Category Archives: __2. Social Issues

Prepare with Cash and Equivalents

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/Prepare with cash and equivalents)

Prepare with Cash and Equivalents

 Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. Once  peak oil hits, growth will be gone. Economic growth may even be replaced with economic decline. It is not clear our financial system can handle this.


When it becomes serious, you have to lie”, Jean-Claude Juncker, Chairman of the Euro zone finance ministers and the currency union’s key spokesmen, May 2011.

Projection from early 2005
Today’s fiat money system is in joint peril with other paper assets during the upcoming worldwide depression. Unlike the last depression, our Federal Reserve paper money is backed by nothing but
air, hot government air, redeemable in like units. And nearly as cheap as air to give to the body economic, Rubin and Greenspan (Plunge Protection Team) will work like crazy to inflate the bursting economic bubble with huge quantities of this air.
•  I would expect the discount rate to drop to near 0% enticing us to borrow more, refinance again and to help them float the market and the world on the sinking U.S.S. Titanic. [Local bank interest rates 0.1% in 2009-2010, 0.05% during 2011.]
•  But eventually this ploy will become unworkable as we find ourselves mortgaged to the hilt and questioning our ability to repay. (July  2011]
•  Mass bankruptcy will follow and the good faith and credit of the U.S.A. will look to be in real trouble to the rest of the world. [First international bankruptcy 2010-2011]
•  There will be a flight to quality, dollars around the world will be sold at any price as they go through a confidence crisis. This is the reason that the next depression will eventually end up being inflationary
and not deflationary. [Gold started its long-term rapid rise in the summer of 2008. Silver ‘took off’ in April 2010]
•  Money then is a commodity (pretty printed paper, cheap metal slugs, barter items, and/or precious metal coins) that you can use in trade for other commodities you would like. You choose each day what you will trade your labor or stuff for, to use as money.  You are wealthy only if you own and control the means to sustain life for yourself and possess items that can be traded with others.
•  Paper assets are about to be destroyed in the upcoming years during a stock market crash. These overvalued pieces of colorful paper, with the engraved images of our national forefathers, will not feed or take care of you because nobody will be willing to trade anything worthwhile for them. These include Stocks, Bonds and any other debt based paper asset like Federal Reserve Notes and your bank account valued in Federal Reserve Notes.
Additionally copper-clad coins will eventually be viewed for what they are –  Slugs – imitations of the real thing. What then will be used as money?

Four Characteristics of Money
1)  It must be divisible.
2)  It must have high value in relation to its volume and  weight.
3)  There must be widespread recognizability.
4)  It must have transportability.
Gold and silver coins satisfy all these requirements.

A.  How much and what kind of money should I own?
To prepare for the  coming depression please consider the following:

1)  Newer Coins
You will want to have on hand a significant amount of pennies, nickels and copper-clad dimes and quarters.  This is for when limits on bank withdraws begin and cash is scarce. You do not want to use your gold and silver coins then, they are to be used when things start leveling out and the economy restarts. Most people will not initially know the value of gold and silver. Therefore, use the copper-clads until the populace gets educated. If you are on a budget, start by collecting a few hundred dollars face value. A wealthy individual could have thousands of dollars face value of copper-clad coins
tucked away.

2)  Paper Money
You will want to start by having enough paper cash money on hand to cover at least one month’s
personal expenses: mortgage payments, car and truck, taxes, utilities, household supplies, etc. If you are well enough off I would recommend that you have much more. According to the experts you must have cash on hand, not in the bank, to satisfy your obligations or you may be forced to forfeit your assets. Also, as the stock market crashes and banks suspend withdraws, you will be able for a  short time to buy pennies on the dollar. Additionally, banking services will be non-existent and checks, credit cards, etc. will be useless. An assortment of $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills is recommended (it may be difficult to get change for larger bills). The amount you feel comfortable storing is up to you. Keep the cash where you can easily get your hands on it.
You may not have access to your safe deposit box because of an extended bank holiday.

3)  The Transition Period Between Fiat Money To Real Money
Eventually, the liquidity crises, during and after the bank limits will pass, and paper dollars will be devalued (they become worthless), the federal government will begin taking over the failed banks, they will make good on the FDIC and FSLIC government bank guaranty and other government commitments by printing new larger denomination paper money.
$500, $1,000, $5,000 and then $10,000 bills will be reissued by the federal reserve in huge quantities, and/or they will circulate a new type of currency. Copper-clad coins, and small bills will become worthless, unless you have wheel-barrels full of them. Run-away Inflation. This will be a hyper-inflationary period for people holding paper assets, paper money and copper-clad coins. When you get wind of the coming currency devaluation dump your paper and copper-clad money for anything of real value. This is the time to already have your silver, gold and any other items you will want and to barter with.
Look for a new National Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) on all purchases and services. Government-controlled rationing will be setup and the Black Market will be in operation.

4)  Silver Coin
Now the importance of having gold and silver coin is evident after seeing the stock market crash scenario and the destruction of paper assets. The only money that is real is that which has intrinsic value. Currency like gold and silver money will be the only real store of money value. The wealthy individuals to emerge from the coming stock market crash and depression that follows, will be the ones who have preserved their wealth during the destruction of paper assets. Face it, after having a roof over your head, food to eat and clothes to wear, you will be wealthy only if you have things of real value to others and if you can turn that into opportunity for yourself. Barter any commodity that you can but the two commodities historically that always become real money and a reserve of value are gold and silver.

You will want now to buy as much silver as you can, before the VAT becomes law, and while the rest of the world is chasing after paper assets. Today, silver is a good value compared to how it will appreciate. Although you will want to acquire gold, silver is better suited for small exchanges and will be used more for the day-to-day purchases. Get plenty of junk silver, pre-1964 dimes, quarters and half dollars by the bag ($1000. face value), 1/2 bag or smaller amounts. You are basically getting old U.S. silver coins that have been picked through to remove the rare pieces. The price is currently about 5 times the face value. Old silver dollars are much more expensive costing about 30.88per dollar (based on 39.90 spot price of silver, 29 July 2011). Your best value for silver dollars is to get newly-minted US American Eagle silver dollars, the US mint has been minting the new silver coin since 1986 and they are about $44.60 each (29 July 2011) and contain 1 troy ounce of 99.9% silver, this is about a 0.3 ounce more silver than carried by the old silver dollars (0 .714 troy oz.).
All these coins contain a specific amount of silver and are recognized by the whole world as to their size and weight. U.S. coins are better than other coins or bullion because of their recognizability, so don’t hold anything, but U.S. gold and silver coins.

5)  Gold Coin
The best value in U.S. gold coins are the ones minted by the U.S. Government. US American Gold Eagle coins are currently minted, ranging from about $180, May 2011, for the 1/10 oz. coins to about $1,627, July 2011, for the 1 oz. coins. There are also 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz. coins, but I prefer either the 1/10 oz. or the 1 oz. coins.
•  1/10 oz. gold coins should be used to barter on small items; items that are larger than what you can buy with your 1 ounce silver coins.  The 1/10 oz. coin is ‘valued/stamped’ at $5.00 and would be an easy way to buy something worth a fraction of  the 1 oz. of gold.
•  The 1/4 oz. gold coins are improperly valued at $428, May 2011 because of their weight;  the 1/2 coin is not a good value because of its increased commission.
•  The 1 oz. coin is the best way to store large quantities of gold and is the most cost-effective method.
Each coin contains 1 oz of 91.6 pure gold in troy ounces plus a small amount of hardening metal to strengthen the coin, each coin weighs slightly more than its stated value.

After socking away new copper-clad coins, paper money and silver coin, you will want to buy as much gold coin as possible. You will preserve your wealth through the coming paper asset destruction and will emerge as a rich individual.

My advice
(Note: Do your own research and come to decisions that fit your personal circumstance. I’m not a qualified financial advisor. Mr. Larry)
If you are financially capable of storing (your long-term ‘savings account’) gold  and silver, you should have different types of gold and silver holdings. I would suggest starting your bullion holdings with cash and junk silver, then progressing to American Eagle silver and gold bullion coins.
Besides being  the historical standard for money, silver and gold are also barter commodities.
You will want to have the right denominations/weights of silver and gold coin to transact business. Which silver or gold coin you will use, depends on the cost, situation and who you are working with. People familiar  with the old ‘junk silver’ coins would rather trade with them than with bullion coins. Some people will see your US gold or silver Eagles and feel secure that they can count on that coin to be what it  says it is and will be more willing to make a trade with you.

During shortages and government controlled rationing, a store keeper may have a limited supply of a desperately needed item like medicine that he can only sell at the government set price. Who will get
this item? The person next to you with a 50 dollar bill of questionable value, or  you with 50 dollars in silver or gold coin – the store keeper or trader will recognize that your coin has a much higher intrinsic value. Of course you will get the medicine; however, if you only had an unrecognized bullion coin or a ‘junk silver’ coin from another country you may not.

Buy as much junk silver and American eagles as you have the means for. The bullion coins will preserve your wealth through to the other side of the collapse of paper assets and you will have the means to get going financially.
Old junk silver coins are meant for dealing with local stores for small transactions during and after the upcoming paper asset collapse. Deciding what and how much to store all depends on your situation, will you have the desired money medium for the opportunity/life style you are pursuing?

You only want enough cash on hand to sustain yourself in the event of bank withdraw limitations, and until worldwide dollar confidence crashes and the world dumps dollars on the market in a race
to get any value they can from it. Other than a pile of small bills to see you through a crisis, cash is a bad thing to hold because of possible hyper-inflation and the fact that it is backed by practically nothing.
Obviously the bulk of your investment money placed in a good fund tied to the performance of the stock market is the best place to be right now; long if you see the market rising and a ‘short’ ETF (DXD and others) if you see a decline coming.

.

B.  Forces which cause gold and silver to rise in value.
•  Bank Failures
•  Rising inflation or the expectation of rising inflation
•  Devaluation of the dollar
•  Other currency-related crises
•  Increased Industrial and Investment demand for gold
•  Price increase in other commodities
•  Stock and bond market collapse
•  A New World War
•  International tensions

Gold serves as an increased hedge, though volatile in the short-term, against the erosion of the purchasing power of paper money. This is why you want to hold your portable gold coins for 3 – 7
years on the average. However, if a deal or situation presents itself that is extremely advantageous such as gold appreciating in value to quadruple or more what you paid for it–consider selling– you can always buy property with the proceeds.

Just before the peak of another depression, gold, is estimated to possibly rise to $3000 – $6000 an ounce. And if the President bans gold altogether; then places the U.S. back on the Gold Standard—as it is felt in many of the bearish financial newsletters, gold could a lot higher!
Spot silver prices are closely  connected to the same factors as those driving gold; however, because of  the low supply of available silver, it may become nearly as valuable as Gold.

You have five things working to drive the price of gold up:
1.  Increasing Gold Lease Contracts
2.  Increasing Consumer Demand- in China and India, as well as Europe.
3.  Gold Investors Needing Gold- international banks
4.  IMF: “By the IMF’s [International Monetary Fund] own documentation, the international banking community is trying to create a new global currency that will be backed by gold valued at between $3,000 to $5,000 per ounce.” –The Economic Outlook; Vol. 7. #1. January 1998.
5. Deflation: “To avoid outright economic collapse-Asian governments are devaluing currencies. Currency devaluation is a hidden form of hyper-inflation–the last desperate act before outright economic collapse. How do you protect yourself from currency devaluation? Gold &  silver.”
–The Economic Outlook; Vol. 7. #1. January 1998.

The following table provides my personal thoughts on the way to split up assets in order to cover most contingencies. I recommend you set aside the cash mentioned in the top half of the table first, and when this is done, do what you can to develop the funds to buy some combination of the bullion listed below.

Denomination(to
hold)
Number to have on hand(minimum) Item cost
(each)
Investment
in each denomination
$50 bills none
$20 bills 200 $20 $4,000
$10 bills 50 $10 $500
$5 bills 50 $5 $250
$1 bills 300 $1 $300
$1 coin $1 none
Quarter (25¢)
coin
10 rolls $10 $100
Dime (10¢) coin 10 rolls $5 $50
Nickel (5¢) coin 10 rolls $2 $20
Penny (1¢) coin 10 rolls $.50 $5
Currency   & coin• $5,150
Pre 1965 ‘junk -90% silver coins $200 face
value
$2844 $2844
Silver Eagle 1 oz 500 ea $19.87 $9,935
Bullion bar, 100 oz none
Gold Eagle 1/10 oz 20 ea $138 $2,760
Gold Eagle 1 oz 8 ea $1295 $10,360
Bullion $25,899
Currency, Coin and Bullion ‘On Hand’ $31,049

Table above updated on 16 Oct 2014

When faced with hyperinflation or other major calamities, you should have a pre determined  list of items to purchase ‘at the last-minute’ and/or items to invest your  cash in, things that will survive the
currency collapse or become more valuable in the post disaster period. When the window of opportunity is seen about to close, you must immediately transfer the bulk of your extra cash into some combination of ‘commodities’, such as; food, land, housing, other real estate, and barter items.

The totals shown in the table above are approximately the current annual gross wage of a mid level
US worker. With slightly reduced circumstances, this sum will provide 1) Four to five years of  supplemental income, or 2) in a severe depression it would provide about two years worth of 50% pre-crisis  income, or 3)  in a catastrophe, provide one full years income.

Coupled with your food  and water storage plan, as discussed in, 1) Survival Guide/ Food&Water /Develop a Survival Food List, and in 2) Survival Guide/Warehouse/Food, you should have the capacity to weather a serious dislocation.
With the adoption of other support systems, discussed and enumerated in Warehouse/… your resilience and survivability  should see you through most of the abrupt physical catastrophes that may impact a region or a national or global economic collapse.

While watching the short term, keep in mind that there are very long term cycles of human conduct and behavior toward one another, in our exploitive relationship with  the natural environment, our  modern civilizations energy use and resultant population numbers, as well as environmental ‘black swans’. The interplay of flux and flow between these relationships, trends and surprise events show themselves in the changing levels of human prosperity.

During the late 20th Century the world was very prosperous, we all poured our wealth into entertaining material goods, desiring ‘thing’s more than the traditional stores of value, gold and silver, hence the price of silver was the cheapest it has been in almost 700 years (Google ‘650  Years of Silver Prices’ or see http://goldinfo.net/silver600.html)

On 19 April 2011, the spot price of silver reached $43.07 and began an overdue correction. As technology developed the steam engine and later, our petroleum-based civilization with electricity, mining technology brought about an easier extraction of minerals. Now, as we moving through the brief peak oil plateau period, our open-pit mines have grown huge and underground mines extend for miles.
There are no more easy surface ‘finds’ of most of our civilizations industrial mining needs. When our oil supply declines there will be a diminished amount of minerals extracted from mines and at higher real prices (above what ever inflation will be). There will be less because the huge quantity of almost free labor provided by oil driven machinery will be declining, but also because we will have already extracted the bulk of the available resources.
The coming extended rise in silver prices will reflect not only scarcity, but difficulty and cost of extraction. The same shadow will fall across
all mined minerals, lumber, paper products, aluminum, rare earths and uranium. Costs will rise rapidly during the coming few years irrespective of whether there is inflation or deflation. The things we have grown accustomed to around the turn of the 21st Century will become increasingly difficult to obtain at ‘reasonable’ prices, the cost of ‘things’ will go up in real terms.
The decade from 2011 to 2021 will be wild.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

BOB (Bug Out Bag), generic

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Bug Out Bag, generic)

What is a ‘Bug Out Bag’?
The term “survival kit  refers a relatively large, portable survival kit also known as a “Bug-Out Bag” (BOB), Personal Emergency Relocation Kits (PERKs) or Get Out Of Dodge” (GOOD) kit; the kit is comprised of emergency items which are pre-packed into backpacks or duffel bags. The kits are designed specifically to be carried by individuals in case alternate forms of transportation are unavailable or impossible to use in the face of or immediately following a disaster.

The bags contain small quantities of supplies such as food, water purification equipment, clothing, medical equipment, communications gear, and tools. You should supply your BOB with the thought  that you’re going wilderness camping for 3-5 days.

The Bug-out Bag is considered by many to be the first level of preparedness that anyone should put together, simply by virtue of its overall usefulness. As noted elsewhere, the man-portable kit can be also be used when you don’t have to leave. It can be thrown into a vehicle when the situation allows you to drive away from the area. It also provides you with a kit that can be carried out of an affected area if damage to the transportation infrastructure is extreme, such as  after a severe earthquake, a technology busting EMP pulse, or widespread wind or flood damage.

[Photos above: (L) A back pack with an internal frame; one each, appropriately sized for each member of the family.
(R) High Sierra Wheeled Duffle, 30 inch, 6100 cubic inch capacity.  Loaded dimensions: 31 in. wide x 22 in. deep x 14 in. high. Has backpack straps, roller wheels with telescoping, handle, bag carry handle. One of these duffle’s carries supplies for 1+ person, 2 duffel’s  for 3-4  people.]

BOB-How to make a ‘town and country’ (Family style) portable emergency survival pack
eHow, By Alan Kirk
From <http://www.ehow.com/how_2311996_make-survival-pack.html>
With hurricane season upon us annually, the off season is a good time to put together a survival pack. In fact, survival packs are not just for hurricane season, but for any time of the year. A survival pack comes in handy in case of a natural disaster or power outage, or even an ice or snow storm. Survival packs received the most attention after Sept. 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina, but most government agencies recommend that every family have one prepared at all times.
See Ready Gov/FEMA: <http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit>

Things You’ll Need:

  • Suitcase/duffle bag/back pack with several days’ change of clothes
  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water
  • Batteries
  • Cell-phone charger
  • Copies of important documents
  • Cash (1/3-1/2 weeks net income)
  • Food–72 hour  (3 day) supply.

A.  Preparing a Survival Pack
Step 1- Suitcase/duffle bag/ back pack prepacked with emergency clothing: Pack suitcases for your family. When you pack clothes for a survival pack, you should fill one large suitcase with enough clothes for all of your family members. In general, you should include at least two days’ worth of clothes for each family member. If you have a young child in your family, don’t forget to pack diapers and wipes as well. Keep in mind that, in case of an emergency, you might not have time to look for these items before you have to leave your house. Pack clothing appropriate for being outdoors in the weather.

Step 2- Small suitcase prepacked with ‘survival’ food: Prepare a small suitcase full of food. Obviously, the food must be non-perishable, considering that it will be sitting in your survival pack for a long period of time. Do not pack items that must be microwaved or cooked on a stove, since you will not know when you will next be in an area with electricity. Some of the best items include snack bars, peanut butter, cereal, beef jerky, canned fruit and dried fruits.

Step 3-Important documents: Put copies of your important documents in an envelope and pack it in one of your suitcases. This envelope should contain a copy of everyone’s birth certificate and Social Security card. It should also include recent tax filings, automobile registration and/or loan documents and home-ownership information. If you think an original document will be required instead of a copy, pack that. Just make sure you have extra copies of the document somewhere for backup purposes. In this envelope, include several hundred dollars in cash. If there is a loss of power, ATMs will not operate.

Step 4- Flashlight, batteries & charger: Keep in mind that, in case of a natural disaster, you will not know how far you will have to travel, or how long it will take to get somewhere that has electricity. Make sure you have a flashlight in your survival kit. You can purchase a battery-powered emergency charger for your cell phone at cell-phone stores, grocery stores and convenience stores. Make sure you have an extra charging cable for your cell phone your kit as well. If you plan on taking a laptop computer with you, pack an extra battery, along with a charging cable.

Step 5- Phone numbers: Create a list of the phone numbers you feel you must have if you are forced to leave your home. It is a smart idea to print out these numbers on a business-card-sized piece of paper and have it laminated. You should have one of these made for each member of your household who will be with you. This way, everyone will have the phone numbers they need. This card should include your cell-phone number and your spouse’s number, labeled as “mom” and “dad” on your child’s laminated card. This will come in handy in case you get separated and someone finds your child.

Step 6- Be prepped for fast evacuation: Keep all of these items in a location in your house that will be easily accessible in the event of an emergency. This location should not be in the basement if flooding is common in your area. Neither should you store survival materials in the upper levels of the home, or in hard-to-locate areas. Your kit should be stored so that you can find it in five minutes, in case you have to evacuate immediately.
.

B.  Component ideas for your BOB
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug-out_bag
A bug-out bag is a portable kit popular in the  survivalism subculture that contains the items one would require to survive for 5 days when evacuating from a disaster.
The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, this distinguishes the bug-out bag from a 1)  survival kit, 2) a boating or aviation emergency kit, or 3) a fixed-site disaster supplies kit.

Rationale
The primary purpose of a bug-out bag is to allow one to evacuate quickly if a disaster should strike. It is therefore prudent to gather all of the materials and supplies that might be required to do this into a single place, such as a bag or a few storage containers. The recommendation that a bug-out bag should contain enough supplies for seventy two hours arises from advice from organizations responsible for disaster relief and management that it may take them up to seventy two hours to reach people affected by a disaster and offer help. [Disaster relief organizations have recently increased the recommended emergency survival period from  3 days (72 hours) to 5 days.- Mr Larry]

In addition to allowing one to survive a disaster evacuation, a bug-out bag may also be utilized when sheltering in place as a response to emergencies such as house fires, blackouts, tornadoes, and other severe natural disasters.

1) Recommended contents for a generic BOB.
The suggested contents of a bug-out bag vary, but most of the following are usually included:
Check the suggestions at  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bug-out_bag> and <http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t469988/>
Enough food and water to last for seventy two hours. This includes:
•  Water for washing, drinking and cooking. One gallon per person per day.
•  Non-perishable food. [Mountain House Freeze dried camp meals, Wasa Crispbread or other hard crackers, peanut butter, canned tuna, dried fruit…]
•  water purification supplies.
•  Cooking supplies.
•  Cutlery and cups/dishes.
•  A first aid kit
•  Mosquito repellant
•  Fire starting tool (i.e. matches, ferrocerium rod, butane lighter, etc.) More than 1 way to start a fire.
•  A disaster plan including a local map(s) with the marked location of emergency centers, family rallying points, possible evacuation outes, etc.
•  Professional emergency/survival literature explaining what to do in various types of disaster, studied and understood before the actual disaster, but kept for reference.
•  County, state and regional maps and travel information.
•  Standard camping equipment, including sanitation supplies.
•  Weather appropriate clothing (poncho, headwear, gloves, etc.)
•  Bedding items such as sleeping bags & blankets.
•  Enough medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
•  Pet, child and elderly care needs.
•  Battery or crank operated radio.
•  Lighting (battery or crank operated flashlight, glow sticks).
•  Firearms and appropriate ammunition? Arms level– situation dependant.
•  FuBar or Crowbar [Photo at right: Stanley Fat Max Xtreme FuBar Utility  Bar: Firemen use these to gain access to locked buildings, wrench handles off doors, rip their way through walls, the ultimate handheld demolition tool. Good for SHTF urban survival situations.]
•  Cash and change, as electronic banking transactions may not be available during the initial period following an emergency or evacuation. Have enough money for potential motel expenses, auto gas and food for 3-5 days, in other words a week’s income – stored in the BOB.
•  Fixed-blade and folding knife.

2)  The ‘Wilderness BOB’
If you are going into the boonies to weather out a  five day emergency/crisis situation, your ‘Wilderness style’ BOB should additionally include many items from the list below:
_a) Staples:
 •  Some MRE’s and/or freeze dried foods (mentioned above)
•  Beef and chicken bouillon packets
•  Tea bags
•  Instant coffee
•  Honey crystal packets
•  Mess kits

_b) Medical Kit:
[Photo at right: Use simple, light weight quart and gallon size zip lock Baggies for compartmentalizing your BOB sub-kits: medical supplies, toiletries, survival items, and other miscellaneous small and use related parts]
 •  Adhesive Bandages
•  Gauze Pads
•  Non-adherent Pads
•  Adhesive Tape
•  Gauze Roll Bandages
•  Compress Bandag
•  Betadine wipes
•  Alcohol wipes
•  Wound Closure Strips
•  Bandage Scissors, stainless steel, small
•  Single Edge Razor Blade (5)
•  Splinter Forceps
•  Thermometer
•  Antibiotic Ointment
•  SPF-15 sunblock packets
•  Tylenol
•  Tylenol
•  Benadryl
•  Vicodin 750mg
•  Several antibiotics: Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Doxycycline, Tetracycline, Zithromax (see Survival Manual/Medical/Medicine & Supplement/Patriot Nurse antibiotics– not yet posted)

_c) Survival Kit:
 •  Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter w/ 2 extra filters, or similar device.
•  Water containers
•  Water Purification Tablets – 2-30 packs
•  Coffee Filters (to filter natural water)
•  Waterproof survival matches
•  Magnesium fire starter
•  Several disposable mini butane/Bic lighters
•  Mess Kit – knife, fork and cup set
•  Mil-spec Para Cord, 550 test – (100 feet)
•  Duct Tape
•  Zip lock bags of various sizes, (6)
•  Sewing Kit
•  Compass
•  Survival Shake Flashlight (no batteries required)
•  Fishing Kit
•  Army Poncho
•  Tarp: 10′ x 12′ (1 -2 persons) or 12′ x 16′ (3- 4 persons), camoflauge colors.
•  Nalgene Collapsible Water Canteen, 48 oz

_d) Hardware:
•  SOG Fusion Tactical Tomahawk
•  Leatherman Tool
•  Pocket Chain Saw
•  pistol or revolver + 100 rounds
•  Ruger 10/22 (with light weight black synthetic folding stock) + 300 rounds

.
3)  Desert Environment and Hot Climate BOB
_a) Clothing:  When spending days or weeks in the desert, choose the type and color of clothing that with increase your comfort. Clothing should be worn very loosely and long sleeves, trousers should also be baggy. Hats should be worn in extreme temperatures to protect from the day time heat plenty of high factor sun tan lotion should be worn on exposed areas of the body. Footwear should be lightweight and have good support (military desert boots ideal).

_b) Night time: In the night time the desert temperature tends to drop rapidly and from being high 30-40 degrees will drop to anything below 5 degrees to include minus temperatures Therefore you need to take into consideration warm clothing and to the extent of a waterproof (don’t be fooled). A good sleeping bag is useful a two season bag is adequate. Sleeping on the floor is not a problem in the desert a good ground mat will make life easy also a bivi bag is ideal to keep out unwanted guests.

_c) Suggested list of equipment for a ‘Desert BOB’
•  Good size rucksack 4300 cu in.
•   Small rucksack  1728 cu in. (hand baggage)
•  Sleeping bag Lightweight
•  Bivi bag
•  Ground mat
•  Cooking stove
•  Water bottles
•  Drinking mug
•  Camelpak water carrier.
• Water- Purification tablets
•  Survival kit
•  Knife- Leatherman
•  Compass
•  Mess tins/ pot
•  Mosquito repellent
•  Lighter/ Spare matches
•  Candle
•  Head lamp & Spotlight flashlight
•  String/Para cord/Bungee
•  Sunglasses
•  Large bandana
•  Sweat rag
•  Goggles
•  Floppy hat
•  Spare warm clothing.
•  Sun Block 50%
•  Lip Salve
•  Poncho

Weapons
The .22 LR is the recommended cartridge for a survival rifle. The object here is to kill small animals and birds for food, not blow them apart with a powerful cartridge. The .22 LR High Velocity (not Hyper Velocity) cartridge loaded with 36-37 grain hollow point bullets is just about perfect for the purpose of harvesting such game. And .22 LR ammunition is so compact that a 50 round box takes up little more space than a single 12 gauge shotgun shell or three .410 shot shells or center fire rifle cartridges. Remember at this point the situation is expected to be temporary, you do not need assault rifles, body armor, etc.in the aftermath of a hurricane

[Image above: Ruger 10/22 with 5 power scope]

For the Bug Out Bag, it really doesn’t matter much if your handgun is a compact or a full framed pistol, but if you intend to carry it on your body you may want to take that into account.  Get one that fits your hand and that you are comfortable enough with how it works, it should be the right caliber for you, and then practice.  As far as bug out bag application goes, buy extra magazines for and stock them in your bag.  Just remember, ammo does have weight to it, so the more you plan to carry, the heavier it is going to get.

Remember this topic is a discussion of the Bug Out Bag, meaning that you’re dealing with a short term situation, most likely a natural event; ie., a hurricane, flood, fire, etc…  If there was a need for firearms it would most likely be for your peace of mind. Civilization is not falling apart, people will remain civil.
However, the larger the global or national disaster, the greater its affect on the food and water supply, on energy distribution and the impact on individual lives, the greater the need for ballistics and personal armor. It will take until three days after an ‘unparalled, widespread, global or national disaster’ before things could get dicey; that’s when the cupboards get thin and bottled water runs out.
Unless society has disentegrated into a situation where there is no law, you will not be permitted to walk around in public with an assault rifle, wearing armor plate, etc. Don’t bring attention to your self, don’t bring grief to your self. There’s no glory in looking ‘tactical’. Blend.

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Your 72+ hour emergency kit

(Survival manual/2. Social issues/Your 72+hour emergency kit)

A.    FEMA’s, ‘Are You Ready’ homepage
 Are you ready? You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days.
Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. Or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you need.
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that members of a household may need in the event of a disaster.

