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What's the plan?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 3:56 PM

A Summary

Many people have asked us, "Where are the large-scale solutions to all these problems you have described?" and  "What should we do as a nation to avoid the seemingly inevitable consequences of this fiat money system?"

The lack of promotion of a large-scale solution set reflects a deliberate act of strategy rather than negligence. We believe we must reach a critical mass of individuals who have an understanding of the ideas presented in the Crash Course, before any national or global solutions will even be possible.

Because we are still quite far from this tipping point of understanding, this website continues to focus primarily on educating people and helping them move from denial, to awareness, to understanding, and then towards actions rooted in a sense of personal responsibility.

Once we have achieved a critical mass of people who understand the issues and have taken responsible actions as a result, solutions will find more fertile ground in which to take root.  Many people have already reached this place of understanding and assumed personal responsibility for their futures, but this site is organized around the principle that most have not.

The Theory of Action

My position on actions is that solutions should come from a position of understanding. I believe it is premature to discuss specific solutions until and unless true understanding has been achieved. Preceding understanding is awareness, and the prerequisite of awareness is a lack of denial.

Said in reverse, the stages are:  denial >> awareness >> understanding >> solutions

Let me create an example around a medical condition. Imagine a patient finally passes out of the denial stage, decides that their chest pains might not be heartburn after all, and goes to the ER. Prior to coming out of denial and showing up at the ER, no solutions could be entertained, because the patient was not yet even willing to admit they were a patient.

Now that they are at the ER, imagine that there is a choice between two attending physicians.

One is young, bright, right out of school, and has studied the condition and treatment of heart attacks but has never actually treated one before. We could say that this doctor is aware of the condition of heart failure and how to treat it.

The other physician has extensive experience treating such victims and is so familiar with the condition and all the possible variables that they understand, in a deep way, the nuances of choreographing the actions that will be taken over the next few hours.

I hope we can agree that we’d prefer, given the choice, to have this patient treated by the second physician, whose deep familiarity with heart attacks has led to an understanding of the condition that goes well beyond simple awareness.

Similarly, it is not enough for people to be aware that inflation exists, or that our monetary system has flaws, or that resources are depleting. That is insufficient. If they are to take effective actions and formulate solutions, then they need to understand what these terms and conditions really mean.

At this stage, I am not convinced that I even know what the right solutions are, and I’ve been studying this for a long time.

Solutions should come from a position of understanding.

That’s Part One of the theory of action.

Little steps before big steps

Part Two of the theory of action is even simpler, and it goes like this: There’s not much point in having people talk about big solutions if they haven’t taken any small steps. Large solutions require large commitments. Is it realistic to expect success at something large if even small commitments are lacking?

This is why I focus on personal actions, such as not taking on consumptive debt and maybe putting a little food aside, perhaps taking some cash out of the bank, or any number of other easy actions. I know these seem to be wholly insufficient actions, even if defensively prudent, but they are actually a critically important psychological step towards aligning our internal beliefs with our actions. Taking any actions on one’s own behalf implies taking responsibility for one’s future.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a brilliant article outlining all the grand steps that could and should be taken, I feel disconnected from the responsibility for making it happen. Call it the bystander’s syndrome – in the back of my mind I suppose that plenty of others much be reading and acting on this excellent call to action and so I’m off the hook. Or something like that.

True commitment and personal responsibility are measured by the actions people take.

The Plan

Build understanding, encourage small actions, then align with solutions.

The goal of this site is to help build awareness and understanding until the right 8% - 10% of the population is on board. It is only then that a realistic solution set will find fertile ground in which to take root.

The first stage of the plan is to get as many people as possible to watch the Crash Course  in 2009. Our target is 5 million.

The Crash Course is going out to more and more people every day. The Brigade is spreading the word. 17,500 DVDs are out there, hopefully being viewed.  Even more copies have been downloaded and burned.  People are holding house parties and viewings all across the globe.

We are using your donations and subscriptions to operate and maintain the site, develop new Crash Course materials such as study guides and presenter packs, and produce the next version of the DVD. We are giving interviews, working on getting a book out, doing a PBS special, developing podcasts, and writing material for the site every day.

We have lots of strategies and tactics for how we are going to spread the word, but we are counting, in large measure, on your help in spreading the word.

As I mentioned on Bill Sharon's podcast, all significant social movements representing real change began as grassroots campaigns before moving inward to Washington DC. The movement towards living within our natural and economic budgets will find itself up against the status quo, which never gives in willingly, only grudgingly (if we’re lucky).

Along the way, we will encourage people, in ways both large and small, to take meaningful actions within their own lives, both as a means of mitigating risks and for encouraging a greater sense of commitment and personal responsibility.

Aligning with solutions

The time will come to actively promote large solutions, and we are already scanning the landscape for appropriate solutions and organizations with which to align in the not-too-distant future. We read everything you post and are sifting through all the excellent ideas and organizations that are already out there.  Later in 2009, it is entirely probable that this site will be promoting solutions and aligned with existing, solutions-based organizations.

But for now? Right now it makes more sense to direct all of our collective energies towards spreading awareness and building understanding. 

That alone is a worthy and challenging task.

 

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51 Comments

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 456
Re: What’s the plan?

The big fix is dead. Long live the little fix. The little fix will not lead to the big fix. The little fix is the only fix left. A lot of time and effort can be wasted on the big fix. Little fixes will see a resumption of tribal living without authorative leaders. Our future is our neighbours. Whales live in pods, monkeys in troups, bees in hives and humans in tribes. It doesn't have to mean a caveman lifestyle (mean, nasty and short) but the longer we take to return to consentual tribal living the more likely that is. Our group size is too large; we are simply governed and governable. Groups of around a hundred or so with our neighbours offer us the only workable solution. We need to stop transporting food while we still can so we can prepare for our future when we are forced to. We must return to our local resource bases and live within them.That is the only way to reduce our population and what we must do to achieve a habitable planet where we can drink the water, breathe the air and know each other again.

Don

(some ideas from Daniel Quinn, particually his book Beyond Civilization http://www.ishmael.com )

And a happy new year to everyone. Thanks for your ideas and this site. Lets hope we can commune again for all this year.

 

 

rritter2000's picture
rritter2000
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Re: What’s the plan?

Chris, What an outstanding summary and fitting message for the year-end. Your insight and ability to phase things in a concise and succinct message are a true gift which you give freely. I, for one, am extremely thankful for your advice and counsel. Happy New Year, Ray.

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: What’s the plan?

Chris,

I'd like to say that one of the things that I most appreciate about this site is i's relative lack of bias - at least on the part of the site organizers. I think this lack of bias makes it more appealing to a wider array of people and helps prevent a "bubble" of ideas to form in which masses of people blindly align behind a single idea because it sounds good and is popular.

I think the understanding and intellectual aspects of the site are its greatest strengths, and I couldn't agree with you more that more widespread understanding is required for the transitions we face.

As you hint at, the majority of people understand inflation as "rising prices" or "bad." But most people don't seem to understand causation or potential unintended consequences of actions. I am reminded of the primary rule of "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt, an Austrian economist: "The art of economics consists in looking not
merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the
consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

When people have the intellectual curiosity and capacity to dissect potential policies in the way suggested by Hazlitt, then I think our future will be much brighter. At this stage though, we are still in a world where most people seem to say "I hope Obama can fix this crazy economy." Until people shoulder personal responsibility for at least understanding the facts at hand, there is no way that they will take personal responsibility for actions required. In my search on the web, this site seems to offer the greatest sense of hope of creating understanding where the mass media creates consuptive entertainment.

