Posts Tagged ‘tangible assets’

James Wesley, Rawles: Compassionate survivalist

John Wesley, Rawles is a well-known survivalist. A former Army intelligence officer, his website is a go-to source for all manner of preparation for survival in a post-breakdown world. While he is firmly in the “guns and groceries” camp, his perspective is notable for its emphasis, based on notions of Christian charity, that one’s personal preparation must also include a readiness to be of service to others who may be less prepared for major change.

Interview, late 2014: This interview offers a good introduction to Rawles’ perspective (as well as an explanation for the unusual punctuation of his name).

Wiki bio of Rawles

Rawles’ website, which bills itself as “the daily website for prepared individuals living in uncertain times.” It contains a wealth of practical and philosophical information on preparing for societal breakdown, as well as any other natural or manmade emergency. Readers often submit their own prepping and survival techniques, often gained through practical experience, sometime through learning the hard way.

Book: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.
A collection of topical resources on everything from food and water to medical supplies and communication.

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Beyond GDP: measuring true wealth

In recent years, the shortcomings of the commonly-cited GDP (gross domestic product) have become more widely recognized, spreading even to some governments and mainstream organizations such as the UN. Many alternative metrics have been proposed, each of which aims to capture aspects of societal well-being that are omitted by GDP, and/or to minimize the values-neutral elements of GDP (which considers money spent on, say, cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon spill as a positive contribution to GDP). Economist Hazel Henderson is a long-time champion of such alternative measures; Ethical Markets, where she is a principle, tracks news from around the world on such matters, and in an early-2015 essay, she highlights several current initiatives:

Genuine Progress Indicator. This website includes numerous articles and scholarly papers about GDP, several alternative measures, and the GPI, which estimates “economic welfare,” which appears to have peaked in 1978, while GDPs have generally continued rising.

Beyond GDP: The Need for New Measures of Progress (pdf). A report published by Boston University in 2009, by the team that developed the GPI.

Living Planet Index. Developed by the World Wildlife Fund, the focus here is on species and habitats.

Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators. A twelve-topic assessment of quality of life trends in the United States.

Sustainable Society Index. A recently-developed metric that tracks twenty societal measures of sustainability (including sanitation, gender equality, income distribution, governance, and ecological factors) for individual countries around the world.

Gross National Happiness. A national initiative in Bhutan that has spurred interest from countries and cities around the world.

Happy Planet Index. An initiative that builds on Bhutan’s lead.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing. Since 2011, this initiative has looked at country-wide wellbeing, and recently Ontario became the first province to use the methodology.

 

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What is resilience?

Resilience helps us to thrive by:

anticipating and preparing for disturbance,
improving the capacity to withstand shocks,
rebuilding as necessary, and
adapting and evolving when possible.

Resilience is a powerful remedy for our uncertain times, allowing us to learn to live with the fundamental complexity of modern life.  These are our favorite resources for getting up to speed on the ideas behind “resilience” and the ways that they are being implemented in communities around the world.

The Stockholm Resilience Center has produced some of the best educational materials for introducing the concept of resilience, including videos and brochures. Explore their rich site, which also includes research papers and arts projects.

Transition is a global network of local/regional groups working to build resiliency. While Transition began from the framework of preparing for a post-peak-oil world, the evolution of the movement has led to a wide range of local initiatives that foster local economies, social justice, increased renewable energy, and other projects that, like much in the Close to Home strategy, offer powerful contributions to any possible future scenario.

Transition United States compiles news and resources; also includes a map of the over 150 active Transition Town initiatives in the US.

Transition Network is the global Transition resource center.

Other great resources

Resilient Communities
is a project from the UK that shares some roots with the Transition Network. In the words of founder John Robb, a resilient community produces the food, energy, water, things, and incomes it needs locally.

PostCarbon Institute’s Resilience.org
An information clearinghouse and a network of action-oriented groups; features a lively exchange of ideas.

Resilience Alliance
A research organization comprised of scientists and practitioners from many disciplines who collaborate to explore the dynamics of social-ecological systems. Here you’ll find more of the academic soil from which creative community-building solutions are growing.

YES Magazine special issue on community resilience
Includes a range of articles, most relatively brief, highlighting specific resiliency-building initiatives.

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