Karl Hess's book was an interesting, although depressing read. I got this book off Loompanics back in the day. No real reviews to go by. You'd find out pretty quickly now that the juicy details about the technologies themselves are missing. How to build those complex interdependent life sustaining systems. That's what I wanted to know.

The effort to gather that detailed information didn't begin, nor did it end there. My travels have only strengthened my view that we already have the technology to self-sustain communities in just about any climate. Innovators, inventors Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Masanobu Fukuoka, Emilia Hazelip, Sepp Holzer, Geoff Lawton, Murray Hallam...Michael Reynolds and his Earthship Biotechture projects. So many great people and pioneers who have been building these kind of systems. Teaching others how to bring the natural world closer to our daily lives. Balancing and designing for people, and well being. Not simply short sighted economics.

Even projects like MARS ONE, or any sort of long term space exploration. Will need to incorporate self-sustaining living systems. High density urban permaculture can teach us a great deal about creating abundance within the confines of less than optimal spaces.

David Suzuki presented a CBC documentary called, Cuba: the accidental revolution. Which is an interesting view into the extreme changes the entire nation had to go through, due to political turmoil and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989. The Power of Community: How Cuba survived peak oil also covers very well the challenges they faced. It's extremely interesting to see how they transformed paved parking lots into fields, started to farm smaller animals which required less resources, to satisfy their meat needs. Could all large nations pull together like they did and make things work? Could we survive in the colder climates, without the aid of industrialized society to heat our homes, and bring food to our tables? Preserves, Canning, Smoking, Salting, Curing, Ageing, Fermenting. Living cultures. It seems a lot of "food products" are designed to replace these natural and time honored traditions. With chemicals, preservatives. Replacing natural processes in order to increase their profits. Crippling entire generations in the name of "progress".

Learning to make things, repair things. Cooking with local ingredients. Producing locally in the hopes of lessening our dependence to mass consumer culture. Supporting artisans and local craftsmen. Helping others, teaching and learning. All subtle and empowering actions that can reveal a great deal about our true needs and abilities.

Explore your local micro economy. Trading, bartering, recycling. What services or products do you depend on locally? Can those services or the availability of those essential staples be guaranteed in an emergency? How can you help the people around you? Are you a part of a "community" or are you just living in the same area as a bunch of other strangers? Can your skills help calm/improve/support others through difficult times? Do you know others you can rely on? Practice! Enhance your art and mind daily.

The real challenge isn't limited by science or our technology. But rather by the human discordia I believe is a symptom of our "modern society". The transition is what interests me the most right now. Balancing our modern lives, through greater scientific transparency and ecological impact accountability. There are many things we can improve, to the benefit of us all and our natural environment. Without going back to the dark ages. Decide how you want to live your future. Pioneer within your own community.

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