by Anonymiss (rural civil-ian)
Whatever is causing it, Grandmother Earth is changing . There is no denying that. In the sixties, we had white winters every year, guaranteed, and ice skating on a daily basis. None of that in the seventies. In the eighties some, and in the last two decades none again. And lately, world wide, we seem to have experienced increases in temperature , extreme weather , earthquakes [4a] [4b] [4c], polar cap and glacier melting , etc.
And oh boy, there are lots of prophesies centered around Grandmother Earth’s changes. I believe most prophesies to be self-fulfilling wishes, especially when originating from priests and gurus seeking followers to dominate by fear management . There are some prophesies however, coming from our oldest tribal lineages and having been passed on for generations, that might be interesting to investigate further, as they are based on studies of Grandmother Earth’s patterns over the ages. And instead of arrogating and appropriating by fear, these traditions teach that the keys to surviving Earth’s changes are to:
Even if there weren’t any Earth changes happening, shit happens and incidents such as Katrina and Fukushima may happen to me, you and our (extended) family members, and it never hurts to come prepared. These keys sound good and exploring how do-able they are, is a much more enjoyable and fun life than as a cog in the war-work-machine.
Hmpf, easier said then done these days.
Worldwide we are reaping the rewards from the industrial slogan “Dilution is the solution to pollution” [7a] [7b] [7c]. Oceans, seas and lakes have absorbed many toxins. The carrying capacity of most land locked open water for oil and grease from leaking cars, raw sewage, mining and other industrial runoff, and toxic and nuclear dumping has been exceeded. And don’t underestimate the effects we can have on our environment. In Iceland, traces of atmospheric lead pollution from tin-mining done by the Romans in Britain was found to be still around . Nuclear waste dumped in the Arctic ocean migrates to the Atlantic and vice versa by ocean currents and atmospheric deposition [9a][9b], and the Fukushima incident added to the already disastrous levels. This makes no difference to the fish though, as fish were already contaminated with high levels of heavy metals such as mercury and chromium.
Depending on location, you may or may not collect rainwater. Literally, “may”. In many states of the US for example, laws have been passed making it a criminal act . Cheer up, the government/corporate tandem has not yet arrogated and appropriated the air we breathe.
A return to old tribal lands then? Dams have destroyed micro-environments, flooding fertile lands and drying up rivers . And the rest of the land has been arrogated and appropriated in the hunt for resources for the insatiable war-work-machine . Treaties were not honored by “governments”. Okay, so what if returning to old tribal lands is not an option? We can relocate ourselves nearly everywhere where we can have access to the groundwater. Dang! Polluted by chemical spills, fertilizer run-off and acid rain.
I adapted key 1. to read “relocate ourselves to a place where we have a reasonably clean supply of water that we can filter down to drinkable, and where we can grow our own food.” We need filters, preferably ceramic filters. If not those, and with little to no money, learn about water purification techniques.
Note: For “grow our own food”, mind soil fertility qualities and pollution levels. And by all means, choose a location where Monsanto doesn’t have contracts, or else you’ll end up with crops (and seeds for next year) that are spoiled without your consent, plus a lawsuit from monsanto for illegally harvesting “their” crops .
Okay, so having relocated, actually live there and not go back to the city? No problem! Every time I go back to the city a wall of sound attacks my eardrums! And the smog. It contaminates the air, pollutes my hair and clothes, not to mention my lungs. And people seem to be racing about as if role playing Koyaanisqatsi, the “life out of balance”.
Water and food are basic, but the weather is getting more and more extreme too, from unexpectedly warm to freezing cold, so we need a shelter of sorts. In countries like France setting up Yurts and Tipis is no longer an option due to recently adopted laws . If not for that, extreme weather also includes storms, and an acquaintance of ours has had her Yurt blown away during a recent storm. Start anew.
What types of shelters are locally suitable and is the knowledge still around for [15a][15b] [15c]? Try underground pit houses. They don’t blow away that easily, are not eyesores, better disguised from prying eyes than a tent, and in terms of energy bookkeeping are a very good idea. Plus they can be built from nearly all natural materials. And if you have the time, energy and resources, a pimped pit house can be quite livable.
The following lists were gathered some years ago from recounts and lessons learned by survivors of WW II, severe civil war conditions in the Balkans, the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans, a keys discussion, and adapted by personal experiences.
Make that non-hybrid non-GM garden seed. Lettuce and alfalfa produce edible items in a very short time. If possible and time, energy and resources allow, create a small seed bank .
For spices, keep seeds rather than the powdered kind. In some cases however, the powdered kind will hold longer. Get a mortar and pestle or a grinder.
Know what to cache, when and where. Grow and maintain a fresh food and medical herb supply for as long as possible.
Don’t throw away insulated ice boxes thinking they will not serve without your fridge producing the cold elements. They are great in winter, to keep your food from freezing.
Metal or plastic tubs keep vermin out and items relatively fresh. Fill some containers with a mix of your supplies, hidden where only you can find them. You can use cool storage areas in the ground.
Get water containers and fill them. Get them in any size. If they are small make sure they are hard and clear plastic only. Food grade your containers for what is drinkable. In case outages and hard times take longer than expected, use those water filters and water purifiers you were so smart to buy.
This can also be one of them shelter pimping things. Build a water tank outside the shelter. It can be a water tank for collected rainwater, and in dryer areas for water from dew catchers, or both. Do consider dangers of the source to determine what to use it for. For luxury, you can add a boiler working on solar energy [17a] [17b].