Kit Locations
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work, and vehicles.
1.  Home
•  Your disaster supplies kit should contain essential food, water, and supplies for at least three days.
•  Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
•  Additionally, you may want to consider having supplies for sheltering for up to two weeks. This kit should be in one container, and ready to “grab and go” in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
2.  Work
This kit should be in one container, and ready to “grab and go” in case you are evacuated from your workplace.
Make sure you have food and water in the kit. Also, be sure to have com­fortable walking shoes at your workplace in case an evacuation requires walking long distances.
3.  Car
•  In case you are strand-ed, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.
This kit should contain food, water, first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, and seasonal supplies.
Pasted from <http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/assemble_disaster_supplies_kit.shtm>

[Since Hurricane Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf states in 2005, the Red Cross and FEMA have extended their emergency preparation recommendation from 72 hours (3 days) to 5 days for certain categories of disaster. The official, public preparation documents do not reduce preparation procedures into subcategories, so the official recommendation remains 72 hours. This document, Your 72 hour emergency kit lays out a general plan, from which you can adjust your food and water supplies to fit either the 72 hour, or upgrade to the 5 day emergency period. Mr. Larry]

B.  The basics for natural disasters
The US Government’s Homeland Security website provides a list of in-home emergency kit items. The list focuses on the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and materials to maintain body warmth. The recommended basic emergency kit items include:
•  Water, at least one gallon of water per person for each day for drinking & sanitation (should be rotated every 3 months)
•  Food, non-perishable food for at least three days which is not required to be cooked or refrigerated
•  Emergency Food Bars, preferably the products with 2,400 or 3,600 calories and contain no coconut or tropical oils to which many people may have an allergic reaction, in addition to non-perishable food which does not require cooking or refrigeration
•  Battery and/or hand-powered radio with the Weather band
•  Flashlight (battery or hand-powered)
•  Extra batteries for anything needing them
•  First aid kit
•  Copies of any medical prescriptions
•  Whistle to signal
•  Dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
•  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
•  Wrench or pliers to turn off water valves
•  Can opener for canned food
•  Local maps
•  Spare Keys for Household & Motor Vehicle
•  Sturdy, comfortable shoes & lightweight rain gear, hoods are recommended
•  Contact & Meeting Place Information for your household

Earthquake
Below is a list of commonly recommended items for an emergency earthquake kit:
• Food and water to last at least 3-5 days
• Water purification tablets/portable water filter
• Heavy-duty gloves
• A first aid kit
• A minimum of $100 in cash, at least half of which should be in small denominations
• Family photos and descriptions (to aid emergency personnel in finding missing people)
• Copies of personal identification and important papers such as insurance documents, driver’s license, etc.
• A flashlight (LED type for greatest efficiency) and radio (battery, solar, and/or hand-powered)
• Extra batteries (lithium type for longest shelf life).
• Goggles and dust mask
• A ‘port-a-pottie’ or 5 gallon bucket with sanitary/trash bags
• Water – one gallon per person, per day

Hurricane
For hurricanes, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that the ‘disaster bag’ include:
•  a flashlight with spare batteries and
•  a battery operated portable radio (and spare batteries);
•  a battery operated NOAA weather radio (and spare batteries);
•  a “Self Powered Radio” and a “Self Powered Flashlight”. One, “Eton” model has the Weather Band and it is “self-powered”. Some of these will keep your cell phone charged
•  First aid kit and manual;
•  prescription medicines (be sure to refill them once they expire);
•  cash and a credit card;
•  a cell phone with a fully charged spare battery;
•  spare keys;
•  high energy non-perishable food;
•  one warm blanket or sleeping bag per person;
•  special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members;
•  change of clothing.

C.   Building an emergency kit
Make sure you and your family has enough emergency food and water to see you through the first several days of a disaster. Depending on the severity and location of the catastrophe, it may take time for help to arrive and shelters and food to become available. For convenience, you may want to purchase a Red Cross disaster kit.
From <http://www.seattleredcross.org/show.aspx?mi=4171>

Helpful tips
•  As a general rule, you should store 3-5 days worth of supplies. If room and resources allow, store more.
•  Replace emergency food by the expiration dates and bottled drinking water supplies every six months.
•  Make sure your kit is easily accessible. When a disaster hits, you don’t want to dig in the back of the attic for your supplies.
•  Keep smaller versions of your disaster kit in your family vehicles and at work.
•  Prioritize.
•  Purchase a Red Cross First Aid kit and get Basic First Aid training.

Your disaster kit should include: 
1.  Water
Store at least one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking and two quarts for sanitation and food preparation. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more). Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using anything that may decompose or break. Water should be replaced every six months.

2.  Food
Store at least a 3-5 day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that are compact and lightweight, require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno Canned Heat, but use outside and away from flammable objects.
•  Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables.
•  Emergency food bars
•  Canned juices
•  Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, etc.)
•  Food/formula for infants
•  Food for family members with special dietary requirements
•  Vitamins
•  Comfort/stress foods to lift morale (chocolate)
•  Remember to pack a non-electric can opener.

3.  First Aid kit
•  (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
•  5″ x 9″ sterile dressing
•  Conforming roller gauze bandage
•  Triangular bandages
•  3 x 3 sterile gauze pads
•  4 x 4 sterile gauze pads
•  Roll 3″ cohesive bandage
•  Adhesive tape, 2″ width
•  Anti-bacterial ointment
•  Cold pack
•  Germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
•  Six (6) antiseptic wipes
•  Pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
•  Scissors (small, personal)
•  Tweezers
•  CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield

4)  Medications, medical supplies, and information
•  Keep enough essential medications on hand for at least three days (preferably seven days).
•  Keep a photocopy of your medical insurance cards or Medicare cards.
•  Keep a list of prescription medicines including dosage, and any allergies.
•  Aspirin, antacids, anti-diarrhea, etc.
•  Extra eyeglasses, hearing-aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, oxygen tank.
•  List of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
•  Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers that you would need.
•  Instructions on personal assistance needs and how best to provide them.
•  Individuals with special needs or disabilities should plan to have enough supplies to last for up to two weeks (medication syringes, colostomy supplies, respiratory aids, catheters, padding, distilled water, etc.).

5)  Tools and supplies
Keep some of these basic tools:
•  Battery operated radio and extra batteries
•  Flashlight and extra batteries
•  Cash or travelers checks
•  A copy of your disaster plan and emergency contact numbers.
•  Map of your city and state (to evacuate the area and/or to find shelters)
•  Utility knife
•  Non-electric can opener
•  Fire extinguisher:  small canister ABC type
•  Pliers and wrench
•  Tape
•  Waterproof matches
•  Paper, pens and pencils
•  Needles, thread
•  Plastic sheeting
•  Aluminum foil

6)  Sanitation supplies
•  Toilet paper, towelettes
•  Soap, liquid detergent
•  Feminine supplies
•  Personal hygiene items
•  Diapers
•  Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
•  Plastic bucket with tight lid
•  Disinfectant
•  Household chlorine bleach
•  Hand sanitizer

7)  Clothing and bedding
Include at least one complete change of clothing and a pair of sturdy shoes per person. You also want to consider packing blankets or sleeping bags, rain gear, hats and gloves, thermal underwear and sunglasses.
If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat. Think about your clothing and bedding supplies. Be sure to include one complete change of clothing and shoes per person, including:
• Jacket or coat.
•  Long pants.
•  Long sleeve shirt.
•  Sturdy shoes.
•  Hat, mittens, and scarf.
•  Sleeping bag or warm blanket (per person).

If you live in a hot, desert climate, dress to reflect the sunlight and keep cool.
•  Light colored, loose-fitting clothes
•  Several layers of clothing for the cooler night weather.
•  Wide brim light-colored hat.
•  Bandana or cool tie neck-band with water absorbing polymer beads
•  Thin leather gloves.
•  Desert shoes or boots with canvas tops and durable, heat-resistant soles.
•  Sunglasses rated to reduce UV as well as overall glare.

8)   Important family documents
•  Keep copies of important family documents in a waterproof container.
•  Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
•  Social security cards, passports, immigration papers, immunization records
•  Bank account numbers
•  Credit card account numbers and companies
•  Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
•  Medical insurance and Medicare cards

9)  Entertainment
•  Deck of cards
•  Books
•  Portable music device
•  For children, include a small toy, stuffed animal or coloring book and crayons.

D.  More ideas for your 72+ hour emergency supply kit

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Life After The Collapse, Part 2 of 2

Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, Parts 2 of 2)

J.  De-nationalization
Along come racial conflict, the disintegration of our nation-state will begin. It is not impossible to control large areas of land using primitive means. Look at China and Russia. They had their ups and downs, the enlargement than the contraction of the areas they were able to control. But over centuries they could keep large areas under one rule. The US might not be able to do so. This will mostly hinge on oil availability. And perhaps the ability to utilize the railroads. The East has the water transportation system, which might also be used for troop movement. Even with some neglect, as seen in all sectors of our infrastructure, the upkeep will be minimal. And the bulk of the population is on some waterway. But military transport is largely oil based. Whereas in World War Two we moved large troop numbers by railroad and merchant marine, it is doubtful we can duplicate this again. The support system has been neglected to a large extent. Nevertheless, if you have a railroad nearby you are hoping will help support your community come road transit breakdown, it is possible it will be nationalized and used for military use. Not guaranteed, but a possibility. Even if the military uses every possible means of transporting themselves to trouble spots, most likely their numbers will be too small. I can’t see an immediate withdrawal of overseas troops to quell local troubles. By the time they are shipped home, the civil unrest will be too large to contain. Assuming of course things get bad enough that kind of unrest takes place. Which I think is a safe bet. They might successfully subdue some areas, but not all. Long term, one area after another will become unruleable. Add in severe economic trouble, disease outbreaks due to failing health care and sewage main breaks along with water contamination, troops needing to help against huge crime upsurges, an unhealthy dependence on high tech needing foreign parts and a total mechanized military, the trouble of depending on troops to fight fellow citizens and even the inability to properly feed and reequip soldiers and I can almost bet on the military being too inefficient and undermanned to keep the peace.

      This in no way should give you peace of mind regarding military suppression and martial law. You could very well be effected. This is a long-term outlook. Short term, you could find yourself battling police forces, the military, criminal gangs, local militia, or more than one at a time. Which should worry you. Not only because it means you might get killed, but because trade will stop or become disrupted and you might find yourself with a dwindling stockpile of ammunition to protect yourself. If China stays around as a viable power, you might see them eager to help out the disruption and arm whatever group they see as helping their interests (which is the destruction of the US as a military power able to challenge them), but that is not a sure enough thing to base your choice of a personal firearm on. In other words, the steel cased ammo that feeds an SKS or an AK-47 may or may not still be available.

Unless you can stockpile as much as you think you will need beforehand. This projected resupply problem is why I frown on semi-automatic weapons. They are superior as fighting weapons in a lot of aspects, except logistics come collapse. Now, as much as I disagree with the direction our country has taken away from a Constitutional Republic, rest assure that if and/or when the government is unable to keep the Union together come collapse, local tyrants are not going to be any better and most likely will be a lot worse. Local strong men won’t even acknowledge there is any rule of law other than that from the barrel of a gun. And they won’t see anything wrong with wringing all the wealth from the citizens without regard of their long term health. And since they don’t rule from far away they will be much more effective in their suppression. So, while it will be nice to see the current group of thugs lose power, their replacement will be much worse.

So, after you get done suffering economically as everything you know and are used to (cheap energy, welfare state, your currently employable skill ) is done away with, after a short depression followed by hyperinflation kills any savings and dwindles your emergency supplies, you’ve just seen the warm up of the collapse. Oil will start running out or become unavailable from overseas. Food won’t be delivered and many people will start to go hungry. The military will try to contain unrest with brute force. The ghettos will spew violent criminals and race dominated wars. The US will start to break up. Infrastructure will collapse. Water won’t run, the toilet won’t flush. Disease will spring up everywhere, to include a lot of resurgent tropical or Third World diseases. Perhaps even a few man made ones to use against dissident areas. Neighbors will try to turn you in for rewards, crime will explode as authority recedes. If you don’t die now from mugging, kidnapping or home invasion, you might be gang raped and die later of AIDS. Both male and female. This is the start of the huge die-off.

K.  Die off
Die off’ will be due to a lot of different things. Disease. Hunger. Exposure to the elements without heat or cooling. Crime, which includes losing all your stored food and equipment. Combat with police or the military. Widespread death will happen. The global carrying capacity of a non-oil, primitive agrarian society is less than a billion people. And this number is assuming the entire population knows how to survive without petroleum. Since a lot of areas have completely lost their roots with nature, that figure will initially be less. Say half a billion. Globally. However, it is the nature of things that when a die off happens, the numbers of survivors fall sharply below the natural carrying capacity to begin with.
Rome went from the center of a vast civilization, a metropolis of its day, to little more than a village after collapse. Mayan cities went from large urban centers to overgrown jungle ruins with a few paltry settlements set on their fringes. China always had its farmers as the center of its civilizations and fared better, although in recovery its population figures did fall sharply. Populations are built up, having conquered farmlands to swell its numbers. Centralization helped the numbers increase. But when the lands carrying capacity was surpassed and there were no more victims to plunder, population took a swift downturn. Crime, disease, starvation and warfare took its toll. This process has been likened by others as a bottle of alcohol being brewed, and I can’t top that description. A sugar rich environment aids a rapid increase in the culture, who eat up the available food. When a critical mass is reached and the culture dies off to almost zero. There is no more food left. We are left with a bottle of spirits, which is a good thing. In the human environment, you are left with a corpse ridden field with just a few survivors remaining. In our case, the die off will result as the remaining oil is not sufficient to feed the swollen population. Most die off from hunger and the remaining few take the little available fertile soil and relearn organic farming on a decentralized level. Animal population are another illustration. In an example from others, a herd of caribou is introduced on an island which has overgrown with lichen due to no known “predator”. With this rich food source, the caribou population goes from a few pairs to hundreds or even thousands. The natural replenishment rate of the food is, say, a hundred. But once too many animals are there, once the plants no longer feed everyone, almost all of them die from hunger and just a dozen or two remain. Then it takes time to bring the population level up to that optimum hundred. Once the oil level declines just enough on a permanent basis to cease feeding all six billion, Humans, will see die off far below the level the globe can naturally feed with solar energy alone. Oil doesn’t have to run out, just fall below today’s needed level.

L.  Survival preps
This is where survival preparations come into play. You aren’t storing enough provisions to live forever. For most, a daunting if not impossible task (to say nothing of preparing for multi-generational survival). What you are doing is trying to prepare to survive the die-off period. Food stores are only part of the picture anyway. You must survive the conflict that accompanies the die-off. People will not stay at home, meekly waiting a slow death as the cupboards stay bare. Towards the end there will be no more strength to fight for what they need. But initially, they will try to take what they need to survive.

This is why a retreat out in the boonies is so often advised. It is far from the perfect answer, of course. Day to day employment and provisioning is necessary. And few have the means of buying this kind of land anyway. You can find remote land. The West is full of vast areas seeing no settlement other than near water sources. But the “perfect” retreat, with fertile land, woods for fuel, and available water is rare and expensive. I advise what I call junk land. The crap no one wants and is nothing more than a patch of dirt. You won’t pay much more than a thousand or two for it. But it has a poor road leading to it, no surface water or shallow water table, infertile soil and most likely in an economically depressed area. You can actually use these flaws to your advantage since few people will be nearby. It isn’t a farm, ready to feed you and your family. It is merely a legal squat so that in the initial collapse you won’t be harassed for camping on public land or private property or on the side of the road. Your supplies will keep you alive, not the land. After the troubles have subsided you can move to better land, into a settlement to barter any skills you have, or take up banditry or become a nomadic herder. No good answers, but if you are poor to begin with you don’t have a lot of options to pick from.

      It is impossible to guess the time period of collapse and die off. Some maintain it will be a long drawn out process. An emergency, shortages, ad hoc solutions. A traumatic period, then a leveling off as people adjust to the new way of doing things. Then, further resource depletion and more emergencies. More depopulation until the “new” level of resource availability is met. A period of relative calm until another spasm of die off, adjustments to the next level of food availability. Etcetera. This could very well happen, as illustrated by the two hundred year Mayan decline or the three centuries it took Rome to fall. I’m far less optimistic. Back then, a primitive level of agrarian existence was practiced, even as farms became bigger with conquest or water sources were centralized. Come overpopulation and soil depletion, you merely saw enough famine to adjust to less population, that which matched less fertile soil or limited water. Today, most soil is already infertile, only producing because of oil inputs. Farms are far from population centers and transportation is required. Instead of ninety percent of the population farming, there is only a few percent, in the single digits. Most farm areas have water availability issues, such as California seeing drought decrease mountain snow melt off or aquifer depletion in the middle part of this country (Texas, Nebraska, etc.). The adjustments needed will be much larger than in the past. There is far less knowledge of farming than in the past (we concentrate on the industrialized First World throughout). There is far less farmland available than in the past, due to artificial fertilizers and mechanized farming growing so much more per acre. I foresee a much bumpier, more rapid decline than in the past because of all this.

M.  Types of preps
Survivalists come in all shapes and sizes and they usually rival the different sects of Christianity in their dispute over doctrine. There are primitive Stone Age adherents, short term ‘weather disaster preppers’, ‘nuclear fallout shelter occupants’, ‘back to the landers’ only concerned with growing their own food, Yuppie Survivalists intent on recreating every luxury of their middle class existence in Armageddon mode, hoarders of gold and silver that will buy their salvation, modern day desert hermits who will survive through a collapse unknowingly due to loss of contact, or, my favorite, ‘frugal preppers’ that can prepare on almost nothing as their needs have been pared down to the bare minimum. I can’t say which group has the most chance of arriving intact on the other side of die off.
•  The Stone Age practitioners are least vulnerable to technological collapse, but any number of poor marksmen with modern firearms can invade their territory and kill off all large game leaving him nothing to eat but berries, insects and small rabbits. Will there be enough skins to get him through winter, or is he far enough away to thrive?
•  The short-term preppers don’t stand much of a chance with limited supplies unless there is an instant die off such as an asteroid strike, Yellowstone volcanic eruption or nuclear exchange and he can pick and choose supplies lying around as in a poorly budgeted B-movie.
•  The nuclear crowd is well equipped to survive only one type of disaster. Or will the local tax man except MRE’s in lieu of property tax during an economic depression?
•  The ‘back to the landers’ are well equipped to feed themselves, their arriving family and perhaps a neighbor or two. Unfortunately most of their plans need to have a strong government capable of keeping the lawless forces away from them so they can continue to till the soil unmolested. Plus, they usually owe a mortgage on their perfect farm and are thus susceptible to economic downturn.
•  The Yuppie Survivalists are the school most taught by authors of best selling preparedness books. That is because the breed will buy anything that promises to save them in complete comfort. Authors and salesmen follow the money and sell to these people. The ones who can’t stand the thought of any decrease in their standard of living. Instead of stocking candles for illumination they will buy $800 worth of solar panels, 12v auto lamps and a few hundred bucks in marine batteries to see with while off  the grid. Their whole preparedness plan is just like this, spend one hundred times the needed amount for tools because they can’t let go of their soft and comfortable lifestyle.
•  The precious metal advocates are not wrong because “you can’t eat gold”. Precious metals will play a vital part after the recovery. They are wrong because they think money alone, even in a safe inflation proof form, will help them survive. They only look at the aftermath, forgetting one must travel a ways through treachery to get to a society living once again on a gold standard.
•  Desert rats that are not at the end of their hoard of beans and bacon can blissfully ignore the world crashing around them as they are alone in the wilderness and protected from the folly of their fellows. Unfortunately, they only postpone the day of reckoning when they must come in for resupply.
•  Frugal preppers are not the most enlightened nor the smartest. This school of survivalism is not any more perfect than most other types. Except for one critical factor. It allows anyone, even those of the most humble economic means, to prepare as much as possible for the coming collapse. This is why it should be much more attractive than it currently seems to be. Especially during the current economic collapse when job losses are epidemic, credit continues to contract causing companies that were just a year ago sound and prosperous to see so many problems beset them.

These go hand in hand, where companies have no choice to salvage some stock value and continue to give their top echelon workers a “merit” based raise or bonus at the end of each quarter. Before, when cutting costs was the path to efficiency during boom times, workers were habitually laid off. Today, vastly increased numbers are given pink slips regardless of the long term effect this might have on productivity. Panic mode is in full bore and where once the left over work force was compelled to handle the increased work from fired coworkers, now the trimming is so close to the bone it is doubtful the companies can survive. Before, another competitor bought off the suffering company with cheap and plentiful debt. Now, entire industries will all but disappear to a fraction of their former selves to claim the reduced demand of cash negative and credit impaired customers. States and all other levels of government are also seeing their ability to borrow suffering, and since they can’t print money like their brothers at the Federal level they will have no choice but to ax civil servants. Government will not be the safe haven for workers it used to be during downturns. Therefore, everyone should be very wary of being able to keep their jobs and thus their mortgages, credit rating, SUV’s and other badges of a middle class lifestyle. You would think a cheap way to insulate against calamity with an affordable stock of food and protection and alternate energy would be most welcome by frightened workers. Alas, the herd instinctively runs to the big money boys, the Yuppie Survivalist teachers and suppliers. Just as they did during the 1970’s.

      If you are one of the few that sees the futility of spending twenty grand on an arsenal, a quarter million on a remote farm and five grand per person on freeze dried field rations, welcome to frugal survivalism. Anyone can have the basics for under a grand. That includes food, shelter, protection, filtered water. Another three grand will see you safely on your own paid for land in a more permanent shelter.

To briefly summarize; The basics consist of a store of whole wheat kernels bought from a feed and grain store (untreated by vet medicine), stored in five gallon poly buckets. A $25 cast iron grain grinder. A moron proof way of constructing your own 13,000 gallon water filter for just $50. A used WWII surplus bolt action thirty caliber rifle, usually on sale under a hundred bucks. There is a bit more to it, but in essence by preparing at a bare bones level anyone can afford to stock a years worth of emergency rations and protect it adequately. The cheap homesteading method is to buy a piece of junk land (usually on E-Bay) on little more than a grand and park a trailer or build a very small cabin on it for the same amount. Most off-grid expenses such as a generator or well or septic can be bypassed cheaply. Remember, preparations only get you through a die off period. Even spending half a million on a remote farm and protecting it with your home grown militia toting semi-automatic carbines and eating MRE’s will do little to increase your chances of survival due to the rest of the world surrounding you and wanting to interfere with your existence. You should clearly see this as you read further. There will be strategies to diminish this threat, but all in all inexpensive functional tools will see you through as well as the much more expensive ones. Mindset will be far more important. Just ask yourself, do I want the help of dirt poor rednecks that learned at the school of hard knocks and are barely equipped. Or do I want a bunch of pampered Yuppies loaded with the most expensive tools who are unaccustomed to almost any hardship outside of the corporate boardroom along for the ride?
.xx

II.  Life after the collapse

A.  How far will we collapse

The last time an individual possessed all of the needed skills to survive was during the Stone Age while hunting and gathering. Since the Agricultural Age began almost no farming community has existed without outside trade. Before, an individual could survive physically if separated from his tribe ( psychologically was a different matter ). After, a farming community separated from trading with others could not survive, in most cases. If a local source of salt was available, and if there was an ore deposit nearby then semi-independence was possible. But, by and large, since we tied ourselves to the land we have needed to trade to survive. There were few areas were all the necessities of life were available, so trade allowed far more marginal lands to be settled. For instance, a dry rocky area was perfect for olive groves and produced almost no grain or meat but did have an abundance of oil. Another area rich in soil that yielded a surplus in grain could trade for oil, something they had little of. One area had forests of nut trees. Rather than fell the trees and plant on soil ill suited for anything else, the nut surplus was traded for other foods. Today, it makes sense to grow coffee on hilly areas (or cocaine, but that’s a different story) and trade it to the Americans, who have an over abundance of corn that is a staple of your country. The corn was cheaper (pre-Bush ethanol debacle) grown up north by mechanical means and shipped south than could have been achieved on those steep hillsides. When man was first growing crops and domesticating animals, there were few people and some really choice spots to settle down and grow. As the globe has filled up, trade has become more and more important as people live in far from choice spots. Trade is essential now, even for the barest necessities of survival. Almost no one outside a few nomads still living primitive lives can live without trade.

Why is this important? Because trade is impossible without a functioning economy, trust, rule of law and energy for transportation. All of these things are ending. The US has been living off of creating debt, inflating its currency, bullying its partners into nearly giving away their goods, and little else for some time. Our GNP is no longer a measure of manufactured goods being shipped overseas but of a measure how much the bankers borrowed from China and loaned to consumers through credit cards, how many dollars were created to “buy” our oil from Third World countries, how much houses were inflated in worth to create derivative sales to pensioners in Europe, and other computer manipulated, magically productive activities that only could come true with a healthy sprinkle of Pixie Dust. As our economy unravels, trust in the form of credit is being destroyed. Without trust, no trade takes place. As it is, credit is contracting wildly right now. And there is no end in sight, as everyone else is seeing how manipulative and dishonest our financial community has been. They are starting to show caution to our future promises. The rule of law, or law and order, is breaking down. African pirates holding ships hostage is only one sign of the coming unrest. Month long protests in once placid First World countries.

Energy for transportation is, as already discussed, on a downward trend. Add it up and it spells the eventual halt in trading. At the point where an international police man is impotent, trade falls to a low level, where only luxury goods are profitable, where only precious metal is accepted, and where the bulk of necessities revert to whatever can be produced locally. At that time, we are back in another Dark Ages ( Post Oil Dark Ages ). Mass migrations will occur, as the many uninhabitable areas are abandoned. The rest die off, their area unable to support more than a hand full. After Rome fell, and trade stopped, areas formerly pottery centers of the empire were reduced to being unable to produce anything other than crude approximations of their former wares. Specialists were supported by wide-spread business. They turned out quality and quantity. Once trade suffered, the factories almost reduced to ruins, the specialists departed or killed, the area known for high quality low cost pottery was unable to do little more than turn out misshapen lumpy, poorly glazed pale imitations. This is what the collapse of trade does. Specialists can’t ply their trade, centralization and economics of scale falter. Poorly made inexpert handcrafts take products places. Now, add in our dependency of oil. We are untrained in manufacture due to our dependence on machines. We are unschooled in many modern basics such as chemistry or engineering due to hyper-specialization. We are on the down side of the Oil Age. The collapse can go mighty low once the perfectly aligned parts are disrupted.

      Even if you can get an expert to join your group of survivors, they won’t have oil to run their machines. Or any machines, susceptible to parts failures. Or basic supplies to practice the modern arts due to trade disruptions. Add in the need to eat, and hostile surrounding forces. You all don’t stand a chance, and neither does our modern society. Things will turn primitive really fast. Knowledge alone is no guarantee a process will be practiced. It takes skill, practice, parts supplied from centralized factories far away, a strong defense force to protect against bandits. We all take progress for granted. But destruction is much easier. It takes two minutes with a match to burn down a million dollar mansion that took a year to build and several decades of toil to pay for. And destruction is only curtailed by the forces of law and order. Which will be hard pressed to achieve either. After a certain point is reached, the collapse continues until there is almost complete ruin and almost no one left alive. And where the technology level is far below that once practiced. We will return to a primitive agrarian society, and as our modern tools fail there will be only primitive replacements. Some areas will still pump and distill oil ( on a small level ). Some areas will mine and smelt the metal from the ruins. But it will be unavailable to most due to a collapse of trade and a shrinking of borders.

B.  Lifeboat communities
A nice concept, lifeboat communities. Get a bunch of modern hippies together and start a community that practices all those neat concepts that circumvent the need for oil. French Intensive organic gardening, alternate energy, super insulated buildings, integrated crop/livestock production, old time skills, etc. The first problem with these is that they are very expensive to start, as currently envisioned. It is one thing to put up some mud/straw walls and thatched roof, get a few chickens running around and making your own candles. It is quite another to build straw bale 2,000 square foot houses, greenhouses, import specialty livestock, install solar panels, sink hundred foot wells, convert a truck to bio-diesel, grow specialty crops for the French chef in the towns $75 a plate Yuppie Greasy Spoon, pay property tax and a mortgage on the land, etc. No one is going to get together and do it cheap and primitive, but high dollar and comfortable. Thus, very few go past the planning stage. Then, once your community is up and running, you have a nice big target painted at your front gate. Look, we grow crops here. We can survive the end of oil. Won’t you come on in an conquer us and make us the serfs to your royal personage? Lifeboat communities are not exactly security conscious. They attract the idiots that gazed at Al “I invented the Internet” Gore with a twinkle in their eye and tried to save the world by changing their regular lights with made in China by political prisoner labor fluorescent bulbs. They are not heavily armed with anything more than guilt over their opulent middle class lifestyle paid for with a taxpayer supported job as environmental consultants. Yes, their heart is in the right place. So was Jimmy Carter’s, and he made some colossal blunders.

      Unless you can get together a group of militia that likes to grow organic lettuce, forget lifeboat communities. They could have been the spark that carried knowledge through the coming darkness, if they hadn’t been plundered during the first food shortages. Wishful thinking and fantasy is what led us to this problem of oil dependency in the first place. Wishing upon a star to make it all go away isn’t going to work either. Power will trump righteousness. They might be just what the world will need, but some lazy, vicious greedy punk is going to exploit them quickly. It won’t matter if it is the current mayor or sheriff, a former drug gang or a new home grown power. The natural order of things is for a gang of criminals to exploit the work of others in exchange for “protection”.

