I've been thinking a lot about self-sustainability. What would I need to live comfortably in the event of an economic collapse or other events? If the lights went off tomorrow - How can we cope? In my mind land is foremost, then seeds and some tools. Some solar panels and batteries would be nice but not essential. Skills?
jacque g wrote: I think your most valuable asset is the one between your ears. Next would be a strong, diversified community.
Other problems, no matter how dire, can be solved, but no solutions are possible without creativity and flexibility, and no ideas, however good, can be lasting without a supportive social network.
Agreed. You can only do so much on your own. We are so far removed from our hunter gatherer ancestors that very, very few can survive that way today. Whether we want to admit it or not we humans need each other.
Basic necessities, food, clothing, shelter. As a general rule you can survive 30 days without food but only 3 without water.
Like Jacque said, number one is your wits, hopefully backed up by a lot of books and downloads that cover the basic areas that you might not be the most knowledgeable in
A very close second would be defensible, arable land that has some kind of water and preferably has already had the beginnings of a food forest established on it.
Besides those things, I think that the rest are all extras that will make life much easier and enjoyable, but are not absolutely required to make it for the long run.
"Instead of Pay It Forward I prefer Plant It Forward" ~Howard Story / "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir
I guess water is the most important. Figure out how you would get water without electricity, and if you know a source, make sure you have something to filter that water with, like a Berkey water filter.
@Hubert - http://www.saveourskills.com/ is a great site, although still young. Gotta learn the skills now. There wouldn't be a web to refer to if the SHTF. I personally see a very bright future for us all, but that doesn't stop me from preparing for a possibly dark one. Remember, being prepared for disasters is smart. I live in earthquake country. I don't prepare for the end of the world (why bother?). I prepare for small or medium disasters, or even just a severe economic downturn.
Oh, yeah, seeds and the knowledge to know what to do with them is pretty paramount.
Wood does seem very important since it is a basic fuel and all round building material. Need to plant some multi purpose trees mainly for wood but still to decide on species. Will try growing Moringa but may not like this dry area.
A double chamber Cob oven and nice Rocket stove are on my to-do list for some time. They will be great if the lights go out and fun too. We do not have running water so best to set up a large rain water tank.
I am new to permaculture and don't know if my idea would be a possible solution to the water problem or if it would fit into permaculturephilosophy or not. Has anyone heard of a solar still? As I understand it, this would seem to be a good solution for distilling water. I live in a very tropical (hot and humid) climate and think that I would try this.
The most valuable asset is preparation. All the things listed have been great and all would improve your situation if something went bad but only if you are ready in advance. Otherwise all you are doing is playing catchup and hoping you survive long enough to get your footing.