I have never been a big consumer - my bank account wouldn't hear of it - and so I favoured a simple lifestyle, buying only what I needed and trying to find no-nonsense durable goods that could serve me a long time. I worked at our rather fragile household budget, wondered what to do if serious trouble arrived - our luck still holds - but also wondered about the destruction of nature, the depletion of oil etc. and what would happen to this planet and its inhabitants before the sun goes into its next phase. And I put the thoughts back on the shelf, because there wasn't a lot I could do and living with a partner who suffers from anxiety disorder can be very demanding. Then Joan posted this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnXZzx9pAmQ&feature=bf_prev&...

Quite shocking when for a time you've allowed yourself not to notice what happens all around you, and I didn't know what to do about it at first. Then the thought entered that an economic crash is no place for a 58 year old woman with a insignificant part time job and a bad back, but there's no place to weather the storm and cold storage is a bit too drastic for now. Some googling shows that although the governments seem to ignore the problem, there's a world full of people thinking and working at solutions. And it feels good, I want to be part of that. 

So I've started reading what to do and the first decisions have been taken. To make yourself independent and self supporting is a very long road and we won't reach the end by a long way, but every step on this road is useful. I'm filling up the larder, looking at isolation and other ways to use less energy, and I'll convert my box flower garden into a box vegetable garden. September 12th today, and I can start sowing in February - all the winter for the planning! 

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Comment by Joan Denoo on September 19, 2012 at 6:59pm

Earth Conservation Corp

When I looked up Valley Green Housing Project, I found this. OH MY GOODNESS. What a splendid project 

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 19, 2012 at 6:56pm

We lived in Washington, DC, while my then husband completed his Prosthodontic training at Walter Reed and Georgetown. I worked with kids at a housing project called Valley Green teaching them how to read. There were about eight three-story brick buildings surrounded by asphalt parking lots. I started digging up some bare ground and making vegetable gardens. After a few hours, children came outside with shovels and trowels and spoons and started digging beside me. Before long, we had gardens dug and planted with vegetable seeds. It was all spontaneous, nothing planned or organized. It just caught the spirit of the children, and then the parents, and then the development manager. That housing development is no longer there.

Valley Green Housing Project, Anacostia, VA. 

Comment by Plinius on September 19, 2012 at 3:33am

Wonderful how you share with your neighbours! I'd like to organize something similar here, but these apartments have got very little outside space, except for the parking lots. It would be great fun to turn those into communal vegetable gardens!

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 17, 2012 at 3:11am

Chris, we are in a very interesting period in history, challenges face us that may overwhelm some, but will be opportunity for others. I like the fact that you do not feel helpless or hopeless and are finding ways to be self-sufficient and resourceful. When you wrote, "Some googling shows that although the governments seem to ignore the problem, there's a world full of people thinking and working at solutions. And it feels good, I want to be part of that."

Flexibility, resourcefulness, thinking in new ways, experimenting, exploring ... these are all positive and pro-active. The best treatment for depression, stress and anxiety is thinking and doing things to meet real challenges. 

It does us no good to stick our heads in the sand and deny major changes occur. Trying to find ways to avoid changes taking place and deluding ourselves just makes it harder to find effective and efficient ways to deal with things. I especially like your blog, "Crash Course". We can find how other people manage to not only survive but flourish. 

Good for you. There is no better way to affirm life than to grow a garden. Get your hands into soil and plant seeds and propagate plants and eat the produce. My neighbors and I have a great community that centers around sharing food we have grown ourselves. One neighbor grows zucchinis, another corn, and I specialize in herbs and tomatoes. Being part of a community that pulls together, works cooperatively, seeks common purposes is a fine way to live. 

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