C.  Organic farming
Organic farmers are not as vulnerable as lifeboat communities. They are not advertised in New Age magazines, nor do they give interviews to the local TV station for filler in-between the weather and sports scores. They are decentralized and widely scattered. They can include, more often than not, an armed owner. And they are the only way to farm after the oil stops running. Unfortunately, this does not come with a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. Just because you have a skill does not automatically make you precious and invaluable after the collapse. The local ruler can, indeed, force you to share your skills whether you want to or not. And likely not on your terms. When twenty horsemen approach you with an offer you can’t refuse, it might not be wise to do so. They can take family members hostage, burn down your house one night, snipe at you, horse whip you until you concede, etc. You are tied to the land. You can’t run away. This is the problem with farming. It leaves you as a stationary target. It is justifiable when you gaze with pride at a productive field. You created a means to sustain your family out of nothing. Hard work, a large investment. All for nothing when law and order break down and local tyranny triumphs. Unless you are isolated and have a lot of armed men with good logistics, you will not survive on your land unmolested.

      When slavery is mentioned, you usually think about a muscled black hoeing cotton. Grunt work. But look at history. Most advanced civilizations had highly skilled slaves. They were craftsmen, and they were teachers. They were not protected from slavery because they had skills. They were much more valuable than mere field hands, true. That fetched them a higher price at auction. And allowed them far better treatment. But they were still slaves. But you won’t even be that unless you are lucky. You will merely be a serf. Tied to the land. You won’t face as bleak of a future, since modern organic farming is a much better producer than ancient farming. You won’t starve as easily. But you will produce the food for your owner, and you had better do a good job because he will take his cut. You want enough to eat and sell for some small comforts, you grow as much as possible. Organic farming won’t keep you free, just better fed. It will increase your odds of a full stomach. Just not as a free man. That said, this might still be one of the few good options open to you. We will cover the other viable trades likely available after the collapse, but if you don’t realistically see yourself capable of performing them ( or don’t see your family holding up under their demands ) farming might be your only option. It is the only one most of us can practice now. If you have access to land, farming now has several benefits. It reduces your stress from your daily job, reduces your stress about the future, saves you money as times get tough, allows you to eat much healthier at a time when medical costs are making health care an unaffordable luxury, and will see you nicely through the Depression and the initial collapse phase. There is a reason that farming holds such an allure. It is better than money in the bank, which is a tool that only works in good times. Feeding yourself is tailor-made for bad times. Just beware of its long-term consequences when we enter a true dark age.

D.  Population shifts
Another bit of bad news for you to worry about is population shifts. Come collapse, the population will move. Even if little or no automotive transport is available, expect huge population shifts as people flee to perceived safety. Americans have always been nomads, shifting locations to better serve their financial interests. It is bred into us, as normal as breathing. We are not like most other societies, where staying near our safety net meant life or death. There have always been nomadic cultures. But they have been the exception for the eight thousand years we have lived by agriculture. It has paid to stay put. The Mongols were only able to live in areas of rich grasslands. The Gypsies have always been marginal in numbers, and more of a gang of grifters moving away from their victims. The Bedouin were confined to their desert. There is always a place for nomads, as they bring mostly agrarian wasteland into production to the benefit of all. But they are not the majority. The stationary farmers are. So American society has been somewhat unique in its mobility. Largely, this was the process of filling up a huge area that had never been “mined” of its wealth. We killed off the Indians and moved in wave after wave of people taking advantage of unexploited resources. After that was done, we lived the same life but now by living off the accumulated riches of our exploitation. We slowly started living off of our seed corn, the accumulated principle of our savings. That is now over and done with and the decline of our civilization has started, but the huge numbers of autos, the large amount of oil we take from others by trade or force, all this still gives us the illusion of the wealth we had and we still feel free to move around. A perpetual band of Okies seeking the illusive Golden State.

The point being, Americans are still very much in the habit of thinking riches (or at least safety) are just over the horizon. Most will turn into unknowing refugees with very little provocation. Expect several large waves of humans. To the warmer South and Southwest after heating oil, natural gas or even electricity are no longer available to keep them alive in the winter. To navigable rivers and waterways as all other forms of transportation fail. To those areas serviced by hydroelectric power or that have the potential to once again be dammed. From cities to the surrounding areas to farm the land. Away from highly populated areas to almost anywhere else regardless of its suitability. And from infertile areas to farms or potentially farmed areas. Thus, after waves of crimes, you can see waves of refugees and then waves of immigrants. You need to be aware if your area is a target, since all your careful plans can be disrupted if too many walking mouths move in next to you. To help visualize the scale of this, just think of Hurricane Katrina. Half the city of New Orleans took up permanent residence in other areas. And most of those people were life time welfare recipients with no skills and poor attitudes, thinking the government owed them a living and that crime was both recreation and if incarcerated their lifestyle would improve. Some areas such as Houston Texas were negatively affected by this influx of useless demanding refugees. Now multiply these tens of thousands at least several thousand times, and make it nationwide. This is what you can look forward to. Without much law and order, with no welfare system and not enough food even for the locals already there.

Warmer areas are naturally going to attract those needing to survive winter. There are plenty of hardy folk, braving out winters by storing up wood and food during summer. They like to live this semi-independent style as their ancestors did. But for every one modern pioneer, there are tens of thousands who live in normally frigid areas yet have no idea how to live with the cold. They go from natural gas heated dwellings where they wear the thinnest clothing, scurry hurriedly to their petroleum warmed cars and drive to work where central heat continues to comfort them. They expose themselves to a mere few minutes of cold a day, a thick synthetic jacket covering their torso, with tennis shoe clad feet, bare hands and not much else differentiating their clothing from what they wear in the summer. They are totally dependant on fossil fuels and a functioning infrastructure during the winter. They won’t be able to adapt to lack of oil. They will head south. Modern homes are largely not made to withstand the cold without petroleum inputs. Nor are southern dwellings made to be inhabited without air conditioning. This itself could be a life threatening situation, but that will seem a minor problem when the southeast reverts to its true habit of killing off its population with tropic diseases. On top of disease caused by improper sanitation, expect the return of things such as malaria. The northerners will discover their new home is a pestilent swamp which, without modern pest control and drug deliveries, will kill them off as quickly as the cold would have up north. The southwest will offer nothing more than starvation as the power fails and irrigated farms dry up as the water is no longer available. Even if a few wells still stay in production, the new population will overwhelm its capacity. If the newly empowered Mexican Rights advocated don’t go on a White killing spree as they quickly try to give back several western states to Old Mexico ( they will soon find it was the Yankee wealth that was coveted, not more desert, something Mexico already has enough of ). And water availability, already a life and death struggle, will just get worse with no oil and new state un-cooperation.

Most of the US population already lives close to a waterway. Partially, this is a holdover from when water was the only reliable and affordable transportation. As trade is essential to life, the waterways will take on increased importance. If certain areas still have desirable farmland, such as the plains states ( that which can be sustained by rain alone and not irrigation ), you might still see depopulation if their links to other areas are severed. At first, rail will hold an advantage over road freight, being much more energy-efficient. But in time, as infrastructure fails and fuel dries up ( as well as spare parts ), rail will fail and ancient waterways will become the only way to move goods. In the newly primitive state of existence, the level of technology will dictate this. Ocean front inhabitants may or may not see a continuation of trade. It depends on location, if they can offer an outlet to needed goods. For instance, Southern ports might be viable if tobacco becomes a new cash crop again. Los Angeles should not survive. It has little natural water available and is a thoroughly modern port. Unless the Long Beach port continues to receive container cargo from China, what is the point of it? Unless, somehow, paved over areas are exploited for their oil pumping potential, you will see very little L.A. has to offer that others need. And if water can’t be imported from the Sierra’s ( assuming its snow pack doesn’t shrink too much), forget the crop potential from the San Fernando valley. Even if they continue to grow, expect fighting over its resources to disrupt things anyway.

Sacramento has potential, with its delta watering crops and that outlet to the Pacific. But, expect levee breaks and flooding. What is currently there will be vastly altered. Yet, the thing to keep in mind about California is it is so overpopulated it will have major conflicts from now until it is largely depopulated. It will not be a pleasant place to live. Far down the future, after modern life and its supports have been erased, most freshwater and some seawater areas will be where most of the population live. Without pumping water by artificial means, man must accept those areas Mother Nature offers to live. For trade and for the life water makes possible. And a last word about population shifts and California. Much is made about the Golden Hoard, the masses of refugees moving from California out to all other surrounding states in times of disaster. The same can be said about the northeast corridor. Huge numbers of people with no means of support after oil. They won’t have any good place to go. But they will go there anyway, as anyplace will seem advantageous compared to the gang warfare, the militia fights, the cannibals and the racial conflict. The mass starvation, out of control fires, the water supplies being disrupted. Beware the arrival of these desperate people with insatiable demands and nothing to offer. Hope your community has an easily blocked, minimal amount of entrances.

In the 1970’s, as commercial survivalism reached its zenith, too many books to recount gave the same good advice. Get out of the cities, the urban areas, the ghettos. They told you to pick any city over a certain size on the map and then draw a circle around it for three hundred miles. This was the death zone.
You didn’t want to live anywhere near an area a car load full of gasoline and Angry Armed Minorities could travel to in the event of a disaster. The three problems with this advice were that,
1)  the cars could only travel along roads so that a lot of those drawn circles were still habitable,
2)  if you avoided all circles, there was maybe two areas you could retreat to and they had no stores or water for a hundred miles, and
3)  as the car loads of hostiles drove towards you, mechanical difficulties and the fact that not everyone had a full tank of gasoline meant that the immediate areas surrounding a city were much more dangerous than those a little bit further along (in other words, the danger dropped rapidly).

This did expand your options slightly, enabling you to choose a spot closer to work or affordable housing. But of course, this only addresses the immediate danger in the event of calamity. I think most philosophies were heavily influences by the Cold War, nuclear weapons and their fallout and the ability to live normal until the very end. This is simply wishful thinking, but to this day the ‘bug out’ is discussed and adhered to as a viable strategy.

Recently, after the nation as a whole has switched over to ‘just in time’ inventory where as soon the continually moving replenishment system hits a snag supplies dry up as no one carries excess inventory, hurricanes have shown how roads turned into instant parking lots and gas deliveries are severely disrupted. That alone should keep people from trying to work in one place and live a self sufficient lifestyle elsewhere. Yet, they simply carry more gas cans and map out alternate routes on minor roads. But, regardless of short term problems, the long term is what we are concerned about. Even out of shape people can walk at least twelve miles a day (the California missions were located twenty miles apart along the coastal chain, telling us this was the norm for encumbered travelers back before cars). It won’t take that long before all areas that are deemed desirable see the refugees show up there. So, if you do get caught up in mapping evacuation routes and population centers, follow the roads rather than a drawn circle surrounding a city. You are a lot safer, at first, away from the cities, even closer than three hundred miles. But in the end, those on foot will find your area if it is desirable. My strategy is to live far away from everyone, where few will want to go. Of course, it has its own set of problems.

There is a potential monkey wrench in the normal perceived flow of refugees. Global warming. Now, I hate Al Gore. I’m convinced that he didn’t contest the skewed Florida election results so the Supreme Court could crown Bush the new king in record time. As a result he was rewarded financially in a rather handsome manner (W. Bush is a total moron that needs help completing a coherent sentence, proof positive moneyed interests were behind both his election and the Gore buy off). After the election, he becomes, in effect, new global weather czar. He and his traveling circus travel the globe (in carbon spewing planes) trying to alarm everyone about global warming. He made a lot of money on his lecture circuit. So much so that he can drive his huge carbon spewing SUV’s from the airport to his huge country home, using more polluting natural gas to heat his several thousand square foot office space each month than the average American uses to heat their dwelling all year. So I am not totally sold on the concept of global warming. Rather, I should say I have problems accepting global warming is man-made, or that we can do much about it. When there is money to be made, place your hand firmly over your wallet. The scores of scientists genuflecting before their new idol, lashing themselves with branches, their mouths foaming in ecstasy as they proclaim everlasting devotion and fidelity, all this leads me to wonder if global warming isn’t full of crap. We do have the new solar cycle starting, promising colder weather as sunspot activity is down sharply. Yet, colder weather can lead to less moisture. And those pictures of retreating glaciers are pretty convincing. In the end, unfortunately, you must decide these things for yourself. No one, especially not me, can know enough about your circumstances to guide you through more than superficial preparedness. It is all fine a well to give advice on the basics such as food, water and weapons. It is quite another to give advice that effects your family. No author knows your circumstances, so all the posturing, positions and philosophy must be taken with a grain of salt. We present an argument, you decide if it has merit. Myself, personally, put enough stock into the possibility of rising sea levels that I never bought property in Florida. I left there for Nevada, higher and drier and so many less population. I made the right decision, for me.

Now, come rising sea levels, if they indeed occur, you are going to have the opposite problem of refugees. Rather than heading towards warm climates, they will be headed away from them. Or, headed from warm and wet climates to both colder climes and those warm but dry such as the southwest. I love the desert, personally. Mostly the fact that it is quiet and peaceful and lacking of hoards of slack-jawed mindless humanity. If this eventuality occurs, you might wish to be far away from seawater flooded areas. You look at a sea of starving humanity in refugee camps and you think of passive people glad to get their small cup of gruel every day. That is not what American refugee camps will look like. They will be short on weapons, since the politically correct police will disarm before allowing entrance, but attitudes can’t be checked at the door. To a man they will be belligerent and nasty, hostile and demanding and full of a sense of entitlement. They will demand full supplies (food cooked by others and available menu fashion to allow individual choice) and will put forth no effort for it. In fact, I would wager that in the act of wiping themselves after the digestion process in complete, they rue the effort involved on their part in that. The refugees on the road will have the same attitude. Our government long ago chose to pacify the mobs by allowing them to live off of a lavish welfare state. At the same time the government, as it was doing to everyone else, encouraged a sense of outrage at others. The divide and conquer routine. The young resent the old for their Social Security. The poor resent the rich. The ghetto dwellers resent anyone working. It works great to deflect anger from the government while also forcing a dependence on them. It is a win/win for those in power. After the system comes unglued, it spells trouble for the survivors. You have untold multitudes unable to take care of themselves and quite willing to band together to take what is yours. They are, after all, an exploited minority and deserve to be taken care of since they were oppressed and unable to fend for themselves

(as a good example of this, look to whites in South Africa today, after the blacks took over and started to loot the old western nation ). Fear their arrival as waves of refugees….”

If you’d like to read the entire book, Life After the Collapse by James M. Dankin
Click here to order the eBook version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/ebook/product-4419799.html
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End of article (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After The Collapse, 2-2)

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Life After The Collapse, Part 1 of 2

Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After the Collapse, Part 1 0f 2)
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Part I.  Life After the Collapse (a sample from the e-book)

Life After The Collapse © 2009, by James M. Dakin
Click here to order the eBook version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/ebook/product-4419799.html
Click here to order the Paper book version: http://www.lulu.com/shop/james-dakin/life-after-the-collapse/paperback/product-11179055.html

A.  Introduction
What will life be like after a collapse? This topic has been addressed by scores of fictional works, both the written novel and in movies. Many more short stories dwelt with various aspects of the topic. This also might be thought of as a work of fiction, because it is just like all the others, a WAG (wild ass guess). The only reason I think I might even have something remotely valid to contribute is I focus mainly on life after the Age Of Oil ends, and my guess is it ends badly. I could be totally wrong. I really hope so.
As badly as our current system is, the majority of us are either exploited poor or wage slaves encumbered with a pair of golden handcuffs, it still beats living a barbaric existence of dog eat dog, hands down. But I don’t think I am wrong. I’ve spent a great deal of my time, my effort and even my savings both studying and preparing for just such an occurrence to rudely alter my life. I don’t delude myself thinking that just because I’ve done this that I will be right. I am merely gambling. Just as I believe those that don’t are also entering their wager in this great game.
It is all a game, because none of us can know for sure. But only the blind or the blindly optimistic don’t plan for it one way or another. If you think things will continue as normal (at this point, a multi-generational slow decline) you invest your time and money in a college education, an automobile and a mortgage. If you think things will end badly you strive to insulate yourself somewhat by preparing for collapse. Obviously, you aren’t reading this as a part of your higher learning coursework.

I hope this humble work is more detailed and comprehensive than others of its kind. I hope I give you much more to think about than what end of the world fiction has. Fiction is a great vehicle, in that we think visually. Fiction plays into that medium. But I’ve yet to become proficient in fiction, so this booklet is what I offer. I’m going to cover the collapse in a quick overview. Not because I’m trying to fluff up this work. If I wanted to do that I would cover the multitude of reasons why collapse could occur. The end of oil isn’t the only possibility. No, I want to go through the collapse period because most likely this is going to effect you. I wish I could live on a remote mountaintop, enough supplies to divorce myself from society secured away. I wish I could avoid the coming messy business of society self destructing. I’m not that lucky and neither are you. So I won’t completely ignore what is likely to happen. But I promise not to spend too much time there. I have a burning desire to know what things will look like in our brave new world. As I imagine you do. By trying to spell it out I help myself as well as you. It won’t be perfect. It is just my best guess. I do know it won’t be pretty.
This is not a book destined to sell a lot of copies. I don’t include the required happy ending. Most authors seem to think they need to devote half the pages to giving you a glimmer of hope. A course of action to stop the insanity. Perhaps thirty years ago whining to your Senator produced change (or perhaps that change was for the worse, such as squandering our last giant oil fields on business as usual ). Today our Empire is on course to crash and burn. There is no going back since the vested powers won’t change. We are as the Roman Senators, working the last of the land for the last of the wealth, regardless of loss of soil fertility.

Why write this at all? Even writing short booklets is a lot of work. My financial gains will be minimal. The reading might well be interrupted by grid failure, as this will most likely never see past the electronic version. As I said, laying this out in semi-coherent thought helps me myself visualize what lies ahead. And, I like to think I am also helping those that want to think rationally. Those that don’t need a sugar-coating with their message. Perhaps seeing clearer will increase the odds of survival. That’s as happy an ending as it gets.

B.  Why a collapse?
Why am I convinced a collapse will occur? Why won’t we just see a gradual decline of our fortunes, as has usually occurred throughout history? After all, the average span of a historic collapse has been hundreds of years. Rome took 300 years to wind its way down. The Mayans saw 150 to 200 years from glory to jungle overgrown pyramids. My short answer is energy. Think back to the rapid advances we’ve seen since coal was first used, then oil. All these dizzying economic and technological advances were against the backdrop of an ever-growing pool of energy. Today, the entire economic foundations we enjoy are oil based. There are no more animal powered farms. No more agriculturally advanced armies. No more solar-powered industry. Not in any dominate form. That is only at the margins of society. You don’t revert suddenly to the forms of social and economic activity that sustained you one hundred years ago. All that activity rests on a slow laboriously constructed infrastructure. It takes many lifetimes of blood, sweat and tears to build anything the next generation can advance from. When you totally replace that infrastructure, you can’t magically go back to that place and time again. And we’ve replaced it all with petroleum energy.

We don’t even own the means of production anymore. Our industry is now overseas, mainly in China. What is left is all high technology and oil dependant. It’s not like we have the factories to start producing animal powered farm implements. Or the knowledge to do so even if the factory was there. Or the credit and financing to do so if we could. Hundreds of years previously, at least in some cultures, those illiterate peasant knew how to farm the land and built all their tools from what nature provided. Today, something as simple as building a bow and some arrows is a lost art. It is a simple concept, and those with the time can relearn the art. But without new training and the time to do it, you can’t suddenly master that task when your center fire rifle uses its last round. Now multiply that simple trouble by several orders of magnitude. Who knows how to convert a diesel train back to a wood fired boiler? Who can feed more than themselves when commercial fertilizers are no longer produced from natural gas? Who gets food from that hypothetical farm using that hypothetical train? I’m sure in hobby form all the lost arts of bygone eras are mastered and practiced today. But the numbers are minuscule. And who’s to say they won’t be casualties during the coming die-off? Or that they won’t live an impossible distance away?

Things aren’t so simple that we can revert to an economy based on less or no oil. Every activity in an economy is dependent on an infrastructure. Without the underlying support system, you can’t do anything. You need an industry, an educational system, a system of law and order, a transportation system, a system of payment and credit. Look at most of Africa today. They have vast treasures of natural resources in the ground. Yet, a corrupt system of rulers, a lack of a justice system, lack of a sound currency all keep those resources locked away. No one will invest and work without a guarantee that their efforts will not be subject to theft. Others countries all have an infrastructure where the opposite occurs. Investment is encouraged and rewarded. Look at oil. It doesn’t just appear at your gas station. There is a vast system that brings it from the ground to a distillery to you. It took a lot of time, effort and investment to put that system into place. It didn’t happen overnight, but over generations (with a lot of war and other calamities interrupting the process). The same must happen in reverse. In order to put a system into place that allows another system of energy or economic activity to happen, time and effort must be invested to build that system. The infrastructure of yesteryear is no longer in place. It was replaced and dismantled. Without a sound system to rebuild it, you end up with only the current dysfunctional system until the end.

In the 1970’s, we were rudely awoken to the need to replace our current reliance on petroleum. No widespread system for an alternate source of energy was introduced. Rather, conservation was used. We learned to be more efficient with less energy. But we didn’t replace petroleum. Lucky for us at the time, we went back to a glut of oil from Alaska and the North Sea, as well as replacing our currency backing with Saudi Arabian oil instead of gold. That saved us. But now, all those sources of oil are pretty much used up. Britain has gone from an energy exporter back to an importer, Alaskan crude is down significantly and is staying there and the Saudi fields are in permanent decline. And there will be no large fields to replace them. There hasn’t been a major oil field discovered for almost fifty years, and not for lack of effort. Coal will not last long if used to replace oil, nuclear fuel is not infinite, all hydro sources are already tapped. Ethanol seems to be a net energy loser, as well as doubling our food prices by using edible corn. Tar sands are also a net energy loser. We had nowhere to turn thirty years ago, and no where today. Petroleum was the only answer. Because it provides so much energy in such a compact space, no other energy source could compete. All others fell by the side. We have no other wide-spread source of energy available. And there is no incentive to provide one. All powerful and rich entities reliant on oil have vested interests in keeping things the way they are. They will go down with the oil powered ship.

Civilizations decline with the economic and energy system in place that brought them to power. There might be a few exceptions over time such as Japan. But they are the exception to the rule. Most civilizations follow a similar road. They do something right, that at the time brings them to power. Those in charge got rich following that path. They won’t give up that source of wealth. Usually as the system starts to decline, centralization keeps things running by bringing efficiencies of scale. In time, between the powers that be gripping their wealth and the lack of resources to keep the existing structure maintained or to devolve back to a decentralized form of production (even assuming the rulers would allow that), they collapse. In the end, ninety some odd percent of the population is dead or immigrated and the area is left fallow to replenish itself (in solar-powered civilizations, soil fertility is used up and produces collapse by hunger- a fate we will only avoid as long as oil fertilizes the soil we’ve used up). When our oil runs out, we all die. The soil stops producing food. We are no different from ancient civilizations other than we were able to grow much bigger and postpone collapse longer because of our one time use of petroleum.

      And we don’t need to get to the point where we run out of oil. All that is necessary is that we run out of enough. Oil production follows a bell curve. Rapid increase, a slowing to a plateau, then a drastic decline. Oil fields, oil regions, or global oil all follow this pattern. Not only is that bad enough, where we have nothing to take the place of petroleum, but here in the US it is even worse. We have built our entire system on not just oil but cheap and abundant oil. Where most other nations have never had the luxury of their own supplies, we have been cursed with an over abundance. We were blessed with one of the worlds largest supplies of petroleum, to the extent that we were the global leading exporter of oil until after the second world war. That allowed our economy to explode. But as oil reaches its global peak (the top of the plateau was reached in 2005) our dependence on cheap and abundant petroleum turns into a curse. Our economy, even our political system in the form of a generous welfare state to placate the masses, is based on lots of oil at essentially free prices. Nuclear power never reached its promise of “too cheap to meter”, but oil was always essentially at that point. That concentrated energy source was the equivalent of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of man hours of labor in every unit. And most of our existence has been dedicated towards making that labor as cheap as possible. Gold, a mineral so scarce that all of it ever mined could fit in a small building, buys dozens or scores of barrels of oil which is a non renewable resource. We invade countries to keep oil cheap. Political fortunes turn on the price. We burden our grandchildren with unplayable debt to devote military and intelligence resources to keeping the price low. All told, the sweat and treasure put towards stealing the global oil output is extremely high. That is the hidden cost. But the up front cost is kept low to keep the economy running. When oil reached a reasonable cost of $150 a barrel in the summer of 2008, our economy started to tumble. I say reasonable due to the limits of global daily output being reached and the inflation of the dollar. And the economy would have started to crumble sooner or later due to the massive over subscription to the derivatives market. But the timing is interesting none the less. We absolutely must have cheap, abundant oil for our economy to survive.

C.  PODA  (Post Oil Dark Ages)
PODA is my whimsical and witty title for the coming collapse and its aftermath. Post Oil Dark Ages. In a few generations when our grandchildren are scratching fleas under their animal skins while living in the basements of crumbling skyscrapers, there will still be oil in the ground. Granted, it will be that which was uneconomical to pump out. All oil is not created equal. The stuff close to the surface and without a lot of additional material costly to distill out is what we have mostly been living on. Not that which is two miles under the ocean and hard to get out. It all goes back to cheap and abundant. So we won’t actually run out of petroleum or other carbon fuels. But the consequences will be equal to running out. When the cheap stuff runs out, or it takes as much energy to pump the oil left as that oil yields, it is game over. Things start to fall apart. Crops don’t get planted or harvested, or that food doesn’t get shipped, or both. Essential trade goods don’t make it to our shores. The Age Of Oil ends, the Age Of Scarcity begins. When the military starts taking its dwindling share to take the last of the oil, and that leaves less than enough for food or transport or heat, things start going to hell. It will be a bit of a process, not everything stopping at once. But here is something important to keep in mind. It might take a civilization two centuries to fall into ruin, but that is everything averaged out. In the meantime, even from the first, individuals are adversely affected. When it takes ten years for employment to fall in half, you could be one of the first ones with a pink slip. When it takes twenty years for the death rate to double, you could be one of the first corpses. Averages look good on paper. In person they are a lot more deadly. This is how you need to look at the oil running out, depopulation, the economy falling and other aspects of society unraveling. It might take until your children’s old age for the last of the Petroleum Age to end, but you will be hurt much sooner than that.

      Some theories point to the end of the 1970’s as the start of the end. That is when the per capita amount of energy available started to decline. We don’t see that, being sheltered here in America. But plenty of the world’s population suffers while we fiddle in an orgy of gluttony. It is that average number. We do great, others live on almost no oil, on average the world economy looks good if not perfect. Looks can be deceiving. We are just masking reality. We will eventually see those low numbers. If we survive the unraveling. We will reach the point of less oil. I focus mainly on oil. There will of course be other factors. The credit crisis that started in the fall of 2007 and started to be felt a year later. That is sure to be a lot worse by the time you read this. The natural tendency of governments to hyper-inflate the currency when there is no other way to pay the bills. Our long vanished national grain stockpile and the idiocy of just-in-time inventories (great for saving money short term, suicide come any supply disruptions). Our declining soil fertility due to artificial fertilizers made from natural gas substituting for proper nutrient management. Over population encouraged by corporations as a downward force on real wages. All these things make it worse. But they are not the primary cause of our civilization collapsing. Energy is fundamental to life and an economy. The oil has already started to decline globally. We are making up some of the shortfall with less than ideal substitutions that are big picture energy net losers, such as ethanol and shale oil. Stay tuned. At first it will be easy. Less driving for the holidays. Turn the thermostat down, add insulation. Then, it becomes a lot harder. Rationing, learning to do without. Readjusting. Then it gets hard. Martial law, unrest, skyrocketing crime. Less than enough calories. Than it gets life threatening.
Ready for that journey?

D.  Life during the collapse
So far we have followed trends already occurring. Now we move into murkier waters. The next phase, life during a collapse, is pretty straight forward. We have countless examples during the last century of war and conflict. Our situation will differ slightly, as we are not used to invasion or being an exploited colony. But we can guess at a lot of it. Remember, America was special at one time. We had the best government and the best society, despite a lot of flaws such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, Native American genocide and the like.
Sadly, we are reverting to typical heavy handedness as our resources run down and most likely will become just like any other fascist hell hole in time. The window dressing given our current government transformation should fool no one. Just because you call ‘water boarding’ or rendition Constitutional doesn’t make it any less like torture. Get used to it. It will get worse, not better. All societies decaying get a centralized government to manage the same in the economy. It doesn’t matter who is elected anymore. Not that elections are even fair or just. They are surely rigged. More of the same from now on. Czars will guide the Homeland. We are and will remain a curious American mixture of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russian and will be until the nation breaks apart. To think otherwise is to ignore history.
America was special, but will follow the path of past nations collapsing. We were blessed with natural resources which allowed us to share the wealth. These resources are now gone and as we fight for pieces of the diminishing pie the fight will get ugly. Free men were allowed to remain armed, almost uniquely American in practice. That abundance of personal weapons will make for a very bloody end. That is about the only way this collapse will differ from any other. Men will fight in a more decentralized fashion rather than being dependant on fewer sources for their weapons.

