.

Estimated Basic Cost:

Used Van in Good Condition: $5000
Used Cargo Trailer in Good Condition: $2000
Connectors and Tools: $1000

You will want to accumulate more preps as well, such as Solar PV panels, long lasting foods, Heirloom Seeds and of course Gunz & Ammo which will run your total costs up more, but you can start out with $8K or maybe less if you can find good deals on a Van and Trailer on Craig's list.

Strategy

Each community member is responsible for his/her own set of preps, and also contributes to a general fund for the Bugout Destination Promised Land  The BDPL is 5 acres of Hunting Land within a 500 mile radius of your current location.  Each member contributes 1/5th to this purchase, somewhere between $2-5K per acre.  Nothing is built on this land prior to TSHTF, and it should be reasonably remote.  You should be able to get there on 1 tank of gas &  a few extra 10 Gallon containers.

Prior to TSHTF, regular assemblies at the BDPL of community members on weekends are held to do planning and also to bring up supplies to be cached on location, buried in spots marked by GPS coordinates and also triangulating off natural landmarks in case an EMP knocks out the GPS system.  Cached supplies may include more of such things as long lasting foods, heirloom seeds, tools, building materials like nails, screws, bolts etc.  Whether you wan to store some weapons this way also is up to you.  I wouldn't do it with gunz and ammo, but perhaps crossbows and slingbows might be stored this way.

ACTION PLAN

TSHTF IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD! A Bank Holiday has been declared, the Walmart Shelves are going Empty and the National Guard has been called up to enforce Martial Law in 24 hours.  You have to GTFO of Dodge NOW before the Roadblocks are set up.  You send the BRAZOS TXT message to all the members of your Tribe of the VDGPC that it is time to form up in a PreDetermined Meeting Spot (PDMS) to travel together as a Convoy to the BDPL.  Traveling together will add to your security and be helpful if anyone has a breakdown.

I'm an ex-Big Rig Driver.  I HAD to use this music vid! lol

Continuing with the description of the Bugout (this is done tongue-in-cheek for people who don't recognize my humor. lol)

If some members of the VDGPC don't make it to the PDMS for the designated departure time, they are on their own to make it to the BDPL.

BDPL Setup

On arrival at the BDPL the first thing is to secure the perimeter.  Motion detectors are set up on the logging road that gets you in to the BDPL.  Sentries are posted, FRS radios are used to identify latecomers with specified channel and call sign code.

Vans are circled and trailers detached, leaving room in the center for the large Comunity Dome to be built later, if this turns out to be the BIG ONE and you have to stay at the BDPL permanently.  Hopefully, it's a False Alarm  TPTB get the ATMs working again in a week or two, the National Guard mows down the rioters and we go back to BAU for another few months until the next crisis.

During this initial waiting period to see how it works out, none of the stored caches of Preps are dug up yet.  Everybody should have at least 1 month of food supplies aboard their Stealth Vans and Trailers.  A few Solar PV panels are deployed to keep everybody charged up, monitoring what is going on in the world at large via the net if it is still up, or with Shortwave Radio if it has gone down.

It's PERMANENT

Newz comes in across the Shortwave that New York, London, Washington, Beijing & Moscow have all been Nuked.  Hordes of Zombies are rampaging through Seattle, Austin, Norfolk, and Pittsburgh. A 200 meter high Tsunami has washed both Honshu & Hokkaido Islands into the South China Sea.  Yellowstone has erupted and buried the entire Midwest under 3 feet of volcanic ash. A huge methane bubble has popped under the Arctic Ice cap blowing the whole thing into the stratosphere. No going back now.  :o

You should be relatively safe now as it is unlikely anyone will be showing up at your doorstep too soon.  So now you begin assembly of your community dome, plant your heirloom seeds and see if you can make it through the Zero Point.  Odds are not in your favor, but The Finger of God may step in for you.  It has for me, many times.

