Remember I told you that New Society Publishers, in honor of the forthcoming _Making Home_ would sponsor a spot in my Adapting-in-Place Class, in exchange for someone offering up a weekly blog post about what it is like to take the course. Well, here’s the first installment – it will go up at New Society’s “Word Out” blog tomorrow or the next day as well.
Who is reporting live from the AIP class, well, she’s going by the name of M. – here’s more about her. AIP can get pretty intense, and we all share a lot about our lives that we might not put out there to everyone, so I totally support her desire to remain anonymous:
M. is a musician living in Baltimore city with her graduate student husband and two, soon to be three, sons. M became interested in self sufficiency five years ago following the real estate crash and the beginning of the recession. She started a community garden with her neighbors and learned to garden, preserve food, and cook from scratch. Since the birth of her second son she has made less use of these skills. In the face this past years’ local earthquakes, storms and hurricanes and global tsunamis, earthquakes, and nuclear near meltdowns, she’d like to put some of her knowledge to use and actually build a store of food and use it regularly. Her challenges include living in a rented house with a tiny yard and not knowing where they will be in a year, giving birth in August, fitting adaptation into a schedule already packed with homeschooling and a tight student budget, and finding food to store and cook for a picky, gluten-intolerant two year old!
And here’s her first piece:
Maybe I have a stronger reaction to this stuff than I used to, but when Sharon starts with the “big picture”- and then I have to think about the big picture- all my mothering neurons start firing up and I have an overpowering urge to Keep My Boys Safe. Luckily the first readings I did were about lists. I can handle lists. I’ve made these same lists up every time we’ve had a major disaster, last year in Baltimore it was two hurricanes, the year before it was a double blizzard. How will I have enough food, cook, stay warm or cool, drink clean water, use a toilet, have clean laundry, stay sane without power? I’ve made the lists every year, but I haven’t implemented them, so I guess that’s why I signed up for the class. A little extra nudge was needed.
So making lists, no problem. Half the folks I know in Baltimore lost power for more than 48 hours last week (in 100 degree weather!) so everybody is talking about this stuff. Of course, as Sharon points out, a lot of things on these lists are temporary solutions for temporary problems. It’s great for me (and my maternal instinct!) to feel prepared for a week long power outage, but the class isn’t about called “Preparing in Place”, it’s called “Adapting in Place”. So beyond the usual canned food and water supply is the bigger picture, how you will adapt these systems to work for a variety of future scenarios?
Which brings me to scenarios. As I read these scenarios, and think about my family, I start to feel a little panicky. When my children are thirty one, as I am today, climate models predict
the global temperature may have risen three or four degrees and continue rising on an exponential curve through the rest of their lives. What will that mean for Baltimore, for Maryland, for the United States? How will these next thirty years affect my parents and inlaws, currently in their sixties? Will we have run out of oil, or just be extracting it in super dirty ways and fighting over it? What skills will my children need to survive and pass down to their children, and what can I give them to help them in a much less predictable world than the one I grew up with? Money? A college education? A family farm in a region without drought? Will they need to know how to build a house, can tomatoes, shoot a gun, repair and rebuild an electric scooter, research and learn things from books (and not just google…)?
When I think about these scenarios, and what might make sense to do to prepare for them, I also realize how far I am considering straying from my friends and families’ expectation of what my next thirty years will look like. Spending my time working, shopping at Trader Joes, Facebook and television, taking vacations, and driving my kids to soccer practice. How weird am I willing to be, and how well can I take criticism that I’m not making sane choices for my family? How will I feel if nothing bad happens and I could have just sat around ignoring the dire possibilities? I guess I don’t think that scenario is a possibility at this point, and neither do most scientists. There is a lot to think about, but it’s nice having Sharon and twenty other folks to help sort through it all.