Doomstead Diner Menu => Doomsteading => SUN ☼ => Topic started by: RE on March 08, 2017, 05:23:43 AM

Title: A Time of Seven Generations
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 05:23:43 AM
Over on Knarf's Knewz in a link post about the Black Rose Anarchist Party, JDW put up a couple of quotes from Bill Mollison about becoming Producers rather than Consumers, with the implication that this was the real productive form of Anarchy to be undertaken.

In this one, Bill asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.  I'm assuming he means doing it without Industrial Fertilizers as well.  Not sure how he felt about big combines, harvesters, tractors and so forth though.

(http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-the-greatest-change-we-need-to-make-is-from-consumption-to-production-even-if-on-a-small-bill-mollison-49-55-01.jpg)

My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?

Next question is that of self-sufficiency to begin with.  Before you can feed 9 other people, you need to feed yourself of course.  Is anyone really self-sufficient enough to feed himself?

In all my years of talking with various Doomsteaders with various levels of prepping and various sized properties, not ONE of them has ever said to me, "I am 100% Self Sufficient with Food Production".  Most of the time, they give me a number somewhere between 25% & 50%.  "But I am working toward being fully self-sufficient, and hope to get there in 5 years".  Or some timeline anyhow.

Now, if they have NOT achieved 100% self-sufficiency in food, then if/when TSHTF, they're still gonna starve to death, just a bit slower than the folks who are 0% self-sufficient.  If you're only getting 50% of the daily calories, protein and vitamins you need to live, you are gonna die!  So anything less than 100%, you are also going extinct.

This is only the question of self-sufficiency on your food production ability given the tools you buy to do this stuff.  Even if those tools are just horse drawn plows and the tack necessary for strapping them up, most if not all people including the Amish BUY this stuff, they don't make it themselves.  It does wear out of course, but if you are well prepped with spares and so forth AND are food self sufficient, now you may have got up to 20 years, but the next generation of your kids growing up on the farm are not going to be able to buy this stuff, so then they will go extinct.  No farming tools, no farming.

So of course, this is why we at SUN☼ always talk about the importance of Community, in order to have some people who know how to MAKE tools necessary for farming, as well as those who USE the tools to do the farming.  This sort of community really doesn't exist AFAIK*, except perhaps in some Amish communities.  However, even they buy most of their tools from the industrial economy, the only ones they make themselves are the ones the industrial ecoomy doesn't make any more.

So, the whole idea of becoming self-sufficient in time for the Collapse of Industrial Civilization seems like a tough goal to achieve.

Going back in history of course, there certainly were people who were entirely self sufficient, but they were all Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers.  Once the transition was made to Agriculture and Metallurgy to do that with, self-sufficiency was lost.  Even the Pioneers weren't really self-sufficient, they brought with them tools and implements with which to get started, mostly shipped over from Europe at the beginning until forges and blacksmith shops were built on the East Coast and mining operations began to get iron ore and coal locally.  Then they traded the food they grew using these great tools to get new tools when they needed them.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/46/91/30/4691306cd37d1abb2e00bbb45e36c62a.jpg)

Now, moving into the future here,the likelihood of being able to acquire coal and iron ore to make new tools seems quite small moving say 100 years down the line.  For those of us alive today, not an issue, we probaly can scavenge a lot of material and repurpose for a while, like taking sheet metal off carz and using it to sheath a plowshare, or sharpening to make a Scythe.  But by the 100 year mark, all that old metal will be rusted and brittle and not useful anymore for making such tools.

So eventually of course, returning to full self-sufficiency means returning to H-G and Stone Tools.  It ALSO means getting to that point within about 100 years.

Now, on the upside here, the population is likely to decline quite a bit over that century time span, making H-G living theoretically possible again.  However, within that time span, those who don't know how to knap stone tools, hunt in primitive fashion will have to acquire those skills if they don't have them already.  How will they do that if you as Patriarch/Matriarch of this group of intrepid Survivors of Collapse aren't spending at least some of your prep time on gaining Primitive Skills?  Who will teach them if they grew up as farmers with tools to do farming made of metal, but no longer have metal to work with?

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/86aXlIwOhPo/maxresdefault.jpg)

I would like to hear Diner Opinions on many of the issues I brought up in this post.  Can a farmer be completely self sufficient?  Are any, even the poorest subsistence farming Indian farmers self-sufficient?  Could you continue farming (or permaculturing) with no metal tools?  Do you think spending some prepping time on gaining primitive skills is necessary, or a waste of time?  If not a waste of time, how much time should be spent on this so you will have the knowledge to pass on to children and grandchildren?

I am hoping to get enough responses to this post to make a Diner Compilation article out of the thread, so post up!

RE

*AFAIK- as far as I know
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 06:46:56 AM
I think going back to stone tools is a bit of a stretch RE.

A good quality hand tool made of metal and wood can be used for lifetimes pending it is cared for.  Metal that is kept clean and dry does not rust.  The tools they sell at the big box stores are mostly shit that don't even last one lifetime.  There is plenty of metal to scavenge for a long time to come.  Take a modern day dumpster for instance.  How long would it take one of those things to rust back into the Earth?  So going back to stone tools is not going to be necessary. 

As far as the self sufficient farmer myth goes, that's a load of bollix.  No such thing, and there never has been.  It's theoretically possible, and I'm sure some people have done it.  I think you could survive pending you had enough hands and the weather helped you (which is unlikely these days). 

The best templates we have are the current ecovilliages, and as far as I know none of them are 100% self sufficient.  If they were 100% self sufficient, then they would not need money would they?  Of course one could argue that it's just easier to buy the stuff you need, like fencing for instance, if you have the money.  In the absence of money a lot of things could be accomplished in other ways. 

The "self sufficient farmer" is not a reality.  That farmer needs farm hands.  I think then you can produce a human diet that could keep people reasonably healthy.  The Easter Islanders did it, and so did the Vikings, and so did many other peoples before our time.  The best answers I've seen to our problems comes from Permaculture.  Permaculture has aggregated a lot of knowledge under it's umbrella, and it provides a system of design principles to help in the thinking process. 

I have no doubt that if the money was made available a Permaculture system could keep a lot of people alive and healthy.  If the goobermint were to throw billions of digibits at Permaculture like they do for the MIC, then we would have an excellent chance at saving a lot more than as many as we can.  Restoration agriculture combined with the biointensive methods from the Ecology Action folks and a strong emphasis on bamboo culture would create a very stable system of food, fuel, fiber, and medicine production.  It is possible to manage these systems sustainably and therefore provide self-sufficiency, but that sufficiency is really provided by community. 

The cabin in the woods is a farce.  It will take community to survive.  It will take a community with rules and a chain of command, and it will likely be very similar to feudalism due to necessity because nobody in goobermint is addressing any of this.  All of our "leaders" are asleep at the switch, incompetent, blind, and servicing BAU for their own personal interests.  Nobody in goobermint is taking any of our once problems, now predicaments, seriously. 

Restoration agriculture takes time.  We are talking about trees and land that's been mostly denuded of topsoil.  That topsoil has to be regrown, and that takes time.  It takes lots of time.  It can be done relatively quickly biointensively, but it still takes time.  Years.  Most nut trees take 20, 30 years to mature and produce nuts.  Orchards take years to mature.  None of these systems will mature in much less than 10 years.  I'd say 20 years is more likely how much time you need to get mature Permaculture systems in place that would be capable of supporting a large population. 

It's simply too late in the game to save all 7.5 billion of us.  If we had a Manhattan Project level event that got going with Permaculture in the driver seat today, then we might be able to save half of the current population.  That's just my guess. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 07:15:09 AM
I think going back to stone tools is a bit of a stretch RE.

A good quality hand tool made of metal and wood can be used for lifetimes pending it is cared for.

I gave good quality metal tools around a lifetime, 100 years which is more than the average lifetime NOW, it will probably soon be 2 lifetimes.  What does Aidan's son do when Grandpa Lucid's Shovel finally gives out?

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Eddie on March 08, 2017, 08:26:29 AM
Metal tools are not going away. They were around before modern BAU, and they'll persist afterward, in my opinion. They will become extremely expensive. Things like plows and hand tools will be very precious when they have to be hand made out of dead cars, though.

Food is tricky. I know a big family with everyone working the fields can be self sufficient, because that's the way it used to be. As in LARGELY self-sufficient, 90% or better. You always need some things. Salt, seeds, sugar, etc.

Transition is the hardest part. You can't go from BAU to self-sufficient overnight. I would expect a fast collapse to create a serious famine.

The best case would be if you can get some of your protein from hunting or fishing, and some food from gathering. People in low population areas would have an advantage there, of course.

Very few people are in a position to even try living self-sufficiently. It would be a huge stretch to assume I could get there in time, even with my modest preps to tide me over. If BAU continues until I reach retirement status, I'll be able to get better at it. Otherwise, I'll have to wing it when push comes to shove. Won't be at all easy. I know that.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 08:50:49 AM
Metal tools are not going away. They were around before modern BAU, and they'll persist afterward, in my opinion. They will become extremely expensive. Things like plows and hand tools will be very precious when they have to be hand made out of dead cars, though.

As I said to LD, not going away in this generation or even the next one in all likelihood.  But in your grandchildren's generation, where will they get the coal and iron ore to smelt the metal and fabricate new tools?  There sure won't be Home Depots to buy them at. I am looking 100-200 years out in time here.

If they cannot fabricate new metal tools, then how do they keep farming/permaculturing?  Can you do this without metal tools?  ???  :icon_scratch: If so, how?

If you postulate in the generation of your grandchildren that metal tools will NOT be available for them to use, then don't you need to prep them up for that time by teaching them stone tool knapping?  How else will they learn it? Maybe they will figure it out on their own, but would it not be better to pass this knowledge down so they are prepped and ready for this day?  How can you pass such knowledge down if you do not have it yourself?

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: K-Dog on March 08, 2017, 12:56:27 PM
Making metal tools?  Is there an APP for that?  Metal shop, wood shop, home economics?  High schools don't bother with such things anymore do they?

