News from Mother: Despair? Determination? Delight? — Let’s Discuss

As bad news about the economy, global warming, gas prices, etc., keeps coming, do you feel worried about the future? Or secure and ready for whatever may come?
By the Mother Earth News editors
June/July 2008

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Global warming, peak oil, mortgage crisis, huge national debt, fears of a recession — it all makes many of us nervous, understandably so. There’s a flurry of new books about how to survive whatever’s ahead. Leading newspapers are running features about people who are stockpiling water and canned food, fearing the worst.

We’re thinking these are issues that you would like to discuss with each other. So, here’s a question to get things started: 

What steps would you take to prepare if you knew that five years from now everything would cost 10 times what it costs now — gas, food, electricity, solar panels, hybrid cars — everything, but your income would not change? What would you do now to be in a better place to cope?

  • Do you have a bit of land and the skills to grow and preserve a good portion of your own food? If not, could you join with your neighbors and garden together on open land one of you owns?
  • What about fuel to warm your home? Do you know how much firewood you could produce from one acre?
  • What would it cost you to commute to your job if gas cost 10 times more — $30 per gallon? Should you consider moving closer to your work, or getting a vehicle that gets better mileage? Maybe invest in an electric bicycle?
  • Could you keep goats and learn to make your own cheese? If you don’t have much land, you could keep a couple of goats in a very small area and bring food to them. They love to eat twigs and leaves — perhaps you could harvest brush along public roadsides for their feed.
  • Chickens can be great, sustainable sources of eggs and meat, but remember — commercial feed would cost 10 times more than it does now, so could you grow their feed at home?
  • Would you plant some peach pits and have your own peach orchard?
  • Or do you think it would be foolish to work to become more self-reliant, because you believe that if things got really bad, roving gangs with guns would steal your food and fuel?
  • Are you already 50 percent self-sufficient? 90 percent? Tell us how you did it, and how it feels.

Do you despair that we may be doomed? Or are you determined to choose a course that you think will assure you and your family of a good life, full of delight, no matter what comes?

Whatever your perspective, we invite you to join the discussion in our forums. — Mother 

P.S. Click to read The Greatest Danger, a related essay by Joanna Macy from the Spring 2008 issue of YES! magazine.

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