Does it Make Sense to Move to a New Location because of Peak Oil?

Does it make sense to move to a new location because of peak oil? I can think of reasons on both sides of the discussion. I list some ideas below the fold. How do readers feel about this issue?

Some reasons one might want to move:

1. To be closer to family. If times get tough, economically or otherwise, it is can be better to be near kin-folk.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. If one actually plans to operate the farm by oneself, one would need the skills to use the land productively.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. This could be as simple as being near wooded areas. It could also be to be near hydroelectric, or some other form of energy (coal, oil, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.).

4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Los Vegas and Phoenix come to mind as examples.

5. To be in a better place for long-term jobs. Different people will have different ideas as to where these locations might be.

6. To be part of a Transition Town. Or perhaps some similar group, that is planning to deal creatively with peak oil issues.

7. To be where public transportation is available. If one feels that the major issue will be a lack of cheap fuel, this might be an option.

8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. This could be a city or a country.

9. To leave an area where the weather is very severe. This might especially be the case if you believe heating is likely to be a problem in the future.

10. To leave an area where obtaining enough fuel (or electricity) is a problem. I understand this is already an issue in parts of Alaska.

Some reasons not to move

1. Have friends, family, and a job where you are now. It would be impossible to move everyone, and find jobs for everyone, in a new location.

2. Not customary to move. In the USA, we think nothing of people moving to a new state every few years. But in many parts of the world, people customarily stay put. Moving is not really an option.

3. Not welcome in the new area. If the new area is a close-knit community, it may be difficult to make new friends.

4. Not enough money. It costs money to relocate. Buying several acres for a farm, plus equipment, is likely to be prohibitively expensive for most.

5. Devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. The new community may only appear to be better than what you have. Trying to farm without the skills will be very difficult.

6. Can't sell your house. Or the price you would get for it would leave your penniless.

7. Too many sunk investments. If you have insulated your home, added solar hot water, and a garden, it will be hard to replace these elsewhere.

8. Inertia. It takes a lot of work to research a new area, uproot family, and get settled in a new area.

What are readers views on this issue?

Have people tried moving to Transition Towns? What has your experience been?

How about people who have moved to a new area on their own, to garden or farm--what have your experiences been?

I would assume that most people who have thought about the idea of moving have decided to stay put, since making a big move is difficult. In recessionary times, it is especially difficult to move, except to move back in with family or friends. If peak oil is likely to cause a worsening recession going forward (as some of us believe), this may affect the kinds of moves people are willing and able to make.

1. To be closer to family. If times get tough, economically or otherwise, it is can be better to be near kin-folk.

The reason may also center around travel becoming less distant and frequent.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. If one actually plans to operate the farm by oneself, one would need the skills to use the land productively.

The trouble is a) do you leave a job that pays right now? b) do you start such an endeavor part time, commuting there on the weekends? VERY time and energy consuming, and the pace is slow, with burnout a real threat.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. This could be as simple as being near wooded areas. It could also be to be near hydroelectric, or some other form of energy (coal, oil, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.).

This is a complex grid stability/maintainability issue with no one answer. I can see regional draws (such as the Pacific Northwest) were there might be a large pocket if there were serious stability problems elsewhere. Closeness to these shouldn't be a criteria, as electricity availability would like be the same across at least the local control area.

4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Los Vegas and Phoenix come to mind as examples.

Absolutely, there should be little debate here.

5. To be in a better place for long-term jobs. Different people will have different ideas as to where these locations might be.

Those in Detroit (and see the desert cities aforementioned), etc should certainly be able to relate to this. What will be the skills required in the Great Reskilling?

6. To be part of a Transition Town. Or perhaps some similar group, that is planning to deal creatively with peak oil issues.

Yes, and also areas that are lowest in oil dependency.

7. To be where public transportation is available. If one feels that the major issue will be a lack of cheap fuel, this might be an option.

Carpooling might make for some of this, but see oil dependent state list above.

8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. This could be a city or a country.

Absolutely. Food, water, and job pressure may prove to be serious impediments to social order.

9. To leave an area where the weather is very severe. This might especially be the case if you believe heating is likely to be a problem in the future.

Perhaps, though climate change may also come into long term resident strategy.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue.

True. But the picture changes slightly when you include energy sources that aren't likely to continue. For those who live near field, wood and water but where dependable electricity, natural gas and petrol supply begin to disappear first, there might be an advantage to staying put. People who are unprepared may move elsewhere; it could be a slow, gradual process spanning decades (slow decline scenario) or involve the panicked evacuation of whole cities (fast decline). Those who remain would be in a de facto depopulated zone with more resources per remaining person. Those who fled would find themselves in a more densely populated areas, in turn further straining resources there.

At least a slow decline one can have a shot at seeing the process happen and decide whether to move or not. In a fast decline, we just roll the dice (and probably lose, like everyone else).

I just made the move just 10 days ago, after becoming peak-oil aware in 1999. It has been a very long process of convincing my wife! but she has agreed to a 2 year trial. We moved from Melbourne (Australia) to rent a place in a small town 90 miles away. I liked the combination of facilities this town has to offer for its size, good soils and rainfall (subject to 21st century climate change, of course!). It is also around 800ft above sea level, which is also important to me. There is no chance of the land around here being inundated by rising sea levels!

The house we are renting costs half of what I was paying in Melbourne, and is substantially better. It's on 0.4 acres, which is the biggest property I have ever lived on! and is across the road from school (have 2 young school-age children!) and a short walk to a number of different shops, bank, post office, pool, police station, ambulance station, doctor, bus stop. (population of this town is 1500-2400 depending on which source you use and where the boundary for the census district is defined). It is also 20-25 miles from the major power stations (and brown coal deposits) of Victoria (Latrobe valley), so hopefully this will increase the chance of having a reliable electricity supply into the future.

To top it all off, in this weeks local paper there was an article by a local calling for people who are interested in initiating a transition town movement!

Hopefully things will work out. Provided things go well, we will be looking to buy a few acres close to the town (under 3 miles) and turning it into a permaculture designed, mixed agriculture farm. My own experience is food gardening and keeping chickens over the last 10 years, combined with many books on organic gardening and permaculture. I have also completed a permaculture design course. I know it will be very different actually owning, and setting up and running a farm, but it has been my dream and life focus for the last decade.

