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    Preparing Prudently

    Specific steps towards security & self-sufficiency
    by Chris Martenson

    Saturday, January 28, 2017, 1:13 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why most of those around you will not prepare, despite the obvious risks
  • Why the risks are bigger now than most realize
  • Positioning yourself ahead of the trend
  • The steps for prudent preparation

If you have not yet read Part 1: When The Rich Become Preppers, It’s Time To Worry available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

People Aren’t Rational

Unfortunately, very few people make decision based on logic and/or rational calculations.  Most go by emotion.   If their pre-existing belief system is confirmed by something they will do it (or buy it, or learn it) but if not, then forget it.  Data doesn’t matter.

I am sure you’ve all encountered this in your own lives, perhaps by trying to spread the Crash Course to otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people who somehow just cannot even bring themselves to confront the troubling data.

Not because they are unable intellectually, or even that the data is all that troubling, but usually because their belief system cannot digest the information contained therein.  One of the more dominant belief systems out there is that “the government will take care of me/us.”

This is not at all surprising given that we are raised in a very structured and authoritarian educational system.  Most of us that is.  The repetition of believing that a right answer always exists at the front of the room subtly reinforces the idea that you can trust in the hierarchies present in your culture.

And so it’s not much of a stretch to then invest that same comfort of knowing in the hierarchy of the political structure, or government, too.  To attack or undermine the idea that there is a large, benevolent set of public institutions out there is to undermine the very basis of faith in authority.

That’s a biggie for most people, and not easily dislodged.  This is why it can be so difficult to get someone to even consider storing an extra months’ worth of food in their otherwise barren pantry.  It has nothing to do with cost or space…it has to do with the new belief system that  would have to be installed first which is something along the lines of “maybe the system I trust so completely is slightly untrustworthy, and the people operating are not really as in control of it as I like to think.”

And even then, it’s not that simple.  Dislodging a belief system and installing a new one is not an intellectual process, but an emotional one.  Those are expensive for people under even the best of circumstances but really quite difficult if one lives in a country where emotions are clamped down, not permitted, drugged away, or otherwise subjugated and not allow to flow freely.

The point of all this is to be able to rotate the cube a bit and ask what happens when a mass of people suddenly all decide that their existing belief system isn’t working out anymore?

Well, the North Caroline Wal-Mart example gives us the general outline.  People will stampede off in a new direction that will disrupt the existing systems.  Stripped shelves is one product, but bank runs, political upheavals riots, and the emergence of brand new ideas are other examples.

And this brings us to the idea that as emotional creatures, especially in the center mass of society, the recent election of Donald Trump has stirred up a hornet’s nest of new and vigorous emotions in a lot of people.

How this will translate into future actions is impossible to predict, except we can note that the risk is higher for a disturbance, or set of disturbances, as a result.

Again, we have a faith based system.  If people have faith in the food being there, there is no problem (at present).  If people have faith that gasoline will be there at the stations, again no problem.  If people have faith that their money will have value, no problem.

The problems emerge when people lose faith, and what Trump has done, more than anything (in my estimation) is merely revealed to a critical mass of people just how frightfully off the rails everything actually is.

But that’s been developing for many, many years.  Trump did not do anything except rip the covers off for people who were otherwise not really paying attention or allowing themselves to look the other way about a lot of things ranging from a complete abandonment of the working class by both parties, to a central bank fueled wealth gap that has broken all records, to disappearing bumblebees.

The herd is now skittish as a result of the tensions which are, in my experience, as high as they have ever been across the social fabric.

Rich people are feeling nervous in part because the system might fail them in ways either large or small, but also because they have gotten stupidly rich as a direct result of the central bank money printing, unfairly so some might say, and so they also fear a backlash fueled by this unfairness.

This is perfectly rational for all the reasons we’ve covered here over and over again.  It’s grapes vs. cucumbers.  Humans simply do not tolerate unfairness for long before they react and rebel.

But It’s So Much More Than That

I think people are right to feel skittish.  I know I do.  But not for the usual reasons that most people might think.  Sure, our monetary policy is unsustainable and will break someday.  Yes, the entitlement programs are busted and debt levels are far too high for current and probable future growth conditions.

Add that up and there’s a financial and economic accident on the way and that makes people nervous.  It’s part of the reason why I strongly suspect the world’s central banks are propping up the equity markets so aggressively; they know that the signaling function of these markets is critical to confidence.  Keep the markets elevated and many people will continue to assume that everything is all right.

However it is the loss of the bumblebee that I think lurks deep in the heart of the dis-ease that people feel most acutely and troublingly. Let me explain.

Every day science is learning how we are more intimately connected to the world around us, that is to nature, than we previously suspected.  This really shouldn’t shock anyone as nature was our cradle for millions and even billions of years.  On the evolutionary tree the departure into our indoor environs is such a recent development it cannot really be seen on a geological scale timeline.

We’ve recently learned about the gut biome, and still are a long way from understanding the delicate and careful balance between ‘Us” and “Them” when it comes to the numerous life forms living in and on us.