As time's arrow shoots forward the social direction moves more and more away from self sufficiency and self reliance.  This will mean mass death as soon as the wheels can't turn from lack of cheap oil.  There is no way around it and those who imagine themselves self sufficient will be pulled down in the social quagmire of those who are not.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Eddie on March 08, 2017, 01:21:36 PM
Angela Davis covers blacksmithing as part of her Feminist Studies course, I think.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Eddie on March 08, 2017, 01:22:26 PM
Blacksmith Lives Matter.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 03:15:47 PM
The best templates we have are the current ecovilliages, and as far as I know none of them are 100% self sufficient.  If they were 100% self sufficient, then they would not need money would they?  Of course one could argue that it's just easier to buy the stuff you need, like fencing for instance, if you have the money.  In the absence of money a lot of things could be accomplished in other ways. 
Are you familiar with Gaviotas?
http://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/ (http://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaviotas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaviotas)
http://amzn.to/2mkBLgO (http://amzn.to/2mkBLgO)

They are fairly well isolated from the rest of the world, so they probably do come close to providing 100% of their needs. If you count net impact and consider the 1.5 million trees they've replanted, they might be over 100%.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 03:36:55 PM
In this one, Bill asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.  I'm assuming he means doing it without Industrial Fertilizers as well.  Not sure how he felt about big combines, harvesters, tractors and so forth though.

My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?
I've addressed this before as Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret.  I agree with Bill Mollison's assessment that using permaculture methods, 10% of the population could GROW enough food to feed 100% of the population; they could not, however, HARVEST enough food to feed everyone.  Even on my little blackberry patches, well over 50% of the berries go unharvested, even by the birds!  Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret is that, after you have set the systems up, 90% of the work is harvesting.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 03:55:36 PM
In this one, Bill asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.  I'm assuming he means doing it without Industrial Fertilizers as well.  Not sure how he felt about big combines, harvesters, tractors and so forth though.

My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?
I've addressed this before as Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret.  I agree with Bill Mollison's assessment that using permaculture methods, 10% of the population could GROW enough food to feed 100% of the population; they could not, however, HARVEST enough food to feed everyone.  Even on my little blackberry patches, well over 50% of the berries go unharvested, even by the birds!  Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret is that, after you have set the systems up, 90% of the work is harvesting.

One of the first things I cover with new permie clients is exactly what you just stated JDW.  I say something like "you have to want to be engaged with your landscape if you have a permaculture design.  If it is successful then you will have to harvest all of those apples and berries because if you don't they will end up on the ground and it will become a mess and attract unwanted wild life."  Something like that.  This is important when you live in McMansionville and have an HOA (I have such a client). 

I just can't see metal hand tools going away.  There will be plenty of metal.  I'm sure there will be some way to smelt.  You can't use wood for that? 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 04:15:22 PM
The best templates we have are the current ecovilliages, and as far as I know none of them are 100% self sufficient.  If they were 100% self sufficient, then they would not need money would they?  Of course one could argue that it's just easier to buy the stuff you need, like fencing for instance, if you have the money.  In the absence of money a lot of things could be accomplished in other ways. 
Are you familiar with Gaviotas?
http://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/ (http://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaviotas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaviotas)
http://amzn.to/2mkBLgO (http://amzn.to/2mkBLgO)

They are fairly well isolated from the rest of the world, so they probably do come close to providing 100% of their needs. If you count net impact and consider the 1.5 million trees they've replanted, they might be over 100%.

I had not heard of Gaviotas.  I checked out their website.  Very cool! 

Of course 100% self sufficiency is possible, other wise none of us would be here now would we?

But that's not quite the same thing as what we are dealing with.  There is no precedence for where we are now as a society.  The Gaviotas are remote and not surrounded by concrete, asphalt, and other modern day infrastructure.  There are many ways that we could transition to sustainability.  However you slice it though, a lot of people are going to die in the next 100 years.  JMG has pointed out many times how this could happen without it being some huge die off.  A small decline in the birthrate, and a slightly larger uptick in the death rate, and in a matter of 100 years you've got the population damn near back to a sensible number where the Earth's natural carrying capacity would be sufficient. 

The answer to RE's question though, IMO, as of now, 100% self sufficiency is not possible in our society for INDIVIDUALS, or even small nuclear families.  As Eddie pointed out, 90% is possible, but not 100%.  It takes community...period.  And lots of people are going to die.  It's too late to do anything about that now. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 04:59:53 PM
One of the first things I cover with new permie clients is exactly what you just stated JDW.  I say something like "you have to want to be engaged with your landscape if you have a permaculture design.  If it is successful then you will have to harvest all of those apples and berries because if you don't they will end up on the ground and it will become a mess and attract unwanted wild life."  Something like that.  This is important when you live in McMansionville and have an HOA (I have such a client). 
Ironically, my blackberries don't end up on the ground -- in the middle of winter, the dried up berries are still on the canes.  I keep swearing that I am going harvest the dried berries (when I cut out the dead canes) and add them to my chicken scratch.  Then I invoke my mantra... "Maybe this year, maybe next".
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 08, 2017, 05:05:48 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 05:16:57 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now! 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 05:17:30 PM
The answer to RE's question though, IMO, as of now, 100% self sufficiency is not possible in our society for INDIVIDUALS, or even small nuclear families.  As Eddie pointed out, 90% is possible, but not 100%.  It takes community...period.  And lots of people are going to die.  It's too late to do anything about that now.
Of course, as long as your resources are large compared to your needs, 100% self-sufficiency IS possible, even on the family or individual level.  Just look at that one family in Russia that survived for decades in the remote Siberian wilderness.  Besides lack of competition, you also have to be willing to go down to the barest level of survival to achieve 100% self-sufficiency at that scale.

And of course, on a generational scale, it's pointless.... either you are going to have severe inbreeding, or you will go extinct.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 05:21:06 PM
One of the first things I cover with new permie clients is exactly what you just stated JDW.  I say something like "you have to want to be engaged with your landscape if you have a permaculture design.  If it is successful then you will have to harvest all of those apples and berries because if you don't they will end up on the ground and it will become a mess and attract unwanted wild life."  Something like that.  This is important when you live in McMansionville and have an HOA (I have such a client). 
Ironically, my blackberries don't end up on the ground -- in the middle of winter, the dried up berries are still on the canes.  I keep swearing that I am going harvest the dried berries (when I cut out the dead canes) and add them to my chicken scratch.  Then I invoke my mantra... "Maybe this year, maybe next".

I have a client that was telling me that she cuts her canes.  I wasn't aware that's what you are supposed to do.  Why?  Wild blackberries don't get cut, and they are hugely prolific?  What gives?

Is this sort of the same as the debate between whether you should prune your fruit trees or not?  I know Mark Shepard doesn't.  He has the s.t.u.n. method for his trees (sheer total utter neglect).  I agree with his assessment on that (although I do lightly prune my fruit trees just to keep branches from crossing one another...but I only have like 15 fruit trees and he's got hundreds). 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 08, 2017, 05:31:26 PM
The answer to RE's question though, IMO, as of now, 100% self sufficiency is not possible in our society for INDIVIDUALS, or even small nuclear families.  As Eddie pointed out, 90% is possible, but not 100%.  It takes community...period.  And lots of people are going to die.  It's too late to do anything about that now.
Of course, as long as your resources are large compared to your needs, 100% self-sufficiency IS possible, even on the family or individual level.  Just look at that one family in Russia that survived for decades in the remote Siberian wilderness.  Besides lack of competition, you also have to be willing to go down to the barest level of survival to achieve 100% self-sufficiency at that scale.

And of course, on a generational scale, it's pointless.... either you are going to have severe inbreeding, or you will go extinct.

I mean by that measure you can be 100% self sufficient by hunting and gathering wild plants and shrooms.  Just in my yard I can eat the burdock, plantain, clover, chickweed, dandelion, queen anns lace, wild onion, wild garlic...and that's just the wild shit I could eat.  Never mind all of the perennial food crops I have, or the annuals I grow every year.

Then there are a couple hundred acres of "deer woods" behind my house that I could hunt deer, rabbit, squirrel, racoon, bear, turkey, and wild hogs in with my 30/30.  Then there are the snakes and other wild birds like dove, robin, and mockingbird that I could shoot and eat with my 12 gauge.  Plus there are the rodents that could be trapped and ate, and then there are all of the bugs that I could eat. 

Plus I have chickens I could eat (and I have a rooster so I could make more chickens). 

Staying alive is not that difficult if you are willing to eat bugs and wild plants.  I would not eat bugs because I would not need to.  I would hunt for meat, there is plenty of it, and I would cultivate annuals and perennials like I am already doing. 

And I have enough preps to easily make it 6 months just on the preps with my family of 5. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 05:48:50 PM
I have a client that was telling me that she cuts her canes.  I wasn't aware that's what you are supposed to do.  Why?  Wild blackberries don't get cut, and they are hugely prolific?  What gives?

Is this sort of the same as the debate between whether you should prune your fruit trees or not?
Almost exactly!

When I get around to it, I will cut first year canes while they are dormant right where they start to bend down.  While cutting off the tip of the berries, it forces them to put more fruit into the side branches.  If you do it before they are dormant, though, they just grow longer side branches.  After dormancy is broken, they won't put more fruit into the side branches.

It's really unnecessary, but it probably doubles their productivity for about an hour or two total work per season.

Cutting out the dead canes is just a matter of making it easier to harvest the berries -- also unnecessary, but worthwhile in terms of increasing harvest speed more than the time spent removing dead canes.  This can be done anytime after the leaves turn brown.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 06:02:47 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!
I think this will be a case of fast-slow mosaic collapse.  I predict 1000 years from now, if anyone is still alive, there will be someone who knows how to make metal tools.  But in many locations, the supply of metal tools (cheaply-made) will be gone 10 years after TSHTF and no one locally will have any idea how to make more.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Palloy2 on March 08, 2017, 06:05:22 PM
There seems to be an obssession with steel tools here.  Even now steel is so expensive that it is effectively not available to the world's poor, so they use alternative materials as they have done for millennia.

A wooden plough powered by oxen and a man:

(https://cdn.shutterstock.com/shutterstock/videos/14974078/thumb/2.jpg)

Wooden spade:

(http://www.courtyardantiques.net/upload/images/shopprod/10200/antique-wooden-spade_10200_pic3_size3.jpg)

Wood and stone adze:

(http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/27184/24047529_2.jpg?v=8D32A7F05F5A610)

Wood and stone axe:

(http://www.trinitycreate.com/Hafted%20stone%20adze.JPG)

Wood and stone hammer:

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2SIanVq911Y/Vn6XiLSyxFI/AAAAAAAAGHI/NuCDY1ZFCJY/s1600/stone_hammer_anvil_large.jpg)

And from my own collection of hand tools found within 30 metres of my house:

(https://doomsteaddiner.net/palloy/images/stone.tools.jpg)

There's certain places in my creek bed where the recent currents have swept the sediment away leaving the local pebbles exposed.  I expect the kids were sent to collect any handy-looking rocks every day, to give them something useful to do and keep them out of the kitchen while Mum gets on with the cooking.

