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Articles in "The Road to Resilience"

This is the 100th “Road to Resilience” column. I originally began writing it as an outlet for ideas that were surfacing in our Transition Vashon group.  The Transition Network, of which we were a member, began in Great Britain in 2004.

I just finished reading The Soil Will Save Us by Kristin Ohlsen.  I highly recommend this book.  Don’t be put off by the schlocky title; it is a well-researched and incisive report on the state of knowledge about soil.  It shows that much of the carbon now in the atmosphere could be locked up in healthy soil.  However, it is the nature of healthy soil that was most enlightening for me.

It has been good to see a lot more people using their bikes as practical transportation.  I love to see mothers with their kids or cargo in bike trailers.  There always seems to be a bike or two outside the grocery stores.

In recent years, I’ve really gotten tired of the common use of simplistic labels that cause us to bypass our critical faculties to accept judgements about matters that our leaders and pundits would rather not look into too closely.

In recent years, I’ve really gotten tired of the common use of simplistic labels that cause us to bypass our critical faculties to accept judgements about matters that our leaders and pundits would rather not look into too closely.

A friend of mine recently said, “If you are born on this planet, you are an owner.”  It seems that a lot of the problems we have, especially today, revolve around who owns what.    It has always seemed ridiculous to me that a person born into our country does not have an unalienable right to stand in one place, much less claim the space to build a shelter and grow or forage for some food.

Those of us that place great hope on a renewable energy future have been slapped down repeatedly by the “knowledgeable and mature” analysts that tell us that renewables will never supply more than a pittance of the energy our world needs in the foreseeable future

Here is good news! Most of the above named article by Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu with the permission of the website, Project Syndicate is reprinted here:

Living is a business in which we derive what we need from stuff that we find around us and then must somehow deal with what is left over or transformed through use as “waste.” When there was lots of stuff and plenty of room for “waste,” using as much as we could and dumping the leftovers in a hole was just fine.

My main concern in the Road to Resilience is how we approach and prepare for what many see as a major civilizational paradigm shift.  What is forcing the shift is the arrival of natural limits to the further development of the existing political, economic, and social institutions we rely on today.  At the base of it is a profligate use of resources and poor housekeeping.

By now, we’re all pretty familiar with the term “locavore.” that is, the idea that it is better to eat foods that are sourced locally.  One reason is that, all things being equal, the nutritional value is better because the food is fresher, and we are more likely to be able to verify what has been used to produce it.

This week, I’d like to further discuss the basic premise of Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything.  The “this” she is referring to is human-caused climate change.  Up until now, the general consensus has been that taking environmental factors more seriously in making our economic decisions is all that is required to mitigate this crisis.

I recently read Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything.  She relates a cautionary tale about an island in the South Pacific that is about the same size as Maury Island.  For thousands of years, the island of Nauru was a tropical paradise on which people thrived on the abundance of fertile forest and sea.

Inherent in the recognition and celebration of the darkest time of the year is the return of the light.  Our confidence in the promise of the winter solstice is reflected in the birth of Christ, the miraculous Hannukah light that carried us through the dark time, the reinforcing of community ties of Kwanzaa, and personal resolve to reinvent ourselves in our New Year’s resolutions.

I’d like to tell the tale of two islands.  One is Vashon Maury and the other is in Denmark. Samso Island in Denmark is about 20% larger than Vashon with about 40% of our population.

This article finds us a day or two after the mid term election.  For the last 8 months, we have been besieged by  non-stop daily emails (“All is lost!”, “No Hope!”, “Triple Match!”) desperately pleading for donations.  We knew it was coming after the Supreme Court decision in favor of faux grass roots group Citizens United.

Coming of age in the 60’s, I had great hopes.  We had marched for civil rights and to end all wars and the Age of Aquarius was right around the corner.  I knew that the same aspirations occur about every fifty years, but this time was different!

Last week, I urged all of you to attend The People’s Climate March to show our leaders, and us, how many of us are really committed to doing something now.

Over three years ago, our Transition Vashon group formed to address our community’s preparedness to face the changes that we saw coming in adapting to climate change and avoiding its worst affects.


The transition movement upon which Transition Vashon is based began about nine years ago in Great Britain.  It was calling for personal and community changes to make us more resilient to the dual threats of climate change and “peak oil.”

Some aspects of building an effective, resilient community are more attractive than others. Working toward greater food and energy security and a healthier environment are exciting and engaging goals.

Long before the money economy developed, Many societies had gift economies that  served to strengthen bonds between family and tribal members, to consolidate pacts between neighboring groups, and, practically speaking, to insure that goods were well distributed so as to flow to the areas of greatest need.

Here we are again in the season of consumer frenzy.  It is easy for most of us to heap scorn on the Black Friday shootings and fist fights in WalMarts and the like.

Typhoon Haiyan was certainly a tiresome embarrassment for the beginning of the latest UN convention on Climate Change in Warsaw.