In a van - Down by the river

SUBHEAD: Tell them what you're going to say. Say it. Then tell them what you said. "Go for it!"

 By Juan Wilson on 23 August 2011 for Island Breath -  

Image above: Chris Farley as Matt Foley in a scene from Saturday Night Live in 1993. Still from video clip below.

All right! How's everybody?
Most people over 30 remember the Saturday Night Live character Matt Foley that was created by the late Chris Farley. Matt was the motivational speaker who lived in a van - down by the river. The gist of the bit was that Foley was giving advice to suburban teenagers on how to get their lives together while his own life was in ruins.

He was middle aged, unemployed, overweight, divorced, and homeless. The joke was that he was the last person who should be giving advice to normal middle class youngsters on their choices in life. The odd thing was that although Matt's presentations usually backfired, in the end they produced their desired result. That was almost twenty years ago. Then there were few suburban families watching SNL who knew someone in Matt Foley's situation. But this is now.

Matt's character is not such an anomaly today. In fact there are a lot of people in his position since the Great Recession began... and there are more to come. And who better to tell kids about their future if they don't change their ways than Foley. I thought it might make sense to channel a bit of Matt Foley to get your attention.  

Well la-di-fricken-da!
It's been about seven years since Island Breath began posting articles on what's coming and how one might prepare oneself. See (

How far have you gotten in your preparations? I know that we have been chipping away at being more self reliant for years and are still not there yet. For those of you who have not been reading Island Breath or similar sources and have relied instead on cable TV and the Garden Island News for "the truth" the natural reaction might be;
Q: "Prepare for what?"
A: "The end of the world as we know it."
That does not mean change like the believers in the Rapture or Comet Elenin talk about. My personal opinion is that those that choose an otherworldly apocalypse are taking the lazy way out. Why should one lift a finger if the Rapture or Planet X is about to land on us? "The end of the world as we know it" means living life without our current dependence on:
  • 24/7 access for your use of a private automobile.
  • Universal acceptance of bank credit (or even cash).
  • A multi-room home for the exclusive use of your family.
  • Availability of refrigerated, frozen food or mainland supplied food.
  • Any government agency at any level to provide you a service you need.
  • A job (or jobs) that pay sufficiently that no other labor is needed for survival.
  • Always "on" utilities like electricity, natural gas, telephone service and potable water.
If you are working your way around those old prerequisites for a normal life you're on the right track. I say this because there is plenty of evidence that another bubble is about to blow. It appears that all the efforts to dig us out of the hole created by the last bubble explosion (the US banking and housing collapse) have only dug is in deeper (by undocumented trillions of dollars).

Remember when you thought the $700 billion TARP was a big deal? Throwing electrons representing dollars at the problem is dead on arrival.

The real problem is - Growth is dead! It has been the defining feature of our worldwide economy and it is over. If we practice continued growth the Earth dies... if we don't we will have to make big change. Either way - it won't be the world as we know it.  

A de-industrialization process is under way. Population demand, resource depletion and Peak Energy are having compounding effects. It will soon not be profitable manufacture many things we now take for granted because we won't be able to pay their real cost... real costs to ourselves and the environment. Forget about saving civilization with wind generators or nuclear plants. "Full use of wind power could raise temperature equivalent to 720 ppm of atmospheric CO2." See Natural Limits to Wind Energy (

The best chance you have of you reading at night by lamplight ten years from now is for you to put a solar PV panel on your roof and carefully maintain some deep cycle marine batteries. Forget about nuclear energy coming to the rescue. Another 500 plants will be needed and we won't have the where-with-all to build them. Moreover the 400+ we operate today are unmaintainable in a Post Peak Oil world.

They need; connection to a 24/7/365 robust energy grid; copious amounts of cooling water and ways to process the resulting nuclear waste as well as an on-demand delivery system from a heavy duty transportation; and an industrial base capable of replacing all crucial nuclear hardware. See Time for a Cold Shutdown (

No combination of alternative energy sources - whether green (solar, hydro, wind) or dirty (shale oil, fracked gas, clean coal) - will save the day for the consumer or the planet. Demand destruction will pave the way forward.  

Go for it!
But time is getting short. Many things you could be doing to sustain yourself take time to master. That includes:
  • Keeping chickens, goats or rabbits.
  • Growing food without fertilizers, pesticides or fossil fuels.
  • Developing a home based craft/avocation worth bartering with.
  • Gathering the tools/skill you will need to maintain your home and family.
  • Securing you own power, water, heat and sanitation.
  • Building working relations with nearby family and neighbors.
Each item on this list requires practice mastering complex actions. Each might take a year or more of effort to attain some level of self-reliance. We've said it before, we are saying now, and will say it again. "Go for it!" Otherwise, you might end up in a van - down by the rive
Video above: In clip Chris Farley premier perfromance of motivational speaker Matt Foley 0n 5/8/93. A man who lived in a van, down by the river and spoke to suburban teens about getting their lives together. In this case played by David Spade and Christina Applegate. From (

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: History is not your therapist 8/22/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Here's the deal 7/5/09
Island Breath: Our impending journey nears 8/24/2007 


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