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Notes from the Montague Seminar

Monday, March 9, 2009, 7:50 AM

I am racing out the door to go give a pair of talks in Albany, but I thought I could spare the time to give a (very) brief summary of the talk we held in Montague MA yesterday.

First, it was standing room only.  150 people crammed into our local grange hall having come from as far away as 3 hours drive (some of whom I know through this board).  This is in stark contrast to the 30 people who showed up last year.  I was glad to see that roughly 20% of the crowd was from Montague as my goal was to begin the process of building groups here in my own town.  But I was also enormously pleased at the number of people coming from other communities that said they were going to take the Crash Course back to their towns and begin to build or find their own communities and groups.

Second, the atmosphere was charged, and lively and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

I'll have more on this later, but perhaps the folks who were there could weigh in with their own observations (Joemanc?).

The tide is turning.  People are ready to hear, learn and do more.   They are ready for you to help them do this.

A pic:

DSC00395_resized_580_.jpg

 

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11 Comments

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar
Quote:

150 people crammed into our local grange hall having come from as far away as 3 hours drive (some of whom I know through this board).  This is in stark contrast to the 30 people who showed up last year. 

Ah yes, exponential math has hit the Chris Martenson seminars. Next year's might be in a football stadium!

I had the opportunity yesterday to attend Chris's seminar yesterday. I don't have all my notes with me(I'm at work), but I will try to throw out a few observations. I'll re-check my notes tonight and add in whatever I missed.

I'll start by saying that so many times over the years, I have driven through New England to go skiing and have passed numerous small back country towns along the way. About as far away from so-called "civilization". I always wondered how people survived out in the country-side and especially through our harsh cold winters. After the seminar yesterday, it was clear to me how people in the back country thrive: COMMUNITY! I got such a sense of community in the grange. So many people knew each other and knew Chris. And to me at least, I got the impression that Chris was the leader of their community, if not their hero. There was no doom and gloom in the room. To the contrary, there was quite a bit of laughter and positive thinking. Chris said that we need to go back and rediscover our community roots. It was illustrated well by Becca when she showed a picture of their massive house they used to live in in CT. I think she called it an island in the desert and devoid of life. The small grange in the small town yesterday was full of life and community.

One of the things that hit me hardest was Chris's discussion of possible food shortages. We've talked about it here. We've heard Jim Rogers, and others, talk about it. Chris said that the California aquifers have been so depleted, they are going to take thousands of years to replenish. Farmers have taken on the highest amounts of debts ever. Also, Potash, the Canadian agriculture company, indicated that purchases by farmers are way, way down. This could lead to possible food shortages in 1-2 years.

I know I've seen the question asked here, and it was asked yesterday, Why the move to Massachusetts? The answer is that Montague is very close to 2 well established food co-operatives.

Someone else asked whether the earth, the land, can support so many people. Very good question. Chris said that a group in Shelburne VT?, is doing a study on how much land can support how many people.

Someone asked the $64 trillion question...how does a large city like NYC survive in a Peak-Oil, Peak Everything world. Chris didn't have an answer for that. That's a scary answer. I think there was a gasp in the room. But at the same time as Chris said, if we weren't spending money trying to make Wall Street happy and spending so much money on 2 wars, we'd have the money to find out.

Groups - Someone asked about them yesterday and Chris said hopefully this week the groups functionality will be brought online. That way we can find like-minded people in areas nearby and form our own local groups.

I'm bouncing around here between topics, forgive my memory -

Another thing we discussed was forming a core group of people that you can trust. Find people that think like us. Don't waste too much time trying to convince people if their head is stuck in the sand. I've been guilty of that. Plant the seed and move on. We only need 8-10% to reach the Tipping Point, not 51%. There are people out there who think like us, it's a matter of finding them. We talked about Transition Towns and Permaculture. Some of the attendees were involved in Transition Town.

Hard Assets - gold, silver, land, stay out of the dollar. Have cash on hand in an emergency. Deflation probably to continue for the next 6-12 months. After that, inflation and possibly hyperinflation. Chris indicated that he hasn't found one instance where a country that printed money like we are, didn't end up with massive inflation afterwards.

One more interesting note: Chris said some 70 bubbles have been recorded in history and not one has ever come back.

Ok, I'm tapped out. Feel free to ask any questions. I'm sure Chris will fill us in when he gets a chance.

Joe

 

mainecooncat's picture
mainecooncat
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 7 2008
Posts: 488
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Joemanc wrote: 

"Chris said, [in response to a question about how large cities could survive post-peak oil] if we weren't spending money trying to make Wall Street happy and spending so much money on 2 wars, we'd have the money to find out."

Bravo to Chris for stating this explicitly even though some may misconstrue this basic fact as "political."

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Hello JoeManC:

Gret brief, THANK YOU! Good read! Take care 

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Couple more things I found in my notes - Chris mentioned a great speech that Jimmy Carter made in 1973 on energy. I don't think the year is right Chris, but I'd like to see the video you were talking about.

