Friday, May 1, 2009

4 Months

It's 1st of May. Labor Day. Personally for me it is also "TC + 4 months". I use Jan 1, 2009 as the rough date when I realized that we are in Times of Change ("TC"), around then I was awakened to a realization that we are facing drastic challenges.

With 4 months having passed it is also time to re-assess and see what we have accomplished. A friend who got concerned about peak oil and the economic and political crisis at the same time as I has achieved the following. This is what he shared: "Made much progress here. Backyard is now a vegetable garden (US$1000 + many hours of hard work). Chicken coup is in the works. I have stored a one-year supply of food - raw wheat, black beans, sugar, oats, pasta (the Mormon church showed me how to do this). The food has a 30-year storage life. I have a 30 day supply of water (which I consider a weak point). Also I'm replicating all of this in a remote site 300 kilometer away that I originally purchased for other activities. Despite all this we must not to forget to enjoy life, kids ...". Wow, I was impressed. No, let me correct that: I was very impressed! Hats off. I am putting this in the blog because it will be motivational to others. It shows that one can truly accomplish a lot in only several months. I also liked his last sentence: "must not forget to enjoy life". This is exactly the positive attitude we need. Despite the bad news that hits us daily we should remain positive in order to not lose our sanity in this corrupt and mad world.

And I? What have I finished in 4 months?
  • I did take care of my finances. We paid off the bank credit. I shifted my investment from equities to commodities and I am slowly shifting left-over money from US$ currency to € currency. There is still some ongoing effort here but the majority of the reallocation is done. Still I am very concerned about these issues.
  • No, I did not purchase the rural plot yet. I looked a lot in a single village and found 2 candidates. But both are overpriced and that is a key point for hesitation. I am considering (but have not done it) to look in a different area which would also be 30min/30km away from our current home. The dream of a country home with a permaculture garden is still months away.
  • There are about 10 more plants on our terrace in our city flat and I spent time teaching the kids the value of trees, plants, how to take care of them, etc. I even told them about CO2, oxygen, etc. Not sure they understand that part but frequently they understand more than we think. I could turn our 10 square meter terrace into a garden, but I did not do it (I always have excuses, don't I) because we are going to live abroad next year, so the garden would be unattended.
  • I looked for organic food supply, but so far my 5 to 10h search has revealed little. Bulk organic food - when bought over the Internet has some 33% cost in transportation and a high environmental footprint. That can't be the solution. I found one place for buying a food basket, but again the farm is more than 100km away and the food is shipped by mail, again adding substantially to the cost and CO2 foot print. The most promising link is a cooperative in the city center. They have information of producers that provide food baskets for some 30 consumers and that can be picked up locally in the city center once a week. We have to follow up this lead. It is the most promising looking one. Still, I have to look more. I would like to have two places: a) one to buy bulk food (grains/pasta) from and b) local access to a food basket or coop for the occasional buy.
  • We have and always had a minor food store at home, food that will last us a few weeks. I have not yet increased the volume yet.
  • I learned a lot about a lot of things: cooking with wood, heating with wood, about edible plants, permaculture approaches. I still have a lot more to learn (packaging, storing food, etc.).
  • I changed my opinion on many issues: politics, outlook on future, values, priorities, ...
  • I spread the news to reach critical mass eventually: talked to friends
    in several countries, created this web blog, ...
  • I am definitely accelerating in the theoretical part, but as my wife says, I have to put it to practice.
It is clear that this is just a baby step forward. I agree with my wife: on many issues I have to put the theory to practice. The practical experience will come and it will take years to absorb it. A food forest is not grown overnight, it needs some 5 to 10 years. A new person is not born overnight, I will need years to evolve. Let's do another re-assessment at "TC + 1 year".

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