Even more recently we’ve learned that memories pass between generations as our DNA has the ability to take an adult’s experience and somehow encode it and pass it on to their offspring.  This has been experimentally proven in mice and genetically detected in the children of holocaust survivors.

These studies blow my mind and the implications deserve an entire treatment and discussion.  For now I want to center on one theory of mine which is that our bodies are, of course, in some sort of more sophisticated and (as yet) not well understood communication with the world around us.

As the web of life snaps and frays, one strand after another, with butterflies and bumblebees disappearing as the sentinel species, or rainforest losses the size of Europe’s landmass, which speak to an iceberg-like mass of losses hidden beneath the waters of conscious perception, people are somehow detecting this.

It is well known that among the peoples most connected to the land, such as the aboriginal communities above the Arctic Circle or in disappearing rainforests, that the rapid changes in their landscapes lead to major depression and other mental health issues.    A well-known contributor to depression in people is a feeling of not belonging.  So perhaps it’s not much of a stretch to suggest that those of us less intimately connected to nature still register something when the birds and the bees are quietly slipping away from our landscape.

I know of a very spiritually connected woman whose abilities constantly amaze me, and her walks in the woods have become painful for her.  The message she is receiving is that ‘life is ebbing.’  I cannot disagree with that sentiment because my own Spidey-senses say the same thing as does all the ecological data on the macro landscape and micro species levels.

I can feel it in my bones. Or gut. Somewhere deep down.  Something is very wrong.

It bothers me a lot, and it hurts my heart.  It’s time for a whole new approach and narrative.

While there are a lot of different problems and predicaments one could worry about, I truly suspect that a major contributor to people’s dis-ease is the loss of species and how those are registered somehow, either unconsciously for most, or possibly via some mechanism we still don’t understand by which humans are able to detect rapid changes in their surroundings, especially species declines and losses.  From a biologist’s perspective, being attuned to the species around you is not a hard sell.  It makes a lot of sense.

But maybe it goes deeper than this and speaks to our collective missing the entire point of our human existence.  Perhaps it is the loss of the beauty encoded in the other species that we mourn the loss of.  Perhaps we truly are meant to be here as stewards, not as tenders of a flock we intend to entirely consume, but as perpetual stewards of this entire ball of life we call earth.
Who knows?

All I do know is that a great upset has been revealed in a lot of people, all across the globe, and I think it has a lot more to do with deeper issues than underfunded pensions and the loss of jobs to robots.

Position Yourself Ahead Of The Trend

One of our great gifts here at Peak Prosperity, as well as one of our burdens, is that we are once again proving to be well ahead of the trend.    It’s always acceptable to be a few months ahead, but inexcusable to be years ahead.  At least for a lot of people not you fine folks.

So the new trend of being resilient and prepared with respect to food, shelter and security is now a “in” think among a subset of the rich.  Which normalizes it for a whole lot of people.  You need to be alert to this new trend because it speaks to the possibility of a sudden loss of faith that could itself be the trigger for a change into the next act of this story.

The seemingly perpetual central bank printing and propping has only made things worse.  Corporations have use the opportunity to merely borrow and buy back shares.  That in turn, along with direct flooding to het “markets” with thin-air money, has only served to enrich the already stupendously rich.  That in turn is leading to social and political tensions that can no longer be ignored.

There is also the unknown psychological and social impact of a rapidly changing natural world where entire ecosystems are being upended.  My theory, probably years in advance of its time again, is that we are all connected (wired in) to the natural world in ways that the more sensitive of us are noticing as a distinctly uncomfortable feeling of deep grief lodged in our hearts, and the less sensitive are experiencing as an impossible to source feeling of low-grade anxiety.

Whatever the reasons, it is now becoming entirely normalized for regular, non tin-foil hat wearing individuals to come forward and say “I’m really worried and no longer trusting as much.  I have taken direct action to secure my future and that of my family and friends.”

We’ve also been talking about this trend in the wealthy for years, and now it is more solidly out in the open as the New Yorker article makes clear.

Hopefully surfacing and focusing on that inspires you to go another layer deeper in your own preparations.  This would also be a great article to forward to your ‘on the fence’ friends and relatives.

Perhaps now that its ‘rich people’ (and Silicon techies at that!) they will listen.  For many, the captains of technology are their ‘trusted sources’ and the will more readily heed their actions than yours or mine.  Hey, that’s not a knock on either of abilities to influence others, that’s just how this works.  We can only influence those for whom we happen to be the trusted source.

The sad truth is that the vast majority of people are not prepared in the slightest, and still have no clue that it would be in their statistical and numerical advantage to become more prepared.  There is still an enormous amount of outreach and education to be done in that regard.  Here in my own neighborhood, and there in yours too.

A worthy challenge if ever one existed.  🙂

So, What To Do?

