Farming

The Nonviolent History of American Independence: Interview with Rivera Sun

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Published on Rivera Sun on July 30, 2016

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Interview with Rivera Sun on August 14, 2016

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CNV-July-4-MemeIndependence Day is commemorated with fireworks and flag-waving, gun salutes and military parades . . . however, one of our nation’s founding fathers, John Adams, wrote, “A history of military operations . . . is not a history of the American Revolution.”

Often minimized in our history books, the tactics of nonviolent action played a powerful role in achieving American Independence from British rule. Benjamin Naimark-Rowse wrote, “the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.”

One hundred-fifty years before Gandhi, the American colonists employed many of the same nonviolent actions the Indian Self-Rule Movement would later use to free themselves from the same empire – Great Britain. The boycotting of British goods (tea, cloth, and other imported items) significantly undermined British profits from the colonies. Noncooperation with unjust laws eroded British authority as the colonists refused to comply with laws that restricted assembly and speech, allowed the quartering of soldiers in colonists’ homes, and imposed curfews. Non-payment of taxes would prove to be a landmark issue for the independence movement. The development of parallel governments and legal structures strengthened the self-rule and self-reliance of the colonists and grew local political control that would ultimately prove strong enough to replace British governance of the colonies. Acts of protest and persuasion, petitions, pamphlets, rallies, marches, denouncements, legal and illegal publications of articles, and disruption of British meetings and legal proceedings were also employed.

Some of the most powerful boycotts in nonviolent history occurred in the New England colonies against the British Crown. Though the term boycott would not emerge for another hundred years until the Irish coined it during tenant and land struggles, what the colonists called “nonimportation programs” dropped British revenue in New England by 88 percent between 1774 and 1775. In the Carolinas, colonists deprived the Crown of 98.7 percent of import revenue. Moreover, in Virginia and Maryland, the rate reached an impressive 99.6 percent participation.

Resistance to the Stamp Act of 1764 thru 1775 dropped revenues 95 percent below what was expected. The British could not even pay for the cost of enforcing the Stamp Act throughout the colonies, and it was repealed in 1766. Newspapers published without paying the Stamp Tax used noms de plume to avoid reprisal. Courts closed because lawyers and judges refused to pay the Stamp Act for the printing of court documents. Shipping permits were supposed to be stamped, and, since merchants and shippers refused to pay the tax, ports closed, and even official documents were not delivered! Merchants of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia pledged a nonimportation pact until the Stamp Act was repealed. Six months later (at a time when crossing the Atlantic by sail took at least six weeks, and sometimes as long as three months), the Crown repealed the Stamp Act under pressure from its own panicked merchants.

In a campaign that is strikingly familiar to Gandhi’s spinning campaign, the American boycott of imported British cloth held spin-ins, whereby young women gathered in large groups to spin homespun yarn for weaving cloth. Colonists even stopped wearing the traditional funeral black (which mirrored English style) in protest of Great Britain. Women played significant roles in all the nonimportation programs, especially the resistance to the notorious Tea Act. While everyone remembers the Boston Tea Party’s dumping of tea into the Boston Harbor, few Americans have heard about how Susan Boudinot. She was the nine-year-old daughter of a New Jersey patriot, who, when handed a cup of tea while visiting the governor, curtsied, raised the cup to her lips, and then tossed the tea out the window.

These are just some of the many nonviolent actions engaged in by Americans in their struggle for independence. Some scholars even go so far as to call the Revolutionary War, the “War of Reclamation,” for the revolution had already been won in the hearts, minds, homes, and practices of the people by the time the British Crown sought to reclaim the independent and self-governing colonies. This Independence Day, tell the stories of the role nonviolent action played in establishing the United States. Perhaps by next year, we will be participating in re-enactments of spin-ins, holding mock funerals for Lady Liberty, and engaging in boycotts of imported goods to commemorate how American Independence was actually won.

_____________________

ARivera New Hatuthor/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She is a trainer and social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. Sun attended the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in 2014 and her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance. www.riverasun.com

A Buddhist Farm Pictorial Essay

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Published on Open Mind on April 16, 2016

Photographs in this collection have been produced by Alison Lowrie, Heather Do, Liz Dolinar, and Adriana Haro at request of Michael Ashley for the UC Berkeley Anthropology 136e class, Spring 2011. The purpose was to digitally document the cultural heritage of Green Gulch Zen Center with the objective of gaining better insight into the Zen Center's cultural history through the use of photographic technology. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center (Latitude 37.86657, Longitude -122.56528), also known as the Green Dragon Temple, is located in Marin County, CA, in an idyllic valley overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Green Gulch is located on 115 acres within a large region of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, approximately 10 miles north of San Francisco. Green Gulch is one of three locations constituting the San Francisco Zen Center, founded by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi[1]. In 1972, Green Gulch was purchased from George Wheelwright, co-founder of Polaroid, as a part of SuzukiÕs vision to establish a farm near San Francisco where a community of Zen Buddhist practitioners could live and together practice their faith[2][3]. Green Gulch now serves as a Buddhist center in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, focused on awakening the Bodhisattva spirit of kindness and realistic helpfulness within the people residing, working, and visiting the center[1]. Green Gulch is comprised of a temple (called the Zendo), organic farm and garden, guesthouse, and conference center. The center offers training and practice in Zen mediation through workshops, retreats, and apprenticeships emphasizing meditation practice, Buddhist teachings, and organic gardening and farming methods[4]. Photographs in this collection were captured on Sunday April 24, 2011, between 11:30 AM and 2:15 PM Pacific Time, under sunny conditions. Nixon D80 and two-Canon XSI cameras were used. A tripod was used for HDR shots. The photos were post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.  Description written by Adriana Haro, foll

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One of our regular Diners Knarf recently started a Blog for his Buddhist Monastery called Open Mind.  He shared with us on the Diner Forum some of the pictures taken on their farm, which are quite beautiful and I asked him if I could share them with the Diner Readers.  He was cool with this, so here you have a photo essay of the farm of a bunch of Buddhist Monks currently operating down in the Lower 48.


A wonderful vision of a more peaceful life working together with nature, which really you do not need to be a Buddhist to enjoy.  You do howeer need to learn cooperatively and in peace with others if you are to do so. -RE

Here are some pics of our farm.

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Homestead hogs in portable pens till a garden plot.

 

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Handmade footbridge over intermittent stream.

 

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Three-point farm implements.

 

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This garage was used as a filling station in the 1920s.

 

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Reversible garden frames to keep critters from disturbing seedlings.

 

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Yellow groove bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata).

 

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Farm cat rests in the shade.

 

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Compost pile.

 

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A green insect we thought might be an emerald ash borer.  It isn’t.

 

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This tree isn’t doing well.

 

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Layer pullets and guinea keets.

 

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Grown laying hens.

 

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Barred rock rooster.

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American guinea hog gilt, Binkie.

 

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Preparing for winter.

 

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Homegrown sunflower seeds.

 

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Newborn Kinder goats Eliza and Alexa.

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Binkie, shortly before farrowing.

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Binkie vs The Great Pumpkin.

 

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Dipped candles are clipped to a pasta rack.

 

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Kinder goat herd.  (disregard date)

 

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Banker, Binkie and their first litter, preparing ground for sowing red clover and alfalfa.

 

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Piglets grazing on wheat grass.

 

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Corn thrives, thanks to liberal application of composted, manure-rich hog bedding. (disregard date)

 

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Eggs collected daily are dated in pencil to ensure first-in, first-out rotation.