Thank you, Chris, and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year.

Mike  

Sebastian Ronin's picture
Sebastian Ronin
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Re: What’s the plan?

Re "We believe we must reach a critical mass of individuals who have an understanding of the ideas presented in the Crash Course, before any national or global solutions will even be possible." I lean towards regional solutions. Some regions will "get it" with brave and corresponding political leadership/guidance, some won't. The industrial nation state crumbles in our life times. The Empire (global) implodes. This is all basic 3-E stuff, as I understand it. I am in total agreement with Chris, as per the Crash Course, that the next 20 years will be crucial. It will be a period of transition; it will not be pretty. Mixed into the socio-political context is the human condition: there is no motivator greater than hurt. What awaits us on the other side is anyone's guess. Personally, I am not holding my breath for some quixotic, Green nirvana. Top of the Year to all.

t.tanner's picture
t.tanner
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Re: What’s the plan?

One of the problems with moving toward financial or economic solutions is that so many of us believe that our economy is independent from larger social and environmental constraints.  In other words, we see the economy as the big picture, rather than as a small yet integral part of the big picture.  I suspect that we'll have a very difficult time setting things right until we decide on a shared and common purpose, or vision, for the future.  

It's easy to imagine a hundred people working together to accomplish a specific goal.  It's even easy to picture a hundred people coming together to create a shared purpose or vision.  But when you have a hundred people working side by side who haven't taken the time to decide whether their activities are complimentary or productive, and who haven't focused on cooperation or coordination, it's hard to imagine a positive outcome down the road.

We need to decide what we, collectively, want for the future.  And we have to create this over-riding vision before we're going to have any realistic chance of achieving it.  Which means we're faced with any number of hard questions and hard choices.

It's becoming more and more obvious that our current way of doing business is morally bereft and intellectually bankrupt.  But until we develop some sort of larger vision for the world we live in, it's as likely as not that our "solutions" will end up working at cross-purposes.  And I'm afraid we aren't going to be given an unlimited number of chances to get things right.  

With all that in mind, it might not be a bad idea to think about where we're trying to go before we spend a lot of time worrying about how to get there.  We need a destination, and I don't think we'll find the path to continual growth and the path to sustainability intersecting any time soon. 

 

cannotaffordit's picture
cannotaffordit
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Re: What’s the plan?

Yet one more time, Chris, you have nailed the truth we needed to hear.  Thank you.  If we really understand what you are saying, we will all work harder to get the word (CC) out, and practice what it teaches, in our own lives.  The changes we seek will definitely come from the bottom up, NOT from the top down.  So if, as Mike Pilat so correctly says, all these folks are awaiting big solutions from Obama, we are indeed in trouble.  Everytime someone tells me Obama is the key, I try to take the time to explain this to them.  I'm trying to do my part; lighting one little candle, so to speak 

cannotaffordit's picture
cannotaffordit
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Re: What’s the plan?

ttanner said:   " it might not be a bad idea to think about where we're trying to go before we spend a lot of time worrying about how to get there.  We need a destination, and I don't think we'll find the path to continual growth and the path to sustainability intersecting any time soon." 

 While I certainly agree with you that we need to "know where we're wanting to go" I think there is also a risk in putting that goal out too loudly, simply because doing so often tends to call forth all those who disagree with it, either because they don't understand, or because they have a reason to want it to stay the same.  So, while it might be great for those of us who are associated with Chris to have some clear goals, I think it should be taken in steps, i.e. work "behind the scenes" so to speak, by getting the CC out, and changing consciousness, before we "announce" any grand plan that might just draw opposition that we do not need at this stage in the game.

For example, if we said we have one goal of ridding our nation of the Fed Res, etc. how much opposition do you suppose we'd get almost immediately? 

But thanks for your astute contribution, and for allowing me to share my thoughts with you too. 

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
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Re: What’s the plan?

I believe that creating widespread understanding is the best hope for the future. That said, I'm not sure it will get widespread enough before things start getting ugly. It's relatively easy to change the mindset of a town or community, but changing the mindset of a nation as diverse as the United States is very difficult. It's been a long time since America has been as political divided as it is now and those sorts of division tend to create their own intellectual vacuum, as masses of people can align behind popular slogans, sound bytes, and opinions.

As Chris pointed out, without individual responsibility and local changes, national changes will be impossible. Perhaps counterintuitive is the fact that if we don't start taking care of ourselves and instead turn to the state to take care of us, we will become disillusioned and angry when we realize that Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama, and Nacy Pelosi are not capable of meeting our daily needs. Thus, the more we take care of ourselves, the more we'll be able to take care and assist others. But the more we look to huge government solutions, the more we will lose all of our personal "surplus capacity" and be forced to subsistence.

Formerly known as "Student of Jefferson" I again make the case for limited government. I believe that the government needs to step aside and mainly just instill a mindset of responsibility in America. At the same time, it needs to free people so that they are better able to take care of themselves, each other, and their communities. This can take the form of lower taxes and reduced regulations and a massive downsizing of government itself. Of course, this task is monumental, if not improbable and that is exactly what we are all up against.

It seems we have reached a point where Big Government and individual liberty and prosperity can no longer even feign a commensalistic relationship.

I'll also make another shameless plug in saying that forced collectivism is potentially the worst thing that we could do. The more regulations, rules, and taxes that Washington attempts to uniformly enforce across such a diverse nation, the more everyone will be harmed while Washington just increases its power. Freedom and liberty are the answers so that local communities can determine what works best for them. 

pir8don's picture
pir8don
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Re: What’s the plan?

Hi t.tanner. Yes we do need vision but not just one or even one agreed by a hundred people. Many of my neighbours are growing food already. As things get more difficult I expect that the rest will be more willing to co-operate in communal growing. I have identified boundaries and talked to neighbours. Some are in denial but still growing food, a few are in denial and not growing food. If we can eat we can discuss our options forever but if some of us can't eat I don't expect we can do much talking until they are no longer hungry. As at least one person in Zimbabwe said "a hungry man is an angry man". Vision can come anytime. The only vision needed first is of sufficient food.

Don

_____________________________________________

If the only fix is a big fix then there is no fix

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xxxxxx
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Re: What’s the plan?

At the risk of perhaps seeming contrarian I think it is important to understand that economics and finance is but one slice of the multitude of ways that humans relate to each other.  The awareness and understanding of the advances of medicine outside of pharmacology, physics beyond Newton and energy from free sources is compounding at a rate analogous to the money supply.  These and other forms of awareness will contribute to solutions, big or small, that are rapidly evolving.  The trick to the next year is to be open to those things larger than our current perceptions.

 

I would also caution against an overly linear sense of process.  Awareness and understanding have a tendency to accelerate with individuals putting together information and making leaps that, while creating some consternation in those who have been toiling in the trenches, may prove to be more elegant than what we know in the moment.  Peter Russell once observed when he was surprised that people much younger than he was grasped complicated concepts that it had taken him years to understand. He felt it was a demonstration that the idea of interconnectivity is very real – if he had been studying for 30 years, so had everyone else.

Sebastian Ronin's picture
Sebastian Ronin
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Re: What’s the plan?

A full stomach is heaven; the rest is luxury. - Chinese Proverb Wink

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Davos
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Re: What’s the plan?

This is the only site that I have come across that covers all the nuts and bolts of the econmy. So many get hung up on one area, wether that be GDP, Inflation, Deflation, Debt, Deficits, Imports etc..

I have dubbed this Micro Macro Economics. 