We moved to a town 60 miles from Sydney 6 years ago. I am ten minutes walk from shops, school, pub and train station, in a house on almost half an acre. I commute to the city three days a week by train, but the lower cost of real estate means our mortgage is half what it was and my wife is at home full time with our young children instead of full time work.
We have family in the city and further into the country, and we see them a few times a month.
Our house has three fireplaces, water tank plus shortly to get solar PV and hot water (in addition to grid power, town gas and water).
Our community is active in permaculture and the slow food movement, and there is transition town talk. We have made a number of friends, mainly through our kids (I can see it would be harder for older or childless people).
Our move wasn't driven solely, or even predominantly by peak oil concerns, but the idea of a more sustainable and community focused life appealed over our previous digs in the inner city.
From a peak oil (and climate change) perspective there are trade offs. Many of my neighbours commute by car, and we travel slightly more kilometers in total with longer distance trips to see family etc. Our town is vulnerable to catastrophic bush fire, and there is less choice in things like supermarkets that might have an impact in a decaying society (balanced by more resiliency in basics, I guess). Similarly, employment choices locally are much more limited than in the city.
We've done well, and would do the same again, but we have been lucky to find a place to live that ticks so many boxes both now and in possible futures. I would be cautious, even now, about moving for peak oil driven reasons, as the consequences of peak oil for the larger society are still unknown, in my opinion. Broad decisions, like escaping clearly unsustainable locations like Las Vegas, for example, make sense. But in an energy constrained future it is unclear to me if city living will be defended by governments to the end, at the expense of outer areas (imagine hospitals closing, power being restricted etc. It follows that the cities will hold these services longer) or if the advantages of non-city life (providing some of your own food, lower crime) will overcome these challenges.
Good luck.

Whether or not to move because of peak oil ... a great question. I would say for that reason alone, no, because we don't know exactly when more expensive oil begins to tear apart our current system, if at all. I think if we don't have a technological paradigm change in terms of our energy consumption, we most certainly will have massive disruption at some point. However, assuming we come up with no new answers, and consumption of limited oil resources continue unabated, will it be as soon as some suggest - the 2020 time frame? Or sooner? There really are too many variables to know for sure.

Thus, we get down to the more mundane mix of reasons people move - to pursue new jobs and opportunities, to be with a partner, or for a new start and adventure. having said that, I recently moved from a suburb to be closer to work to my job in Oklahoma City. A 30 to 45 minute commute became 10 minutes. I'm saving a ton on fuel expenses already, and having recaptured all that time and expense has definitely made me a more happy camper.

If I were to have my druthers, I would love to live in a city where I could ditch the car entirely - an impossibility in Oklahoma City. That would mean moving away from friends, family and my current job - but having a more urban lifestyle sounds terribly appealing, and might be worth it at some point, to save even more time and energy, and for the fun of it!

While high price is the popular view of peak oil, I don't think we can assume that is what worsening peak oil will look like. I think peak oil already is looking like recession, and as we go forward, will look more and more like recession, job layoffs, governments running short of money, and all kinds of financial problems. High price of oil may or may not go with it. If people (and government agencies) don't have money to spend, they can't bid the price of oil up.

I would agree that living where a person doesn't have to use a car much has some great advantages. It is too bad that in the USA it is hard to find places that don't require a car to get around.

I can remember my shock when I visited the States on business for the first time quite a few years back and, quickly bored with the tv in my hotel room, decided to go for a walk. That was when I realised that the whole system was geared up for cars, with pedestrians barely tolerated!

Gail, I agree with most of your "reasons to move" above. However I do not agree with #7 or anything that assumes that there will be some sort of business as usual left. Public transportation should not be a factor because after the collapse there will be no public transportation.

However some of your reasons "not to move" might prevent you from moving, like not having any money. Unless one has some means to survive once he/she has moved, you could just starve in your new location. To have any chance of surviving you must be able to firmly establish yourself before the collapse.

However I must emphatically state that "being where you don't need a car" should not be a reason on either side. After the crash all the stores you can walk to will likely be shuttered or looted. And in the countryside that you move to you will not likely need a car. And anyway there will likely be no gasoline to be had anyway so it makes no difference.

Also most people, when responding to this thread, seem to be thinking only about "tough times", or times with very expensive oil, little public transportation and very expensive food in the supermarket. Well, lotsa luck with that one but I don't think that scenario has a snowball's chance in hell of playing out. I expect, within the next one or two decades, total economic collapse. That is even local, state and national governments will collapse. There will be no pensions of any kind, no employment and no police protection.

I know, such a scenario is even hard to imagine but...

Ron P.

Ron, one of the difficulties I have with the societal collapse scenario you and others on TOD espouse is that I have a very difficult time envisioning the chain of events that peak oil would set off to cause total collapse. I'm of the "tough times" crowd and envision serious degradation of quality of life over time and hopefully people migrating to a localized, less consumptive society as oil becomes less available to support current consumption levels. I would really like to see someone of the "total collapse" crowd put forth a well-written hypothesis of how such a collapse could be caused by peak oil.

John G.

can't speak for ron but my thoughts are;

the initial issue is that at some point in time fiat money not backed by anything;, printed/inflated by govs has to fail--- globally as this is how widespread our money system is. peak oil, whether it drives that process or not; insures that as peak is reached the money system has to be reset/collapsed.

could there be a reset; only if central banks cooperate & work closely together- like they are for now, which i don't think there is a chance of in an attempted reset &/or collapse. 'Crash Course' does the best job i know of connecting these financial 'growth issues.

if u believe we are at peak & within ron's decade or 2 we have serious declines the chance of govs/banks working carefully together is zero; in fact we will have continuing but more widespread war over the declining oil/energy/resources.

so at least with the above links we will have an economic collapse in the developed countries.

the bigger question is does the economic collapse mean longer term dieoff is initiated. i don't think i can link conclusively these but i think they are logical within an additional decade as the US in particular is going to have serious civil disorder which will eat up it's ability to produce food etc.

& i haven't brought up AGW.


I saw the entire crash course recently and it was an eye-opening confirmation of the discomfort I felt about the direction our country/society was (and is still) heading.