 

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An aggressive but non-venomous little snake.

 

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Flash flooding takes a toll on the footbridge.

 

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A home-butchered 18-month-old American guinea hog boar, ready to be wrapped in freezer paper.

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Hogs rooting up the field again.

 

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The creek on a snowy day.

 

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An oven-ready wild gooseberry pie.

 

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The homestead blanketed in snow.

 

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‘Nuf said.

 

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Livestock guardian dog Snowball studies her new charges.

 

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Chicken coop and footbridge.

 

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Starter trio of Kinder does — left to right, Lori, Lacy and Harriet.

 

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Guinea hog pork, ready to serve.

 

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Years after discontinuing its use, we sometimes find scraps of this landscape fabric in our vegetable garden.  Ugh.

 

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The footbridge and the back of the chicken coop, as seen from the other side of the creek.

 

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Boosin the cat took the raccoon bait.

 

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We found Snowball offered for free on Craigslist.

 

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Black walnut logs for the wood stove.

 

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Apple trees in bloom.

 

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A snapping turtle on the marshy forest floor.

 

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A morel mushroom in the leaf litter.

 

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Expect the unexpected.

 

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Bass from a nearby farm pond.

 

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Sunflowers.

No Season

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Published on Peak Surfer on April 10, 2016

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"They have given up their banana and avocado farm in Africa and hope to make a go of it in a land where they do not recognize the trees and have a bit of trouble understanding the local dialect."

 

  We are midway through #REX3 — a 10-day advanced permaculture design workshop with our friends Darren Doherty and Cliff Davis here in Southern Tennessee. The site this year is the newly acquired farm of an emigrant family in the rolling hills of Maury County, just about 20 miles from The Farm community.

For those not familiar with the changes going on in the southern regions of Africa, a bit of history might be helpful. The British took control of the Cape of Good Hope in 1806 in order to prevent it from being occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars. Dutch-speaking Afrikaners who had been there more than a century chaffed under British authority and didn’t like being forced to speak English, so they migrated inland and although the British recognized the independence of the South African Republic in 1852 and the Orange Free State in 1854, after gold was discovered the Empire returned and reclaimed those regions in the Boer Wars. A visitor from New Zealand described the typical Afrikaner Kraal of that era:

The Boer republics were sparsely populated and most farming communities lived in isolation, linked to each other by crude wagon trails. Following the custom of their forefathers, the Boers believed a farm should be at least 2400 hectares. Boer farms, even those tending livestock, often had no enclosures; the farmhouse would simply be surrounded by open pasture, a few fields of crops and maybe an orchard. The house itself would often be built from clay and usually consisted of two rooms with a thatched roof. The decorations within were modest and the clay floors were routinely smeared with a mixture of cow dung and water to reduce dust.

Of course, the large farms of the Afrikaners did not remain poor. Thanks to slave labor, many generations of farm toil, and the commerce of the British Empire, they grew to be some of the wealthiest and most productive in the world.

Afrikaner history, although now a distant past, was a thorn in the side of the later African anti-apartheid drives of the last century and animosities linger. For a very long time a small white minority had ruled cruelly, and now, finally, majority rule returned. What happened in nearby Zimbabwe is illustrative of what that can mean for the whites.

Like Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress in South Africa, in the white-ruled state of Rhodesia the opposition party ZANU was banned and its leader Robert Mugabe was imprisoned in 1964. In prison Mugabe taught English to his fellow prisoners and earned multiple graduate degrees by correspondence from the University of London. Freed in 1974, he went into exile in Zambia and Mozambique where he built the resistance movement. Later, with support of British negotiators, the new state of Zimbabwe was given majority rule and in 1980 it elected Mugabe, who has been president ever since and has no intended successors.

Mugabe worked to convince his country’s 200,000 whites, including 4,500 commercial farmers, to stay. Then, in 1982, Mugabe sent his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to smash dissent. Over five years, an estimated 20,000 civilians were killed and many whites were dispossessed of their farms with no advance notice. In 2000 Mugabe rewrote the Zimbabwean constitution to expand the powers of the presidency and legitimize seizures of white-owned land. The country’s commercial farming collapsed, triggering years of hyperinflation and food shortages in a nation of impoverished billionaires.

In recent years the horrors inflicted by Mugabe have been so sadistic that we are left wondering whether he is demented by syphillis. And yet, through all of this, he enjoyed the support of the ANC in South Africa and has widespread approval in the continent. With the death of Mandela, South Africa has begun moving away from the policies of equanimity between races and it has become increasingly difficult for whites to attend universities and obtain professional employment. Which brings us to Tennessee.

The farm where our students are congregating this morning is a lifeboat for this old family of Dutch ancestry. They have given up their banana and avocado farm in Africa and hope to make a go of it in a land where they do not recognize the trees and have a bit of trouble understanding the local dialect. Back in South Africa are a number of relatives who look towards this young couple and their Tennessee farm as Noah’s Ark in event of a hard rain coming.

The REX advanced course “cuts to the chase” with farm design to assay what the needs are and what strategies will get this ark on a prosperous footing most rapidly. As the Regrarians website describes it:

In the world of workshops & courses there is nothing quite like the #Regrarians 10 day Integrated Farm Planning course or #REX. A carefully crafted distillation of the world’s greatest and most effective methodologies, the #REX is designed for nothing less than effective outcomes. People are participants, not ‘attendees’ or ‘students’ at a #REX, such is the integrity of the course model for its inclusive approach. Following the Regrarians already renowned & highly respected #RegrariansPlatform, the #REX follows a subject a day, building layer by practical layer for the real client and real enterprise that is the basis for this unique 10 day experience.

DAY 1 – Climate (90 minute sessions)
A – Client ‘Climate’ Briefing, Develop Holistic Goal/Concept, Terms of Reference
B – Atmospheric Climate retrieval & analysis, macro & micro climate factors
C – Legal ‘Climate’ retrieval & analysis, Municipal & State planning, other regulations
D – Climate Layer Exercise – Over 60 mins in small work-teams frame responses to the above and report to course findings in 10 mins each group (includes feedback)
E – Thermophyllic Composting Demonstration (scalable)

DAY 2 – Geography
A – Revision; Sandpit: Keyline Geography, Geometry & Applications
B – Assemble & Study Cadastral, Geology, Soil, Topographic, Planning & Mining Maps
C – GIS/GPS/Survey Applications & Technologies, Online GIS resources, Developing Effective Plans
D – Farm Walk ‘n’ Talk, Landscape Reading & Analysis, ‘Farmscape’ Analysis, Define Primary Land Unit & Land Component Boundaries, ‘Bullseye’ Demonstration

DAY 3 – Water
A – Revision; Examine & Overview of Existing Farm Water Systems, Farm Catchment
B – Earth Dam Construction & Water Harvesting Infrastructure – Design, Processes & Applications
C – Farm Irrigation Systems – Design, Applications & Installation
D – Water Layer – Over 90 mins (plus break time) develop farm water storage, harvesting
E – Water Layer Presentation & Feedback session + 10 mins each group for presentation & feedback

DAY 4 – Access
A – Revision; Examine & Overview of Existing Internal & External Farm Access
B – Access Earthworks Design, Engineering, Construction & Applications
C – Dam, Water Harvesting & Access Set Out Practicum: using Surveyor & DIY Instruments (RTK-GPS, Total Station, Transit & Laser Levels)
D – Access Layer – Over 60 mins develop farm access concept plan + 10 mins per group for presentation & feedback