And then you have the media, to wit today in my inbox I got this from Marketplace:

"Sometimes it seems like the experts have abandoned us when it comes to understanding the forces now moving the economy. No one is doing a particularly good job of predicting how it'll all turn out next year, either. So, we figured, why not try another prediction racket altogether? We sent Mitchell Hartman to check out what astrology has to say about our economic fate."

Either they don't look hard for experts or they are hell bent on missleading the masses. In any event, I can only hope that Chris gets the word out, so after the mess is over we don't repeat history out of stupidity.

Astrology economics, I doubt Cramer could top this.

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1440 minutes
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Re: What’s the plan?

If you are networking with solution-based organizations, you could talk to the good people at http://www.downsizedc.org/

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Liam
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Re: What’s the plan?

I'm with you pir8don. The indigenous models are the only ones proven to be sustainable . It makes sense that the original social structures of us humans probably work the best for us. An organism thrives best in the environment that it evolved in, and a human needs the emotional systems that originally developed around him or her. 

dbajba seems to say: small personal actions encite great and lasting change.  Right On!

oldvanman's picture
oldvanman (not verified)
Suggestion for the plan

G'day

 

As an older worker I find myself recently retrenched, with little payout, with no job prospects, and a rapidly disappearing superannuation account. The future certainly will be challanging.

I am interested in getting the Crash Course out there into my community and ask for an additional marketing tool: a pdf of a flyer and/or poster that I can put on community noticeboards and with the DVDs. The idea of putting the DVDs on a counter is good, however a "highlighter" would greatly increase awareness and uptake.

An old saying "there is only one thing better than a good product, and that is good marketing".

I realise how busy you all are, and I would have a crack at it, however someone with graphics skills would do a much better job at making them. I will be good at getting the message out there as many people living in my area have limited Internet access.

Regards

Chris Ryan

 

 

azzenstudent's picture
azzenstudent
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Re: What’s the plan?

 

While I think your sentiments are noble and personally fine, I think the issue of "limited government" is easily used to disguise political agendas where the size of government is secondary to class bias. As an example, we saw during Reagan the growth of government, deficit spending, and even taxation while the bromides about "personal responsibility" were used to justify a sharp economic tilt to the wealthy. Similarly, the Bush 43 presidency wielded propaganda about "freedom" in order to justify the erosion of Constitutional liberties. That Bush also succeeded in doubling the National Debt during his term while cutting taxes on the wealthy also shows how agendas about "limited government" are essentially masquerades.

 All of us may find the future a shock so I still have sympathies for those whose own personal responsibility are not fully realized. Complaining about government cannot take the place, however, of real social responsibility. None of us are islands, complete and independent. If centralized government devolves after Peak Oil, it's unlikely to be in benign tribal communities. It's more probable that it will be violent and thuggish. Government, as Hobbes posited, is the last resort against the jungle. While I can nostalgically yearn for 19th Century Vermont, I cannot navigate a mental path there in the coming decades. Neighbors helping neighbors, yes! Communities and mutual aid, certainly! And individual rights guaranteed by the government, please, please, please!

 We are not a nation of yeoman farmers. We may be forced to cooperate with one another, however, like farmers once did when this nation was largely agrarian. We can all see the beneftis in that development. But it's rank sentimentalism to think that governments will wither away and freedom will somehow flourish. It won't. It can't. And we shouldn't even hope for the chance.

t.tanner's picture
t.tanner
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Re: What’s the plan?

Don -- You're right about food, of course, but I believe you're actually helping me make my case.  Folks who concentrate on food to the exclusion of water, shelter, heat or a healthy environment are doomed to come up short in the long run.  Focusing solely on food is analogous to focusing solely on the economy.  It's important, no doubt, but it's only one segment of what's required for a sustainable lifestyle (or a sustainable society).  And you can say the same thing about energy or global warming or resource depletion or underground aquifers or population dynamics or whatever.  They're all part of a larger whole, and while it may make sense for us to specialize during the course of our day-to-day lives, we need to realize that the big picture - the vision - will determine our success, or our lack thereof, down the road.

Ben -- The problem with waiting to create a vision, or a direction, or a consensus, or whatever else you might want to call it, is that time is growing short and our window of opportunity to move through our current logjam of conflicting dogmas and philosophies is shrinking.  I don’t claim to represent anyone at this site, or anywhere else for that matter, but given a choice, I’d rather stand side-by-side with thoughtful, rational folks who are interested in facing our problems head-on.  We’ve seen what happens when people stick their heads in the sand and hope for the best.  It simply doesn’t work.

And on that note, Happy New Year to all.  

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Re: What’s the plan?

azzenstudent - I believe government will simply become irrelevent, if it isn't yet. For three million years we have been tribal. Civilisation is the failed anomoly. Every previous civilisation has apparently been ended by the participants voluntarily. How can we know that then ask to be governed? How precious the vote now?. We are nearly 7 billion but believable sustainable estimates are around one. Will government every reduce our population? It can't even stop growing and consuming. I agree that "freedom" is an overused word while "responsibility" is underused. But they need to relate to people we can and do see every day. Not posturing power-mad fools who feed on your attention.

Don

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Little Things

There are lots of 'little things' that people can start doing to make themselves a little less dependent upon a fully functioning economy.  While it would be great if every one of us could move to the country and live independently on 10 acres, most people can't do that.  But it does surprise me that so many Americans are totally helpless when a natural disaster hits, or the power goes off for a few days.  These are things anyone can prepare for, and it doesn't require moving to the country.

Food, water, shelter and heat. 

Anybody can store some extra food.  A couple hundred dollars worth of canned goods, rice, beans, etc. are within anyone's reach.  "Store what you eat and eat what you store" is the rule here.  Many canned goods have shelf lives of 5 years, and if kept at 60 degrees instead of 70 degrees, the shelf life can double.  Once you've established a good rotation schedule for your food items, increase the number and varety of food items you store.  There are dozens of internet sites that talk about food storage.

Water - why is it that when New Orleans floods, people die of thirst?  It's because people know nothing about how to make water drinkable.  Missionaries have been using ceramic filters to remove bacteria from water for 150 years.  For under $100, you can make your own bucket filter using ceramic filters that will remove bacteria, micro-organisms, sediment and most chemicals from water.  This allows you to use rain water, puddles, creeks, streams, even floodwaters, and make drinkable water for your family. 

Shelter - most of us already have shelter, but what do you do if the area you live in becomes unsafe (riots, disaster, no power, etc.)?  It's great if you have a cabin in the woods to go to, but most people don't.  So set up an arrangement with several friends who live in different areas.  Agree with each other that if all hell breaks loose in one area, those families can go live with one of the other families until things get better.  This simple contingency plan costs nothing, yet provides some peace of mind.

Heat - again, there are dozens of websites that talk about how to heat your home without electricity.  It doesn't cost a fortune to have a backup plan.  Ventfree propane and natural gas heaters are nearly 100% efficient and require no electricity to operate.  Kerosene convection heaters are cheap (and will be onsale at Lowes and Home Depot for half price around the end of January or beginning of February), and kerosene is safe and easy to store.  If stored properly, kerosene can still be good after a decade or more.  And instead of waiting for a disaster to use your alternate heat source, start using it now.  Using a kerosene heater in your family room will probably save you money because you can keep the rest of the house at a lower temperature.  Ventfree propane and natural gas heaters are 99.9% efficient, so you get more heat for your dollar than you're getting with your current furnace.  By incorporating these things into your lifestyle now, you'll be fully prepared to get through the times when your life depends upon them.

