Prepared for Change

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WHY THIS ? WHY NOW?

 
Few can deny that these are “changing times.”  Everywhere we look, we can see transformations that are beginning to challenge the foundations of societies. Among the most urgent and consequential:
 

- The modern industrial life that we enjoy, based on cheap and abundant energy supplies, is becoming unsustainable and unaffordable.


-The measurable effects of damage to the environment are accelerating.


-The failures of our highly leveraged, superheated global economy continue to spread pain and uncertainty to individuals, states and countries.
 
Shifts of this magnitude change our view of reality, imposing new adjustments in personal and societal priorities. It requires a conscious transition to plan and prepare for that new, changed reality. And we have to start taking those first tentative steps now.
 
In the U.S. and around the world, people are building “lifeboats” of skills and innovation as they chart a new course to fit circumstances of constrained natural and economic resources and a harsher, less predictable environment. On this transition, this journey, forward-looking pioneers are proving that fatalism and fear do not have to steer our choices as a society.
 
As someone who believes that shared knowledge is shared strength, I’m committed to passing on resources of information and inspiration from these “fellow travelers” in transition, as well as my own journey to increased skills and resilience. Charting that journey is the purpose of this blog.
 

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“Lifeboat” Essential Reading (Books)

Obtain these resources from those indispensable community assets, the public library or your local bookseller.
 
Abundance and Depletion by Sharon Asyk.  Practical advice, humor and wisdom from a leading social change thinker, teacher, and working farmer. Personal and communal ethics inform this accessible work. Invaluable sections on child rearing and the impact of transition.
 
The Long Emergency by John Howard Kunstler. Tough-minded realist Kunstler sounded the early wake-up call about peak oil, ecological destruction and our economic house of cards. Bracing prose, prescient predictions.
 
The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins. A primer on how a small town planned to “transition” from its dependence on fossil fuels to more local economy, energy and food systems. The book has inspired Transition initiatives all over the world.
 
A Paradise Built from Hell by Rebecca Solnit. Some of the best writings on the capacity of human beings under stress come from research and experiences about disasters and their aftermath. This wondrous, beautifully written book celebrates the lessons and collective genius of ordinary people to organize and support each other in trying times.
 
Reinventing Collapse by Dimitri Orlov. Russian émigré Orlov was an eyewitness to the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He compares and contrasts the experiences of his country and the prospects of the United States as it confronts systemic economic shock. A biting sense of humor leavens the serious economic, geopolitical, and social consequences he describes.
 
 
Films
Read my reviews on filmdom's omnipresent character: oil - “Peak Oil Flicks” here

 

Previous Posts

  • What’s the defensible use of an irreplaceable wetlands location that is home to endangered species and that borders on a pristine, federally-protected wilderness area? A giant foreign-owned mining company thinks it’s an ideal spot to establish an open-pit copper mine! With the clock ticking on a decision, Gerri interviews an attorney who critiques the proposed mine and explains what could happen next; she also talks with an investigative journalist who traveled the world to get the scoop on copper mines – and the environmental and economic legacy they leave behind.

  • The best recent news from Britain was not the royal nuptials beamed across the world. The best news had to do with feeding the world, the viability of rural communities, and preserving farmland for future generations--and it came from the groom’s father.

  • Occasionally I read a news item that reminds me of the struggles ahead to secure a sustainable future in my urban corner of the world, the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
     

  • It is probably fitting to be launching a new blog – my first – at the beginning of a new year and a new decade. The start of 2011 is also a time to reflect on what has affected me most in the last years and look to the future for the changes that it will bring.
     
    A “launching” is also the act that sets a vessel, like a boat or a ship, into motion and out into the sea. I believe the changes that we face, nationally and globally, are going to push many of us away from familiar shores and perhaps into uncharted waters.