DAY 5 – Forestry
A – Revision; Forestry Systems Applications: Shelterbelts, Alleys, Orchards, Avenues, Woodlands, Blocks, Riparian
B – Forestry Systems Design & Establishment Strategies
C – Forestry Systems Management & Utilisation
D – Forestry Layer – Over 60 mins develop farm forestry concept plan + 10 mins per group for presentation & feedback

DAY 6 – Buildings
A – Revision; Building Types & Technologies: Dwellings, Sheds, Yards & Portable Livestock
B – Building placement strategies, Existing Building Analysis & Retrofitting Options
C – Lucas Portable Sawmill Practicum + Broiler Shelter Construction
D – Building Layer – Over 60 mins develop farm building concept plan + 10 mins per group for presentation & feedback

DAY 7 – Fencing
A – Revision; Fencing Technologies, Applications & Costings
B – Fencing Placement – Land Components/Structures/Livestock systems
C – Fencing Installation Practicum – with local ‘Pro’ Fencer: Build end assemblies, ‘wires & pliers’, electric net fencing, tumblewheel
D – Fencing Layer – Over 60 mins develop farm fencing concept plan + 10 mins per group for presentation & feedback

DAY 8 – Soils
A – Revision, ‘5 Ingredients for Soil Formation’ – House Envelope & SilvoPastoral Applications
B – Farm Soil Classifications & Sample Analysis: Earth Building, Earthworks & Agricultural
C – Yeomans Keyline Plow ‘Pattern Cultivation’, Survey & Set Out
D – ‘Time Poor’ Farm Garden Practicum: No Dig/Wicking Beds; Keyline Plow Forestry &
Orchard Ground Preparation
E – Holistic Management Planned Grazing – Grazing Plan Practicum
 

DAY 9 – Economy
A – Revision; Farm Enterprise Planning: Comparing Enterprises, Market & Resource Analysis, Complementary Enterprise Options & Liaisons, Managing & Limits to Growth & Expectations
B – Farm Enterprise Management: ‘The Team’, Interns/WWOOFERS, Apprentices, Employees/SubContractors, Terms of Reference, Job Descriptions & Contracts
C – Economy Layer – Over 90 mins prepare a Farm Enterprise & Marketing Concept Plan
D – Economy Layer – Continued from Session C – 60 mins of Farm Enterprise & Marketing Concept Plan preparation then 10 mins per group presentation & feedback

DAY 10 – Energy
A – Revision; Farm Energy Conversion & Storage Systems: Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Biomass, BioDigestor, Wind, Hydro; Analysis of suitability & applications
B – Energy Layer – Over 60 minutes prepare an Farm Energy Concept Plan + 10 mins per group presentation & feedback
C – Farm Enterprise Development & Reporting; Client & Contractor Liaisons; Prioritising Works
D – Completed REX ‘Regrarians Platform’ Concept Plan Layer Analysis & Review – Client & Participant Feedback; ‘What’s Next?’; Presentations

Today we are on Day 7 – Fencing. Tomorrow we get to speak about biochar and carbon farming and are looking forward to that part.

As we walked the high ridges of this farm we happened upon an old cemetery, overgrown with vines, its raised crypts caving in, its carvings fading. We posted a photo of one stone on Instagram and someone was kind enough to provide the reference to the verse, which is by poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793-1835). It is called The Hour of Death.

Leaves have their time to fall
And flowers to wither at the north wind’s breath
And stars to set, but all
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, o Death

In many ways this family is lucky. They sensed the north wind’s breath and got out before the knock on the door in the night. They cashed in and took the value of their previous farm with them. All across Europe and the Middle East, changing climate and conflicts over dwindling resources — effects of the population bomb long ago forecast —  are sending waves of penniless and desperate refugees fleeing with nothing at all, just the clothes on their backs.

With the increase of global climate weirding we sometimes get the sense that we may be entering a time without reliable seasonality. There is only one name for that. Death.

In the end, there is no refuge. There is just this one blue marble in space. Either we begin to steward the land the way this workshop of Darren’s teaches, or it will heat up, dry out and support no one.

Alternatively, we can school ourselves with methodologies such as these and live on a garden planet once more, keeping our numbers and demands in harmony with her natural abundance.

Is it even a serious choice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I eat, therefore I kill

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Published on Peak Surfer on September 6, 2015

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"Why do we think we need to appropriate all of the world's arable land to feed humans?"

 

Icelandic horses

  We are all what we think of as “individuals” in actuality living communities. Here in Iceland we have permaculture course participants from this country and Germany, the USA, Denmark, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, France, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Bulgaria and Costa Rica. Each of us is cross-fertilizing all the others with our microbiome — the spores and microbes we carry from our bioregions and freely pass by contact between skin, air, fluids and various surfaces we touch. Each of us leaves as a new microbiome, slightly altered from and more diverse than the one with which we arrived.

 

We also pick up and incorporate new microbes from the environment of the place. We may be ingesting bits and pieces that have already passed through the body of an old Viking, or his horse, before being interred in the soil for a time, later to find its way into our food and water and now leaving with us to become part of the soil somewhere else. Ultimately, we all come from stardust and are just continuously recycling.
 

 

Permaculture's father, Bill Mollison, liked to tease vegetarians about their dietary choices because he thought each of the arguments for going lower on the food chain to be a bit suspect. “I didn't spend several million years clawing my way to the top just to eat tofu,” he once told us over lunch. We looked down at our tofu, awkwardly.
 

 

At the time we were attending a permaculture convergence in Perth, Western Australia, and the kitchen staff had been told to expect mostly meat-eaters. Unfortunately there were three times more vegetarians amongst the permies attending, meaning long lines for the vegie option and meal servers experiencing a bit of crisis from lack of foresight.

 
Iceland: Grasslands thinly cover fields of broken lava; vast areas are suitable for grazing animals only.
 

Robyn Francis, who was one of Bill's earliest students and helped compile The Permaculture Designer's Manual in the early 1980s, breaks down some of the common ethical arguments. “Meat is just concentrated chlorophyll on a calcium stick,” she says, borrowing a pithy one-off realization from a former student. 

 

 

Rotational grazing by pigs breaks up the sod and deepens the soil profile, making it cultivatable for vegetables and grains.
 
 

The hackneyed vegan line about not eating things with eyes or that try to run away may be humorous but as we know from studies of sensory mechanisms and “emotions” in plants, those have feelings too, know fear, seek to preserve their lives, and would rather not be your dinner if offered the choice. Moreover, they each have a microbiome made of lots of tiny animals with eyes that try to get away.
 

 

 

Zoocentrism: the relegation of plants to the bottom of a hierarchy of intelligent life.

 

 

Robyn puts up a slide from a study of Australian grain farming that shows how many living things — reptiles, birds, ferrets, field mice — are slaughtered each year per hectare of grain being harvested by combines. In the study area of New South Wales, grain harvesters kill 25 times more animals per hectare than comparable pastures of cows destined for slaughter. Put another way, the eyeball ratio of things that try to get away is approximately 25:1 to the vegan side of the ledger. In another slide, she explains that owning a sheepdog consumes the equivalent resource costs of owning an S.U.V.. Don't even get us started on house cats.
 

 

Let's face it. If you are alive you only remain so by killing something else. This is how nutrients cycle between rock, soil, plants, decaying matter, insects, bacteria, fungi and animals. It is a group process, each of us taking a role at some time as predator or prey. We might not like to eat worms but in the end they are more than happy to eat us.