Our advice for preparing prudently is to:

  • Build cash – It’s not sexy. And it’s not fun to see the dollar price of nearly every asset known to man escalate while you hold cash. But bubbles are designed to take as much as possible from as many people as possible. During the popping of a bubble, the real wealth (underlying assets like companies, land, minerals, etc.) doesn’t vaporize like the high prices do. Those assets are simply transferred at a lower (more attractive) price to those people who still have money. Be one of those people.
  • Hold on to your precious metals – I know. It’s painful right now. For most PM owners, just hold onto what you have right now. Those with stronger stomachs should be dollar-cost averaging. Remember, the fundamentals for owning gold and silver have not changed AT ALL over the past few years. Stay largely with physical bullion. Don’t speculate with the mining stocks at this time unless you’re a risk junkie (or masochist?) and then only with money you can afford to lose.
  • Scout out locally-based hard-asset investments for the future – Once this bubble pops, higher interest rates and lower prices will result. Look around your local area for assets (businesses, housing, farmland, livestock, etc.) that you would consider holding at least a percentage ownership in. Calculate what price would make you an interested investor. While that price may be years away, when the impact of a market correction hits, you’ll be poised to move ahead of the other savvy investors to secure the opportunities you want (and play a role in stabilizing the community in which you live).
  • Design your trading plan for a market downdraft – What steps will you/your financial adviser take if the market starts cratering? If you don’t currently have a plan in place, now is the time to design it. Will you employ stops? What “safe assets” will you move to? (Treasurys, cash, other currencies?) Will you strictly be a sidelines observer, or will you take any active short positions on the downside? Will there be opportunity to generate income using vehicles like covered calls? Whatever makes sense for you, devise your strategy in the calmness of today vs. on the fly while the markets are melting down around you and everyone is panicking. And if your financial adviser is unable to provide you with a comforting answer as to his/her strategy for captaining your money through another 2008-like (or worse) correction, we have a few recommended advisers you may want to consider talking with.
  • Build your roof while the sun is shining – So many of the most valuable investments are not financial (emergency preparedness, energy efficiency, community, health  to name just a few). Use the gift of time we have now to invest in expanding your degree of resilience. If it’s been a while, take a fresh skim though our What Should I Do? Guide to identify any areas where you aren’t satisfactorily prepared. These are the investments that it’s infinitely better to have in place “a year early vs. a day late.”
  • Increase emotional fortitude – Being “wrong” in the eyes of society is trying. And it’s stressful for many, especially if your partner or others of those close to you don’t share your views. Keep learning by reading this site and a wide range of others, including those with opposing commentary. Develop your opinions based on the data you determine is most accurate – your ability to stand resolute against popular sentiment will be grounded in your confidence in the “big picture.” Seek support from the thousands of other Peak Prosperity readers who are wrestling with the same issue set you are, by participating in our Groups. We created them to help people support each other both virtually and “in person” within their local communities.
  • Develop an income loss plan – If we’re correct in our prediction of a major downdraft, a return to deep recession is likely, and with it, a return to higher unemployment. Loss of income is a stressful trauma, especially if it happens unexpectedly and is compounded by a hobbled job market. Take some time to assess your job’s level of vulnerability to another recession. If it’s higher than you’d like, ask yourself what you would do if a sudden layoff occurred. Start doing the work now to at least sketch out the path you would take if that happened. If possible, develop some relationships or related skills now that would give you an unfair advantage should you ever need to head down that route. The first third of our book,Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career has a number of exercises that provide useful guidance for those looking to do this.
  • Develop an income enhancement plan – The resilience that comes with multiple income streams really helps you sleep at night, as you’re less vulnerable to having your entire life upended if a sudden pink slip appears. Also, having extra income to direct to other goals (retirement, education, homesteading, etc.) enables you to reach them faster. We’re all busy, but thinking creatively for a moment: What could you start doing today to secure extra income streams in the future? This is a topic that Chris often helps folks think through in his consultations.

And don’t forget that most of the people around you — your family, neighbors and friends — may not be taking these same precautions. So be ready for them to turn to you in a panic for support if crisis hits. Here’s our advice for those of you wrestling with this thorny task:

  • Put your oxygen mask on first — You can only be a help to others if you’re first in a position to do so. It all starts with building resilience; reducing your vulnerability to the highest likelihood threats able to impact your lifestyle the most (job loss, market crash, sustained power outage, natural disaster, health issue, etc). Our book Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inhering was created as a manual for doing exactly this. And its companion What Should I Do? Guide provides step-by-step guidance for a making your preparatons (be sure to start with Step 0)
  • Serve as a model — Let your actions be visible as an inspiration to others. Allow them to see that preparing for the unexpected isn’t just for the “tin foil hat” crowd. Emergency preparedness investments like stored food and water don’t need to break the bank, can be made over time, and can involve the entire community in activity that brings it closer together. Building Social Capital, improving your health and fitness, learning new skills, becoming more energy efficient, learning to strengthen your emotional health and those you care about — all of these are life-enhancing pursuits.
  • Keep your reserve assets confidential — Don’t make ALL of your preparations known. As the above section shows, desperate people take desperate action. The best way to guard against folks coming to take your most precious assets is for no one to know they exist. Beyond that, it often helps to have protective measures in place. Our Personal Safety & Home Defense Guide is full of advice on how to reduce your exposure to the most prevalent forms of invasion and attack.
  • Build awareness among friends/family of the risks in play —  Forewarned is forearmed. Our video series The Crash Course was created to build awareness of the macro risks we face today, and to explain them in an intuitive, approachable way to people of all backgrounds. Sharing that series (or the more condensed 1-hour Accelerated Crash Course) is an excellent way to open eyes and minds to the need for prudent action today. Again, use our What Should I Do? Guide as a catalyst for helping those who ‘get it’ take their first steps.
  • Get folks engaged in the right actions for the wrong reasons —  So your buddy next door doesn’t want to hear about your “doomer” predictions? Try a different tact. Maybe he likes the idea of a neighborhood fall cider pressing party, and joins you in planting a few apple trees in each of your backyards. Our Community Building guide is full of ideas for engaging your neighbors in action in ways that make your community more resilient, even if they don’t realize it through the fun they’re having.
  • Define your line — Let those whose welfare you’re taking into consideration know of your intentions. Don’t make it a guarantee; just let them know their security is important to you. But let them know now what the limits of your support will be — or even better, give them a more restricted version (which will leave you some buffer in case of the unexpected). Setting these expectations in advance is valuable, even if the folks you’re talking to aren’t really listening. At the very least, you can proceed knowing you’ve done your utmost to be up front about what they can and can’t count on you for. Review our guide on Emotional Resilience; you will very well need it to prepare your heart in case you ever do have to put these tough calls into action.
  • Empower the latecomers — Invest in assets and agreements that enable late-arrivals to help themselves (tools, information/education, small jobs, etc). Helping people skill-up and provide for themselves both increases their ability to prosper and reduces the likelihood they drain your finite stores. And you’ll be perceived as a benefactor within your community, which will be motivated to provide for and protect you (rather than abandon you) during times of adversity.

~ Chris Martenson

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29 Comments

  • Fri, Jan 27, 2017 - 8:59pm

    #1
    skipr

    skipr

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Jan 09 2016

    Posts: 209

    0

    time to boogie

    I passed by a local Sears parking lot the other day.  There was an unmarked pickup truck with flashing lights, a few more smaller cars, and two military types with helmets, fatigues, and high powered rifles.  This was a damn Sear parking lot, not some multimillionaire estate.  I wonder if it's the beginning of a full fledged police state.  It's time to boogie while I still can.  I have a nice location in mind.  I'm thinking about starting the relocation process soon.  It may be pretty difficult once the "KaBoom" starts.

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  • Sat, Jan 28, 2017 - 3:10am

    #2
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 1181

    0

    Back to the "garden"

    The "malaise of modernity", may very well stem from human kinds leaving its feral "roots". Our collective DNA knows, intuits, kimchi, the live Sandor Katz ferments, is more effective at treating depression than an Sri?
    wish I could stand typing, gotta milk

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  • Sat, Jan 28, 2017 - 7:50am

    #3
    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6234

    0

    Why are so many so worried?

    Since tipping points are hard to identify as to even why they happened, let alone predict in advance (which is impossible in a complex system), I like to track the 'softer' side of things like how people feel, the level of uncategorized anxiety, the tone of movies and fashion and art.
    When people are nervous and the arts go dark, then it's time to find shelter, be that financial, metaphysical, or physical.
    The danger here is for confirmation bias; if I am looking for signs of distress, then I'll find signs of distress.
    So take all of this with an appropriate amount of salt.
    With that caveat in mind, I cannot help but report that the level of worry and distress I am detecting is as high as it has ever been.  Does this mean that the tipping point is closer?  I think so.  That's my theory. 

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  • Sat, Jan 28, 2017 - 3:56pm

    #4
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Apr 29 2009

    Posts: 97

    0

    Scepticism about the idea of genetically inherited trauma

    Chris wrote:

    Even more recently we’ve learned that memories pass between generations as our DNA has the ability to take an adult’s experience and somehow encode it and pass it on to their offspring.  This has been experimentally proven in mice and genetically detected in the children of holocaust survivors.

    Well, maybe, maybe not. The Guardian published another article by a geneticist describing a large number of flaws in the holocaust survivor study:
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/sep/11/why-im-sceptical-ab...
    That said, I too feel a great sadness at the wanton destruction of all sorts of life on this planet by our machine civilisation. Indeed, I have been in a kind of mourning for decades.
     

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  • Sat, Jan 28, 2017 - 4:02pm

    erikandrus

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 30 2014

    Posts: 6

    0

    scanning behavior

    Joseph Tainter would call all this worry and attention to preparedness "scanning behavior."  And it's correct to say that under normal circumstances, it's highly discouraged by the status-quo.  After all, how can you build a highly differentiated society if everyone involved is always second-guessing whether others will meet their obligations, and is privately or publicly devoting effort and resources to a "backup plan?" 
    Basically, the social contract dictates that we each give up a portion of our resources (taxes) with the understanding that the larger society will step for us somehow if a crisis occurs.  Trust.
    All the relevant signs seem to be aligning towards a growing Distrust amongst all parties that our social contract will be honored, with contempt for longstanding institutions growing to a fever pitch.
    What surprises me is that equity markets are so slow to note the potential downsides of the regime of the Disruptor in Chief for business as usual.  Maybe that is coming shortly.