3912-Finger-of-God-0

An Unlikely Convocation

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Published on Epiphany Now on May 14, 2014

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There’s a Knight standing next to me now. He’s got a peace necklace on and he’s holding two black and white feathers found in Texas. Before that, while he was still in Texas, he was holding flowers. He was a gift given to me by a stoned and druken WASP shaman from Minnesota. What he was doing in Texas is hard to say, but so is saying what I was doing there. I was there to meet people I’ve been in written communication with for the last several years. Those in attendance included a shaman, two ritual magicians, a Dentist, a webmaster hermit shut in from Alaska, a Druid, a Shaman Witch (for now at least, and born during the Convocation), and two Druid/Shaman Witch children.
There were wigs, and boomerangs, and 50 year old Texas spider monkey dentists 30 feet up in a tree trying to retrieve a stuck boomerang, and weather magic, and shamanistic happenings, and a 200 year old pecan tree that was actually Old Man Time, and tractor joy rides ending in busted hydraulic lines, and Monolithic dome building, and out door showers erected complete with a Diner noose, hugel beds constructed, gray water retention snake heads (I dug a big ass hole), and my wife walked naked down a limestone dry creek bed by full moonlight…ohh, and I had an actual fox run across my path. Ayden Zen was in communion with the fox just before I walked up and interrupted.
You should have been there for this meeting of minds and souls. I can speak to what I was doing there now. I was there with my family looking for some hope. It’s looking pretty hopeless out there these days, what with the writing on the wall and whatnot. BAU continues until it doesn’t. So some Diners got together in Bum Fuck Egypt Texas to figure on some hope, and to learn how to build Monolithic domes, which are earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and fire proof domiciles that can be built for less money than a stick built piece of shit of the same square footage. These are domiciles that have withstood 300 mph winds and American Apache helicopter strikes, and simply need you to shut the door when a fire breaks out (they’re so air tight that the fire will starve for oxygen before it can do much damage…and anyways concrete doesn’t burn).
What’s the point of a fox crossing my path, or any of the other oddities encountered during the first Diner Convocation? I’m still trying to figure all of that out, and there’s a lot that happened that I won’t be writing about (including what happened after I found my wife walking naked down the limestone creek bed by moonlight). Interestingly, while all of this real life magic was going down in Bum Fuck Texas, trolls were hard a work lambasting the very thing that was allowing all of the real world magic to occur. Why is that? I think it’s because they are afraid. They don’t want to admit that it’s come to a group of internet forum friends meeting in Texas for difference to be made in this rigged catastrophe of a petroleum dependent clustercuss. They don’t want to admit that technotriumphalism is not going to save a damn thing…accept maybe some people from dealing with the thermodynamic constraints we’re all forced to adhere to.
Will we build domes as a result of this meeting? Is there a chance for prosperity for normal people in the near future? Is the Orwellian New World Bravely going to persist and even evolve into draconian dystopians unimagined by the doomerist doomers? Why does BAU continue unabated?
For my part, and the part of my family, we’ve only just begun on this journey that started here at Epiphany Now and migrated to the Doomstead Diner, and now the SUN. My family is planning a trip to California soon. We’ll be burning a lot of petroleum by way of the internal combustion engine in our Saturn Vue to make it there. We’ll be camping in state parks just like we did to and from the Convocation. I’ve got a cousin getting married, and we’ve got a tribe to meet in Fresno. The tribe is a coven of magicians. While at the Convocation I had visions filled with symbols I’m not ready to understand yet. My family slept outside of the Toothstead house in an REI tent titled the “Hobitat.” I awoke from these mysterious visions at the beginning of the Convocation to a monstrous clap of thunder followed by a torrential downpour. The day before this I saw intentional weather magic being worked, as well as a group rain dance in which I supplied the shamanistic beats. Beats I didn’t even know I had. Beats accompanied by impromptu musical instruments made by using common kitchen utensils (I was using a 3 gallon bucket myself to drive this thing). This downpour happened amidst a terrible Texas drought.
I was confused by all of this meaning. I was depressed after it was over and we returned to our trailer park Whoville everywhere America. I’m still depressed by how beautiful it could be and yet isn’t. How it could all just mean nothing, and how we could remain stuck here where the Zombies will eat our table for lunch. Some things in life do not make sense, and yet they are magical in spite of Cartesian, Newtonian, and Apollonian logic. I chose to believe that all of the Convoction magic was just that, magic. It’s not as if anyone can prove me wrong, not when we know that the act of scientific observation changes the outcome of the observation. Not when the truth is that we make our own meaning, our own myths, and our own minds. What’s your mind doing about infinite growth on a finite planet? Mine is creating 21st century living tribes out of the virtual reality of the net. We’ve met, in person, in Bum Fuck Egypt Texas, and we still like each other. We’re all who we said we were. Here’s to the first Diner Dome we’re gonna build. Here’s to a future where some of us survive and even thrive. Some of us…likely not many…but at least my new tribe is trying. How about yours? RIP Mike Ruppert. I’m already not the slowest camper. It may be that my tribe is the fastest. However unlikely our Convocation.

