I have become the administrator of the blog for Transition Longfellow. I am moving the pages of information about the discussion groups — personal permaculture and preparedness — to that blog. If you would like to participate in the ongoing discussion and resource sharing with members of those groups, you can do so at that blog.
I will likely still write about the actions Peter and I take as a result of group participation, but shifting the bulk of the conversation there relieves me of feeling I’m inappropriately speaking for the group or the neighborhood when I am, in fact, just one voice.
Preparedness Discussion Group
This group began in November 2012 after a few members watched the video Peak Prosperity and began talking about how to prepare for immediate emergencies and the “long emergency” of climate change. We aren’t showing the video to the group because it is too sales-oriented, but we do find information on the peak prosperity website to be useful, particularly the “What Should I Do?” list.
This is a complex, and emotionally challenging topic for many in the Transition movement. The majority of websites that discuss preparedness – and that sell preparedness products – have a distinctly militaristic and apocalyptic attitude. The peak prosperity site also has some of these discomfiting elements, but we encourage people to read the section on Community to understand that we are not advocating disregard for one’s neighbors. Chris Martensen uses an airline emergency as a metaphor: By taking steps to prepare ourselves, we are putting our own oxygen mask on first so that we can then assist the person next to us. We ARE in this together.
The group meets on the Third Tuesday of each month (various locations) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Topics include:
- December 18, 2012: Water — How do we meet our personal need for water, and our food garden’s need for water, in the event of a short-term emergency or longer-term drought? How would our community/city provide safe drinking water if our water system were to be damaged or compromised by storm or flood or loss of electricity?
- January 15, 2013: Heat – How do we heat ourselves in an emergency situation, such as being stuck in the car in a snowstorm or while camping? How do we heat our home in the event of a power outage (remember, gas furnaces use electric fans to move heat)? In the event we have no heat, how do we prevent cold-damage to our homes? What are the environmental consequences of different types of backup heat? How can we minimize that damage?
- February 19, 2013: Electricity – What are your household’s critical electrical needs? In the event of a short-term power outage, what backup system do you have in place? What are the environmental consequences of different types of backup electricity? What alternatives do we have to the electrical grid should electricity become unreliable or too costly over the long term? What can we do as a community to bring improvements to our grid and our energy future?
- March 19, 2013: Food 1 – How much food should one keep on hand in the home or in the car in case of short-term emergency such as a weather disaster? How does one’s food storage outlook change when considering the “long emergency,” when drought and weather instability may lead to crop losses and increased food prices? (What did our foremothers do to get through the winter?) What has been done on a governmental/ community level to store food in case of crop loss/food shortages?
- April 15, 2013: Food 2 – What kinds of food should be in the “deep pantry?” What is the best balance of growing your own versus buying from local farmers versus buying from the store? What would a good food storage area look like?
- May 21, 2013: Food 3 – What are the best methods for storing or preserving food? In what situations might one need a backup system for cooking food? For freezing food? What are the environmental consequences of different types of backup systems?
- June 18, 2013: First Aid and Health – How prepared are you to handle a sprain, a broken bone, an infection or burn? Do you have adequate emergency supplies in your home and your car? Do you have a small kit on your bike? What health maintenance resources are available within the community? Who in your area understands no-cost or low-cost natural health treatments?
- July 16, 2013: Finances – If your home is destroyed by a tornado, will you be able to access your money and credit? Are important documents stored safely offsite? In the face of the long emergency, how might our financial system change? What constitutes real wealth?
- August 20, 2013: Community – What does a resilient community look like and what steps can we take to help build resilience? How can we take what we’ve learned and share it? What institutions in our community can be a resource for preparedness? For example, if a tornado destroyed homes in this area, are there churches that would open their doors to those made homeless?