I have a friend who has been simplifying his lifestyle for decades, and he freely shares this information on his website.  The power grid could go down for good and the economy could fail and his lifestyle wouldn't change much.  His name is Miles Stair and you can get a lot of good information from his website, www.milesstair.com  He is semi-retired and is probably the world's most knowledgeable person when it comes to "wicks".  We can't all live like Miles, but we can learn how to boil water and bake bread (without electricity) and grow tomatoes year round.  Spend some time learning how to be a little more self-sufficient.  Miles does all his cooking and heating with kerosene.  And he collects and uses kerosene lamps for lighting.

Personally, I store food and I have the ability to make drinking water when I need it.  I have the means to heat my home and cook food and have light without the use of electricity.  I still use electricity - about $175 a month in fact, but I could get along without it if I had to.  Each year, we try to implement some of the simpler methods into our daily lives so if the day comes when our lives depend upon knowing how to do things, we'll be ready.  This winter, we are using kerosene heaters quite a bit.  In 2009, we are going to start using a kerosene cookstove on an occasional basis to prepare meals.  And I will be purchasing a number of oil lamps (nice, decorative ones) that we will begin using occasionally to light different rooms.  By doing this, we'll learn how to use and maintain the items and we'll get a better idea of what parts will need to be stocked and how much kerosene to store.  We might start gardening this year, and may build a greenhouse inthe future (if you go to Miles' website, check out his homemade greenhouse - including his 12' wide tomato plant growing in the winter).

These are all small things.  But they can be powerful things, and they can bring you peace of mind, knowing that you can eat, drink water and keep warm during a power outage, economic disruption or natural disaster.  There is a ton of info on the Internet.  If anyone has questions for me, just email me at [email protected] 

 Thanks, and I wish each of you a Happy New Year.

John Squires

 

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nodebthere
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Re: What’s the plan?

Thanks:

   Well written , understandable, giving people some of the tools needed to ready themselves for the future.

                                                                                    cheers, Bob

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mainecooncat
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Re: What’s the plan?

Hello, azzenstudent, and considering it's your first post, welcome!

Oh, by the way, your first posting gets a hearty amen from me, and it sums up a sentiment I wish I saw around here more.

The "government is the root of all evil" mantra is incomplete at best and vacuous repetition of ideology at worst, yet it's repeated ad nauseum by people whom I hold in high esteem.

And just so I don't get jumped on by uber libertarians and Austrian schoolers, I believe if the word government is replaced in the above sentence with "capitalism" or "socialism" or "Wall Street" it's equally true.

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elsur
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Re: What's the plan? -- Alcohol Can Be A Gas!

Hi All,

One exciting thing we should all educate ourselves about is alcohol/ethanol as fuel. I know the media and information outlets have pretty much killed the topic, "proving" that it is unsustainable. And it is, the way it is currently been produced by the big corporations. But there is a whole other story about how alcohol can be done on a small community scale - and it's one of the most encouraging and exciting solutions around right now. I urge everyone to spend a short amount of time learning about this different perspective.

A great resource is the book and DVD "Alcohol Can Be a Gas" by David Blume. There is a website also:

www.alcoholcanbeagas.com

This body of knowledge is fascinating and uplifting on many levels, and may be a very important part of what we can all do - not by waiting for the multi-nationals to bring us alcohol at the pump, but by making it ourselves in our own communities.

Here's one small tidbit from the book and DVD...

Grass clippings are the #1 irrigated crop in the US, and would create over 11.2 billion gallons of fuel per year - this is twice the amount produced by corn in 2005. If California grass clippings alone were converted to alcohol, they would
produce 1.5 billion gallons, or roughly 15% of the state's fuel needs.

The book is about a lot more than producing fuel from grass clippings. It goes into many other crops, including the multiple uses for the by-products of alcohol production, turning around the greenhouse gas issues, etc., etc.


Happy New Year!

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Re: What’s the plan?

Howdy azzenstudent, welcome to Chris's awsome site!  Let me start by letting you know I'm not personal/emotional in my posts. I'm a hard core geek who sees interacting with folks as a way to refine my own thinking.

So: looking at your post, the last paragraph is what resonated most with me, and here is what I'd love to discuss:

>>We are not a nation of yeoman farmers.<<

We will once again be a nation of yeoman farmers, if we are lucky!  I think we will be lucky, we will adapt, overcome and stay diverse. But, thats an optimistic wish in view of much of the available data.

>>We may be forced to cooperate
with one another, however, like farmers once did when this nation was
largely agrarian. <<

I'm a completely non-social, introverted, anti-humanist. Yet . . . I also see that strategically for our species, cooperation is key to long term survival.  Whether speaking/thinking from a small scale community level, or from a nationalistic/global level.  A diverse but connected community will always be more secure than a scattered and unconnected group.

>>But
it's rank sentimentalism to think that governments will wither away and
freedom will somehow flourish. It won't. It can't. And we shouldn't
even hope for the chance.<<

Quite right -- power/authority/money typically flows downhill and gathers in pools together, gaining more traction and power.  But we are in a unique situation now, simply because we have outgrown our hills and valleys.  2 or 3 billion of us humans are going to die off.  The details of how it happens?  Who knows.  War, disease, starvation -  a combination? Who knows.  But all this economic stuff, this environemental stuff, this energy supply stuff . . . . . . . . . symptoms.   Symptoms of what we all know is really up.  6+ billion humans isn't long term sustainable.  And we are still breeding fast, and Chris has done an excellent job of pointing out how hockey stick shaped graphs can't go on forever.

Population is the suckiest thing of all to talk about, because we are all part of the problem. We are all one of the #'s too many walking the earth. And many of us have bred.  But its impossible for a decent creature to regret having bred, after having looked at the faces of its young . . . meaning another layer of complexity for anybody aware of the over-human-population issue.

Back in 1972, when I was a couple of years old, "The Limits to Growth" was released by the Club of Rome.  And it predicted *exactly* where we are now.  War, climate change, resource depletion, and more --- you cannot have infinate growth on a spherical object.

So, here were are.  And, at least . . . . it won't be boring!

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Re: What’s the plan?

I remember doing the Crash Course and waiting for Chapter 20 to get posted, thinking it was going to be the plan to fix this set of "problems."  Then it came out, and after being disappointed for a day or two I realized that I hadn't even understood the problem.  I thought the problem was "what can we do to keep living this way, keep this system going, how do we fix it given these flaws?" and then it struck me that if the CC teaches anything it is that the system and the way of life of the last 20 years was over (maybe, or certainly, even major aspects of the way of life Americans have gotten used to over the last 120 years was over).  That was like the bell jar ringing: this way of life was over--all those years of reading about sustainability finally hit home. It wasn't an abstraction anymore.

Chris doesn't say what comes next or how we get there, nor can he; there is no oracle on this site, the 3 E's and our inability to have an accurate felt sense about the exponential function are just the facts, what we as a society do with them has yet to be decided.  I hope we make good choices as a society, and getting the CC out to the world seems like the one positive action I can take to help that happen.  I'm still optimistic about the long term future now that I accept that it will be very different than my life so far.  I hope that we figure the way to get to the future with the least amount of suffering and damage. 

