September 2008


A great video introduction to the post peak-oil future facing America. A little out of date now (as everything is, with this speed of change), but a really good look at the future that faces the American Dream. This is just the cut down version – the full version is available from www.endofsuburbia.com.

Watch it, show it to your friends, get moving.

 A great interview with Rob Hopkins, the international face of the Transition movement, and author of The Transition Handbook.

Buy the book, and get a move on.

Monty Don, gardener, journalist, author, ex-presenter of Gardener’s World and now President of the Soil Association is a convert to the Peak Oil cause and the Transition Movement.

Last November he wrote a great article for Gardener’s World magazine – you can find a copy over on Transition Culture – in it he talks about the invisible footprint we leave as gardeners, and stresses that we need to move to a much more local society.

This August, just as he starts his new post at the Soil Association, he gave a wonderful interview to The Guardian. In it he discusses creating an underground movement to spread the message that we need to be growing much more of our own food. He also wants to move the Soil Association into a more central role in ensuring the sustainability of Britain’s food supply.

I would much rather someone bought food that was local and sustainable but not organic than bought organic food that had to be shipped across the world. We’ve got to move away from making people feel lesser because they’re not [eating] organic. There is no doubt about it, ‘sustainable’ is a better expression for the same sorts of ideas than ‘organic’.

You can see this emphasis through the work the Soil Association is doing now – their latest taste of the good life courses talk about helping to “create a vibrant relocalised food culture” and leading “a planet friendly lifestyle”.

Monty will be one to watch – let’s hope he manages to get his guerilla gardening movement going – we’ll all be better prepared if he does.

OK, time for another light-hearted one 🙂 . We’ve been baking bread as part of our after-peak-oil preparations, and it turns out that all our standard two-litre pyrex bowls are way too small for serious home self-sufficiency. So it’s time to go for the classic – one of those huge cream-and-white mixing bowls that everybody’s grandmother has somewhere!

Apparently they’re made by Mason Cash, and you can buy them at John Lewis – up to 5.8 litres for only twelve quid, which is a decent amount of bread!

This post was triggered by seeing this photo posted over at Powerswitch on avoiding the need for refrigeration. I think it is just such an uplifting picture – amongst discussions of doom, gloom, and rampaging hordes seeing it just makes my heart ache. The sheer organic nature of the construction, the multiple levels of greenery, the life just bursting out of the page . . . just . . . breathtaking.

The photo was from HardWorkingHippy from La Ferme de Sourrou, I’m not sure where to start on describing what I found most inspirational: they are living off-grid, have built their own gorgeous house and are now building an impressive extension. They have an Angora goat and sheep farm, and also keep pigs and chickens, and are making great strides towards self sufficiency. Plus, they take really great photos!  

Here are some of the most beautiful ones I’ve found so far – their woodburning stove and this beautiful garden layout. Maybe I’ll skip work today, just curl up with the laptop and read their site from start to finish!

The number one item on my domestic resilience list is maintaining access to clean, safe, drinking water.

Coming from Brisbane, where the dams that supply our drinking water recently bottomed out at around 14% capacity, I am keenly aware of the importance of available water.  With increasingly unpredictable weather in the UK, and water treatment works subject to flooding and blackouts this is one area I don’t want to take chances on.

I am already planning significant rainwater storage (I’ll detail this in a separate post), but I need to make sure that water will be safe for us to drink. The best way to do this for moderate amounts seems to be a countertop water filter. The best one I’ve found so far seems to be a British Berkefeld (Berkey) Water Filter. It’s gravity fed, so no power is required, and it can produce up to 80 litres a day – easily enough for our drinking needs. Cost – around 90 quid. Even better – it’s made in the UK, so you’re also supporting local manufacturing when you buy one!

Ok, so this is a little bit frivolous, but an electric iron will be too powerful for our PV batteries to handle, so how will we iron Post-Peak-Oil? The answer is probably that we won’t (we barely do as it is) but for the occasional wedding or funeral it’d be useful to have something. So how about one of these: a classic Victorian Cast-Iron Flat Iron – ready to be heated on our wood-fired stove 🙂 You can even buy them online at “The Collecting House”.

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