Adapting In Place

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suziegruber's picture
suziegruber
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Adapting In Place

There is a great post on the Oil Drum from Sharon Astyk called "Adapting In Place: Whether, Why and Wherefore Ought Thou."  It is a post discussing the common dilemma of whether or not to relocate in the face of our current situation.

 http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5059#more

 I actually relocated a couple of years ago in response to Peak Oil and realized that it was a poor choice, so I relocated back to where I had significant community.

 --Suzie G.

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SamLinder
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Re: Adapting In Place
suziegruber wrote:

There is a great post on the Oil Drum from Sharon Astyk called "Adapting In Place: Whether, Why and Wherefore Ought Thou."  It is a post discussing the common dilemma of whether or not to relocate in the face of our current situation.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5059#more

I actually relocated a couple of years ago in response to Peak Oil and realized that it was a poor choice, so I relocated back to where I had significant community.

--Suzie G.

Excellent post, Suzie G.

This information has been sorely needed on this site for some time. Too many members have vociferously advocated relocating as an all or nothing choice. I am delighted to see Ms. Astyk offering realistic alternatives to those who cannot, or choose not, to relocate. Thank you so much for highlighting an alternative perspective.

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DrKrbyLuv
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Re: Adapting In Place

suziegruber - Thanks for the great post and link.

I'm ready financially and will be dumping my gas-hog SUV within a couple of months.  But I've been putting off the other strategies as mentioned in your post.  I don't like yard work and have a terrible track record for having things I plant die within a year or two. 

I have to revisit these things with some discipline as I think being independent and self sustaining will be a key for maintaining any quality of life in the face of what's coming.

Larry

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Re: Adapting In Place
SamLinder wrote:
suziegruber wrote:

There is a great post on the Oil Drum from Sharon Astyk called "Adapting In Place: Whether, Why and Wherefore Ought Thou."  It is a post discussing the common dilemma of whether or not to relocate in the face of our current situation.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5059#more

I actually relocated a couple of years ago in response to Peak Oil and realized that it was a poor choice, so I relocated back to where I had significant community.

--Suzie G.

Excellent post, Suzie G.

This information has been sorely needed on this site for some time. Too many members have vociferously advocated relocating as an all or nothing choice. I am delighted to see Ms. Astyk offering realistic alternatives to those who cannot, or choose not, to relocate. Thank you so much for highlighting an alternative perspective.

 

Sam,

Judging from your posts, I think you'd really enjoy reading Sharon Astyk's blog, and reading her book, "Depletion & Abundance".  

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Re: Adapting In Place
Chris Kresser wrote:

Sam,

Judging from your posts, I think you'd really enjoy reading Sharon Astyk's blog, and reading her book, "Depletion & Abundance".  

Chris,

Thanks for the links. I'll check them out. There's so much to read on this site and others that it's hard to keep up with it all. If I had to work full time for a living, I don't know how I would manage!  Foot in mouth

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Re: Adapting In Place
Chris Kresser wrote:

 

Sam,

Judging from your posts, I think you'd really enjoy reading Sharon Astyk's blog, and reading her book, "Depletion & Abundance".  

 

I am part way through that book now, I find it a great comfort, I gain a lot of equlibrium from it.

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capesurvivor
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Re: Adapting In Place

A good thread title; I think of myself as surviving-in-place (though I guess thriving in place would be better...)

 

SG

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Re: Adapting In Place

This has been much on my mind for awhile now, since for several reasons it doesn't seem possible for me to adapt in place, yet I don't see any good prospect for relocating anytime soon, even as I think time is running short.

Hmm, not good, not good....

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Re: Adapting In Place

I think there is a time for making expansive changes (relocating, changing jobs, buying useful things, stocking the pantry) and also a time for just making do with what you have.

I'm really glad for people who are able to continue expanding their options, and I hope they appreciate that.  I'm also hopeful that those of us who are "making do" will still be able to get our needs met (and then some).  So much of it is in how you define your needs.  Opening yourself up to more flexible expectations can be very scary for...oh, say, control freaks like myself.  But the benefits are well worth it.

