The purpose of this blog is to share information on how to build more resilient, more sustainable household and community economies.
I don't propose to explain the problems this is trying to address. The unsustainability and fragility of our current global economy are well explained elsewhere. Some of my favourite resources on this issue include:
- A comprehensive and spot-on explanation of why and how we need to make a transition in how we live: The Transition Handbook, Rob Hopkins 2008, Finch Publishing (a free download is available from several sites, including this one)
- The fragility of the global financial system: https://www.theautomaticearth.com/the-automatic-earth/
- My friend Mike Stasse's blog: https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com
I have had an instinctive drive to learn the skills and technologies of sustainability and resilience since childhood (it used to be called "self-sufficiency", but I think this isn't a good idea - it's more important to be aware of and manage our fundamental dependencies, rather than dreaming that we can live in isolation). In the 80s I was strongly influenced by the writings and broadcasts of Ted Trainer e.g. Abandon Affluence; which clearly and logically outlined the impossibility of delivering Western-style affluence to the world, or maintaining it in the wealthy countries. Since then I've watched, with horror, the wars and ecological consequences of Western powers fighting the world to maintain affluence for a few.
My belief is that one of the most effective things we can do in the face of the overwhelming problems facing the world (and at some point facing each person, family and community) is to build part of the solution in our own household economies. The household economy is, I believe, one of the foundations of the resilient community and society. It is a system that can continue to deliver our needs when outside systems aren't working. E.g. if the big economy can't provide someone in the household with a job, then that person can contribute to household needs by doing things at home. By building our own skills and our household and community systems, to deliver an increased proportion of our needs, our vulnerability to outside systems is reduced and our communities become more resilient. We can also build more satisfying lives and relationships, being together while we do our work instead of apart, having lives of diversity and engagement, spending less time on travel. We also become more empowered in our lives, with more choice about what dependencies we enter into.
In Australia, we are now further from this ideal than we have ever been. Our homes are places of almost pure consumption; home production of anything has withered away for many people to almost nothing. Fewer and fewer people even cook, buying food that is pre-cooked to various degrees. Our practical skills have diminished as the complexity of our technologies has increased.
In this blog I share what I can about what I have learnt, from a thousand other people and from my own experience, about building skills and systems for the resilient household economy. I welcome any feedback about how to do it better.