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 12:02am

    erikandrus

    Status: Member

    Joined: Oct 30 2014

    Posts: 6

    0

    scanning behavior

    Joseph Tainter would call all this worry and attention to preparedness "scanning behavior."  And it's correct to say that under normal circumstances, it's highly discouraged by the status-quo.  After all, how can you build a highly differentiated society if everyone involved is always second-guessing whether others will meet their obligations, and is privately or publicly devoting effort and resources to a "backup plan?" 

    Basically, the social contract dictates that we each give up a portion of our resources (taxes) with the understanding that the larger society will step for us somehow if a crisis occurs.  Trust.

    All the relevant signs seem to be aligning towards a growing Distrust amongst all parties that our social contract will be honored, with contempt for longstanding institutions growing to a fever pitch.

    What surprises me is that equity markets are so slow to note the potential downsides of the regime of the Disruptor in Chief for business as usual.  Maybe that is coming shortly.

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  • Sat, Jan 28, 2017 - 9:39pm

    davefairtex

    davefairtex

    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 2729

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    dutch hunger winter

    Here's an article on epigenetics - Dutch hunger winter babies who suffered from severe malnutrition before birth ended up being more overweight than normal during their adult life.  More interestingly, that tendency was passed on to their offspring.

    http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/142195/beyond-dna-epigenetics

    Even more extraordinarily, some of these effects seem to be present in the children of this group, that is, in the grandchildren of the women who were malnour­ished during the first three months of their pregnancy. So something that happened in one pregnant population affected their children’s children. That raised the really puzzling question of how those effects were passed on to subsequent generations.

    From a species-survival perspective, DNA is more useful if its just a template, which can be modified during the pregnancy in order to customize the baby for the environment it will find itself in once born.
    If there's little food out there, then its probably best to "program" the new baby to be especially good at storing fat.  Likewise, its probably best to produce a smaller body, so you are better able to survive in a low-food situation.  And passing those modifications on to your own children would be a useful advantage, but probably best not to extend it in perpetuity in case the situation changes over time.
    It seems logical to me that there may be a vast number of other modifications that Mom passes on to baby in utero that are much more difficult to pick up on studies, but that are in turn passed on to subsequent generations.
    I don't know what the mechanism of epigenetics is, but the effects seem undeniable.
     

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 1:31am

    #8
    Time2help

    Time2help

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    Interesting Times

    Grain of salt and all.

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 2:09am

    #9

    Agent700

    Status: Member

    Joined: Aug 02 2014

    Posts: 47

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    The Web of All Things

    Chris you are writing about things that no one else is. Your "sense" of change, but the inability to put a finger on it, is correct. There are others out here who are feeling the exact same things..
    You often talk about your driving trips in the family car and the bug cleaning required at every gas stop. I deeply remember the same family drives from Los Angeles to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and through the Central Valley of California. When I first read this from you, thought of my own memories and how it has RAPIDLY changed, and then linked it to Ag chemicals, my constant low level anxiety and sadness increased..Our economic and political system has most definitely failed us - we have not been stewards, we have been war criminals.
    Do you ever think about the movie Avatar? They were in touch with the web. It is there, but very few of us sense it on a regular basis or even begin to understand that it may be the spiritual core.
    Thanks for your openness and courage!

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 3:27am

    #10
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

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    Genetic hefting?

    My flock after approx. 12 generations is hefted to its, my, place on earth. I have a hard time with genetic changes resulting in...we find what we look for...I guess

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 3:27am

    #11
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 1181

    0

    Genetic hefting?

    My flock after approx. 12 generations is hefted to its, my, place on earth. I have a hard time with genetic changes resulting in...we find what we look for...I guess

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 8:06am

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6234

    0

    It's time

    Agent700 wrote:

    Chris you are writing about things that no one else is. Your "sense" of change, but the inability to put a finger on it, is correct. There are others out here who are feeling the exact same things..
    You often talk about your driving trips in the family car and the bug cleaning required at every gas stop. I deeply remember the same family drives from Los Angeles to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and through the Central Valley of California. When I first read this from you, thought of my own memories and how it has RAPIDLY changed, and then linked it to Ag chemicals, my constant low level anxiety and sadness increased..Our economic and political system has most definitely failed us - we have not been stewards, we have been war criminals.
    Do you ever think about the movie Avatar? They were in touch with the web. It is there, but very few of us sense it on a regular basis or even begin to understand that it may be the spiritual core.
    Thanks for your openness and courage!