My reading of history makes me think that crisis is necessary to motivate change and the CC lays out the crisis well.  Developing a consensus on what the problem is seems like a necessary step before a consensus about the solution will be arrived at.  It is a positive development for the site to begin to directly address the elephant in the room: what kind of world can we create that doesn't ignore the 3 E's (and how do we get there from here).  It is clear that we are not at the point where a consensus has formed about the reality of our situation, let alone a solution to it.  I wonder how deep the crisis has to be before the reality of our situation is accepted and solutions that are not merely band-aids that try to fix this system start to be seriously debated.  We may reach that point before 2009 is over, I look forward to what this online community can offer as that point is reached. 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Chris,

You might find this article of Elisabet Sahtouris interesting

The Big Picture

 

That's an enormous cultural change in story. No longer are we
caught helplessly in a running-down-through-entropy universe that
has no meaning, that gave rise to Dadaism and Existentialism and
other depressing philosophies. At least the Dadaists laughed.
I used to hang on my mirror the motto, "Life is too
important to be taken so seriously.
" I think it's a good
motto.

It's a very serious situation we're in, but we'd better have fun living it
because
otherwise we're going to be very miserable as this
roller-coaster ride continues. Huge changes everywhere in the
world.

As we recognize the universe to be conscious, intelligent,
alive, and all of us co-creators, what is our role? Are we not
the creative edge of God? We are the universe inventing
itself. And that intelligent Cosmos, or God -- whatever you call
it; doesn't matter which word you use as long as we agreed that
it's alive, intelligent, conscious, and creative -- that is
looking through your eyes, working through your hands,
walking on your feet. Isn't that exciting? How
does the universe get to know itself? Through all of us
and what we're doing.

Norie said last night [Norie Huddle, see
www.bestgame.org] , we can change the
rules of the game --
we can play a new game. I've often asked groups, `How many of you know
how to play Monopoly? Would you raise your hands? Ok, when's
the last time you played it?' It's the trick question, right?
But in many audiences they'll respond, eight, ten, sixteen, maybe
occasionally someone will say, `I played it five years ago.' And
I say, `Wrong, we're all playing it. That is the world game,
isn't it? We're playing Monopoly.'

We're playing the game of concentrating wealth. And what happens
at the end of the Monopoly game? You either re-distribute the
wealth and start over or you play a different game. That's the
choice. We can play a different game if we want.

We have people here representing all kinds of ideas on how to
change the money game. How come our government gave away it's
constitutional right to create money? The government never
should have been in debt, should it? There shouldn't be a
national debt. The government, constitutionally, could create
money as needed. I believe it was in 1913 -- where's Tom
Greco?, he would know all this -- there you are -- was it 1913
when we gave that right
away?[1]
and started the Federal Reserve Bank which most Americans still
think is part of the government. Just ask them to look
for it in the blue pages. It's not there.'

Somebody changes the rules of the game all the time. We
live in a dynamic universe. Not a static one. Life is not
static, it's dynamic. And this is the first time in history
when anybody can play in the big world game. It is the Internet
that is largely responsible for the ability of a twelve-year-old, who
gets upset about child labor in India or somewhere, to start
a whole Save-the-Children organization, or whatever.
Marianne Williamson can tell us all to meditate on a certain
day and if it comes through in your e-mail there's a fair chance
you'll pay attention to that. So we can do group mind
around the world because we have the Internet.

 

Also, The Biology of Globalization

The Globalization of humanity is a natural, biological, evolutionary
process. Yet we face an enormous crisis because the most central and
important aspect of globalization -- its economy -- is currently being
organized in a manner that so gravely violates the fundamental
principles by which healthy living systems are organized that it
threatens the demise of our whole civilization.

 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Chris,

I like your idea that solutions should come from a position of understanding. So if a basic premise of  my understanding on any single point is flawed, then would it not follow that I may end up a bit off base in my conclusion in that point?  I am referring to the conclusion that the Fed printing money out of thin air is the only answer as to  where dollars can be obtained to make the almost unimaginable barrage attacking everything from liquidity to bailouts of every kind.  But then maybe I am misunderstanding the point altogether. Perhaps it is of no consequence. I wish I knew. 

Joe  

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Re: What’s the plan?

Techno Luddite,

I tend to agree with your analysis. My qualm involves population. You don't shed three billion humans without extraordinary and excruciating pain. We're not going to do this while living in quaint and charming circumstances. We will be lucky if we're not cannibalizing one another. Government will be the one buffer left in dire times.

How it actually happens will be interesting and I'm curious myself how it all turns out. I would prefer a manageable catastrophe to The Apocalypse. Again, government will be an absolute necessity for a "soft landing".

I appreciate Chris Martenson's humane and optimistic views. Most of us have read James Howard Kunstler, who is not particularly warm and cuddly. He probably alienates as many people as he persuades. Our arguments have to be made in ways that Chris makes them because the coming troubles will test our capacity for cooperation and reason. Once civilization starts unraveling, unleashed forces will overwhelm our best arguments UNLESS we're prepared and organized. So, let us be Jeremiahs but with as much compassion as we can muster. No one wants to die. All animals will do whatever it takes to survive. Let's remember that when we gameplan this crash.

 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Reading Chris's excellent post made me think of some of John Michael Greer's recent posts at the Archdruid Report.  Normally, I resonate deeply with what he writes and have no trouble taking it in.  But I was originally perplexed and even frustrated by his recent articles.  After reflecting on them for a while, I've come to better understand what he's getting at.  His argument is not exactly the same as the one Chris makes here, but it's based on the same underlying assumption: it is premature to discuss specific solutions until and unless true understanding has been achieved.

Greer takes it one step further, I think.  He believes that because it's impossible to predict exactly how the almost infinite variables will play out in a given place, it's likewise impossible to construct a coherent plan for the future.  All plans are based on the assumptions that underly them, and if those assumptions are wrong, then the plan will be faulty.  He has recently critiqued the Transition Town movement (and other similar ones) on this basis.

Here's an excerpt from one of his recent articles:

Quote:

That concern unfolds from the basic assumption underlying the project:
that a contemporary community can imagine a better future and then
successfully plan out the route there in advance. That’s a popular
assumption nowadays, and of course it’s been basic to most ways of
thinking about social change since the heyday of the Enlightenment more
than two centuries ago. Most of the French philosophes
whose ideas lit the fuse of the French Revolution claimed that a better
world could be planned out in advance and then put in place by the
collective will. Note, though, that this isn’t how things turned out;
what replaced Louis XVI’s feeble monarchy was not the happy republic of
reason so many people expected, but rather a parade of tumbrils hauling
victims to Madame Guillotine and the cannon and musketry of the
Napoleonic Wars.

To judge by recent history, we are no better at guessing the future than the philosophes were.
We do know a few things about the most likely future ahead of us. We
have good reason to think that the decades to come will bring sharp
decreases in the energy per capita available to people in the
industrial world, and in all the products and services provided by
energy – which, in an industrial economy, means every product and
service there is. We have good reason to think that the current human
population is more than the world can support once fossil fuels run
short. We have some reason to think – at least this is the point of
view that makes sense to me – that these processes will bring the
decline and fall of industrial civilization, along a trajectory like
those of other civilizations that outran their resource bases. How
these broad patterns will work out in the microhistory of a town or a
region, though, is anyone’s guess, and history seems to take an impish
delight in frustrating our expectations.

Planning for the
future becomes especially risky when, rather than starting from present
realities and trying to figure out what can be done, it starts from a
vision of a desirable future and tries to figure out how to get there.
The gap between the futures we imagine and the realities that replace
them, after all, tends to be embarrassingly vast. Many of my readers
may recall, as I do, what the year 2000 was supposed to be like,
according to accounts in the 1960s: manned bases on the Moon, undersea
cities dotting the continental shelf, fusion plants turning out
limitless cheap power, geodesic domes everywhere, and commuters
traveling by helicopter instead of by car. One forward-thinking builder
in Seattle during those years topped his new parking garage with a
helipad and control tower in hopes of getting a jump on the
competition. As far as I know, no helicopter ever landed there, and the
garage with its forlorn tower was torn down to make room for condos a
few years ago. How many of today’s plans will face the same sort of
disappointment? I doubt the number will be small.