There is, in practice, no such thing as autonomy. Practically, there is only a distinction between responsible and irresponsible dependencies."

— Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace 
 

 

Published on Facebook on August 27, this image
has 12,000 likes and 2877 shares, so fa

Consider the larger issue of global food supply. Humans now number 7 billion and will continue to expand; energy, food and water supply permitting. A third of Earth's land mass is suitable for agriculture but only about a third of that is actually farmable for grains, vegetables, fruits or the kinds of things that vegans eat. The other two thirds can't grow vegies and may not have enough water for tree crops but can, with careful stewardship and stocking rates, sustain edible animals. Indeed, if you listen to the mob rotational grassland discussion begun by Alan Savory, you might believe that only large herds of grazing animals, bunched and moving, are capable of ecologically restoring those kinds of damaged lands, re-sequestering the carbon they once held, and restoring the hydrological and climate cycles to pre-Anthropocene — the water and soil regime once built and maintained by buffalos, mammoths, tigers and wolves.
 

 

Here is a point of contention we take with that argument, and we welcome discussion. By extension, we can say that if arable land is at a premium, then good land with ample water should be devoted to grains, vegetables, fruits and the kinds of things that vegans eat. Far more people can be fed adequate and high quality proteins, carbohydrates and fats from that land if we eat lower down the food chain because by passing crops through animals we lose nutritional returns by large factors, anywhere from ten to one in the case of poultry to forty to one in the case of cattle. By the logic Robyn used, we should be growing domestic animals exclusively on the marginal lands that cannot support anything else. This eliminates Joel Salatin's farm in Virginia and many of the high yield animal operations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. No more Kobe beef or German Sauerbraten.
 

 

The argument for eating farmed animals assumes we cannot feed the world if we removed commercial animal agriculture and concentrated on plants. We can — on just the portion of prime farmland that has good growing seasons and plenty of water. An acre of organic, no-till, biochar-augmented, nitrogen-fixing, non-GMO soybeans not processed into animal feed or plastics can supply high quality protein equal to forty or more acres of cattle. Eliminate animal agriculture on the best farmland and you won't need to use the other 60% of Earths arable land for food animals.
 

 

 

Why do we think we need to appropriate all of the world's arable land to feed humans?

 

 

Producing food for human populations in dry climates or with poor soils by importing it from better land in better climates is a dicey proposition, given that the globalization paradigm is now on life support and built on Ponzi debt that is really a theft from our children. The world is being forced by the inexorability of the physics of fossil energy to relocalize, and quickly. To continue tracking the consumerist exponential curve — of water use, soil loss, oil depletion, fishery extinctions, population, and pollution — is sheer folly. Beyond lies an Olduvai Cliff.
 

Roasted Icelandic Horse. Horse was the
traditional meat of German Sauerbraten.

In a localized world, absent catastrophically induced decline, we imagine that human population will gradually attrit to something approximating the steady state balance between supply and demand that indigenous peoples mastered. That was the old normal before the last Ice Age, and it will likely go that way again in the Age of Consequence.
 

 

Humans in local societies may choose to balance their diets in whatever ways are most efficacious for their climate and customs. Those habits will become, or return, traditions. Some may be vegan, many likely not.

Of Squirrels and Bicycles

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Published on Peak Surfer on June 21, 2015

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We were biking on a backcountry lane this week when we surprised a squirrel about to cross the highway.

Observing the interaction between squirrel and machine, we noted that the maladaptive squirrel did not take a straight line to escape the sudden appearance of the bicycle, a perceived predator, because to do so would conflict with its genetically hard-wired fight-or-flight survival response.

Countless generations of dead squirrels had, by process of elimination, coded a certain wisdom into our squirrel's sudden reaction, which was to zig away from the bike, then zag back into the path of peril, then zig away again.

For millennia this randomized algorithm of zigs and zags thwarted the astute calculus of hawks, owls, eagles, foxes, cougars, coyotes and other cagey hunters of squirrel who put themselves on a perfect intercept trajectory, only to find the quarry gone when they arrived. Who can parse a random algorithm? It defeats both speed and angle of attack, putting the contest into one of nimbleness, stamina and availability of cover.

Against automobiles and other fast-moving machines, the program is utterly maladaptive. Having escaped the danger zone, the squirrel rushes back into the path of oncoming death. In a significant percentage of encounters they find themselves occupying the same position in time and space as the rotating tire of a car. Remnants of squirrel smeared on pavement, a boon to turkey buzzards and other scavengers, attest to a failed algorithm that should have been retired half a century ago. Similarly maladaptive to the automobile age are the defense strategies of opossums and armadillos.

But on the other hand, a mere half-century of paving progress is just a bat of evolutionary time's eyelash for a squirrel. The 100-year auto age may be a passing fad, and in not so many years (already Peak Oil+10 at this writing) the fox and hawk may assert prior rights to the average country squirrel.

We have been speaking recently of the energy calculus of renewables and whether they can be brought on line fast enough to avert catastrophic climate change and save our civilization. We hold the humble opinion that while renewables must indeed replace our self-destructive addiction to oil, gas and coal, there is no possible way that such a switch could save our profligate and bloated civilization. Just do the math.

Nonetheless, switching back to sunlight is our only option, climate change or no, and assigning reality-based costs to fossil fuels, or merely removing their obscene trillion-dollar subsidies, should be done immediately.

But we need to realize that while we can move some sectors of the energy economy to renewables, not all of them will follow, and not most of the really big ones that a globally industrialized economy requires. We can easily electrify cars but not steel mills, cement factories, container ships or airplanes. We can replace agrochemical farming with bioenergy-to-carbon-storage (BECS), but we cannot as easily dry the grains, transport, process and package them unless we are prepared to relocalize farming to a scale last seen before World War II, when the world's population was about 12% of present.

Our maladaptive civilization model is not in the position of the bicycle or the automobile here, it is the squirrel. We race to and fro in a desperate attempt to escape our fate, but odds are roughly even in any given encounter that our fragile economy will wind up under the tire, and splayed across the pavement. The tire missed it in 2008. That may or may not happen again next time, and dumb luck will have a hand in the outcome.

We are happy to report that in our case, we did not waiver in our bicycle's trajectory. The squirrel escaped unharmed.

The Cairncrest Farm Project

Off the keyboard of Edmund Brown

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Published on the Cairncrest Blog on January 29, 2015

ed portrait

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On Cairncest Farm, two brothers, Edmund and Garth, eat only what they raise/grow/forage/hunt themselves for an entire year. Join them as they blog about taking the local food movement to its logical and absurd conclusion.

Welcome to our year-long project. Over the coming year my brother and I are going to take the local food movement to its logical and absurd endpoint, and we’re going to blog about it. We’re going to grow all our own food for an entire year*. We’re kicking it off today with the onset of 2015. Several times a week we’re going to write about food, animals, vegetables, and other homestead related things. Obviously we did not decide to do this on a whim since we’re starting in the heart of winter and live in central New York. We began preparing for real last spring when we planted out our whole garden. We also co-own a farm and we have our own grass-fed beef. We have a small flock of chickens. We have some live pigs, but have never butchered one so we don’t have pork… yet.

I am the only member of my nuclear family engaged to live off hyper local food for a year, but as with any strict dietary proscriptions there are impositions on those closest to the ‘dieter’. I want to acknowledge my wife, Normandy, wonderful woman that she is. She is supportive of my harebrained scheme despite the burdens it entails.