I believe the collapse of fiat money has to happen eventually because the value of dollars in existence in the world greatly exceeds the total value of concrete "things" and services in the world. Somehow all that free-floating money is supposed to lift everyone's boat, but I just see the top 1% yachts being lifted. My wife's parents lived in Weimar Inflationary times and told her stories of how people reverted to bartering to combat the need to earn million mark notes to buy bread. The point being, people found ways to make do when the economy collapsed. I hold out hope that people are tough enough to make do in tough times.


it's not that people aren't tough. i agree & it is the one reason i will not conclusively link $ collapse to dieoff in the US.

again in the US we have had the gun stores emptied with obama's election. we have had the bankers bailed out & not main street. all this is a combining of forces that is bound to cause extreme conflict. this is where i fear many skilled, tough folks here will devote their energies; not to mention our gov likely making things immensely worse-- as it has imo. hope i am wrong!!!

the above along with our 'softness/laziness/lack of skills; well i would like to at least skip the initial significant stepdown/collapse.

good luck.

Such a collapse would not be caused solely by peak oil. Focusing on one element when there are multiple elements in play leads one to inevitably narrow and possibly erroneous conclusions.

Other elements that must be added to such a scenario include:
1. General resource depletion.
2. Biosphere destruction.
3. Climate change, whether man made or not is not relevant, as we are locked into supporting 7 billion people with the current climate and have no idea if an altered climate, either warmer or colder, can support the same number of people.
4. Financial collapse.
5. Political collapse.

Let's take one simple scenario as an example - as soon as the situation became problematic in New Orleans with Katrina bearing down on the city, police and firefighters left their posts to care for their own families. People say that was isolated, and that is precisely my point - what happens when the entire country or world is facing crisis conditions? Are all the soldiers going to report for duty? Will hungry people be expected to quietly lay down and die? Or will they attempt to take what they need to survive? Look at the mobs attacking relief convoys in Haiti. People in the US may think of themselves as above that but are they? Will they really react differently when they and their families are hungry and thirsty?

So the problem is not peak oil by itself. The problem is that peak oil is just one symptom of a wider collapse underway and as these symptoms interlock, they point to systems that we use to support ourselves that interlock. Are the problems solvable? Hypothetically speaking, I believe the problems are technically solvable. Note that I am not arguing for a techno-fix, just that the problems appear to be solvable at a technical level. Some of those technical solutions simply turn into learning to live with less.

The problem, however, is in the details, in our cultural institutions, in our world view, in our expectations, and in our collective will to choose change while it can still make a difference. Deciding you are willing to use a parachute after you've fallen off the cliff does you little good. You should have gotten a parachute before you went over the edge.

Most people have no idea of how tightly intertwined our existing systems are and how a failure in one system can rapidly cascade into other systems in a catastrophic manner. It is this interdependency which indicates that rapid and total collapse may (not shall, but may) occur.

As an example, I am closely following most of the states and several dozen cities, all of which are facing bankruptcy soon. Do you expect the federal government to simply print its way out of that mess without consequences? And the federal government may find itself unable to do such printing anyway for a number of possible reasons, leaving states and cities with no choice but to shut down many services. Already many small towns are completely disbanding their police departments and hoping that the county sheriff's department can pick up the difference. That's just passing the buck though. What happens when the county goes bankrupt? And the above examples are simply due to a financial crisis. Imagine on top of that a fossil fuel crisis, nations around the world engaging in military action because they believe the superpowers are hamstrung, further climate change, etc., all piled into one ongoing emergency (Kunstler's "Long Emergency"). Will our existing social systems survive such stresses intact? History tells us that such an expectation is foolhardy. This doesn't mean that the entire world becomes a Mad Max world but it does mean that within 20 years we very well could be living in a vastly different, far more localized, and somewhat more dangerous world.

Right now, as a species, we have a choice. We can still choose some things. Some choices are now out of reach (too far in the past and we are too close to the crisis) but other choices still remain in reach. If we wait too long, there will be no choices left and nature will choose for us. We may not like the choices nature makes, thus our only alternative is to make other choices now, while we still have time and resources to do so.

The fact that our nation, indeed our entire global civilization still refuses to make such choices indicates to me that it is highly probable that we will reach a tipping point that will result in a sudden and rapid descent, perhaps not clear to the bottom, but to a significantly lower level on the complexity tree.

A refusal to recognize this potential problem, to me, indicates a willful blindness to an identifiable risk. Being willfully blind to the risk actually heightens its probability by allowing the causes of the risk to build unchecked. Your attitude contributes directly to the probability of a hard and fast collapse by denying that it can even occur, thus allowing it to occur.

Personally, I am also of the "tough times" crowd, at least for the rest of my own natural lifespan. However, I do not discount the possibility of worse scenarios and I work to incorporate those into my planning for the future. For me, failure to do so would constitute neglect to myself and my family. While I do not want such a thing to occur, my observations of the collapse of the USSR, Serbia, Somalia, Argentina, and other modern nations tell me that serious collapses are possible. And if they can happen regionally, then they can happen globally. Thus, the only logical choices I can make are to (a) prepare for that worst case scenario and (b) attempt to prevent it from happening. Denying the possibility of rapid and extreme collapse does not make the problem go away.

David Ramsay,
I believe your position in respect to the likely state of future affairs is as well reasoned out and as clearly described in good clear English as any I have seen here or anywhere else.

Needless to say I agree strongly.

We need to hear more from you.


Well put. I think that its not just about oil - but because of our inability to do the wide variety of things our complex society achieved with oil that it will have to start 'shedding' as we decline.

It all depends on the decline rates. It all depends on what we do _before_ and _during_ the time of realization of decline that really matter. Nationalism is yet another irrational entity as is religion. I'm probably as cynical as you are.

I'm willing to bet that the minds of the masses will become easily plastic once again to accept newer world views when their current set of world views start "failing". I'm sure religion will "patch" and _actively_ work towards stabilizing the society using "quick and dirty" ways. Since religion has nothing to "offer back" and just use its powerful manipulation of fear, it is likely to spread far and wide.

As a person who strives to place rationality above everything, I really cannot conceive quick "put down the fire" line of thoughts that our rational minds can do. Rational minds tend to justify. Religious heads do not have to!

An example: A while ago, I was so struggling to explain to "concerned people" why I'm selling my house. An agnostic friend of mine gave an idea that would have worked better: "Just say, God ordered me in my dreams to sell te house!". Quite true but its a "hack" and a wrong message to give.

