Tag: self-sufficiency



Before & after photos of the damage done by the fire now raging in Northern California

There is a parable about a frog put into a pot filled with lukewarm water on the stove. The frog is supposed to stay in the pot even as the water in the pot heats up to boiling,  because it cannot figure out that it is in a potentially life threatening situation because it is occurring so gradually.  (This is, by the way, not scientifically true!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog   but it makes a very good parable for our times.)

Sometimes I feel as if my country is that frog! From today’s The Washington Post:

“The fires, which first whipped up Sunday night, added to what has already been a severe fire season in the West. More than 8 million acres have burned in at least four states, raising questions from across the political spectrum about the connection to climate change and forest management practices.”

“Raising questions”?!! Billions of dollars in destruction this past year through fires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts; and one can have questions about whether this is being brought to us by global warming?! And yet, the media continues to label every hurricane, every fire, every flood: “unprecedented!” (sic!) as if each disaster is some unconnected climate anomaly.

Meanwhile, the US Federal government is rolling back and eliminating the far from strong environmental laws we had in place to slow down CO2 emissions:


I suppose their idea is that when extreme climate change happens, these so-called leaders of government and industry will be long gone and will not have to live through the consequences of their stupidity and cupidity. The irony is that there is something called a feedback loop which leads to the tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to stop the runaway warming. These feedback loops are speeding up the whole process, far quicker than had been predicted, so even my generation (the Baby Boomers) will have to live through the results of our carelessness.


And it is very difficult to determine how fast these feedback loops will change the climate; but it seems to me that it would be prudent to assume a worst case scenario and plan accordingly.

Worst case for me means that the Federal Government will continue to be unusable, both as a deterrent to global warming, and as a dependable and functional help in disasters.  So personal responsibility for oneself and one’s community is going to become more and more important. And this means that one will need to be connected to one’s local natural world, and to take a serious interest in how one’s local government is planning for emergencies. It means taking a proactive rather than reactive stance; and using our imaginations to be prepared for possible problems caused by the extreme climate.

It also means that certain things that we have counted on (or simply assumed) to always be there like gasoline and electricity and food and water, will start to become scarce or erratic or non-existent depending on the severity of the disaster or climate stressor. So, again, we will need to take care of these things ourselves. One way is by switching over to a solar panelled backup system (Anyone know why backup generators are run only on gasoline, when gasoline is one of the first things to disappear in a disaster?!) if only to keep the cell phone charged!

(I found this online, but I am not recommending it until I have done further research. It is simply one example of what we could use.)


I also found this water purification system:


but again it is something that I need to look into further.

Another is to grow our own food. This is a very good way to connect to each of our localities and to the surrounding natural world. It has been used often when times got hard, and times are definitely getting tougher!


I will return to all these subjects in future blog posts. But in the meantime, realize that, unlike the frog, we can jump to a safer place and saner lifestyle, before the waters and the land begins to boil!






Better Choices

Better Choices

“…the understanding of connections seems to me an indispensable part of humanity’s self-defense.”

Wendell Berry
 Home Economy

A couple of truly unsettling weather events (a small one here in NDG, Montreal and a truly horrific one in Houston, Texas) and the resultant talks with friends and family have convinced me that what is needed now is not just the well-meant but too general list of how to mitigate climate change on a personal level (https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-you-can-stop-global-warming), but a more specific itemizing of how our lives are going to be and already are being radically altered by global climate change; and what we can do in our daily life to respond bravely and calmly to this new world.

I have known about global warming since the 1970’s, but I feel as if I was sleepwalking, assuming that it would be a problem for my grandchildren (long before I could even imagine having children, much less grandchildren!). Then, recently, I happened to read a series of books and articles by Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, and Elizabeth Kolbert, and I began to pay much closer attention to the subject on the news and in my own surroundings. I have become convinced that the tremendous upheaval in our environment is going to be a sooner rather than a later crisis. From what I have read, global climate change is being accelerated by feed-back loops (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/jan/05/climate-change-feedback-loops); and we are not emotionally nor realistically prepared for the suddenness of this climate shift!

Now I am neither a scientist nor an activist. But I do trust in people’s ability to help themselves if they are given accurate and honest information. Unfortunately, as of this writing (September 2017), North American governments, except for a few states and municipalities, seem unable or disinclined to put the necessary solutions in place. In a vain attempt to hold back the inevitable, they are actively disseminating misinformation that has, for their populations, created a miserable emotional climate of anxiety and distress.

However, I believe that the future challenges will be met and survived by people working together, in smaller local groups, sometimes with governmental help, but always with a clear idea of what choices need to be made, what things need to be done, as we saw with the volunteer civilian rescuers in Houston during Hurricane Harvey, who got their boats and went right out to save people!

These new choices will create a world that will appear quite different than the one I have known my whole life; it will be a smaller, slower, simpler, but much happier world. These better choices will put in place the changes in our day to day lives that will allow us to weather the coming storms and build a more human scaled economy to assure our survival!

So my very modest contribution to this project is this blog, which is a compendium of better choices as well as information about what to do in the face of extreme global climate change: floods, droughts, fires, refugees (internal & external), power outages, food supply disruptions, gasoline shortages, etc.; links and books which explain the ramifications of this major shift in our environment; and an imaginative section (the Cassandra report) that suggests long term changes in what we will have (and what we won’t) to eat or buy, and what our every day lives might look like.

I look forward to comments and suggestions. Please no political rants, from anywhere on the political spectrum. My own values come out of Buddhism: I believe in the profound interconnectedness of life on this planet, and the value of every sentient being. The information I will be posting is the best I have been able to find in books, articles, or online, but these are suggestions only, and should be used only if applicable to your local situation.