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The roots of the sustainability movement in Denver

The Walking Unprepared

by Robbie - May 24th, 2011.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

Many things strike me as metaphorical.  The idea of Zombie Apocalypse, even exploited by the Center For Disease Control, is, I believe, a metaphor for people who refuse to look at the economic situation we are currently in.  They also refuse to consider the ramifications of it.  State governments go broke, the Federal government can’t bail them out, massive jobs get cut, entitlements get cut, and you’ve got lots of people trying to live on nothing in a very expensive world.

Many urban homesteaders have thought about this.  They’ve taken steps to be more independent when it comes to food, transportation, and many other aspects of daily life, so as to live a better life now...and also, hopefully, when various financial infrastructures collapse.

The people who continue to live the idea of “work hard get rich” may be hit the hardest, because in order to work hard and get rich you’ve got to: A.  Have work and B. Be able to work for somebody who can pay you a lot.

I was raised with this idea.  “Get an education, get in with a good company, make lots of money! Then you’ll be secure!” (the subtext being, “Then you can take good care of me when I’m old”.  The irony here is, people my age and younger are already doing this.  We are paying for those nice pensions and medical plans for The Greatest Generation.  Literally.) I rejected the “work hard get rich” idea- like Aesop’s Irresponsible Grasshopper- and did stupid stuff like theater and radio, which have no pension plans.  But right about now I’m feeling a bit too vindicated.  I got called lots of names for living the way I wanted to.  I didn’t accept a beige cubicle.  I didn’t finish getting a degree. I just went out and lived every dream I had at the moment.  The only thing I invested in was experience.  That made sense to me.  It still does.  And now the Suze Ormans of the world get to blow me.  I’m trying not to love this too much.  Rejoicing in the misery of others is beneath me.

The Tao speaks about the physics of wealth in this way:  “Gather together all the jade and gold in the world, but no one can protect it,”  My 401K was wiped out years ago, and my savings is minimal.  I lean on some hope of my ability to Do Things.  I graduated from the EMT program at Swedish 10 years ago, but I still know enough field medicine to help out in a triage situation, for instance.  This year I took lots of gardening classes and yarn classes.  I can make a splint from newspaper, make compost and grow greens, grow wool and spin wool and knit a hat, tell a good story.  These things, to me, seem like wealth.  We’ll see if they are enough.

But back to our metaphor…many urban homesteaders are also big on the idea of Community.  This is enlightened self-interest.  Being nice to the snarky neighbor who disapproves of your front yard vegetable garden or back yard chickens is an investment in relationship, a relationship that may be heavily tested down the road when they come knocking because there’s no food at the store and they thought canning was a “hippie thing”.  It’s vital to be forgiving and gently instructive and to include everybody in solutions.  This view is shared by many authors of urban homesteading books.

And those humbled people knocking on the door, eyes agog and faces dazed with the shock of the failed system?  They are the Walking Unprepared.

Maybe it will never come to that.  I don’t want to encourage any negativity here.

But if we continue to help, to include, to gently instruct, maybe at first they’ll just be asking for eggs…instead of brains.


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