Mar 042006

I have been wondering greatly about one of the ‘fatal flaws’ I identified in the ecovillage concept. Under a crash scenario, there would be a great number of very hungry and desperate people. The ‘village becomes an easily identifiable target for hungry hordes, who could quickly and easily lay waste to a village. No village that I am aware of is making adequate defense plans for such a contigency.

However, what if such a ‘defense plan’ could be negated and simply not needed, even if a collapse did occur? Is that even possible?

Well, maybe. Apparently, I’m not the only one that has considered this.

This discovery scared the hell out of me. ???Ground zero??? of the preparations movement is actively refusing to address the most immediate problem we face. This approach is sowing the seeds of community violence, and creating a magnet for external violence.

“Sowing the seeds of violence” means having something to eat, while others do not. That is a sure fired recipe for disaster.

If a new economic model was built to facilitate the transition from forced downsizing to labor-intensive sustainability, it’s just possible, at least theoretically speaking, to avoid that rather horrifying ugliness that will come with collapse. In other words, put people to work.

Failure to do so will brew the “recipe for civil conflict”. I agree. How could it possibly be otherwise?

Without a functioning local market, a physical infrastructure of organic farms, neighborhoods of backyard organic gardens, and the means to create and use hand tools, become magnets for the ruthless. If a particular community has what someone needs, but gives him no way of obtaining it other than murder and theft, then that???s what he will do if he is desperate enough.

Ignoring economic issues as they relate to collapse preparations sows the seeds of community violence, both from within and from without. A community that sinks its energies into preparing for what comes after collapse, without considering the 15-20 or more years of economic hardship between now and the time when hand tools become necessary, is essentially committing suicide.

That pretty much nails it right on the head for me, with this being the primary reason I gave up on the ecovillage idea. You might as well just paint a big bullseye on yourself. The village won’t last that hasn’t made adequate preparations for collapse, which includes having a viable plan to deal with hungry hordes. What are you going to do with them? Feed them? For how long? And when the food runs out? Then what? Do you presume that they’ll just “go away” or will they turn against you, thinking you’re holding out on them?

Desperate people do desperate things. Failing to plan for the vagaries of irrational behavior will result in disaster.

Ironically, the general proposal for a new economic model has this to say also:

The general consensus among the Left seems to be that the collapse of industrial civilization is ultimately a good thing, because it means the collapse of capitalism.

That won’t happen. One market will simply (or violently) replace the other and the process of “advantage” will continue as always. Capitalism will continue and be called something else. Like slave labor. Or maybe “work to eat”. I don’t know.

At some point, trade will recommence, or continue in some form or another, as it must. That we can be certain of.

What is still very uncertain, is how a local economy is going to really do much good if the population is either agitated or mobile. No local economy can sustain an influx of large numbers of people very long, they will quickly overwhelm the capacity of the existing systems (and food supply of course). Keeping people stationary (and at peace) then becomes mandatory. I suspect that new laws will be passed to make sure this happens. Relocation will then become a governed event, with permission slips, RFID tags and maybe even chip implants. Who knows? But allowing people to simply migrate will destroy the local economies which will be struggling to survive.

It then follows that martial law will be imposed to enforce this, among other ‘things’, such as rounding up the undesirable types. Some people view this as unlikely, since during crash, precious resources won’t be ‘squandered’ on such things, but thats also assuming that common sense will prevail, something already in noticebly short supply.

So I think “herd control” will be pretty much a certainty in our future, probably implemented on multiple levels. The village will need to ensure something along these lines to keep from being overrun. The other entities, if they manage to continue to exist, will also benefit from keep people in check.

This then means if you haven’t yet relocated to your perceived “safe zone”, don’t presume you’ll always be allowed to. By the time you get there, if at all, you may already find it guarded by a beatnik with a hairdo and mean old dog. Or you’ll be drafted into a ‘civilian labor camp‘ by the goons while trying to get there.

Dec 152005

There is an ongoing thread on the bulletin board regarding future plans and strategies.