From Garth:

A Lack of Surplus

For breakfast I ate (what else?) rutabagas with ground beef and sage. I find it interesting that I am still able to enjoy these simple ingredients so much even entering week five. True, I’ve turned on turnips, but they were on thin ice at the outset. Generally, I find each meal I eat immensely satisfying, and I haven’t been exceptionally hungry since the first week. The more difficult aspect is the prospect of my diet continuing in this vein, and perhaps even growing more limited, for months to come.

Which is to say, it’s still a huge stretch for me to imagine what it would be like if I was actually relying on the land in a life-or-death sort of way. It’s easier to focus on what I don’t have (I write as my wife grinds her coffee) than to imagine how deeply grateful I’d be for every last carrot if I was truly limited to my current stores. But I still try to imagine, as much as possible, what it would be like if the stakes were higher.

Knowing that I can go to the store if my health is actually in danger of being compromised has allowed me to be comfortable with a small margin of error. If the beets all rot next month I won’t starve. One certainty is that, if I was really living off the land, I would make a point of growing a lot more food. This excess would primarily serve as a buffer against any one particular crop having a low yield or even failing outright, but it could be fed to pigs to contribute to the year’s meat supply.  After all, one wonderful quality of a pig is its ability to store surplus perishables for later, delicious use.

Even if I consciously know that I have unlimited food potentially available, I’m not certain my body has gotten the memo. I haven’t lost any weight, but my basal metabolism does seem to have slowed way down. I’m wearing more layers inside just to stay comfortable, and my hands get cold when I go outside much faster than I’m used to. I’m not lethargic in that I have plenty of energy to go do chores and everything, but I do feel like I could sleep a couple hours most afternoons if I wanted to. Ed reports similar symptoms.

I’m curious as to the cause. My best guess is that, even though I’m now eating three meals a day where I used to eat two, my total caloric intake has nevertheless dropped. Onions, turnips, rutabagas, and even beets are not particularly concentrated sources of calories (less than two hundred calories in a pound, which is a large serving). This is good news for anyone who’s counting carbs, but it’s not so good if, like me, you generally eat noticeably more in the colder months and only feel capable of putting away so much tallow in a sitting. Potatoes are calorically dense, but, as I’ll write about soon, the crop this year was not what I’d hoped for.

Having an excess of food available has been such a fundamental part of life that I had hardly considered it in any but the most abstract terms. In truth, I still do have an excess, it’s just a much more limited one. So this is another reason that, if I was growing all my food year in and year out, I would grow extra and grow as wide a variety as possible – it would be nice to not have to work quite so hard to eat enough, and it would be a comfort to have more variety.

-Garth

Image Credit: Amy Gray

 

Distraction, Surveillance, Peak Oil and the End of the Internet

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on August 1, 2014

 What happens to our computers when there’s little to nothing left to power them with? (photo © Americanspirit)

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With this article, the Diner introduces a new  Cross Posting Blogger, Allan Stromfeldt Christensen from the blog From Filmers to Farmers.A former filmmaker now turned farmer (as the title of his blog suggests), Allan has been concerned with the issues of Technology and Peak Oil for a long time, but just recently relented in his quest to divorce himself from the Techno Age to begin his blog, basically as a promotional means to get the more traditional Book Writing thing going.He sent me one of his blogs to cross post, and after looking through his fairly new website his perspectives are ones often discussed on the Diner, so I will catch up here on the blogs chronologically, which begin in August of 2014.Allan has actually appeared on the Diner before, in a photograph taken at the Age of Limits conference in 2013, which one of the Diners also attended.  He’s the guy on the left with the Pencil in his ear.

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Allan should be available inside the Diner to discuss his perspectives and experiences thusfar as we move down the Collapse Highway. -RE

Let me be upfront about one thing: I don’t particularly want to be writing this blog. But as I am an unpublished writer completing his first book in this early twenty-first century of ours, for what should be obvious reasons, I am.

Why don’t I particularly want to be writing this blog?

For one, I’m not a very big fan of the Internet, and beginning in mid-2008 had spent more than five years (mostly) not using it – nor computers in general. To be more specific, I did still use computers at libraries to access their catalogues, after three years I did very sparingly start using email again, and after the fourth year I did occasionally ask a few people to look up various pieces of information for me online. (To be more specific, I wrote the first draft of my manuscript by hand, edited on top of that with a red pen to complete the second draft, typed that out on a circa-1930s Remington typewriter, then had an ever helpful cousin of mine transcribe that over to a computer for me.)

Secondly, when I say I “mostly” didn’t use the Internet, I’m fully aware how intertwined our lives are with the online world and the virtual impossibility of completely separating oneself from it. In this flush-happy modern world of ours, I have no doubt that the chlorine in the drinking water used to make my bodily “waste” go away was purchased, ordered, and delivered by services dependent on the Internet, and that the lever on the toilet might as well have been an “enter” button (or better yet, an “out of sight, out of mind” button).

Nonetheless, my abstention was significant enough to note, but upon moving to a new city in late-2013, where I knew no one, I of course couldn’t go about repeatedly asking my new housemates to give me a hand with various online activities – buying a used desk, chair, bookshelves, etc. So after a five and a half year hiatus I acquiesced, and since November 2013 I’ve been back online. (Note to prospective publishers interested in contacting me about writing a cutesy My 280 Weeks Without the Internet book – forget about it.)

In hindsight, and particularly in regards to writing the manuscript for From Filmers to Farmers, I can now see that abstaining from the Internet is the best thing I could have done those six or so years ago. I’ll digress.

Although I suppose that largely abstaining from the Internet for five and a half years is something someone would do for either highly ideological reasons or to perhaps secure a fat advance from a New York City book publisher (again, please don’t contact me), the rather anti-climactic reason for why I began my hiatus was little more than the result of a gut feeling. I suppose I was always irked by the fossil fuels I had to burn through in order to do a bit of online reading, my contribution to the destruction of the ecosphere in order to mine the rare earth elements necessary for the construction of my computer (partaken on my behalf by multinational corporations), as well as the amount of Asian coolies I used by proxy in order to assemble my computer’s components and all the others that made the network possible. So sure, although that stuff and more often went through my head, it wasn’t as if some moral epiphany had suddenly washed over me. Instead, having given up filmmaking – and so film and video cameras – a few years earlier, it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do in the natural progression of things.

It wasn’t until I was about two years into my hiatus (which, for all I knew, was going to last my whole life) that I got a strong confirmation for what I was doing. This came courtesy of what I think is not only the best book that has been written about the Internet, but the best book that can be written about the Internet. That would be Nicolas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. I won’t give a summation here, but I will point out that the book provides ample scientific evidence of how the Internet hampers our minds from thinking very creatively or deeply, and that multitasking is much more of a hindrance than a benefit to our thought processes and productivity.

Although I didn’t expect it to be so blatant, Carr’s conclusions became readily obvious to me in the final half a year of my hiatus when I increasingly asked other people to open various webpages for me. And not only did I continue to access library catalogues, but I also began to heavily peruse the catalogues of online booksellers. As my usage increased I noticed my ability to concentrate on my research and note-taking significantly deteriorating, and I went from being able to sit down for hours at a time at the library to repeatedly “needing” to get up and log onto a computer, only to end up tapping away at the refresh button on my email account with repeated fruitless clicks. Not only that, but all this occurred even though I was readily aware that virtually nobody ever emailed me except for a few seed saving organizations I had joined and/or volunteered with, as well as various unsolicited organizations that repeatedly sent me what I presume were targeted emails with offers of various pills and other concoctions that promised to increase the size of my “member” (to this day I’m still not sure how the Internet and all its devious algorithms deciphered that well-kept secret of mine – curses that darn NSA!)