I'm holding on to the hope that now will be the best opportunity for people to
1. become honest; talk about their problems and take each others' helps in solving / "patching" up.
2. Realize the Godless nature of the Actual World and our deep connection to the Actual World we live in. I really think, this realization alone is enough to do a concerted effort in bringing us all to think about war, cheating, deceit, lies and our very irrational actions that is at the root of our suffering (whether with oil or not).
3. Working together, co-operating and focussing on similarities than the extremely, irrationally amplified differences that people tend to see today

If this stuff evolves into a "religion", so be it. As long as "human nature" is at the center of our study and "attention", I think a lot of problems can be "avoided".

I know that sounds like wishful thinking but I'd like to work towards _this_ outcome. It is probable - not impossible not even "highly improbable", actually - if you consider the power of communication.

Hi to David, Sunson, Mac, Creg, John and any others who are interestd in the reasons it will be total collapse rather than just hard times.

Of corse it will be many other things rather than just peak oil. As I have stated many times on TOD we are deep, deep into overshoot. Even if peak oil never came we would collapse by 2035, or somewhere pretty close to that date, anyway because of other resource depletion. I mean soil, fertilizer, other minerals, and especially water.

Also... as stated by Gail, myself and others several times, all debt based societies must grow or collapse. We must grow in order to pay interest on the borrowed money the society is based upon. Also we must grow because the population is growing by 70 million per year. Also we must grow because of technology. Sounds strange but the Luddites were correct, new technology produces more with less people. But historically society has always grown so those put out of work by technology always found work elsewhere.

But the trigger, and by far the greatest driver of collapse will be declining energy resources. The very best essay I ever read on that subject can be found here: Energy and Human Evolution

Operative mechanisms in the collapse of the human population will be starvation, social strife, and disease. These major disasters were recognized long before Malthus and have been represented in western culture as horsemen of the apocalypse. They are all consequences of scarce resources and dense population.

Starvation will be a direct outcome of the depletion of energy resources. Today's dense population is dependent for its food supply on mechanized agriculture and efficient transportation. Energy is used to manufacture and operate farm equipment, and energy is used to take food to market. As less efficient energy resources come to be used, food will grow more expensive and the circle of privileged consumers to whom an adequate supply is available will continue to shrink.

And my favorite line from that essay:

After a few generations, they might come to believe that the rubble amid which they live is the remains of cities built by gods.

Ron Patterson

High prices are almost a certainty, especially in the U.S.

1. They will force people to reallocate their energy useage (ie. in the U.S. esp. move from a large SUV to a small car) and continue the drain of U.S. wealth overseas.

2. Incent alternative energy

3. Incent a long transition toward natural gas

4. Higher prices will give incentives to develop and get more expensive oil out of the ground.

The world is not in current recession. China is growing at 9.5%, India at 7.5%, the world in 2010 perhaps at 3.5%. The only thing that will stop that and create reallocation will be high prices.

The future capability and willingness of law enforcement as related to individual security will come to the forefront if things get bad......and, sadly, law enforcement may not end solely with licensed and accredited peace officers in their traditional role and doing their jobs.


I think it makes sense to locate where you are most able to use your aptitudes and enjoy your life.

About 5 years ago we jumped the California dream bubble before it popped and bought a small farm in Missouri.

Did we know the RE jig was about up and think big recession and possibly PO was nigh? yep.
Had we always wanted a small farm and felt we had the skills to hack it? You bet.

I think we moved for one of the few good reasons - owning a home outright. In our case we also own pretty good land and are trying to make a small income but no mortgage is key. Whatever you do remember this:

--- If you aren't farmer material, don't move to a farm. -----

Really it comes down to making a living, we all know the economy will bear the brunt of PO, if your job will be impacted by PO in Peoria it will probably be hurt in Poughkeepsie so you better think about a new line of work instead of a new address.

Wherever you go, there you are...

Re: The Boondocks

No one should ever consider moving to a rural area unless this has been their dream. Country life is hard. It demands innumerable skills that city people are unlikely to have. You may or may not be accepted by the old timers and so on.

What I would do were I interested in such a move is to put an ad in the local boondocks paper (or on the post office bulletin board- there's almost always one outside) seeking a mentor who you could visit and learn what life is really like.

Moving to the boondocks just to escape PO is a bad idea.


Moving to the boondocks just to escape PO is a bad idea.

I agree, and all I ask is that you don't move here. We are in just about the best area I can think of. Plenty of water and timber. There is still fertile farm land despite development. We have a small, well equiped hospital and doctors who have relocated here, and a reservoir/hydro plant large enough to keep essential services functioning (though probably not enough to provide all of the residential service). No likely nuclear targets within a hundred miles. Remote enough to have a chance to defend from hostile incursions. Plenty of like-minded people who are ahead of the curve regarding some level of self sufficiency. Many people already grow much of their own food, and "the old ways" are still practiced by enough folks here to teach the rest. Because our economy has faired worse than many areas, there is already a "hunker down" mentality among the population: much bartering, trading, and under-the-table transactions already going on. In fact, the "natives" have never stopped doing these things, even after TVA and the govt. came in and told them they were "poor". These are the reasons my late parents bought land here 40 years ago, and the reason our family made a point of integrating ourselves into the culture. They (my parents) had a strong sense of what the future would hold for their get.

The one thing we don't need is more people. On the other hand, if you are of a like mind and think as my folks did, it may not be too late. There are still places like this to be found.


I couldn't have put it better myself.We are not as well off in respect to the hydro , but in every other respect my community situation mirrors yours.

My biggest fear, Mac, is that WTSHTF every bozo citified denier "friend" is gonna show up at my place. I'm known as a generous fellow but a world class crisis may require some changes.

"My biggest fear, Mac, is that WTSHTF every bozo citified denier "friend" is gonna show up at my place. I'm known as a generous fellow but a world class crisis may require some changes."

This is exactly why this tactic is useless. It gives an imbecile piece of mind, but anyone with half a brain can quickly see that if the other 99.9% of the population are not figured in you are Screwed anyway.

So spend your considerable time, intelligence, and money addressing this issue or just accept the fact that you are in DEEP denial.

This is exactly why this tactic is useless.

It's not a tactic. It's the way we live. I'm not under any dilusion that we've wrapped ourselves inside some protective cocoon. Then again, I'm not ready to admit that if the ship goes down, we all go down together. At least my neighbors don't complain when I pee off my back porch.

My biggest fear, Mac, is that WTSHTF every bozo citified denier "friend" is gonna show up at my place.

You could always give them a copy of Aesop's The Grasshopper and the Ant. Then you wave them off your porch with a smile and a loaded shotgun...

A sign on the gate: Cholera here! Grave Diggers Needed.

