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Chapter 20 is done....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 6:22 PM

Finally(!!) 

...and now the work begins. 

Link to:  Chapter 20 - What Should I Do?

This is the last of the Crash Course series...I plan to put out an obligatory "here are my thoughts on national and global solutions" piece as an addendum, but I suspect  that material would be rapidly dated by events.

So I kept the Crash Course as timeless as possible.

From here, my plan is to work with subscribers in a special forum area where the emphasis will be on working through the numerous issues raised in Chapter 20.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy it and get something from it.

All the best,
Chris

 


PS - Thanks for holding down the fort, everyone.  Great posts and great comments....this is a very intelligent and respectful community that is assembling.  I am honored and grateful.

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28 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2244
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Congratulations Chris!!!  Go have your well-deserved champagne.  Here's to you!

-C

DavidC's picture
DavidC
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 29 2008
Posts: 243
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Seconded!

Some of my friends and acquaintances have been gobsmacked when I've spoken about some of the facts and issues raised in the Crash Course - the height of $1trn worth of thousand dollar bills is a good one!

(not sure if this word is known in the US - http://dictionary.cambridge.org
adjective UK INFORMAL
so shocked that you cannot speak:
"He was gobsmacked when he heard of the redundancies")

I've recommended and pointed a number of people to your site Chris, an invaluable resource. Many thanks for making it available and for all the work that you've put into it.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 453
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
Huzzah!  Let me watch it...
artdeco42's picture
artdeco42
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 30 2008
Posts: 3
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Very nice - I like how you presented good fundamental strategies for decision making and preparation. The best thing about this course is its firm basis in rationality and the need to make decisions with incomplete information. I've passed the web site on to many of my previous teachers at several universities hoping that they will pass it on to their current students and collegues.

 I'll be making a donation out of one of the next few paychecks, but until then I'll just say thank you for putting so much of your time and effort into this project.

 Darren

radiance's picture
radiance
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 11 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

great work Chris

I really like the we component. We "a tiny band of intercessors" are hosting a neighborhood Get to Know one Another Nov 1.        500 fliers are being distributed this week.  Pizza and hot spiced cider at our farm will be served from our massive brand new wood-fired dome brick bake oven.  This gathering is just an old fashion neighborhood gathering. No alarming thoughts except wow isn't it amazing the global events. I hope a to network now so when it gets bad unity  is already here.

Ron

Set's picture
Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 112
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
Congratulations on a great job.  May the number of people who learn from your Crash Course grow Exponentially.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and good judgement.  Namaste!
pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Chapter 20: the buck might stop somewhere near here

Well we tried competition. Do we still have another choice?

 Goodwork Chris

bnormann's picture
bnormann
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 23 2008
Posts: 1
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Our sincerest thanks for all the work and for sharing with us all. You managed to explain the problems and connections in ways that can easily be understood.

Personally all this information has helped us make very important choices for the future. Even if things won't be as bad as they conceivingly could, we will still be in a better position than if we had done nothing to prepare.

We have sent this website to people we care about and trust they will pass it on.

Sincerely, a greatful couple!

 

vegas316's picture
vegas316
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 13 2008
Posts: 15
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Hey Chris!

Thanks for taking the initiative and expending the effort to educate us on these issues. I can say that for me (and probably others) this course has opened my eyes. It is amazing the amount of supporting material on the Internet once you are alerted to the fact that a problem exists. I have been doing copious amounts of research and been making changes in my life ever since I saw your course for the first time back in August.

Again, thanks for your effort and your insight. And for goodness sake, do me a favor and SLEEP IN tomorrow! Cool

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

What an epic.....

Good job Chris.  I describe you as a master communicator when encouraging people to view your Crash Course, a title much merited...

Mike in Australia 

Pandabonium's picture
Pandabonium
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 30 2008
Posts: 88
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Kudos, Chris, and thank you for a truly unique and exceptional course. 

 Best.

 Pandabonium

"I read the news today, oh boy." ~ A Day in the Life, Lennon/McCartney 1967

Downrange's picture
Downrange
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 13 2008
Posts: 62
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Very nice, I'm glad you kept it generic, in retrospect, but certainly hope to see your (dated, albeit) take on our current politico-economic world situation.  Yours is the first solid economic overview that I've seen, anyway, that puts everything in perspective - our interest-bearing debt money fiasco system, the Peak Oil issues, and the resource/environment situation.

