college prep work

Sunday, June 04, 2006

5 skills

I have been thinking about what would be the best things to have skills in once this peak oil crisis does happen. As I said in my last post it is difficult for me to get through to people in agreeing with me that it is going to happen, and so therefore I want to find ways so that I am not just sitting around as most of other Americans are.
It is difficult because although I am confident that there are going to be large scale depression and collapse because of peak oil, I still have the idea that if no one else is worried about it, then I will not be either. I have thought that since so many people alive have figured out how to do all these amazing things with technology that it would be no problem, to go back to the more simple basic ways of life. But I realize that isn’t so when someone learns something first for example knowing how to play music but not read it, it is even harder than just starting from nothing. Eustace Conway the person The last American Man is based off of said something I found very interesting. "Americans have separated themselves from the natural world. During the past eighty years we have been 'advancing' so fast that we are as infants trying to run. We would be wise to slow down and learn more about primitive (first) values.” While we may still have 2 or 3 skills that people would have needed 150 years ago we have gotten to such a level of being protected from real life and wilderness that when we are confronted with how simple it is we would not be able to survive. So I have come up with five things that I feel are absolutely necessary in order to start on a life style that does not rely on oil.
1) Farming. I think this is the most obvious one but offers many difficulties. Most land has been so neglected that I doubt it still has many nutrients still in the soil in order to actually grow food for a continuous period of time. As Diamond told us in his book with Greenland the areas looked lush but once they dug up the plants that had been growing for hundreds of years they were no longer able to grow things there. So along with farming, people need to know how to take care of soil and put the nutrients in them if necessary. Also not having people plant whatever they want but things that are locals to that area. If people try to bring plants from South Carolina up to the Adirondack mountains there is almost no hope for them, but if they grew things that have been shown to do well in those areas such as corn, and other fruits they could have much larger crops that would require much less time as well.
2) Hunting is something we need to get used to. I think there is a much larger percentage of people who are vegetarians or vegans now then there were 150 years ago. I think its because as I said before people have tried to make life too complicated. Putting in moral issues before more natural ones. I do understand that there are foods like tofu that have a large amount of protein but I don’t see that being grown in the U.S. in the event of an oil collapse. So I believe one would be severely limiting them if they tried to not eat meat and get food that would really benefit their body. As well as if you hunt your own meat it is much more healthy that getting it through a grocery store that has had it sitting there for a long time.
3) Building and woodwork. Something that people had trouble with in Cuba is that they did not have materials for building new houses. They still relied on materials that came from machines that used oil. So I think it is important to learn to how build and create homes out of wood. Since there will need to be entire new villages and town set up I think a lot of them can start new without using any of the old concrete or steel buildings. If people do just use that scavenger lifestyle where they rely on what has already been built they will just be delaying their eventual collapse, because without maintenance or ways to fix it soon those buildings will not be able to be lived in. Along with knowing how to make basic buildings something that could be done earlier is learning how to better insult ones house so that people do not need to spend as much money on natural gas while the price continues to climb.
4) Barry said this in class on Wednesday and I did not really think it was so necessary to do because I thought it just happens on its own. People will have to build up a level of fitness. While there are people who go to the gym and run who might be in shape a lot of those muscles are not really useful in real world or nature activities. So although once we are thrown into needing to fend for ourselves in nature certain muscles will be built up, it would be much easier if we already had them so that the work at first would not be so hard.
5) While this seems to be somewhat bland and like it’s the least important no matter what I try to do it still seems like it has to be learned. Group dynamics. Since I have learned from my discussions with my family that they will not be convinced of peak oil I feel like I should look for a new group to bond with. So group dynamics and learning to speak to people and try and get work done with others is very important. Because if a storm is coming in and you need to get in your food before it hits you really should know how to speak to people so that they work with you and not get pissed off and give up.
Andy on his paper about this put learning how to make a fire as one of the most important things. While I do think that is a skill everyone should have I also feel that it is on easily acquired. Getting sparks off of rocks, or using an eyeglass or the popular but very slow method of rubbing sticks together are all ways to do it. I think that it is one of the most crucial skills but also very easy, so of all the things to rush and learn this does not have to be the one. Possibly setting up a way to protect your fire that is an important and difficult thing to do.


At 7:39 PM, Blogger Juggleandhope said...


This is very interesting. It seems like we are thinking in parallel. I am going to come back to your post and re-read it when I am not tired and cranky.


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