These rocks include quartz, which when heated in the fire and then dropped into cold water, shatter to produce razor-sharp edges.  They blunt very quickly but hey, there's always more quartz rocks.

Blocks of oysters bound in coral limestone can be found on the exposed coastal headlands, and carried inland like this one was.

(https://doomsteaddiner.net/palloy/images/oyster.coral.jpg)

The shells are very fragile, so this pointed tool could only have been used for very delicate work like painting dots on skin.

(https://doomsteaddiner.net/palloy/images/oystershell.tool.jpg)

String is made from the bark on the ends of fig tree branches, soaked until the woody parts peel off from the fibre, then plaited multiple times, then dried - wet again before use, then dried in situ, and sealed with gum from Bloodwood.

Come on you guys, you're still thinking hi-tech, and want things to last more than 100 years.  Start thinking primitive.  There's going to be no TV, so what are you going to do round the campfire at night but hone your stone tools and plait string?  - yeah, I know, play your electric guitar, power by solar panels and stored in lead-acid batteries.

Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 08, 2017, 06:20:46 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!
I think this will be a case of fast-slow mosaic collapse.  I predict 1000 years from now, if anyone is still alive, there will be someone who knows how to make metal tools.  But in many locations, the supply of metal tools (cheaply-made) will be gone 10 years after TSHTF and no one locally will have any idea how to make more.
If we have not reestablished a multi layered local economy with either local currency or barter and some specialization within 100 years we are dead as a species.  As a proponent of the slower collapse school I think some of us make it.  There is no telling  if the secret sauce is relearned by North Americans though.  We are very self centered as a culture with huge blinders pretending if WE don't make it the species ends.  Why us?  Lots of parts of the world live way closer to a subsistence existence  then us.  The smart money should be on them adapting fast enough and eventually repopulating our wastelands.... There's some doom for you!
Truth be told I know I can provide about 25 % of my calories right now.  I live with 100000 acres of crown land behind my property and 12 lakes within a 30 minute walk though.  I think deer, fish, and cattail root's would be my staple foods.  Maybe Me and mine make it, I don't know.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Farmer McGregor on March 08, 2017, 06:49:52 PM
Bill (Mollison) asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.

My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?
No.

This statement, supposedly from BM, sounds taken out of context, or else it's just more of the Permacultist (no I did not misspell that) fantasy; "Permaculture can save the world!"  And pigs can fly.  Well, there's always Eddie's piggies and a trebuchet... ;)

Too many variables go unstated here: on which part of the planet are we going to build this Permaculture Paradise?  Where the populations reside, or in the prime equatorial rain forests with year-round growing and plenty of water?  How will this food be distributed because we know that the population, especially here in the USA, doesn't necessarily live where the food can be grown, especially since we paved over the best of it!

It's a bogus proposal, a fantasy.
I'd love to elaborate to discuss the positive sides of making the effort; things we can and should and are doing that will make a big difference in the future, but I just can't take the time -- I need to go work on the doing of those things.  It's too large of a topic.  Cheers! 
--Greg
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 07:25:43 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!

I'm quite aware you can make charcoal from wood and use it to smelt iron.  That's how the Romans burned down all their forests.  It's a very energy intensive process.

Even more than the heat though being in short supply, high quality iron ore is also in short supply, and in hard to reach places that require heavy equipment to dig it up, then railroads to bring it where it can be smelted for the iron.  Over the millenia since the beginning of the Iron Age we mined out all the EZ to reach places.

Is there a good source of iron ore within 100 mile radius of your doomstead?  Could you mine it without a Caterpillar Back Hoe and Front End Loader?

Remember also, this is just Iron, not steel which you need Coke for, and certainly not any fancy alloys that are resistant to rusting.

So the fancy garden shears, the post hole diggers, the metal shovels...all going bye-bye.  Not in your lifetime, but pretty certainly by the lifetime of your great-grandchildren.  Are you going to have the knowledge to pass down to them for how to live without metal tools?

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 07:42:10 PM
I'd love to elaborate to discuss the positive sides of making the effort; things we can and should and are doing that will make a big difference in the future, but I just can't take the time -- I need to go work on the doing of those things.  It's too large of a topic.  Cheers! 
--Greg

You keep saying that, but it's a bogus excuse.  You don't need to address the whole topic in one post.  You start a thread on the topic, and then while you are eating breakfast you multi task and keyboard out 2 or 3 paragraphs on the subject.  Before you know it, in a week or two you have a fully fleshed out topic.

People who say they don't have time to write really are just too lazy to write.  Everybody has enough time, except maybe slaves in a Soth African Gold Mine.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 08, 2017, 07:56:43 PM
I know this wasn't the original slant but funny enough I live about 10 km from the Irondale river.  Iron ore is everywhere here.  They did not shut down the pick and shovel mines of the 19th century because they ran out of ore they did it because they could not compete with machinery and open pits.  Could I recreate the entire technological suite of the 19th century? Of course not.  My view has always been that the doomsteading is stage one after the "oh shit now what" moment.  A localized economy with some specialization will reemerge. If not here then somewhere else.  I think my biggest weakness here is lack of arable land and lack of population density to allow said specialization. What can you do you play the cards you have.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 08:04:07 PM
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!

I'm quite aware you can make charcoal from wood and use it to smelt iron.  That's how the Romans burned down all their forests.  It's a very energy intensive process.

Even more than the heat though being in short supply, high quality iron ore is also in short supply, and in hard to reach places that require heavy equipment to dig it up, then railroads to bring it where it can be smelted for the iron.  Over the millenia since the beginning of the Iron Age we mined out all the EZ to reach places.

Is there a good source of iron ore within 100 mile radius of your doomstead?  Could you mine it without a Caterpillar Back Hoe and Front End Loader?

Remember also, this is just Iron, not steel which you need Coke for, and certainly not any fancy alloys that are resistant to rusting.

So the fancy garden shears, the post hole diggers, the metal shovels...all going bye-bye.  Not in your lifetime, but pretty certainly by the lifetime of your great-grandchildren.  Are you going to have the knowledge to pass down to them for how to live without metal tools?

RE

Also, we can't even go back the Bronze Age.  We've also mined up all the EZ to reach Copper & Tin. We've also used up most of the good sand for making concrete.

The New Stone Age is on the Horizon.  The tools PY put up pics of are the ones you need to learn how to make out of locally available materials.

Stone Knives & Bearskins Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.

http://www.youtube.com/v/yfJXd0rSCqo

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 08, 2017, 08:16:29 PM
We will have to agree to disagree... strongly. Our dumps offer a concentration of ores our mining ancestors could never imagine.  A single steel tower skeleton would provide hundreds of tons of steel.  Most of the resources used in steel go into the original blooming from raw ore.  We would not be back to that stage for centuries at least.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 08:18:55 PM
I know this wasn't the original slant but funny enough I live about 10 km from the Irondale river.  Iron ore is everywhere here.  They did not shut down the pick and shovel mines of the 19th century because they ran out of ore they did it because they could not compete with machinery and open pits.  Could I recreate the entire technological suite of the 19th century? Of course not.  My view has always been that the doomsteading is stage one after the "oh shit now what" moment.  A localized economy with some specialization will reemerge. If not here then somewhere else.  I think my biggest weakness here is lack of arable land and lack of population density to allow said specialization. What can you do you play the cards you have.

Yes, there are still some places with iron ore, but they're usually not 10km away from the location of good arable land which is generally bottom land around rivers.  We have lots of minerals still packed in the mountains up here, including plenty of coal left too for a small population.

However, it is unlikely any of the metal tools we make up here will make it down to the Lower 48.  Remember, your economy is going to be local, and you're not going to get much coming from far away.

Even if you can make some basic Iron tools, they're not the same kind of refined metal alloy, machined tools you are accustomed to using.  An iron shovel or plow sheathing is going to rust PDQ, which means more smelting to make new ones more often, which means more burning of wood to make charcoal, which means you burn through your Food Forest.  See the Romans for this.

For a truly sustainable system, you can't use metal.  You can only use renewable resources that are local to your area.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 08:23:42 PM
We will have to agree to disagree... strongly. Our dumps offer a concentration of ores our mining ancestors could never imagine.  A single steel tower skeleton would provide hundreds of tons of steel.  Most of the resources used in steel go into the original blooming from raw ore.  We would not be back to that stage for centuries at least.

First of all, those steel towers will crumble and rust without regular maintenance.  They will collapse to rubble over time.  Maybe they stay standing 200 years. Maybe.

Second, how is the person who has no blow torch going to carve up those massive girders into usable sections he can carry with him back to wherever his doomstead is?  ???  :icon_scratch:

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 08, 2017, 09:11:18 PM
Also, we can't even go back the Bronze Age.  We've also mined up all the EZ to reach Copper & Tin. We've also used up most of the good sand for making concrete.

The New Stone Age is on the Horizon.  The tools PY put up pics of are the ones you need to learn how to make out of locally available materials.

Stone Knives & Bearskins Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.
I think your argument is flawed not in being incorrect but in being incomplete.  I think the more important factor is what Palloy alluded to, and something the Archdruid has reiterated many times: not technical feasibility but economic practicality.  While I don't think the ability to make iron tools will go away soon, the amount of effort it will take will mean that it will only get used for the most critical applications.  Does a metal shovel really dig that much better than a wooden one?  I suspect not.  But you might want to sharpen your wooden shovel with a metal file.

I definitely agree with your conclusion, RE, that learning how to survive with simple, locally crafted tools will be very advantageous for long-term survival.
Title: The Age of Scavenging
Post by: RE on March 08, 2017, 10:17:32 PM
Also, we can't even go back the Bronze Age.  We've also mined up all the EZ to reach Copper & Tin. We've also used up most of the good sand for making concrete.

The New Stone Age is on the Horizon.  The tools PY put up pics of are the ones you need to learn how to make out of locally available materials.