    I have been taking more and more risks, opening myself up and saying/writing what I believe and feel to be true.  The reason for this is because I find that I resonate very strongly with this message; "It's time."
    For what I am not exactly sure except "not what we've been doing up to now."
    So it's time to say what we know to be true.  It's time to begin doing things differently.  It's time to drop being afraid to try new things.  It's time.
    If the disappearing insects doesn't grab you, then perhaps it's something else, but wherever we look, if we're being honest, we can find evidence that things have about reached their conclusion...some sort of peak be that in debt, liabilities, ecological deficits, species loss...you name it.
    Heck, it's about 45 degrees out - again like it's been for two weeks - the fruit trees are budding (again!) and they will be killed (again) by some cold snap later on.  I am sure of it.  So we cannot even depend on food production as we once did here in New England.  Nuts.
    And if the bumblebee disappears we'll all be out there hand pollinating our melons and tomatoes and if we don't they will disappear.  Nuts.
    And if the Calpers folks don't have a blistering asset rally forever, they pensioners and taxpayers of CA will have to absorb punishing losses. Nuts.
    And so on.
    To face the dilemmas head on is simply what we are charged with doing...at least those of us who can.  
    Thank you for noticing and naming what you've seen in the substance and shift in my writing.  This is perhaps even more true in person where I can rely on social cues to go even further into these new truths.  
    So I'll close with this.
    It's time.

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  • Sun, Jan 29, 2017 - 7:51pm

    #13

    CleanEnergyFan

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    A Plan B is not a bad idea

    Chris, great article.  I too was surprised when I read the New Yorker article that prepping had become more mainstream with the wealthy.  I don't see the Silo hibernation houses being sustainable in the long term for the wealthy and obviously far too expensive for the 99%.  I am working on a different strategy as a Plan B.  Plan A is to continue to build resilience in my local community and my own homestead (getting ready to have a debate at our HOA for the continued allowance of chickens whereas some want that terminated even though horses are allowed..go figure).  My plan B centers around the purchase of significant acreage in Costa Rica with the idea of developing it into about 30 multi acre sustainable lots for friends, family and like-minded people who I would like as neighbors.  I picked C.R. Much like you did when you picked Western Mass.  Specifically I looked for an area that was as sustainable as any I have yet come across where the people are friendly, close to the land and not dependent on the government (or a debt based money system) in the least.  There is an abundance of renewable power (lots of wind, hydro, and geothermal power) as well as plenty of rainfall and natural rivers.  Everything seems to grow there and they don't use fertilizers or pesticides.  Where else could you have a 5 acre lot for less than $100K within a 3 hr plane ride of the US (Southwest files direct from Houston to either Liberia or San Jose CR for about $400) where you could grow almost anything and have a rainforest for a backyard where howler monkeys, parrots and toucans are natural and abundant.  Also the weather is almost perfect year round so no need for either A/C or heating.  Many of the locals are used to "mowing their lawn" by hand using a machete.  I have cashed out of all my stocks & bonds and this is where I am making my retirement investment (if for no other reason than I think my grandkids would love it).  If anybody else is interested in buying land there I will be happy to talk with you at the next Rowe conference.  I am all for making the USA the sustainable place we all want it to be but at the same time believe in not having all our eggs in one basket.

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  • Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - 9:47am

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

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    Count me in! See you at Rowe

    CleanEnergyFan wrote:

    If anybody else is interested in buying land there I will be happy to talk with you at the next Rowe conference.  I am all for making the USA the sustainable place we all want it to be but at the same time believe in not having all our eggs in one basket.

    I am increasingly interested in holding such discussions.  While I made a choice a while back to 'ride it out' in the US, and probably will still follow that path, I cannot ignore the need to think broadly and consider all the options.  
    I don't have any illusions that anything will necessarily be easy and trouble free anywhere, but if food, heating and cooling are taken care of, so to speak, or at least easier to manage then that sure does free up a lot of energy for other pursuits.
    I have to say, this wonky weather is really making me question my ability to farm successfully up here in New England.  

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  • Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - 11:39am

    aggrivated

    aggrivated

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    CR and land that's safe.

    Not meaning to throw a spanner in the gears, but any other place than home means you go in as an outsider. I have a coworker whose cousin has had a place in CR for years. His daughter was killed at the home for her money when the housekeeper leaked information about it to a friend. Keep eyes and ears open and preconceived hopes on the sidelines.
    No place I've ever seen or heard about is free of envy. Even the Garden of Eden had a snake.

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  • Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - 12:43pm

    Cornelius999

    Cornelius999

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    search Youtube for " Water Memory, Nobel Laureat..."

    This Nobel winner " teleported " DNA 1,500 Km from Paris to an  Italian university so strange things can happen.  Enjoy.

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  • Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - 8:43pm

    Cornelius999

    Cornelius999

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    search Youtube for " Water Memory, Nobel Laureat..."

    This Nobel winner " teleported " DNA 1,500 Km from Paris to an  Italian university so strange things can happen.  Enjoy.

