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This is For Posterity, So Be Honest...

 
Erica Wisner
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If you believe that our current resource consumption is unsustainable, then it follows that future generations will not enjoy the same privileges we have today.  Particularly the privileges that depend on fossil fuels.

If you know that
- you have the ability to create things that future generations will only dream of,
and that
- this ability will only last for a limited time...

What would you create, as a parting gift to future generations?
 
Erica Wisner
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one concept I had was a self-contained solar-powered light, kinda like the ones people stick by their driveways, but much more durable.  I see it as a little ball with a flat side or sides, encased in a clear glass or resin, so it could be drop-kicked without being damaged.

you would leave them in a sunny window, or outdoors, and they would soak up sun all day.  Then they would glow at night for several hours, probably about 4 hours, but maybe more.

One kind would just be passive and automatic.
The other kind would store up energy and not release it until it was turned over, allowing it to be used as an emergency light or in situations like underground and during longer nights.
You could give them a sensitive light detector, so that you could set them next to each other, so that as long as one is lit, the next one doesn't start producing light.

I don't know if solar powered lights (LEDs presumably) can be made this durable; a battery that can cycle for generations without failing or leaking all over the rest of the innards would be pretty incredible.  But I can imagine these lights outlasting cheap electricity, or being used when/where 'the grid' is more expensive and less extensive.

I can also imagine them being collected and ritually destroyed in a post-apocalyptic witch hunt for vestiges of 'evil' techno-voodoo.
 
Shawn Bell
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I love the title of the thread...it reminds me of "The Princess Bride".

I would create an encyclopedia set that would cover pre-industrial living skills.
It would be like the Foxfire books, and Mother Earth News.  It would cover carpentry, blacksmithing, gardening, animal husbandry, and all the other skill areas of homesteading.

 
Erica Wisner
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Shawn Bell wrote:
I love the title of the thread...it reminds me of "The Princess Bride".

I would create an encyclopedia set that would cover pre-industrial living skills.
It would be like the Foxfire books, and Mother Earth News.  It would cover carpentry, blacksmithing, gardening, animal husbandry, and all the other skill areas of homesteading.



wonderful idea.
not just 'facts,' but how-to, with pictures.
have you ever seen a 1700's encyclopedia?
extensive sections (with pictures!) on farriery, medicine, veterinary care, and other 'home essentials' for the enlightenment gentleman farmer... very little on literature or celebrities.
The book I'm remembering was a 1-volume edition from like 1726, or 1768, or something, housed in the Smith College library. But Wikipedia says the earliest edition (176 of of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was 3 volumes.  So I'm not sure what I was looking at, and it's a long way to go check...

Do you have a favorite book that approaches this ideal, or do you feel that a better one still needs to be compiled/written?
 
Brenda Groth
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I would create the largest food forest possible..as a matter of fact, that is what I'm doing here for "future generations"..as many of the trees I'm putting in these days won't bear before I'm either very old or gone (I'm 60)
 
Mekka Pakanohida
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Brenda Groth wrote:
I would create the largest food forest possible..as a matter of fact, that is what I'm doing here for "future generations"..as many of the trees I'm putting in these days won't bear before I'm either very old or gone (I'm 60)


BAH!  60 is the new 40! 

Like Brenda, I am creating a food forest for future generations, as well as art.
 
ronie dee
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Finally a thread where Paul can make money! If he wasn't King of the World already, and Uber Ultimate Ruler of Paul's World of Community Living Under Paul's Rules,   I'd tell him how.

I would start a thread maybe titled... Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Oh wait, I think that has been done...
Well how about a thread called, Inventions, Shortcuts, Improvements - That make our everyday lives easier ?

Well I guess this thread is close enough.... Great idea there Erica!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where was I? OK I was the 1st generation, of my family, to grow up with electricity in the house. (My older sisters, didn't have electricity as kids.

My son was the 1st generation, of my family, to grow up with electricity, running water, air conditioning and indoor plumbing. Oh yeah, the son didn't have to walk to a country school either.

Beings that my family had finally joined the 20th century in the 50's (the electricity not the running water nor indoor plumbing),
I was able to see first hand all the tools, shortcuts, innovations, etc. left from the days where nobody had anything... wood appliances, kerosene kitchen stoves, kerosene lanterns (not the cheap ones of today).  