From a Loius LAmour novel sign on the gate paraphrased,

Gate ranged for Spencer fifty six.Keep hands in plain sight and state your business.

Re: The Boondocks

Only if you have one or more of the following (which a large % of commenters on the nets who expound the doomstead concept have);

- A spouse raking in decent income.
- Serious wealth socked away
- Pension or some other steady income
- Zero debt and plenty of assets
- lots of booty and no debt
- Can afford to buy a place miles from no where and have enough left over to live for a very long time
- Can move somewhere regardless of job options or the lack there of

I think you all get my drift.

In some ways I agree with Todd's warning about moving to a rural area. If you don't enjoy manual labour, don't attempt it. (Then again, if you don't enjoy labour, you are probably screwed.) But I do think that most of the replies overstate the difficulties of country life, and ignore alternatives to complete self-sufficiency (a strawman in my opinion). But let me start with agreement:

Just up-and-moving to a truly remote property is pretty stupid if you don't have lots of time and resources to draw upon. Setting up anything close to an independent lifestyle is harder and more expensive than most expect, especially if you want to transplant anything close to the current standard North American lifestyle into the remote country-side. But if you are content to live in a teepee, a yurt, or a tiny rustic cabin, at least for a time, possibilities open up a great deal.

Unless you have a means of earning really decent income while living on a secluded property, this option should be forgotten. If you'll need to earn income far away from your property and take a significant commute to a weekend of work in preparation for coming hard times... Well, best of luck with that.

If you own a home in an (sub)urban location and can earn significant income while living in a small town (population of say 5-10k) without commuting somewhere else, one option would be to move to an appropriate small town with building supplies, hospital, schools, and located in a food producing area. Ideally, all services would be within walking distance of your home, you would have a lot that could produce a significant portion of your food supply, and you would have close friends and/or family nearby. If you sell your home and rent in the small town, you could buy a rural property near town, say within a half-hour drive.

Over a few years, you could transition to living on your rural property. Depending on your funds and comfort with debt, this transition could be quick and direct (skipping the small town entirely, or quickly building a home on the rural property) or drawn out (paying off the property while living in town, then moving to the property, first in a very modest home/shelter, and transitioning to a more comfortable lifestyle as time and money allow. I actually think that the quick route is a disadvantage. Living modestly is a skill well worth learning.

I'm on the drawn out path as I'm very uncomfortable with debt at the moment. We moved from a city, into a very modest (rented) home in a small town where I had family, have bought a rural property a 15 minute drive away, and have made significant progress on getting an off-grid home underway. (The most significant step is my spouse's recent decision to address her shopping addiction.) I've become proficient with livestock to the point where we have no need to buy meat or eggs (although we probably spend more on livestock feed than we would on meat and eggs, but I'm now fully capable of putting up all their feed myself). Keeping a small herd of sheep or a flock of ducks or chickens really isn't that hard, as long a you've got appropriate fencing. I've also been fairly successful in producing other useful products from the livestock (tanned hides, wool batting for blankets, and felt fabric), most of which aren't all that immediately useful, but could be in a pinch. (A tanned lamb hide is worth about the same as the lamb. The same is true of two pairs of felt boots.) The garden is still a work in progress as we're focusing on building up its fertility rather than producing food immediately. Still, it's producing more each season. Our main focus at the moment is getting out of town and onto our property, even if it is only for the summer. Depending on the funds we can set aside by spring, this may or may not involve a tiny cabin or yurt, but may involve the beginning of construction on our home (doubtful). If I could do it over again, I would have immediately put a yurt or cabin up on our property. Being able to take the whole family out for the weekend would allow for much quicker progress.

One could buy a large farming property where acreages are in demand, then subdivide, and sell either an acreage (preferred) or the farm property to get a jump on the funds for building. Around here a bare 8-acre acreage property sells for about two-thirds the price of a quarter-section (160 acres). Had we been able to subdivide, we would probably be in our house now. Unfortunately, it is important to make sure that the appropriate level of government will allow the subdivision before attempting such a move.

In all honesty, I think cities don't have much of a future even with a slow 20-year decline in FF production. I just can't wrap my head around how we can get the resources into and the waste out of a city with more than a million people. Even if we're just talking food and water, it seems like a huge challenge, one that I don't think we're up to. Throw heating and cooking fuel into the equation and the city dweller should probably start to get nervous. So I'm asked, if cities are going to become much less attractive over the next couple of decades, what are the alternatives?

Most urbanites are far better advised to buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and store as much food as they can (beans, rice), than move to acres in the badlands. This is a carefully considered opinion.

Since went live I've been saying the same thing "Don't move to a farm because of PO! Move to a farm because you want to farm."

Susan and I both grew up on and around farms and have always been kind of "Little House-y" so we have enjoyed every bit of our move. I do graphics and the last couple of years have been very slow in the B2B and B2C print business.

Prior to the run up in RE we would have only had a little equity but thanks to irrational exuberance we converted that imaginary value to a real 40 ac and a nice old house - we couldn't do it today. In fact if we had stayed in Central CA we'd be toast by now. As it is we have the taxes paid and the lights on thanks to bottle calves and market gardening and odd jobs mostly.

Our income is one tenth of what it was 6-7 years ago and actually we seem to be getting used to that.

So if you can't get enough of growing things and sometimes failing - and I mean every day, all day and you have been that way for years; and if your garage is filled with tools of every description and it's like pulling a tooth to be forced to call someone to fix something; and a big day in town means hitting the feed store, market and library; and the last time you went out to eat was at your wedding...

Then maybe you might think about a farm.

Welcome to Missouri Pops. If you ever get to Columbia....

I find I can select another spot on the planet and make about as good a case for moving to where I am from there, as moving from here to there.

One additional aspect I've noted is that for people of a certain age or with health conditions, it may be harder to cheat death in the boonies. For instance, my wife and I had planned to relocate to the Puna area on the big isle, but all the doctors have left the island so one is less likely to survive an accident or health crisis. Once cheap frequent interisle jet travel goes away, so will all emergency access to first-world medical care. (Unless RR and friends build a new utopia in Kamuela).

On the other hand, for young folks it could be one of the best places to be; if I was 20 instead of 60 I'd go till my fields there.

There will be a large element of luck in which areas fare best, so it'll be good to pay attention.

Greenish, you're joking about Kamuela, yeah?

Did anyone else, PO aware, relocate partly to get away from family?