Water management includes waste water management. Cloth towels and handkerchiefs can be cleaned with rainwater and soap. Less disposal issues than paper (which will soon run out anyway). Gray water (from tub, clothes and dish washing) can be reclaimed for watering plants, if you filter it properly. What gets in your edible plants, gets into people.
If you are in an urban environment and/or in a “considered normal in first world” house, a water supply problem includes the toilets no longer flushing, and you do not wish to spend too much of your container water for flushing. A portable toilet may be a short term option. If you are pimping a basic shelter, I recommend building a compost outhouse .
A healthy mind in a healthy body. That also works the other way. Under stress conditions it is very important that you and yours can play games together, individually read books, and generally look forward to building a better future. So keep educating the kids. Keep diaries to place things you and your (extended) family members experience in a historic light. Besides putting things in a temporal context, it keeps healthy reflection going.
These are nice to have, horrible not to have when you need them, and excellent for bartering.
History teaches us that raiders and warlords will come. All of the stories related to crunches mention (four-legged) humans as most dangerous predators. And sadly, in the stories we found, that often includes people sent by “authorities” to aid survivors. It was a key lesson in the Katrina stories. People who are prepared and show signs of surviving without aid by authorities can, apparently, be considered a threat. “You must be grateful for our (con) descendence down the mountain to aid you poor sods … and what we find here does not fit what we expected! You must have taken it from others! ” or something like that.
We can’t prepare for everything, if only because such detailed plans would get in the way of adaptive response-ability to changes in the environment. However, to build further on lessons already learned by mankind on what works and what doesn’t in particular contexts, get some survival guides. Make sure they are based on actual experiences. Don’t buy air.
“Reflected-sound-of-underground-spirits?” (Economics explained)
I prefer reflected sound of underground little people … ~ Terry Pratchett in The Colour of Magic
Some months ago, a slug came to visit. I gave it some vegetable leafs. I could hear it eat. Enormous appetite. I was absolutely taken by it. Entranced. Then, in the middle of a leaf, it erected itself, and its sensors waved at me. At me! I said, “Wow, you lookin’ at me Vogon?” I felt honored. It stood there, I sat there, and time stopped. We had an “imaginary conversation” probably for not more than a minute or two. Then it continued eating.
The snail came back for 5 more evenings in a row and I studied its behaviour. Tried out several vegetables, to explore what it liked most. I even offered my finger with some vegetable juice on it. That tickles. And I looked up things about snails in books and on the internet in the daytime. Agricultural industry considers these little people a pest. And due to its slowness, the snail has traditionally been seen as a symbol of laziness.
If there aren’t any snails in the area, it is likely not a good environment. Slugs and snails are some of the first gastropods in the food chain to suffer from the effects of pollution. And timing of actually moving to a new location is important. If we still need to spend time on working in the war-work-machine, instead of in our lil garden or fishing by the river or chopping wood or building on or pimping our shelter, don’t move in yet.
When you have gotten this far, found a location, built a basic shelter, and created caches, then be lazy about any pimping, do the work in weekends and vacations rather than too hasty or out of fear you won’t make it “in time”. You will know when the time is right. Necessity is the mother of invention anyway.
And that’s it. Living off the grid in post-fossil-fuel communities and/or pimped pit houses we *are* part of the solution. We are resilient and create beautiful park-like gardens, educational value, small wildlife habitats, less noise, air purification by more green, climate moderation effects, and we conserve building materials and energy.
And that gives us, those that are part of a solution, new problems to solve.
Barring a miraculous enlightenment on the part of the majority of people and a breaking of the corporate/government power grip on our individual lives, nobody will be safe from the machine, no matter where we move. Independent self-reliant people are considered a threat by the war-work-machine, and that too is a sound reason for wearing a controlled folly mask for as long as is needed, before moving in. If and when the bull goes the way of the bull, we are no longer seen as threat by the machine, but as juicy snacks by warlords looking to survive themselves at the expense of those that are prepared.
And we still have the internet for cross training and gaining what works and what doesn’t. And WikiLeaks. And The Deep Green Movement, Anonymous, Arab Spring, Indignados, Occupy, …
Most people in the war-work-machine are in code white thinking “government” or someone else will take care of their bodies as long as they obey “government” or that “someone else”. Code orange alerts are not supposed to be routine and usually reserved for the direst emergencies, like a building collapse or a plane crash .
Thanks to WikiLeaks, The Deep Green Movement, Anonymous, Arab Spring, Indignados, and Occupy, an increasing number of people have become suspicious and cautious, realising something is amiss. On occasion, because it isn’t pinpointed or identified yet, this results in paranoia.
Some are taking further steps to hold code orange in the “real” world.
Besides having fun conversations with little beings on imperialistic capitalism, I ascertain other data as well. I keep discerning reality in order to determine what is there and what is not. I keep track of new laws made by “governments”, the progress of every “thing” being put on the altar of profit and power, and of alerts regarding Earth’s changes. I have prepared myself to be physical and use force to regulate violence, if necessary.
Self reliance is a boon and a skill, a need and a necessity, a challenge and a benefit. Healthy self-reliance and self-protection is simply another key to a gratifying and productive life. A life free of some of the constraints that could pin us down in the war-work-machine, a life free to explore and discover all that is available to us (if and when we choose to go for it).
We have to live with the consequences of our choices and actions, as has been and always is the case. At least I can feel good that I have met life’s challenges head on. I will have fought a good fight when the need arose, dug in when I needed to, and kept on going when times got a little rough. I will have loved life in word and deed.
“One regret dear world, that I am determined not to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough.” ~ Hafiz of Persia
[15b] Underground housing
 Compost toilets