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  • Tue, Jan 31, 2017 - 10:56am

    #18
    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

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    A quick Update from the front lines

    Today, at this moment, i am in Pensacola Florida attending a NASA "blue sky" planning and strategy session meant to address the question "What sort of an organization will we be in 100 years?"
    I was invited to give the opening framing talk of the first day and gave a very condensed Crash Course, mainly jsut energy and the economy.
    As you can expect, with a lot of high level NASA and DARPA folks in the room, the views are split between "we're going to travel to the stars as the means of evading our problems" and those who are thinking, "Man, the numbers don't lie, we're scroomed."
    No surprise there.
    But this is a fascinating crowd, packed with literal rocket scientists, and very curious and advanced thinkers. 
    I've gotten great feedback from those who were ready to hear the Crash Course, including one who said "you've changed how I think about practically everything in 15 minutes..."
    oops. the meeting is starting...back to it.  more later.

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  • Tue, Jan 31, 2017 - 3:02pm

    pinecarr

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    That is so cool, Chris!

    It's fun and exciting to see you getting more high-level visibility venues lately.  Maybe if you are able to influence one or more of these mover-and-shakers, they may just start a big-buck super-battery technology program or other important advance towards resiliency.  Thanks for sharing!

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  • Tue, Jan 31, 2017 - 3:42pm

    #20
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

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    Chris you are

    the prophet..all wishes for success are with you!!!!
     

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 5:25am

    #21
    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

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    Update Day 2

    Day 1 of the NASA blue sky conference was quite interesting.  We are being homed at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IMHC), and I was invited by Ken Ford.

    Kenneth Ford is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) — a not-for-profit research institute located in Pensacola, Florida. IHMC has grown into one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience.

    You may know the IMHC as the place that is developing 'atlas' the robot that can navigate complex tasks like walking over rubble:

    At any rate, it's fun to be around people who are working at the edges of trying to figure out cool stuff like this.  Robots are mainly a software problem now, and the subtlety of parsing out the differences between intelligence, common sense, conscience and conscientiousness is what these folks are busy doing.
    As far as we are concerned though, even this august group of thinkers is having a tough time focusing on the implications of what will happen when an exponential system of credit cannot expand any further.  Everybody just keeps imagining that 2117 is just like today, only with unimaginably cooler technology.
    Maybe.  But what if that's not true?
    What if an entity like NASA really accepted that some highly disruptive economic, energy or ecological curve-ball lay in the future?  How would or should they begin to hedge their bets (and their budget) for such an eventuality?
    As with very wealthy clients, I am not saying that my crystal ball is any better than theirs, heck I might be wrong, but what if I am not?  What if there's a future filled with less, maybe a "dark age" kind of less, before us?
    Wouldn't it make sense to place a percent or two of your resources against that possibility?  
    Of course, many wealthy people are doing exactly that as I recently wrote about, but it seems to be an especially tall order for an organization like NASA to wrap its institutional thinking around that idea.  
    While NASA may be thinking to itself, "Bumblebees are not even remotely in our wheelhouse as a thing to worry about," I wonder why that might be the case?  Why is it "somebody else's problem" to worry about such a thing?  
    Instead, I will advocate today that is is exactly NASA's problem to think about because this is the organization, out of them all, that understands systems thinking.  On the space station there is no such thing as waste, even the CO2 is recycled.  Every resource is plotted and its cycles understood and controlled.  Energy is precisely defined and used.  Spare capacity is understood to be a resource, especially for when unexpected things happen, which are also factored in.
    What is earth but a very elaborate space station?  Why can't the same full-cycle systems thinking be applied here and now by the very best minds to help shape the new narrative that we must begin behaving differently?
    After all, would a NASA space station systems engineer be okay if clumsy humans began randomly removing components from the space station?  No, they would not.
    So I will wade in a little more forcefully today with my message.  I've got nothing to lose here....or actually, we have everything to lose.  So, time to toughen the skin and accept the role of being 'that guy' which is, after all, the role I accepted for myself.
    Onward.

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 7:58am

    #22

    charleshughsmith

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    desire for control

    Fascinating reports from your NASA talks, Chris. I wonder if one reason folks at NASA and elsewhere shy away from systemic understanding of our primary dilemmas in favor of "cool" techno-projects is they get to control their little techno-sphere (i.e. be a Master of the Universe), where if they enter the planetary context, they're just as powerless as the rest of us...

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 2:56pm

    pinecarr

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2008

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    Chris said: While NASA may be

    Chris said:

    While NASA may be thinking to itself, "Bumblebees are not even remotely in our wheelhouse as a thing to worry about," I wonder why that might be the case?  Why is it "somebody else's problem" to worry about such a thing?  
    Instead, I will advocate today that is is exactly NASA's problem to think about because this is the organization, out of them all, that understands systems thinking.  On the space station there is no such thing as waste, even the CO2 is recycled.  Every resource is plotted and its cycles understood and controlled.  Energy is precisely defined and used.  Spare capacity is understood to be a resource, especially for when unexpected things happen, which are also factored in.
    What is earth but a very elaborate space station?  Why can't the same full-cycle systems thinking be applied here and now by the very best minds to help shape the new narrative that we must begin behaving differently?
    After all, would a NASA space station systems engineer be okay if clumsy humans began randomly removing components from the space station?  No, they would not.