Anyway, having now jumped back onto the Internet bandwagon full-force (minus online video), my ability to sit down and concentrate on the research for my manuscript has been decimated. At best my work output is somewhere between a third and a half of what it used to be, and not simply because I spend a half to two-thirds less time at my work and in front of a computer instead; while I used to be able to read a book for hours on end, a half an hour is now an accomplishment for me. Similarly, when I’m sitting down at work the productivity just isn’t there anymore, more and more of my time being spent twirling my pen between my fingers and daydreaming about nothing of importance, probably deep down anticipating when I’m going to give in and let myself get up and log onto a computer again. And for what, you may ask? To log into my email account and find out that no one has emailed me; to discover that my website has had no new visitors since I last checked; and to perhaps visit one of the two news portals I peruse and read a few fairly interesting articles on energy supplies and/or about the latest tit-for-tat resource war shenanigans between those nations vying for the remaining dregs in this early peak oil era of ours.

In fact, this very website you’re on is the product of the distraction I’m talking about. While it’s hard to deny that the kind of book that I, an unknown writer, am writing in this modern era pretty much requires a website for promotional reasons, I also can’t deny that the construction of the site provided ample fodder for me to feed into my newfound Internet reliance (unless addiction isn’t too strong of a word). I spent about a month on and off building it, which included teaching myself how to code HTML and CSS, as well as how to manipulate (but mostly just copy and paste) JavaScript, PHP and Ajax that other people had coded. (I did this on a loaner as I don’t own a computer and haven’t bought one since I purchased a brand new Apple G4 back in 2000, and which was disposed of years ago.) When I then tried to take myself away from coding my site in order to work on the prep work for my last draft, I found my mind repeatedly unable to concentrate very well, it probably having gotten too used to the hyper-stimulated environment of clicking and jumping between links and pages on the Internet (again, see The Shallows).

That’s one of my two main gripes with the Internet. The other, contrary to what gets bandied about in fashionable circles today, has nothing to do with net neutrality or the whole Snowden/NSA brouhaha. For what concerns me is the longevity of the Internet, and what its demise portends for a civilization that without it, for one, would barely have any idea what to do with its own feces.

Let me be quick to point out that when I say “demise” I don’t refer to some imminent coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun or an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) unleashed by some rogue nation, both of which could theoretically cripple electronic infrastructures in an instant and usher entire societies into utter chaos virtually overnight. No. What I’m talking about is the slow and comparatively uneventful demise of the Internet due to peaking supplies of oil, other forms of energy, and the rare earth elements required for construction of the computers and the rest of the paraphernalia that makes up the Internet. In other words, not an overnight crash, but the decades-long slip into the up-and-coming dark ages.

As put in one of author John Michael Greer’s excellent peak oil books, The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered,

To suggest that the Internet will turn out to be, not the wave of the future, but a relatively short-lived phenomenon on the crest of the age of cheap abundant energy, is to risk running headlong into the logic of abundance… It’s essential not to get caught up in thinking of how many advantages the Internet might provide to a post-abundance world, because the advantages conferred by the Internet in no way mean that it must continue to exist. The fact that something provides an advantage does not guarantee that it is economically viable.

So while issues of online privacy and access may at best offer a passing interest to me, what really concerns me is how our uber-dependent society is going to manage without its ever-present www intravenous (or to be more specific, without cheap energy). How many businesses are you aware of that would still be able to function, or even know how to function, without the Internet? How about their suppliers? The transportation system which they rely on? It ends up being not much of a joke to wonder how long our porcelain goddesses would continue to woosh away, regardless of them not having a direct connection to the digital realm.

Falling through the looking glass (photo © Rangizzz, adapted by ASC)

Not exactly a topic du jour amongst polite company, how many of us are talking about this? Does Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State address any of this? No. Does Mr. Snowden? Not that I’ve read. Does The New York Times, The Toronto Star, The Melbourne Age? Fat chance of that. Even read through eco-oriented magazines and some peak oil writings and it’s not uncommon to come across pronouncements of the Internet as harbinger of a post-carbon era where a world of diverse local communities is bound together through the deliverance of ones and zeroes. I’m not sure if I should then call it a sad fact or not, but I suppose it should come as no surprise that pretty much all of what’s been written about the Internet’s demise exists, of all places, on the Internet.

Conscious of the fact that most of us seem to be giddily sleepwalking over the edge like a mob of true believers, I see no good reason why I should (re)create too much of a dependency on the Internet, it probably being a good idea to ween oneself and one’s community away from it as much as feasible. What kind of a timeline am I talking about here? Honestly, I haven’t the faintest idea, but I certainly don’t expect the Internet as we know it to be around for the duration of my lifetime. (That being said, I think it’s fair to say that when the Internet does start to go down, for various reasons it’ll be rural areas that lose their connections first.)

But in the meantime, should we not be concerned with the recent NSA leaks and such? Well, sure, I’ve read 1984. And yes, the surveillance state will probably get significantly more uncomfortable for many of us before its existence is significantly threatened by the diminishing returns of a post peak oil world. But nonetheless, from what I can tell there’s absolutely nothing revelationary that the recent NSA leaks have pointed out (either because you’ve already read books by James Bamford and such, or you simply applied common sense), while the repeated libertarian cries for digital rights amount to what are basically little more than shrill cries of fossil fuelled privilege, the demands all the more delusional when we consider the Internet’s inherent bias towards surveillance. (Erroneous talk of technological neutrality is fodder for another blog post, along with another about our ever-ridiculous technological optimism. But those parts of the manuscript need to be elaborated upon before they can be copied and pasted to this blog.)

I’ll never forget that day I first read about the NSA leaks, a friend of mine later that evening whipping out his cellphone and showing me the PRISM logo, followed by some unpleasant words about being spied upon. Concluding our conversation, my friend then turned to his fiancé and said, “come on honey, let’s go set up your new media box” (a device with which to watch digital content on a television set). Frankly, I don’t think I could sum up my feelings more clearly than by quoting from one of the greatest books of this early twenty-first century, Andrew Nikiforuk’s The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude: “The people on fossil fuels [are] perhaps the most narcissistic and bankrupt cohort in the history of the species.”

And never mind the problems within a digital world, what about the problems outside of the digital world? Do you have any idea of the hassle and interrogation one gets crossing an international border when customs finds out that you don’t own a cellphone? (Hello Australia and the US!)

In summation, what should be the real story of importance here is not privacy rights or equal access to the Internet’s transmission lines, but what – if anything – our preparation for the Internet’s demise will be.

Update 01/01/2015: So as to not give the impression that I’m some computer-coding whiz kid, I’ll point out that at the end of 2014 I did spend another month on-and-off fiddling around with the website, as well as figuring out how to build a site for mobile phones (which I somewhat did). Although I still don’t own a computer and did all the coding on a friend’s netbook and on library computers, I do now own a cellphone. That is, a friend gave me his spare iPhone 4 so that I could build the mobile site. But that being said, I don’t have a SIM card, and so no mobile number either.

Doomstead or Bugout?

Off the Diner Keyboards

Recently the Diner welcomed Old Horseman, a veteran of the Peak Period of Peak Oil chatter on  the Net as a Moderator on  Matt Savinar’s Life After the Oil Crash, better known to Peak Oilers and Doomers as LATOC.