Building Stupidity

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on May 1, 2014

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Snippet:

…Not a day goes by anymore where you can’t find something supremely stupid going on somewhere in the world. Today it was the newz that the Saudi Sheiks are breaking ground on the newest tallest building to be in the world, the Kingdom Tower.

About the only thing positive I can say about this monstrosity is that at least it doesn’t look like a giant PENIS like the Chinese have been erecting lately, this one looks more like a giant hypodermic needle….

Chinese Architectural Genius in Action

http://db2.stb.s-msn.com/i/F3/EDB140EDC861CD7FCAEDED4571228.jpg

Saudi Arabian Architectural Genius in Action

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/thumb/msid-22065699,width-640,resizemode-4/1-kingdom-tower-saudi-arabia.jpg

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!

RE

Monolithic Memories

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Published on the Doomstead Diner and SUN4Living on April 27, 2014

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A couple of weeks ago we held the first Convocation of Diners down in Texas. We did this in conjunction with a workshop held at Monolithic Domes, a 1 week intensive course where you learn the principles and practical aspects of building ferro-cement domes, for use as Domiciles, Grow-Domes and pretty much any type of use imaginable for a structure. This article is partially about that, but really more about the wonderful time those of us who went down had there and what the purpose is for coming together as a community.

I don’t leave the Last Great Frontier too often anymore, it makes me nervous every time I board a plane for a trip to the lower 48. First off I hate going through the TSA checkpoints like everybody does. This time, I was carrying a boatload of electronic equipment and was sure I would get the Full Monte from the Goons, but happily it wasn’t too bad, they only ran one of my bags through the scanner twice and I only set off the alarm once forgetting to drop my cell phone in a plastic bin. On the way back, I was REALLY fortunate, winning the LOTTO of TSA Pre-Approval on my Boarding Pass, which allowed me to not have to take off my shoes or take my Laptop out of its bag for separate scanning, and get on the much shorter line at Austin’s airport for Flight Crews and various VIPs with lots of airline miles who pass through these checkpoints on a weekly basis because they travel so much and burn so much Jet Fuel. Not sure why I was so designated as a SAFE Flyer, but it certainly was nice not to have to take my shoes off for the trip home.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe arrival in Austin had just about everything go according to plan, we were in communication regularly through the marvel of the internet to coordinate the Pickups at the Airport and then make the drive to Eddie’s McMansion through the Austin Traffic. We were wedged in pretty tight in the rental mini-van LD & GM drove in from South Carolina, with their two boys in car kid-seats and 3 doomers wedged into the back seat. Sidestepping the traffic was a challenge, and the GPS and Cell Phones were out in force as we worked our way around it to finally make it to Eddie’s place.

EddieElectricThis was a first IRL meeting for all of us, so there was a little nervousness about the meeting, but for the Doomers from the Diner, everybody turned out to be pretty much just like the personality on the Diner, so we relaxed with each other pretty quickly. More worrisome was Eddie’s family, since they are not 100% on board with Doom, so we did not want to make a nuisance of ourselves there.

I did get a chance to do a walk around of this space though, to have a look at some of the projects Eddie is pursuing there. Eddie is Mr. Project, he is SERIOUS about actually doing stuff to try to achieve some food and energy security for his family. He’s also a pretty well to do Dentist, so he has options on this most people do not have, but at the same time is a very generous and open guy who wants to try to make the things he experiments with available to more people.

After the Meet & Greet at his house, we headed out for the “Toothstead”, a 40 acre part of a Ranch Eddie bought a few years ago as a Retreat for when TSHTF. As Texas type property goes, it is quite beautiful with a stream running through it that flows when there is decent water falling on Texas, which unfortunately is not too regular these days. After our Convocation Party and Rain Dance on Saturday though, we had a downpour on Sunday morning. 🙂 Even with the drought there though, it’s still a very pleasant and bucolic place, and not all that far out of Austin proper either.

