Staying to help

A recent conversation with a friend reinforced the need to encourage local people to stay and help during an emergency, whether it is a long one or just a few days. Over the course of a few conversations, I could see his outlook change from “I need to escape to another country with my kids” (he’s divorced) to a more positive, healthy attitude of “I need to get trained up so I can stay and help my community.”

That’s a *great* change in attitude, applicable for many situations (I’d still use the Go Bags if you’ve got a nearby chemical spill on the highway). I appreciated watching the stages of my friend’s progression as I port my self-reliance projects from a personal level to a town level.

You can read a similair journey taken by the excellent writer Neil Strauss in his book, Emergency. Another author, Zachary Nowak has an interesting take on this attitude here. His editor Adam Fenderson, founder of the Energy Bulletin, commented on Nowak’s essay:

There is also a ‘third way’, one which combines self-sufficiency/survivalist type tactics with community building and some relatively positive visions. Eco-villages, Richard Heinberg’s lifeboats strategy, and the [Transition] town-scale efforts in places such as Kinsale in Ireland and Willits in California might be considered part of this approach.

Isolationist survivalism, constantly on the guard from marauding hordes, doesn’t sound like an existence most of us would consider worth living. And promoting it, where it takes our energies away from more collective energy descent tactics might actually increase the likelyhood of such uncontrolled collapse and desperate marauders. So the ethics of promoting such an approach are complex.

We publish Zachary’s article because it is full of excellent advice and resources of value to anyone with an interest in taking more than a superficial approach to sustainability (a term which ultimately does mean the same thing as survival.)