I think that there is a possibility that quite a number of people will find a need to move sometime, say, a few years from now, because things aren't working out as planned--a hurricane came through and inadequate repairs were made, or there isn't enough water in the area, or something else goes wrong. Becoming too "wedded" to one location may not be good--even if one has put a lot of improvements into a house that ultimately is not salable, because everyone else in the area wants to move also.

Greenish, i imagine you're only half-joking about Kamuela. It is pretty well situated. Safe and clean, abundant water and agricultural potential, and plenty of new wealthy inhabitants who will pay to keep it that way. And not coincidentally, the best little hospital on the island. I've had laparoscopic surgery there, which was fast and efficient and painless and high-tech and the people are so friendly, no shortage of medical expertise. It is, granted, too far from Puna, the last affordable place on the island.

Half-joking is about right. If I remember correctly, Robert R of oildrum fame headed over thereabouts. It'd be a great setting for a "sustainable paradise", even high tech, if enough money flowed into it beforehand. The big isle in general has untapped "clean" geothermal power potential and if it was stockpiling resources and spare parts could be a great place to survive what's coming. I'm keeping a bit of an eye on how many wealthy folks discover Kamuela.

Actually, as long as the road between Puna and Kamuela could be kept open, that wouldn't be too far to go; it's just hard to know how stable the hospital there will be once the greater depresson starts.

And coincidental to this, I just put up our 3-acre puna lot on craigslist since we won't be using it. The prices are fairly insanely low now for a tropical island US citizens can move to without hassles.

You must be familiar with the general lack of doctors on the island, though, and it seems to be accelerating.

Ahualoa's a great place, I love the trees. But for now I'm stuck on Oahu. Cheers.

The real question seems to be-is there anywhere can you hide? With peak oil, peak food, peak water, and peak money all crashing down on us at the same time I don't think you can 'run for the hills'. The American form a of capitalism--predatory capitalism that shackles it's victims in debt, that is based on a coporatocracy form of government where it is impossible to tell where the multi-national corporations end and our federal government begins, is now a global infestation. If you do move, head for your clan and be prepared to defend, by any means necessary, whatever territory you dare to call your own.

I see David Koresh has checked in above...

I think it very likely that, with an attitude like that, Mos6507 will not be among the survivors.

Your IP address has been sent to the department of homeland security, thank you very much.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. If one actually plans to operate the farm by oneself, one would need the skills to use the land productively.

Own Or Rent, being able to use land productively is key, possibly even with hand tools if things get very bad. I prefer operating my 60 acres with my john deere and ancient 3 row corn planter, but if need be i'll fall back to a couple of acres to keep my family going, and help the neighbors work the rest with handtools.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. This could be as simple as being near wooded areas. It could also be to be near hydroelectric, or some other form of energy (coal, oil, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.).

I like some of the surrounding woods, and the coal seams 15 miles away.

4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Los Vegas and Phoenix come to mind as examples.

the northeast and the northwest have water under almost all conditions to sustain life and keep the veggie patch going.

8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. This could be a city or a country.

i'd like to belive i'm fine for a long ramp down, a poorer america etc. a big step function down and i'm pretty close to a lot of
people with no skills, no reserves, no plan. that is scarey.

1. Have friends, family, and a job where you are now. It would be impossible to move everyone, and find jobs for everyone, in a new location.

The network of people i know could sustain my farm and it would sustain them, they are doctors, engineers, welders, and they are all good shots, it would
be very difficult to put that together again. took 10 years.

2. Not customary to move. In the USA, we think nothing of people moving to a new state every few years. But in many parts of the world, people customarily stay put. Moving is not really an option.

5. Devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. The new community may only appear to be better than what you have. Trying to farm without the skills will be very difficult.

It is nice to know every nook and cranny of the geography, and lots and lots of people.

7. Too many sunk investments. If you have insulated your home, added solar hot water, and a garden, it will be hard to replace these elsewhere.

Lots of sunk costs, but in business I learned how to walk away from them and not look back. It would take time to replace them elsewhere, but I'd
do it better that next time, i learned alot on this one.

8. Inertia. It takes a lot of work to research a new area, uproot family, and get settled in a new area.

Talking my wife into moving is not a fun exercise.

To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Los Vegas and Phoenix come to mind as examples.

LOL! Make that the whole of SW USA. LV and Phoenix are merely the vanguard.

You people are mostly in serious AGW denial still.

I moved - although I am still in the same zip code - just the other side of the zip code.

I took the opportunity to move out of a condo with a tiny yard and non-aware neighbors, to a house with a yard and great neighbors, a functioning neighborhood association and a "vision plan" for future development, although it's not a Transition Plan (yet).

I'm near the expressway, two rail lines, regional and local, and the river. We have a local farmers market in which I participate. The neighborhood food market is 3 blocks away, as well as the local garden center - the owner lives half a block from my house. We're talking about getting a neighborhood garden club going. I'm heavily pushing edible landscapes.

From having a troubled relationship with neighbors I now have a great relationship with neighbors, largely due to my own attitude changing, and an awareness of the need to build connections.

I'm basically a city person, even though I'm happy to be up to my knees in mulch. I started my own small business serving local clients, in a field I think will survive for quite a long time (bookkeeping, taxes, small business consulting). I can get everywhere I need to by public transit or bicycle.

The down side of this location is winter weather. But heating bills are really only high for 4 months of the year, and I manage well without air conditioning.

Some might argue it's bad to be in the city, but, quite frankly, I don't see myself living on a farm in the middle of nowhere. I don't subscribe to the idea of "heading for the hills" unless one really wanted to all along, and one has the skills and temperament to do it.

As I've always said, one has to do a serious evaluation of where one is, and not be panic-motivated into making a choice that one might regret later. Peak Oil, after all, should be viewed as a continuum, rather than an event, although there may be some interesting events taking place.

My girlfriend asked me why I am preparing my yacht. I had to answer in 10 words or less.
I came up with "Risk mitigation".

To expand.

    Elements that went into the stew are

1 Uncertainty about future scenarios. (Per capita industrial output, Per capita services..Wall street..Oil..Food..etc)
2 Maslow's Hierarchy of needs.
3 I have extracted Security from the Hierarchy for special attention.
The best way to win a war is not to be there. I like the idea of my shark infested moat. I just love the fact that yachts are very much "Now you see them, now you don't".
4 Yachts are very unpopular right now. People prefer toys with an engine. Therefor the demand is low. And so is the price. The true cost is knowledge and experience.
5 Income I intend to trade low volume high priced drugs for a crust. (coffee 730% markup)

It is gratifying that Orloff came to the same conclusion independently.

