Winter Solstice 2011

SUBHEAD: It's darkest day before we turn towards the light again. Even so, the hardest time still lies before us.  

By Juan Wilson on 21 December 2011 for Island Breath -  

Image above: Illustration of 2011 Winter Solstice. From (

A year ago, in December 2010, an amateur Russian astronomer, Leonid Elenin, was the first to identify Comet C/2010 X1, a comet now commonly known as Elenin. There were those who interpreted the discovery of this highly eccentric comet, and its calculated near pass of the Earth, as evidence of cosmic events about to occur. Some thought it was actually a dwarf star, a sister planet or even an alien invasion.

The comet had other names attached to it originating form a variety of cult, pseudo-science and religious belief systems. Predictions of its effect on the Earth in the early Autumn of 2011 included magnetic pole reversals, earthquakes that would dwarf Japan's 3/11/11, and total destruction of the planet. All this concern upstaged the predictions that this world will end exactly on year from today - on December 21, 2012 - the last day in the ancient Mayan calendar system.

Well, as it turned out, Elenin was a dud, and it's my opinion that the 2012 Solstice Armageddon will be too little too late. Fear of Elenin's meteor and the Mayan calendar are hitting on a deep anxieties in people. We know something is so profoundly wrong that it threatens all life on Earth; but we cannot see that what is wrong is simply us - being ourselves... all seven billion of us humans. One thing about Elenin and the Mayan calendar - they have had timing.

However, as diversions, they have wasted time and energy that should be aimed toward minimizing the disasters of our own making that are quickly engulfing us. Primarily that is ruin of the planet by over utilizing non-renewable and renewable resources for the spread of humanity across every corner of the globe.

No need to go through the litany of dire consequences - but worldwide climate chaos while experiencing industrial collapse encompasses much of it. Of course, a person's relative perception can make such events seem like they are taking forever to occur - much like the super slo-mo experience of the victim in a car crash or other catastrophe. But on a broader scale of historic, cultural or especially geological time we are seeing extinctions and climate change in the blink of an eye.  

What's ahead?
Between now and the next winter solstice we are likely to see the collapse of the world financial systems that support international trade. It will likely come apart at the seams first in Europe. That may be only weeks away.

All the machinations of the Eurozone members to cover their debt problems have merely papered over damaged floorboards that have burned out due to the raging fires below. There's no hiding the facts anymore and we're next. If Europe goes so does America. Our banks are intractably connected to Euro sovereign debt and we have already bankrupted our public institutions trying to refill the bank's coffers. What they won't admit is that a blackhole cannot be filled.

As on the Titanic, once the last critical bulkhead was penetrated, no matter how draconian the measures or how much self-denial was brought to bear - no amount of bailing could keep her afloat. We are there.

 Expect all levels of authority to have a nervous breakdown. Corporate and financial interests will shred the usefulness of government, military and judicial systems from national to county levels. To the degree you can, stay away from all of them. Fascist and anarchist elements will breakdown normal civil discourse. The Commons will be all but gone and will need rebuilding from the bottom up once the rubble stops bouncing.  

Building a Time Machine
All this will pretty much put you on your own in the medium term. Get what you must get done with the present system before that medium term arrives. The 24/7 online shopping, communication and entertainment systems we rely on could evaporate in a flash of brownouts and service disruptions.

Much of our attachment to the system (internet, cable, mobile devices) is supported by corporate advertizing from the likes of BP, Shell, Chevron, General Motors, Ford, Sears, Walmart, Budweiser, Coke, and Frito-Lay. Without ads there is no Google, Facebook or commercial TV.

The contents of that telecommunication system is American culture, and without it many of us are alone. That system is more fragile than most of us imagine. Your short term goals should be to take care of your long term goals - meaning get prepared for the storm. Transitions are important. They are best when they are smooth, like shifting gears and in this case it's downshifting. We need to prepare for a downshift from the 21st Century through the 20th Century and down to the 19th Century. That's if we're lucky.

At that level of resource consumption we might keep a recognizable civilization and technology. Telegraph, telephone communication; steel hulled ship and rail transportation; photography and sound recording techniques all would be possible. However it may well be that won't be a low enough gear to keep us going. It may be we will have to shift down to 18th or 17th Century living for resilient sustainability. That will mean cart and ox; pick and shovel; harpsichord and oil paints.
Well we missed that shift on the long decline - Long may you run. - Neal Young and Steven Stills 1976.
The best strategy for transition at this time is to invest in a hierarchy of tools that can stand alone and support you backwards through the centuries down to the level of the pick and shovel. This would include freeing yourself from the current supply lines for food, water and power.

On Kauai this would include alternatives to the Water Department, The Gas Company, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and mainland food. Use whatever technology you can afford to get you there, but do it soon while the banks and corporations are still pretending that money works. This would include:
  • Solar hot-water and photo-voltaic power systems with battery storage.
  • Rain catchment systems, wells or ditch system access.
  • Backyard gardens, hen houses, rabbit hutches, tilapia ponds.
  • Wood burning stoves, solar ovens.
Besides the obvious manual tools like hammer, pliers, saw, screwdrivers consider:
  • Acquire wood shaping tools like hand drills, files, planes, chisels etc.
  • Specialized tools like a woodsplitter, rebar cutter/bender, house jack, come-along, etc.
  • Get "high tech" items... drafting equipment, a manual typewriter, sliderule etc.
As parts of your 21st Century suite of survival solutions degrades, breaks down and is no longer replaceable you will be traveling back to reliance on earlier and more resilient technologies.
For example, that nice new 21st Century portable impact drill with the rechargeable lithium battery will eventually not recharge anymore. There won't be a replacement battery at Home Depot (there may be no Home Depot by then). After that, you'll have to rely on your old school 20th Century electric drill running off the KIUC grid and later maybe off an inverter attached to a car battery. Eventually, my time-traveling friend, even that won't be available and you'll be reduced to a 19th Century hand-cranked drill for punching a hole in a block of wood.
The point is your 21st-17th Century time-machine should be able to handle all sorts of weather. It's going to be what you can make of it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! .

No comments :

Post a Comment