SAMSUNG CSCThis caused me to ponder some on the Zombie issue. It is difficult enough to negotiate your way to one of these outlier properties with a car and GPS unit, its pretty hard to imagine how people who have no cars will get out there in a SHTF scenario. You would have to ride MILES on bicycles, all along the way vulnerable to attack. After the first wave comes flowing out of the Big Shitty, locals will have the Shoot to Kill and Take No Prisoners attitude pretty quick. I don’t think it is realistic to figure that roving gangs could make it more than 20 miles outside of suburbia.

So you probably are reasonable safe on such a property, if you have enough people to protect and defend it, not so much from roving Zombies as from other Locals. This means many areas even fairly close to Big Shities might be survivable.

Zombie defense was not a real big concern during the Convocation though, what was much more a problem was just how far you had to go and how much time it took just to get a Six-Pack of BEER! The closest convenience store selling beer was like 30 minutes away BY CAR!

Now, if you are truly self-sufficient, you will of course be brewing your own beer, but this reinforces how big a change you will face after TSHTF even if you happen to be fortunate enough to have a remote retreat you can get to while you still have a tank of gas left. Is life worth living without On Demand Beer available at least until midnite every day? I wonder about that.

SAMSUNG CSCFortunately though we did have working Carz with full tanks of gas, and mostly stayed well stocked with the Elixir of Life. Saturday morning we had the first of the fabulous breakfasts whipped up by LD, who established himself as King of the Kitchen and flipped over some delicious eggs courtesy of his South Carolina based Chickens. These eggs travelled several hundred miles safely in the rented mini-van though, so they were not exactly fossil fuel free food before final consumption.

Saturday Night was our Big Party, complete with singing and dancing courtesy of WHD and lots of good musing about Doom. We went into the wee hours, until finally retiring to sleep on mostly Air Beds, courtesy of some factory in China made from fossil fuels by the magic of polymer chemistry.

I’m not trying to highlight the hypocrisy involved all along the way here of a bunch of people all concerned with sustainable living flying in to meet from places as far away as California and Alaska, but rather the dependance we have on fossil fuels and easy travel to live the life style we do. The lifestyle change involved for all when this goes bye-bye cannot be understated, and nobody will adjust to that overnight. Really what you need to concern yourself with is how to manage the transition, what things are needed and how to best prep up for the transition period.

The biggest part of that Prepping up which motivated this convocation was the Workshop at Monolithic Dome Institute, run by David South who has been in the biz of building Domes since way back in the 70s. Over time Monolithic has become the premier Dome construction company in the world, with over 4000 of them sprinkled around the globe used for everything from Warehouses to Schools & Churches and many homes as well.

SAMSUNG CSCThese domes also are highly dependent on the embedded energy now available from fossil fuels to build, though once built are very durable and energy efficient structures. In terms of preparing for transition, the energy spent in building these structures is way better spent than in simply Happy Motoring each day around to Walmart and Mickey D’s.

The Domes also provide a reasonable transitionary form of housing in a world where Climate Change brings danger from many corners. They are resistant to wildfires and earthquakes, often the only buildings left standing in the aftermath of one of these calamities. In places vulnerable to floods and hurricanes, they stand up to them also, and Monolithic has been involved in building replacement housing everywhere from Haiti to the Phillipines in the aftermath of the cyclonic storms which hit those neighborhoods over the last few years.

Besides their use as domiciles, the Domes also represent about the best chance we have for maintaining food supply through climate change. Inside a dome, you can control everything from humidity to CO2 content of the atmosphere, and through intensive techniques like hydroponics and aquaculture achieve yields 40X what typical industrial agriculture achieves, using a small fraction of the amount of water and fertilizer that this method does. With both water and fertilizer more difficult to come by at higher prices all the time, it only makes sense to start transitioning to these methods ASAP. Grow domes are not just being built here in the FsoA, but places like Bahrain and Oman as well, where their water supply and food security is in EXTREME danger right now. The more places that grow domes can be built NOW, the better that we can transition into a world where Climate Change is wreaking havoc with traditional forms of food production.

SAMSUNG CSCWith all of this in mind, we are working on setting up a company to build domes, mainly at the moment with the idea of providing affordable housing as more people slide out of the middle class, but long term with the idea of using them as a means to develop sustainable communities with secure housing structures. The techniques that Monolithic currently uses for Dome construction have a limited lifespan here, and there is only a short window of opportunity to put up as many as possible, so the more people involved in building them, the better.

Over the weeks and months to come, we hope to have good models available at reasonable prices which provide good and comfortable living spaces that will LAST for generations, much like some of the older housing in places like Wales, built out of stone and lived in by generations now for centuries.

