Sunday, June 04, 2006

Skills that I believe are Necessary for a Post Peak World:

1. Being knowledgeable in Permaculture is essential for anyone in a post peak world for three reasons. Permaculture involves growing numerous crops on the same land at the same time, with different crops creating different niches in a mini agricultural eco-system. Permaculture enriches the soil, and repairs soil erosion. The first reason is our current farming practices are not sustainable for the planet; they create erosion, pack the soil, and are based on oil and natural gas technology, fertilizer and pesticides. Current methods of farming require massive amounts of energy, and harm the soil. The second reason is food is transported around the world using oil-powered planes, trucks, boats etc. After oil production peaks and declines, food will become scarce (which is the third reason) because of the above reasons. To produce food in a much more energy and effort efficient way, Permaculture is required.

2. Being knowledgeable about gathering food is just as valuable as Permaculture, for the short term immediately following a decline of oil production. For those lucky enough to live near forests and other natural environments, knowing what to eat and what is not safe for human consumption is invaluable. Mushrooms, for instance, are not all edible. Some can be fatally poisonous. One should know which are safe and which are not.

3. Learning how to effectively use and administer herbal medicines, first aid and other non-western medicine practices is truly essential in a post peak situation. Hospitals will not be as accessible for many people as they are today. Hospitals require a lot of energy, and transportation to and from medical facilities might not be available. Herbal medicines, first aid and non western medicine, using knowledge of what grows in the area you are located, can be a huge service to the community you belong to.

4. Long distance running may be a useful skill for a post peak world. I don’t know how many people will have access to other forms of transportation, but you can always depend on your own two feet. Training should be started now, and distances of 10 miles or more should be the goal.

5. Learn how to build water distilling or purifying systems. This is important because in a post peak world, many people won’t have access to clean water systems, the water system in New York for instance, is purified using electricity which is most likely generated using non-renewable resources. A billion people today already do not have access to clean water, but if we implement water catching devices, and purify or clean the water for our selves, we can avoid any water issues.

6. Knowing how to start a fire is obviously a skill needed for a post peak world. I expect that living in a post peak world will be similar to camping, except it would be permanent. There might not be gas supplies or electric stoves, so we need to learn how to start a fire, the same way our ancestors did, with sticks and nothing else.


Blogger Juggleandhope said...


I read in Discovery and National Geographic that humans basically evolved as trotters/joggers rather than mainly sprinters or slow-walkers (as adaptation to a food gathering/scavenging ecological niche). In a sense then, becoming a long-distance runner might be something of a return.

Your point about food gathering is important, not just because of the immediate gains, but even more so for the shift in perspective it encourages. The natural world as home, rather than as what we must fortify ourselves against. Similarly, herbal medicines and self-chosen health care in general shift us away from a worship of the Authority System towards a sense of participation in the natural world.

How are you planning to begin your study of Permaculture? I agree it is crucial, and it is also beautiful.

12:39 PM  
Blogger ying said...

Hi, Eugenia

First of all, thanks for clearifying what permaculture is --growing different types of crops on the same location simulataneously. Now I understand more why we should not just go for the monotonous agriculture that has wipe out the nutrients of many lands, but we should instead "invest" on permaculture.

Second, you mention the skill of water purification/filteration and the need of a device (constructed by our skills?)to catch water and distill it. The first thing that came to mind is Green Roof. You have probably heard of the many benefits of Green Roof, among which is the water catchment system, which can be installed in the layers underneath the vegetation. If our building structure of today still remains in post oil era, each building should have a roof garden so that individual buildings can "purify or clean the water for ourselves." Self-sustainability is just as important a skill, more so for the collective community.

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