Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Coming Storm

So, like my friend Tim, I'm going about the business of living and enjoying life in the 21st Century, but with one eye on the horizon for a significant crisis which could be looming in our future. When world events turn, they can turn fast - see Serbia, 1914 and Poland, 1939 - or they can turn slow, like temperature rising under the allegorical frog in a beaker of water. So to prepare for the next global storm, even a potential storm, one has to imagine what forces could come into play. From my perspective, I'm imagining not a sweeping conflict or acute economic crisis, but a ratcheting of economic pressure on all the world's inhabitants except the very wealthy. Perhaps during my lifetime I can only expect to see a doubling of gasoline prices, food prices, housing prices...but perhaps it could be a quick snap that suddenly means no transportation, no food delivery, and no electricity.

So if anything like that happened, it would be good, I think, to have some land and a little house that is as close to self sufficient as can be. Like a little 1910 farm plot, I think. Horses for plow power, chickens for food, wells for water, tallow candles for light, trees and tools to build furniture and musical instruments.... This is a huge topic, and I have to get off to work in the cube farm, but today I have been researching the cheapest building methods I can find, and I just sent for some pricing on a hand-operated press that produces Compressed Earthen Blocks for construction of walls. You can see what I mean at, or look up CEB construction. Most use 5 to 10 percent cement, but I think with a good supply of clay that wouldn't be necessary, especially if cement is not available. Todays CEBs are made to interlock so that mortar is only needed on the courses close ot he ground for waterproofing. Inside a structure would be stuccoed and whitewashed or similarly treated for a southwestern look, but with compressed blocks, even the wet climate in Oregon would be no problem.

More on this later...


Blogger tkn said...

I've had similar thoughts, when I used to frequent was in the waning days of my grad school "incident") I mean about homesteading, self sufficiency and that whole thing. I even participated in a three way conference call with other "peakniks" about starting a commune in Northern Cali. While I think developing basic skills is important, partly why I wanted to learn about building and natural building, I came to the conclusion that the odds of ever achieving a self-sufficient homestead were more remote than achieving a self-sufficient community. In other words, I'm hoping to find strength in numbers.

It took me awhile to stop the low intensity freak out I was having after getting bit by the peak oil bug, but I'm doing better now. Probably because I'm busy and tired and I don't dwell on it so much. One day at a time, or so they say.

8:40 PM  

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