E.  Economic collapse
The collapse starts economically. It already has. Many people think this is a replay of the Great Depression of 1929 to 1942. Understandable as that is the only model on display. So, they believe this is another power grab by the bankers. Before, there were independent banks, not beholden to the new central bank, the Federal Reserve. In 1913 Congress slipped in its creation in a slow holiday period. Those banks that engineered and “solved” a previous bank panic pushed for its creation under the guise of stability. One imagines this was one of the cheapest national and economic power grabs ever. The bribes paid must have been mere pocket change compared to what followed. The banks then loaned money to the Allied powers during the First World War and pushed for our involvement when they were in danger of defeat and hence default. The German reparations also benefited the banks. Which paved the way for Hitler (also thought to have banker backing).
The easy credit of the 1920’s was courtesy of the Federal Reserve, which led to gross over extension and the Wall Street crash. Then, the Fed mopped up by buying failing banks that weren’t part of the central banking system, foreclosed on hard assets such as businesses, homes and farms, plus engineered FDR’s gold devaluation and confiscation to assure its printing press monopoly. It was in effect a decades long coup de ta. So, obviously, the banks know no limit to greed and want even more. Yet, what is there to gain this time? We were the global oil exporter, the globes premiere manufacturing economy. We were the global breadbasket. Today, we have no real economy other than a consumer economy with imported Chinese goods.
We import seventy percent of our oil, so there is a doubt we can even have enough for a bare minimum life support system.
We import twenty percent of our food, with domestic production endangered by water supply problems, oil dependency for fertility and transport and our ethanol program competing for stomachs.
There can be nothing but Monopoly money for anyone trying to win these spoils. I don’t think that this is a banker manipulated problem. It would be stealing gold trim off a sinking Titanic. I think this is the real deal. God, but I wish this was one conspiracy theory I would love to be right. It might mean we wouldn’t collapse in my lifetime. But this does line up with petroleum draw down. So let’s go ahead assuming this is really an economic collapse.

This is just the start of our problems. Normally, a few extra barrels of food, a couple of solar panels, some extra ammunition and a few silver coins would see us through until normalcy returned.
I’ll go ahead and cover the economy, then we can move into the much larger problems of system wide collapse. Those that make the economic collapse a warm up. Economic collapse makes matters worse for everyone, for obvious reasons. With soaring unemployment those households with diminishing income will immediately see petroleum shortages, regardless of outside supply. And when international trade starts to freeze up our nation will face oil shortages regardless of where international supply is at that point. An economic collapse will actually help in the oil run down since far less will be used. Less economic activity will see less energy use.
One the other hand, diminishing demand will scale back exploration, pipeline construction, new field development or even existing infrastructure upkeep. So the effects all in all will be to magnify oil shortages. Already in the winter of ’08 international trade in goods is down sharply, simply from the freeze up in credit. Gasoline prices at the pump were down to the levels not seen for five years (those five years saw doubling prices of everything due to inflation and a weakening dollar). Yet the economic downturn is well under way and decreasing energy prices are not boosting activity. This is the interplay between economics and energy. It looks as if the collapse will continue, mostly economic rather than from oil shocks. Is there a correlation between the three year long drop in oil supply and the economy? Global oil supply fell around five percent. Imported oil to the US fell eight percent. Most likely this was the trigger setting off the financial time bomb that grew larger since the Tech Wreck at the turn of the millennium. For seven years the economy was not allowed to falter due to easy credit creation. Housing bubbles fed the economy. This has faltered drastically and the financial house of cards seems to be going up in smoke.

As employment falls, housing loses value. Less jobs, more foreclosures, less value on homes as values drop as housing inventories explode. Credit is squeezed everywhere. There are no more home equity loans. Personal credit cards are seeing shrinking credit limits. Between the two, no one can make ends meet on credit. Businesses fail as their credit dries up. For a long time, business activity was not much more than buying out your rivals and acquiring its customers. Without credit to expand, business activity shrinks. Driving up unemployment. It is a vicious cycle.
Big businesses with high legacy costs are desperate. When vehicle sales drop due to rising unemployment and shrinking credit, Detroit can’t meet current retiree costs. Bankruptcy looms. If you think Detroit is bad now, with slum homes for sale for $600 in back taxes and an unemployment rate double that of most other areas, wait until the auto makers go belly up. And don’t think Toyota will rescue them. It is seeing sales fall over thirty percent in one year. Japanese companies are very well run, but their biggest customer is the US. Falling demand effects everyone.
Commodities stop their recent drive upwards. Gold companies close due to credit problems. Increasingly, people and businesses look for federal government help. As the government sees overseas loans dry up, hyperinflation is just over the horizon. There will be no other way to pay for the increased need for the welfare state. We will see a short period of declining prices as inventories soar and the remaining businesses are desperate for sales. Then we will see prices go insane as Washington turns on the printing presses (a lot easier now with computers replacing a lot of paper currency).

Remember, the economy is the result of cheap and abundant energy. Nothing else made it possible for our bloated welfare state and empire spanning military to function. Yes, the economy is going to be very important to you as it implodes. After a time, it won’t matter about global oil reserves. The price of gas is unimportant if you repoed your car and the electric company shut off your power. But it is important for a very simple fact. Declining global supplies of petroleum mean that the economy won’t recover. We will have ups and downs, false recoveries and periods of slowing decline. But long-term, we will not see the old days return. It is the beginning of the end. Don’t mistake this for a simple economic Depression. It is also coupled with oil draw down. Decline is here for good. The severity and timing are the only questions.

F.  Oil run down
Oil draw down is the process of running out of petroleum. Oil production is a bell curve. Sharply up, a plateau is reached, the numbers level off and then we start on the down side. A sharp downturn of oil production. Currently we are at the plateau where we have global oil production leveled off. How long this lasts is anyone’s guess. It won’t be that long however. Some very educated guesses have our oil age at about a hundred years. Take 1930 as a start, when oil really started to dominate rather than being a source of illumination only. By the end the 1970’s per capita global energy use started to decline, the half way point. In 2030 we will be back to the level of one hundred years previously in total oil use ( yet with a much larger population and no other way of powering the food and production like we had in 1930 ). But don’t think we have until 2030. The availability of oil is already starting to suffer. All of the king size fields are in decline, including Saudi Arabia. And no large fields have been discovered in fifty years. There will be no Alaska or North Sea oil to save us from the next oil shock. And, least you think cheap gas is a great Christmas present for 2008, this economic disincentive will discourage smaller fields from being exploited. Those would have smoothed out the large field slowdown. Right now the only thing smoothing it out is the fact that economic activity in the worlds largest oil user is in a tailspin. Less US oil use is helping to disguise oil draw down. Enjoy $1.50 a gallon gas, because it will be the last time energy is going to be cheap. We are, simply, running out of energy on a global scale. It wouldn’t be too bad if we only had to turn down the thermostat and stop driving our SUV’s so much. But, we will soon discover to our dismay, cold houses and weeds growing up the wheels of our thirty thousand dollar sheet metal monster are the least of our problems. Oil, today in our country and most other places outside Third World peasant fields, is food. Without oil there is no food. Without food there is famine.

G.  Famine
Famine is not something most of us ever consider. This country has been the bread basket of the world for over a century. The Ukraine used to be the bread basket of Europe before collectivism introduced by the communists. It isn’t that the soil isn’t still fertile, but back again to infrastructure, you need a stable system to reap resources. In America’s case, we are not only farming on infertile soil due to corporate profit being put ahead of maintaining the most strategic resource we used to command, but the only way to continue farming enough to feed the population we have is to pour oil into the process. Most of our fertilizer is not renewable animal manure, but non renewable artificial fertilizer derived from natural gas. We can’t use animal fertilizer as manure, or non mechanized machinery to farm because they don’t work for corporate farming. They are financially inefficient. Corporate farming is our main source of food, and they can’t function without oil. Or, for that matter, easy and cheap credit which may or may not be available in the near future. Now, it is true that there is enough widespread knowledge about intense labor organic farming that we will be able to switch to that form of food production when needed. However, that depends on government no longer favoring large corporations with taxes and subsidies. We can’t go back to decentralized, low lost farming without the government stepping out-of-the-way. Mainly by eliminating high property taxes. As suburbs have encroached on farmland, farmers have seen their land values skyrocket. So their taxes go up. Yet, grains are a commodity sold by volume by the big players. The little farmer can’t compete. The system favors the corporate farmer.

Now, by the time the government no longer favors the rich corporate lobbyist and allows small farms to proliferate, we might already see cracks appearing in the food supply chain. Governments move slowly. Especially if re-election money from deep pockets is at stake. However, our food supply is now on a just-in-time inventory system. We harvest it and ship it out. There are no longer any months long supplies of grain stockpiled, as was the case during the Cold War when it was felt feeding the population in an emergency was a good thing. Now, any widget sitting on store shelves is considered as lost profit to our bankers and corporations. Come any calamity, there is no stockpiled supply to see us through. And even if there were, you need to take into account our transportation system and our banking system. Less oil will also affect our ability to ship crops. And any problems with our credit system will halt shipping anyway. American business (I have left out of the equation our imported food- it constitutes 20% but is mostly processed or luxury goods and can be survived without) are used to ninety day credit. They buy on credit, then pay after they sell the item. This poses a potential problem. So, again, we see both oil and economics as a problem. Food should not be assumed to remain a gluttonous American birthright. We can see a famine, and since none of us remain farming the land it could be as bad as any African calamity or even worse. We have no cushion against shortages. And no stockpile to see our transition from mechanized corporate farming to decentralized local labor intensive organic farming.

H.  Military dictatorship
With both a shock to the economy from dwindling oil supplies and a potential of famine bringing on heavily armed civil unrest, we can be assured that government will at some time or another impose martial law. Whether we see a military dictatorship or not is not even very important. Whatever cosmetics they put on the pig to make it look like something else, the outcome to civilians is going to be the same. Whatever illusion you have that the Constitution will help you will finely be shattered. We don’t have a Constitutional Republic anymore. You can argue we haven’t had one since the War Of Northern Aggression. When a sovereign state which voluntarily joined a Union is forced at gunpoint from leaving same, you can call that a pretty firm break with the document that is supposed to protect our natural rights and limit the power of the government. But, barring that, perhaps because you are a Damn Yankee and won’t confess to a social crime committed by your ancestors like Southerners are supposed to do with slavery, you could at least make a good case that our Republic was sold out by creating the Central Bank in 1913. He that controls the purse strings controls the politicians. Even if that isn’t good enough for you, you have to admit that FDR (may his twisted foul soul be damned for all eternity) took whatever restraints on Federal government there were and wiped his liver spotted ass with them. After him, we had full blown socialism and an out of control military industrial complex along with unbridled bankers and corporate stoolies help them out to rape and pillage what was left of our nation. So, don’t think that quaint piece of paper is going to protect you. It hasn’t and it won’t. The only question we have to ask ourselves is, when and how bad. It is guaranteed to happen. All declining civilizations become despotic at the end. Centralization helps then survive and thrive. But you need a strong government to go from local, decentralized production to centralized control. For a time the economics of scale feed yet more population and bring ever more treasure to the king. When disaster strikes and resources start to run out (fertile soil, neighbors to conquer, rainfall, mild weather, mineral deposits, etc.) you can’t go back, as there are not enough resources to rebuild the old decentralized infrastructure. The only thing you can do is to tighten your control. Try to extract more resources from the profit takers. Try to prevent disorder and rioting as resources run out.

So, don’t think of the power grabbers introducing more fascism as just greedy and controlling. They are, but that is not the point. They are being played by events out of their control, just as you are. Resources run out and the government becomes stronger. They need to keep themselves running, not only to keep order so as to stay in power, but also because those benefiting from the old system won’t allow them to do it any other way. As the system crumbles, those benefiting economically from practices now harming things can’t give up what made them wealthy. They need that wealth to survive.

So, Roman Senators allowed their estates to play out of fertile soil just as there was no more fertile lands to take militarily. Southern plantation owners did the same, just as there were no more states to enter the Union as slave holders. New soil was needed to keep the rich wealthy since they had used theirs up, and there was no more to be had. It is going to be the same with the wealthy of today, those that buy and control politicians. Highly leveraged financial gambles will continue to be sold to the last sucker before the whole economy implodes. The last tanks using the last gasoline will fight over the last oil field, more than likely illuminated by radioactive glows from the distant city sites. No one is going to seriously push for independently owned cheap solar panels on every rooftop. The only serious solar (as far as supplying any large percentage of energy) will be centrally located and controlled by major utilities.

Martial law is as inevitable as the sun rising. No one voluntarily gives up power and wealth. When people begin to starve, they revolt. To keep the revolutionaries from sharing their wealth, the rich use the government to control the population. Luckily for use, our government can’t put many resources into this proposition. There is no real wealth behind them, just printed dollars backed by the ( dwindling supply from ) oil fields of Saudi Arabia. Economics also effects the government’s ability to pay for people and supplies. I’m not saying they won’t steal what they need, just that a broke and weak government is going to be trying to pacify a three thousand mile long nation at a time when transportation is not as easily fueled. As long as the oil flows, a relatively small government and military can control us. In fact, most of us want to be controlled. When that runs out, it will be a long-term losing battle to control us. Small consolation to concentration camp victims or tortured dissidents. I can’t see more that is going to be added from the long sorry history of martial law by us. We will start out being pretty brutal. When you don’t have a lot of resources to control people, you start out trying to terrorize them so most offer no resistance. This is how the Japanese controlled large areas of land with few soldiers. You give that crazy little bastard a bayonet and instructions to chop suey anything less than perfectly obsequious. I can’t see Americans anywhere close to as effective as the Japanese at pacification. We might have a few folks like Janet “BBQ” Reno able to torch small children or jack booted thugs willing to stomp kittens to terrorize a family, but they belong in the psycho wards to begin with. Normal folks have no ability to do these things, let alone to their own countrymen. Plenty can be brainwashed, but not enough to control all of us for very long. Yes, it will be brutal and bad at first, but the few thugs the Feds have will quickly lose control. There will not be enough of them to control the millions too hungry and cold to care anymore. Desperation will help the government for a time, then it will turn things against them. We will happily turn in our neighbors for unpatriotic thoughts, in return for bread and circuses. When that is no longer provided, the ‘narcs’ and stooges will turn on their handlers. Which is when we will see race wars on our way towards the national breakup.

I.  Race wars
The truly ignorant actually try to see a difference in people by their skin color or their religion. This can be pretty comical at times, if you are outside looking in. Such as the Nazi’s and the convoluted racial classifications trying to protect “pure” whites while discriminating against Jews or Slavic’s. Is a White Russian okay, but a Ukrainian not? Or a gypsies bad, even if they are mostly from Aryan stock? Why is a Jew impure if he is from a long line of Germans? Is the picture perfect white German less pure if his great-grandmother one-third Jew? Etcetera. My view is that skin is really not much more than adaptation to environment, but I’m sure that view will get me on a few elimination lists if the three members of the American Nazi party can get a few meth addled skinheads to assassinate me. Well, add the fact that I’ve been married to more than one Mexican gal. I sure wasn’t worried about protecting the purity of my race those times, even if I did practice birth control. Most people, despite the continual indoctrination of our public school systems (the ones controlled by white politicians that send their kids to private schools charging enough tuition to eliminate most of those of a darker hue) still have a certain problem with other races, even if they don’t know why. Typically, I hear racist attitudes along the lines against those types they didn’t grow up around. I have no problem with Mexicans, growing up in Southern California. But to be honest the majority of blacks are like foreigners to me. The reason is not skin color. That is a cop out for those not wishing to think the matter through. It is simply about tribal identity. And fear of the unknown. But mostly tribal. Humans belong in social groups. It is a survival mechanism. And we automatically identify with our tribe and against others. We are usually lazy and rather than rationally voice this, we spew some crap about skin color (and you all know the “colorful” terms used to describe other races). That is a mental shortcut. Give it any amount of thought and you can see what I’m talking about. Tribe equals safety. Other tribal members equal the enemy. Whether they are different skin colored or not is not the main issue, other than that is a sign of their tribal identity.

Multi-racial nations rarely work out long term. The tribal marks are not overcome in difficult times by national identity. During safe, economically easy times, we can all get along. As soon as times turn tough the old tribal markers mean a great deal more. We will have racial conflict. Not because blacks are evil, or whites are superior. It doesn’t matter. You can be any color. Others will turn against you. Skin color is just another excuse to exclude you from another’s tribe. Religion will also be dividing. But with the long history of conflict between the colors in this country, it will be easy to justify unpleasantries against others due to their skin. Blacks have a long grievance against whites, whites have always feared blacks because of this. Mexicans have been exploited economically, and we did steal a lot of their land (although to be fair they stole it from the Indians). Indians were nearly wiped out through germ warfare and have a lot of justifiable issues. I sure wouldn’t want to be living near any fair sized reservation come hard times. Nor near any ghettos, regardless if it is black or Mexican. A wouldn’t want to be a white living in Hawaii for that matter. Living in northern Nevada with a clear majority of whites is not preferred because I am racist. It is because I am trying to be on the local winning tribes side. Simply self preservation. You might give it some thought. Do you trust other tribes to treat you fairly when times get tough and they have an economic incentive to expel you ( less mouths at the limited trough )? And they won’t be offering a first class ticket on Amtrak to leave town. Far easier to attack you with ball bats and tire irons and throw you in a shallow mass grave.

Look at the tribal conflicts in eastern Europe or Africa. Skin color doesn’t come into play as much as actual tribes going back centuries. But the dynamic is the same. Starvation looms and one tribe turns against another. That tribe which eliminates the other survives on the limited resources available. This is human nature and explains why there are conflicts. I’ll cover this more later on, but it is pretty simple. Group identity is a survival mechanism, safety in numbers. And stealing another groups resources guarantees one group will survive in lean times. No one joins hands and sings about one world and helps those less fortunate in times of hunger. Not when both groups are starving. Charity is only possible when one group has a surplus. Without that, one groups kills off another to survive with full rather than half rations. And they will justify it in many ways, racial, tribal, vendettas, etc. Race wars will happen in this country as soon as times get genuinely tough. Count on it or you will belong to the body count.

Continued in (Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Life After the Collapse, Part 2 of 2)

If you’d like to read the entire book, Life After the Collapse by James M. Dankin
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The coming chaos

(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/The coming chaos)

THE COMING CHAOS: PART I

Planning and puzzle solving
Trends, expectations, and the  daily events of life can be thought of like scattered colored pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. From your experience and the short historical perspective of your life, you form an idea of the current and probable security provided by your environment. You look at the assembled parts of the picture and develop a general idea of the completed future image and your place in it.

 In good times, there are fewer puzzle pieces and each seems big, so putting a few parts together allows you to easily imagine the larger-view of the future.
In harder times, when nations and huge international (food, banking, energy) industries have financial, political and military reasons for hiding their ‘game hand’, the important pieces of information become numerous and small.
As global and national economic times deteriorate and you continue about your daily life, you have an ever decreasing  intuitive  understanding of conditions and less accurate view of the big picture, resulting in a diminished capacity to carry about your long term life business effectively.  The ebb and flow of your stored money, your potential energy is generally: Where to store these hard-earned savings? How much to save over any given period of time?  What is the best long-term manner in which to spend or store large blocks of value when a given need is seen  arising?

During increasingly difficult economic times, you still put those pieces of the puzzle together in your mind, the same as you always have, but the scale and quality of the information you receive, has changed.
Think of this as somewhat related to inflation. When inflations first begins, no one sees it for what it is, but as prices creep up, inflation slowly becomes visible and irritating to everyone, only then do people individually begin to change their behavior in self-interest.
Meanwhile, the entities causing the inflation want to cover their tracks, so information given to the public is doctored, altered and diminished, official news bites are false, designed to keep the populace calm, to keep them from acting in their own best interest.

Because the normal indicators are not functioning in the accustomed way, you have to rely on other lagging indicators to replace the ones previously used. This requires work, so most people, being busy, go with the flow and in doing so no longer have that ‘more accurate’ larger-view of the future which they once held.

It’s all about money, and if not money, power. What can you lose by not adjusting your view of the future to fit the current cycle of economic reality? You can lose: the value of your 401K, value in your Treasury notes and bonds, long-term stock valuations, your home equity, interest from saving in bank instruments, while paying higher local-state-Federal tax rates, food, energy, maybe even a Value Added Tax.

In todays context, if you knew how these broad investments were falling out of favor, you’d have begun putting your savings into other assets, ie., certain foreign currencies, gold, silver, precious metals stocks, energy production and infrastructure, a little more food in the back of your cupboard before prices rose, maybe cash in the cookie jar.
Believing there would always be plentiful oil and gasoline, maybe you bought a large auto– without  the  knowledge that within a few years gasoline would be  much more expensive in real terms and there might even be rationing. By then, with the economy, still in a recession, with everyone seeing higher gas prices and few having cash to spend, you would have to take a major loss on trading in the ‘gas hog’ vehicle for a smaller more gas efficient model.
Perhaps, with  better information you might have bought a townhouse close to your local shopping district, instead of a stand alone house in the suburbs, ‘gas-miles’ from the shopping district.
Rather than buying a recreational vehicle, you might have bought a small parcel of rural property for camping or a cabin, and used a car top carrier or utility trailer to carry gear to your private bit of nature. The rural property could also be used if for a while, things grew unsafe in the city.

Money is also supposed to be a store of wealth and accountability.
It’s not that ‘prices are going up, the value of your money is going down.
Note: 50 years ago, in 1961, the price of one gallon of regular gasoline cost 31¢, that would be a quarter, a nickel and a penny, 31¢ . The quarter you would have paid for the gas with, was what we now call a ‘silver quarter’ containing 0.18084 ounces of silver. Real money-silver coinage was discontinued by 1965, where upon, nearly valueless copper clan coins were issued and which we still use today.
The current value of that common old 25¢ coin is now $7.05 (silver spot price= $39.01). Today, 10 August 2011, a gallon of local regular gasoline costs $3.59, so that silver quarter would buy practically 2 gallons of gas,  2 gallons x $3.59/gallon=$7.18, while the value of the silver quarter is $7.05.
And this is why during the last 70 years we’ve gone from a condition where one worker could support his family, to a time when it took both Mom and Dad to support the family, and now takes Mom and Dad, credit cards, and  maybe a 2nd home mortgage to provide the same.

At some levels of societal organization, it’s all about money or power; on lower levels it’s about not being robbed and left to face the economic winter (depression, unemployment or old age) with out the safety net provided by your savings–the product of your labor.
In the deep past, when men depended directly on the land for their livelihood, when a robber Prince took part of that property the peasant family had less resilience to survive. Today we don’t have ‘land’, per sae, we have money and investments, when the modern version of the robber Prince takes your property, they take your money or your future claim to the things money can buy, leaving you less resilient to survive.

If you prepare for a man-made crisis, you will be on the same path as some one preparing for natural disasters: hurricanes, power outages, etc. Man-made vs. Natural disasters differ mostly by scale and duration. [Mr Larry]

The Coming Chaos, will turn over a few pieces of the puzzle, ones that you may not have seen, ones that give you a somewhat larger view.  Be aware, that sometimes its better not seeing to your life’s horizon.

The world is in a state of constant flux and continuous change and there is nothing so certain in life as uncertainty. None of us know what the coming years will bring. One must be wary both of the innocent and rose-tinted view that the US and hence the global economy are just fine and the good times are about to roll again and of fear mongers and prognosticators of doom whose only message seems to be ‘resistance is futile’.
Meanwhile, with the evolution of electronics into computer, satellite, Internet, and digital information technologies, the recent decades have created a web of global interdependence, of ‘just-in-time’ supply, transportation, international banking, a layering of complex financial interactions and the immediate spread of information. Globally, human society has accumulated such complex interdependencies that it has affectively become like a spider’s web – where a disturbance of one strand shakes the entire web. Further, this intertwined body of global humanity has reached critical points in its equilibrium. It is at a point of dynamic, critical vulnerability; and at such moments the slightest of impacts in one sphere of global concern can set into motion an unpredictable chain of events across the interconnections.
It is only common sense, with the fragility of our system, to prepare for any disturbance with supplies. How long could you survive with what is on hand? Think about storing extra food, water, fuel, and whatever you think you need to get through. If one very large, or several moderate to large (Volcanic Explosivity Index) volcanoes go off, we may experience very muted daylight for several seasons to a year and unable to grow enough food for even the prosperous nations. Are you even prepared for the possibility that your communities electric power could go out for a week or more, during the summer, during the winter?

Why We Need Insurance
Many of us have never had to make a claim on our insurance. Therefore when we continue to write an insurance payment check month after month, we feel as if we are pouring money down the drain. Even though you’ve never had to make a claim on your insurance, there is a good reason that it’s there. Naturally, insurance is there to protect your you, your family and your investments, but let’s face it; many of us wouldn’t bother with insurance if it wasn’t required by law, or the bank.

How we buy insurance
First, we decide which threats to protect ourselves from, then we find a way of doing so at the lowest possible cost.
Survivalism is basically the same. I’ve created a list of survival threats at the side of the page. Some events are so destructive that they are not worth worrying about and have not been included, i.e., multiple impacts from a fragmented comet, or a ‘nearby’ star emitting a planetary sterilizing gamma ray burst.. There is no way of protecting yourself against Hollywood style events so there is no point in spending money on them. The best value for your money is to identify threats that you think are moderately likely and that may be dealt with easily. Most threats require the same core defensive measures with varying specifics.
Everyone should take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from potential real risks that are on the horizon, but don’t take my word for it. Answer the following questions:
1. Is your job & income 100% secure?
2. Would you be able to have the basic necessities (shelter, food, water) if you lost your income for a prolonged period of time?
3. Would you be ok if your local grocery stores didn’t have an inventory resupply for a few weeks?
4. How would your finances hold up in a currency crisis where the dollar rapidly lost much of its value?
5. Would you be able to protect your family in the event of increased crime and decreased police presence?

Ready America
From the FEMA ‘Ready America’ website:
“…Each person’s needs and abilities are unique, but every individual can take important steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and put plans in place. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan, you can be better prepared for any situation. A commitment to planning today will help you prepare for any emergency situation. Preparing makes sense. Get ready now.
• Consider how a disaster might affect your individual needs.
• Plan to make it on your own, at least for a period of time. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore.
• Have a week or longer supply of medications and medical supplies
• Identify what kind of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if they are limited or not available.
• Buy or make an emergency supply kit.
• Have copies of emergency documents
• Create a support network…”

Headline: “15 Million Americans Infected with Xyz- Flu”
“You just heard it on the evening news. It’s now a reality. Your city has been locked down. There are roadblocks on all arteries in and out of the city. No one can come in or go out of the area.
The grocery stores, the gas stations, and all other public facilities are closed. Everyone has been told to stay in their homes.
Your family has five days of food left. Seven days, if you and your wife eat much less, and give it to the kids. Water is only sporadically available when you turn on the faucet.
You realize you should have thought about the news, what it might mean, but you remained a spectator of the events unfolding around yourself and in the world. You wonder how you missed the signs. You feel guilty and powerless because you don’t know how you will feed your family.”

Things you should know
• Don’t rely on the government to help you. As big as they are, when disaster hits they’re both: 1) too big a bureaucracy, 2) with too few people on the ground, to help a large number of people in a reasonable amount of time.
• Don’t rely on utility companies to help you. They will have priorities and will be working almost around the clock, to get things restored, but, a) it won’t be fast enough no matter who you are, and b) you’re probably not a priority. Don’t complain about it – be prepared for it.
• Don’t rely on your Insurance company for anything more than a check. Insurance is about money, it’s not their job to repair your home or put your life back in order. While some might refer you to local contractors, many do not, and in times of overwhelming need, both adjusters and contractors are going to be hard to come by.
• Know what your area is at risk for (i.e. Seattle has a major earthquakes every 100 years or so, and moderately damaging windstorms every 10 years) and be prepared to take care of yourself for awhile.
• The government’s, ‘Three Days of Self Sufficiency’ campaign, is woefully inadequate.
• Mankind endures ‘an episode of great wealth destruction’ at least once every century. People should prepare to ride out a disaster, be it a tsunami, a market meltdown, an EMP grid down scenario, volcanic winter, deadly pandemic or Islamic terrorists with a dirty (radioactive materials) bomb.
• The rich (all of us in the Western world) get complacent, assuming we’ll have time “to extricate ourselves and our wealth” when trouble comes. The rich are mistaken, as ‘the Holocaust’ proved.
• People generally do not feel the unthinkable will happen to them. However, many times there are situations out of our control that affect us in a big way. Major events that affect the food supply are especially troubling.
• Events move much faster than anyone expects’ and the barbarians are on top of you before you can escape.

The times that we endure today will be the history that others will read tomorrow. History has shown us events that have destroyed some societies and created new ones to take their place. Those who rise to power often decide the fate of millions. And there have been times when a people rise up as a nation, united to achieve mutual goals of prosperity and hope for a better future.
Today as a nation, Americans must uphold their moral convictions and beliefs that a nation of people who stand united will not perish. There are events occurring in this country that could change the very existence of our nation as we know it. And no one person or political party can decide the best course of action to ensure our prosperity and hopes will not be taken away from us. The answer to our problems is right in front of us, and we must cling to it as if it is our only hope, because it is the only thing ‘We The People’ have left: The Constitution of the United States of America .

