Local Coverage of Peak Prosperity in the Press-Democrat
Last week, a journalist from the Press-Democrat came out to my house to interview me about Peak Prosperity and why I had chosen to re-locate to Sonoma County.
The article came out in today's Sunday paper as the lead story in the Business section.
(For those unaware, the Press-Democrat is the largest-circulation newspaper between San Francisco and the Oregon border. Until just last year, it was part of The New York Times family of newspapers.)
While I would have liked to have seen more coverage of the resiliency-building practices PP.com promotes (which is what the reporter and I spent most of our time talking about) and fewer warnings of economic "chaos" (an extremist word we hardly use), the article does an OK job presenting our main thesis.
I appreciated how the reporter conscientiously followed up with me for clarification several times as he wrote the story. He was taking pains not to take the easy route of portraying us as bunker-loving doomsayers (which, of course, we are not — but it's a known sterotype that a lot of reporters in the past have lazily painted us with). It's nice to see more mainstream press picking up our message and trying to represent it more authentically.
A year ago, Adam Taggart chose Sebastopol as a “high resiliency” town from which to warn the world that its economy is poised for a long, hard slog.
Taggart and author Chris Martenson are the co-founders of PeakProsperity, a contrarian website known for asserting that humanity's best financial days lie in the rearview mirror.
PeakProsperity draws more than 250,000 unique visitors a month, Taggart said. Along with bracing predictions — “Blast Shields Up! Prepare for Incoming!” warned a recent headline — the site calls readers to consider a road less traveled, namely finding ways to boost their quality of life with less money in their pocketbooks.
According to Martenson's book, “The Crash Course,” the worst-case scenario within the next two decades is “jarring chaos” caused when unsustainable debt and the end of cheap oil bring financial crises. The best case is a steady decline of global living standards.
In keeping with their convictions, both men left behind careers in corporate America — Taggart as a vice president at Yahoo and Martenson as a vice president at SAIC, a Fortune 500 company. They each moved their families to small towns with ample farmland and residents who look out for each other.
Outside Sebastopol last week, Taggart sat on his back deck with an unobstructed view of Mount St. Helena and the hills around Santa Rosa. The small ranchette near new vineyards and old apple orchards gives him the chance to raise a half-dozen chickens, a small garden and a few bee hives.
I don't know what to make of it, but find the preponderance of snarky comments at the Press-Democrat site very interesting
Sonoma County has a high concentration of colorful residents — very outspoken on both the conservative and liberal sides of the spectrum.
Many of them have seen "Silicon Valley types" move up into the county over the past decade. A lot of them have bought/built large gated 2nd or 3rd homes which they emerge from infrequently. Home prices have been driven up (over 25% in the past year) along with the overall cost of living here. Many long-term residents have become understandably resentful of what they perceive as a trend that is diminishing community bonds and forcing them out of the towns they grew up in.
So, I think some readers who don't know me personally are willing to pass quick judgment, painting me as one of these elitist Internet retirees (which I'm very much not). I'm trusting that over time, a greater percentage of the population will become aware of the work I'm doing to accelerate community cohesion and resilience. From the folks in the area who have contacted me personally today about the article, I'm pretty happy with the scope of appreciation and awareness I'm seeing in the Sebastopol community after just one year.
Secondly, the Great Recession hit this county hard and many families are still just hanging on. Reading about future possible economic "chaos" (the reporter's words, not ours) understandably touches raw nerves that likely make some willing to shoot the messenger first and ask questions later.
As I mentioned above, I was disappointed that the scope of the resiliency-buildling resources we offer through PeakProsperity.com wasn't really covered in this article (the positive "creating a world worth inheriting" part of what we do). It's what I spent the most time talking about with the reporter. I guess it wasn't deemed as "newsworthy" as the risk of a renewed economic downturn 🙁
Had a brighter light been shined on that part of the story, I think it would have been much less likely for the readers who don't know us to snap to a "fear-monger" judgment.
That said, the article has over 200 Facebook "likes", so I believe we are influencing those open to our message. Those not ready — or unwilling — to hear it (which I think many of the commenters may fall into this camp) will need a few more shoes to drop before their ears open.
and all my life i thought they(sebastopols) were goosey, goosey,duck.
Congratuations on the nice article, Adam. I did two kayak trips with friends down the Russian River in 1999, when I worked as a summer intern at SRI International. Some close family friends used to have a place in that area, but I'm not sure if they still do. Beautiful scenery, but the poison oak is a killer!
I'm sorry but after reading the comments on the article, I couldn't help myself. Not that you and Chris need any defense but it got my back up to hear such opinionated people talking about something they know nothing about. I just had to add my own comment on the article about my experience on PP. God, it's discouraging to hear those type of comments. I hear you about the wealthy newcomers in Sonoma County and how hard the county was hit in the recession. But there is no excuse for knee-jerk responses like that. People are so quick to rush to judgment without knowing anything about what they are commenting on. One of the downsides to the internet, in my opinion.
The good news is there was an article mentioning you and Chris and PP. I hope more open-minded people will follow up and check out the site.
Anyone who thinks we are gonna get reporting that covers the breadth of resilinency that is covered and discussed on this site should consider what that implies.
I lived in Sonoma County from '75 to '84. Still have a place on the River (Russian). Worked in Sebastopol at the Ford agency in '77. Graduated from Sonoma State College (now University). Know the place pretty well and it is just like anyplace else. It has it's nitwits and morons. Easier to spot them with the internet. It also has, just like anyplace else, some Really Good People. Perhaps the article will guide some of them here, to their benefit and ours. Despite yogi's commentary. Thanks as usual to Adam, Chris, and everyone here. Aloha, Steve.
Wow, the comments on the article really shocked me. It is really sad how misinformed and quick to judgment people are. I think anyone who goes against the materialistic growth at all costs "economy is in recovery" must be discredited by the public, because deep down they know somethings not right, but they are not emotionally ready to accept the data. It's like with any marketing, logic, fact, and reason is not what works, appealing to emotion does. I like that Chris & Adam still stick with logic and reason. Keep up the great work.
i too moved into a small rural community but i did so quietly or so i thought. they all know who i am, where i live and i've not heard all the rumors about me, but have been told they exist.it's been 7 years now, and i continue to meet more and more of them and once they meet me, i'm prettymuch accepted.
i find taking over some raspberries, or tomatos as a gift is the time honor way to meet strangers.
one of my wary thoughts for civil unrest is mob rule. unfortunately i see where the internet is lessening peoples constraints on themselves as they have less control over what they mouth off(including myself). i see people losing the ability to control themselves more and more even in person. it doesn't seem much of leap for a group of people reved up to turn into a lynch mob mentality..i see the human nature of a lynch mob is being practiced quite a bit in the spoken tongue on the internet. developing bad habits and more thoughtlessness.
i walk 3 miles down a nearby dirt road 5x a week and i wave to each car/truck/bike that passes. those from behind too. the young people are starting to initiate the wave of hello, the elderly wave, even the crabby in a rush people wave.if one wants to be cool, you just do a subtle wave of one finger from the steering wheel. people are starting to smile now as they wave. sometimes a farmer's wife will rush out and say hold on til i get my shoes on and i'll join you.
what i see happening is that i am becoming familiar and a part of dancer rd most afternoons. the people i've met that live on this road, i wave to their house as i walk by.
it's such a small gesture, that is building strong bonds of civility