Once again, it is the season of goodwill and shopping. So in these difficult times, in a spirit of inclusiveness, I would like to invite all my readers to enjoy your Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah or whatever other festival you celebrate. But please don’t go round wishing people “Happy Holidays” and hiding the Christmas trees in case they cause offence: let’s all do our own thing, enjoy celebrating our cultural heritage and let others do the same.
As I haven’t posted anything on this blog since May, followers may be forgiven for thinking: have I died, have I lost interest in Post Peak Medicine, should I “un-follow” this guy (or whatever the correct term is)? I am happy to say that the answer to all of the above is “no”. This is just a very occasional blog which I write when I have time, and recently I have been overwhelmingly busy with other things, including an important survival gardening project (of which you may possibly hear more next year), a pending international relocation from Canada to the British Isles, and the day to day demands of a busy medical practice and a growing family.
So here is my Christmas blog, and I would like to close out 2015 with some personal “Best of” recommendations.
Best new book of 2015
I am going to recommend “Prosper” by Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart. Chris took the peak oil world by storm in 2008 with his video presentation “Crash Course” emphasizing the three E’s (Energy, Economy and the Environment). His latest book continues where the Crash Course left off, and the emphasis is not so much about learning about the three E’s, but more about using them to prepare yourself for the future. I’m only part way through it but so far it looks every bit as good as the original Crash Course. You can buy it in various formats (e-book, paper book, CD) from Amazon. Just go to your national Amazon website and search for “Prosper”.
Best new podcast of 2015
I am going to recommend “Conversation Earth”, a new weekly podcast hosted by Dave Gardner of “Growthbusters” fame. The initial podcasts included interviews with some well known names like Al Bartlett and William Catton (both now deceased: these interviews were recorded a few years ago). Good for dispelling that feeling of “Am I alone in the universe in thinking like this?”. You can find it in iTunes. There is a slight technical glitch in that the podcasts do not seem to play on an iPod Shuffle. If anyone has this issue, please email me and I will explain how to workaround it.
Best blog of 2015
I haven’t come across any really good new blogs so I am going to recommend one which has been around for several years: the Archdruid Report. John Michael Greer never disappoints with his fresh and insightful ideas, week after week. You can find it at
Best Christmas gifts of 2015
Forget about the latest iCrap: buy gold and silver bullion. See my blog post from this time last year. It’s probably one of the best gifts you could give your children and grandchildren. The problem is, you can’t actually physically give it to them as a Christmas gift because they won’t know what to do with it and they will think you are weird. Put it in a locked cash box under the bed (unless you live in Sweden: see below).
Best social skill to learn in 2016
Learn to play a musical instrument. Or if you already know how to play one, learn to play it better. During a societal collapse there will probably be plenty of time for sitting around a camp fire singing songs, and it will be community- and morale-building. This is my favorite instrument:
It’s a Hohner 1-row 4-stop melodeon in C. I also have a Hohner 2-row melodeon in D/G.
Scariest news stories of 2015
No, not the ISIS atrocities in Paris, or Russia and Turkey trying to start World War 3. Here are the two news stories which scared me the most:
Sweden is going cashless. Many stores and restaurants don’t accept cash any more, but insist that you pay for everything by credit card. So Sweden has moved one step closer to a surveillance state, with every transaction trackable by the Government, and everyone’s money susceptible to confiscation, “haircuts” or whatever the Too Big To Jail banks want to do with it. Oh My God. How could the Swedes have done this to themselves? Just hope that it never comes to a country near you.
And then there’s this:
The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for non-Canadians) want ISPs to identify any subscriber to them, on request, without any warrant or judge’s order. Similar to previous story, but substitute “end of online privacy” for “end of financial privacy”. This news item attracted 1551 comments, almost all of them negative.
You may think I’m being paranoid, but here’s the problem. The way we currently do things as a society is unsustainable on multiple levels, including energy supply, financial, food supply and many others. “Unsustainable” means “cannot be sustained” which means “must end”. Therefore, many of the things we did during the 20th century will have to end, and be replaced by new ways of doing things in the 21st century.
Our political and economic leaders have no plans in place for this, and therefore the transition from the old ways to the new ways is likely to be messy, to put it mildly. Laws are going to remain in place enforcing the old ways of doing things long after the old ways have become inappropriate, because people are not going to get around to repealing them quickly enough. For example: as industrial agriculture winds down for lack of oil to power machinery and lack of natural gas and phosphates to make fertilizer, people are going to have to produce more food locally or go hungry. So local small scale farming of small animals like rabbits and chickens is probably going to increase, and people are probably going to want to buy and sell these things among themselves. But there are probably numerous laws on the statute books restricting this on public health, environmental and taxation grounds (has that chicken been vaccinated? Is it lowering neighborhood property values? Have you declared it on your tax return?). Although these laws will eventually be repealed or ignored, they may be problematic during the changeover period. The last thing you want during this period is Big Government trying to micro-manage things using vast electronic databanks with details of all your activities. Big Government will need to back off and let people do their own thing, and it may find that hard to do.
Finally, here is a comment from a family which tried pioneer-style small farming and came up against exactly the kind of bureaucratic red tape which I have described above:
“My wife and I tried this years ago. The regulators disallowed us selling extra eggs in town. The poultry marketing boards limited the number of birds we could have. They shut down our pickling business because we canned in our kitchen. They wouldn’t allow self butchered meat to leave the farm thus discouraging barter. Of course the pioneers were not shackled in like manner.”
If you want to read the original in its context it is here:
On that note, may I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and good luck. I’ll be back…