Apoc-applications: Everybody Farm

When pondering the possible collapse of current global systems, a space is created to build a new society. This opportunity to evolve Rousseau’s Social Contract could incorporate our current understanding of science and technology, while using best practices of transparent lateral democracies, which recognize the importance of diverse perspectives and full participation. My dream is to create a society with an inclusive yet rigorous collective ethos that embodies constructive collaboration and equality.

It’s possible that the public and private institutions we’re so accustomed to will disappear in our lifetimes, leaving a power vacuum. If our current global economy fails basic services will be interrupted, leaving communities to rely on themselves. “Be prepared” is a great motto, and to prepare for possible environmental and economic failures, I’m crowd sourcing Rapture Skills from my network. I want to create a group of individuals (virtually for now, in person in the future) committed to increasing our resilience and prepping for possible shocks.

The goal to create a sustainable community is long-term and somewhat grandiose. However, there may come a time when living in village-like communities off the grid is the most feasible and desirable option. When that happens, Everybody Farm will be an ideal backup plan. A core tenet is that Everybody Farms, regardless of what other skills that group member contributes. Supplying all our services, food and energy needs is a task that demands full participation, and hopefully farming together will foster an even deeper sense of community and commitment.

So, what do you bring to our post-Apocalyptic table? Continue reading

2013: Suck it, Mayans!

Or, The Rebound Effect of False Hope?

The belief that the Mayan Calendar says the world will end in 2012 was gutted by the recent discovery of their “astronomical faculty lounge” in Guatemala. As TIME magazine writes, “Here’s what’s not going to happen this year: the earth won’t end on Dec. 12; it won’t be swallowed by a black hole, consumed by the sun or get taken out by a collision with the imaginary planet Nibiru.”

I never thought the world was literally going to end in 2012. It just feels like a truism with all the crazy things happening in the world, and an easy meme to hang my hat on when discussing Armageddon scenarios. I feel like a lot of the zeitgeist around End of the World scenarios stems from concern about the global ecological and economic threats of our current hyper-stressed and over-stretched culture.

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Rapture-Ready: An Optimistic Realist’s Approach

It’s the end of the school year, and time to reflect on what we’ve learned and predict what the future may hold. In my energy policy course, we discussed the possibility of national or global action to combat climate change. Students pointed to the science, studies, frameworks, agreements, commitments, and endless summits. We have the knowledge and the resources to stop this self-genocide before it’s too late. But the harsh truth is, among those endless possibilities it’s highly improbable (≥1%?) humans will manage to create stringent and timely enough green house gas emissions-mitigating policies.

To successfully halt the worst of climate change, the globe needs to start decreasing GHG emissions by 5% a year – instead of growing by 3-5% per year as we’re doing right now. And we need to make that change by 2015. Never in the history of the fossil fuel economy (so, 100 years?) has that kind of emissions reduction occurred – except when the USSR collapsed. I’m not sure whether the schadenfreude is worth it, but I guess a global collapse would at least cause a reduction in emissions (or would people just start burning tires)? Because past 2015 it starts looking like Mission: Impossible to stop this crazy train from leaving the station.

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Doomsday Preppers… sign of the times?

I realize I’m not the only person half-joking about December 21, 2012. But I didn’t realize I’m so far behind the apoca-times that National Geographic has a show about Doomsday Preppers.

Since I consume my sitcoms exclusively via hulu, I miss a lot of popular culture, so this gem would have slipped by without Stephen Colbert’s valiant intern slaves. I imagine Stephen has a team of college students trapped in a purgatory-esque basement à la Ben Hur, damned to watch every asinine commentator on Fox News, gathering the choicest clips (or rather, scraping the bottom of the barrel?).

Stephen was nonplussed by these survivalist citizens and their bug-out plans, as evidenced by his segment titled Stephen Colbert’s End of the World of the Week.  “They’re all ready for the unthinkable. And they each unthink it will be something different.” Then he rolled the tape of all the different crazy things these bunker-loving wackos were prepping for: a second worldwide great depression, the possibility of a devastating earthquake city of LA, an electromagnetic pulse disabling America’s transportation system, and Yellowstone’s super-volcano to explode.

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Are you Rapture Ready?

I’m a city mouse that wants to learn about the country. I grew up in Chicago and have specialized in comedy, computer skills and climate change. Since starting environmental policy graduate school, I realized how little relevance computers will have in the distopic Eaarth I believe is our future.

My sense of impending environmental and economic doom was compounded by the hipster zeitgeist that is low-impact farming and urban homesteading. Always one to follow the crowd, I too am enthralled by the idea, if not yet the actual execution of, canning vegetables and knitting hand-spun alpaca-wool fingerless gloves!

I believe the convergence of interest in community resilience and relocalization is more than a knee-jerk response to the era of globalization and corporate exceptionalism. We joke about Mayan predictions and solar pulses, but it seems even more likely that natural disasters and resulting ecosystem collapse will seriously impact our resource-extraction-based living standards. When that happens I want to be able to provide more for myself than we’ve been habituated to. As a post-college educated American I’m in the top 1% in terms of opportunities, and probably the bottom 1% in terms of actual applied survival skills. If there’s not a Wikipedia page about it that I can google on my smartphone, I probably won’t make it – that is, until after my awesome Survival Skillz Summer!

“Jessy,” you’re saying to yourself, “what makes you such an apocal-ist?” (*person who believes in an impending, non-Rapture based Apocalypse – patent pending) Not to be a killjoy, but our globalized economic system is constructed in a way that creates intense worldwide fragility. Farmers in developing countries can’t compete with our food subsidies, which drives them to city slums searching for work, and eventually on a northward migration.

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