Nearly a month has passed since learning about the short time horizon for probable human extinction. This is twice as long ago as it feels to me: the associated emotions seem to have condensed my perception of the passage of time. Each day, in addition to managing fear and grief, I have done a few things directly related to one or more of the four survival essentials:
The big downer has been coming to terms with moving beyond storing a cache of emergency rations to establishing a permanent, renewable system that could sustain me (and others) for the rest of my/our lifetimes and provide a foundation for future generations. There does appear to be a chance that some humans will survive and adapt to a post-apocalyptic planet. At any rate, it makes no sense to me not to strive to be among them.
Food and Water First
I attended a talk on permaculture and began to absorb the necessity of reinventing self-sufficiency: literally building the means for my own survival. Have had to ride out some intense waves of regret, and a round or two of the If Onlies: for instance, how far along I would be ‘if only’ one of several previous relationships had worked out. There has also been confronting the fantasy of ‘being able to do it right’ – as in, owning property and having the financial resources to bring in the right people with the right knowledge to craft the required systems and teach me how to use them.
Instead of the dream, my subsistence survival will have to be a piecemeal affair, hobbled together through a mixture of friends’ and neighbors’ resources as well as my own resourcefulness; largely contingent upon ethics of generosity, sharing and reciprocity; and my own will to learn and apply the principles rigorously.
I am not exactly starting from scratch (even though it feels like it).
Community Next and Concurrently
The real temptation is to procrastinate, let awareness slip out of consciousness, turn my attention to continuing to do the things I’ve always done, just as my friends around me continue on, with or without the dire realization, to do what they, too, have always done. In the bookstore where Peter Bane was giving his talk on permaculture, I saw a new book by Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior. It brought to mind fond memories of listening to The Prodigal Summer as I drove across country after a break-up some years ago. Kingsolver’s writing touches me deeply, I have requested her new novel from the local library. I observe myself and wonder, how many of my own flights of denial, avoidance and/or acting out has she covered?
Meanwhile, in addition to Bane’s permaculture book, I have begun reading Walking Away from Empire and just received a copy of the Deep Green Resistance Manual. I also think I want to read The Day Philosophy Died by Casey Maddox.
Resources on seeds and gardening:
- The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
- Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
- The so-called “Seed Savers Bible“
Permaculture in general:
- THE Designers Manual, Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designers Manual
- Gaia’s Garden
- Brad Lancaster’s books on water harvesting (youtube videos) plus two volumes on Rainwater Harvesting in Drylands and Beyond
- Mollison’s Global Gardener videos