Stone Knives & Bearskins Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.
I think your argument is flawed not in being incorrect but in being incomplete.  I think the more important factor is what Palloy alluded to, and something the Archdruid has reiterated many times: not technical feasibility but economic practicality.  While I don't think the ability to make iron tools will go away soon, the amount of effort it will take will mean that it will only get used for the most critical applications.  Does a metal shovel really dig that much better than a wooden one?  I suspect not.  But you might want to sharpen your wooden shovel with a metal file.

I definitely agree with your conclusion, RE, that learning how to survive with simple, locally crafted tools will be very advantageous for long-term survival.

Well yes of course it's about economics, just like with the Oil.  It's not that there is not Iron, Copper & Tin still left in the mountains, there most certainly is.  They are common elements, not rare earths.  It's the economics of extracting them and refining them on the energy level now that does not work.

The system has been leveraging up for a long time based on energy availability.  At the beginning of the Roman Empire, they had many forests to burn locally, and close iron ore to mine as well, utilizing Slave Labor.  But they depleted their local sources of wood to burn and iron to mine up, and so had to import it in, over longer and longer supply lines.  They had to string out their military along those supply lines, and it eventually got stretched too thin, and the Empire Collapsed.  Sound familiar?

There is no further cheap energy source to leverage up on.  There probably will be an "Age of Scavenging" that maybe lasts a Century, but continuing to mine and refine metals just is not sustainable.  Not even scavenging the huge pillars of steel from Bridges and Skyscrapers is logistically feasible in a world without enough stored energy around that you could cut them up for spare parts,then move them from where you cut them up to where you need them.

We're definitely headed for a New Stone Age, just as always it is the TIMELINE that is the question?  I think my guess of 100-200 years on this timeline is about right, which if your children are say 0-10 years old they may live to see, and their children (your grandchildren) almost definitely will live to see.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 09, 2017, 03:24:37 AM
Same problem again.  On a 1 to 2 century time line we will recreate a functioning local economy or be long gone.  Weather its metal shovels or wood, food forests or plowed fields, electric tractors or oxen carts all of the scenarios are far outside my event horizon.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 09, 2017, 06:05:33 AM
How long will the rails last?  They are everywhere, and one section can be easily handled by two people.  I imagine this will be the first steel to be scavenged, and I also imagine they will be scavenged and stocked out of the weather because they will be a precious commodity. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 09, 2017, 07:47:26 AM
Same problem again.  On a 1 to 2 century time line we will recreate a functioning local economy or be long gone.

I don't agree with that, at least if by "economy" you mean having metal tools.  We've lived most of our existence on Earth with Wood, Bone and Stone tools.  There are people still living that way, as PY indicated there are poor farmers in the 3rd World who can't afford metal farming implements.

Quote
Weather its metal shovels or wood, food forests or plowed fields, electric tractors or oxen carts all of the scenarios are far outside my event horizon.

But not outside the Event Horizon of your Granchildren.  Who will teach them these things if you don't know them yourself?

SG Note: It's "whether" not "weather" & "it's" not "its"

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 09, 2017, 07:56:34 AM
How long will the rails last?  They are everywhere, and one section can be easily handled by two people.  I imagine this will be the first steel to be scavenged, and I also imagine they will be scavenged and stocked out of the weather because they will be a precious commodity.

I'd give them 100 years  before they were too rusted to be useful.  Then you have the issue of what do you cut them up with?  What kind of tools do you have to machine any parts you cast if you can cut it up and melt it?  Do you have a lathe fine enough to make screws, nuts & bolts?  What turns that lathe?  Do they actually fit together?  Those suckers rust quite fast and are quite necessary on many tools with multiple parts.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 09, 2017, 05:28:48 PM
My view is that I do not need to teach my children to forge. I will teach them to weld arc and torch. Blacksmithing; well if I live to see it on the horizon I'll take it up then. I think I don't buy the single generation backslide to the Stone age you seem to be advancing. There will be areas of slow descent, that is where I plan on being. For spelling blame auto correct and fatigue.
Title: 7 Generations Ahead: The Key to Sustainability
Post by: RE on March 09, 2017, 05:42:51 PM
My view is that I do not need to teach my children to forge. I will teach them to weld arc and torch. Blacksmithing; well if I live to see it on the horizon I'll take it up then. I think I don't buy the single generation backslide to the Stone age you seem to be advancing. There will be areas of slow descent, that is where I plan on being. For spelling blame auto correct and fatigue.

To be fair here, I put the full back slide to Stone Age at 2 generations away, not one.  In the time of your Grand Children or perhaps 3 away in the time of your Great Grandchildren.  There are people who live long enough to see their great grandchildren born.  Around 100 years away.

So, the thing is, if you don't acquire the knowledge and skills now and pass them down to your children,they can't pass them to the next generation.  After TSHTF, there won't be a lot of time or materials, books etc around to start on the learning curve of this stuff.

First Nations People thought 7 Generations ahead.  That is how you make a sustainable society.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e4/e3/ff/e4e3ff96aae394237603818ff16f9d35.jpg)

RE
Title: Re: 7 Generations Ahead: The Key to Sustainability
Post by: luciddreams on March 10, 2017, 07:14:02 AM
My view is that I do not need to teach my children to forge. I will teach them to weld arc and torch. Blacksmithing; well if I live to see it on the horizon I'll take it up then. I think I don't buy the single generation backslide to the Stone age you seem to be advancing. There will be areas of slow descent, that is where I plan on being. For spelling blame auto correct and fatigue.

To be fair here, I put the full back slide to Stone Age at 2 generations away, not one.  In the time of your Grand Children or perhaps 3 away in the time of your Great Grandchildren.  There are people who live long enough to see their great grandchildren born.  Around 100 years away.

So, the thing is, if you don't acquire the knowledge and skills now and pass them down to your children,they can't pass them to the next generation.  After TSHTF, there won't be a lot of time or materials, books etc around to start on the learning curve of this stuff.

First Nations People thought 7 Generations ahead.  That is how you make a sustainable society.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e4/e3/ff/e4e3ff96aae394237603818ff16f9d35.jpg)

RE

We're all too busy trying to get by in the world that we have been stuck with to do anything other.  Dropping out of the Matrix and spending your time doing what should be done is mostly looked down upon by society.  You are punished for that behavior by not having any money.  You have to have money to live, and you have to have much  more money when you have kids. 

Making a shovel from rail isn't something that 99.999% of us 99%ers will ever have the time or inclination for.  We have to be concerned with making the money that is necessary for keeping our children alive into their adulthood...never mind their children.  It's likely that their children will not come into existence because the world will be so fucked up that you'd have to be fucking crazy to reproduce and bring that responsibility onto yourself.  I almost didn't reproduce due to my understanding of the near future. 

It's unfortunate to think that way.  Reproduction is a large part of what it means to be a biological being.  The drive to sex is one of the largest pulls on the psyche, and with good reason. 

Most of our children are fucked already.  We're leaving them with radioactively contaminated oceans, no topsoil to grow food, raising ocean water levels, dead and dying corals, a mass species extinction event, and overall polluted land and water, and crumbling infrastructure for a way of life with no replacement.  What my children will get is likely going to be societal chaos before they are even adults themselves.  What they will likely get is a standard of living that is worse then than it is now. 

I hope I can find a way to be successful for them into the near future.  Some of us will be able to do that for our children, but most of us will not.  If we are concerned with making a shovel out of rail than I can guarantee that success will not be what we will be handing down to our children.  Brute survival will be, and there ain't no way to sugarcoat brute survival.  You're better off learning how to live off of the wild wilderness than you are making a shovel from rail. You will either be clever enough to survive, or you'll manage to rise to the top where fighting for survival is not your concern because you are somehow wealthy in the future we will get.  Figuring out how to be wealthy in a world of chaos and dwindling energy is probably the most important endeavor any of us parents can be on just now. 
Title: Re: 7 Generations Ahead: The Key to Sustainability
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 07:56:30 AM
My view is that I do not need to teach my children to forge. I will teach them to weld arc and torch. Blacksmithing; well if I live to see it on the horizon I'll take it up then. I think I don't buy the single generation backslide to the Stone age you seem to be advancing. There will be areas of slow descent, that is where I plan on being. For spelling blame auto correct and fatigue.

To be fair here, I put the full back slide to Stone Age at 2 generations away, not one.  In the time of your Grand Children or perhaps 3 away in the time of your Great Grandchildren.  There are people who live long enough to see their great grandchildren born.  Around 100 years away.

So, the thing is, if you don't acquire the knowledge and skills now and pass them down to your children,they can't pass them to the next generation.  After TSHTF, there won't be a lot of time or materials, books etc around to start on the learning curve of this stuff.

First Nations People thought 7 Generations ahead.  That is how you make a sustainable society.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e4/e3/ff/e4e3ff96aae394237603818ff16f9d35.jpg)

RE

We're all too busy trying to get by in the world that we have been stuck with to do anything other.  Dropping out of the Matrix and spending your time doing what should be done is mostly looked down upon by society.  You are punished for that behavior by not having any money.  You have to have money to live, and you have to have much  more money when you have kids. 

Making a shovel from rail isn't something that 99.999% of us 99%ers will ever have the time or inclination for.  We have to be concerned with making the money that is necessary for keeping our children alive into their adulthood...never mind their children.  It's likely that their children will not come into existence because the world will be so fucked up that you'd have to be fucking crazy to reproduce and bring that responsibility onto yourself.  I almost didn't reproduce due to my understanding of the near future. 

It's unfortunate to think that way.  Reproduction is a large part of what it means to be a biological being.  The drive to sex is one of the largest pulls on the psyche, and with good reason. 

Most of our children are fucked already.  We're leaving them with radioactively contaminated oceans, no topsoil to grow food, raising ocean water levels, dead and dying corals, a mass species extinction event, and overall polluted land and water, and crumbling infrastructure for a way of life with no replacement.  What my children will get is likely going to be societal chaos before they are even adults themselves.  What they will likely get is a standard of living that is worse then than it is now. 

I hope I can find a way to be successful for them into the near future.  Some of us will be able to do that for our children, but most of us will not.  If we are concerned with making a shovel out of rail than I can guarantee that success will not be what we will be handing down to our children.  Brute survival will be, and there ain't no way to sugarcoat brute survival.  You're better off learning how to live off of the wild wilderness than you are making a shovel from rail. You will either be clever enough to survive, or you'll manage to rise to the top where fighting for survival is not your concern because you are somehow wealthy in the future we will get.  Figuring out how to be wealthy in a world of chaos and dwindling energy is probably the most important endeavor any of us parents can be on just now.

I do not agree with this.