Prior to meeting here, Old Horseman and I never encountered each other before on the Net in the Disucssions of Doom and the Prepping Paradigms, but of course its not a real big community overall and if you hang with it long enough, eventually you run into everybody.  So we did on the pages of The Oil Age, a Spin Off Forum which arose after Matt took LATOC Offline.

Old Horseman has been pursuing the Doomstead paradigm for a long time, as I gather more or less on the Amish Model utilizing Horses and 18th-19th century technology to build his Doomstead.  Inside the Diner since he arrived, we have begun a Comparative Methods discussion of how the Doomers can best Prep themselves for the dislocations which we are facing down as the Age of Oil comes to a close.

Below here you will find some of the discussion of our differing methodologies for Prepping for the Collapse, which I generally put under the Titles of “Doomsteading” or “Bugging Out“.  Others including the Sail Paradigm of Dmitri Orlow are also discussed here in this thread.

You can read much more inside the Diner on these ideas, but here below is a beginning for the Newby to Collapse to consider as you prep yourself for the End of the Age of Oil.

RE

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OnlineRE

« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2012, 11:25:25 PM »

   We don’t have anything quite that awesome here…  But we do have the means to make it pretty difficult for your common band of thugs to take us.  And there’s nothing here worth bothering-with to anyone more formidable than that.

Just Needling you OH.
Smokey Mountains in TN and WV and the Ozarks made my Top 10 Bugout Locations in North America.  So if you are in those neighborhoods,  :emthup: :emthup:
In terms of not having anything of value, you got the HORSES!  Good Eating for a roving band of ex-National Guard when the MREs run out.  Of course, Dogs make good eating also, just ask any Chef in a Chinese Restaurant.  :icon_mrgreen:
Anyhow, this is why I favor the Bugout Plans over the Doomsteading ones overall and Prepping to go the Full Primitive as far out as you can possibly go in a complete Shitstorm.  Sadly for me of course I came down with PAD a couple of years ago and my legs are no longer very good, so I won’t last much longer than my Preps unless the kids I have taught to use Sling and Atlatl value me enough to keep me around a while, just have to see how it goes if it comes down to that in what is left of my lifetime.
What I really expect up here is Alaska will become a Military State for a while, since the Military dominates up here and is very well equipped.  Better to be Inside the Fortress than outside it.  I expect the Military to commandeer the Oil Fields on the Slope and ANWR along with the Commercial Fishing Fleet as well and the Refinery in Faribanks.  I hope to be Useful and keep teaching Military Brats for a while longer before I make my final trip to the Great Beyond.
Just gotta see how it goes.  Worse come to worse, I’ll hole up in the Mountains with my preps and my Barrett .50 cal and shoot anything that moves inside 1000 yards.  Legs no good anymore, but I still have good eyes and a steady hand.
Will NOT get on the train for Resettlement in a FEMA Camp.  I’ll give myself up to the Bear before I do that.  I owe the Bears, took enough of them down, payback time for me there.
Basically I am just greatful I got to see as uch of this as I already have.  The rest is all Bonus now.
RE

Offlinebuzzard

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« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2012, 10:01:14 AM »
RE- Some of us made our decision on ‘bugging in’ based on our physical condition. We represent a small group of misfits and handicapped who can not reasonably consider being mobile. And anyway, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be chased any where. I make my stand here. Also, know this, Old Horseman is the real deal. When you know him better you will grow to respect his knowledge and stance. Of course I don’t need to defend him. He is quite capable of that himself. You have been through the aether wars for some years. So has he. OH is not a light weight.
[Having said that I think it is a hoot that you two have begun a dialogue which should have begun years ago. What a shake-out in third generation blogs.]
In the end, of course, our decisions must be based on our individual circumstances and means. I have been fortunate in that I have been given the means to at least partially realize my goals. As we all know or will soon find out pragmatism wins out over idealism every time. Rubber, may I introduce you to Road?

OnlineRE

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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2012, 05:41:41 PM »

RE- Some of us made our decision on ‘bugging in’ based on our physical condition. We represent a small group of misfits and handicapped who can not reasonably consider being mobile. And anyway, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be chased any where. I make my stand here. Also, know this, Old Horseman is the real deal. When you know him better you will grow to respect his knowledge and stance. Of course I don’t need to defend him. He is quite capable of that himself. You have been through the aether wars for some years. So has he. OH is not a light weight.
[Having said that I think it is a hoot that you two have begun a dialogue which should have begun years ago. What a shake-out in third generation blogs.]
In the end, of course, our decisions must be based on our individual circumstances and means. I have been fortunate in that I have been given the means to at least partially realize my goals. As we all know or will soon find out pragmatism wins out over idealism every time. Rubber, may I introduce you to Road?

Make no mistake BZ, OH gets my complete respect.  He’s a long time Doomer, long predating my wake up call.  He also picked his paradigm and has been following through with it for years.
That we never crossed paths before is IMHO fortuitous, it means we don’t have a History with each other and can talk like the grizzled old veterans of Doom on the Net that we are.  :icon_mrgreen:
Far as not getting pushed anywhere and drawing your Line in the Sand, reasonable enough if the location is somewhat defensible.  Go for the High Ground.
RE

 


OfflineWHD

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« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2012, 08:08:33 PM »
Quote

Just gotta see how it goes.  Worse come to worse, I’ll hole up in the Mountains with my preps and my Barrett .50 cal and shoot anything that moves inside 1000 yards.  Legs no good anymore, but I still have good eyes and a steady hand.
Will NOT get on the train for Resettlement in a FEMA Camp.  I’ll give myself up to the Bear before I do that.  I owe the Bears, took enough of them down, payback time for me there.
Basically I am just greatful I got to see as uch of this as I already have.  The rest is all Bonus now.

Will RE go out, to the other side, in BLAZING GLORY, or in quiet contemplation?
I myself would be happy someday to feed myself to the wolves. And I am well aware, and relish the idea actually, that I should be alive when I meet them. Real wolves, not men.
Ultimatly, I would prefer to move on in quiet contemplation. In the wild, or among people that I love. :laugh:  

 


OfflineWHD

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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2012, 08:12:52 PM »
Old Horseman,
May we meet on the trail one day.

OfflineOldHorseman

« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2012, 09:20:35 PM »
   I should point-out that I do not think doomsteading is the only way…  In fact, for most people, it’s not even a remotely viable way to go.
The Grizzly Adams option has its merits.  Growing up in the rural South (before video-games and cable TV couch-potatoized everyone), knowing how to hunt, fish, forage, and generally survive in the wilderness was the norm.  (Of course, this is probably easier to accomplish here in climes more temperate than Seward’s Folly.)
Becoming a post-collapse townie may well work for a lot of people.  Imagine a small town adapting to function without modern infrastructure support, and what kind of skills and know-how one would need to be valuable to such a community.  Might start with any occupation that was important enough, long enough, to become a surname. (Smith, Tanner, Miller, Shoemaker, etc.)
Most people really should just get ahead of the game and go get established in the Fedghettos now though…  That way they’ll have a head-start on things compared to the suburbanites who’ll be arriving in droves before long.
A well-outfitted, ocean-going house-boat might be a great way to go.  You can just keep sailing away to the places with the least oppression, radiation, or oil sheen.  A bug-out RV may be a somewhat lesser approach to the same idea.  Might at least get you way off the beaten path before you go on foot to do the Grizzly Adams thing.
It’s the half-ass doomsteaders that kinda’ make me  ::) …  A suburban home with a little garden and a composting toilet isn’t a viable doomstead.  Having some land out in the sticks won’t do you much good if you find yourself standing in the middle of it after TEOTWAWKI without anything done or any experience at doing it…
For myself, I figured while Cornucopian resources were available, I’d use them to build a decent doomstead.  Already had a bunch of archaic skills going-in, and the 19th Century kinda’ suits me anyway.  Can always revert to feral if I have to, but thought I’d try and hang-on to the best lifestyle feasibly possible in the mean-time.

