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In which I share my journey toward emergency & disaster preparedness, desire for relocalized community, sustainable survival, and more than a little basic paranoia.




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Beautiful Paranoid Architecture

March 10th, 2010 by prep

Yes, out of hiding, but I can’t resist this kind of beauty.

Quarantine Architecture

Today is the opening of Landscapes of Quarantine at the Store Front for Art and Architecture in NYC. A group of artists, designers, and architects met together for eight weeks to develop spatial responses to quarantine. ” At its most basic,” they write, “quarantine is a strategy of separation and containment.”

See a few of the pieces on co-curator Nicole Twilley’s Edible Geography and in FastCompany’s “Rapture Architecture: Designers Tackle the Coming Apocalypse.

Posted in News | No Comments »

Maybe the Floods ARE Related to Global Warming

July 25th, 2007 by prep

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the flooded areas of Gloucestershire this week, where he contradicted meteorologists who said the floods were “down to bad luck, not global warming.”

Brown said the heavy rains and floods in Britain over the past month are related to climate change. “Like every advanced industrialized country, we are coming to terms with the issues surrounding climate change,” he said.

“We’re looking, if you like, at 21st Century extreme weather conditions,” he said.

Posted in Global Warming, News, Water | No Comments »

British rivers flooding

July 24th, 2007 by prep

Flooding in Gloucestershire England, July 2007Do you ever see a photo or hear a story about a situation you know you should be preparing for but you haven’t? When we complained a couple of days ago about 30 days of temperatures over 100 degrees, my brother-in-law countered with floods in his town in southwest England. He’s pretty low key. “But, we’re all right.”

So, we check the BBC for more news of floods, and it’s so much worse than he let on. Throughout the southwest, the midlands, Yorkshire — anywhere there is a river to flood, it seems, England is awash.

Stiff-upper-lipped meteorologists aren’t saying this is due to global warming. The jetstream shifted south this year, carrying far more rain that the rivers can handle. Rather than going to the furthest north of Scandinavia as usual, it’s blowing right through Britain and on to northern Europe.

In most of the stories I’ve read, people are waiting for provisions to be brought to them. The water has been turned off in some places, so bowsers, giant drinking water tanks, have been planted throughout towns. Most people are being oh-so polite and not hoarding food, but could you please pump out the local Co-op Foodstore so I can buy a pint of milk?

The BBC has included reader photos from all over the flooded regions. All of the photos taken together are shocking. People don’t seem to be too worried that such flooding could be the wave (so to speak) of their future. My parents-in-law are only a few feet above sea level. The rise of the sea and other flooding in Britain is generally on my mind. Are they preparing? Theoretically, yes. I want to hear about the practical details.

UPDATE: It’s much worse in the past couple of days.  My in-laws are leaving town because they have no water.  They can get water from the giant bowsers.  It will probably be about 2 weeks before they return to their jobs full-time.  They have it much better than people in many towns in the southwest of England, though.

Posted in Disaster, Family, Global Warming, News, Water | No Comments »

90% Solution

July 1st, 2007 by prep

Citizens of the West — citizens of the U.S. in particular — use more than our share. You know this. You have probably taken a carbon or ecological footprint quiz. You have probably found that it would require 2 or 3 or 6 Earths to support your lifestyle. Yes, me, too. I am not particularly wasteful, though my friend the No Impact Man feigned horror when I told him I dry my hair. I offered to use a human-powered peddle energy to run my hair dryer. “Why not just stop needing that energy at all?” he asked.

Yes, why not?

While I’m well aware of the need to cut my needs, I’m one of those who hopes that my small lifestyle (small house, small car, small family) will be enough.

It won’t.

I know. I don’t really hope I can continue with my below average number of required Earths, but I do I hope I won’t live to see the crash. I don’t linger too long on that ridiculous hope, but I do linger. Even if I don’t see it with my own eyes, chances are very good my children will see it up close.

But someone will.

So, I have to reduce?

Yes, drastically.

I’ve been following the conversation among those rioting for austerity in the past month. Basic idea: the fair share of U.S. citizens is 94% less than most of us use now, so reduce to our fair share. Go slowly by just reaching for 90% to start.