    Great re-framing of our situation, Chris, to reach out to the doors of their understanding (to probably badly paraphrase a passage from "The Prophet").  I am sure most folks' belief systems will be too rigid to consider what you're saying.  But you just might reach one or two of them with your re-framing of the problem to a parallel one that they do understand.  I'm curious to hear how it goes (went?)!

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 10:56pm

    pinecarr

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Apr 13 2008

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    Chris said:While NASA may be

    Chris said:

    While NASA may be thinking to itself, "Bumblebees are not even remotely in our wheelhouse as a thing to worry about," I wonder why that might be the case?  Why is it "somebody else's problem" to worry about such a thing?  

    Instead, I will advocate today that is is exactly NASA's problem to think about because this is the organization, out of them all, that understands systems thinking.  On the space station there is no such thing as waste, even the CO2 is recycled.  Every resource is plotted and its cycles understood and controlled.  Energy is precisely defined and used.  Spare capacity is understood to be a resource, especially for when unexpected things happen, which are also factored in.

    What is earth but a very elaborate space station?  Why can't the same full-cycle systems thinking be applied here and now by the very best minds to help shape the new narrative that we must begin behaving differently?

    After all, would a NASA space station systems engineer be okay if clumsy humans began randomly removing components from the space station?  No, they would not.

    Great re-framing of our situation, Chris, to reach out to the doors of their understanding (to probably badly paraphrase a passage from "The Prophet").  I am sure most folks' belief systems will be too rigid to consider what you're saying.  But you just might reach one or two of them with your re-framing of the problem to a parallel one that they do understand.  I'm curious to hear how it goes (went?)!

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 7:52pm

    #25

    CleanEnergyFan

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    I would love to be a fly on the NASA wall during this prezo.

    I agree with Pinecar, great reframing for how to best utilize NASAs systems thinking.  When you think about it, its is amazing how many resources we have devoted to space and the exploration of other planets while very little for the sustainability of life here on earth (especially post fossil fuels).  If NASA could envision their future mission is primarily to insure that life (all life not just human) can continue on our own sphere that would be a game changer for them (and hopefully us).  I very much look forward to hearing how your message is received.

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 7:52pm

    #26

    CleanEnergyFan

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    I would love to be a fly on the NASA wall during this prezo.

    I agree with Pinecar, great reframing for how to best utilize NASAs systems thinking.  When you think about it, its is amazing how many resources we have devoted to space and the exploration of other planets while very little for the sustainability of life here on earth (especially post fossil fuels).  If NASA could envision their future mission is primarily to insure that life (all life not just human) can continue on our own sphere that would be a game changer for them (and hopefully us).  I very much look forward to hearing how your message is received.

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 7:52pm

    #27

    CleanEnergyFan

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    I would love to be a fly on the NASA wall during this prezo.

    I agree with Pinecar, great reframing for how to best utilize NASAs systems thinking.  When you think about it, its is amazing how many resources we have devoted to space and the exploration of other planets while very little for the sustainability of life here on earth (especially post fossil fuels).  If NASA could envision their future mission is primarily to insure that life (all life not just human) can continue on our own sphere that would be a game changer for them (and hopefully us).  I very much look forward to hearing how your message is received.

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  • Wed, Feb 01, 2017 - 7:55pm

    #28

    CleanEnergyFan

    Status: Member

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    Delete Duplicate

    Trying to delete the duplicate entry

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  • Fri, Feb 03, 2017 - 4:09am

    nickbert

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    Living or building connections abroad

    aggrivated wrote:

    Not meaning to throw a spanner in the gears, but any other place than home means you go in as an outsider. I have a coworker whose cousin has had a place in CR for years. His daughter was killed at the home for her money when the housekeeper leaked information about it to a friend. Keep eyes and ears open and preconceived hopes on the sidelines. No place I've ever seen or heard about is free of envy. Even the Garden of Eden had a snake.

    While I haven't experienced much more than some "sizing-up" glances from strangers in Mongolia, I would agree with the general recommendation to maintain high situational awareness and a higher level of caution when residing overseas.  It's still worthwhile if you have the type of mindset and personality open to living in a foreign land, you just need to be more on your guard.  Some places more than others, obviously.
    Regarding Chris' original comment, while I would not recommend picking up and moving to another country if one doesn't have something drawing one to said place (i.e. a thirst for new experiences, a good career opportunity, family, etc.), I DO think it's worthwhile to build connections abroad and explore ways to diversify one's finances beyond your country's borders.  Even if it just means having a foreign bank account (being American makes that problematic, though not impossible... so far my Mongolian bank hasn't given me any grief and I'm crossing my fingers it stays that way).  And yes, I am very much an outsider here and totally stand out, but people here are friendly enough and I never fit in that much with people at "home" anyway.  So no big change there.

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