My husband and I started planning about four years ago to pay down debt, fix up our house and sell it, buy land, and build as close to mortgage-free as we could manage.  It was a good plan, and it's still a good plan, though I feel a little sour that we weren't able to bring it about already, even with being ahead of the curve.  Our house isn't ideal.  Our lot isn't ideal.  Our location has some cons.  We were thinking we had more time before the real estate market tanked, more time to come up with the money for house projects, more time to do the projects, more time to pay down debt, more time to amass savings.  More time to find a chair before the music stopped.

Well, the music stopped when my husband got laid off a month ago.  We are still feeling optimistic and we are not abandoning our land/build plan, but it's not a possibility at the moment.  At the same time, I've shifted my thinking to embrace where we ARE instead of rejecting it in favor of where we would rather be.  It's a subtle shift and also a really significant one.

I'm doing what I can to focus on the benefits of our current situation, and I'm trying to remember that NO situation is "ideal."  The grass is always greener - "if only we had bought our land, we'd be all set" - but it isn't that simple.  We don't really know what the future holds for us (collectively) in terms of practical energy prospects, for example.  We won't know some things until they unfold.  Sometimes the most prudent thing is to just stay where you are and make the most of it.

I firmly believe that adaptability can be as much or even more a state of mind than a factor of your location.  I remind myself all the time of the pros of our living situation, and try to find ways around the cons.  I always thought of myself as a pessimist by nature, but I'm discovering, to my delight, that I really have quite an amazing capacity for optimism.  The glass is always partially full. Even when it's completely empty, you still have a glass.

Anytime someone mentions "adapting in place" I think of "making the most of what you already have."  (And that includes your home and possessions, your own creativity and resourcefulness, your life experience and skills, your existing networks and communities).  I think that is going to be a major theme for many or all of us in the coming years - making the most of what we already have.

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Re: Adapting In Place
Amanda wrote:

I think there is a time for making expansive changes (relocating, changing jobs, buying useful things, stocking the pantry) and also a time for just making do with what you have.

<snip>

Anytime someone mentions "adapting in place" I think of "making the most of what you already have."  (And that includes your home and possessions, your own creativity and resourcefulness, your life experience and skills, your existing networks and communities).  I think that is going to be a major theme for many or all of us in the coming years - making the most of what we already have.

Hi Amanda,

Your well thought out words speak volumes. When all else is said and done, what counts is family, friends, and community. If you look out at the rest of the world, you will see a myriad of cultures all along the "prosperity curve". While  we may consider our situation as inadequate, other populations will envy our "riches".

Happiness comes not from things but from relationships and community. In the richest of countries and the poorest of countries, those who are the happiest accept their lot in life and enjoy the now. If you look at the lost tribes of the Amazon, they were found to be quite content before "civilization" found them. By our standards, they are desperately poor, yet they are happy in their own world.

I sympathize with your current inability to achieve what you wanted for your family. However, I think you have made a very wise and healthy decision to accept what is for now and to appreciate what you already have. I wish you well and hope that, in the not too distant future, you and your family will once again be able to move forward to obtaining your goal.

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Re: Adapting In Place

Another fan of Sharon's blog. She's practical - a what can you do and do what you can approach - and thinks on many scales. I appreciate her ability to be aware without falling into debilitating fear or anger. Hard for me personally these days. Don't know the criteria for Chris's Blog Roll but adding her site would be helpful for expanding this communities research tools to include more on food and children.

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Re: Adapting In Place

Hi everyone,

As you must all know by now, I'm one of those advocates of relocating.  Only because that's what WE decided to do, I suspect!  

My main reason for moving when we did (I virtually knew nothing of Permaculture way back then, for instance) was to dramatically reduce our debt, which we have done.  We've gone from having less than 50% equity in the last property we owned, to 95%, and this place is now worth three times as much as the old one!  Need I say more?

Sam mentions community, which is true enough, but we lived in one of Australia's largest cities (only one million, but there you go...!) and there was NO community feeling there for us.  We were always too 'out there' for the straight laced residents of that community.  We now have waaaay more friends in this country town than we ever had in Brisbane, even counting those friends we had for thirty years.  Oddly, a lot of our 'old friends' moved out of the city many many years ago, and for no reasons to do with the collapse. 