Our policy makers are in a Catch 22. It’s checkmate, and the only thing that we can do is delay… to a point.
We need austerity measures, much more severe than those of France, Greece and the rest of Europe, but mass cuts in entitlement programs that tens of millions of Americans have come to depend on will lead to serious problems, not just for our economy, but on a social level as well. What happens if 40 million people were to lose their food stamps, or 20 million people lose their unemployment benefits? Many are already at the breaking point, if the government were to stop the gravy train, as Chapman puts it, the system would get very chaotic, very quickly. Thus, we just don’t see something like that happening anytime soon. But make no mistake, the current entitlement system, driven mainly by US government borrowing, is unsustainable. So, whether we like it or not, the cut to entitlement programs is coming one way or the other.
Politicians are just not going to do it. For many, it would be political suicide.
The end result we foresee is, as Chapman points out, ‘a high inflationary environment that will make it impossible for the average food stamp, unemployment or welfare recipient to purchase essential goods like food, energy and shelter’.
We’re seeing it in Social Security already, albeit in limited form. The government has not re-adjusted social security payments higher because the CPI inflation index has not shown an increase over the last couple years. However, the CPI does not include calculations for food and energy because our government says those are highly volatile and should not be counted. Thus, Social Security recipients are now paying more for food than they were two years ago, but there has been no adjustment made in their benefits. They’ve essentially taken a mandated pay cut as the US dollar has lost value.
This is exactly what we will see in other entitlement programs. Now imagine for a minute what it will look like if/when inflation is running rampant at 10% – 15% per year, and entitlement adjustments only account for 1% to 3% increases.
A lot of people will go broke a whole lot faster.
We’re not talking about people not being able to buy iPads, new home decor, or Christmas presents for the kids. No, we’re talking about being able to put food on the table, paying the rent for shelter and putting gas in the car.
This can get very ugly. As Peter Schiff previously pointed out, ‘a great number of Americans will be impoverished’ and, according to Gerald Celente, ‘many may take to the streets in riots and protests circa 2011 and beyond’.

 40 ways to lose your future
June 2009, TheAutomaticEarth.com
People have been asking how we see the future unfold. Here is a brief summary (in no particular order and not meant to be exhaustive) of the ground we have consistently covered here at TAE over the last year and a half, and before that elsewhere.
1.  Deflation is inevitable due to US financial Ponzi dynamics
2.  The collapse of credit will crash the money supply as credit is the vast majority of the effective money supply
3.  Cash will be king for a long time
4.  Printing one’s way out of deflation is impossible as printing cannot keep pace with credit destruction (the net effect is contraction)
5.  Debt will become a millstone around people’s necks and bankruptcy will no longer be possible at some point
6.  In the future the consequences of unpayable debt could include indentured servitude, debtor’s prison or being drummed into the military
7.  Early withdrawals from pension plans will be prevented and almost all pension plans will eventually default
8.  We will see a systemic banking crisis that will result in bank runs and the loss of savings
9.  Prices will fall across the board as purchasing power collapses
10.  Real estate prices are likely to fall by at least 90% on average (with local variation)
11.  The essentials will see relative price support as a much larger percentage of a much smaller money supply chases them
12.  We are headed eventually for a bond market dislocation where nominal interest rates will shoot up into the double digits
13.  Real interest rates will be even higher (the nominal rate minus negative inflation)
14.  This will cause a tsunami of debt default which is highly deflationary
15.  Government spending (all levels) will be slashed, with loss of entitlements and inability to maintain infrastructure
16.  Finance rules will be changed at will and changes applied retroactively (eg short selling will be banned, loans will be called in at some point)
17.  Centralized services (water, electricity, gas, education, garbage pick-up, snow-removal etc) will become unreliable and of much lower quality, or may be eliminated entirely
18.  Suburbia is a trap due to its dependence on these services and cheap energy for transport
19.  People with essentially no purchasing power will be living in a pay-as-you-go world
20.  Modern healthcare will be largely unavailable and informal care will generally be very basic
21.  Universities will go out of business as no one will be able to afford to attend
22.  Cash hoarding will continue to reduce the velocity of money, amplifying the effect of deflation
23.  The US dollar will continue to rise for quite a while on a flight to safety and as dollar-denominated debt deflates
24.  Eventually the dollar will collapse, but that time is not now (and a falling dollar does not mean an expanding money supply, i.e. inflation)
25.  Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing in a positive feedback spiral, so both are likely to be protracted
26.  There should be no lasting market bottom until at least the middle of the next decade, and even then the depression won’t be over
27.  Much capital will be revealed as having been converted to waste during the cheap energy/cheap credit years
28.  Export markets will collapse with global trade and exporting countries will be hit very hard
29.  Herding behavior is the foundation of markets
30.  The flip side of the manic optimism we saw in the bubble years will be persistent pessimism, risk aversion, anger, scapegoating, recrimination, violence and the election of dangerous populist extremists
31.  A sense of common humanity will be lost as foreigners and those who are different are demonized
32.  There will be war in the labor markets as unemployment skyrockets and wages and benefits are slashed
33.  We are headed for resource wars, which will result in much resource and infrastructure destruction
34.  Energy prices are first affected by demand collapse, then supply collapse, so that prices first fall and then rise enormously
35.  Ordinary people are unlikely to be able to afford oil products AT ALL within 5 years
36.  Hard limits to capital and energy will greatly reduce socioeconomic complexity (see Tainter)
37.  Political structures exist to concentrate wealth at the centre at the expense of the periphery, and this happens at all scales simultaneously
38.  Taxation will rise substantially as the domestic population is squeezed in order for the elite to partially make up for the loss of the ability to pick the pockets of the whole world through globalization
39.  Depressive political structures will arise, with much greater use of police state methods and a drastic reduction of freedom
40. The rule of law will replaced by the politics of the personal and an economy of favors (i.e., endemic corruption)

We Have Some Hard Decisions Ahead
The economy has taken a dramatic turn for the worse for many Americans. While many individuals and households have had the financial resources and good fortune which will allow them to weather economic uncertainty, many will simply not be able to maintain their standard of living. Many two income households are now one income households and that income may have decreased due to companies cutting back on work hours. This situation has been occurring for many Americans for many, many months, forcing people to assess what is important and downgrade their lifestyle. The time to make hard decisions has arrived, and will dramatically alter the lives of many for years.
People who relied on spouses to pay the bills are now paying the bills. Those who have relied on savings and unemployment benefits to maintain their standard of living are now faced with the reality that those resources are exhausted. Bills are not being paid. Healthcare premiums are not being paid. Automobile and household maintenance is being neglected, which will create costlier repairs down the road. Simply put:
•  You might have to stop making your car payment and save those payments up to buy a used car. The car you currently have financed will be repossessed.
•  You might have to stop paying your mortgage and save those payments up to move into an apartment.
•  You might have to give up your healthcare, your magazine subscription, your club membership, your vacation plans, your charitable donations, your cell phone, your internet access or home phone service, your lawn care service, your financial support that you provide to friends and family who are having financial problems themselves, and many more expenditures not listed here.
•  You might have to contact an attorney to discuss bankruptcy.
•  You might have to sell off your possessions and assets.
•  You might have to move in with other families, friends, relatives, or shelters provided by the government or charitable organizations.
•  You may come to realize that what you thought was valuable and important to you has no value or significance at all.

Basic human needs will become the biggest priority in your life after you shed (lose the use of) the things that have merely brought comfort and convenience to you. You may be forced to downscale your lifestyle so dramatically that it will cause you to question your own intelligence and hindsight for not planning for such a life changing event.
The things that you have always taken for granted could become difficult to obtain now that there is no longer enough money to buy those things. Basic needs become vital issues that need to be addressed:
•  Food and ‘non-electric’–with the means both to prepare it and store it.
•  Portable water filtering devices and containers to store water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
•  Over the counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, first aid supplies, and some basic health and first aid literature in book form. Individuals using prescription medications, or require medical attention, will need to determine their best course of action during a period of financial distress.
•  The need for shelter may require the purchase of a tent, camper trailer, and other camping equipment if you can no longer provide an actual roof over your head and have no one to turn to.
•  The need for personal protection will become more obvious as desperate people begin to take desperate actions to provide basic needs for themselves and their families. The level of security you choose will be determined by your location, your finances, and your personal views and beliefs. If chaotic conditions occur, lawless activity will surely follow. Past incidents of disaster and mayhem give much testimony to this.

A look at the civil unrest that can arise when a government just ‘proposes’ austerity measures
“French gov’t undercuts Senate on retirement bill
Oct 21, 11:40 AM (ET), By ANGELA CHARLTON
PARIS (AP) – The French government is short-circuiting a protracted debate in the Senate on a bill raising the retirement age to 62, brushing aside some 250 amendments.
Faced with widespread protests against the bill, the government is ordering Senators to vote on a package of its own design, using Article 44-3 of the Constitution that allows it to step into the parliamentary debate.
PARIS (AP) – Protesters blockaded Marseille’s airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon on Thursday ahead of a tense Senate vote on raising the retirement age to 62.
A quarter of the nation’s gas stations were out of fuel, despite President Nicolas Sarkozy’s orders to force open depots barricaded by striking workers. Gasoline shortages and violence on the margins of student protests have heightened the standoff between the government and labor unions that see retirement at 60 as a hard-earned right.
Shopping streets stood nearly empty Thursday in central Lyon. The Bistrot de Lyon didn’t put tables outside as usual out of fear of clashes. “We’ve seen a reduction of 30-35 percent of business overall, for the last few days with the rioting in town. Lunchtime, nothing is going on, we’ve no one. It’s more than calm,” said restaurant manager Philippe Husser.
In Nanterre, the scene of running street battles between masked and hooded youth and riot police in recent days, the scene Thursday morning was calm, said Mehdi Najar, one of a few dozen red-jacketed mediators organized by the city hall to try to keep the peace.
In Marseille, hundreds of workers blocked all access to the main airport for about three hours early Thursday. Passengers tugged suitcases along blocked roads as they hiked to the terminal, before police came in and the protesters dispersed.
Wildcat protests blocked train lines around Paris on Thursday. Protesters in cars and trucks blocked several highways around the country, from near Calais in the north to the Pyrenees in the south, according to the national road traffic center.”

Coming Chaos: No Banks, No Public Facilities, No Food and Rampaging Gangs of Desperate People
Bob Chapman, of The International Forecaster, says it’s time to prepare for the worst, comparing our impending economic crisis to that which was experienced at the onset of 1348 and the following century and a half.

Flashback to 1348:
The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century.
While Chapman does not suggest we will experience our own black plague pandemic, he predicts that the consequences of our economic collapse may lead to total destabilization and wars, much like post-plague Europe.
As you are now well aware Fannie and Freddie are going to punish people who have stopped paying their mortgages, who can pay them, and who are paying other bills instead. This leaves lenders with foreclosures and much more inventory than they ever imagined. This additional problem will bring on the double dip that Wall Street and Washington so fear.
As a result of this and other failures we are about to experience the worst economic collapse since 1348. The stock market is topping out readying itself for its most disastrous fall in history. The fall will be followed by years of depression, all of which has been deliberately created to bring the world economically and financially to its knees in an attempt to bring about world government by Illuminists.
Some market analysts understand where the market is headed, but most who do understand, write and talk about the mundane observable trappings and not what the situation is really all about. We have several analysts talking about a market collapse. They do not talk about the real forces behind our misfortune.
There are always these lone voices in the wilderness, which at best – some 15% of the populace – listens too. You had better listen this time because it could well cost you not only your assets, but your life, especially when another war is being prepared for you to engage in. Nothing is really as it seems to be and there are no coincidences. You are about to enter a world of chaos from which few will survive unscathed. A world of no banks, no public facilities, no food and rampaging gangs of desperate people. Unemployment of 50% and little law and order. Violence will be rife. This is not a pretty picture, but we have spared you the details. The world had better wake up fast so they’ll be prepared to deal with what is to come. If you were not aware of it the dark side really exists.
We are now entering the next to last phase of our journey. The wanton creation of wealth, inflation and perhaps hyperinflation, which will rob you of your assets. A stealth attack on what you have left by the people who control your government. Such monetary creation is the only way these people can keep the game going. They know it won’t last, but they proceed anyway. For awhile they’ll keep the multitudes at bay with extended unemployment and food stamps, but that will fade in time for lack of financial control, as the system begins to break down.
You already see all fiat currencies under fire, as is sovereign debt. Can it get any worse? Of course it can, and it will. Implosion is the word everyone is going to discover and understand.
The picture Bob Chapman paints is one that may lead to an initial reaction of, “What? No way that can happen.” Perhaps it can’t happen. Perhaps, it really is different this time and our benevolent leaders and the powers that be are capable of managing this crisis. Perhaps they will restore jobs to pre-crash levels. Perhaps home prices will go back up to record 2006 levels because tens of thousands of buyers will appear in the market. Perhaps the Federal reserve will be able to sell of their toxic assets, not have to print more money to bail anyone out, and the world will demand that the dollar remain the reserve currency of choice. Perhaps all of these people in delinquency on their mortgages will be able to catch up on those late payments. Perhaps governments will stop spending more than they take in and all of their debts will be paid off. Perhaps the globe’s top financiers will figure out a way to deleverage the trillions of bad debt currently working its way through the system.

Or, perhaps they will not be able to reverse course. Let’s assume that they can’t reverse course. How bad can it really get? This is something that our elected officials and those at the Fed, Treasury and large institutions will not overtly discuss. But clues have been dropped throughout the last several years. And, you need to look no further than those very same officials.

President Obama, during the green shoots recovery of 2009 and 2010, told the American people
that a depression was avoided. Thus, we can assume that a depression is a strong possibility if we are in fact about to see another economic collapse. In 2008 and 2009, former Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson said that we were “on the brink,” in fact, after he left his position with Treasury, he wrote a book with this very title. The brink, from what we can surmise, meant a complete collapse of our financial, economic and political systems. The result would have been martial law. Hard to believe? Yes. Impossible? No:

THE COMING CHAOS: PART II

Are some popular movie and television images from the end of the first decade of the 21st century, a harbinger of less severe, but rhyming themes to come? Movie entertainment themes are a fulfillment of consumer curiosity and expression of the sediment of the times.

Movie image, I Am Legend (left). Disease has almost eradicated mankind, only a few random survivors exits in decaying cities.
Movie, 2012. Earth crustal shifts with continents sinking into the ocean. Several thousand people escape drowning aboard huge ships.
Movie, The Road. A catastrophe has almost wiped out mankind. Survival is harsh in a barren land of armed scavengers.
Movie, The Book of Eli.  Most of Man destroyed by calamity, there are few survivors, much chaotic lawlessness is pervasive.
TV series, The Walking Dead. Brain disease reduces most of mankind to zombies, a few healthy survivors gather and try to eke out an existence without becoming infected.
TV series, Falling Skies. Aliens attack Earth; humans are slaughtered and small remnants driven from cities. Survivalist lifestyles develop as ragged groups try to feed themselves and resist the aliens.
Movie, Contagion. Earth population depleted by fast acting virulent disease. Chaotic conditions develop.

Real life images
Garbage lined streets (right) : During the (2011) snowstorms that hit the NYC, the Sanitation Department suspended garbage collection for days at a time in order to use trucks for snow removal, which meant about 11,000 tons of trash per day didn’t get collected. Granted, the mess has been caused by more than just missed collections. People have been tossing loose trash onto the bags, and it’s winding up on the sidewalks and streets. Plastic McDonald’s cups. Broken bottles of Budweiser and empty cans of Four Loko, cigarette butts, smashed umbrellas, sheet music, soggy gloves, old newspapers, and damp, dirty sofas — all left out in the open, as if they, too, will just melt away. And thanks to pet owners, who got a little lazy in the bad weather, many city streets are now shellacked with dog feces.  Crumbling Detroit, 2010.
In the late nineteenth century Detroit (left)emerged as a major transportation hub along the Great Lakes.  Gilded Age mansions and other grand buildings spawned the city’s nickname “Paris of the West.” The gasoline crises of the 1970s impacted heavily on the car industry, while racial tensions and increasing drug-fuelled crime spurred the beginning of the end for Detroit’s industrial supremacy.  As the city descended into high unemployment, many of its finest buildings, including theatres, hotels, offices and apartments, fell into ruin.

Our Jig Saw Puzzle:
The parts that go bump in the night, the parts that can trigger the coming chaos, are:

1.  Peak Oil
(Think broadly: ANY energy crisis.)
The world is rapidly approaching Peak Oil production and will be at an inflection point soon, if not already, after which, real prices will (or already have) begin a long rise. Price inflection is possible before the next economic recovery, but will certainly come with a recovery, which will then be short-lived, because rising energy prices will channel money away from other discretionary expenditures.
During the years, 2009-2010, the USA and Europe were in recession with lower oil requirements, which have skewered the associated 2007 chart by extending the plateau top and pushing the ‘decline in production slope’ (with subsequent increase in prices) into the future another couple of years past the original 2007 projection. Whether we are out of the recession or not by 2015, production declines and the resultant rise in petroleum prices will probably have become an unpleasant factor in our national and personal, financial lives.

Official Peak Oil reports
Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, FinancialSense.com weekly, ‘News Hour’ podcast, gave leads to the Peak Oil reports listed below. These articles (only the lead paragraphs have been re printed here) seem to be telling a story, a story which has not yet been shared to any degree with the American people by either the Government or the news media. Furthermore, there is not just one news item, but increasingly frequent, almost monthly reports issued by responsible, main stream institutions in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
Europe is currently advancing on a continent wide program toward fossil fuel independence; its estimated that in 10 years, by 2020, 20% all of Europe’s energy, not just its electricity, will be derived from renewables. What is happening in the United States? Nothing that I’ve heard of or seen. Maybe the government is waiting for a ‘Peak Oil-Pearl Harbor’ type crisis to create a popular mandate for action—as opposed to making plans and choosing an intelligent path while there is more time and opportunity to implement and mass test renewable systems.
The energy transition from one type energy to an alternative, historically, only happens about once per century and does so with momentous consequences.  We will begin to move away from fossil fuels quite rapidly from here on forward. Business, families and individuals who can adapt to the charge and manage risk will gain an advantage with the shrinking energy pie. (See also ‘Survival Manual/1. Disasters/Peak oil and energy crisis’)

The reports:
a)  London, 10 February 2010: UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) study on peak oil was released: “Business calls for urgent action on ‘oil crunch’ threat to UK economy”. A group of leading business people today call for urgent action to prepare the UK for Peak Oil. The second report of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) finds that oil shortages, insecurity of supply and price volatility will destabilize economic, political and social activity potentially by 2015.
b)  March 2010: Telegraph.Co.UK, “Oil reserves ‘exaggerated by one third’. The world’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years. Published: 9:51PM GMT 22 Mar 2010, by Rowena Mason, City Reporter (Energy)
c) March 2010:  heatingoil.com, Kuwait University and Kuwait Oil Company’ Peak Oil report: “Kuwaiti Researchers Predict Peak Oil Production in 2014, Posted by Josh Garrett on March 10, 2010
d)  “A new study published in the Journal Energy & Fuels predicts that world conventional oil production will hit its peak in the year 2014.
e) April 2010: guardian.co.uk, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015” by Terry Macalister. The Shortfall could reach 10 million barrels a day, report says, while the cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel.
“The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
f) June 2010: Guardian.co.uk, news article posted 11 July 2010, “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings”, by Terry Macalister. “Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd’s of London/Chatham House report. One of the City’s most respected institutions has warned of “catastrophic consequences” for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy. The Lloyd’s insurance market and the highly regarded Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, says Britain needs to be ready for “peak oil” and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming. “Companies which are able to take advantage of this new energy reality will increase both their resilience and competitiveness. Failure to do so could lead to expensive and potentially catastrophic consequences,” says the Lloyd’s and Chatham House report “Sustainable energy security: strategic risks and opportunities for business”.
g) August 2010: Spiegal Online International, posted 4 September 2010, “German Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis“, by Stefan Schultz “A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how “peak oil” might change the global economy. The internal draft document — leaked on the Internet — shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.
The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military. The team of authors, led by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Will, uses sometimes-dramatic language to depict the consequences of an irreversible depletion of raw materials. It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the “total collapse of the markets” and of serious political and economic crises.

The news report from Spiegal Online was specific about their study’s socio-economic findings, pointing out that:
•  “Shortages in the supply of vital goods could arise as a result, for example in food supplies.
•  Oil is used directly or indirectly in the production of 95 percent of all industrial goods.
•  Price shocks could therefore be seen in almost any industry and throughout all stages of the industrial supply chain.
•  In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.…
•  (Relapse into planned economy) Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on oil, peak oil could lead to a partial or complete failure of markets. A conceivable alternative would be government rationing and the allocation of important goods or the setting of production schedules and other short-term coercive measures to replace market-based mechanisms in times of crisis….
•  (Global chain reaction)  A restructuring of oil supplies will not be equally possible in all regions before the onset of peak oil. It is likely that a large number of states will not be in a position to make the necessary investments in time, or with sufficient magnitude.
•  If there were economic crashes in some regions of the world, Germany could be affected. Germany would not escape the crises of other countries, because it’s so tightly integrated into the global economy….”
•  The Bundeswehr study also raises fears for the survival of democracy itself. Parts of the population could perceive the upheaval triggered by peak oil “as a general systemic crisis.” This would create “room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government….”

2.  Real Food Price Increases
Another sign of the times and portent for the near future burden of costs falling on household budgets is shown in the New York Times news article dated, 5 August 2010:
•  “MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday banned all exports of grain after millions of acres of Russian wheat withered in a severe drought, driving up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States…Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record-keeping began here more than 130 years ago…Wheat prices have soared by about 90 percent since June because of the drought in Russia and parts of the European Union, as well as floods in Canada, and the ban pushed prices even higher. Exports from Ukraine, another major exporter, are down sharply this year…Before this year’s drought, yields had risen steadily, and Russian grain exports totaled 21.4 million metric tons last year, about 17 percent of the global grain trade.
But on Thursday, rail cars heaped with fresh grain came to a halt around Russia, stopped in mid-journey from the country’s fields to the main exporting ports on the Black Sea. The order covered a variety of grains, including barley and corn, but will have its greatest impact on wheat exports…”
Global food supplies will be tighter and more costly in the last half of 2010 and into 2011. Beyond fall 2011 prices may not return to lower levels, because energy input costs from gasoline, petroleum, fertilizer costs, harvest, packaging and shipping will be tightening with the approach of peak oil.
See at right, the 2007 U.S.A. ‘Grain Stock to Use Ratios’ chart, projected to 2016. Note, that during the decades when the country was at its wealthiest, we had twice the ‘Stock to Use Ratio’ as when the current recession began. Rather than build and maintain reserves during good times, we have depleted reserves.
•  Globally, 2008 saw record lows in global grain stocks. When commodity prices reached their peak, average global grain stocks reached 18.7% of annual global utilization, equivalent to 68 days worth of supply, well below the long-term average.

Where are food prices going?
When combining: 1) globally reduced food stock supply plus, 2) increasing demand from a growing world population; 3) increasingly demand from affluent Asian markets wanting higher quality foods; 4) higher priced agricultural fuel & fertilizer, 5) higher priced packaging, and 6) more expensive transportation costs,m 7) devaluation of the US dollar, it points toward an escalating Real Cost of food across the coming years.

3.  National energy grid at threat from EMP disruption
“Civilization is like a great web upon which all things are connected. Bop one strand of the web and the whole thing jiggles. Perhaps no other country on earth is more enslaved to conventional, fuel burning transportation than the United States. Transportation is the lifeblood of the economy, which would quickly collapse if the means for transporting needed supplies were disrupted in any way. With our just-in-time inventory management system, grocery stores commonly carry only a three-day supply of food. This statistical three-day supply would disappear within a few hours during an emergency situation; a panicked populace would make sure of that.”

EMPact America, Inc. Conference, 8-10 September 2009, Niagara, NY, conference speakers pointed out:
•  “An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is a super energetic radio wave that’s immediately harmless to people, but it’ll burn out all the critical electronic systems that sustain human economic activity and human life across vast areas, including the entire continental United States.” Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, President, EMPact America
•  “It’s not a secret. You can’t do anything about something that’s this broad in impact and still keep it a secret. So in order to get anything done you actually have to acknowledge we have a weakness. And, we worried about the fact that if we acknowledged that we had a weakness, how damaging will that be since we will inform our adversaries. We came to the conclusion that our adversaries are really quite well-informed already.”-Robert Hermann, Commissioner, Congressional EMP Commission
•  “I have believed for a long time that EMP or electromagnetic pulse may be the greatest strategic threat we face, because without adequate preparation its impact would be so horrifying that we would, in fact, basically lose our civilization in a matter of seconds.”-Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives

A)  Solar Flare produced EMP
The magnetic pulses from solar flares can fry microchips and disrupt any electronic devices. A solar flare disrupted primitive electronics such as telegraphs in 1859 and another one occurred in 1989 as well. One of the most serious solar flares took place in 1921 and disrupted communications in the U.S. An EMP from the sun in the 21st century could be devastating and wipe out any system using electricity or microchips.”
In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences produced a report for NASA that confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning that a “great” geomagnetic storm could have catastrophic consequences for modern civilization.  According to the NAS report, if the 1859 Carrington event happened today, it could destroy nationwide the electric grid, collapse the critical infrastructures and take 4-10 years to recover – if recovery is possible at all. In June 2010, the Department of Energy and North American Electric Reliability Corporation released a joint report that, again, confirmed the EMP Commission’s warning about the catastrophic threat from a “great” geomagnetic storm.
So it is incomprehensible why the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Aug. 5 – just days after NOAA warned about the possibility of a severe geomagnetic storm actually striking our planet – would gut H.R. 5026, The Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act, that is designed to protect the United States from the effects of a geomagnetic storm.  H.R. 5026 would protect the national electric grid from “all hazards” – including EMP from geomagnetic storms, nuclear EMP from terrorists or rogue states, cyber threats, sabotage and natural disasters.  H.R. 5026 embodied the recommendations of the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.
The revised H.R. 5026 does nothing to protect the United States from EMP from geomagnetic storms, or nuclear EMP from rogue states and terrorists, from sabotage or from natural disasters.  The Senate gutted H.R. 5026 despite the EMP Commission’s recommendation that protecting the grid against “all hazards” is technologically the best and most cost-effective strategy.  For example, an “all hazards” strategy could mitigate the worst threats to the grid from natural and nuclear EMP and cyber threats for $100 million – and possibly save the lives of millions of Americans.
But the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chose to ignore the EMP Commission, the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy.  Every member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee received a personal appeal from the EMP Commission and other prominent experts to pass H.R. 5026 with its provisions for protecting against EMP and “all hazards” intact – but those appeals were ignored.
Fortunately, Earth dodged the bullet from the August 6, 2010 solar flare.  Fortunately, NOAA’s estimated 10 percent chance of a severe geomagnetic storm did not materialize – this time.  We may not be so lucky next time.

B)  Nuclear EMP attack against the US electrical grid
“Wednesday, 18 August 2010, TVC Special Report: Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons pose a serious and growing threat to our national security. Rogue nations and terrorists are working to develop EMP devices to attack the United States and other developed nations. These include North Korea, Iran and China. Once North Korea and Iran have missiles capable of reaching the U.S., they can use an EMP burst over our nation to destroy us.
1) A high altitude nuclear blast above middle America
A nuclear blast 200 miles above the U.S. could wipe out every electric grid in the country, plunging our nation into darkness. It would literally send our nation back to the 18th century. (A powerful X15+ class solar flare would have the same impact.) An EMP blast from a nuclear bomb would shut down devices, and our vehicles using microchips. Planes would stop flying; banks and hospitals would cease operation; trains would stop running; tractors, trucks and cars would cease working. Elevators would malfunction; subways would stop. All commerce would cease. A blast like this could not only wipe out the electric grid in the U.S., but in Canada and Mexico. The more technologically advanced a nation is, the more vulnerable it is to an EMP attack.
2)  What Can Be Done?
The United States must take seriously the threat posed by EMP attacks. The military has already taken measures to shield its systems from EMP attacks, but little has been done yet to shield our electric grid system from such an attack. This includes banks, water treatment plants, planes, hospitals, schools and any other facility that relies on computers. All of these must be shielded from the potential of an EMP attack or a solar flare.”
3)  If the power ever goes off for an extended period
• 
50% of the people will just sit down and wait for someone to come and help them, and if no one does, they’ll just die. 10% of the people know what to do and do what is needed in a logical way. 5% of the people become extremely dangerous almost immediately.  About 33% of the people  feel that they’re entitled to electric power and when they don’t get it they go nuts and will bring down the social system.
•   James Rawles interview by The Watchmen Radio Station, 3 Sep 2010:
“…If we were to have the onset of an EMP collapse in summertime we’d see a public health crisis very quickly. If it were to happen mid-winter we’d actually see more people dying of exposure, dying of the cold, than we would of dying of disease, especially in the Eastern United States and the North East. It doesn’t take too long a period before blankets are insufficient – people don’t have any alternate source of heat they’ll be freezing to death in large numbers. In a ‘grid down collapse’ that goes on for more than a year, we literally could see a 90% population loss in the big cities, and a 50% population loss in the suburbs and as much as a 40% loss in non-viable rural areas – I’m talking desert regions or other areas where there’s not a lot of agriculture that goes on.”

4.   US Debt:
As of this morning, ~ 4:05AM, Thursday, 9 September 2010, the Outstanding US National Debt is $14,278,946,101,012 dollars—that’s $14.2 trillion dollars and constitutes 93% of the national Gross Domestic Product. With the current US population of 310,383,941 the National Debt comes to $46,004 per person.
The Outstanding US National Debt is the sum of all outstanding debt owed by the Federal Government and includes: Social Security and Federal retirement programs, other trust funds, US Treasury Securities, and Savings Bonds.
Organizations loaning money to the US Government through US Treasuries include: state and local governments; individual investors, including brokers, public and private; pension funds; mutual funds; holders of US savings bonds; insurance companies; banks and credit unions; and foreign investors.

