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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adaptation and the law

Peak oil, economic collapse, environmental degradation -pick one or all or add some more collapse threats. Odds are something is going to go down rough for a lot of people. Highly educated people run the numbers and make doom predictions. In fact, there are so many making doom predictions that some of them will be right. Call it the shotgun theory of doom narratives.

Doom happens and then we are all dead.

Few account for people's adaptability. I remember during the oil shocks of the 70s. Before long you could not give away big American 8 cylinder cars. Little foreign 4 cylinders were in high demand. Car pooling became popular. Miles travel were reduced. Trips were carefully planned to get as much done in a single trip as possible.

People do adapt. Houses get insulated and drafts are plugged. Thermostats are turned down. People switch to less expensive fuels. Solar energy is used more, even in simple things like placing a house to make best use of sun and shade.

Gardens are planted. Life styles change. We don't go gently into that good night.

Of course, survival may be illegal in your community. They don't exactly make survival illegal. They just outlaw anything that's outside the current norm. Property values have to be maintained.

Here's the simplest test: are clotheslines outlawed in your community? Are there HOA rules or town ordnances against it? What about other things? Wood stoves banned? Some places don't allow solar panels on private residences. Are private wells outlawed? How about private septic systems, or horrors, a composting toilet! Will someone freak if you tear up your lawn and plant carrots?

That's just a few tried and true strategies and technologies for getting by in tough times. How many of them are outlawed in your area? If these simple things are frowned upon, imagine how they'd react to more radical coping mechanisms. We don't even know what tools for survival people will develop in the future.

I'm betting that if you can't do much outside the norm where you are currently living, don't expect things to change radically in the near future. In fact, enforcement of these silly rules could even get worse. People heavily invested into the old system of property values will try to hold onto the old illusions as long as possible. You will be made an example of.

As for me, I've got a clothesline. It runs right past the solar electric panels near the garden.



  1. Good for you. I wish more people thought like that, there'd be fewer crazies rampaging for food when the SHTF.

    1. Every little bit helps. I hope that people will wise up and loosen these crazy rules.

  2. Got 'ya beat - I have two clotheslines!

  3. We have seven sons, our clotheslines look more like powerlines. Luckily our place is old even by UK standards. We still have the old washhouse(complete with black iron range stove and drying pipes). When the boys were small it got used frequently in the winter!
    Even though we have hydroelectric now we still refuse to use a tumble dryer.
    I've never understood how a people who came up with the declaration of independence managed to create HOAs. They have more restrictions than soviet housing of old, whilst making you pay for it too!

    1. HOA's are just another sign that a once free people have fallen low.

  4. Unfortunately the silliness spreads and there are some communities that don't allow clotheslines, vegetable gardens in the front yard have caused their owners to serve time behind bars, household water catchment is not allowed because the utility company misses out and it's true too that you're not allowed solar on the roof of your house in some areas for the same reason.
    Bring on the revolution I say as I quietly get on with mine...

    1. At least it's still possible to move to places that are less crazy.

      Live the revolution you want to see.

  5. I have chickens. And 2 ducks. And a male turkey.

    And I live inside the borough limits. With neighbors on all 4 sides.

    The notice I got this week was for letting my grass get above 8".

    My community keeps me on my toes.

    1. I let my grass get really long a few times every summer. It helps the grass develop deeper roots. During dry spells people wonder why my shabby lawn is green and their manicured one is dead.

      The fines would have driven me out of town by now.