You CAN learn NOW ways to do your cultivation without using metal tools, particularly in your situation.  It doesn't have to be done large scale commercially, just do it on your own little acre plot of land.  You don't really depend on it for food right now, it's just a supplement.  You don't need to comete commercially with it, just becomw better with the techniques,much like becoming an expert in Bamboo craftsmanship.  In fact, make your tools for permaculturing out of the Bamboo!  Spend your time this way, and you can teach it to Ayden and Zen before you join me in the Great Beyond, and they can teach it to their children.  If YOU o not do this though, chances are Ayden and Zen will never learn how to do it.  You are their FATHER, and the most significant teacher they will ever have.  You can make the biggest difference in their chances for long term survival.  But not if you just look to tomorrow and survival of that.  You need to look 7 Generations ahead.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Eddie on March 10, 2017, 10:20:35 AM
The Seven Generations concept is a fine one, and a good example of how much wiser native elders were than the criminals we call leaders today.

With that said, I have to go on record here. I think there's something going on here you might call "hunter-gatherer bias" It's rampant in the doom community. 

The narrative is that collapse will put us back in the stone age in a couple of generations, and that all knowledge and all technology will be worthless, and by God we better learn how to get by with flint and sinew , because nothing else we be available.

That could happen, in some places, to some survivors of a fast collapse, imho. But it isn't likely to be the only thing that happens, nor is it likely to be universal.  There will be many different narratives. Some few places will be rich in energy from falling water and wind, if nothing else, and those places will support a higher technology lifestyle which the tribes who inherit will be able to defend with superior weapons, if not for any better reason. They may even be able to keep their electronics going, at least for a long time.

If it weren't for climate change, which is the real bad-ass horseman of the apocalypse, I would make a case for the evolution to a city-state civilization, with different kinds of tech being kept alive by different tribes.

But if Antarctica is the only place left to support human life, that gets more dicey. We could die off as a species in three generations or less, and the future space aliens will show up and say "Too late again. Another life form that didn't evolve fast enough to learn how to live sustainably."

There are so many variables as to make this topic no more than an interesting conversation with no sure answers.

You like stone age hatchets. Make 'em. Use 'em. Not my path.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: K-Dog on March 10, 2017, 01:22:51 PM
Perhaps aliens on a planet with only tight oil would evolve slowly enough to experience sustainability.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 01:44:12 PM
The Seven Generations concept is a fine one, and a good example of how much wiser native elders were than the criminals we call leaders today.

With that said, I have to go on record here. I think there's something going on here you might call "hunter-gatherer bias" It's rampant in the doom community. 

Except this is not Hunter-Gather technology.  It's agriculture, but done without metal tools.

I don't buy your high tech city-state gated community for rich people living the high tech lifestyle while  the poor people are outside living as H-Gs with stone tools.  You haven't addressed the key issue, which is maintaining metallurgy without much energy and without the heavy equipment for mining what is already increasingly difficult to mine up material.

RE
Title: Re: 7 Generations Ahead: The Key to Sustainability
Post by: luciddreams on March 10, 2017, 01:45:55 PM
My view is that I do not need to teach my children to forge. I will teach them to weld arc and torch. Blacksmithing; well if I live to see it on the horizon I'll take it up then. I think I don't buy the single generation backslide to the Stone age you seem to be advancing. There will be areas of slow descent, that is where I plan on being. For spelling blame auto correct and fatigue.

To be fair here, I put the full back slide to Stone Age at 2 generations away, not one.  In the time of your Grand Children or perhaps 3 away in the time of your Great Grandchildren.  There are people who live long enough to see their great grandchildren born.  Around 100 years away.

So, the thing is, if you don't acquire the knowledge and skills now and pass them down to your children,they can't pass them to the next generation.  After TSHTF, there won't be a lot of time or materials, books etc around to start on the learning curve of this stuff.

First Nations People thought 7 Generations ahead.  That is how you make a sustainable society.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/e4/e3/ff/e4e3ff96aae394237603818ff16f9d35.jpg)

RE

We're all too busy trying to get by in the world that we have been stuck with to do anything other.  Dropping out of the Matrix and spending your time doing what should be done is mostly looked down upon by society.  You are punished for that behavior by not having any money.  You have to have money to live, and you have to have much  more money when you have kids. 

Making a shovel from rail isn't something that 99.999% of us 99%ers will ever have the time or inclination for.  We have to be concerned with making the money that is necessary for keeping our children alive into their adulthood...never mind their children.  It's likely that their children will not come into existence because the world will be so fucked up that you'd have to be fucking crazy to reproduce and bring that responsibility onto yourself.  I almost didn't reproduce due to my understanding of the near future. 

It's unfortunate to think that way.  Reproduction is a large part of what it means to be a biological being.  The drive to sex is one of the largest pulls on the psyche, and with good reason. 

Most of our children are fucked already.  We're leaving them with radioactively contaminated oceans, no topsoil to grow food, raising ocean water levels, dead and dying corals, a mass species extinction event, and overall polluted land and water, and crumbling infrastructure for a way of life with no replacement.  What my children will get is likely going to be societal chaos before they are even adults themselves.  What they will likely get is a standard of living that is worse then than it is now. 

I hope I can find a way to be successful for them into the near future.  Some of us will be able to do that for our children, but most of us will not.  If we are concerned with making a shovel out of rail than I can guarantee that success will not be what we will be handing down to our children.  Brute survival will be, and there ain't no way to sugarcoat brute survival.  You're better off learning how to live off of the wild wilderness than you are making a shovel from rail. You will either be clever enough to survive, or you'll manage to rise to the top where fighting for survival is not your concern because you are somehow wealthy in the future we will get.  Figuring out how to be wealthy in a world of chaos and dwindling energy is probably the most important endeavor any of us parents can be on just now.

I do not agree with this.

You CAN learn NOW ways to do your cultivation without using metal tools, particularly in your situation.  It doesn't have to be done large scale commercially, just do it on your own little acre plot of land.  You don't really depend on it for food right now, it's just a supplement.  You don't need to comete commercially with it, just becomw better with the techniques,much like becoming an expert in Bamboo craftsmanship.  In fact, make your tools for permaculturing out of the Bamboo!  Spend your time this way, and you can teach it to Ayden and Zen before you join me in the Great Beyond, and they can teach it to their children.  If YOU o not do this though, chances are Ayden and Zen will never learn how to do it.  You are their FATHER, and the most significant teacher they will ever have.  You can make the biggest difference in their chances for long term survival.  But not if you just look to tomorrow and survival of that.  You need to look 7 Generations ahead.

RE

Well first it's Ayden and Harper (my two son's first names).

Second, you don't agree with what?  My entire post?  I stated a lot, what exactly is it that I said that you don't agree with? 

Thirdly you had a few typos there...you really should work on that if you're going to be the Spelling Gestapo.  Especially with the amount of shit I have recently endured due to fuckin' up the Queens proper English. 

Yes, I would certainly make tools with bamboo.  In fact, I do make tools with bamboo quite often actually.  I went looking for traditional agricultural tools made of bamboo but did not turn anything up (I did this with my original post on this thread).  I found a plow with bamboo in it's design, and of course bamboo rakes which I already knew about (Keiji has some he's made for sale at his shop). 

You could easily make a small trowel with a larger diameter bamboo, but a large shovel I'm not sure you could do.  I suppose you could make a shovel out of moso since it gets 12" in diameter.  You can make knives with bamboo...I've been cut by bamboo several times (when you split it the skin can be quite sharp).  I can easily envision a fork made out of bamboo. 

Metal is not necessary for agriculture to exist...obviously.  The Easter Islanders had a civilization that was constructed on no more than they could float there with on hollowed out tree canoes. 

I'm too busy making money in our current state of BAU to be too concerned with making shovels after tshtf.  I'm making money with Permaculture and bamboo on top of my conventional landscaping endeavor.  That is wayyyyyyy more than most people are doing with respect to the lower energy per capita future that's just about here. 

The way I see it, the fact that I'm a practicing professional permaculturist, as well as learning all of the skills involved with traditional bamboo culture, as well as cultivating a business that works well with BAU...my children are better positioned than most non-wealthy children are.  Learning to make a shovel out of a dumpster just isn't necessary IMO.  That's what blacksmiths are for. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: knarf on March 10, 2017, 01:58:08 PM
I don't think there is really any way of knowing what dynamics will collapse, or when. It looks like climate change will hit us first, and major adjustments will have to made. Next is environmental collapse, especially in the ocean, but in many other locations. Then the financial bust will happen. Money will mean nothing, because it has become digital and is no longer directly involved with the trading of goods. The 001% will be ok here, because they are at the top of the trickle down kingdom. Then comes the real revolution. Which sc-fi writers are having a hay day with now.
When you reach my age, 64, there is not much prepping I can do. It takes a LOT of work. Maybe the kids being born today and in the future will learn how to make the best use of their environment, but if your past 40, you will do the best you can to survive until the grim reaper shakes your hand. I also do not think that it makes a hill of beans to believe that achieving self-sufficiency is realistic now, or in the next 10 years at least.
  There are far to many variables in this game to be able to cut through all the BS to find a clear path to self-sufficiency. Because of all the variables and the rapid pace of change these days,  the self-sufficiency game is not an unskillful one to play. Just don't expect it turn out the way you think it will. This is the time to surf the waves of the rising tide of epic change. Who knows where it will take us?
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Eddie on March 10, 2017, 02:01:37 PM
The Seven Generations concept is a fine one, and a good example of how much wiser native elders were than the criminals we call leaders today.

With that said, I have to go on record here. I think there's something going on here you might call "hunter-gatherer bias" It's rampant in the doom community. 

Except this is not Hunter-Gather technology.  It's agriculture, but done without metal tools.

I don't buy your high tech city-state gated community for rich people living the high tech lifestyle while  the poor people are outside living as H-Gs with stone tools.  You haven't addressed the key issue, which is maintaining metallurgy without much energy and without the heavy equipment for mining what is already increasingly difficult to mine up material.

RE

Mining and the power for metallurgy are in the same place, geographically speaking. Or at least they were, which is why they exist in the first place. They certainly are still in a few places. The knowledge base exists. Tech will devolve, not go poof in a puff of smoke.

I never said high tech. When I talk about technology, I'm not talking i-Phones and self-driving cars. I'm talking about places with radios, and lights that work, and machine shops and refrigerators.  Existing hi-tech stuff like computers? Harder to say. Might be legacy only but still working. The hardware is mostly crap, so maybe not.