Add the GSE (Freddie/Fannie) debt to that and we are over 18 trillion.
Pile on the unfunded liabilities hidden on the government’s ‘off balance sheet ledgers’ and you will find these figures:  Social Security (14.6 trillion), Prescription Drugs (19.2 trillion), Medicare (76 trillion). You owe, your kids owe, all of us owe about $400,000 each.
Considering the median home price on the east-coast is $205,000.00, you now owe for two homes, in addition to anything that you may owe on your existing home, and it’s at a variable rate loan. In fact, principle and interest are subject to change. This debt is just like some toxic negative amortization pay-what-you-can-add-more-to-principle mortgage.”
http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/d-sherman-okst/mutant-rat-epidemic-spreading-economic-black-plague

Considering our economy (and the World’s too)
The annual US Budget Deficit is about $1.4 trillion. The annual budget deficit is the difference between actual cash collections and budgeted spending (a partial measure of total spending) during a given fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30. In order to get an idea how much $1 trillion is, if you counted one dollar every second, you’d need to count for 31,000 years to go through the $1 trillion pile of dollars. About 31,000 years ago the Neanderthal died off across Europe. Our stone age ancestors were just beginning to make engravings on cave walls.
“The downside to increasing deficits and a rising national debt is that public sector spending “crowds out” more and more private sector investment spending. If you like the idea of Congress and the president playing a growing role in the nation’s allocation of resources, then I suppose that should be of little concern. On the other hand, if you think government leaders are far more likely to make bad investment decisions than are private decision-makers, then crowding out is of considerable concern.
The fallout will not be in the form of an unfair tax increase on our grandchildren when the associated debt is paid off because, it will never be paid off. The fallout will come in an increased drift toward an economy increasingly controlled by the federal government.”
“The debt merry-go-round cannot go on forever. When the average consumer runs out of credit, when the US Treasury itself is no longer considered creditworthy, and when the US dollar is recognized for what it really is, then things will get ugly. If you stop making payments on your car, the banks send a repo man to tow your car away. And when entire nations go in to default, it usually signals cataclysmic events. Be prepared.” James Wesley Rawles in How To Survive the End of the World As We Know It

China Syndrome
Today the United States has become so reliant on the largesse of foreigners that its needs are now larger than all the savings in the Western world. Someday soon, those foreigners will grow cautious about lending to a country with no self-discipline and demand instead higher interest rates to protect them from a depreciating dollar. Or they could, as hinted recently, insist on lending in Euros or Renminbi, currencies that the American government cannot print.
The unprecedented expansion of central bank liabilities, has made China nervous about holding more dollars and China has begun to dump dollars, driving up prices of dollar based hard assets. China is so concerned about America’s dollar inflation that it has reduced its treasury holdings to $776 billion from $801 billion in May. China has also bought more gold as a hedge against the debasement of the dollar.

5.  Then comes hyperinflation – spend it now!
“Hyperinflation is not just an increase in the money supply, after all the central bank increases the money supply all the time, a phenomenon we know as simple inflation and which we come to expect as a constant. Hyperinflation, however, happens when uncertainty in the future worth of the currency causes people to start trading it for things of actual utility and more reliable stores of value as soon as they can, as soon as they’re paid. The velocity of paper money moving through the system increases as people seek to get rid of it.
So hyperinflation isn’t just the expansion of the monetary base, though the expansion is at the root. The expansion is fuel, but the conflagration doesn’t start till the herd panics.
Hyperinflation takes off when the entire population gets wise. The money supply might have been growing in fits and spurts for decades, but the hyperinflationary storm happens when that money really starts to move around as people try to get rid of it. The prices of useful goods get bid up to mind boggling levels. The process accelerates when governments try to stabilize markets…often by adding more paper…because honestly, what else can a government do? Mismanagement and fraud are the only things governments really get right consistently. So, for the government, a problem that’s caused by the theft of inflation can only be solved by…more mismanagement and fraud. The entire process is self-reinforcing and results in the hyperinflationary death spiral to which all currency is heir.

Common threads during a Hyperinflation:
•   Early on, leaders see their popularity wilt when public anger over spending increased.
•   The banking system soon becomes an instrument of the government.
•   The printing of money becomes a priority, the hyperinflation may come in two waves   separated by a short, slower inflationary period.
•    The government may increase minimum wages by 75 percent.
•   Up to 80 percent of the population may become unemployed.
•   Living standards may fall 35-40 percent.
•   Some stores may sell goods in a reputable foreign currency.

When it’s all said and done, realize this:
Industrial society is built on, 1) a foundation of an organized social structure with feedback loops, 2) an  interdependent infrastructure of transportation, homes and utilities,  3) and a massive, energy driven commodity flow that processes materials from the mine, timber and field to operate; diminish any link and the size of the system must shrink, break any link and the system collapses.


Things to keep in mind:
•   Where ever you live– the greater the population density of your community and surrounding communities, the greater the resource requirements are, and the faster the breakdown will occur when the supply infrastructure (money, food, water, electricity, auto gas, etc.) is stopped.
•   Once the Welfare and Medicare checks stop ‘the poor will take care of their own family’ by taking from the people with an apparent wealth of material goods, people who are perceived to be their oppressors anyway.
•   Once you lose that sense of community, it’s basically every man for himself.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

After peak oil

(Survival manual/2. Social issues/After peak oil)

Topics:
1.  Peak Oil facts
2. When the lights go out
3. Depletion of key resources
4. Peak oil info and strategies
5. Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
6. Cities, Peak Oil and Sustainability
7. Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression

Prologue
Oil is the fuel that enabled the growth of modern civilization, and all industrialized countries now rely on it to an extraordinary extent.
Oil provides 40 percent of all primary energy, and 90 percent of our transportation energy.
It is furthermore critical to industrial agriculture, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, much of the clothing industry, and a vast array of others.
The physical and chemical versatility of oil, combined with its high energy density, are such that no other known energy source can serve as a full or even adequate substitute. In short, oil is the lifeblood of the industrial world.

Once peak oil hits, economic growth will  be gone. Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. What has been economic growth may be replaced with economic  decline.

 .
1.  Peak Oil Facts & What They Mean to You


Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>
The peak oil facts are undisputed despite the raging debate over when it will actually occur. This page summarizes peak oil theory, facts and what it all means to you…
•  Undisputed facts about peak oil
•  Peak oil: taking the facts one step further
•  Projections about peak oil’s timing
•  Boiling it all down & next steps

Undisputed Peak Oil Facts
There are widely opposing viewpoints about peak oil. When will it happen? How much oil is left? How will renewable energy reduce its demand? What will be the impact to the national and global economy?

Before you can consider these questions, their implications and what they mean to you, you must first establish a foundation of the undisputed peak oil facts accepted by all viewpoints…

Fact #1 of 11 Peak Oil Facts:
Oil is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it can’t be reproduced for use by humans (it is made over millions of years). In other words, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Fact #2: Peak oil occurs and can be confirmed when the rate at which oil is taken from the ground worldwide hits its high point and starts to decline.

Fact #3: There are a finite number of oil reserves on the planet. Regardless of technological advancements that allow us to find and extract what’s there, eventually existing reserves will be depleted and there will be no more oil to find.

Fact  #4: All individual oil fields (and therefore all nations’ and the planet’s oil production) inevitably peak, decline and are depleted. For example, the United States reached peak oil production in the 1970’s which has been in decline ever since.

Fact #5: One or both of two things must occur after peak oil is reached and the decline in oil production continues:
•  The price of oil will go up
•  The demand for oil will go down

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: Canadian Tar Sands
Canada has about 178 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (2nd only to Saudi Arabia), over 95% of which are in the form of oil sand deposits. If it could be easily extracted, it would still only add about another 5- 1/2 years to the world’s oil supply at the current rate of consumption. However…
The amount of oil able to be extracted per day from tar sands: About 3.5 million barrels or roughly 4% of the world’s daily consumption

__Environmental impact of tar sand oil extraction:
•  By 2012, the Canadian tar sands operations are expected to  use as much gas as is needed to heat all of the homes in Canada.
•  Extracting oil from tar sands causes as much as 3 times the greenhouse gas pollution as a regular barrel of oil.
•  Canadian tar sands production methods do not comply with many U.S. environmental laws.
In either  case, all but the wealthiest individuals must reduce their dependence on oil as the price increases.

Fact  #6: Our current prevailing culture is utterly dependent on oil.Oil makes the modern world tick… not only does it fuel our cars, trucks, trains, boats and planes but it is used to produce the materials they are made up of.

It’s also extensively used during every step of the food process up to the point that the food enters your mouth… oil’s products are used to plant seeds, fertilize crops, kill bugs and weeds, harvest crops (which are also fed to the animals we eat) and to preserve, package, ship and refrigerate our food. Fully one-fifth of the United States’ oil consumption is used to produce and transport our food.

Oil is also used directly or indirectly to create the utensils, plates, pots, pans, counters, stoves, dinner tables and chairs that we use when cooking and eating…not to mention part of the electricity used to cook our food and to keep the lights on while we eat.
Rather use candles? Most are made of paraffin wax which is made from refined oil.
Countless oil-derived products are used in our everyday lives. See some common examples in the table above:

Fact  #7: Demand for oil is overtaking the speed at which we can produce it, regardless of peak oil’s timing, which will ultimately prevent oil prices from falling.
If demand continues on the same long-term trajectory — which appears to be the case outside of intermittent fluctuations caused by economic factors — there is no end in sight to rising oil prices.
The 2008 “Great Recession” caused a reduction in the demand of oil which caused its price to drop, but oil’s price must resume its increases for two main reasons:
1)  As illustrated in Fact #6 above and Fact #8 below, oil is used in too many aspects of our lives for us to reduce our consumption past a certain point and there is not enough energy available from alternative sources to make up for a significant shortfall.
2)  If oil’s demand drops for a long enough period of time, either production will slow down and bring prices back in line or production will continue at its current pace thus getting us closer to depleting the world’s oil (and therefore reducing oil’s supply which will eventually bringing its price back up). At best, reduction in the demand of oil would only serve to push back the timing of peak oil.
For a case in point about our world’s unquenchable and growing thirst for oil, consider that the United States and its 311 million citizens currently consume about 25% of the world’s oil and increase their demand every year.

__Chinese Oil Flow
China, the most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion citizens, currently consumes 9% of the world’s oil. It is increasing its oil consumption at a rate of 7.5% per year, 7 times faster than the U.S.
According to the International Energy Agency, by 2030 world energy demand will be 40% higher than it was in 2007: “Price volatility will continue, but the days of cheap energy are over.”

The United States Joint Forces Command concludes, “Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.”

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: New Oil Discoveries
The 10 largest oil discoveries from 2000 – 2010 combined (including Brazil’s 2010 discoveries) amount to about 48 billion barrels.
•  The world’s 2010 oil consumption per day was 87.4 million barrels
•  Number of days these combined discoveries will last at current rate of consumption: 549 (about 1.5 years)
In a typical economic scenario, when a  price point gets too high consumers simply shift their buying over to another good or service. But what happens when our infrastructure, products and services
don’t have a viable replacement?

Fact  #8: On the global scale, renewable energy sources and non-conventional oil will come nowhere close to offsetting our dependence on oil through 2030 and beyond.
According to United States Joint Forces Command, even taking into account all other available energy sources, oil will still need to satisfy the majority of our energy needs through 2030.
ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, agrees: “80% of global energy needs through 2030 will continue to be met by oil, natural gas and coal.”

Fact #9: Everyone will eventually be forced to reduce their consumption of oil and its byproducts. Whether oil price increases make it unaffordable or government policy requires less consumption, as oil production continues to decline every single person will be affected at some point.

__Energy Per Barrel: Pros & Cons
One barrel of oil is equivalent to about 25,000 hours of human labor. Assuming weekends off, no vacation time and a 40 hour work week, that’s equivalent to over 12 years of work from one person.
That much work packed into one barrel of oil has enabled humans to accomplish amazing feats, ultimately allowing us to grow our global population 575% since 1857 when the first large oil refinery was built. That’s a growth of 5.8 billion people over the last 150 years compared to 1.2 billion over the previous 2,000. What happens as that amazing energy source starts to go away?

Fact  #10: Those people that have permanently adopted the use of less oil-dependent products, services, forms of energy and lifestyles will be less affected as the availability of oil declines and its price increases.

Fact  #11:  On the individual level, reducing dependence on oil is affordable and requires only minor changes to lifestyle. There are hundreds of ways to reduce your dependence on oil and the other finitely-available fossil fuels, many of which are either completely free or very affordable.
For example, replacing just one incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb and always turning it off when it’s not in use can save up to $75 or more per year (this is after taking the higher cost of the fluorescent bulb into account). And that’s just the very tip of the energy-saving, oil-dependence-reducing iceberg.

More on what can be done on the individual level in a moment. First, let’s discuss how these peak oil facts will affect the oil-dependent…

Taking the Peak Oil Facts One Step Further & What it Means to You
As  illustrated above, oil is intimately connected to almost every aspect our culture. So what happens when the price of oil increases? History has shown the following three effects:

1)  Inflation goes up proportionately. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), “inflation, measured by the rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI), tracks movements in the world oil price.”
What this means to you: A little inflation is a good thing. By encouraging people to outpace it, low inflation (as opposed to 0% inflation or deflation) leads to additional investing and borrowing thereby creating jobs, additional spending and an improved economy.
But rising inflation is bad for several reasons. In general, it means that the money you earn today (or saved in the past) will not buy you as much tomorrow… especially if your employer’s pay raises don’t keep up. For example, a 5% pay raise alongside 2% inflation means that you’ll be able to buy 3% more stuff with your money than you could previously. But that same 5% pay raise alongside 10% inflation has the opposite effect: a reduced standard of living.
It’s also bad news for retirement accounts since higher inflation makes it more difficult for your investments to outpace it, ultimately leaving you with a difficult decision: make riskier investments in an attempt to outpace higher inflation or remain in safer investments and watch your money lose value.
Higher inflation also leads to higher interest rates which makes borrowing money more expensive.

2)  The price of oil-dependent goods and services increases. Not surprisingly, when the cost of a good or service’s underlying expenses go up, the price of those goods and services must go up as well.
What this means to you: Every oil-dependent product or service that you currently use will go up in price. In general, the more oil that a product or service uses, the more dramatic its price increase will be.
For example, the price of corn keeps pace with the price of oil since so much oil is used in its production and because ethanol, an alternative energy source, is made from corn. Organic crops, on the other hand, use much less oil and are therefore less affected.

3)  Recession occurs. The DoE also points out that since the 1970s there have been “dramatic changes in GDP growth as the world oil price has undergone dramatic change.”11 More explicitly, as the price of oil and inflation (CPI’s rate of increase) go up, the economy goes down.
What this means to you: Recessions cause obvious hardships… unemployment rises, employer pay falls or remains stagnant, housing prices fall and inflation becomes more painful.

To recap what we’ve established so far…

1)  Oil will eventually run out. As it does, the price will continue to go up.
2) If demand outpaces supply before oil runs out, the price will go up in a similar fashion since oil is unique in its energy-producing capacity and because…
3) On a global scale, oil will be still be required to provide as much as 80% of our energy needs by 2030; there will not be enough power available from alternative sources to reduce our projected dependence on oil much below this.
4) On an individual scale, reducing oil dependence is relatively easy and affordable.
Before getting into ways to reduce our individual oil dependence, the next question should be obvious: when will peak oil – or the time when demand outstrips supply – occur? In other words, how much time do we have?

Boiling down the Peak Oil Facts & Next Steps
Oil is going away eventually for all of us – either because we’ll use it all up or because it will become too expensive as its demand outstrips its supply.

Rising oil prices will cause a severe and compounding downward spiral in a world that is dramatically underprepared with alternative energy sources; The inevitable oil-induced inflation increases, the higher cost of oil-dependent goods and services and an ongoing recession that is in lock-step with rising oil prices will eat away at more and more of our paychecks and savings.

When evaluating predictions from the US and international governments to the largest oil companies to organizations specifically focused on analyzing the data, it appears that if the scales have not tipped already, at the latest they will have by the time our babies are out of college.

This all may come as a shock. (Why hasn’t the media at-large assembled and communicated the research and opinions? Why isn’t the government acting more aggressively on the opinions of the organizations that they themselves have charged with compiling the research?)

Regardless of who’s right about the timing or how quickly the data will make its way into the minds of the masses, the peak oil facts should leave you asking three important questions first over all others:
1) When (not if) oil peaks or its demand outstrips its supply, how will the rising cost of oil affect you and your family?
2) What is the worst thing that can happen by beginning a transition to a less oil- and fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle? (Here’s part of the answer: it will permanently reduce your expenses, freeing your money up for use elsewhere)
c) What can you do now to begin the transition?
Fortunately, the transition –- and where it leads — is neither all that bad nor expensive.
Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>

First, about 2008-2010, global oil use per capita (purple bell curve on bottom) is seen just beginning to decline from its peak plateau. It’s use per capita declines at a rate of about 20% per decade so that in 50-60 years there is very little being used

Coal quickly peaks after oil and by 2025, it too is in decline.

The Human population has exploded as a result of the energy bonanza provided by petroleum and coal and their generation of electricity, resource extraction and transportation. The population numbers steeply declines when the free lunch diminishes.
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2.  When the Lights Go Out

When the Lights Go Out
10 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=590&Itemid=1>

When fossil fuels begin to vanish, the first sign of the times will not be made of cardboard and propped up in front of an empty gas pump. The sign will be the flickering bulb in the ceiling, because electricity is always the weakest link in the synergistic triad that includes fossil fuels and metals.

When the lights go out, so does everything else. The house or apartment will be largely non-functioning. Not only will there be darkness throughout the dwelling between sunset and sunrise, but all the sockets in the wall will be useless. The “four major appliances,” stove, refrigerator, washer, and drier, will be nothing more than large white objects taking up space, so there will be no means of cooking food or preserving it, and no means of doing laundry. There will be no heating or air-conditioning, because these are either controlled by electricity or entirely powered by it. For the same reason, there will be no plumbing, so clean water will not be coming into the house, and waste water will not be leaving it.

And that is only one’s own habitation. The entire country will be affected, the whole world will be affected. Computers will cease to operate, and computers have insinuated themselves into almost every device we use. There will be no long-distance communication: no telephones, no Internet, no transmission of data from anywhere to anywhere.

Money will largely cease to exist, because there will be no electronic means of sending or receiving it, and no way of balancing accounts. In fact money nowadays is not reckoned as coins or bills, but as data on a screen, and the data will no longer be there. All bank accounts will cease to exist.

Modern medicine will vanish. Doctors will have almost no means of taking care of their patients. Hospitals will be burdened with the sick and dying, and there will be no means of taking care of them. There will not even be a means of removing and burying the dead.

The police will be immobilized, because they will have no means of sending or receiving information. Since police forces anywhere have only enough personnel to deal with normal crises, it will not take long for officers to realize that they are powerless to do anything, but stay home and protect their own families.

For anyone, it will be impossible to jump into a car and get help, because cars require gasoline, and the gas pumps are run by electricity. In any case, the oil wells and the refineries will have ceased operation. The biggest “vicious circle” will have taken place: no electricity means no fossil fuels, and no fossil fuels means no electricity.

For a while, people will try to get by with emergency devices and equipment. Backup generators can save lives for a while, but those generators are not meant to be running for more than a few weeks, because they themselves require fuel. On a more primitive level there will be battery-powered devices, and even simple oil lamps and candles, but these will not last very long.

“When the lights go out” is mainly a synecdoche, of course, because the incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs in a house will not be the major concern: in the daylight hours, one does not need light bulbs. But the flickering of bulbs will nevertheless act as an early-warning system, the canary in the coal mine. During a severe storm, it is the flickering of light bulbs that indicates that it is time to get to whatever emergency supplies have been put aside: bottled water, canned food, and in winter warm clothing. The unsolved problem, however, may be that the concept of “emergency” is usually regarded in terms of a short period of time. There is always the spoken or silent refrain of “until the authorities arrive.” But those authorities will be waiting for other authorities to arrive, and so on ad absurdum.

On a more optimistic note, nevertheless, it must be said that there is a great deal that can be done. Of all the resources one can accumulate, the most important are those that are stored inside one’s own head: knowledge, skills, wisdom. “Knowledge” is perhaps not the right word, though, because to have read or heard a particular fact does not automatically grant the ability to deal with particular issues.

Even more important than mere “knowledge” is practice. For example, I used to read a great many books on vegetable gardening, but when I owned and ran a market garden for several years I was constantly mumbling, “Why isn’t this information in the books?” And there were several answers to that question. In the first place, the books were badly written. Secondly, it is not the overall principles that count, but the minutiae. Thirdly, those particulars often cannot be put into writing or even into speech: “I can’t explain it, I can only show you” is an expression I often heard. A good gardener knows a thousand tiny tricks that lead to success, and it is those particulars that matter, not the general statement that one does not sprinkle seed in a snowstorm.

The skills needed for country living are rarely the same as those needed in the city, although anyone who has built up experience in what the books call “home repair and improvement” will be ahead of those whose knowledge consists of more ethereal matters. Hunting and fishing are not taught in academia.

When I say, “When the lights go out, so does everything else,” I mean “everything in the city.” What matters is not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Living in the city will certainly be a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. There will be no food and no water, and no mans of dealing with the victims of famine and disease. When there is an inkling that the light bulbs everywhere are about to fail, the answer is to be well outside the city limits. One should either be living in the country or at least have some property in the country and a well-tested means of getting there.

Even a plan of that sort, however, involves a few caveats. “Property” in the modern world is nothing more than a convenient legal fiction. If a gang of outlaws moves in next door, or even if there is a single oppressive neighbor to be dealt with, then the whole concept of “property” can vanish into thin air. I have known several cases in which people gave up house and land because they could not deal with troublemakers. What will it be like when the troublemakers are doing something more unpleasant than a little trespassing? So it is good to own property, but it is better to realize that ownership, in the modern sense of the word, might be nothing more than a scrap of paper.

Getting out of the city means knowing the roads ― not the main highways, but the back roads. In an emergency of any duration, the main roads become jammed, partly because of the volume of traffic but also because of accidents. In more severe situations, vehicles will even be abandoned, either because they are out of gas or because the passengers have discovered that it is quicker to walk. Knowing the back roads, and even knowing alternative routes among those back roads, means freedom of choice in one’s movements.

The last matter is that of community. As mentioned above, the concept of property can be illusive, but there is more to consider in the question of who lives in the general area. Neighbors who take pleasure in noisy dogs, loud radios, or heavy drinking can make proximity unpleasant nowadays, but such people may not prevail in the kind of “natural selection” that will take place, where common decency will be everyone’s concern. In any case, the greatest blessing of the post-petroleum age will be the demise of all-terrain vehicles, electronic amplifiers, and the other technological marvels with which people now ruin one another’s enjoyment of “cottage country.”

Even then, the trouble of having a neighbor may be less than the trouble of not having one. It has often been said, correctly, that in reality the loner will not survive. If such a person is the hero of a Hollywood movie, it is only for the sake of a story, for the vicarious excitement of defying the odds. No one can stay awake for a month, cradled in a corner with a gun. Without a family, a band, a tribe, there will be no means of distributing the tasks to be done.

It is not reasonable to expect a perfect neighborhood. Within the happiest band of jungle-dwellers there is gossip, discontent, jealousy, manipulation. Troubles and troublemakers can be dealt with in such a way that the community itself does not fall apart. In a primitive community, ostracism, for example, can be an effective means of resolving a problem. A community leader who lacks what we now call “managerial skills” can be replaced by one who does a better job. It is largely a myth to say that country people are nicer than city people; in any setting, neighbors are merely human, with common desires and antipathies and fears. What is important is not to wish for angelic neighbors but to have enough daily contact with them to anticipate how they will respond in a difficult situation.

When the lights go out, so does everything else, but that is not entirely true for those who are far from the city. Living out in the country when the lights go out means getting a better look at the stars.
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=590&Itemid=1>
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3.  Depletion of Key Resources
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Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips
27 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild
<http://www.culturechange.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=597&Itemid=1&gt;

The author presents a definitive essay. Learn why,
•  “Those who expect to get by with ‘victory gardens’ are unaware of the arithmetic involved.”
•  “There are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture.”
•  “To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need… a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.”
•  “In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? “

 Modern industrial society is based on a triad of hydrocarbons, metals, and electricity.
The three are intricately connected; each is accessible only if the other two are present. Electricity, for example, can be generated on a global scale only with hydrocarbons. The same dependence on hydrocarbons is true of metals; in fact the better types of ore are now becoming depleted, while those that remain can be processed only with modern machinery and require more hydrocarbons for smelting. In turn, without metals and electricity there would be no means of extracting and processing hydrocarbons. Of the three members of the triad, electricity is the most fragile, and its failure serves as an early warning of trouble with the other two.

Often the interactions of this triad are hiding in plain sight. Global production of steel, for example, requires 420 million tons of coke (from coal) annually, as well as other hydrocarbons adding up to an equivalent of another 100 million tons. To maintain industrial society, the production of steel cannot be curtailed: there are no “green” materials for the construction of skyscrapers, large bridges, automobiles, machinery, or tools. But the interconnections among fossil fuels, metals, and electricity are innumerable.

As each of the three members of the triad threatens to break down, we are looking at a society that is far more primitive than the one to which we have been accustomed.

The ascent and descent of oil production are those of the famous promontory known as Hubbert’s curve. The back side of the mountain probably does not greatly resemble the front. It is likely that the descent will be rather steep, again because of synergistic factors. As oil declines, more energy and money must be devoted to getting the less-accessible and lower-quality oil out of the ground. In turn, as more energy and money are devoted to oil production, the production of metals and electricity becomes more difficult. One problem feeds on another. The issue can also be described in terms of sheer money: when oil production costs about 4.5 percent of the economy, the latter begins a downward spiral.

There is a final piece of ill luck that occurs after the peak. When individual countries such as the USA begin to run out of domestic oil, depletion can be mitigated by the importation of oil from other countries, so the descent is not as troublesome as it might have been. When the entire planet begins to run out of oil, however, there will be nowhere to turn in order to make up the difference. We cannot get oil from outer space.

Global Energy per Capita
Global consumption of energy for the year 2005 was about 500 exajoules (EJ), most of which was supplied by fossil fuels. This annual consumption of energy can also be expressed in terms of billion barrels of oil equivalent. What is more important in terms of the effects on daily human life, though, is not consumption in an absolute sense, but consumption per capita, which reached what Richard C. Duncan calls a “rough plateau” in 1979.

Use of electricity worldwide rose by 70 percent from 1990 to 2008 [1]. This means an increase per capita of 41 percent. Since global energy per capita is not increasing significantly, there may come a point at which there is insufficient energy to prevent widespread brownouts and rolling blackouts [6, 7].

Fossil Fuels
The entire world’s economy is based on oil and other fossil fuels. These provide fuel, lubricants, asphalt, paint, plastics, fertilizer, and many other products. In 1850, before commercial production began, there were about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the ground. By about the year 2010, half of that oil had been
consumed, so about 1 trillion barrels remain. At the moment about 30 billion barrels of oil are consumed annually, and that is probably close to the maximum that will ever be possible. By the year 2030, some analysts say, oil production will be down to about half of that amount. [Editor’s note: we must consider the factor of oil-industry inflexibility to contract and to maintain extraction if collapse has already hit the economy.]

A vast amount of debate has gone on about “peak oil,” the date at which the world’s annual oil production will reach (or did reach) its maximum and will begin (or did begin) to decline. The exact numbers are unobtainable, mainly because oil-producing countries give rather inexact figures on their remaining supplies. The situation can perhaps be summarized by saying that many studies have been done, and that the consensus is that the peak is somewhere between the years 2000 and 2020. Within that period, a middle date seems rather more likely. Among the many who have contributed to that debate are Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Colin J. Campbell, Jean Laherrère, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, and Matthew R. Simmons, and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil has done its own appraisals.

The quest for the date of peak oil is somewhat of a red herring. In terms of daily life, what is more important is not peak oil in the absolute sense, but peak oil per capita. The date of the latter was 1979, when there were 5.5 barrels of oil per person annually, as opposed to 4.5 in 2007. This per-capita date of 1979 for oil consumption is the same as that noted above for per-capita consumption of energy in general.

Coal and natural gas are also disappearing. Coal will be available for a while after oil is gone, although previous reports of its abundance in the US were highly exaggerated. Coal is highly polluting and cannot be used as a fuel for most forms of transportation. Natural gas is not easily transported, and it is not suitable for most equipment.

Solar Power
The world’s deserts have an area of 36 million km2, and the solar energy they receive annually is 300,000 EJ, which at a typical 11-percent electrical-conversion rate would result in 33,000 EJ.

(EJ=exajoule;  1 EJ = 1018 joules.
Electrically, one joule is the work required to produce one watt of electric power for one second. Mechanically , one joule is the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter.  [The United  States uses  roughly 94 exojoules per year, so 1 exojoule is about 1% of the US energy needs.]

As noted above, annual global energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 500 EJ. To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need  an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) with a size of 500/33,000 x 36 million km2, which is about 550,000 km2 — a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.

Minerals Other than Petroleum
Depletion of other minerals on a global scale is somewhat difficult to determine, partly because recycling complicates the issues, partly because trade goes on in all directions, and partly because one material can sometimes be replaced by another. Figures from the US Geological Survey indicate that within the US most types of minerals and other nonrenewable resources are well past their peak dates of production. Besides oil, these include bauxite (peaking in 1943), copper (1998), iron ore (1951),
magnesium (1966), phosphate rock (1980), potash (1967), rare earth metals (1984), tin (1945), titanium (1964), and zinc (1969). The depletion of these resources continues swiftly in spite of recycling.