Checking your site daily now, sharing links to materials here, and very glad to have found this.

VeganDB12's picture
VeganDB12
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 740
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Chris

Thank you for your outstanding work.  What an eye opener this course has been.  I look forward to the blog discussions and as always appreciate your honest, incisive and enormously well researched opinions and data.  Kudos and many thanks, I will continue to donate as I can and try to spread the word. Many thanks.

Denise

SwedishChef's picture
SwedishChef
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Posts: 5
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
Well done!!  Thank you, Thank you Thank youThankyouThankyou!!!!!
EndGamePlayer's picture
EndGamePlayer
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 2 2008
Posts: 546
I agree on so many points... except a few
It's my belief that from what we just saw happen in the world market centers and banks clearly points out that we have 1 of 2 things happening-

 

Either someone knows what is going on and controlling it ~ or ~ No One Knows What the H-!! is going on and No One is in control. (Chris was The ONLY one who warned us this was coming! and that's why I LOVE THIS GUY.)

But, from that perspective, I look at "What Should I do?" from the Survivalists' Point of view and do the assessing of short term to long term needs in being prepared to surviving anything - Energy shortages, Economic Downturns (recessions/Depressions), Environmental catastrophies, epidemics, pandemics, sociological upheavals and on. 

This is in no way a complete list of how to prepare for survival -just a short list and

an Economic Survival Chart is much more complex but the basic survival list is fairly "Basic":

A "1 Month" Preparedness goal would be in response to a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricanne or tornadoe and on. This would require a neighborhood "action" to survival. The immediate reaction is to ask - do you stay or flee? and go from there.

A "1 Year" would be a devastating flood, fire, earthquake, and on. This may involve a city, county or state "action" and we've seen these play out in tornadoes & hurricanes so we're familiar with what you need to get through this.

A "5 Year" Goal would be to Survive a national catastrophe with a complete breakdown. Taking from how those who survived the former USSR's depression - there are those who survived without much disruption to daily life. To be able to do well during any of these evnts means having food/water/shelter/ and those basic things needed to survive without society - to the effect that you have resources available to help others. The flip side - be ready to defend ourself.

A "10 + Year" Event means the world is turned upside-down and you have to learn a whole new way of doing things - you'll need Barter-able Skills as a new society becomes structured. We are much better prepared for this than say, the Dark Ages were, but that doesn't mean a 10 year event wouldn't be seriously deadly.

As for investing, this type of activity is investing - IN YOURSELF AND YOUR OWN SURVIVAL and everyone needs a game plan for each level of an event - on both a personal survival level (illness) to the "big one". However, to do a short-cut, - when you prepare for the longest need- you also fill the shortest need.

The more of us who do prepare in this manner - the better off we will all be.

My Warmest Regards - All information is good.

 

 

 

 

burritos's picture
burritos
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 9 2008
Posts: 2
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Congrats on your completion of the crash course. 1-19 were great. 20 wasn't too informative. I think you're giving people too much credit to come up with and to prioritize solutions on their own. Just look at Katrina if you don't believe me. I personally would love a section 21, which is "What are the top 10 things Chris M. is doing". 

Now if what you are doing is this crash course, then that's above and beyond most anyone else. But I  suspect you're doing things to help secure your own personal future also. As a follower I would like to hear what you are doing, and see if it would be appropriate for us too.

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Chapter 20: Why we don't act to save ourselves
  • Our media cover every issue and every side with no priorities and similar space and time (after Robert Fisk).
  • Our group size is too big; we are still tribal by nature. In groups of more than 100 or so we are simply governed and governable. How great a gift does the vote seem now?
  • Our attention is everywhere else;  There is only one place we can act to save ourselves and it is in our present place.

So what to do; if you can, gather together with your neighbours and start to grow food (low talk to do ratio). No leaders and never again sacrifice consensus.  If you are in a group and even one person has a problem with what you are doing then stop until they agree and never do it while they don't.
good luck!

Don

 

DigitalGirl's picture
DigitalGirl
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 1
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
[quote=burritos]

Congrats on your completion of the crash course. 1-19 were great. 20 wasn't too informative. I think you're giving people too much credit to come up with and to prioritize solutions on their own. [/quote]

There is also the assumption that everyone has money socked away somewhere in the form of investments or property. What about those of us who already live paycheck to paycheck (or in my family's current situation, unemployment check to unemployment check) and are scraping the bottom of the barrel just to stay afloat? I guess we should go and sell our second summer home and hide cash under the mattress? Haha! We rent and my husband has been unemployed for months. If things get any worse in the economy and job market we may well be standing on the corner with a cardboard sign.

