Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Introductory Post

Well, I just opened this blog, and I'm not sure if it's gonna go or not. But I thought it might be at least helpful to me (if no one else).

I should start with introductions--that's polite, right? Okay. My name is Robyn, and I am a doomer. Not a "zombies are coming to eat my brains tomorrow, get the guns!" doomer (guns won't do much good against zombies anyway--see here.) But rather, a "Gee, here's about a hundred reasons why things will start to/currently are going downhill" kind of doomer. It has taken me a long time to come to grips with being a doomer, to be able to accept that my life in the future is not going to be like my life in the past. I've spent the past few years, and my husband perhaps a few years more, trying to wrap my brain around the mess we're in now. But I've made good progress on it, and I think that I'm finally seeing versions of how our world will be changing. Honestly, though, that's not what this blog is for, although I can't imagine it won't come up occasionally--in my fits & starts of accepting some new, harsh reality (or hey, maybe even a few moments of "wow, that worked out better than I'd hoped!").

No, this blog is intended for other purposes. This blog is for finding the path through the forest. I've started it to help me work though the process of adapting to our new world, and maybe to take a few people along with me, if'n ya wanna come. "We're in a pickle" as Bill Moyers recently said during the open to an interview with Andrew Bacevich. Yes, we certainly are. The recent years of our nation has been almost like a race to see which global catastrophe will destroy us first--global warming, peak oil, or the economy. Right now, it's actually looking like the economy is going to win, at least in proximate cause sense (in fact, twistedly, it's looking like economic collapse will happen first, but it will exacerbate the other issues--joy--but more on that later, eh?). How can we deal with this situation? How can I deal with this situation? Can I do anything now? What? No, really, what?!?! I can't stop the juggernauts barreling down at me. Sure, I can "do my part" and that's all well and good--I've got many things to say about why you should--but no, really, it's not going to stop global warming, or save the economy. It just won't; let it go. So what should I do?

You see, I am not currently living on an off-grid homestead like a good doomer should be. I do not have 4 acres to support my family in a totally self-sufficient manner. I don't have a stash of shotguns, rifles, and MREs in a waterproof/fireproof box buried 10 clicks from my back door. No cows, no chickens, no other livestock to speak of (except our cat Calvin and five tetra fish). No wheat in the field. No cottage industry selling eggs and local produce. No heat but central heat. And while my situation might change radically in the future, I currently have no plans to do any of these things. Given my current situation, how can I expect to navigate the low/no income, low/no energy future before us?

And so I've started this blog, to work through how I'm gonna do it, because you'd better believe that godsdamnit I am gonna do it. Somehow. Here is where I will figure out the how. Or at least, that's the plan. I will not spend much time in posts trying to convince anyone that peak oil is real, or that we're entering the Greater Depression, or that global warming is anthropogenic in cause. There are lots of other people out there who do a better job of that than I will, and I'll get some of those links up soon enough. I'll respond to questions about it to the best of my ability, but I'm just not going to be in the business of convincing anyone of anything. You think that peak oil is a paranoid oil-man's delusion? Good for you--have some bean dip. But on the whole, I'll assume that if you're reading this at all, you're more or less on the same page as me on the broad issues. Or if not, you're at least willing to entertain these notions, and you find value in what I'm blathering about here for some other reason.

Given what I said earlier--no homestead & whatnot--it probably looks like I'm in a hopeless situation, but I don't think so. Sure I lack many things that would make the transition more workable. But I am not without resources, and I intend to bring those to bear in any way I can come up with. I have a husband who loves me and mine. With him, I have two young boys who are a joy, if also a trial. I have an old, solid, 1902 house with high ceilings and great insulation, that was designed back when "central heating" meant that your living room was on fire. I live in the interior of a smallish (~80,000 population) midwestern town to which we have grown rather attached. I have a nice side-yard to garden in, and could probably eke about 3500 sq. ft. of garden out of it (I'm currently gardening about 625 sq. ft.). I have wonderful neighbors whom I feel I can rely upon, and who can band together if times get tough. I have a "to die for" pantry. I have a cold-room passageway for food storage. I have an extensive basement including the makings for a root cellar. I have great friends, many of whom are working with me to start a local foods co-op. I can walk or bike to nearly anything in town.

I don't want to leave my home. I don't want to leave my community. I want to stay. I want to adapt in place. I just need to figure out how. This won't be fast, and it certainly won't be without pain, or at least severe embarrassment. But it will be worth it, even if none of it works out. So here I go....


  1. You might like to post a link to http://peakoilhausfrau.blogspot.com/ . Die Frau has some excellent, accessible suggestions for adapting in place.


  2. Excellent--I've been meaning to check her blog out for awhile.--Danke!

  3. I've just read your first post. I'll be following along with your journey. Very exciting of you to journal about it.


  4. Thanks Gracie! Here's hoping that it doesn't turn into one of those boat rides where people voluntarily jump off ... ;-)

  5. Sounds like a very interesting journey... I'll be watching, and learning. :o) Also, anytime you feel the need for board games...*noticing that on your list* I have a ridiculously huge pile of them that you could borrow. :o)

  6. Thanks, Jana! I might take you up on those board games, although we've also been looking for a fifth for a good game of "Illuminati"... =D

  7. Sounds like you and I are in exactly the same place ... well not *exactly* - I think I live a little further north and east than you do ;), but with regard to where we are with our thoughts on the whole "doom and gloom" front, we seem to be in exactly the same place :).

    We'll be "adapting in place" as well. Our "place" happens to be a suburban home on a quarter acre in a small resort town in southern coastal Maine. We do have chickens (and rabbits), though :).

    I'll be looking forward to following your journey via your blog.

  8. Hi Wendy--welcome! Always remember, I'm fishing for advice and ideas as much as I am informing the blogosphere about what I'm up to, so always feel free to tell me what you think. Also, I'm envious of your chickens (I will have chickens someday...)

  9. Hi Robyn -- Just found your blog through your comment at Ruhlman and love it. One thing...I can't see where on your blog I can subscribe either by email or feed. Is that here? Thanks!

  10. Ack! I apparently took down the feed link! Um.... whoops. I'll fix that soon. In the meanwhile, one thing that most browsers have is the RSS icon in the address window. Look up to where the web address is, and then look to the far right-hand corner of that box; there should be a little orange box w/ funny white curvy lines in it. Clicking on that should take you to the RSS feed. I hope this helps!