But it's a long way down to sinew and flint, and a lot of potential to hang on to much more of 19th to early 20th century life than what you want to believe.

Just my opinion. I think it makes some sense. Your ideas are so fixed, not surprised constipation is a problem. I don't want to argue with you anymore either. Nobody really knows what will happen. We can only hope to make good decisions that lead us in the right general direction.



Title: Re: 7 Generations Ahead: The Key to Sustainability
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 02:04:24 PM

Well first it's Ayden and Harper (my two son's first names).

Second, you don't agree with what?  My entire post?  I stated a lot, what exactly is it that I said that you don't agree with? 

Thirdly you had a few typos there...you really should work on that if you're going to be the Spelling Gestapo.  Especially with the amount of shit I have recently endured due to fuckin' up the Queens proper English. 

Yes, I would certainly make tools with bamboo.  In fact, I do make tools with bamboo quite often actually.  I went looking for traditional agricultural tools made of bamboo but did not turn anything up (I did this with my original post on this thread).  I found a plow with bamboo in it's design, and of course bamboo rakes which I already knew about (Keiji has some he's made for sale at his shop). 

You could easily make a small trowel with a larger diameter bamboo, but a large shovel I'm not sure you could do.  I suppose you could make a shovel out of moso since it gets 12" in diameter.  You can make knives with bamboo...I've been cut by bamboo several times (when you split it the skin can be quite sharp).  I can easily envision a fork made out of bamboo. 

Metal is not necessary for agriculture to exist...obviously.  The Easter Islanders had a civilization that was constructed on no more than they could float there with on hollowed out tree canoes. 

I'm too busy making money in our current state of BAU to be too concerned with making shovels after tshtf.  I'm making money with Permaculture and bamboo on top of my conventional landscaping endeavor.  That is wayyyyyyy more than most people are doing with respect to the lower energy per capita future that's just about here. 

The way I see it, the fact that I'm a practicing professional permaculturist, as well as learning all of the skills involved with traditional bamboo culture, as well as cultivating a business that works well with BAU...my children are better positioned than most non-wealthy children are.  Learning to make a shovel out of a dumpster just isn't necessary IMO.  That's what blacksmiths are for.

Typos are the keyboard's fault. lol.

This is the part I don't agree with:

Quote
Making a shovel from rail isn't something that 99.999% of us 99%ers will ever have the time or inclination for.  We have to be concerned with making the money that is necessary for keeping our children alive into their adulthood...never mind their children.  It's likely that their children will not come into existence because the world will be so fucked up that you'd have to be fucking crazy to reproduce and bring that responsibility onto yourself.

I think you have plenty of time to experiment with making such things to begin with, and also time to try using them in your garden.  Second, if you don't think your kids will have children, then you are a believer in Near Term Human Extinction, just you put it a little further out than Guy Mcpherson into the 3rd Generation.  I don't buy NTHE, and I look 7 Generations ahead to see what we need to do now to survive that long.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 02:09:13 PM
I don't want to argue with you anymore either.

We've been doing a lot of that lately.  lol.

When two people are fixed on different end game scenarios as most likely, it's pretty hard to reconcile without simply dropping the topic.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 10, 2017, 04:49:53 PM
You haven't addressed the key issue, which is maintaining metallurgy without much energy and without the heavy equipment for mining what is already increasingly difficult to mine up material.
Entirely possible:
http://www.youtube.com/v/VVV4xeWBIxE
The real question is, is it worth spending an entire day to get a little lump?
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 05:24:16 PM
Entirely possible:
The real question is, is it worth spending an entire day to get a little lump?

I have surfed this rewilder vid channel before, and yes the basic smelting of metal is possible even without fossil fuels, long as you got enough wood around to make charcoal and do it with.

However, for the kind of tools we are used to using today, it takes a lot more than just being able to smelt the metal out of the ore.  The MACHINING of the refined metal is just as hard if not harder.

Go to Home Depot in their hardware dept and look at all the screws, nuts and bolts with very fine turning that if not matched up perfectly, just does not work.  So when your joinery stuff fails (and it always fails, think tire lug nuts), what do you replace that with?  You're not going to be able to do that as Mr. Rewilder for sure, and even a pro Blacksmith won't be able to do it either.

The best I think you could do here is make stuff like Scythe Blades, axles for wheels and other single cast items of metal, and that for only as long as you can acquire enough energy to smelt it and the raw ore to smelt.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: Nearingsfault on March 10, 2017, 07:56:21 PM
"Just" a scythe blade that stays sharp all day. "Just" a cart axle that does not wear out or require hourly regreassing. I'm on Eddie's team.  I think we will use our current tools while they work to build ones of lesser complexity and build down to what our energy budget will allow. Lost knowledge is a possibility I suppose but it's still out there. Perhaps it's hard to see sometimes.  As an example about a half hour from me there is a machinist. His hobby is restoring old machinery.  This one man has acumulated 30 tractors from the 1920's to the 1960's.  Also is a whole room devoted to single cylinder engines from the early 20th century.  Spread throughout North America are countless numbers of these mechanical hoarders.  They forge, weld, hammer, cast, rebuild, mill, turn for pure enjoyment. Faced with a catastrophe they would not give up without a fight.  Would they succeed? Most not but some would and would forge a world that works with the energy budget they had.  We created the mechanical world because it give a huge advantage.  Some will use it and keep it going.  I'll admit I'm biased Cheers
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 10, 2017, 08:16:41 PM
"Just" a scythe blade that stays sharp all day. "Just" a cart axle that does not wear out or require hourly regreassing. I'm on Eddie's team.  I think we will use our current tools while they work to build ones of lesser complexity and build down to what our energy budget will allow. Lost knowledge is a possibility I suppose but it's still out there. Perhaps it's hard to see sometimes.  As an example about a half hour from me there is a machinist. His hobby is restoring old machinery.  This one man has acumulated 30 tractors from the 1920's to the 1960's.  Also is a whole room devoted to single cylinder engines from the early 20th century.  Spread throughout North America are countless numbers of these mechanical hoarders.  They forge, weld, hammer, cast, rebuild, mill, turn for pure enjoyment. Faced with a catastrophe they would not give up without a fight.  Would they succeed? Most not but some would and would forge a world that works with the energy budget they had.  We created the mechanical world because it give a huge advantage.  Some will use it and keep it going.  I'll admit I'm biased Cheers

All of those mechanical hoarders who do restoration of old machines depend on NEW machines to do that restoration with.

So I play on the other team from you and Eddie.  Not sure who is on my team here on this one, PY probably and maybe KD.

Diners are free to sign up with either team in this thread.

Batter UP!  ;D

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 11, 2017, 11:04:48 AM
"Just" a scythe blade that stays sharp all day. "Just" a cart axle that does not wear out or require hourly regreassing. I'm on Eddie's team.  I think we will use our current tools while they work to build ones of lesser complexity and build down to what our energy budget will allow. Lost knowledge is a possibility I suppose but it's still out there. Perhaps it's hard to see sometimes.  As an example about a half hour from me there is a machinist. His hobby is restoring old machinery.  This one man has acumulated 30 tractors from the 1920's to the 1960's.  Also is a whole room devoted to single cylinder engines from the early 20th century.  Spread throughout North America are countless numbers of these mechanical hoarders.  They forge, weld, hammer, cast, rebuild, mill, turn for pure enjoyment. Faced with a catastrophe they would not give up without a fight.  Would they succeed? Most not but some would and would forge a world that works with the energy budget they had.  We created the mechanical world because it give a huge advantage.  Some will use it and keep it going.  I'll admit I'm biased Cheers

All of those mechanical hoarders who do restoration of old machines depend on NEW machines to do that restoration with.

So I play on the other team from you and Eddie.  Not sure who is on my team here on this one, PY probably and maybe KD.

Diners are free to sign up with either team in this thread.

Batter UP!  ;D

RE
A little bit back you said about picking your favorite scenario, or at least picking the one that you feel is most likely.... well, I'm split on those.  When it comes to most likely, I'm definitely in your camp RE, but it is NOT my favorite.  I would much rather see the world come together more rationally and save enough that we can continue on at a medieval level of technology.  I think the difference is worth the effort.  The difference between a stone knife and a scythe is almost unimaginable when it comes to harvesting grains.  And a metal axle bearing for transportation is another incredible labor savor -- it is easily worth the day's effort to smelt.

But, I do want to know what I need to know in case we do have to go back to Hunter-Gatherer tech.
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 11, 2017, 01:20:25 PM
I don't see us going back to stone tools, or hunting and gathering. 

I think what is more likely is that we have a HUGE die off over the next 50 years or so.  It will be huge, chaotic, and due to many things such as climate change, disease, starvation, and war.  If you knock out 80% of the population than all of a sudden you have enough fossil energy to last for hundreds of years with our current tech.  Plus there will be modest gains in green tech. 

I think some percentage of man will go on with our current level of technology.  A lot of people have to die. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 11, 2017, 04:07:26 PM
"Just" a scythe blade that stays sharp all day. "Just" a cart axle that does not wear out or require hourly regreassing. I'm on Eddie's team.  I think we will use our current tools while they work to build ones of lesser complexity and build down to what our energy budget will allow. Lost knowledge is a possibility I suppose but it's still out there. Perhaps it's hard to see sometimes.  As an example about a half hour from me there is a machinist. His hobby is restoring old machinery.  This one man has acumulated 30 tractors from the 1920's to the 1960's.  Also is a whole room devoted to single cylinder engines from the early 20th century.  Spread throughout North America are countless numbers of these mechanical hoarders.  They forge, weld, hammer, cast, rebuild, mill, turn for pure enjoyment. Faced with a catastrophe they would not give up without a fight.  Would they succeed? Most not but some would and would forge a world that works with the energy budget they had.  We created the mechanical world because it give a huge advantage.  Some will use it and keep it going.  I'll admit I'm biased Cheers

All of those mechanical hoarders who do restoration of old machines depend on NEW machines to do that restoration with.

So I play on the other team from you and Eddie.  Not sure who is on my team here on this one, PY probably and maybe KD.

Diners are free to sign up with either team in this thread.