While I agree with Greer's thinking here, I think there are nevertheless patterns emerging now that we can respond to and patterns likely to emerge in the future that we can respond to, if only in a general way.  The steps that Chris has identified and advised us to do are an example of that, but there are many more.  Increasing food and energy security in our homes and communities is something that makes sense no matter what the future holds, from several perspectives (environmental, economic, survival, etc.).

If anyone is intersted in reading more on this topic, check out Greer's excellent blog.

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Re: What’s the plan?

ttanner wrote, addressed to me personally:  

"Ben -- The problem with waiting to create a vision, or a direction, or a consensus, or whatever else you might want to call it, is that time is growing short and our window of opportunity to move through our current logjam of conflicting dogmas and philosophies is shrinking.  I don’t claim to represent anyone at this site, or anywhere else for that matter, but given a choice, I’d rather stand side-by-side with thoughtful, rational folks who are interested in facing our problems head-on.  We’ve seen what happens when people stick their heads in the sand and hope for the best.  It simply doesn’t work."

I'm not sure what I said that upset you, but I thought I was simply re-stating what Chris had said about getting the CC out first, and then the "critical mass" of changed consciousness would move enough of us to act that the changes we need would come about.  I'm unclear how that says that I'm "sticking my head in the sand"  or irrational, or whatever opinion you gathered of me.

So, if you are clear about what our announced goals should be, then how about writing them into some "comments" and let's see if we all want to join with you, make it public, and get the ball moving in a big way.

Maybe we'll all switch to your plan, and away from Chris'.    I kinda doubt it, but I am very open minded and willing to see your plan and how you plan to lead it.  Then we can all decide.

And, by the way, I have found Chris' work, AND a lot of the folks on this site to be very "thoughtful, rational folks who are interested in facing our problems head on."  I have learned a lot from all of them, and I really appreciate their constructive and cooperative comments. 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Mike wrote: "I believe that creating widespread understanding is the best hope for
the future. That said, I'm not sure it will get widespread enough
before things start getting ugly. It's relatively easy to change the
mindset of a town or community, but changing the mindset of a nation as
diverse as the United States is very difficult."

Absolutely.  Which is why the crash is essential to the solutions.....  NOTHING much will happen until power is wrenched from Wall Street and Bernanke and all the other idiots in charge.

It's also another reason why Chris is entirely correct in asserting that right now, the most important thing that should happen is spreading the word.  I've just had a 1000 word article about the crash accepted by our local paper (ESSENTIAL to work at the local scale - there is no way a national paper would have accepted it) and this site gets copious mentions.  So spreading the word whilst at the same time the system crashes about us is what is necessary.....  so long as the crash doesn't happen so fast we have not yet done our work!

Also essential that people like Pir8don and myself act as 'cells' to propagate the idea of local food production and local economies.  From one cell many cells germinate, and that is how we take over the world....... haaaargh, always dreamt of world domination! Wink

It doesn't matter yet that very few people are aware, or even fewer who are taking action....  it all has to start somewhere, but we MUST keep the momentum, NEVER GIVE UP!

Once CRITICAL MASS is reached, THEN we can start changing things, because EVERYTHING needs changing, everything.....  It's hard to believe we could have got so many things wrong actually! 

Mike also mentions being " forced to subsistence."  There's NOTHING wrong with subsistence Mike...  One can hear this constantly on TV, pointing the finger at "poor people" eking a living on subsistence farming....  as if sustainability was a dirty word!  Subsistence does NOT equate poverty.  Those poor farmers are only poor because we in the rich world steal all their resources!!!

Mike in Australia.  Man it's hot here.  We had 105F yesterday....! 

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Re: What’s the plan?
DavidLachman wrote:

Developing a consensus on what the problem is seems like a necessary step before a consensus about the solution will be arrived at.  It is a positive development for the site to begin to directly address the elephant in the room:

Hi David

Everyone wants a reason to wait (including me). But its what we do each day that matters. Consensus will take a lot longer (4ever) than we have got. 

The three E's are not the elephant. Population is the elephant. P = E + E + E. 

Don

___________________________________________________________

If the only fix is a big fix then there is no fix

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Re: What's the plan? -- Alcohol Can Be A Gas!
elsur wrote:

Grass clippings are the #1 irrigated crop in the US, and would create over 11.2 billion gallons of fuel per year - this is twice the amount produced by corn in 2005.

So what?

Grass, as YOU point out yourself, is irrigated..... when we are running out of water all over the owrld.  I's also fertilised, and sprayed, and MOWN, using oil, and then it would have to be transported, using oil......  and I'll bet if you used the alcohol instead of the oil, there's be no alcohol left over.

Get used to the idea of a fuel - less world.

I have.  I don't own a car.  And right now, I'm planning on replacing all the grass (all 1 acre!) on our land with something far more useful like Pinto's Peanut and Alfalfa.....

Then I can use that to fed the goats and chickens and ducks, and even the soil wehre our food grows.

Alcohol's for DRINKING!  Cool

Mike 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Hi Don,

What I was suggesting by the phrase elephant in the room was the question referred to in the thread title "What's the plan?"  Something that Chris is pointing to himself by way of this thread and which felt like it was missing to me when I took the crash course.  I personally think that human overpopulation is certainly at the base of the problem (and one of many elephants that is out there).   Humans are withdrawing natural capital to sustain the current population and life style and that will end one way or another (as websites like dieoff.com my clear).  I hope the plan that humanity comes up with to face the challenges of the 3 E's will be one that creates the least amount of suffering. Currently the political discourse is around the question of how to fix the financial system, until there is consensus about the larger problems that we face I don't see a consensus about how to face them arising.  Helping the CC get seen is a great place to begin.  Developing ideas for a plan by way of this online community seems like a great idea as well; I imagine population can't help but come up directly in that forum.  I look forward to those discussions.

Grow fruit trees, don't multiply!

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Re: What’s the plan?

I just love Kunstler's dry wit....

As I said on another post, no one gets out of this game alive.  It's how you check out that matters...

A huge proportion of the populatiuon consists of baby boomers like me.  At 56, I would be lucky (I think) to live another 20 years.  Over the next 20 years, LOTS of baby boomers will check out.....  especially the obese ones, once they have to put their backs to the grindstones!

I'm not concerned at all about checking out.  I have lived through the most amazing period of human history, and I will have left behind a legacy my children can use to live sustainably for the rest of their lives.  I don't want anything else.....

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Re: Suggestion for the plan
oldvanman wrote:

G'day

 

As an older worker I find myself recently retrenched, with little payout, with no job prospects, and a rapidly disappearing superannuation account. The future certainly will be challanging.

I am interested in getting the Crash Course out there into my community and ask for an additional marketing tool: a pdf of a flyer and/or poster that I can put on community noticeboards and with the DVDs. The idea of putting the DVDs on a counter is good, however a "highlighter" would greatly increase awareness and uptake.

An old saying "there is only one thing better than a good product, and that is good marketing".

I realise how busy you all are, and I would have a crack at it, however someone with graphics skills would do a much better job at making them. I will be good at getting the message out there as many people living in my area have limited Internet access.

Regards

Chris Ryan

 

 

 

I've suggested this and other ideas earlier...and maintain these types of aids would eventually help to connect to the average audience.

 

Nichoman 

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Re: What’s the plan?