The Rules of 90% Reduction including 7 areas (quoted from the rules):

  1. Gasoline. Average American usage is 500 gallons PER PERSON, PER YEAR. A 90 percent reduction would be 50 gallons PER PERSON, PER YEAR.
  2. Electricity. Average US usage is 11,000 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR, or about 900 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD PER MONTH. A 90% reduction would mean using 1,100 PER HOUSEHOLD, PER YEAR or 90 kwh PER HOUSEHOLD PER MONTH.
  3. Heating and Cooking Energy - this is divided into 3 categories, gas, wood and oil. Your household probably uses one of these, and they are not interchangeable. If you use an electric stove or electric heat, this goes under electric usage.
  4. Garbage – the average American generates about 4.5 lbs of garbage PER PERSON, PER DAY. A 90% reduction would mean .45 lbs of garbage PER PERSON, PER DAY.
  5. Water. The Average American uses 100 Gallons of water PER PERSON, PER DAY. A 90% reduction would mean 10 gallons PER PERSON, PER DAY.
  6. Consumer Goods. The best metric I could find for this is using money. A Professor at Syracuse University calculates that as an average, every consumer dollar we spend puts .5 lbs of carbon into the atmosphere. This isn’t perfect, of course, but it averages out pretty well.
  7. Food. This was by far the hardest thing to come up with a simple metric for. Using food miles, or price gives what I believe is a radically inaccurate way of thinking about this. So here’s the best I can do. Food is divided into 3 categories: 70% local food, 20% dry bulk, and 5% wet goods.

There is oh so much more detail in the rules, and the Yahoo! group includes a spreadsheet set up to track reductions. I’ve been thinking that a chart of 7 thermometers would be a good way to track my sinking usage from my place somewhere below the American average down to my fair share. A compelling scoreboard might encourage my children to participate through their own motivation more than my nudging.

Nearly irrelevant final note: When I typed in the link for the Earth Day footprint calculator above, I typed “Death Day.” I type fast, and I sometimes find it interesting to see what comes out my fingers before my brain engages. This type, I stopped short. Is that how I see it? Somewhere inside, I must see it that way.

Posted in Energy, Family, Power, Resources, Sustainability, You're Kidding | No Comments »

Antidogmatarianism

June 7th, 2007 by prep

New addition.

Search for antidogmatarianism.

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Posted in News, shameless self promotion | No Comments »

How to Prepare for Clean Air?

June 1st, 2007 by prep

First of all, we will never have clean air. This was the shocking statement made by a good friend of mine who monitors air for a living. “CleanER air is the best you can hope for.” OK. I guess the Utah Moms for Clean Air misnamed the group (in more ways than one, I have to say).

When I hear that no child who grows up in Utah will reach full lung capacity, I pay attention. When a mother stood up at a Utah MOMS for Clean Air meeting and said, “My baby breathed the equivalent of 11 packs of cigarettes last winter during 22 red-burn days,” I paid attention.

What to do? Obviously, raise hell and attempt to change the legislation that creates the regulations that allow belching coal plants and belching trucks. Also, change personal habits (what we drive, whether we fly, and a million other smalls steps) and encourage those around us to do that same without crossing the line to become evangelists. Can’t do that evangelism thing. Groups of mothers and physicians are doing a great job of raising hell and raising awareness, though. That’s good.

But, my friend went on, “We aren’t just monitoring Utah pollution. We are monitoring global pollution.” CO, NOX, NO2, Ozone, PM10, Lead, SO2. We know a little about those global pollutants as they cross paths with very few monitoring stations in Utah. What about mercury, chlorine, dioxin, VOC, PM2.5, PM1. WHAT ABOUT MERCURY? Is anyone willing to stand up and call for monitoring mercury in the air, in the water, in the fish, in the foul, in our children, in our breastmilk?

I can do the basic Think Global / Act Local thing.

What if these steps don’t result in CleanER Air?

What steps should I take to deal with dirty air, to prevent my babies from smoking 11 packs of Salt Lake inversion cigarettes every winter? Should I be more worried that my children wear baby gas masks when they go out bike riding than giant foam crash helmets?

The Utah MOMS list of what to do focuses on making change for the future. That’s noble. In the meantime, what can I do to deal with asthma, childhood cancers, SIDS, low birth weight, reduced lung function, and just plain collapsing dead on the street on a red-burn day?

I don’t have an answer to that one.

Posted in Children, News, Preparedness | 1 Comment »

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