Ideally in my mind, as a society and civilization, we would martial up here a construction project that was national if not global in scope, much like the WPA built infrastructure like the Hoover Dam during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, this is not how the economic system is set up these days, so it falls to individuals to take on this work, and the only way to do that is to set up companies to do it. Like it or not, under the current economic model everything costs money, so to build domes you have to figure out how to pay for them. Like flying down from Alaska to learn how to do it, helping to develop a building company for domes can be seen by some as hypocrisy in action. I will live with this criticism, because there is no better alternative I can see, though I am always looking for one and open to new ideas.

It remains an open question as to how deeply climate change and the disappearance of copious quantities of available energy will affect the existence of Homo Sapiens. There are more than a few people these days who think it will all end quite soon, in Near Term Human Extinction. This may be true, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up today on trying to find a way out of the deep mess our civilization and the planet is currently in. In the very worst case scenario that NTHE is a correct hypothesis, the effort may buy a bit more time for the great experiment with Sapience that is Homo Sapiens, and it gives you something to do also.

In the best case scenario, we will find a way to weather the storm, and build a Better Tomorrow.

RE

Domesteading at Monolithic: Day One

Off the keyboard of Eddie

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Published on SUN4Living on April 8, 2014

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SAMSUNG CSCToday was our first day of what looks to be five pretty full days here at Monolithic Domes. Today we heard from a couple of speakers, including Monolithic’s founder and CEO, David South. It was probably worth the price of admission to listen to David, who is one of those visionary geniuses who has managed to combine his passion with a business that builds exactly the kind of structures that he once dreamed of.

Regardless of whether I ever build a single dome, it’s been good to meet and pick the brain of someone like this guy. He is way ahead of us Diners in many ways, not only having already figured out how to build these extremely functional buildings of his, but also how they can fit into  the paradigm of energy descent as affordable housing for working poor people and retirees with limited means.

He actually already has a community of tiny rental domes here on the company land (where many of his family members and employees also have dome homes), as well as a couple of others in nearby towns. It is a working, functional model that does not depend on government assistance. They operate as residence inns that rent (currently for $125 per week).  It’s an interesting model to me, because it seems like one of the only landlord/tenant arrangements I’ve ever seen that works out to a win/win for both owner and tenants.

Another vision at Monolithic is their Grow Domes, which allow intensive indoor gardening indoors, requiring minimal energy inputs.

It makes me dream of an affordable community of tiny domes and dome fourplexes with access to onsite grow domes where residents can grow their own food in an environment protected from the vicissitudes of climate change. In my view, such a community would have the potential to free people up from the hamster wheel of low wage work and allow them to live with a great deal more resilience and dignity.

The only thing I’ve seen that I can criticize is that domes are constructed using a lot of closed cell polyurethane foam, which requires specialized equipment and chemicals that are noxious during construction, although it appears to be safe enough after it dries and is covered with sprayed on concrete plaster. Of all the building designs I’ve studied, only the Global Earthship rivals the Monolithic dome as a dwelling.

The 1st Diner Convocation

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on SUN4Living on March 22, 2014

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Bonus Track: Amerikan Hologram

Amerikan Hologram is #18 in the new Frostbite Falls Daily Rant Podcasts on the Doomstead Diner.

The last few rants have been focused on the Kabuki theatre playing out across the pond between Russia and NATO along with, swimming in the other direction, the implosion of the Chinese Credit Market. For tonight I’d like to return home here to the Land of Good & Plenty to look at some of the persistent myths, lies and just plain old BULLSHIT many Amerikans of my generation believe WERE true at some time in the past, even if they do grant they probably aren’t true anymore.

When I talk about my generation I’m talking about Boomers of course, who are crawling all over the web these days like cockroaches since they are retiring by the truckoad and got nothing better to do with their time. Or rather nothing better most of them can afford to do with their time, since only a relatively small minority have fat pensions to supplement Social Security. At the price of gas these days, Motoring around in an RV to visit the grandkids between stops at golf courses isn’t happening so much anymore. If they are fortunate to own an RV, it’s likely sitting in a trailer park in Yuma with the A/C on full all day while they do their cruising around the Blogosphere complaining about how Amerika has gone down the toilet and how great it was in the Old Days. To be fair, it’s not just the Boomers, it’s also the real Oldster population of Silent Generation folks who were kids during WWII doing this sort of bullshit complaining…

For the rest, listen to the Podcast!