Before all the modern tools you find at Lowes today there were forerunners... wooden tools, huge hand saws.. two man tools and time.
Yes there was time in the old days... NOT 8 hour days for this and 8 hours for that and 6-8 for sleeping-bathing-eating-5mins interacting-sex and off to another rat race.... Time was different...slower, more deliberate.. Neighbors knew each other and shared things...and occasionally had neighbors over for Parlor Games. (Anyone ever heard of Button Button Whose Got the Button?

Anyway was going to add some stuff and point out that the true understanding of the "Simple Life' is not ever completely understood
by reading a book... When you live it, you get something deep in your soul, a closeness to the land and to family and relatives who are also probably neighbors...You get the day to day TIME to grow with the litter, the calves, chicks, bunnies and corn, beans, greens and tomatoes.

I could walk all day in green fields and never run short of hard work and hard play.

Oh, and somehow we survived without air conditioning.




 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Erica, your idea reminds me of a book I read - The Diamond of Darkhold. But, no plot spoilers here . If you have time, you should read it. It is in the City of Ember series, which provides an intriguing look at a post-industrial future.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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In a small scale, i'm making an offline and portable version of the PFAF database, for the generations wihtout the net but with some electricity and old computers (more about this to come, i plan to fundraise it)

For later projects, maybe a kind of permaculture encyclopedia with some stuff not in other resources (e.g. plant tolerant of deers, numbers about animals (density, production, permaculture fodders), etc...). Yep, i'm optimist
 
Shawn Bell
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Erica,

I have not seen an encyclopedia that old, the closest I have seen to my dream is the Foxfire books (are you familiar with those?).  But I would love to have something more complete.
 
Jason Matthew
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I have planted seven different varieties of timber bamboo, all of which should thrive in this region. The will provide food, fiber, and construction material for future generations, I hope.

Up to 20% of these groves can be cut per year once mature, and they will regenerate the following year. This is in addition to the food forest I am creating and the edible landscape around the house.
 
                                
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Wow.  I think I would find a curriculum that would properly prepare children for life.  A classical education of music, art, science, history.  Proper communication and socialization as well as full life skills.  From the beginning how to care for yourself.

We think of these things as being skills that parents teach, but more and more parents don't know how to care for themselves.  Leave the computers out of education except for internet research.  Allow learning to be hands on in an open environment.  Back to basics.

Tami

And, well, I am not a Christian person, but I do believe that religion has played a large role in history and ALL religions should be taught in a history based environment.  You have the freedom to believe what you believe and to practice what you practice, but that should not stop everyone from understanding that others believe other things and learning WHY that is.  I think it would open people up to understand/accept others and not to judge and condemn. 
 
Erica Wisner
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Shawn Bell wrote:
Erica,

I have not seen an encyclopedia that old, the closest I have seen to my dream is the Foxfire books (are you familiar with those?).  But I would love to have something more complete.


I've seen the Foxfire books, at least some of them, and they definitely share great skills.

Paleo -  I will keep an eye out for that book.

There's also a book called 'Lucifer's Hammer' in which one of the characters collects 'survival value' books, which might be an interesting read for the post-apocalyptic fans.

Ronie - of course, living it is more effective than reading a book. 
One of the things I keep noticing about 'book-learning' education is that historically it would complement, not replace, a home-based upbringing with a lot of physical work.  Poor kids had to earn a living or help their parents do so; the middle class might do an apprenticeship or train in their own family business; rich kids got a lot of training in western martial arts, horsemanship, etc. 
With more families working outside the home, and more specialized indoor jobs that kids can't help with, and child labor laws that enforce a 15- or 18-year childhood, a lot of kids don't have access to meaningful work experience until they are well into young adulthood.  The experience of a family homestead upbringing is rare. There are a few other family businesses where kids can help - cottage industries mostly, or restaurants and seasonal work. 

Ronie - are you implying that the best gift we can offer future generations is not to make them dependent on things they can't afford, and let them rediscover the time to explore on their own?
Or is there something that you've discovered among the 'modern conveniences' that would be worth keeping as the rest becomes unattainable?
Or something we don't have, but should strive to achieve while it's feasible?
 
ronie dee
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1 .The most important thing that we can strive to achieve  is an understanding of what we really need. Also what we want to have. Then strike a balance as to what we can afford to do with the time we have and the resources and skills that we have at hand or can work for and get.