I am not currently seeking anything along the lines of an eco-village. I have always thought that my set-up would lend itself to a small multi-family living arrangement.

I like the idea of an ecovillage, but I can easily envision other social / living structures that are much different. I am certain that this is not the only way to approach present and future living (as an alternative to the insanity we have today). Continue reading »

Nov 272005

This is going to be a difficult subject to bring up – especially by me, since I was advocating the ecovillage idea. But I’d like to discuss it and see if we can’t all learn something.

I’m also posting this here in this particular forum so it receives the broadest possible audience (and hopefully, participation). Not everybody visits the ecovillage forum.

Regarding ecovillages, or intentional communities and their place and purpose –

The reason and purpose these are most often done or are being advocated are two-fold.

a) To provide a better, alternative lifestyle.

b) To enable the members to sustain themselves in the event of collapse.

I think all reasons and justifications for an ecovillage or intentional community could fit under one or both of these reasons. Continue reading »

Sep 292005

Far off in the usual cacophony of background noise, there is the dark rumbling sound of Empire. Amidst the hustle and bustle and the sound of money, the strident noise of capitalism at work, there is an ominous guttural rumbling, a deep, dark groaning sound of a tortured planet and it’s human and non-human habitation. And it’s getting louder every day. Continue reading »

Aug 292005

While contemplating the fate of the world this morning, I spend a moment reading an article in the Mother Earth News magazine.

With the price of oil above $50 a barrel, political instability in the Middle East on the rise, and little slack in the world oil economy, we need a new energy strategy. Fortunately, a new stategy is emerging using two new technologies.Gas-electric hybrid engines and advanced-design wind turbines offer a way to wean ourselves from imported oil. If over the next decade we convert the U.S. automobile fleet to gas-electric hybrids with the efficiency of today’s Toyota Prius, we could cut our gasoline use in half. No change in the number of vehicles, no change in miles driven — just doing it more efficiently.

Although the article was slightly dated, what really got my goat was the author’s barely concealed glee that we can keep charging ahead on this same course. Why in hell would we want to do that?

The solution isn’t to maintain the present status-quo, by simply replacing oil or using something else. The problem is the status-quo. It’s our way of life, how we live, what we “expect” and the demands we make upon our environment and each other — that’s the problem with the status-quo, and it needs to be replaced.

I see no point at all in continuing our present way of life, which such minor course corrections as gas-electric hybrids, only so we can perpetuate this existence we call “civilization”. I’m feeling rather pessimistic these days, so bear with me.

Yesterday, I went for a long walk off into the woods, and sat down to contemplate the future. My summation remains the same as it was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. It’s simply not getting any better, anywhere. If fact, it’s a hell of a lot worse, year by year. I won’t bother pointing out the specifics why this is true (this time), any half-decent observation of the world will validate my point.

The only bright spot yesterday was when a buck whitetail deer wandered right past me, not even noticing my intrusion into his environment. But as I looked around at the devastation surrounding me (the loggers had left one hell of a mess), I wondered about the fate of mankind – and the deer. What I was seeing before me was the story-line of our common dilemma – a wasted world, with the present day survivors, non-human and human, picking our way through the debris, seeking sustenance, shelter and day-to-day existence.

The loggers hadn’t left much forage for the deer, as you can imagine. The forest floor was badly torn up and slash was everywhere. The buck was picking his way through this mess, looking for edible things to eat. It was an old logging site, having been like this for the seven years I’ve been here. But not much new growth was coming up through the slash. You could still see the evidence of the heavy equipment where it had torn up the ground into mounds of dirt and brush, the heavy tracks in the ground still not completely washed away.

What I don’t understand is how people can be persuaded “it’ll get better”, when it clearly isn’t getting better anywhere you look The example of the deer is parallel to the rest of our planet and our species. The world as a place to live is getting progressively worse year by year. Slash piles of human disturbances are everywhere, all performed in the name of progress and “advancement”. Yet there are a great many people who still deny this. How goddamned dumb can you be?