Chris - I want to thank you and your team for all the hard work you do. The Crash Course has been a big wake up call for me and to everyone to whom I have been able to convince to watch so far. I look forward to getting as many people as I can to watch the Crash Course in '09.....call it my resolution to start the revolution!

Happy New Year! 

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Re: What’s the plan?

David

Thanks for your thoughts. I of course agree that getting the crash course to people can do nothing but good. Not so sure about seeking or waiting for concensus.

Perhaps population is the mammoth in the room. Too many elephants.Smile 

Yes we have fruit trees

Females have more control over multiplicity but I do occasionally claim the high ground having no children - to my knowledge.

Don

_____________________________________

"And those that create out of the haulicaust of their inheritance, anything more than a convenient self-made tomb, shall be known as survivors" From a Keith Jarrett record cover.

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Re: What’s the plan?

 

Ben,

My apologies for what seems to be a misunderstanding.  You didn’t say anything at all that upset me.  For that matter, your comments seem considered, rational and respectful.  I don’t know how I could ask for more.  

  Let me clarify a couple of things.  I wasn’t referring to you, or anyone else on this blog, when I talked about the “head in the sand” approach.  Just so you know, that comment was directed toward the Bush administration, and toward people who view a series of extremely complicated issues through a narrow ideological prism.  

  Regarding the Crash Course and “critical mass” - I don’t disagree at all.  If some significant portion of the public doesn’t begin to educate themselves and demand substantive change on the economic front, things aren’t likely to change; at least not in the ways that we might hope for.  I have high expectations for the incoming administration, but as you’re no doubt aware, real change requires both willing politicians in Washington and a concerted push from the public.

  As for me personally setting our goal or vision; well, I’m afraid you either missed my point, or, just as likely, I didn’t make myself clear.  Any “vision” we come up with has to be a collaborative effort.  On further thought, I’d also suggest that “vision” might not be the best possible term, although it’s awfully close, and it’s one I’ve used before - albeit not here.  A better word might be “path” or “road,” because, as people like John Michael Greer have pointed out time and again, we’re in uncharted territory right now and flexibility will probably be as, or more, important that any particular set-in-stone plan that we might come up with in the short term.

  That said, I do think it’s vital that those of us who are aware of the issues facing our society make a decision about where we want to go and what we want things to look like on the other side of the bottlenecks before us.  There’s obviously no guarantee that we’ll be successful, but I do stand by my original point.  If “we” - conscious, aware people the world over - can’t decide on a general road forward, I’m afraid there’s a decent chance that the human race won’t come out the other side. 

  Two more things.  I don’t usually read blog comments, and I rarely make them myself.  I just don’t have the time.  But in this particular situation, I felt it was important to respond, and to clarify what I wrote earlier.

  Finally, I visit this particular blog a couple times a week because I respect CM’s opinions, and what he’s attempting to do.  While I know quite a bit about energy, and about our environmental situation, I’m a long way from being a financial expert.  

  And that’s enough for right now.  If you decide that you’re interested in learning more about my personal views, you’re welcome to visit www.kaelendrake.com and read Pandora Redux or Looking For Vision on the resources page.  Otherwise, thanks for sharing your thoughts and good luck as you walk your own particular path.

TT

 

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Set
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Re: What’s the plan?

“My position on actions is that solutions should come from a position of understanding. I believe it is premature to discuss specific solutions until and unless true understanding has been achieved. Preceding understanding is awareness, and the prerequisite of awareness is a lack of denial. Said in reverse, the stages are:  denial >> awareness >> understanding >> solutions” 

Well said Chris, but, preceding these four logical steps are several others that appear to form the largest obstacle to just get people up to the “denial” stage.  One is apathy, another is ignorance, and perhaps the most foreboding one of all is that the magnitude of the situation is simply unbelievable to even some of the most intelligent and knowledgeable people, let alone the masses. 

This is all brand new information to most people I know, and some of them have a lot more formal education (not just in America), but, from all around the world, than I do, and they dismiss my attempts to inform them of what I have learned as absolute nonsense.  I have actually earned a reputation amongst the people I work and play with as a paranoid, tin foil hat toting, doom and gloomer.  My credibility is virtually waning, at least in the eyes of those I’m around most often.  The only redeeming factor I have in all of this is the fact that I’ve been telling people for quite some time that we very well could be headed for not only a Depression that will make the last one look like a cake walk, but total life changing events that will be written about in future history books in a similar way that we read about the fall of the Roman Empire, only on a much larger scale.  The economic news of the past year has made a few of these people wonder if maybe I am on to something, (especially those who ignored my advice to put their 401K money into the safest place available which is the money market), but, by and large, most still believe and are only aware of what their television or newspaper informs them.   

Nearly this entire society is just too brainwashed by television and other distractions that amount to entertainment, to even want information such as that which is presented in the “CC.”  Everyone seems to honestly believe that if a crisis of such magnitude really were on the horizon, they would have heard about it on main stream media.  So, it appears. From my limited vantage point, that the vast majority will require a major panic of epic proportions before they become interested, and as I’ve come to believe from reading your site, several of the books you recommend, and other sites and videos is the message that Dr. Bartlett and yourself are trying to get out, and that would be that by the time most people realize and fully fathom the fact that there really is a problem, the problem will be of such a magnitude that it will already be too late to do anything about it and the result will be a lot of suffering, pain, and perhaps even a massive “die off” across the globe.   

The 80 year old, retired bank president I convinced to watch the Crash Course” only made it through the first sixteen chapters before falling asleep.  He later asked in another conversation, what I meant by the term, “fiat currency.”  Another friend of mine is a 63 year old, former nuclear physicist from Germany who is currently a practicing psychotherapist in America, asks me if I’d like a referral whenever I try to discuss these issues with him.  I gave him one of the copies of the “CC,” but I don’t think he’s watched it yet.  I gave him a copy of the book, “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” but, he has yet to read it and among the people I come in contact with, nobody even wants to discuss the topic because they aren’t even close to the denial stage yet.  I work in the engineering department of a construction firm and nobody even wants the DVD after I tell them what it’s about, even when I offer it for free.  Most of my friends would rather discuss sports, home or car repair, or the weather rather than anything of any meaningful significance.  Only three of my closest friends are on the same page with me regarding these important topics.

So from my point of view, it seems that just getting people up to the state of denial prior to an all out crisis is the real challenge.  One of the most refreshing and encouraging aspects of your site and the “CC” is the fact that you are able to remain optimistic.  So far, I have been unable to bring myself to an optimistic attitude and often doubt that I ever will, but I would be content to find some middle ground between optimism and the pessimism I now suffer from regarding these issues.  That is why I spend as much time as I can reading on this site, because, as many others have pointed out, this site has more of the most intelligent, informed, optimistic, and unbiased opinions than any other site I visit on a regular basis. 

pir8don's picture
pir8don
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 456
Re: What’s the plan?

Set I am sure your post echos the situation of many of us here. The most positive light I can throw on it is that of Nicolas Taleb in his book The Black Swan where he suggests we embrace extreme events. Though both he and his mentor Benoit Mandelbrot report loosing sleep over the current situation. You can lead a horse to water ......

It seems like we have a ration of attention and that many of our compatriots have found theirs used up already and that only very significant life changing events will give rise to any displacement of the mind numbing activities called entertainment and their seeming therapeutic role.

Awareness is not a state from which we can retreat. We can choose our level of engagement with others and each decide for ourselves how much of our beliefs and knowledge to share and with whom. Prudence might be wise but not necessarily a guarantee of personal integrity.

Don

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Damnthematrix
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Posts: 3998
Re: What’s the plan?