Batter UP!  ;D

RE
A little bit back you said about picking your favorite scenario, or at least picking the one that you feel is most likely.... well, I'm split on those.  When it comes to most likely, I'm definitely in your camp RE, but it is NOT my favorite.  I would much rather see the world come together more rationally and save enough that we can continue on at a medieval level of technology.  I think the difference is worth the effort.  The difference between a stone knife and a scythe is almost unimaginable when it comes to harvesting grains.  And a metal axle bearing for transportation is another incredible labor savor -- it is easily worth the day's effort to smelt.

But, I do want to know what I need to know in case we do have to go back to Hunter-Gatherer tech.

A 16th-early 18th century level of technology is a possibility, and would be my next most likely scenario.


I think some percentage of man will go on with our current level of technology.  A lot of people have to die.

I consider this scenario highly unlikely.  A lot of people will die, yes, but the remaining ones will not likely retain current technology.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 11, 2017, 04:50:24 PM


I consider this scenario highly unlikely.  A lot of people will die, yes, but the remaining ones will not likely retain current technology.

RE

Alright, why not? 

Why can't a small percentage of elite man retain all current knowledge?  We have the technology to store most of our scientific and technological advances. 

I can envision an elite university where the students are trained to retain this information in their brains, and to pass it on as time goes forward.  There is no reason why all knowledge we have gained should be lost. 

So why not? 

There could feasibly be a controlled transition.  Actually, Jason Heppenstall envisioned such a transition with his latest novel Seat of Mars.  I have a signed copy and read it in three sittings (it was a Christmas present from my wife and Hepp).  I read to page 111 on the first sitting.  It's an amazing read and all should read it. 

Anyways, there is no reason why a select few millions of humans can't be cultivated to retain what we have gained in knowledge.  Any major political power could produce such a University. 

There is no reason why we lose the knowledge we have gained.  It's just that most of us won't be around any longer. 

So again I ask you RE, why is this an unreasonable view.  I'll give you that it's a purely optimistic one, but it's within the realm of possibility.  Civilization as a whole is fucked, but mankind is certainly not.  We can survive, and we will survive.  Until the sun goes super nova. 
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 11, 2017, 05:13:57 PM


I consider this scenario highly unlikely.  A lot of people will die, yes, but the remaining ones will not likely retain current technology.

RE

Alright, why not? 

Why can't a small percentage of elite man retain all current knowledge?  We have the technology to store most of our scientific and technological advances. 

I can envision an elite university where the students are trained to retain this information in their brains, and to pass it on as time goes forward.  There is no reason why all knowledge we have gained should be lost. 

So why not? 

There could feasibly be a controlled transition.  Actually, Jason Heppenstall envisioned such a transition with his latest novel Seat of Mars.  I have a signed copy and read it in three sittings (it was a Christmas present from my wife and Hepp).  I read to page 111 on the first sitting.  It's an amazing read and all should read it. 

Anyways, there is no reason why a select few millions of humans can't be cultivated to retain what we have gained in knowledge.  Any major political power could produce such a University. 

There is no reason why we lose the knowledge we have gained.  It's just that most of us won't be around any longer. 

So again I ask you RE, why is this an unreasonable view.  I'll give you that it's a purely optimistic one, but it's within the realm of possibility.  Civilization as a whole is fucked, but mankind is certainly not.  We can survive, and we will survive.  Until the sun goes super nova.

Being "within the realm of possibility" does not make it a likelihood.

High technology society is extremely complex and energy dependent.  It's not just knowledge that keeps it running.The microchips in your laptop require resources from all over the globe to be manufactured and delivery systems that can't be maintained in a low per capita energy world.As people start dieing off, these chains will break and the clean rooms and factories necessary to produce these things won't be maintained any better than the Nuke Puke power plants will.  Roads and Bridges will not be maintained, so even if you had a Tesla Model X and solar PV cells on your roof to charge it up, you wouldn't be able to drive it around.  Airport runways won't be maintained, there will be no tar or concrete to do it with, so you will have nowhere to land your Private Jet if you still have one that works.

I do agree civilization is fucked but mankind is not.  We'll do just fine with Stone Knives and Bearskins.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: luciddreams on March 11, 2017, 05:20:46 PM


I consider this scenario highly unlikely.  A lot of people will die, yes, but the remaining ones will not likely retain current technology.

RE

Alright, why not? 

Why can't a small percentage of elite man retain all current knowledge?  We have the technology to store most of our scientific and technological advances. 

I can envision an elite university where the students are trained to retain this information in their brains, and to pass it on as time goes forward.  There is no reason why all knowledge we have gained should be lost. 

So why not? 

There could feasibly be a controlled transition.  Actually, Jason Heppenstall envisioned such a transition with his latest novel Seat of Mars.  I have a signed copy and read it in three sittings (it was a Christmas present from my wife and Hepp).  I read to page 111 on the first sitting.  It's an amazing read and all should read it. 

Anyways, there is no reason why a select few millions of humans can't be cultivated to retain what we have gained in knowledge.  Any major political power could produce such a University. 

There is no reason why we lose the knowledge we have gained.  It's just that most of us won't be around any longer. 

So again I ask you RE, why is this an unreasonable view.  I'll give you that it's a purely optimistic one, but it's within the realm of possibility.  Civilization as a whole is fucked, but mankind is certainly not.  We can survive, and we will survive.  Until the sun goes super nova.

Being "within the realm of possibility" does not make it a likelihood.

High technology society is extremely complex and energy dependent.  It's not just knowledge that keeps it running.The microchips in your laptop require resources from all over the globe to be manufactured and delivery systems that can't be maintained in a low per capita energy world.As people start dieing off, these chains will break and the clean rooms and factories necessary to produce these things won't be maintained any better than the Nuke Puke power plants will.  Roads and Bridges will not be maintained, so even if you had a Tesla Model X and solar PV cells on your roof to charge it up, you wouldn't be able to drive it around.  Airport runways won't be maintained, there will be no tar or concrete to do it with, so you will have nowhere to land your Private Jet if you still have one that works.

I do agree civilization is fucked but mankind is not.  We'll do just fine with Stone Knives and Bearskins.

RE

There is plenty of fossil energy left to keep a small city, like Atlantis, on planet Earth for some time to come.  Yes a lot of people will die, most will die, but we won't lose the technology overnight.  We'll have time to adapt and maintain.  When it becomes unavoidable that BAU is over, there will be some effort made by some sane governments.  This will be enough to keep the knowledge. 

Most will die though. 

Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: RE on March 11, 2017, 05:40:52 PM


There is plenty of fossil energy left to keep a small city, like Atlantis, on planet Earth for some time to come.  Yes a lot of people will die, most will die, but we won't lose the technology overnight.  We'll have time to adapt and maintain.  When it becomes unavoidable that BAU is over, there will be some effort made by some sane governments.  This will be enough to keep the knowledge. 

Most will die though.

I didn't say it would happen overnight.  I said it would occur over 100-200 years, in the time of your grandchildren or great-grandchildren, assuming Ayden and Harper choose to have children anyhow.

A "small city like Atlantis" doesn't have the resources necessary to maintain such a level of technology.  You need mines in Africa, mines in Alaska and energy you can still pump up at a positive EROEI.  That is likely to be gone in 50 years at the outside.

RE
Title: Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
Post by: jdwheeler42 on March 11, 2017, 06:02:55 PM
I consider this scenario highly unlikely.  A lot of people will die, yes, but the remaining ones will not likely retain current technology.
Alright, why not? 

Why can't a small percentage of elite man retain all current knowledge?  We have the technology to store most of our scientific and technological advances. 

I can envision an elite university where the students are trained to retain this information in their brains, and to pass it on as time goes forward.  There is no reason why all knowledge we have gained should be lost. 
The best chance for this scenario playing out would be a library in the middle of a very arid desert.  A collection of acid-free books could be preserved for a very long time there.  The Long Now Foundation did have the idea for a 10000 Year Library, but they have scaled it back to just a clock.  To the best of my knowledge, no one is undertaking anything resembling this kind of effort.

One thing I've thought about, though, is if we were able to maintain the knowledge of how to make semiconductors, eventually we might be able to rebuild much of the rest, albeit on a much smaller scale.  The big question, of course, would be whether it would be worth the effort.  Along those lines, I've thought audiobooks might be the sweet spot: microphones and speakers are simple enough devices, and they would allow remote transmission of knowledge without people needing to be literate.  And dedicated audiobooks would be much simpler devices than computers.

An unlikely but very interesting scenario....
Title: A Time of Seven Generations
Post by: RE on March 16, 2017, 04:33:34 AM


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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 16, 2017






Discuss this article at the SUN Table inside the Diner



I am going to put off publishing another chapter of How I Survived Collapse for another week to publish instead this compilation article from posts made Inside the Diner on the topic of developing self-sufficiency.  We had a lively discussion on this topic this week, and I would like to share it while it is still fresh. We discussed what self-sufficiency really means, and what that entails both short and long term.  Many different opinions were expressed on this topic, in terms of what is or is not possible and what the long term outcome will be from the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.



Most of the Diners do not buy into the concept of a Near Term Human Extinction, so the debate is not about whether all Homo Saps will be dead in 10 years or even a 100 years.  It's about what technologies we might or might not be able to maintain through this time period, and what are the most important things to be learning now both for the near term of a likely "Scavenging Civilization" which operates by taking many of the materials leftover from the Age of Oil and fixing and repurposing  them, to the longer term after those materials have mostly rusted away and been turned to rubble.



There is a wide variety of opinion on this topic, from some Diners who believe it is possible a high tech society like our own can be maintained for a much smaller population; to some who think that we can be sustainable at a 17th Century level of technology (pre-Steam Engine); to those like myself who believe the only truly sustainable society utilizes only Stone Age technology.



Below you find a selection of the posting made to this thread. It comes from only the first page of this thread, which is now at 4 pages long and climbing. For a complete reading, I suggest going to the thread itself, which is open for non-members to read.  If you wish to contribute your thoughts to this thread, you will need to register on the Forum and become an official Diner.



Now, on to the 7 Generations debate! 🙂



RE



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From RE:



Over on Knarf's Knewz in a link post about the Black Rose Anarchist Party, JDW put up a couple of quotes from Bill Mollison about becoming Producers rather than Consumers, with the implication that this was the real productive form of Anarchy to be undertaken.



In this one, Bill asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.  I'm assuming he means doing it without Industrial Fertilizers as well.  Not sure how he felt about big combines, harvesters, tractors and so forth though.

 








My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?



Next question is that of self-sufficiency to begin with.  Before you can feed 9 other people, you need to feed yourself of course.  Is anyone really self-sufficient enough to feed himself?



