Settling into a Collapse rant

SUBHEAD: Where will your 55" plasma TV or that Pink SUV ride-on truck be 60 years from now?

By Juan Wilson on 15 November 2017 for Islansd Breath -

Image above: A two seat toy ride-on pink SUV operated by car battery with remote control for dad to drive the kids around the back yard in style. Available at Walmarts. From (

Every time is see a Hotwheels trike, or worse, a pink monster truck "ride-on toy" operated by a car battery, I wince. I realize sooner than later it will be carted off as junk when some crucial plastic piece cracks and breaks. What's true about these toys is also true about most of what we consume today. It's unfixable.

To give you an idea of how old I am I've got an anecdote about reusing what is now a disposable item. My dad was a doctor and began his medical practice in a rented Levitt house on Long Island in 1949. During "office hours" my sister and I would play outside. The rest of the time it was our home. The kitchen would no longer be the "lab", the living room was no longer the "waiting room".

My sister and I slept on cots next to the examining table in the "exam room"/bedroom and my parents slept on a coach-bed in the "consulting room"/bedroom. In the kitchen "lab" was a centrifuge, microscope and sterilizer. Yes, my parents sterilized my dad's hypodermic needles and surgical steel medical tools.

There were not many "disposables" back in 1949 like there are today in medicine.

Back then, things like a surgical tool or a Zippo lighter was built to last a lifetime... and did, unless you lost it. Zippo's had replaceable flints and could use a variety of flammable liquids. The chrome finished steel Zippo, unlike floating plastic disposable Bic lighters, do not end up in the gullets of sea birds on Midway Island.

Headline in National Geographic magazine:

Plastic Garbage Patch Bigger Than Mexico Found in Pacific
"Yet another floating mass of microscopic plastic has been discovered in the ocean, and it is mind-blowingly vast." (

Too much plastic... and it's all made out of fossil fuel. I'm no saint. I've been an addicted American consumer for most of my life. But I am working on withdrawal. Last week I spent over an hour fixing the broken handle of a plastic laundry basket.

Buying things that are meant to be disposable is in general a bad idea. Of course there are exceptions we all make for things like toilet paper, paper towels, tampons, pampers, bandages and packaging.

However, even these items we need to be more aware of and try to reduce our use of. Incidentally, one reason the Farmer's Almanac had a hole through it was so it could be hung in the outhouse and after being thoroughly read, used as toilet paper.

An example of a complete waste of resources (and energy and a source of pollution as well as contributing to global warming) is bottled water. Unless you're in a place with no potable water you should not be using plastic bottled water.

Here on Kauai, every time there is a severe weather warning the supermarket aisles are crowed with pallets stacked with cases of plastic bottled water... and they sell out. I guess it is a response to hurricane Iniki a quarter-century ago, but why not just fill a clean 5-gallon plastic bucket with a snap on lid and a $3 plastic spigot.  I'm mystified.

I hope by now your getting used to the idea of "collapse" and are settling in for the long haul. The alternative is lot of thrashing around and a good deal of bitter dissatisfaction with broken dreams.

That "long haul" will entail reductions to many of the things you have become used to like 24x7x365 refrigeration, phone service, access to the internet, and passable roadways. Think of life as an extended camping trip you can't come back home from.

Things to leave in the garbage bin oh history on the way out include a Full Time Job capable of covering the cost of a college loan, car costs, the "rent", and weekly groceries.

We again will become a nation of farmers, gardeners, street vendors, buskers, hunters, craftpersons and handy(wo)men.

Self employment centered around where you live will replace the employer controlled "rat race" commuter. And that's a good thing.

It will be an exciting and adventurous time for many. Things, of necessity, be a more tribal and family oriented with local rivalries and family feuds. Who needs an HBO in depth drama series like the "Sopranos", Game of Thrones" or "The Deuce" when you will be living it 24x7?

Lightening our footprint is of the highest priority.
  • Disposable consumer product use should be reduced or avoided where possible.
  • We need to to keep what we have in running order and stop replacing everything that breaks down - without even an attempt at repair it. 
  • Road trips "for the hell of it" and RV driving vacations are eco-suicide.
  • Traveling by air should be by necessity... not on a lark. 
My prescription to myself is to get comfy with the past and how people got through the night without a 55" plasma TV. there is plenty to do... Take up the piano, a hobby or learn something in depth. Read, play chess, compose poetry. Plenty.

My grandmother knitted, hooked and crocheted without electricity in the evening for relaxation. I still have a crocheted rug in my bedroom she made over 60 years ago. It will outlive me and probably outlive my children.

There is little point trying to resurrect the "American Dream". That old model of conquest of the indigenous world; the stripping of natural resources and the burning of everything flammable won't continue for long. Nature will see to that - with us or without us.

Where will that 55" plasma TV or ride-on Pink SUV truck be 60 years from now? Five years from now?

See also: Bic lighter - The worst product ever marketed 8/1/17

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