OK, so you’re totally on board with The Resilient Investor‘s goal of being “ready for anything”—you’ve clarified your own idea of where the world seems to be headed, while also realizing that you don’t really know when or how one of the countless wild cards in play might change the game in fundamental ways. You get that focusing significant energy Close to Home will pay off no matter how the future unfolds; perhaps you’re also committed to pushing our society in those enticing Evolutionary directions.
And yes, you recognize that there is a chance of painful disruptions to life here on American Easy Street. Maybe you think any hiccups are unlikely to be severe . . . or you harbor a secret dread that’s too nebulous to really figure out how to address. You certainly aren’t into being a serious Prepper, stockpiling supplies, fine-tuning a “go-bag,” and overlaying that kind of dire filter onto your day to day life. If it comes to that, you figure we’re all toast, or we’ll all be in it together, and there are better ways to spend your time in the here and now. But you also have a niggling sense that you could be a little more prepared for a societal speed bump: it’s not so hard to imagine some sort of grid snafu (cyber-attack or solar flare) or regional weather or terror event that could make things rough for a week, or maybe even a few. Just-in-time supply chains, vulnerable water supplies, our reliance on fuels and electricity. . . yeah, there are a few weak links out there.
While we’ve pointed to writers and resources that aim to help you prepare for various Breakdown scenarios, if you don’t really identify as a “Doomer,” you’ve probably held off on digging into all that very deeply. Well, here’s a less-scary entry point for those of you that have been thinking you really consider doing something: a well-curated collection of The Best Emergency Preparedness Supplies from the good folks at Sweethome/Wirecutter.
Tags: close to home strategy, resilience, tangible assets
Much of what we share here is coverage of projects, research, and news that’s relatively encouraging—ideas and actions that might spur your own constructive engagement in these challenging times. Recently, we’ve shared evolutionary/breakthrough techno-optimist visions, close-to-home/tangible in-the-dirt initiatives, and muddling-up/market-based optimism about carbon. But hovering there in the background, as it has been with increasing intensity for at least a couple of decades, is the specter of questions that many of us can’t quite bear to face: Did we wait too long for any of this to make a real difference? Is catastrophic climate change now baked into the system? Have economic elites stubbornly steered the ship onto insurmountable shoals of social inequity and ecological overshoot? What if it really is too late?
Addressing this possibility has been among the hardest parts of putting together our book and this ongoing chronicle of resilient investing resources. But we, too, have grappled with the darker questions, and have to some degree prepared ourselves, at least internally, for the possibility that we are indeed in the early stages of a significant societal and/or ecological decline. None of the four of us who put the book together are ready to abandon ship,
Tags: close to home strategy, collaboration, community groups, future, personal growth
James Howard Kuntsler is a widely respected critic of our society’s overshoot and imbalances. His books include reflections of urbanism, place, and, most famously, the disruptions likely to occur in our society as a result of the end of the era of cheap oil, and the repercussions of climate change.
Kunstler’s website, including an active blog
Book: The Long Emergency
In The Long Emergency, published by Atlantic Monthly Press, Kunstler looks ahead to the implications of the trends of declining oil production, climate change, and other challenges that shock the system, and sees major implications on every aspect of life.
Video: The Long Emergency
This video includes two parts (separate files on YouTube) and features Kunstler discussing Peak Oil and the Long Emergency that lies ahead.
It’s always a dicey proposition to tuck any of our key “thought leaders” into any one D-Type cubbyhole, perhaps none more so than Richard Heinberg. We’ve included him among the Doomers thanks to his longtime leadership on the issue of Peak Oil, and more recently, the “peak everything” challenges that face an economy predicated on constant growth within an inherently limited biosphere. So, we suggest reading and listening to Heinberg as a clear voice that sees our current system being likely to hit some extremely rough patches; but bear in mind that in his role as a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, he is also hard at work charting the path toward a viable, if much less energy-intensive, global future; in this, he could easily be considered a Dealer or Driver.
Good quick bio of Heinberg
, along with links to his most recent writings on Resilience.orgRichard Heinberg’s website
Video: The Party’s Over
In this 5-part presentation, Heinberg addresses how peak oil, and thus required shift away from fossil fuels, is impacting our economy and our life.
Video: Peak Everything
In this 5-part video, Heinberg looks ahead at this century of declining resources.
Essay: Two Realities.
In this essay from his newsletter, Heinberg looks at the conflict between the physical and political realities of our planet, on which infinite growth is not possible, and our political and economic systems, which require endless growth. He warns that our only hope to minimize future human suffering and ecosystem collapse is to come to terms with the physical limits that political realities attempt to deny, ignore, or hide.