In all my years of talking with various Doomsteaders with various levels of prepping and various sized properties, not ONE of them has ever said to me, "I am 100% Self Sufficient with Food Production".  Most of the time, they give me a number somewhere between 25% & 50%.  "But I am working toward being fully self-sufficient, and hope to get there in 5 years".  Or some timeline anyhow.



Now, if they have NOT achieved 100% self-sufficiency in food, then if/when TSHTF, they're still gonna starve to death, just a bit slower than the folks who are 0% self-sufficient.  If you're only getting 50% of the daily calories, protein and vitamins you need to live, you are gonna die!  So anything less than 100%, you are also going extinct.



This is only the question of self-sufficiency on your food production ability given the tools you buy to do this stuff.  Even if those tools are just horse drawn plows and the tack necessary for strapping them up, most if not all people including the Amish BUY this stuff, they don't make it themselves.  It does wear out of course, but if you are well prepped with spares and so forth AND are food self sufficient, now you may have got up to 20 years, but the next generation of your kids growing up on the farm are not going to be able to buy this stuff, so then they will go extinct.  No farming tools, no farming.



So of course, this is why we at SUN☼ always talk about the importance of Community, in order to have some people who know how to MAKE tools necessary for farming, as well as those who USE the tools to do the farming.  This sort of community really doesn't exist AFAIK*, except perhaps in some Amish communities.  However, even they buy most of their tools from the industrial economy, the only ones they make themselves are the ones the industrial ecoomy doesn't make any more.



So, the whole idea of becoming self-sufficient in time for the Collapse of Industrial Civilization seems like a tough goal to achieve.



Going back in history of course, there certainly were people who were entirely self sufficient, but they were all Stone Age Hunter-Gatherers.  Once the transition was made to Agriculture and Metallurgy to do that with, self-sufficiency was lost.  Even the Pioneers weren't really self-sufficient, they brought with them tools and implements with which to get started, mostly shipped over from Europe at the beginning until forges and blacksmith shops were built on the East Coast and mining operations began to get iron ore and coal locally.  Then they traded the food they grew using these great tools to get new tools when they needed them.

 








Now, moving into the future here,the likelihood of being able to acquire coal and iron ore to make new tools seems quite small moving say 100 years down the line.  For those of us alive today, not an issue, we probaly can scavenge a lot of material and repurpose for a while, like taking sheet metal off carz and using it to sheath a plowshare, or sharpening to make a Scythe.  But by the 100 year mark, all that old metal will be rusted and brittle and not useful anymore for making such tools.



So eventually of course, returning to full self-sufficiency means returning to H-G and Stone Tools.  It ALSO means getting to that point within about 100 years.



Now, on the upside here, the population is likely to decline quite a bit over that century time span, making H-G living theoretically possible again.  However, within that time span, those who don't know how to knap stone tools, hunt in primitive fashion will have to acquire those skills if they don't have them already.  How will they do that if you as Patriarch/Matriarch of this group of intrepid Survivors of Collapse aren't spending at least some of your prep time on gaining Primitive Skills?  Who will teach them if they grew up as farmers with tools to do farming made of metal, but no longer have metal to work with?

 








I would like to hear Diner Opinions on many of the issues I brought up in this post.  Can a farmer be completely self sufficient?  Are any, even the poorest subsistence farming Indian farmers self-sufficient?  Could you continue farming (or permaculturing) with no metal tools?  Do you think spending some prepping time on gaining primitive skills is necessary, or a waste of time?  If not a waste of time, how much time should be spent on this so you will have the knowledge to pass on to children and grandchildren?



I am hoping to get enough responses to this post to make a Diner Compilation article out of the thread, so post up!



RE



*AFAIK- as far as I know



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From Lucid Dreams



I think going back to stone tools is a bit of a stretch RE.



A good quality hand tool made of metal and wood can be used for lifetimes pending it is cared for.  Metal that is kept clean and dry does not rust.  The tools they sell at the big box stores are mostly shit that don't even last one lifetime.  There is plenty of metal to scavenge for a long time to come.  Take a modern day dumpster for instance.  How long would it take one of those things to rust back into the Earth?  So going back to stone tools is not going to be necessary. 



As far as the self sufficient farmer myth goes, that's a load of bollix.  No such thing, and there never has been.  It's theoretically possible, and I'm sure some people have done it.  I think you could survive pending you had enough hands and the weather helped you (which is unlikely these days). 



The best templates we have are the current ecovilliages, and as far as I know none of them are 100% self sufficient.  If they were 100% self sufficient, then they would not need money would they?  Of course one could argue that it's just easier to buy the stuff you need, like fencing for instance, if you have the money.  In the absence of money a lot of things could be accomplished in other ways. 



The "self sufficient farmer" is not a reality.  That farmer needs farm hands.  I think then you can produce a human diet that could keep people reasonably healthy.  The Easter Islanders did it, and so did the Vikings, and so did many other peoples before our time.  The best answers I've seen to our problems comes from Permaculture.  Permaculture has aggregated a lot of knowledge under it's umbrella, and it provides a system of design principles to help in the thinking process. 



I have no doubt that if the money was made available a Permaculture system could keep a lot of people alive and healthy.  If the goobermint were to throw billions of digibits at Permaculture like they do for the MIC, then we would have an excellent chance at saving a lot more than as many as we can.  Restoration agriculture combined with the biointensive methods from the Ecology Action folks and a strong emphasis on bamboo culture would create a very stable system of food, fuel, fiber, and medicine production.  It is possible to manage these systems sustainably and therefore provide self-sufficiency, but that sufficiency is really provided by community. 



The cabin in the woods is a farce.  It will take community to survive.  It will take a community with rules and a chain of command, and it will likely be very similar to feudalism due to necessity because nobody in goobermint is addressing any of this.  All of our "leaders" are asleep at the switch, incompetent, blind, and servicing BAU for their own personal interests.  Nobody in goobermint is taking any of our once problems, now predicaments, seriously. 



Restoration agriculture takes time.  We are talking about trees and land that's been mostly denuded of topsoil.  That topsoil has to be regrown, and that takes time.  It takes lots of time.  It can be done relatively quickly biointensively, but it still takes time.  Years.  Most nut trees take 20, 30 years to mature and produce nuts.  Orchards take years to mature.  None of these systems will mature in much less than 10 years.  I'd say 20 years is more likely how much time you need to get mature Permaculture systems in place that would be capable of supporting a large population. 



It's simply too late in the game to save all 7.5 billion of us.  If we had a Manhattan Project level event that got going with Permaculture in the driver seat today, then we might be able to save half of the current population.  That's just my guess. 



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From Eddie:



Metal tools are not going away. They were around before modern BAU, and they'll persist afterward, in my opinion. They will become extremely expensive. Things like plows and hand tools will be very precious when they have to be hand made out of dead cars, though.



Food is tricky. I know a big family with everyone working the fields can be self sufficient, because that's the way it used to be. As in LARGELY self-sufficient, 90% or better. You always need some things. Salt, seeds, sugar, etc.



Transition is the hardest part. You can't go from BAU to self-sufficient overnight. I would expect a fast collapse to create a serious famine.



The best case would be if you can get some of your protein from hunting or fishing, and some food from gathering. People in low population areas would have an advantage there, of course.



Very few people are in a position to even try living self-sufficiently. It would be a huge stretch to assume I could get there in time, even with my modest preps to tide me over. If BAU continues until I reach retirement status, I'll be able to get better at it. Otherwise, I'll have to wing it when push comes to shove. Won't be at all easy. I know that.



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From RE:



As I said to LD, not going away in this generation or even the next one in all likelihood.  But in your grandchildren's generation, where will they get the coal and iron ore to smelt the metal and fabricate new tools?  There sure won't be Home Depots to buy them at. I am looking 100-200 years out in time here.



If they cannot fabricate new metal tools, then how do they keep farming/permaculturing?  Can you do this without metal tools?  ???  :icon_scratch: If so, how?



If you postulate in the generation of your grandchildren that metal tools will NOT be available for them to use, then don't you need to prep them up for that time by teaching them stone tool knapping?  How else will they learn it? Maybe they will figure it out on their own, but would it not be better to pass this knowledge down so they are prepped and ready for this day?  How can you pass such knowledge down if you do not have it yourself?



RE



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From K-Dog:



Making metal tools?  Is there an APP for that?  Metal shop, wood shop, home economics?  High schools don't bother with such things anymore do they?



As time's arrow shoots forward the social direction moves more and more away from self sufficiency and self reliance.  This will mean mass death as soon as the wheels can't turn from lack of cheap oil.  There is no way around it and those who imagine themselves self sufficient will be pulled down in the social quagmire of those who are not.



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From JD Wheeler:





The best templates we have are the current ecovilliages, and as far as I know none of them are 100% self sufficient.  If they were 100% self sufficient, then they would not need money would they?  Of course one could argue that it's just easier to buy the stuff you need, like fencing for instance, if you have the money.  In the absence of money a lot of things could be accomplished in other ways. 





 



Are you familiar with Gaviotas?

http://www.friendsofgaviotas.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaviotas

http://amzn.to/2mkBLgO



They are fairly well isolated from the rest of the world, so they probably do come close to providing 100% of their needs. If you count net impact and consider the 1.5 million trees they've replanted, they might be over 100%.



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From JD Wheeler:





In this one, Bill asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.  I'm assuming he means doing it without Industrial Fertilizers as well.  Not sure how he felt about big combines, harvesters, tractors and so forth though.



My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?





 



I've addressed this before as Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret.  I agree with Bill Mollison's assessment that using permaculture methods, 10% of the population could GROW enough food to feed 100% of the population; they could not, however, HARVEST enough food to feed everyone.  Even on my little blackberry patches, well over 50% of the berries go unharvested, even by the birds!  Permaculture's Dirty Little Secret is that, after you have set the systems up, 90% of the work is harvesting.



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From David B.



My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.




Title: Re: A Time of Seven Generations
Post by: Eddie on March 16, 2017, 06:33:48 AM
(http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/seven-generations.jpg)

The bad news is that the circle he was seeing is a lot smaller than the one we have now.
Title: Re: A Time of Seven Generations
Post by: RE on March 16, 2017, 06:54:40 AM
The bad news is that the circle he was seeing is a lot smaller than the one we have now.

We're only about 5 generations since Crazy Horse.  Another 2 generations, the Circle will be a lot smaller.

RE