2. There may come a time when a person with an acre of land, some seeds and a few chickens, will be considered RICH. And a guy with a wheelbarrow full of money can't buy a dozen eggs. If that time comes, prepare to be the guy with the land, seeds, chickens and a plan.

I will use the modern conveniences, as long as I can, to prepare for "IF" there is a time for when i can't have modern conveniences. (Or, when I retire from the rat race, whichever comes first.)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Erica, the best thing we can give to our kids is time. Take time to explore with them and let them explore on their own. Give them a love for the simple things by showing YOUR love for the simple things. Today's youth are so far removed from the land that, when a crisis occurs, they won't even know where plants come from. (They come from the store - right?)

 
Kate Nudd
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A worldwide mass injection of a serum causing permanent unconditional love and acceptance, firstly for the self then in turn for all others.
This would create a domino effect whereby everyone would understand that there is an abundance in the world and all people can be easily provided with enough of everything they need.
What a beautiful world this would be...easy collaboration to grow a worldwide food supply, everyone helping everyone else to build safe and healthy houses.
Maybe even dis-ease as we know it would end.....
 
Ran Prieur
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Future generations will figure out low-tech practical skills on their own. But they won't know what it was like to live at this time. So I'd gather the stories of a bunch of people and put them on a Rosetta Disk. Also, I would gather about fifty hours of my favorite music and etch it, vinyl record style, onto titanium disks.
 
Erica Wisner
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Ran Prieur wrote:
Future generations will figure out low-tech practical skills on their own. But they won't know what it was like to live at this time. So I'd gather the stories of a bunch of people and put them on a Rosetta Disk. Also, I would gather about fifty hours of my favorite music and etch it, vinyl record style, onto titanium disks.


That would be something!
Does it come with a titanium-and-diamond record player?
Or would it be hand-cranked like a Victrola?
Both of these are a medium that is as close to analog as it can get: visual magnification for visual data, and vibration-producing ripples for audio data.

It's easy to forget how recent recorded music, and video, are as art forms.  How long into the future do you think we'll keep this technology?
 
Ran Prieur
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Erica Wisner wrote:
Does it come with a titanium-and-diamond record player?
...
It's easy to forget how recent recorded music, and video, are as art forms.  How long into the future do you think we'll keep this technology?


Good questions! I think people in the future will be plenty smart enough to figure out that the grooves contain sound vibrations, and to invent ways to play them.

My view of the future is not that we will permanently return to historical preindustrial cultures, but that we will keep innovating, and there are many unexplored possibilities for complex technology that does not require high energy and nonrenewable resources. Maybe they'll be recording videos in some way we can't imagine.
 
Ken Peavey
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Solar lanterns are out there. 
 
Dale Hodgins
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      I would leave a complete catalog of vernacular architecture throughout history depicting in words, photographs and video the various methods and materials used by both primitive and advanced societies throughout the ages to create our buildings. With a complete knowledge of historical building methods over time and space any future architect could draw on this immense pool of knowledge. The best architecture is created when tried and proven technologies are fused with the latest advances in technology and methodology. This would be an invaluable resource for future generations.  And let's throw in a good seed bank just for good measure
 
Kirk Hutchison
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I wonder where you could get something like that Rosetta disc but with custom writing on it. Cause I don't really need the Bible in 1,500 languages. Rather have all the permaculture books ever written on it!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Erica Wisner wrote:

What would you create, as a parting gift to future generations?
  The ability to reason. 

My mother insists that the ability to reason is what makes us different than other animals.  I argue that our behavior proves that we are less able to reason than other animals because we are the only animal on the planet that does not contribute to the cycle of life in a positive way - we just go around destroying it.
 
                        
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Reasoning is overrated.  It sometimes smothers the inborn wisdom Mother Nature gives us if we will listen.
As to what I would leave, it would be a small patch of the Earth with soil that I have helped to be better than it was before I began working with it.
 
Kirk Hutchison
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I don't know if reason is over-rated... there's not enough of it around to tell . Most people (including scientists and other supposedly reasonable people) only use what reason supports their pre-existing beliefs.
 
Mac Nova
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As population expands and food becomes in short supply I think all that will happen is the North american, OZ and Euro boarders will be closed to food export to support our own populations. May not be a popular decision but given a choice between us and them the choice will be easy if not humain
 
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