Getting older…  Means I’ve been fightin’ dirtier, longer.


OnlineRE

« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2012, 11:11:56 PM »

   I should point-out that I do not think doomsteading is the only way…  In fact, for most people, it’s not even a remotely viable way to go.
The Grizzly Adams option has its merits.  Growing up in the rural South (before video-games and cable TV couch-potatoized everyone), knowing how to hunt, fish, forage, and generally survive in the wilderness was the norm.  (Of course, this is probably easier to accomplish here in climes more temperate than Seward’s Folly.)

I like to think of it as the “Jeremiah Johnson” paradigm rather than Grizzly Adams.  :icon_mrgreen:  I’m not young enough anymore to play the Robert Redford part, but I do OK with the Will Geer part.  LOL.
“Seward’s Folly”, or as I prefer to refer to it “The Last Great Frontier” has numerous advantages over the South on the Hunting/Fishing paradigm.  First off the population density of Homo Sapiens here is the lowest of anywhere in the world with good resources besides some locations in Siberia.  The Matanuska Susitna River Valley where I live by itself is about the size of TX, and has only around 60,000 people living here, less than your typical Dallas Subdivision.
The Cold Climate also has advantages on the Food Storage end.  It’s quite easy to build an Icehouse here that will last all Summer for Food Refrigeration.  This saves a lot on having to acquire enough Salt and using a lot of wood for drying and smoking your meat.  The climate also means you have fewer problems with Insects and other pests which bother the Sod Busters down in the South, and yes we do have very productive Farms in Palmer.
Once you get snow cover also, it makes pulling your Kills back to your cabin much easier, since you can quarter them in the field, feed the less appetizing parts to your Dogs and sled back the rest.
Anyhow, I’ve written about all this stuff in other threads on the Doomsteading Board.
The primary issues I have with Doomsteading for most people I write for is that it is Outta Budget.  They can’t afford 20 Acres and getting it all set up with Horses and essential Off the Grid stuff.  I try to create paradigms that are under $50K in cost and mainly take Know-How and some practice to pull off, at least for the hopefully fairly short time necessary until most of the population goes the way of the Reindeer on St. Matthews Island .  Actually, I have a Bugout Bag paradigm for the Final Bugout which just is what you carry on your back, and hopefully makes your Wilderness Survival a bit easier than having to Knap your own Stone Tools from scratch.  Said Bugout Bag can be put together for under $1000, assuming you can pick up a Compound Bow used on Craig’s list for under $200 or so.

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Becoming a post-collapse townie may well work for a lot of people.  Imagine a small town adapting to function without modern infrastructure support, and what kind of skills and know-how one would need to be valuable to such a community.  Might start with any occupation that was important enough, long enough, to become a surname. (Smith, Tanner, Miller, Shoemaker, etc.)

I like the Small Community paradigm better than going it alone, but you do have to be in a community which may be able to so adjust.  Said communities are few and far between these days of course.  Again though, our small towns up here in the Mat Valley generally fit this bill pretty well.

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Most people really should just get ahead of the game and go get established in the Fedghettos now though…  That way they’ll have a head-start on things compared to the suburbanites who’ll be arriving in droves before long.

The problem for most people in tryin to move out to such a community now is the Work problem.  In said communities there really isn’t much employment to be found.  In fact small towns in places like Vermont are depopulating.  If they are currently actually still EMPLOYED out there in the Industrial Economy, giving up your Paycheck to try the Full primitive NOW is a pretty risky choice on its own.  Even if you have enough Money to set up a Subsistence Farm AND enough knowledge to at least get started on this, that too is risky.
Then you got issues if you are Married and have children as well.  Your Significant Other has to be on board already with the idea, and your kids may react negatively to the idea of giving up their IPhones.  So moving out RIGHT NOW isn’t quite so easy for many if not most people.

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A well-outfitted, ocean-going house-boat might be a great way to go.  You can just keep sailing away to the places with the least oppression, radiation, or oil sheen.  A bug-out RV may be a somewhat lesser approach to the same idea.  Might at least get you way off the beaten path before you go on foot to do the Grizzly Adams thing.

The Sail Paradigm is the Dmitri Orlov thing.  Again its one of the better ones, and cheaper than a Doomstead if you pick up your Boat on the Used market.  Good ones in the 35-45′ range can be found for $30-40K these days as many seek to unload them to keep paying the Mortgage on their McMansions.  Dopes.
The paradigm has disadvantages also which I have periodically detailed.  Security is the main problem, said boats are very vulnerable to Theft when moored in Marinas. Theft of what you have on board anytime you leave the boat, and theft of the whole boat kit and kaboodle. They don’t have huge storage room for a lot of Food Preps, maybe 6 months worth depending how you crowd up the Cabin space.  You will also run into problems as time goes by finding anywhere to actually GO where the locals won’t hit you up for whatever you got on board.  If you wanna try the Fletcher Christian thing, finding a Pitcairn Island to settle with a bunch of Native Girls isn’t so easy anymore.
I personally mainly follow the Bugout Machine paradigm, I have an RV I picked up for $5000 Used in absolutely fabulous condition with just 45K miles on it.  I keep it topped off with Gas all the time, packed and ready to go a good 500 miles further out than I already am and hopefully again last long enough for most of the rest of the population to make the trip to the Great Beyond.  The main issue screwing with this paradigm for me now are my fucked up legs.  However, I don’t intend to go out there alone, I have friends and students I’ll go with.  The kids and the dogs can run the game toward my blind, and I can hit anything that moves inside of 1000 yards no problemo at least with the Barrett.  Gotta be a good deal closer to knock it down with the Crossbow or Compound Bow.

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It’s the half-ass doomsteaders that kinda’ make me  ::) …  A suburban home with a little garden and a composting toilet isn’t a viable doomstead.  Having some land out in the sticks won’t do you much good if you find yourself standing in the middle of it after TEOTWAWKI without anything done or any experience at doing it…

Agreed, suburban Doomsteads aren’t a whole lot better than being inside a Big Shity, so I recommend Suburbanites have a Bugout Machine ready all the time, and locations picked out in advance to head for.  You should have Alternate Routes picked out off the Interstate in case Military Roadblocks are set up quickly, which is likely in the event of something like a False Flag Nuclear attack somewhere inside the FSofA.  You have to be ready to react INSTANTANEOUSLY if Newz like that comes across the MSM.  You likely only have minutes to hours before many Roadblocks and Checkpoints are set up.

Quote

For myself, I figured while Cornucopian resources were available, I’d use them to build a decent doomstead.  Already had a bunch of archaic skills going-in, and the 19th Century kinda’ suits me anyway.  Can always revert to feral if I have to, but thought I’d try and hang-on to the best lifestyle feasibly possible in the mean-time.

Reasonable choice, and you made it early enough and had enough means to be able to get it set up.  I am curious how you afforded it over the years, horses and such aren’t cheap and generally small farms don’t meet the bills too well.  Did you maintain conventional employment of some type?
RE

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