Interesting fact: Only .4% of all desposits are held in cash in the bank on any given day

Put on your Oxygen mask. Think of yourself as on an airplane. The pre-flight video tells you in case of an emergency, to put on your Oxygen mask before helping others on the plane. Do the same with the Crash Course. It's a fantastic analogy.

rob@2disc.com's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 4 2008
Posts: 9
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

The seminar made me more conscientious about the spirit of community and helping others that has motivated my many hours of weekly volunteer work for the last three to four years. That spirit was in me before Sunday’s seminar, but Chris and Becca have made it a guiding virtue that suffuses calm purpose in my actions. In thanks, I’ve put on my web marketing firm’s todo list delivering to Chris, Becca, and his team a free “SEO Technical Report,” which is an important search marketing assessment of problems and opportunities, and which may reduce the chance of one pernicious kind of site hack. I bought 30 DVDs of the first draft of the crash course and gave them away. I’ll follow much of the seminar’s other advice on disseminating the messages. I’ve been cutting and splitting unhealthy trees on my land, just for the exercise of self-sufficiency and for the pleasure of fires in an 1830s Rumford fireplace. It feels good to act according to the soul-rich values Chris and Becca espouse with passion and humility.

hightor's picture
hightor
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 12 2008
Posts: 26
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

This may be the Carter speech your thinking of-

 

http://millercenter.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/3400

 

Jamie 

hightor's picture
hightor
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 12 2008
Posts: 26
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Or,  it may in fact, be this one-  both good speeches about energy, though I'm afraid we didn't listen as well as we should have at the time.

Jamie 

 

http://millercenter.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/3402 

hchay's picture
hchay
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 10 2009
Posts: 1
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Chris wrote: "The tide is turning.  People are ready to hear, learn and do more.   They are ready for you to help them do this."

And JoeManc wrote: "We only need 8-10% to
reach the Tipping Point, not 51%. There are people out there who think
like us, it's a matter of finding them. We talked about Transition
Towns and Permaculture...."

The Transition Town movement germinated in the UK and is growing fast in the US.  Here you will find like-minded people in all 50 states, tools for organizing in your own community, and lots of resources completely in keeping with the central concepts of The Crash Course: www.transitionus.ning.com.  

Select "World Menu" under the "Home" button for the best overview of what's there.  I encourage you to join.  

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Lipke's picture
Paul Lipke
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 12 2008
Posts: 4
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

As I said at the Grange meeting, perhaps the best examples of cities coping in post-carbon/economic crises are Cuba after the Soviet collapse, post-soviet Russian cities, and 19th century Paris, which exported food to it's surrounding countryside because it's green spaces were so heavily farmed/gardened, using the city's waste for compost/manure. --All are worth studying.

I've only lived in Montague 15 years, and a born-and-bred Montague resident came up to me afterwards and essentially said, "I'll give you guys an 'A' if you effectivly reach out to the rest of Montague's villages."  He's right on the money. It will not be enough for white middle class communities to solely look internally in organizing for Transition, we'll need to reach out to, assist, AND LEARN FROM neighboring poorer ones, communities of color, etc. What you see in Cuba, Russia, and indeed in economic hard times everywhere/everytime is that those who've been doing more with less all along have a lot to teach those of us 'blessed' with not having to be so frugal.

Gaborzol's picture
Gaborzol
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 24 2008
Posts: 38
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

My favorite part was how different the atmosphere was this year than last year. Not only because of the different number of people in the room. Last spring it felt to me, that a lot of people present were flabbergasted by the material in the crash course, so they just took most of it in silence. This year the audience was more than eager to put in their opinion, giving examples, and adding greatly to the value of the conversation. If the phrase "taken aback" fits last year, this year I would choose "hit the ground running". Instead of trying to grasp the concept, we started to get educated on the "what now?" part already.

In addition, this year Chris and Becca did the whole presentation together. I enjoyed watching the teamwork in between them, the supportive caring they expressed towards each other, for the process. I also liked how well Chris waved the current situation into the different pieces of the crash course. A lot changed this year, no t

Paul Lipke wrote:

"..those who've been doing more with less all along have a lot to teach those of us 'blessed' with not having to be so frugal."

I fully agree. Just because I got the late rift of communism by spending the first part of my life in my native Hungary, I feel I have this great advantage of understanding how important community is when society doesn't work so well, when we cannot expect to find just the kind of bread and cereal in the supermarket, we have the taste for that day. And community is not only able to help to acquire something we need or save on something we don't absolutely need to have, but can also be helpful emotionally, giving us the feel that we are in it with a group, not alone.

Remembering my experience Sunday helps me believe, that we might actually be ready for the next step.

Gabor

Ed Archer's picture
Ed Archer
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 225
Re: Notes from the Montague Seminar

Is there any chance chris is willing to burn some fossil fuels and come to canada?

 

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