Culture Change
19 October 2018
A Petrocollapse Timeline
by Albert Bates   
Since the early two thousand oughts we pessimistas have been trying to discern the shape of the backside of Mr. Hubbert’s curve. John Michael Greer has made a strong case for catabolic collapse, which could be described as a stair-step down from the present peak, punctuated by precipitous drops (the 147-dollar oil spike; the Lehman default; the ARMs race) and level treads (“Green Shoots,” the “Morning in America” phase we are currently re-hallucinating).

Day Five: Oyster mushrooms, the wapato shimmy and a vision
by "Wild Girl" Rebecca Lerner   
Image Off to dance in the cold waters of a marsh, myself and eight friends piled into a big van and set out on our quest for wapato. Also known as Indian swamp potato or arrowhead, for its arrow-shaped leaves, wapato is a bulb-shaped root vegetable that grows underwater in wet mud.

Conditions seemed almost preternaturally accommodating. Though it is duck-hunting season, Culture Change publisher Jan Lundberg easily secured a permit for our harvest at the last minute. We just happened to pick a day closed to hunters.

Day Four: On Sumac tea, conserving calories, and preparing for collapse
by "Wild Girl" Rebecca Lerner   
Image Sumac is a big shrub or a tall tree, depending on your view, that grows all over the United States, Europe and the Middle East. I have seen it along roadsides, in drainage ditches and as an ornamental plant in front yards. The dark red-purple berries form a distinctive cluster the size of a fist at the ends of the branches. The berry clusters are dense and fuzzy with a texture that reminds me of a carpet. They can be boiled to make tea or left to sit in cold water to make a refreshing beverage reminiscent of lemonade. Like citrus fruits, sumac is very high in Vitamin C.
The Coming Chaos
by Peter Goodchild   
It now seems to me that the systemic collapse of modern civilization will have two distinct phases. The first will be merely economic hardship, and the second will be chaos. In the first phase, the major issues will be inflation, unemployment, and the stock market. In the second phase, there will be the disappearance of government, law, and money.

I am reminded of Robert D. Kaplan’s Ends of the Earth. We might imagine the USA, for example, as one of the collapsed countries he describes, where official borders are meaningless, and where police, armies, and bandit hordes are indistinguishable from one another.

Day Three: Licorice Ferns and Earthly Kindness
by Rebecca "Wild Girl" Lerner   
Image Wild plants are compelling because they hint at an alternative reality where food and medicine are free, given by the Earth in an incredible act of generosity and compassion, like a parent for a child.

Inside every heart is a memory of another way. Advertisers have noticed that consumers long for a connection to nature, which is why so many commercials now play up products as "natural" and "green."

Day Two: Acorn Pancakes, Baked Fig Chips, and Cracking the Black Walnut
by Rebecca Lerner   
Image Most of us are familiar with English walnuts, but black walnuts are lesser known and far better -- rich and sweet, the flavor suggests a hint of maple syrup! Black walnut processing is messy, and there is a lot less nutmeat than with English walnuts. You have to wipe away the gooey outer covering by hand and wash them in water to get to the actual nut, then lay it out to dry. For a neat second use, you can also boil the husks in water and use the mixture as a brown dye.
Day One: Medicinal Food and Supernatural Berries
by Rebecca Lerner   
ImageI started the day with a nourishing tea made of pine needles, rose hips, mint and mallow greens, all gathered within a half block of my apartment in the city. It was more like a broth than a tea, because mallow has a gooey quality that thickened the mixture and gave it a hearty texture. Mallow is a prolific weed that grows close to the ground on sidewalks all over the city.
On roadkill, seasonal foraging, and getting by with a little help from my tribe
by Rebecca Lerner   

If I had waited until this week to gather the food, I’d be in trouble. It took myself and a group of eight people at the wilderness skills school TrackersNW more than a day to turn a few buckets of acorns into flour in September. We had to crack the shells with a hammer, extract the nutmeat with our fingernails, grind it, boil it twice in a big vat to get the bitter astringent properties out, and then strain it and dry it.

Can a Portland Woman Survive On Wild Food for Thanksgiving Week?
by Culture Change   
News release

Survival Challenge:
Can a Portland, Ore. Woman Live Off Wild Food for Thanksgiving Week In the City?

Most people head to the supermarket to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner, but urban forager Rebecca Lerner is trying an entirely different approach: the sidewalk! From Friday Nov. 20 through Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 26, Lerner will attempt to survive exclusively on wild food she gathers from sidewalks, parks, wilderness areas and yards in the city of Portland, Ore.

Laborers Before Sunrise
by Peter Goodchild   
In "developing" countries, not to mention a few that are never to be developed, the average laborer lives in a milieu of poverty, overcrowding, misery, and injustice. Here in Oman on the weekends I get up before sunrise, avoiding the heat, to go for long walks, encountering laborers from the Indian subcontinent on their way to work. Most of them are heading toward construction sites. At houses and similar buildings, that means working entirely without machinery, even when the temperature stays in the mid-fifties Celsius for days.
The Oceans are Coming - Part II: Living on the Land
by Keith Farnish and Dmitry Orlov   
ImageAre you still talking about Cyclone Nargis? Have you ever heard of Cyclone Nargis? Here’s a reminder: on 1 May 2008 a weakening low-pressure system suddenly picked up energy as it approached Burma from the Bay of Bengal. By the second day of this rapid strengthening, Cyclone Nargis was blowing in excess of 135 MPH and made landfall on the low-lying southern coast of Burma armed with vast reserves of cyclonic energy, a storm surge beneath, and constant heavy rain from above.
Is There a Technology Resistance?
by Peter Crabb   
The driving force behind the anthropogenic destruction of Planet Earth is locked inside our skulls. Neuroscientists are just beginning to identify the neural networks of the Technological Mind, but one thing is certain: the irresistible impulse to use tools is the product of natural selection over the last 1.5 million years, and so it is probably more deeply ingrained than even our impulse to use language.
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