" the problem will be of such a magnitude that it will
already be too late to do anything about it and the result will be a
lot of suffering, pain, and perhaps even a massive “die off” across the
globe."

Aren't we there yet Set...?  Strictly speaking, there are no solutions, only adaptation.  The people who refuse to, or are unable to adapt will check out.  Just look at all the people checking out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Palestine......  some things you can't adapt to I'm afraid (like an asteroid hit!).

Isn't that life?  Are we not being a bit too precious..?

Just being the gloomy old me....

Mike 

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Set
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 112
Re: What’s the plan?
Damnthematrix wrote:

Aren't we there yet Set...?  Strictly speaking, there are no solutions, only adaptation.  The people who refuse to, or are unable to adapt will check out.  Just look at all the people checking out in Iraq, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Palestine......  some things you can't adapt to I'm afraid (like an asteroid hit!).

Isn't that life?  Are we not being a bit too precious..?

Mike,I was thinking about the states with regards to being there and no, I don’t believe “we are there yet,” in this country at least, because if we were, more people would be more open to information such as that which is contained within the “Crash Course.”  I think it will be painfully obvious when we get there and agree that it won’t be pretty.  Even today, within the last week, without fuel and oil shortages, the area I live which is about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, there were a lot of murders and other violent crimes.  When all out panic strikes the masses, I don’t think that there will be anyplace nearby that will be safe.  I’ve taken precautions to the best of my ability, but most of my friends and all of my loved ones, who live in this same jungle, are totally unprepared.  They are “Precious” to me, so I don’t think I’m being “too precious” by being concerned about their safety.  I do appreciate and actually share your gloom, though.

 

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Matt Holbert
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Posts: 123
Re: What’s the plan?

It is important to recognize that we can learn something about our predicament by studying generational cycles.  The authors of The Fourth Turning use history to show that we are moving into a Crisis Phase that would end around 2026.  Our actions are predictable if history is a guide.  The Fourth Turning was written in 1997 and correctly predicted the financial debacle we are now experiencing.

If we react properly we can avoid the worst of the crisis.  However, this will have to be done as a society and not as tribes and/or small groups of well-armed fundamentalists holed up with lots of diesel and ammunition.

I've researched and thought about sustainable development for 15 years ( http://integraljournal.typepad.com/ ) and my conclusion is that none of our current institutions are able to handle a crisis or steer clear of a crisis.  Current institutions train us to be specialists in our work and our belief systems.  Through training or upbringing, most of us are indoctrinated.  The key is to recognize this and act accordingly.

The number of people who will be aware that they have a problem with retirement is about to increase dramatically.  Almost all of the defined benefit plans (I managed portfolios for two large state plans) will collapse over the next five years and I don't think that the public will be willing to pony up the shortfalls.  Realizing that we may have to work until well past normal retirement may cause people to search out new ideas for living well.  I hope so. 

A timely excerpt from Erich Fromm:

Right living is no longer the fulfillment of an ethical or religious demand.  For the first time in history the Physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart.  However, a change of the human heart is possible only to the extent that drastic economic and social changes occur that give the human heart the chance for change and the courage and the vision to achieve it. [p.9&10 of To Have or To Be?

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pir8don
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Posts: 456
Re: What’s the plan?
Matt Holbert wrote:

If we react properly we can avoid the worst of the crisis.  However, this will have to be done as a society and not as tribes and/or small groups of well-armed fundamentalists holed up with lots of diesel and ammunition.

So what do we do while we wait for the big fix? Have you a date for the big fix?

Maybe the worst of this crisis can be avoided but not it seems by nearly 7 billion humans. 

Like you, I detest the well-armed fundamentalists. 

Our group size is too big for us to act together for our own survival. If I am right then we need smaller groups of neighbours - whatever we call them. If we group by preference we will not capture the diversity that might give rise to workable neighbourhood solutions.

Don

_________________________________

If the only fix is a big fix then there is no fix

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 3998
Re: What’s the plan?

It's my experience that smaller groups work much more efficiently than large ones.  I've been on many committees.  Large committees take forever to make decisions, and often the decision is compromised because too many people are involved.  The classic example of this is government.  Nothing gets planned until it's needed now, everything's reactionary instead of proactionary.

Our Transition Town works on a small steering committee of four.  Not only do we quickly decide on what to do, we also act on it, usually within days...  and things actually get done.  It is by far the most efficient body I have ever been involved with, even though it isn't perfect (or to this opinionated guy's total liking!)

Mike 

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Mike Pilat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 929
Re: What’s the plan?

This is a very delayed response to Mike (Damnthematrix). You quoted me on "forced to subsistence" above. Let me clarify. Subsistence would be very welcome in the sense that it will flush out the ridiclulous consumerist binge that we've been on. I have no qualms about subsistence. I do, however, feel angered at the thought of force in this matter. It infuriates me to see the government continue to plunder the wealth of the people leaving them with fewer and fewer means to peacefully transition to subsistences.

I would also point out that there is a difference (at least in connotation) between subsistence and serfdom. Subsistence does not preclude freedom and liberty. Serfdom pretty much does.

 

Mike

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cannotaffordit
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 273
Re: What’s the plan?

Hi TT,

I deeply appreciate your kind response.  

Just want you to know.......I'm with you on the need for direction and action.  I'm ready, very ready, to head down a path, collectively, if we can all come up with one.  And, I agree that the time is short, very short.  Maybe Chris will enlarge his "plan" soon, to include not only spreading the word of the CC, but also taking other actions.  If we can thoroughly apply the principles of the CC in our individual lives, I think we will be on a good start.  My family and I have been working steadily at it for the past year, and we're feeling better and better about our ability to go through the changes and face the new challenges.  In fact, we look forward to then!

(The only thing my family and I can't come to grips with is the insistence by some that we own guns.  Haven't had one for 72 years, and its probably kept me out of more trouble than I could have gotten out of by having one.)

Again, thanks for your response.  Have a great 2009.   

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Abigail
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Posts: 1
Re: What’s the plan?

Most people feel that you cannot totally blame killing on entertainment especially nowadays. However, it is widely believed that such influences can fuel something dangerous in a person that is already there. Raising children, especially a teenager, can sometimes require a payday loan. Today, it seems every teenager owns or at least wants a cell phone, an MP3 player, and the latest trends out there. Raising a teen is a huge task for almost every parent. But should we give in to their every demand and support all their “wants?” Is getting a payday loan and providing them with everything they want, the way to go? Or should we teach teens the appropriate ways to earn what they want? I found an article that suggests ways a teen can make their own money by doing simple things like shoveling snow.

Click here to read more on: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/01/14/raising-teens-with-th...

transitionbar's picture
transitionbar
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 7 2008
Posts: 15
Re: What’s the plan? Transition Towns

After having understand the Crash Course.... here a very good site

to know waht to do after :-) http://transitionculture.org/

 

 

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 799
Re: What’s the plan?

Chris,

Other than the entire "Crash Course" material, this was the best entry I have seen.  The kudos others have mentioned are entirely deserved.

As a fellow scientist (well, a surgeon, but I guess that's close enough), I greatly appreciate your measured approach.  Your doctor-patient analogy is quite apt.  Until there is understanding, there can be no plan.  And, in this situation, unlike the doctor-patient analogy, understanding has to dawn on more than one individual (or, a few more, accounting for patient family members), before a plan can be set and realized.  8-10% of the population, or perhaps slightly more, seems about right, to me.

Anyway, I don't come now to offer any specific suggestions, just to offer my opinion that your approach to date seems entirely correct.  Keep up the good work, and know that we will continue ours! 

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