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Thursday, October 22,2009

Relocalization may be the key to not exterminating ourselves

By Pamela White

Reaching for freedom

There’s an advantage to facing these issues now as opposed to allowing catastrophe to force the issue. A community that makes the transition to local food and energy production now will have more control over how that transition unfolds than those that wait for that last drop of gasoline to vanish and summer highs to reach up to 120 degrees in Colorado, as they are predicted to do by the end of the 21st century — even if all world governments meet their goals and keep their promises with regard to reduction of greenhouse gases.

But there’s another less tangible advantage to making this transition now, and it can be summed up in a single word: freedom.

“Freedom is kind of the underlying issue here that doesn’t get talked about very much,” Brownlee admits. “In giving away our capacity to meet our own needs locally, we have become so dependent on distant sources and foreign powers that we in many ways are powerless and can be forced to pay whatever price is asked for what we need, and that’s exactly how freedom can be sacrificed in the name of survival.”

This is true on a national level and on an individual level.

A reskilled family in a localized community is a family with more control over the lives of its members because its economy is subject to local control. What happens on Wall Street or in Congress doesn’t matter as much to those who are out of debt, who grow much of their own food and have the skills to meet most of their own needs — and to help their neighbors.

“Freedom — it’s a principle that we need to focus on because people are pretty much blind to it,” Brownlee says.

Even if climate change is a hoax (it isn’t) and your favorite political party holds onto the White House for the next four decades (it won’t), there is true value in knowing how to do things yourself.

Carolyn Bninsky, also of RMPJC, says she found growing a vegetable garden this summer to be surprisingly satisfying. She planted the seeds, went out each day to check on their progress, watering, weeding and caring for the growing plants, then eventually enjoying the results of her work on the dinner table.

“What excites us and what engages us can change,” she says. “We’re not stuck with what they taught us with the commercial culture.”

Bninsky says she is gradually learning new skills and finds the process enjoyable. The idea of Boulder County having its own thriving economy and its own culture is deeply appealing to her, but also a bit overwhelming.

“It feels really big, but you do it one person at a time and one group at a time,” she says. “If we can really bring people together, maybe we can create something where more people are engaged creating our collective future together. It feels pretty daunting, but with more people involved and with each person doing a piece, everybody becomes a leader. Everybody becomes someone who can reach out to other people and help them learn, too.”

*Editor’s note: We looked it up. To “conn a ship” means to direct the course of a ship.

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Learning how to grow food and preserve it is a good skill to have. However, I don't think everyone has time to become a complete homesteader and have a full time (specialized) job. I like having a special skill and a purpose in life other than diaper-changing, sock darning and slaving away in the kitchen all day.

I hope that in the future we find a way to preserve the freedom of choice and purpose as well as live sustainably, so that we can all have opportunities to contribute in creative ways to our community without breaking our backs trying to do it ALL for ourselves.

True prosperity may not be all about mindless and pointless growth, but it's also not about limiting our options.



THANK YOU Pamela for writing this article. This is what I've been saying for a long time now and have been re-skilling myself along the way. This article is the truth everyone needs to hear and take very seriously. Our lives, health, and happiness depend on it!


Don't have time? That is the saddest excuse I've ever heard. You "don't have time" because you are dependant on your job for paper currency to buy your food, shelter, and clothes with. If you could do it yourself and we re-adopted the bartering system, you wouldn't need a full-time job to support yourself. You may not need a "job" at all. And that, my friend, is true freedom of choice!

And I don't think it was implied that one would have to do it all themselves either. You may have missed the part where the community supports eachother in survival.

"True prosperity may not be all about mindless and pointless growth, but it's also not about limiting our options." True prosperity has NOTHING to do with mindless growth and your options are already limited. Can't you see that?




Ciaradugas, don't get me wrong, I think the article is good and I agree with the concepts. I DO have time - I have time to garden, can food, read, spend time in nature. I grow most of the produce I eat in the summer and can a lot to eat throughout the fall. I just don't have time to do everything as the article states (fix your car, fix your house, sew your clothes...) and I don't want to become a farmer. I like what I do for a living and I don't desire to spend my days mucking out the barn or tending to my crops or making my own clothes. I have more choices now than my grandmother did, and she was a homesteader. My choices aren't that limited. Hers were! She never went on vacation and barely left her house (cuz you know, the animals need tending and milking).

You say that "community supports each other in survival" - isn't that what we're doing now? Someone in Alaska fishes for us so we don't have to. Someone in Asia sews our clothes so we don't have to.

I have no desire to "have no job at all." I like what I do for a living and I get a lot of satisfaction and happiness from it. If I had to trade my career for full-time homesteading, well - I probably wouldn't like that much.

My point is that we need to examine this idea of self-reliance and incorporate it INTO the progress we've made in society, such as equality and equal opportunity for all men and women.



To begin, we ARE NOT supporting eachother as a world-wide community, alright? The children in Asia making your clothes are sweatshop children on the dime of a rich, white capitalist who took advantage of a destabilized economy and put his wares there either through american-govt sponsorship or illegal corporate tactics. Foreign fishing out of state is better? Do you know if your Alaskan fish are bred in a farm, pumped with steroids, or fed nothing but corn like all the American chicken and beef?

I'm glad you get satisfaction out of what you do, but how do you know your satisfactory career will always be there? I'm a graphic designer and my boyfriend is a computer specialist and his jobs are outsourced all the time and i'm not even payed my agreed upon market-salary. These skills ensure survival when a federal-reserve based economy ensures nothing and no stability at all. "Maybe the economy will be better next year" or "Oh, its gotten so bad it can only get better" are the worst and least-secure perspectives. The only way to be free of these problems is to be completely self-sufficient.

Equality for all? Really? Sexism and Racism in America are ALIVE and WELL. Just because we have a black president doesn't mean things have turned around for everybody! There's still insignificant success for gay rights, women are still payed lower than men in many fields, and all ethnic communities and subcultures are still afflicted with stereotypes and given the cold shoulder unless there are extenuating circumstances or affirmative action comes into play! What country do you think you live in?

Older communities had less options than we did? Your ancestors at least owned their farms fully and had access to a wide variety of stock and seeds. Now, corporations are buying the patent on the DNA for seeds and saying that certain things cannot be grown or stored or both. Monsanto, Kroger Farms, and various other corporate entities have all passed patents against farmers to limit their power. Less than 3% grow for the enrtire country of 300 Million people. Pathetic. Your ancestors also owned and tilled the land and had no need to get corporate jobs because they had all the food and sustenance they will ever need instead of corporations feeding you daily. They knew how to survive and they actually lived longer. Due to privatized food, Diabetes, Cancer, Obesity, lack of skill, and laziness are all increasing tremendously. Your ancestors lived much more fortunately then you will in your lifetime, trust me.

Travel was not an issue anyhow. Your grandmother is not the national average. Older communities had trustworthy neighbors to help them manage their animals while they were vacant of home. My boyfriend has a grandmother who was an Accountant but was also from tribal-Costa Rica and knew all the old skills. She's traveled all of Europe, Spain, Portugal, Japan, China, India, Nepal, and most of South America. She was of your grandmother's generation and look what she accomplished. Not traveling sounds like it was your family's choice, not a circumstance. I dont know who your ancestors were, but people travelled all the time and more of them travelled than DID NOT travel.

I'm not saying that we need to go back to the stone-age, but we need to learn how to make technology work for us and this precious planet that we have been given. To not consider this and continue on while the planet is destroyed by reckless industry and this ancient and confident wisdom is lost forever can only force us into servitude and despair permanently after...