In a bit over a week from now, after a couple of years jawboning collapse on the Doomstead Diner, the Knights of the Round Table on the Diner are finally going to meet up IRL down in Texas.  “In Real Life” is the meaning of that acronym for people who don’t frequent Cyberspace that much, in contrast to the In Virtual Life you pursue as an Internet Junkie, where often people have Identities and Personalities not precisely like their IRL ones.

Whether you pursue an Anon paradigm or not, the way in which you react to people and discuss your ideas is generally a good deal different IVL as opposed to IRL.  People tend to be more Strident about their beliefs IVL, social niceties are not as commonly kept to IVL as IRL.  Usually IRL you pursue a Politeness paradigm, you don’t INTENTIONALLY try to piss people off for instance.  What this means though also IRL is that often people do not discuss the things most BUGGING them or most crucial to their World View, because they don’t want to deal with the CONFLICT that comes from that IRL.

So, IRL the general paradigm is “Don’t Discuss Religion, Politics or Sex“, because all of these topics tend to get the emotions running hot, particularly if the people chatting them up have diametrically opposed viewpoints, which in a “Multi-Cultural” society they often do.  It is of course highly unlikely you can get a “civil” discussion going about Sex IRL between a Fundy Christian, a Fundy Muslim and a Gay Rights Activist.  In fact you generally do not get such civil discussions going even IVL over the Net, but at least it cannot break out into Fisfights in Cyberspace.  Nor can anybody pull a GUN on you over the net either! LOL. You get what we on the diner call “Napalm Contests”, otherwise known as Flame Wars.  As intense as these things often can become,  you still are in relative SAFETY to pitch out your opinions over the net, and the worst that happens generally speaking is if you make too much of a nuisance of yourself on somebody else’s website you get banned, or if it is your own website you ban the person making such a nuisance of themself.  I make the effort not to Ban anyone, but that is not to say I do not make life difficult for nuisance creators of this sort, I most certainly do that.  In fact I have developed a whole bevvy of means to make life difficult for Trolls and Napalm Artists without Banning them. 🙂

Anyhow, with that general knowledge in mind here, over time on a website such as the Diner, people of Like Minds do come together, in our case discussing AT LENGTH just WTF to do about a Collapsing Civilization we all see occurring around us on a basically Daily Basis?  How do YOU personally deal with this now, what PLANS have you made for the day TSHTF?  Will those plans WORK, and if so, for how long?  The flaws in everybody’s plans are discussed at length as well, then ideas get pitched out how to fix those flaws.  In our case, we developed a Construct called SUN, for Sustaining Universal Needs as the IVL idea for handling the many problems we already see evident here, and as a result gave birth to a new website and Nonprofit 501c3 company to further develop these ideas IRL.  This all occurred with none of the principals involved EVER meeting each other IRL, up until NOW.  It is remarkable we got even THIS far here, given the fact that in all the discussions NEGATIVE WAVES always crop up as various Diners chip in their 2 cents on why the whole idea is bullshit and can’t work.

Not only our local Diners will occassionally remark it is useless to try to prepare for a Collapsing Civilization, we constantly get even more depressing input from our friends over at Nature Bats Last, where it is not just Civilization Collapse they consider inevitable now, it is Near Term Human Extinction,  along with probably every other living organism above the level of the Tardigrades.  In the face of so much Negativity, it’s not always easy to keep Spirits Up amongst the Heliopaths, our nomeclature for the Diners who are involved in turning SUN from a cyber-idea into reality.  We do Soldier On though regardless, as in the words of Illuminati Scumbag Winston Churchill

If you find yourself going through Hell, KEEP GOING!

Image: Sweet Dome Alabama  is the Monolithic Dome home of Beverly and Kenneth Garcia in New Hope, Alabama.Anyhow, after a couple of years of discussion of the problems, we are going to meet up in Texas at the “Toothstead” to begin with, which is the ongoing project of a retreat location one of the Heliopaths, Eddie the Dentist is constantly working on to develop its self-sufficiency in terms of food and energy production.  After a couple of days of celebration there, 5 of us are heading over to Monolithic Domes in Italy, TX to participate in a 5 Day “Crash Course” in how to construct Ferrocement Domes, which are probably the sturdiest structure you could ever build and also come in a relatively low prices per square foot of usable interior living.  Useful for everything from Domiciles to Grow House and storage units, and pretty easy to erect anywhere without a massive amount of heavy equipment, though of course if you are spraying Shotcrete you do need access to some higher tech equipment.  Which is why if you are going to get such things built, NOW is the time to build them rather than AFTER TSHTF, when doing so will be a whole lot more difficult.