To be an option I have to prepare the yacht and myself.
My yacht is the outcome of a synthesis of information.
Where it was synthesized, I refuse to speculate.

My girlfriend's response. "The toilet and the kitchen are too close together".

I am in the same (well, OK, next..) boat.

Similar reasoning, plus the fact I enjoy sailing and I couldn't afford my own plot of land led me here. Also the fact that I currently live in LA and if there is ever a large event (quake, attack, fuel shortage, etc) there is no easy/safe way out for the population.

In terms of cost, my sailboat is old, but very seaworthy - and cost me less than a new (compact) car.

Mount an M-60 on the bow and set a watch for the pirates.

Pirates are going to need diesel.
The greatest hazard is in harbor.

Information and judgment on my part, and the self interest of my clients will be my best protection.
Trading is not new.
History shows that piracy thrives with big, juicy targets.

Homesteaders have to stay put and defend themselves.
Ask Genghis Kahn.
Genghis Kahn thought that cities were a blight on the landscape.

The story of Cain and Abel is one of the conflict between nomads (Abel) and settled people (Cain).

I am betting that Able can work with Cain, if Cain can restrain his passions.
If not, Abel will be able.

Some lived on boats off the shore of Florida and along inland waterways to avoid paying condo fees, utilities, property taxes etc.; that is roughing it. Wouild not need to worry about rising sea levels, only rising tides, hurricanes, etc.

A friend in Thailand sent an email from an internet cafe. A friend told him he could rent a place for $170 a month, cheaper than his $400 dollar a month hotel. There were American ex-pats holding AA meetings there.

My brother got a farm in New England with some overgrown hayfields. He has to keep cutting with a bush hog to knock down the ferns and let the grass grow up. His neighbors want to graze their animals on his 20 acres + of pasture. He built a chicken coop for eggs for his children. He had a job and his wife had two jobs. Plenty of cold in the winter; the lake near him frose so thick they could have driven a truck out onto the ice, needed a jacket for some days in July.

Pirates are going to need diesel.

I'm not too sure about that. Before oil, pirates functioned quite effectively without oil, and when the majority of shipping is back using sail, I imagine pirates will also.

Pirates will typically have a larger crew than their prey (who will use minimum crew to keep costs down and to allow more cargo) and will use this larger crew to press their boats harder, particularly to windward.

Information and judgment will indeed be critical.

I have no intention of being an innocent victim.
The Ocean is a dangerous place.
For everybody.

Could you comment on what areas you plan to sail in? Also what type of plan do you have for hull and other maintenance?

Area to sail in, (subject to instantaneous revision.) Capetown to Brazil. My sister and mother are established in Capetown and the coffee is in Brazil. I am in Australia.
Hull is mono. Greatest displacement per dollar.
Maintenance. Buy in bulk before the SHTF.
With the escudos I earn it shouldn't be too difficult to hire muscle.

Wouldn't it be jolly to sell fake rhino horn to mug punters? Serves them bloody well right if they get caught.

1 Family-Definitely one of the things that makes life worth living once you have worn down the urge to see and do new things.I can't think of any older folks without family (whom I know personally ) who are as happy as ones with family around.Friends just aren't quite the same hing as very few of ushave more than one or two true friends, as opposed to acquaintances with whom we are on good terms.

2.moving taboo-One that often needs to be broken but only after serious thought.The frying pan may be preferable to the fire.You may give up a lot without gaining much in return.

3 Not welcome? This is a very real possibility and I have experienced it myself.This hillbilly will never be truly welcome in New York but I am not interested in living there anyway-but it's a nice place to visit.If you are upwardly mobile and used to deference-having been in management or the professions where you TELL people what to do,you should stay out of the rural south and especially out of he mountians.You ARE NOT a little more equal than your nieghbors here regardless of how much money you have.The richest farmer in the nieghborhood is as polite and civil to his nieghbor's farm hand as he is to his peer nieghbor.

Acting sniffy and superior won't get your barn burnt around here but if your saddle horse is out,nobody will call you or put him up for you if you act that way.They won't plow your driveway w/o getting paid if it snows-something we routinely do around here-no use getting out half a dozen tractors to plow as many driveways.

4 Money-Always a killer.But if you are handy and willing to work at it and move to someplace it never gets really cold and land is cheap(relatively) most people who own a house in a major city can sell out for enough to buy both a house AND some farmable land.Equipment is not the deal killer-you don't need much to raise your own food, and if yoy think you are going to make a LIVING farming,well, the odds are not much worse than the odds against making it as a musician or athlete.Forget it, unless you are tough, deteremined, knowledgeable , and able to buy a suitable place SUITABLY LOCATED, and can afford to run at a loss for a few years.
I can't get twenty five cents on the dollar locally for fresh produce compared to farm market prices in upscale cities, but my costs, except for property taxes, are similar.

6What can I say, except that things might be WORSE later.
7 Maybe your sunk improvements are worth staying-but if you are reasonably sure that things might go bad in your neck of the woods, remember the Chinese proverbabout sudden moves.

A person should be prepared to anandon all he possesses at least once or twice during his life in order to preserve it.Many Jews perished in Europe who could have escaped Hitler if they had been willing to give up thier possessions sooner and haul axx.Of course leaving an establisthed clientele, not to mention all your friends and perhaps most of your family, if you are a lawyer, doctor , or even a good plumber is a tough decision.

8 Inertia explains more about society and individuals than most of us can ever realize.We are creatures of habit and take our cues from the behavior of the herd.

I used to tell this story to kids.

Once there was an upwardly moblie little bird that lived in a nice enough nest on a lower limb of a more than respectable tree, but he wasn't satisfied.

As simmer began to fade into autumn , bird talk turned to flying south, and soon his more adventerous friends were leaving.He moved up a limb.After a while most of his friends were gone and transient overnight visitors were telling him to "fly south , little bird."

But he just moved up to a nicer nest.

Soon only a few transients were passing thru and telling him to fly south but by then he had the penthouse nest and a superb view of the forest in full fall colors too.Food everywhere he looked, nice sunny days, cool nights, no obnoxious other older birds around telling him what to do.

But one morning a little later he woke up shivering in a cold rain and finally headed south.