In the past it was iron ores such as natural hematite (Fe2O3) that were being mined. For thousands of years, also, tools were produced by melting down bog iron, mainly goethite, FeO(OH), in clay cylinders only a meter or so in height. Modern mining must rely more heavily on taconite, a flint-like ore containing less than 30 percent magnetite and hematite.

Iron ore of the sort that can be processed with primitive equipment is becoming scarce, in other words, and only the less-tractable forms such as taconite will be available when the oil-powered machinery has disappeared — a chicken-and-egg problem. To put it more bluntly: with the types of iron ore used in the past, a fair proportion of the human race would have been able to survive; in the post-industrial world, with only taconite, it will not.

Grain
Annual world production of grain per capita peaked in 1984 at 342 kg. For years production has not met demand, so carryover stocks must fill the gap, now leaving less than 2 months’ supply as a buffer.
Rising temperatures and falling water tables are causing havoc in grain harvests everywhere, but the biggest dent is caused by the bio-fuel industry, which is growing at over 20 percent per year. In 2007, 88 million tons of US corn, a quarter of the entire US harvest, was turned into automotive fuel.

Water
The production rate of fresh water is declining everywhere. According to the UN’s Global Environment Outlook 4, “by 2025, about 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under conditions of water stress ― the threshold for meeting the water requirements for agriculture, industry, domestic purposes, energy and the environment. . . .”

Arable Land
[While reading this section, remember that 1 acre is about the area as a football field and that 2.5 acres is the area of 1 hectare]
With “low technology,” i.e. technology that does not use fossil fuels, crop yields diminish considerably. The production of so-called field or grain corn (maize) without irrigation or mechanized agriculture is only about 2,000 kilograms per hectare (10,000 m2), about a third of the yield that a farmer would get with modern machinery and chemical fertilizer.

Yields for corn provide a handy baseline for other studies of population and food supply. More specifically, corn is one of the most useful grains for supporting human life; the native people of the Americas lived on it for thousands of years. Corn is high-yielding and needs little in the way of equipment, and the more ancient varieties are largely trouble-free in terms of diseases, pests, and soil depletion.

[A hard-working (i.e. farming) adult burns about 2 million kilocalories (“calories”) per year. The food energy from a2.5 acres of corn is about 7 million kilocalories. Under primitive conditions, then, 2.5 acres of corn would support only 3 or 4 people. [2.5 acre or about an area about 208 ft x 520 ft – lfp]

Even those figures are rather idealistic. We are assuming that people will follow a largely vegetarian diet; if not, they will need even more land. We also need to allow for fallow land, cover crops, and green manure, for inevitable inequities in distribution, and for other uses of the land. On a global scale a far more realistic ratio would be 2 people to each 2.5 acres of arable land. [Or about 1 person/1.25 acre just for food]

The average American house lot is about 900 square yards, i.e. less than a tenth of a hectare, including the land the house is sitting on. Those who expect to get by with “victory gardens” are unaware of the arithmetic involved.

In the entire world there are 15,749,300 square yards of arable land. This is 11 percent of the world’s total land area. The present world population is about 6,900,000,000. Dividing the figure for population by that for arable land, we see that there are 438 people per km2 of arable land. On a smaller scale that means about 4 people per hectare. Less than a third of the world’s 200-odd countries are actually within that ratio.
In other words, there are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture. [Currently, with fossil fuels, fertilizer and mechanized farming, there are globally, 4 people receiving food from each hectare arable land. Without fossil fuel inputs, ie no gas/oil, no fertilizer, and without modern farm mechanization, global arable land will only support 2 people/hectare – lfp]

The UK, for example, has a population-to-arable ratio of slightly more than 10 people per hectare (2.5 acres or 2.5 football fields]. What exactly is going to happen to the 8 people who will not fit onto the hectare? But many countries have far worse ratios.

Population
The world’s population grew from about 1.6 billion in 1900, to about 2.5 in 1950, to about 6.1 billion in 2000 and in  Nov 2011 has become 7 billion. It has often been said that without fossil fuels the population must drop to about 2 or 3 billion. The above figures on arable land indicate that in terms of agriculture alone we would be able to accommodate only about half the present number of people.

Another calculation about future population can be made by looking more closely at Hubbert’s curve. The rapid increase in population over the last hundred years is not merely coincident with the rapid increase in oil production. It is the latter that has actually allowed the former: that is to say, oil has been the main source of energy within industrial society. It is only with abundant oil that a large population is possible. It was industrialization, improved agriculture, improved medicine, the expansion of humanity into the Americas, and so on, that first created the modern rise in population, but it was oil in particular that made it possible for human population to grow as fast as it has been doing. It is not only fossil fuels that form a bell curve: there is also a bell curve for human population.

Of course, this calculation of population on the basis of oil is largely the converse of the calculation on the basis of arable land, since in industrial society the amount of farm production is mainly a reflection of the amount of available oil.

If we look further into the future, we see an even smaller number for human population, still using previous ratios of oil to population as the basis for our figures. But the world a hundred years from now might not be a mirror image of the world of a hundred years in the past. The general depletion of resources could cause such damage to the structure of society that government, education, and intricate division of labor no longer exist. In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? Even then we have not factored in war, epidemics, and other aspects of social breakdown. The figure of 1 to 3 billion may be wildly optimistic.

Looking Forward
A great deal of silliness goes on in the name of preparing for the future. Global collapse should not been seen in terms of middle-class country elegance. At present there are no “transition towns” that acquire food, clothing, or shelter without large quantities of fossil fuels somewhere in the background. The post-oil world will be much grimmer than most people imagine, and that is partly because they are not looking at the big picture. Hydrocarbons are the entire substructure of modern society. The usual concept of “transition towns” evades the sheer enormity of the problems.

Whatever a “transition” polity might be, it most certainly will not be a city or town. Those who are living at the end of all the bell curves will prosper only if they are far from anything resembling an urban or suburban area. It has always been possible for small rural communities to live close to the land, somewhat avoiding the use of fossil fuels, metals, and electricity, but modern large centers of population are founded on the premise of an abundance of all three. Urban areas, in fact, will be experiencing the worst of each form of depletion described above.

In view of the general unpopularity of family-planning policies, it can only be said euphemistically that nature will decide the outcome. Even if his words owe as much to observation of the stages of collapse as to divine inspiration, it is St. John’s ‘Four Horsemen’ of war, famine, plague, and death who will characterize the future of the industrial world. Nor can we expect people to be overly concerned about good manners: although there are too many variables for civil strife to be entirely predictable, if we look at accounts of large-scale disasters of the past, ranging from the financial to the meteorological, we can see that there is a point at which the looting and lynching begin. The survivors of industrial society will have to distance themselves from the carnage.

The need for a successful community to be far removed from urban areas is also a matter of access to the natural resources that will remain. With primitive technology, it takes a great deal of land to support human life. What may look like a long stretch of empty wilderness is certainly not empty to the people who are out there picking blueberries or catching fish. That emptiness is not a prerogative or luxury of the summer vacationer. It is an essential ratio of the human world to the non-human.
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4.  Peak Oil Info and Strategies
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Peak Oil Info and Strategies
<http://www.oildecline.com/page2.htm
The world is not running out of oil itself, but rather its ability to produce high-quality cheap and economically extractable oil on demand. After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject by the most widely respected & rational scientists, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil is reaching the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by Peak Oil. With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin a permanent & irreversible decline. The Stone Age did not end because of the lack of stones, and the Oil Age won’t end because of lack of oil. The issue is lack of further growth, followed by gradual, then steep decline. Dr King Hubbert correctly predicted peaking of USA oil production in the 1970’s on this basis.

We have taken our lifestyles and the cheap & abundant supply of oil all for granted. We expect the pumps will run to supply us with fuel to drive our SUV’s to run around town, work and school and we cannot accept an alternate future. But when oil becomes more scarce, it is very likely that these pumps will be the first to run dry, because they are at the end of the supply chain. But implications will be much worse than that.

It is not a question if but when the world economy will be confronted with a major shock that will stunt economic growth, increase inflation, and potentially destabilize the Middle East. It will make the Great Second Depression look like a dress rehearsal and may change the world as we know it today.

It is a coming crisis that few understand, but with far reaching implications. Nations will fight over the remaining oil. Without hydrocarbons, this planet can only produce enough food to sustain a population of 2.5 billion. The current world population is in excess of 7 billion and growing (UN projection: 7.3 billion by 2050). In the US, without industrial agriculture, it is estimated that only 2/3’s of the current population can be fed (D. Preiffer). Fossil fuels effectively temporarily raised the carrying capacity of the earth.
__A.  Peak Oil Imminent
While there is no agreement yet on the exact date that world oil production will peak, the degree of consensus among them is quite remarkable. Out of 21 studies, the statistical mean date is 2013 (excluding some of the biased oil company estimates), suggesting that the world may be facing shortfalls much sooner than expected.
Recently, CNN and Britain’s Independent also point out the reality of Peak Oil, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted.

__B. The fallacy of Alternatives
The public, business leaders and politicians are all under the false assumption that oil depletion is a straightforward engineering problem of exactly the kind that technology and human ingenuity have so successfully solved before. Technology itself has become a kind of supernatural force, although in reality it is just the hardware and programming for running that fuel, and governed by the basic laws of physics and thermodynamics. Much of our existing technology simply won’t work without an abundant underlying fossil fuel base. In addition, physicist Jonathan Huebner has concluded in The History of Science and Technology that the rate of innovation in the US peaked in 1873, and the current rate of innovation is about the same as it was in 1600.
According to Huebner, by 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages. Hence, without sufficient innovation and a comfortable surplus of fossil fuels, we may simply lack the tools to move forward.

With this energy base dwindling, there is simply not enough time to replace a fluid so cheap, abundant and versatile. It is rich in energy, easy to use, store, and transport. Nothing has the bang for the buck of oil, and nothing can replace it in time – either separately or in combination. Wind, waves and other renewables are all pretty marginal and also take a lot of energy to construct and require a petroleum platform to work off.
•  Natural gas is a diminishing resource as well and cannot satisfy the growing demand for energy. US Gas supplies were so low in 2003 after a harsh winter that to preserve life and property supplies were close to being cut off to manufacturers, electric plants and lastly homes.
•  Ethanol has a net energy value of zero (not accounting for soil and water damage and other costs due to unsustainable agricultural practices) – it is subsidized as a boon to agribusiness and would have a negligible effect (Prindle, ACEEE).
•  Solar energy produces marginal net energy, but are still decades away at best from being a viable substitute given the recent rate of progress in efficiency and costs (averaging about five percent a year) and is nowhere ready to meet the world’s energy needs. More importantly, solar photovoltaic cells (PVC) are built from hydrocarbon feed stocks and therefore require excess resources. It is estimated that a global solar energy system would take a century to build and would consume a major portion of world iron production (Foreign Affairs, Rhodes).
•  The widespread belief that hydrogen is going to save the day is a good example of how delusional people have become. Hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source at all, but are more properly termed a form of energy storage. Free hydrogen does not exist on this planet. It requires more energy to break a hydrogen bond than will ever be garnered from that free hydrogen. The current source of hydrogen is natural gas – that is, a hydrocarbon. In the envisioned system of solar PVC & hydrogen fuel cells, every major component of the system, from the PVC to the fuel cells themselves will require hydrocarbon energy and feedstocks. The oil age will never be replaced by a hydrogen fuel-cell economy.
•  Coal is abundant, but its net energy profile is poor compared to oil and its conversion process to synthetic fuels is very inefficient. Coal would have to be mined at much higher rates to replace declining oil field. In addition, coal production is extremely harmful to the environment. One large coal burning electric plant releases enough radioactive material in a year to build two atomic bombs, apart from emitting more greenhouse gases than any other fuels.  Coal is implicated in mercury pollution that causes 60.000 cases of brain damage in newborn children every year in the USA. Resorting to coal would be a very big step backwards and what we may face then may be more like the Dim Ages. More importantly,  coal is distributed very unevenly with the top three countries (China, USA, USSR) possessing almost 70% of total. Much of the current oil and gas supply is in low-population countries, such as Saudi Arabia, that cannot possibly use all of the production for themselves. They are hence quite willing, indeed eager, to sell it to other countries. When oil and gas are gone, and only coal remains, and the few (large-population) countries that possess it need all of it for their own populations, it will be
interesting to see how much is offered for sale to other countries.
•  Obtaining usable oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of energy, as it has to be mined and washed with super hot water. From an energy balance, it takes the equivalence of two barrels of oil to produce three, which is still positive but poor in terms of energy economics. In the early days of conventional oil, this ratio used to be one to thirty.
•  Nuclear power plants are simply too expensive and take ten years to build, relying on a fossil fuel platform for all stages of construction, maintenance, and extracting & processing nuclear fuels. Additionally, uranium is also a rare and finite source with its own production peak. Since 2006, the uranium price has already more than doubled.
•  Nuclear fusion is the kind of energy that the world needs. However, mastering it has been 25 years away for the past 50 years, and still is…

Fossil fuels allowed us to operate highly complex systems at gigantic scales. Renewables are simply incompatible in this context and the new fuels and technologies required would simply take a lot more time to develop than available and require access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, putting the industrial adventure out of business.

In a recent interview with The Times, Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer calls for a “reality check” and warns that the world’s energy crisis cannot be solved by renewables. “Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Just when energy demand is surging, many of the world’s conventional oilfields are going into decline. The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and
placing too much faith in renewable sources of power”, according to van der Veer.

Nobody knows exactly what will happen. We have never seen a situation like this where the excesses have been so extreme. It is difficult to see how it will resolve itself. What is terrifying is that when you get excesses this bad you get results you can’t expect.

Highlights of what to expect:
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•  Oil extraction from wells will be physically unable to meet global demand
•  Alternative energy sources will fall far short of compensating for expected shortages of oil. There is simply not enough time to convert over to them and all require an underlying fossil fuel platform.
•  Disruptions to transportation and the economy are expected as the global decline of petroleum begins.
•  Gradual, permanent cut-off of fuel for transport and for industrial machinery. Global trade will greatly
decline.
•  Food shortages; agrobusinesses would not be able to operate without the supporting fossil fuels
•  Resource scarcity; most products depend on fossil fuels
•  Reduction of virtually all business and government activity and very serious unemployment
•  Social unrest
•  Resource wars

Dr. Smalley, in the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine gave the following prognosis as a result of the energy shortage brought on by peak oil and the fact that the world cannot produce oil as fast as the world’s growing economies demand it: “There will be inflation as billions of people compete for insufficient resources. There will be famine. There will be terrorism and war.”

__C.  Rising Oil Prices
The inexorable tightening of supply is destabilizing oil markets, which now exhibit extreme price responses to the smallest of disturbances. Higher oil prices are hurting economies by increasing the cost of consumer goods while simultaneously reducing disposable income. Sharply rising oil prices have always preceded economic recession and plummeting stocks.

Analysts predict that market-based panic will drive prices skyward. And as supplies can no longer slack daily world demand, the market will become paralyzed at prices too high for the wheels of economy and even daily living in ‘advanced’ societies”. No region in the world would be able to rely on distant energy supplies and they would have to fall back on their own resources.

One economic aspect of oil is that its demand is very price inelastic in the short term, meaning that it would require a large price increase to cause a significant reduction in demand. Prices at the pumps in the USA have almost doubled in recent times, yet gas-guzzling Hummers and other SUV’s are still purchased like there is no tomorrow. Industry experts say massive effects on behavior will only happen if supplies are disrupted or prices hit $5-a-gallon.

Another complication is that in the more developed countries the services industry has replaced much of their traditional oil dependent industries. This is why I don’t believe that the oil prices will stop at $100 a barrel, like some financial experts predict. In the short term, they would probably have to increase in excess of 300% or so to have the desired effect. This uptrend would then eventually be (temporarily) interrupted by slowing economic growth and from efforts of conservation.

Inflation
Rising energy prices would spur overall price increases, causing inflation. Energy costs will then become an increasingly bigger part of the economy, and the same % increase in oil prices that once had a negligible economic effect will suddenly be significant. At the same time, higher prices will cause a fall in demand and a stagnating economy. This is called ‘stagflation’ and is exactly what happened during the 1973 oil crisis.

Debt in many countries like the USA and the United Kingdom are at record levels, and strong economic growth then becomes essential. Falling home prices would threaten the foundations of those economies. Therefore, efforts to curb inflation by raising interest rates would hit house prices, which in a leveraged economy would cause a devastating downward spiral, pulling down businesses, consumers and banks. Policymakers will therefore be powerless to fight inflation that will then soon become widespread. Prices of food and manufactured goods will shoot up.

Depression
The world will first enter a recession followed by a very deep Depression that may well be greater than the 1930’s Great Depression. Stock markets may plunge, businesses will go bankrupt and huge job losses will follow. Eventually, economic growth will cease or continue only in a few places at the expense of other places. The economic stress among almost all nations, advanced and developing, rich and poor will be considerable and is certain to lead to increasingly desperate competition for diminishing supplies of oil. The world will become a larger place again with less and less globalism.

Resource Wars
Many countries have become heavily reliant on Middle Eastern oil, and the geopolitical stakes of conflicts in this region have risen to all-time highs.

Indeed, the worst case scenarios are terrifying: genocide on a scale never before seen, as control of the remaining oil divides along racial, ethnic and national boundaries. Even the best-case scenarios, all of which require unprecedented levels of international cooperation, political courage and public participation, offer grim life-and-death choices. (Richard Heinberg)

So far, only the United States have ventured into the Middle East. But what is to stop China from continuing into Iran, Iraq and even Saudi Arabia as China will be energy starved in the foreseeable future. A military contest over oil could eventually spread war from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and it could leave the oil production infrastructure of many countries severely damaged in the process. Such a conflict may be the Third World War.

Some Latin American countries may find themselves combatants in their own oil wars. Australia and New Zealand may fall victim to desperate Chinese adventuring or to anarchy emanating from Southeast Asia.

Social Chaos & Dark Ages
The European fuel protests of 2000 were an excellent example of what will happen when we are deprived of our the fuel powering our artificial lives. The implications of just this minor shortage
caused by blockades of fuel depots was tremendous. Naturally, there were huge lines at petrol stations to refuel, but there was also panic buying at the shops. Some ran out of bread and milk. Postal collections were suspended on Sundays to conserve fuel. Farm animals were threatened with starvation because
the feed was unable to be delivered. Schools closed down and hospitals cancelled all but emergency operations. And all this from two and a half weeks. Similar events happened in the USA during the 1973 Oil Embargo.

The impending fuel crisis will be permanent though and the trucks will no longer pull into the Wal-Marts or supermarkets. The freighters bringing cheap and disposable household products from China will have no fuel. There will be fuel in many places, but hoarding and uncertainty will trigger outages, violence, and chaos. For only a short time will the police and military be able to maintain order, if at all.”

When worldwide oil production starts to decline considerably, countries will be competing aggressively for fossil fuels as  difficulties will start with even keeping electricity plants running.

The blackouts that hit the eastern USA and Canada in August 2003, and the lesser failure that hit London’s Underground system shortly afterwards shows the how totally dependent we are on electricity power and the dramatic effects that its absence causes.

Reduced food supplies will also comprise immune systems and set up refugee camps will lead to diseases. New strains of the age-old human enemies such as tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and others will be on hand while vaccines will be ineffective and out of reach.

Food
It may come as a surprise to many that the world’s industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production. Fossil fuels are also essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. Just consider that currently agriculture accounts for 17% of the US annual energy budget.

Industrial, ‘green revolution’-style agriculture is particularly energy intensive. Every calorie of food produced today requires between 10-16 calories of hydrocarbon energy (from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging). This style of agriculture increased world grain production by 250%, and was almost entirely attributable to fossil fuel input.

Food  production will become a problem of extreme urgency
Modern agriculture is merely a way of converting petroleum into food. Without energy, food supplies decrease and the current world population of 7 billion has no hope whatsoever of sustaining itself at current levels.

It has been estimated that, without hydrocarbons to provide energy, fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture could not support a population greater than two billion. This reduction would take us back to pre-20th century levels but the disruption to society and its infrastructure would probably mean a reversion to pre-industrial revolution.

The example of North Korea shows us what happens to agriculture when oil products are removed. After the Korean war, it had developed a modern farming system depending on machinery and oil-based fertilizers. After the Soviet Union fell, Communist aid to the country stopped and they were unable to purchase oil and supplies. Without oil, farm machinery was sitting idle and large proportions of the people had to return to the agriculture. Unfortunately the soil had been drained of nutrients over the
years and, without fertilizers, it was unable to produce the same output as before. Crop yields fell by 60% over the period 1989-1998. US congressmen and others who have visited North Korea tell stories of people eating grass and bark. Other reports talk of soldiers who are nothing more than skin and bones.
Throughout the country, there is starvation to rival the worst found in Africa.
 Chronic malnutrition has reached the point where many of the effects are irreversible. Unless it can get access to oil and fertilizers again, the population will decline until it reaches a sustainable level and civilization will be faced with the delicate task of determining who survives. The history of North-Korea (DPRK) demonstrates how an energy crisis in an industrialized nation can lead to complete systemic breakdown.

Mitigation Strategies?
Peak Oil represents a unique challenge and unlike 1973, peaking won’t be brief but permanent. The inescapable conclusion is that the scale and complexity of the problems that must be resolved to avert a permanent crisis are enormous and almost inconceivable. More than a decade will be required, under the most favorable circumstances, for the collective contributions of substitutes to produce meaningful results. Understanding Net Energy is crucial. Optimists may argue that technology, the market, brilliant scientists, and comprehensive government programs are going to hold things together. However, with an acute lack of awareness, time, knowledge, capital, energy, political will, and international collaboration, it is difficult to see how business can continue as usual. This is a startling conclusion, but it would be the most logical and likely outcome of a process that has been building for decades. Addictions are hard to shake…
You cannot solve this world’s problems with the same thinking that created them,” Albert Einstein

Preparations
“You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward”
“… it’s easier to put off dealing with problems that seem just too complicated and unpleasant to fix now (because of human nature).”

September 27, 2010, Fortune.., by Becky Quick
The experts and politicians have no plan B to fall back on. On a global scale Peak Oil is a problem without a solution. No amount of savings will help us if there is no more oil to purchase. We need to
start planning for alternative sources of energy now. If we wait until we are given no other option, it could be chaos.

It is extremely difficult to gather and process the enormous amount of information available and figure out what to do about it. Is it not a problem with an immediate solution or as some say, a condition without a remedy. You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward.

We must shortly choose a new path, or one will be forced upon us.

In the short time available, attempts to make collective changes are most likely to fail. Energy expert Simmons says that once energy peaks, the shock will be greater than anyone could imagine, while there is no solution to the problem other than to pray.

However, on the level of the individual/family there is much that can be done at relatively low cost to not only prepare for an economic crash, but to leapfrog past it to a post oil paradigm. While the present infrastructure continues to function you still have vast resources disposable that are only a click away.  Once a crisis begins, it may be too late.

There is probably no cluster of solutions which do not involve some major changes in lifestyles, especially for the global affluent. Peak Oil presents the potential for quite catastrophic upheavals, but also some more hopeful possibilities, a chance to address many underlying societal problems, and the opportunity return to simpler, healthier and more community oriented lifestyles.

Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst, and Accept whatever comes.
• 
The majority of the preparation (perhaps as much as 2/3) is mental  preparation. Acceptance of a new future is crucial and knowledge about Peak Oil will give you a new perspective on life and the future and will serve as an excellent guidance when making important decisions in areas such as careers, real estate and retirement, even absent a well defined ‘plan B’.
•  Protection of your wealth is a crucial step, and having many of your assets hedged against inflation, in my opinion, is never going to hurt you, even if a peak oil crisis fails to materialize in the short or medium term future. Purchasing power will most likely have a positive impact on survival chances during a crisis.
•  If you think the crisis is going to be severe, if you can afford it, it would be a good idea to plan some sort of safe haven, at least 200 miles or so from any major city / metropolitan area.

I am fairly pessimistic about the feasibility (especially long-term) of isolated retreats. It is going to involved extensive, informed planning tailored to the precise needs of the people who will use it. The problems that you must resolve in making such an arrangement viable are enormous and most likely unachievable. Land ownership laws may become meaningless in a post-oil world.
•  It is useless to be well prepared if you are in the wrong place to start with. Some countries around the globe will without doubt suffer much more than others as a result of a Peak Oil crisis. The odds of eventually being discovered are not negligible and will go up as a function of general population density. And then, once you have been discovered, the chances of you becoming a target of jealous & needy thieves, mobs or organized gangs much depend on how relatively well-off a country is as a whole during a global crisis. As an example there is the story about a village in India during a famine. After a while, the starving villagers noticed that some villagers did not seem to be as starving as the rest of them. The end result was that the well off who had stored food were killed and the food stolen. [Killed by the ‘Zombies’- Mr Larry] You may be better off ill-prepared, but in the right place than vice-versa. There are going to be some countries that may remain relatively immune, based on their geographic position and potential degree of self-sufficiency, where ambient chances of survival are relatively higher. This is why the focus of my research & planning is on individual countries.
•  When considering strategic relocation and you want to also take into account climate change, an excellent and very recent source of information on average predicted temperature changes is the BBC site that ran an experiment involving millions of computers from around the world. In its conclusions, countries like New Zealand will be relatively unaffected, while other areas like Asia and Central America will be greatly affected.
•  You can never be sure what will happen, and it is extremely difficult to cross that mental barrier to jump into action. Any life impacting decision you make, you must be able to live with until the crisis unfolds, even if this is still a decade away.

__D.  History As A Guide To Survival….
<http://www.oildecline.com/steps.htm
For a year, five experts ditched theory for practice, running a Welsh farm using 17th Century methods. What lessons for modern living did they learn? The BBC series Tales from the Green Valley follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts. They wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

It was a time when daily life was a hard grind, intimately connected with the physical environment where routines were dictated by the weather and the seasons. A far cry from today’s experience of the countryside, which for many involves a bracing walk ahead of a pub lunch.

While few would choose to live a 17th Century lifestyle, the participants found they picked up some valuable tips for modern life.
•  Know thy neighbor’s. Today it’s possible to live alone, without knowing anyone within a 20-mile radius (the same goes for townies). That was simply not possible in the past – not only did the neighbors provide social contact, people shared labor, specialist skills and produce. “And women were judged on good neighborliness,” says historian Ruth Goodman. “If you were willing to help others – particularly during and after childbirth – then others would be more prepared to help you in times of need.”
•  Share the load. It was nigh on impossible to run a 1620s farm single-handedly, and the family – either blood relatives, or a farmer, his wife and hired help – had to be multi-skilled. Labor, too, was
often divided along gender lines, but at busy periods, such as harvest time, it was all hands on deck.
•  Fewer creature comforts have some benefits. No electricity meant once daylight faded, work stopped in favor of conversation, music-making and knitting. And no carpets meant fewer dust mites,
which are linked to asthma and allergies. “They scattered herbs on the floor which released scent when trodden on – this drove out flies and other insects,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Eat seasonally. Today it’s because of “food miles” and the inferior quality of forced products. In the 1620s, it was because foods were only available at certain times of year – and not just fruit and veg. Mutton, for instance, was in abundance in spring, soon after shearing time. This was because a sheep’s wool quality plunges after eight years – thus animals of that age were killed after their final fleece was
removed.
•  Tasty food comes in small batches. Today farmers’ markets are a tourist attraction and many delight in regional specialties. For these producers play to the strengths of their ingredients, unlike, for instance, the makers of mass-produced cheese. This has to taste the same year-round, despite seasonal variations in milk quality. “So high-quality milk in the spring is downgraded so the finished product is consistent throughout the year,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Reuse and recycle. Today we throw away vast mountains of packaging, food, garden waste and other materials. In 1620s, there was a use for everything, with tattered bed linens made into fire-lighters and animal fat into soap. Even human waste had uses. Faeces was a fertiliser, and urine was stored to make ammonia to remove laundry stains.
•  Dress for practicalities. Today fashion and social convention dictate our wardrobes. While polar fleeces and high-performance tramping boots may be all the rage when going rural, the wardrobe of 400 years ago proved more comfortable. “While the crew shivered in their modern garb, we never felt the cold in just two layers – a linen shirt and woolen doublet,” says archaeologist Alex Langlands.
Breeches meant no wet and muddy trouser legs, and staying covered up – rather than stripping off in the heat – prevented bites, stings, sunburn and scratches.
•  Corsets, not bras. “By that I don’t mean Victorian corseting,” says Ms Goodman. “Corsets support your back as well as your chest, and don’t leave red welts on your skin like bra elastic does. They made it hard to breath walking up hills, but I get short of breath doing that anyway. And most people feel sexy in a corset.”
•  Biodiversity protects against unforeseen calamity. While the developed world no longer counts the cost of crop failure in starvation and mass migration – the result of Ireland’s Great Potato Famine in 1845 – the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis decimated farms up and down the country as animals, the farmers’ livelihoods, were put to death. The 1620s farm had grains, fruit and vegetables, and a range of animals – if one failed, alternatives were available.
•  Reliance on any one thing leaves you vulnerable. Hence the country ground to a halt during the petrol blockades of 2000, and a shortage of coal during 1978-9’s Winter of Discontent caused electricity shortages. On the 1620s farm, when oxen used to plough fields fell ill, the implements were reshaped and horses did the job instead.
•  No pesticides means a richer variety of birds, butterflies and other insects, many of which feast on pests – a result as desirable for the gardener as the farmer. And the hedgerow and fields of wild flowers of the past are today making a comeback, as these provide habitats for these creatures and allow edible plants to flourish.