Human civilization and all that it means, is the root of the problem(s), and no minor adjustments are going to possibly fix it. While gas-hybrids will be questionably helpful, perpetuating this status-quo of civilization is a damned mistake in my opinion. Whatever for? So we can strip-mine the planets later? We’ve yet to learn to live with each other, what makes us think we can do it anyplace else?

I am not anti-technology as it may appear, but I am very much against perpetuating this present-day “civilization” – there is nothing the least bit civilized about it. It is based on greed, corruption, excess, injustice, indifference and slavery. Is this really the best we can do?

What I don’t understand is why we continue on this preset course, when we know it is planetary and cultural suicide. What makes us do it? Are we so dumbed-down that we cannot see where it is going? Or is it that we simply do not care?

Whatever it is, I’m not joining in. I feel just like that buck deer, picking my way through the debris and refuse of human civilization, watching year by year (and now day by day), the encroaching power of civilization destroying everything in its path. And I don’t like it. Not one bit. Because I can see where it is all going and where we are all going to wind up. Unfortunately, there is no ‘opt-out” button anywhere I can find (believe me, I’ve looked). I wish there was. I’m not much interested in joining the (major) part of the human race hell-bent on self-destruction, so don’t expect me to politely support your resource wars or your stupid slavery laws or your idiotic proposals. I’ll be too busy picking my way through the debris you created.

Aug 052005

I’m interested in starting a intentional community, “ecovillage” oriented around sustainability, self-sufficiency, community, culture, ceremony, integration in the local community, promoting healthy lifestyles, equity, fairness, organic gardening, greenhouses, root cellars, composting, recycling, grey water, solar, hydro and wind power systems, wood gasification, earth-friendly construction materials & methods, low-energy consumption building techniques, farmers market, community store, recycle center, focus on community supported businesses, entrepreneurs and self-employment, possible community co-op, local-economy, voluntary adherence to community standards , voluntary life-living, “intentional”, conscientious participation and stewardship, a quieter, low-impact lifestyle, human powered transportation, bicycling, walking, paths, reduced car use, (not car-free, just far less cars and fuel consumption).

I’m quite willing to start from the “ground up” on all of the above, i.e., “raw land” and build everything. Suitable acreage would need to be obtained for such a project. Community structure, composition, decision making, ownership, funding, etc., would need to be determined.

(Update – I’ve since abandoned my desire to start or join an ecovillage, after discovering inherent problems with it’s sustainability and approach.  Those that are interested in doing this can search the Net for existing ecovillages or even advertise for those who might be interested).

Aug 042005

I’ve been reading about eco-villages and sustainable communities. This seems like an extremely good idea, at least to me, especially considering the exorbitant cost of living.

An answer is needed, desperately so, for the peak oil situation, where nothing will be affordable and great many things simply unattainable. Getting ready now, to take care of yourself makes solid sense. Doing it alone is possible with an extreme amount of hard work, but it would be easier if you had some help, the “village” concept is a possible answer.

From a sustainable point of view, the eco-village is one of the best approaches for ecologically sound living. There are other alternatives, but none too desirable (such as hunter / gatherer) for some of us. A much smaller “human footprint” can be made using sustainable living techniques.

So, if you are also thinking about this concept, share your thoughts here.

I’m interested in either starting or joining a eco-village community. I’m not much interested in trying to survive the future alone, I doubt if I could for very long (and I don’t want to). I’m also interested in sustainable living practices, peak oil or not. I’m absolutely convinced that there has to be a “better way to live” then the techno-consumer lifestyles we have today.

(Update – I’ve since learned in the past year, that the ecovillage is not entirely sustainable and may have some built-in flaws with its approach.  The hunter / gatherer lifestyle, once practiced by nomadic indigenous tribes, is the only sustainable lifestyle for mankind.  Nothing else even comes close. So if it turns out you’re truly interested in truly living sustainably, this ‘discovery’ that took me a year to find out will save you a lot of time.)