As part of this group Adventure, we are going to be recording much of what goes on and presenting the material on our Collapse Cafe and Podcast pages as Vidcasts and Podcasts, and we also hope to bring live discussion on as well for the duration of the Convocation, courtesy of such marvelous technological Gimmickry currently available like Livestream, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting.  Here on the Diner, we will be Announcing these Live Broadcasts during the week inside the Diner in the Convocation thread that this article is linked to.  If you wish to join with us in discussion about the various topics and problems currently Ongoing and very likely to get a whole lot worse in the not-to-distant future, stay tuned to the thread and look for the Links that will bring you into them.  You’ll need a working Webcam and Mic of course, and may need to download some Client software or Plugins also.  The Geeks on the Diner will be available to assist you in this if you are a technological Luddite. 🙂

SAMSUNG CSCFor me, this is a very exciting adventure, though every time I leave the Last Great Frontier for an excursion to the Lower 48 nowadays it makes me nervous.  Any given day the ATMs could lock up; any given day a “Terrorist Attack” or “False Flag” could go down instigating Martial Law, the Airlines could be grounded and I would not be able to make it back to my Perch here in Alaska, which I still consider to be among the best places left on Earth to be when it all goes to Hell in a Handbasket.  A risk worth taking though, and you can’t stop living or let your fears get the better of you in a situation like this.  For myself also, even if it did occur I could not make it back here, I know I have my Fellow Heliopaths in the Lower 48 who will give me a bit better location to park my butt before I head for the Great Beyond than a FEMA Death Camp.

I look forward to meeting IRL my IVL Heliopath friends from the Diner, WHD, Lucid Dreams, Gypsy Mama, Eddie the Dentista and Haniel the Tech Wizard who picked up the Ball from my friend Peter in Ocean Falls who set up the Diner software and who now keeps it running and relatively free from too many glitches or sabotage by the NSA.

The Doomstead Diner and the SUN website continue to grow and develop here, we have in the works coming also Moodle Education Software for bringing yourself up to speed on means and methods for better securing yourself for the hard times to come, and we hope to soon also begin the process of transferring these ideas into IRL communities, sprinkled all around the FSoA, and the rest of the Globe as well.  We will be engaging in Demonstration Projects IRL in Texas, South Carolina and Minnesota to begin with, and we welcome inquiries into setting up Demos wherever you are located also.  You can contact us on the SUN website to find out more about that.

Following the Convocation in TX beginning next week, at the end of May on the Memorial Day Weekend, Diners intend to be present as well at the Age of Limits Conference held at the 4 Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.  We hope to be able to bring you more Vidcasts and Podcasts from there as well, with interviews and discussions with some of your favorite Doomer Pundits like Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World, John Michael Greer of the Archdruid Report, Dmitry Orlov of Club Orlov and Albert Bates from The Farm in TN, along with many other who will be attending this conference.

Coming through the rest of the week here leading up to the Convocation will be more Blogs from the other Heliopaths, with their thoughts on the coming Collapse as well as their perspectives on what it takes to transform IVL life IDEAS like SUN into IRL Communities that can make it possible to bridge to the Future in a BETTER TOMORROW, not a worse one or none at all.  Check in on the Diner Blog this week to read more about that.

After that, I hope to see some of you via the Magic of the Internet while we proceed to Burn that Hotel Down in Italy TX.  We are an Amerikan Band of Doomers, and we will Party Down here as we walk into the waning days of Industrial Civilization.  It’s not too late to join us there either, contact us on the Diner and we will give you all the specifics.

BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE!

(at least IVL, anyhow)

RE

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Around 25,000 of my colleagues flew to a conference, leaving a colossal carbon footprint in their wake. This makes our warnings less credible to the public[img]https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/d75d579b06eac29400c6a4405f4838a0bb26da1e/65_342_2445_...

The MCC carbon clock demonstrates just how much carbon can be released into the atmosphere if global warming shall be limited to 1.5°C, or 2°C with high probability. By selecting a choice of temperature targets and estimates, you can see how much time ...

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