Diligently applied Permaculture Principles on a town block will achieve results, no doubt about it....  I've seen it done.  If anything, strictly adhering to the design principles of Permaculture is more important when you have little land than when you have lots.  Read this http://www.buildinggreentv.com/keywords/garden/3154

then look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFIkJGAS8EI

Enough from me, the wife's pestering me to load the trailer for market! 

Good luck

Mike 

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Re: Adapting In Place

What I've decided to do for now...

For now my GF and I are both working well paying secure jobs, at least mine is. We don't own but rent an apt, share a vehicle with her father, and aren't in any real debt.

We're currently looking into buying a small cottage and property about 1.5 hours away (off grid) where we can spend our weekends. The plan is to slowly retrofit the little shack with solar and wind energy and start preparing the soil for agriculture. We don't know much about permaculture or anything like that but will be participating in a community garden starting this spring and trying to educate ourselves as time permits.

We figure even if by some miracle the world goes on the way it has been, we'll have a really neat cottage to spend our weekends and a nice little place to retire.

I know not everyone can afford such options or are geographically able to do so but for the time being there's no way we can afford to quit our jobs. If you can afford it I would suggest buying ruraly and rent close to your work.

 

On a related note regarding community we do practice and study herbology. I've been trying to convince my GF to focus on some of that as societal complexity degrades and conventional medicine becomes evermore difficult to access. We figure if we can't grow enough of our own food we can at least contribute to a community that can in return for medical care.

Learning how to collect/grow your own medicines/remedies can be just as rewarding as growing your own food!

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Amanda V
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Re: Adapting In Place

Ruhh

I think you have given this all some excellent thought, and I love your solution.  To buy some land but rent close to your work so that if it all fails you have a place to go.  But are still minimising debt. 

One of my only concerns with this theory is that if you are not living on the land, you will not be building up relationships with people in the commnunity.  And this is also very important. 

You are lucky your GF understands and is accepting of the CC.  There is a lot of poor frustrated folk on this forum trying to get through to their loved ones and convince them to make different decisions. 

 

 

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Ruhh
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Re: Adapting In Place
AmandaPops wrote:

One of my only concerns with this theory is that if you are not living on the land, you will not be building up relationships with people in the commnunity.  And this is also very important.

Good point. We're hoping to spend most of our weekends there and with any luck getting to know our neighbors. Perhaps even go in on the land purchase with good like-minded friends?

AmandaPops wrote:

You are lucky your GF understands and is accepting of the CC.  There is
a lot of poor frustrated folk on this forum trying to get through to
their loved ones and convince them to make different decisions.

Thanks. I'm very lucky to be with her but I must confess she's still hasn't watched the full CC yet. She's understanding because we've always been deeply interested in all these issues and learning ways to lessening our impact on the environment and living more through experience rather than consumption. When it comes to the rest of my family I'm still quite frustrated getting through to them but still working on them. I'm getting through bit by bit though.

cheers
r.

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SamLinder
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Re: Adapting In Place
Damnthematrix wrote:

Hi everyone,

<snip>

Sam mentions community, which is true enough, but we lived in one of Australia's largest cities (only one million, but there you go...!) and there was NO community feeling there for us.  We were always too 'out there' for the straight laced residents of that community.  We now have waaaay more friends in this country town than we ever had in Brisbane, even counting those friends we had for thirty years.  Oddly, a lot of our 'old friends' moved out of the city many many years ago, and for no reasons to do with the collapse. 

<snip>

Mike 

Hi Mike,

Brisbane!??!  Brisbane!??!  No wonder there was no community! That would be like me trying to find community in Los Angeles - yikes! Surprised

I think you found the community that I actually had in mind when I mentioned it above. Finding fellowship with ones neighbors and local village folk is what works best, I think. Anytime your "community" gets so large that you don't know most of them, it's gotten too big to work. It sounds like you've got one of the ideal situations - smart fellow for getting an early start. Smile

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