.

5.  Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
.

Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
Published Dec 25 2004 by Permaculture  Activist
by Toby Hemenway
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/3757
“Over ten years ago my wife and I moved to the country. One of our many reasons for leaving the city was to finally pursue the dream of self-reliance: to create a permaculture homestead that would trim our resource use and let us tap in more fully to nature’s abundance. And in the back of my mind was the quietly nibbling worry that someday the overconsumption party would end—the oil would run out, and things might get ugly. I wanted to be settled where we could be less dependent on the fossil fuel umbilicus when the cord finally snapped.

We went a good way toward making that dream come true. The red clay of our former clearcut turned, in places, to chocolate loam, though I noticed that even as our trees matured I still seemed to be needing more wood chips from the electric company or manure from a stable two miles away. From the garden flowed a steady procession of fruit and vegetables, but I confess I tried to ignore how much well-water we were pumping once our rain catchment ran dry partway through Southern Oregon’s four-month dry season.

We became involved in the local community: Master Gardeners, an environmental group, town meetings. Although we were busy in regional life in the beginning, eventually I found I preferred to drive the hour to see friends in progressive-minded Eugene than fight the pro-logging consciousness that permeated our county. Over the years my few local friends fell away as I became more drawn to the mind-set of those in Eugene, and as the local economics made it necessary for me to be away for weeks to teach and do design work. We were on good speaking terms with all our neighbors, but never found much common ground with them. Local parties began with watery beer and often ended in drunken fights, and neither was to our taste.

Slowly a mild paranoia set in. I started to wonder whether, if the Big Crash came, I was really in the right place. We had the best garden for miles around, and everyone knew it. If law broke down, wasn’t there more than a chance that my next door neighbor, a gun-selling meth dealer and felon, might just shoot me for all that food? How about the right-wing fundamentalists past him, who shot Stellar’s jays for fun and clear cut their land when they suspected spotted owls lived there? Or the two feuding families beyond them—one had fired a pistol during an argument, and neither would give way when their cars met on the road. I began to sense the outlines of a pattern that replicated one in society at large. We have the technical means to feed, clothe, and house all humanity. But legions starve because we have not learned to tolerate and support one another. People’s real problems are not technical, they are social and political. Down in Douglas County, I’d solved most of the technical problems for our own personal survival, but the social hurdles to true security were staring me in the face.

Our isolation also meant we were burning a lot of gas. A simple drive for groceries was a 40-minute round trip. Fortunately we both worked at home and had no children, so we could go for days without using the car. But the odometer was whirling to higher numbers than it ever had in the city. A couple of families had moved off our hill because they were exhausted by two to four round trips each day down our steep, potholed gravel road to work, school, soccer practice, music lessons, and shopping.

We cherished our decade-plus in the country, but eventually the realities began to pile up. There wasn’t a local market for the work we did. Community events left us saddened by the gulf between our way of life and theirs. And we were still tethered to the fossil-fuel beast, just by a much longer lifeline of wire, pipe, and pavement. That the beast looked smaller by being farther away no longer fooled us.

There was a positive side, too. We had achieved what we’d set out to do: to make sense of our lives, find the work we loved, and grow into ourselves. The portents now spoke clearly. It was time to return to where the people were, and to be in the thick of things once more.

So we have moved to Portland, and into the heart of town. We love it. The first of many good omens was the bio-diesel Mercedes across the street sporting a Kucinich sticker. And it’s a pleasure to be within walking distance of a bookstore, good coffee, and Ben and Jerry’s.

During the first few days in the city I would stand on the back porch, eyeing our yard with permaculture dreams in my head. The sole tree is a sprawling European prune plum. Other than that, the yard is a blank slate, dominated by a brick patio, a lawn, and an old dog run. And it’s small. I wondered how I would I fit all my favorite fruit trees in that tiny space.

The answer soon came. The plum tree straddles the fence we share with our neighbor Johnny, who has lived next door for 55 years. One day, on opposite sides of the fence, Johnny and I were gathering a small fraction of the branch-bending loads of plums when he called out, “Do you like figs?” I said I did, and soon a tub of black mission figs wobbled over the fence toward me.

We kept returning the basin to Johnny, but it found its way back almost immediately, full of figs. “You weren’t here in time for the apricots I’ve got,” Johnny told us, “But next year you’ll get your fill of them.”

As the buckets of plums began to fill up the yard, I tried to unload some on Theressa across the street. “Oh, no,” she said, “I’ve got my own tree. But when the Granny Smith’s come on, you’d better help me with them. And next year’s peaches will knock you out.”

When I met our neighbor Will, he begged me to take some of the pears that were plopping onto his yard. The American chestnuts up the street are bearing heavily, although the Asian community is all over them each morning before I wake up. I’ve cracked a few of the local walnuts, and they’re pretty good. And yesterday I discovered a nearby strawberry tree dotted with creamy mild fruit.

This informal assessment of local resources has revised my mental landscape design. I don’t need to grow all my favorite trees, only the ones that my neighbors lack (I’m thinking Asian pears, persimmons, and some early and storage apples). My neighbor’s yards are my Zones Two and Three. [Ed’s note: a common feature of permaculture design is the zoning of a property up into areas, numbered one through to five or so, relating to proximity to the house and levels of required maintainence. -AF ] Plus, Stacey and Troy on the next block have persuaded the owner of a vacant lot to let eight families create a community garden on the site. A local tree service will soon be dumping chips there for sheet mulch, and next year we’ll be awash in food.

The Big Rural Footprint
I had always assumed that cities would be the worst place to be in bad times. I’m revising my opinion. Granted, Portland is an exceptional city. (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!) But I can’t help comparing this neighborhood to our old one. There, we were twelve families on two miles of road, driveways hundreds of feet long, all served by long runs of phone and electric wire, individual septic systems and wells, each commuting long distances. And with political and social views so divergent that feuds, gossip, and awkward conversations about safe topics were the norm.

In the city, an equal group of twelve families use 10% of the road, wire, and pipe needed in my old neighborhood. Many neighbors bus or bike to work, or at worst, drive single-digit mileages. And our social and political views are close enough that I am fairly confident we can work in mutual support if times get tough.

This is not the place to go deeply into the question of whether cities are more sustainable than contemporary American country life, but at each point where I delve into the issues, I find suggestions that urbanites have a smaller ecological footprint per capita.

Over the last two decades, millions of people have moved out of cities. Many of them are people of modest means, driven out by the high costs of urban life. Unfortunately, they have brought their city ways with them. Our neighbors in the country all clear cut their land and planted acres of grass. Many built enormous houses, since low interest rates made more square footage affordable. Some put up
glaring streetlights in their front yards. They bought boats, ATVs, RVs, and other gas-guzzling toys. Unlike earlier self-reliant country folk, these are simply city people with really big yards. And there are millions of them.

Sociologists Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford have each noted that during the Depression and other hard times, urban residents have generally fared better than ruralites. The causes mainly boil down to market forces and simple physics. Since most of the population lives in or near cities, when goods are scarce the greater demand, density, and economic power in the cities directs resources to them. Shipping hubs are mostly in cities, so trucks are emptied before they get out of town.

In the Depression, farmers initially had the advantage of being able to feed themselves. But they soon ran out of other supplies: coal to run forges to fix machinery, fertilizer, medicine, clothing, and almost every other non-food item. Without those, they couldn’t grow food. Farmers who could still do business with cities survived. Those too remote or obstinate blew away with the Kansas dust.

Survival Skills
Today the situation for farmers has worsened. Few farmers grow their own food. Agribusiness has made them utterly dependent on chemicals and other shipped-in products. The main lack of cities compared to farms is food-growing, but farms lack nearly everything else—and most of that comes from cities. Setting aside for the moment the all-important issue of social and political cohesion, for cities to survive a peak-oil crash, the critical necessity is for them to learn to grow food. For country people to survive, inhabitants will need to provide nearly every single other essential good for themselves. And since many country people are simply transplanted urbanites lacking gardening or other land skills, but having the isolation that makes social cohesion unnecessary to learn (for now), their survival is even more doubtful. If catastrophe comes, the cities may be unpleasant, but I fear the countryside may be far worse off.

One important tenet of permaculture is to design for disaster. While giving a talk on the wildfire that destroyed his cabin at the Lama Foundation, Santa Fe designer Ben Haggard was asked what his biggest lesson was. “Plan for disaster,” he said. “Whatever is the likely catastrophe at your site, count on
it happening. Because sooner or later, it will.”

A technique displayed in good design that also happens to be a way to deter disaster is to meet destructive forces with mechanisms or attitudes that transform them into productive, or at worst, harmless energies. When this machinery of transformation is missing, even seemingly mild events wreak havoc. A gentle rain falling on bare ground will quickly sluice away topsoil and wash downhill in gullies. If instead plants carpet that same patch of earth, the rain becomes not an erosive force, but life-giving moisture whose energy is damped and welcomed by the vegetation. Instead of gullying, the water is held by the plants, stored over a longer time for them and for the animals that feed on or live among the vegetation. This is one of nature’s secrets: knowing how to create structures and systems that convert gales to refreshing breezes, change baking sun into sugars and living tissue.

What nature doesn’t do, and humans attempt so often, is to treat large forces as enemies to be vanquished and destroyed. This summer, as hurricanes repeatedly battered the Caribbean, ridiculous proposals appeared in letters-to-the-editor columns: Let’s build giant fans on the Florida coast
to blow away the storms. Pour oil over the Atlantic to smooth out the waves. And (inevitably), why can’t we toss a few nukes into those pesky hurricanes? (Whether it’s replacing the Panama canal or toppling Saddam, someone always seems to propose atomic bombs.)

Sector Acceptance
The conceptual tool offered by permaculture in these cases is to view large forces as sector energies: influences from off the site that are beyond the control of the designer. We deal with sector energies by designing systems or placing elements to deflect, absorb, or harvest these forces, or allow them to pass unhindered. This is nature’s way as well, and how she does it offers, as usual, some profound lessons.

As ecosystems mature, biomass and complexity increase. Ecologist Ramon Margalef, in his landmark 1963 paper, “On Certain Unifying Principles in Ecology” (American Naturalist 97:357-374), suggests we think of biomass as “a keeper of organization, something that is proportional to the influence that an   actual ecosystem can exert on future events.” In other words, we can think of biomass, complexity, and the other indicators of maturity as measures not only of the resilience of a system, but as a form of wisdom. That’s because as ecosystems mature, the aftermath of environmental tumult such as storm or
drought depends more on the richness of the ecosystem than on the nature of the disturbance. A drought that withers a weed lot doesn’t faze an old-growth forest—the forest has learned what to do with drought. It has grown structures, cycles, and patterns that convert nearly any outside influence into more  forest, and that protect key cycles during bad times. It has become wise.

Nature uses two principal tools to achieve this  protection from catastrophe.

1)  The first is diversity in space—in size, shape, physical pattern, and composition. If all the pieces of a system are at the same physical scale—all the same size, or the same genetic makeup, for example—a disturbance occurring at that scale will wipe out the whole system. Diversity in scale brings protection. When a hurricane hits a trailer park, the trailers blow away, but the bacteria, mice, and other elements of very different size escape damage. A plague of cats, on the other hand, strikes at the scale of the mice, leaving the trailers and bacteria unscathed. Mature ecosystems have enough diversity in space that any catastrophe may knock out the pieces living at that particular scale but will almost never destroy the whole landscape.

2)  The second protective tool of mature ecosystems is diversity in time—in rate, frequency, and schedule. Understory shrubs often leaf out earlier in spring than canopy trees, which lets the shrubs grab enough light to build plenty of leaves. Then when the trees grow leaves, the shrubs have the photosynthetic area to gather ample light in the dappled shade. Another classic example of diversity in time is the hatching cycle of locusts. Timed to emerge at intervals of years having prime numbers such as 13 and 17, they frustrate the predators whose more regular breeding period requires their food to arrive  more predictably.

Permaculture designers use similar approaches to design for disaster. Instead of using concrete embankments and other brute-force tactics to resist flood, we place fences that can lie down, reed-like as rushing waters advance and then can be easily set up afterward. Rather than gouging enormous barren firebreaks into their hillside, Lama Foundation stacks roads, swales, and plantings together in
a multiply functioning firebreak. When monsoon downpours arrive in Tucson, instead of standing by as flooding street runoff pours down sewers, Brad Lancaster harvests the water with cleverly placed curb cuts that lead to mulched food-tree basins. All these examples are detailed in Permaculture Activist #54 (November, 2004).

By observing nature’s wisdom, permaculturists follow nature’s lead and use patterning, succession, edge, and cyclic opportunities to convert large pulses of energy into smooth generators of structure, harvest, and nutrient flow. Permaculture design inquires into the nature of some of these “large pulses” and shows how they can teach us to use their energy, aikido-like, to benefit ourselves and the larger ecosystem.”
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6.   Cities, peak oil, and sustainability
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Cities, peak oil, and sustainability
Energy Bulletin, Published Dec 25 2004, by Permaculture Activist by Toby Hemenway
http://www.energybulletin.net/node/51386
In  mid-August I drove to a party in the country outside of Portland, Oregon. Twenty miles of freeway took me to a two-lane road that wound ten miles up steep forested hills and down through remote valleys. As the roads grew narrower and less traveled, I began to wonder how, if gas hits $5 or $10 a
gallon, people and supplies will reach these isolated spots. What kind of post-oil vehicle will climb this hilly, winding road that quite literally goes nowhere—a converted truck run on home-made biodigested methane? Then, after I arrived at the secluded acreage, I questioned whether my hosts could really supply most of their own needs, just the two of them and their kids.

I think these isolated places will disappear the way that Roman outposts in Britain and Gaul did during the empire’s decline.

In a recent issue of this magazine (Permaculture Activist 54 p. 2, “Designing Beyond Disaster”) I wrote that when I moved to the country 11 years ago, I assumed that rural people use fewer resources than urbanites, but now that I’m back in the city I can see that isn’t true. That article [“Urban vs. Rural Sustainability.”-immediately above this article-lfp] has generated more response than any other I’ve written, and has been reprinted around the Web many times, often with some furious comments. Obviously, a lot of people are thinking about the same topics. I’d like to re-visit the subject, respond to some of the commentary, elaborate on my reasoning, and describe some new thoughts on the subject.

First, a clarification on word usage. When I speak of rural, I generally mean places where people live on acreage outside of towns, with most services too far to walk to. Small towns decreasingly can be called rural, as their takeover by chain stores, engulfment by sprawl, and reliance on non-local goods renders many indistinguishable from suburbs.

•  I’m not a believer in the Peak Oil “end of the world” scenario, where decreasing oil production somehow mutates into the sudden, permanent shutoff of urban water supplies, and contented suburbanites are transformed overnight into looting gangs. Yes, fossil fuels surely will become much more expensive in the next decades, and scarce soon after. I don’t doubt that several tipping points will be broached along the way, with rapid and unexpected changes cascading through society. But civilization won’t end. People have repeatedly predicted the apocalypse: in millennial 1000, again in 1666 (the number of the beast), and many times between and since. Is our memory so short that we have forgotten the foolishness around Y2k? Or are we so wedded to the delicious notion of our annihilation that we grasp at any possibility? Why do we hunger so for our own extinction?

•  Neither the mega-cities nor the survivalist’s bunker will be viable in a post-oil future. The places with the best chance of surviving an oil peak will be cities of less than a million people, ranging down to well-placed smaller cities and towns. Cities of a million or so existed before fossil fuels—ancient Rome proper held roughly a million people—thus they are clearly possible in a limited-oil era.

Scale works to the advantage of sensibly sized cities. For example, Portland’s 500,000 people are served by two sewage treatment plants that use about 2000 miles of pipe to reach every home. Building this cost in the low hundreds of millions of dollars (exact figures don’t exist). Compare this to the sewage system for 500,000 rural people. That’s roughly 125,000 septic tanks, each with 300 or more feet of drain-field pipe, plus trenching and drain rock for all. A septic system costs about $10,000 to build, so the cost of 125,000 of them is $1.25 billion, several times that of the urban system, and the ruralites need 7000 miles of pipe compared to Portland’s 2000 miles. Of course, composting toilets and graywater systems would obviate the need for both of those unsustainable, resource-intensive methods of waste treatment, but I’m talking about what exists right now. Virtually any service system—electricity, fuel, food—follows the same brutal mathematics of scale. A dispersed population requires more resources to serve it—and to connect it together—than a concentrated one. That fact cannot be gotten around.

•  One of the most common responses to the Peak Oil panic is, “We’re planning on moving to the country with our friends and producing everything we need.” Let me burst that bubble: Back-to-the-landers have been pursuing this dream for 40 years now, and I don’t know of a single homesteader or community that has achieved it. Even the Amish shop in town. When I moved to the country, I became rapidly disabused of the idea of growing even half my own food. I like doing one or two other things during my day. During my life…” [Having ‘been there and done that’ myself, with 27 years experience on 29 acres of rural MN acreage, I agree. Mr. Larry]
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7.  Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression.
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Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression: Hypothetical Scenarios and Crazy Ideas For a Crazy New World.
http://www.peakoilstories.com/survival_strategies_for_the_comi.htm
The following survival strategies are for the possibility a post peak oil  world that is truly in chaos. No one knows if we will see such a scenario come to pass and I hope that they won’t.  As a self described “survivalist” and a Red Cross Volunteer who has spent time at the epicenter of category 5 hurricanes,  I have firsthand knowledge of what you need to stay alive. You need: 1) clean water, 2) food, 3) shelter, 4) medicines and 5) communications, basically in that order and last but not least, 6) a good plan.

If you are one of the lucky ones and can afford to keep your home during the current financial crisis or an even worse one that could happen, what kind of neighborhood will your home be located in? Already, in the early stages of the mortgage meltdown some of our suburbs are turning into suburban slums as the homeless and criminals occupy foreclosed homes and mosquitoes breed in abandoned swimming pools. There are nearly 12 million U.S. homeowners who owe more on their homes than those homes are worth and many people are walking away, bad credit be damned because they can now rent for a fraction of what they were paying the bank.  For those who choose to hang on to their homes it will be a challenge to keep that home safe as the crime rate increases.

 Strategy # 1: Standing Your Ground In The City
If you are able to hold onto your home and can find work in the area where you live then your home will become your fortress against the increasingly dangerous urban world around you. Residents of “bad neighborhoods” such as parts of East Los Angeles already have experience in protecting their castles against invaders. But for those of us accustomed to living in “nice” neighborhoods the learning curve will be steep.

a) You can start by spending some of the money you might have left on security bars for your windows, shotgun, and a fence for your yard. By this time property associations will be bankrupt and won’t be able to enforce rules so make your fence as high as possible. You’ll be building the fence to keep thieves out and a dog in. Dog food is an added expense but a good watchdog can be worth their weight in gold.
b) See the book, The Secure Home for more ideas on how to protect your property.
c) You’ll need a backup source of power since the power grid will become increasingly unreliable  and power may only be available for certain hours of the day. A tri fuel generator that runs on natural gas, propane and gasoline is a good choice. So is a diesel generator since you can store barrels of diesel more safely than gasoline. Ideally a large propane tank, in an area away from thieves, is the best way to go. You can run a tri-fuel generator several days straight on a 150 gallon propane tank. You will need at least 5000 watts of power to run your appliances.
d) A more lasting solution is to invest in a solar power system of at least 500 watts for battery charging and to power an inverter to run small appliances. If you can afford a larger backup solar power system of at least 3KW, with multiple deep cycle batteries now is the time to buy one before prices skyrocket. An Air Marine wind generator can provide additional power when the sun is not shining.
e) A wood stove can burn waste wood and lumber  to keep your home warm in winter. Choose one that has a cooking surface. You will need  a flue cleaning kit to clean your smokestack regularly when burning anything other than clean firewood.
f) For water you can divert your gutters into a 1000 gallon or larger fiberglass tank and use a solar panel and RV type demand pump to pressure up your plumbing if city water is interrupted. Broken water mains will be a frequent problem as cities go bankrupt and can’t afford to pay for repair crews.
g) If your yard is big enough you will want to replace much of your existing lawn with food producing
plants including fruit trees.
There are many varieties  of greens such as mustard, collard and kale that grow in marginal soil and shade. You can plant pinto beans, straight from the pantry to produce green beans in spring and summer. Choose hardy varieties of plants such as hybrid tomatoes that are resistant to blight and fungus.  Plant the eyes of russet potatoes in deep flower beds or stacked up tires filled with soil. You can kill pests with diluted dishwashing soap and by picking them off by hand. It is unlikely that you will be able to produce enough food on your own city lot to feed your family but your garden will fill in when other sources are scarce. You can also trade for different varieties of vegetables with your neighbors.
h) Since food supplies will be disrupted having a good supply of food on hand is a must. Buy canned
staples such as corned beef, evaporated milk, brown rice and beans and keep them in airtight containers such as Rubbermaid trash cans. Rust is the enemy of canned food so add dehydration packets which are available at boating supply stores. Keep a stock of dehydrated and freeze dried food for more long term storage. One good tasting brand is made by a company called Mountain House. Also keep a good supply of multivitamins to supply the nutrients you may be missing. Body-builder’s protein powder made from soy or whey also keeps well.
i) Skills like sewing will be needed again to mend items. Get a good quality sewing machine, a supply of thread and spare parts for it.
j) You’ll need a source of news and  it is unlikely you will be able to afford or even get cable at this point.  A simple solar powered radio may become your entertainment center. A small portable TV that operates on 12 volts can be operated from your solar battery bank.
k) You may not be able to afford medical care. Keep a good supply of  broad spectrum antibiotics such
 as Cipro and pain killers. You may want to consider stocking up on essential prescription medicines that you need but do so with caution and always store medicines in a cool dry place sealed in airtight containers.

Communications Gear For Survival
It is unlikely that you will be able to afford cell phone service in a severe depression if it is even available. Instead you can utilize long range handheld radios to keep in touch with  family around your neighborhood. There is a new type, that blows away the previous GRMS/FRS radios and gives about the same range. It is called  a 900MHz FHSS 2-Way Radio and it uses a new type of frequency hopping to provide up to a billion privacy codes so your transmissions are just between you and the other party.

High power SSB CB and ham radios can reach out for thirty miles under the right conditions and using “skip” or bouncing the signal off the atmosphere can talk around the world. Unlike some peak oil “doomers” I don’t see high tech going away in the near term.
There are enough garage inventors out there to scavenge and come up with all kinds of technology to fill in the gaps when the grid goes down as we have seen in third world countries.

In Thailand  entrepreneurs pedal around neighborhoods with solar powered Wi-Fi.  As in India, neighbors may also agree to set up and share a single secure wireless connection across several  city blocks with long range wi-fi antennas. Internet telephony services like Skype may replace traditional phones as land based networks become increasingly unreliable. There are now handheld phones that allow you to talk on the Skype network for free with any open WiFi connection in the world. Read more about how to set up a free internet connection with super long range WiFi antennas and boosters:

Someday you may have to decide to either hit the road or stand your ground.

Should you start buying guns? Should you start a neighborhood watch organization or patrol? Should you put in a garden for extra food or buy emergency rations? What about the infrastructure? Will power keep flowing down the lines with no money to fix our upgrade our electrical grid? Should you put in an auxiliary power supply such as solar panels or a generator? Maybe you should just pack up and hit the road.

Strategy #2: Going Mobile, Mad Max Style
For each of us our personal survival strategy may be different. For some it may mean leaving the home behind and taking to the road to find a less violent place to take shelter or an area where work can still be found. An RV, travel trailer or even a large tent  might become your new residence as they have become for so many evicted homeowners recently. For those who choose the mobile path traveling smart and light are essential.

You’ll want a good supply of freeze dried food or MRE’s, tools, a  multi – fuel generator for power and some communications gear such as a ham radio or CB in your vehicle for emergencies. You’ll also want a number of water storage containers and a pump system for filling from streams. You will need a good water purifier to deal with contaminated sources.   You will need a means of buying food so you will want a hiding place in your vehicle or RV for cash and small denominations of silver and gold coins in case the dollar becomes worthless.  A versatile gun that can also be used for hunting, such as a shotgun is a must . You’ll want a good supply of ammunition. Just remember to keep that gun in a safe place, both from thieves and your kids.

“Here’s your burger sir, that’ll be two twelve gauge shells and five 22 calibers please”. It is very possible that ammunition will become a currency itself so carry a large supply of the most commonly used sizes including 12 gauge shotgun shells and 22 caliber bullets.  The barter system may replace currency for most transactions. Items such as disposable razors, cigarettes and hand tools will be good for trading for gas and food. Sticking with a group of like minded people will be good insurance against trouble. This means finding safe RV parks and campgrounds where law and order still prevails. You’ll need good neighbors to watch your things while you leave to find work, if there is any.

For those without a car you’ll need a good frame backpack and everything you need to survive in miniature. Weight is your enemy so choose lightweight tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers and take along freeze dried food and MRE’s to live on. Carry your cash, silver and gold in a money belt or shoe hiding place. You’ll want to avoid crime ridden cities and find shelter and camping in safe campgrounds or on farms where you can find work. Setting up camp near a body of water has advantages for bathing and catching fish.  Since you may be crossing many jurisdictions carrying a pistol may not be wise. Consider large pepper spray – dye spray containers instead. You’ll need a lightweight crank or solar powered radio for news and if traveling with family a couple of GMRS radios to keep in touch with each other plus a solar battery charger. Consider a high power SSB CB radio for long range communication.

There are other options. A small sailboat is one of them. A self contained sailboat can provide shelter and mobility without the use of fuel. It can allow for movement to areas where there is work and safety along the vast Intercoastal Highway and navigable rivers as well as a way to leave the U.S. if necessary. There are many books that have been written about self-sufficient living aboard sailboats. In a post peak oil world sailboats may be one of the only affordable means of covering long distances. A fuel efficient motorcycle is another. The same packing strategy for backpacking applies to traveling by bike. Carry spare motorcycle parts, tire tubes, a good toolkit and extra gas.

Strategy #3: Rural Survival
If you are lucky enough to own your own farm you will be in the best position of all for survival in a post peak or post economic meltdown world. You will be able to produce not only enough food to supply yourself but also for trade. Since the supply chain will be disrupted and parts hard to find you will want to have spares of everything and the means to can and store your own food. Farmers will undoubtedly form closer alliances with other nearby farmers and cooperative groups  for tasks like  firefighting and crop harvesting. Home canning and self sufficiency skills as described in the aforementioned books apply both to urban dwellers and rural residents.   It will be essential for small farmers to re-learn the  ways and the wisdom of the old timers  before they pass on, such as growing crops without expensive chemical fertilizers.

Take The Middle Path, Be Prepared In The Early Stages Of The Crisis
I have met quite a few other individuals who call themselves “survivalists” in the hurricane ravaged areas where I have volunteered with the American Red Cross.  Although it is never a good idea to try to ride out a hurricane, the ones that made it had electricity, water, food and medicine plus communication gear such as CB or Ham Radio. Unlike the common image of survivalists as gun toting hoarders, these individuals often became excellent volunteers, helping their less prepared neighbors and beginning the rebuilding of their community.

A total economic meltdown caused either by peak oil or something else will bring out both the best and the worse in people. I’d like to think that most will choose to work to keep their community intact but those who are inclined to take advantage by looting and stealing instead of cooperating will do so.  I believe, cynically perhaps, that many of our citizens would react differently than they did in the Great Depression of the 1930’s because now many of us see having certain possessions and lifestyles as a right and therefore any means of getting them is justified.

I think that we would seem like a spoiled nation to those people of the 1930’s if they could have looked into the future and seen us now and the excessive energy wasting lifestyle that we take for granted. Once this is ripped away from us how will Americans react and who will they blame? Surely not ourselves. When the full blown crash comes there will be calls for more government bailouts or even wars to punish whoever caused us such hardship. Few will realize that it was living beyond our means and failing to have a plan of energy self sufficiency behind it all.

The current economic situation could go either way. There are many signs that point to it getting worse and all it will take is some type of unpredicted event to send the economy spiraling downward toward total collapse. The best thing to do right now is to prepare for the worst case scenario that could happen. Tailor your personal survival plan to either one of staying put or going mobile, based on your home ownership situation. You may want to prepare on both fronts, by having a ready pack of supplies in case you are forced to leave and at the same time preparing your home for a long term crisis.

Start by preparing your home to be a safe place when outside support systems fail. If you can afford to add things like solar backup power and rainwater collection now is the time to do it, not when it is too late. Invest in things that make your home more energy efficient and vehicles that use less fuel.  Stock up on freeze dried food and MRE’s now before they become unavailable or extremely expensive and have things like home medical kits and supplies already in place. In case paper money becomes worthless you should keep a savings of small denomination gold and silver coins in a good hiding place to buy food with.

Whether our nation turns a corner and is able to establish a renewable energy future and avoid a severe peak oil crash remains to be seen. Yet investing in home energy efficiency and more efficient vehicles is a win-win way of preparing. Having a stockpile of food and supplies is a cheap peace of mind insurance policy, regardless of how things turn out.
Ultimately it all comes down to preparedness and keeping one step ahead of the tide. Those who make fun of your survivalist ways will be the ones coming to you for help when the poop hits the fan.

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