NOTE: Make sure you read the first three posts (in order!) before tackling the rest, or it could be confusing: Post 1 is Designing the future, Post 2 is Setting up the problem, and Post 3 is Estimating basic requirements.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Developing Peak Oil Skills: Get organized

Most people who have studied Peak Oil for even a short while recognize that certain skills are required in order to survive in an energy-deprived future. You have probably started collecting a short list of things to do or learn as soon as possible or perhaps just formed a vague vision of your future life.
Part of designing a sustainable home or community is designing our skill set. Each of us needs to develop requirements for ourselves based on our predicted needs and our existing skill sets. There are good lists like this one at Simple Living, and many such resources at LATOC, but each person will be different in their needs. Also, for this exercise I would emphasize skill acquisition over “activities”. Getting out of debt, moving to the country, making friends, and so forth are extremely important but belong on a different list than what I’m focused on here. A separate skills list will help keep you organized and focused on self-sustainability. You could set aside time every day or week to focus on skills development, working from your list.
I plan to run a continuous series within this blog highlighting my own learning process as I use Systems Engineering to design my future self. I’ll share what I’ve learned in hopes of easing the learning process for all who are interested. Remember that you cannot acquire a skill without actually doing it (repeatedly) and that your self-requirements list will likely be very different from my own.

My list of skills to acquire:
      1) Food preservation: Canning, smoking, drying, freezing, etc.
      2) Cheesemaking
      3) Sustainable gardening
      4) Building techniques: Foundations, framing, roofing, plumbing, wiring, carpentry
      5) Blacksmithing/metalworking
      6) Animal husbandry: Chickens, cows, sheep, alpaca; milking, butchering, shearing
      7) Papermaking: Toilet paper, writing paper, wrapping
      8) Hunting: Firearms, archery, trapping

Please remember a few things about this list: This does not include skills that I already possess; my list should complement my wife’s list so that we have an even distribution of required skills; and this list is dynamic – as I gain proficiency at some things I’ll be able to add more (less critical) skills.


At 9:16 AM, Blogger DJEB said...

Too bad you are way down in Florida. It would be nice to collaborate with you. If you can figure out a way in which I can be useful to you over the internet, let me know.

At any rate, might I suggest Bill Mollison's book The Permaculture Book of Ferment & Human Nutrition for, uh, ferment.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Emme said...

I agree with your list. I am attempting to learn thos same items (actually, my spouse, children , and I all are). I have to include in my list soapmaking and seed saving. I have saved seeds from the organic veggies and hybrids of this past summer. I hope they grow well this nest year!

Thanks for sharing your list. Let us know how it goes!

At 3:43 PM, Blogger PeakEngineer said...

Stay tuned over the next couple months -- I'll be working on bringing up a new website with quite a few tools where I think we can come together. And I do plan on checking out more of Mollison's work, it sounds like great stuff.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger PeakEngineer said...

Thanks! Your blog (and list) served as inspiration. And darn it, I mean to put soapmaking on there :)

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

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At 7:04 PM, Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

I just linked to this post. Hopefully all six of my readers will visit you and learn something.

Under firearms, I would add "Learn to reload ammo." This includes casting lead.

The chemists among us (I am and ever shall be a biochemist at my very core) might learn how to make gunpowder and teach others.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

Everyone should start accumulating the Foxfire books. (They aren't just for hermits, separatists, fugitives and end-timers anymore!)

Lots of practical how-to advice for successfully living off the land; from how to sink a bucket and draw water to how to build a log cabin.

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