Tags: close to home strategy, CO2, personal assets, tangible assets
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.
Tags: close to home strategy, personal assets, prepping, tangible assets
Jared Diamond is a geographer and cultural historian. While his books range widely, and he is by no means a Doomer himself, his book “Collapse” offers some of the most solid evidence for the fundamental point that even complex societies like ours can and have crumbled in the past. The point of the book is more complex than this; in particular he looks at how we could “choose to succeed.” Still, as a reality check, this book is valuable to us all.
The book: Diamond’s website synopsis of “Collapse”
Quotes from the book on Good Reads
The rest of Diamond’s books
Video: “Why Societies Collapse”
This fascinating long form article takes a deep dive into the foreseeable and nearly unforeseeable future of earth and humanity, focusing on the work of Nick Bostrom, the director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, a research collective tasked with pondering the long-term fate of human civilisation. Bostrom considers an array of risks on different timescales, from natural mass extinctions via asteroid impact or a supervolcano to technological missteps to our possible interstellar future. Read article.
Tags: future, global, learning
NASA/NSF-funded study: industrial civilization at risk of “irreversible collapse” ?!?
A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.” See article.
Tags: close to home strategy, global
This website offers a collection of books, online resources, trainings and courses designed to provide the reader with ideas and tools to make their own community more resilient. Contains five guides with lots of examples as well as practical, tested tools. Check it out.
Tags: close to home strategy, evolutionary strategy, resilience
The following initiatives gather a wealth of practical, organizational, and inspirational materials that foster local economies, local culture, and local resilience. Within the resilient investing framework, the work of these groups are—in many ways—both “close to home” and “evolutionary”; we see strong local communities as a key element in a resilient response to any and all future scenarios.
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.
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. Visit website.
Peak Prosperity / Crash Course
Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website is dedicated to helping readers to understand and prepare for the many huge changes that are underway in the areas that Martenson calls “the 3 E’s” – economy, energy and environment. It’s a member-supported site (charging a monthly membership fee) that also contains a deep and wide offering of resources available to all. While somewhat more oriented toward breakdowns that we may be, the resources he offers are a close complement to the fundamental thinking behind our resilient investing planning. Includes practical resources, blogs, and group discussions.
The Crash Course is a series of free video courses that provide context for the many complex challenges in today’s world that promise to bring great change in years ahead. A book and DVD are also available.
Dark Mountain Project
Dark Mountain is a loose network of writers, artists, philosophers, and others who generally see some degree of environmental and/or economic collapse to be likely in the coming decades, and efforts to reform the system as essentially spitting into the wind. In response, many in the Dark Mountain community consider it more constructive to devote their energy to fostering local and regional cultures, with an emphasis on practical skills, arts, events, and stories for a new time, and developing an historical understanding of the kinds of stories and thinking that led us astray.
Dark Mountain website. Includes in-depth essays from many contributors, and links to Dark Mountain’s series of book-sized journals, each one rich with historical reflection, interviews, fiction, poetry, and visual arts.
Article: NY Times Magazine feature on Paul Kingsnorth and xxxx, two key figures in the Dark Mountain Project.
Article: Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. A good introduction to the thinking behind Dark Mountain; the first of three annual essays published by Orion by co-founder Paul Kingsnorth.
Audio trialogue between Kingsnorth, David Abram, and Lierre Keith, responding to the themes of Kingsnorth’s essay.
Interview with Paul Kingsnorth, from Orion.
SEE ALSO our page on What is Resilience?
Tags: close to home strategy, collaboration, local, resilience
Chris Martenson runs a website called “Peak Prosperity” which is dedicated to helping readers to understand and prepare for the many huge changes that are underway in the areas that Martenson calls “the 3 E’s” – economy, energy and environment. It’s a member-supported site (charging a monthly membership fee) that also contains a deep and wide offering of resources available to all, including forums and resources for practical preparedness actions. While more oriented toward breakdown that we tend to be, his Crash Course is a useful complement to the fundamental thinking behind our resilient investing planning. Visit website.
The Crash Course is a series of free video courses that provide context for the many complex challenges in today’s world that promise to bring great change in years ahead. A book and DVD are also available. Learn more.
Tags: close to home strategy, personal assets
This essay by David MacLeaod on Resilience.org is a good overview of David Holmgren’s “energy descent” scenarios, which focuses on his analysis of our current “brown tech” path (slow weaning from fossil fuels; rapid ramp up of climate change effects). See MacLeod’s essay. See also this somewhat more skeptical response from Dimitre Orlov on Resilience.org and Holmgren’s site.
Tags: climate, permaculture