 I still thoroughly enjoyed Chapters 1-19. I'm just a little more worried now that nobody seems to know what "Joe the Plumber" should be doing to secure a reasonable future.

gauntlett's picture
gauntlett
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Online)
Joined: Aug 25 2008
Posts: 49
Re: Chapter 20: Why we don't act to save ourselves

Hey Everyone,

 Chris wants to get the word out and the Internet is one way to accomplish such goals.  However, we also need people out and about spreading the word, and raising everyone's level of consciousness about these topics.  He also mentioned this in chapter 20.

So, is anyone or has anyone started organizing groups in their local communities?

 

-T 

lucasaltic's picture
lucasaltic
Status: Martenson Brigade Admin (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 142
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Chris,

Congrats on a job well done.  The Crash Course is truly a masterpiece.  At the end, you made the comment that you would like to see the CC viewed by millions.  One way of making that happen is a full YouTube release.  It would get it seen by as many as possible while at the same time drawing even more traffic to your site.

Just a thought.

Anyway, thank you for doing this.  It is a humanitarian effort of epic proportions.  You should win the nobel peace prize!

Lucas

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Chapter 20: Why we don't act to save ourselves

Sure have.....

Last week I did a public showing of chapter 17 at our monthly Permaculture general meeting.

I now have enough interest in our membership to workshop the entire crashcourse.

I live in a small town (pop 3000) and a core group of 20 odd have started the ball rolling to convert it to a Transition Town (http://www.transitiontowns.org) to prepare those who don't even know about the crash yet (yes, there are plenty!) to become more resilient.

Yesterday I helped a friend lift heavy drywall sheets to finish his house.  In exchange, he showed me how he kills young goats and skins and dresses them for food.  We have two 14 month old female goats here.  He sent me home with a young male to service our girls so that next year we too will have meat and milk.

Mike 

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
DigitalGirl wrote:

There is also the assumption that everyone has money socked away somewhere in the form of investments or property. What about those of us who already live paycheck to paycheck (or in my family's current situation, unemployment check to unemployment check) and are scraping the bottom of the barrel just to stay afloat? I guess we should go and sell our second summer home and hide cash under the mattress? Haha! We rent and my husband has been unemployed for months. If things get any worse in the economy and job market we may well be standing on the corner with a cardboard sign.

I still thoroughly enjoyed Chapters 1-19. I'm just a little more worried now that nobody seems to know what "Joe the Plumber" should be doing to secure a reasonable future.

DigitalGirl, you are not alone. I disagree with you, though - I do think that the ideas presented in Chapter 20 are relevant to Joe the Plumber or whomever. Regardless of your assets (or lack of), you can still do a self-assessment and think about your priorities.  What are your family's basic needs, how will you meet them in the coming
year, and how would you meet them if there was an economic crisis worse than what you are experiencing now?

Some questions that people in your shoes might think about:  When your unemployment runs out, what will you do?  Where will you live if you lose your home?  How will you make sure your family is warm enough this winter?  How will you make sure your family has enough to eat?  These questions are relevant whether or not there is an economic crisis.  Maybe for you the question is not "How would you?" but "How will you?"

You can - and should - build community.  You can build your network and position yourself to share what you have and receive what others can offer.  You can find out what skills and tools people you know have to share - and explore what skills and tools you can share with them. 

You'd also be surprised at what people give away for free on Freecycle and Craigslist and even on the curb.  If you're interested in acquiring self-sufficiency stuff, keep your eyes peeled - I've gotten oil lamps, a bike trailer, a food dehydrator, canning supplies, a woodstove, gardening tools, self-sufficiency books, and more, for free.

You can acquire skills and knowledge.  You can use the Internet or the public library.  You can think about making a career change, develop appropriate skills, and seek to position yourself to get hired.  No, it isn't necessarily easy.  But it is something you can do if it fits in with your priorities.  You can explore gardening and/or food storage on whatever scale fits your situation.

I want to assure you that Chris is aware of the concerns you raise, because I have discussed them with him personally.  There is a lot that can be done even if you have no investments, no assets, and no savings. 

