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Articles in "The Road to Resilience"

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.

I first became intrigued with the question of absolute necessities for a happy life when I encountered happy, hospitable people living in dirt floor houses in small villages in Venezuela during my stint in the Peace Corps.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, they told us our future would be a time of leisure where machines would do all the work

As you probably know by now, Transition Vashon originally formed to help our community to adapt to the changes we can expect due to climate change, resource depletion, and the accompanying economic and political instability.

The launching of the Vashon Time Bank was attended by about 30 people, a significant number of which filled out applications to join. 

The Island Ingenuity Tour is coming around again. On Saturday, Sept 21, from 10 ‘til 4 you will be able to see how your friends and neighbors have figured out how to save energy and resources and to produce local food and energy.

For a couple years now, I have been pounding away at the idea that we need to increase our resilience as a community in order to ride out the chaotic economic and political future that we are likely to be heading into.

This past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a couple days of the Backbone Campaign’s annual Localize This! Action Camp, culminating in an action at the Seattle Army Corps of Engineers office.

After the Ingenuity Tour last September, I had in mind that we could hold a series of workshops to teach specific skills that were exhibited in the tour. Unfortunately,