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: Chapter 20: Why we don't act to save ourselves

gauntlett - yes I started about 3 months ago. Approached the neighbours I thought would be most receptive they responded very well and agreed that we should meet. Unfortunately they advised me to visit other neighbours one at a time continuing with the most receptive. The ones I first approached know most of our neighbours. I only know the ones closest. For the reason of heath I have not been able to continue seeing neighbours one at a time. I am now preparing a flyer with a map of what I think are sensible physical boundaries in our neighnourhood that should contain around a hundred people. I am asking that we meet about growing food on the next fine Sunday and have identified a very close park as the place.

I will of course keep everyone updated but it might take a few weeks for this to happen.

Thanks for your interest

Don

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 456
Re: Chapter 20: Why we don't act to save ourselves

Damnthematrix - My friends formed a peak oil group in our city (50,000) about 5 years ago. I very quickly stopped going to meetings - just get the mail. One of my friends who is the "chief instigator" has moved on to "transition towns", flys all over the country, meets with important people who don't listen and has run himself ragged as we say. His partner is beside herself because he finds it so exciting. If you want to grow food where you live you need to talk to the other people where you live. And no more than you can get to know reasonably well and might be considered a small tribe. We have tried too many things that have failed and this is too important to us all.

Good Luck

Don 

davehb34's picture
davehb34
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Posts: 1
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
In response to Burrito's comment above if you read his bio he actually mentions the changes he has made in his life over the past 4 years with regards to the upcoming crisis we will face.
FNKRoue's picture
FNKRoue
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 36
Re: Chapter 20 is done....
Thanks so much Chris for all the effort.
doc's picture
doc
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 30 2008
Posts: 3
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

I think it is an excellent effort.

My main concern relates to you section on the environment and on your lack of any explicit reference to technology or human creativity.

It is unusual for someone to write about the clash between population growth and resource constraints without reference to Malthus. You should therefore talk about the numerous occasions when the Malthusian argument has been applied with total confidence, only to be proven hopelessly wrong by events. You should then explain why "this time it is different".

 

I am inclined to think that it is not different this time. Malthusianism is regularly wrong because it provides no explicit place for unknowable unpredictable human creativity and technological innovation. All those additional (relatively) free and increasingly educated people who consume resources not only produce resources, but also are the same extra people generating new knowledge and using their imagination intelligently.

 

I think that you might find the graphs in Ray Kurzweil's book (The Singularity is Near) are illuminating. You will see there how whenever unmanageable limits to growth/development appear, something new seems to emerge. It might encourage you to have a lecture devoted to technology -- it is also an exponential curve. It could be your 4th box!! I would enjoy hearing your views.

 

Best regards 

Doc 

gyrogearloose's picture
gyrogearloose
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 537
Re: Chapter 20 is done....

Without re listening to the CC, I recall  Chris said, this time it may be different.

Some time ago I read an article on the fall of some past civilisations.  A common thread was often the issue of diminishing returns on the effort required to expand the food supply. 

The issue of diminishing returns pervades all aspects of our society,  copper mines ore concentrations low and falling requiring ever more energy per kilo of metal produced,  aquifer levels dropping requiring more energy to pump the same amount of water, more marginal land being pressed into service for farming...............

Today we now have a very large complex interlinked system to feed ourselves. It consumes vast amounts of energy and is operating on increasingly thin margins. ( 18 months ago I recall seen an report that the world food reserves had dropped to 90 days, recently another report that it was down to 35 days ).

from Wikipedia on "The green revolution"

"While agricultural output increased as a result of the Green Revolution, the energy input into the process (that is, the energy that must be expended to produce a crop) has also increased at a greater rate,[15] so that the ratio of crops produced to energy input has decreased over time. Green Revolution techniques also heavily rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, some of which must be developed from fossil fuels, making agriculture increasingly reliant on petroleum products.[16] Proponents of the Peak Oil theory fear that a future decline in oil and gas production would lead to a decline in food production or even a Malthusian catastrophe.[17]"

 But yes, technology could yet save us. A massive breakthrough in GE could possibly produce a type of food crop that required no pesticide, herbicides or fertilisers, grew well without irrigation or tilling of the soil, and was easy to harvest and store, and yet produced yields far greater than the current best crops, as well as making an nice bio-diesel.

But given our current understanding of genetics I would put money on it not happening soon enough.

Hamish

 

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