He didn't get very far before his little wings began to ice up and he fluttered down in a cowpasture , thinking it was all up for him.

But a big old cow stepped right across him and let him have it kersplaat! with a big soupy cow pie.

He was so happy to be warm again , having resigned himself to freezing to death,that he burst out singing .

And a big old cat heard him and came and gobbled him up.

There are three morals to this story.

First, if EVERYBODY tells you the same thing, it's probably true.

Second, just because somebody craps on you occasionally, it does not mean they are your enemy and have it in for you.

Third , If you are in hot doodoo up to your nose , the best policy is to keep your mouth shut.

We might move for the same reasons our nieghbors do, a better job , or to be closer to THE girl or guy,or to enjoy a more sophisticated city, BUT NOT FOR peak oil-excepting a few TOD types.

"A person should be prepared to anandon all he possesses at least once or twice during his life in order to preserve it.Many Jews perished in Europe who could have escaped Hitler if they had been willing to give up thier possessions sooner and haul axx.Of course leaving an establisthed clientele, not to mention all your friends and perhaps most of your family, if you are a lawyer, doctor , or even a good plumber is a tough decision."

this has become my mantra to cope with living within 30 miles of a million people.

for now we have a great location; & for a slow decline[though thefts have increased a lot lately]. semi-rural, fairly rugged, big creek nearby, spring/well, walkable to medical etc.

to have an alternative we bought for 3 grand a small lot + large ' very rundown house in a small poor old 'big river' town/village= good farmland nearby, & i hope to get a few acres there too. that is our backup plan.

but mac & gail [up thread] are right. this- PO & overpopulation & climate change- is bigger than anything in our history books, or mental constructs.

when we were looking for a backup place we passed on the rugged, isolated retreats even though that was our initial plan, some due to costs, but security was always a concern; & even from nearby locals. i was also struck by some historical markers, even in the small towns, where civil war skirmishes/battles had been fought in areas not known as 'battlegrounds'. location is everything sometimes, & at this stage unpredictable where the good places will be , & a mile down the road might be just fine, etc.

so back to the 'might need to move/travel attitude. it took me months once i got convinced that a hard crash/stepdown could/would occur, & we would have to aggressively engage looters, to get past the 'painful feeling with the thought of moving- lots of homesteading type preperation here; but now i prep with more of a 'mobile/camping' profile, including the village property we 'camp' at for now. i call this way of thinking 'semi-nomadic' to reinforce this for me & with my wife/adult kids. i may not need that mentality but i'm pretty sure my kids & grandson will. i credit dmitry orlov with the framework.

edit to add;

with this way of thinking money is not the main obstacle to prepare.
the big concern for me is in developing roots & community. we are attempting to do both at 2 places for now; not easy. makes me feel i'm being 'cagey' but i fell a greater need to keep options open. there is a lot of community at the village; only a little around here.

"Many Jews perished in Europe who could have escaped Hitler if they had been willing to give up thier possessions sooner and haul axx.Of course leaving an establisthed clientele, not to mention all your friends and perhaps most of your family, if you are a lawyer, doctor , or even a good plumber is a tough decision."

I truly wish people wouldn't persist in promulgating this nonsense.

From the time Hitler became Chancelor - Jan 30, 1933 - to the time the Nuremburg Laws were promulgated - Sept 15, 1935 - was only a matter of 31 months. Please someone tell me how they imagine an entire ethnic community of millions of people, many tied to the land, not professionals, and not educated in any way, were going to all pick up their meager belongings and relocate ?

Many could not afford the price of a ticket on a boat or train, and couldn't scrape the money together in time, even if they had wanted to leave. Many had suffered from so much discrimination over the centuries they probably thought this was just one more, and it would blow over if people just kept their heads down.

Many never had access to a passport, or even any other place to go. Many were turned in by their so-called neighbors, who just wanted to steal their farms. And where were the countries willing to open their borders to a horde of poor refugees?

Sorry, but this boils my blood, since a large part of my family - poor, small-town people, without two pennies to rub together, were lost.

My mother-in-law told me that a lot of Jews ignored the warnings to get out while they still could. She thinks thats why she was an orphan. People still ignore warnings.

Yeah right - and one might also be blaming the Haitans that didn't leave in advance of the earthquake, or the people in the 9th Ward that didn't leave in advance of Katrina.

Get a copy of the book "There Once was a World" by Yaffa Eliach, and look at the pictures of farm children in front of a wooden shack hugging their prized possession - a cow.

The family that she grew up in got out in '36. They weren't particularly wealthy but did have distant relatives in the States. I understand what you're saying though.

My point is that for various reasons many people ignore warning signs. Whether it's PO, hurricanes, looming war, economic and political change or growing hate, many err on the side of hope, or dispair and helplessness until it's too late to bug out or hunker down. Many realtors in our area were type A positive about the market until it crashed down around them.

Many simply have no choice.

I can't help being horrified by reading similar expressions of the unwilling, whether intended or unintended, towards any influx of refugees, right here in this forum :-

For example:-

1. I've found my perfect Peak Oil spot and I hope no-one else comes here
2. We have to stop immigration to control population
3. Them dumb city folks will come here and try and move in to my place

For those who wish to blame others for "getting themselves into their current predicament", I say look yourself in the mirror first.

For those who wish to blame others for "getting themselves into their current predicament", I say look yourself in the mirror first.

Whoa Now!

Noboby has been more outspoken and active in my circles about these issues. We even "put our money where our mouth is" and I have helped many others come to the realization that deep changes are needed. Many others here on TOD have been working hard for years to put the word out as well, and doing the hard, often thankless work of trying to implement positive change. I have done more to reduce my carbon impact than most of you here, have been warning folks about our financial systems, GW, dependence on fossil fuels, our totally disfunctional political system and American's resistance to meaningful change. I have also been very outspoken for a humane and workable immigration policy, and have lost "friends" as a result. So excuse the hell out of me if I also have a selfish side. If the Titanic was about to go down, would you be one of the ones on deck yelling "KEEP BAILING FOLKS! WE CAN STILL SAVE THE SHIP!"? Or would you keep one eye on the nearest life boat? Think fast. They're filling up fast!

Many of us aren't the survivalist far right fringe you seem to think we are. We see ourselves as realists that know that if we don't mitigate our own circumstances we won't be much help when TSHTF. The ship is listing, but you just go ahead and keep bailing. Fine with me.

Perhaps you need to go staighten these people out. Convention starts today:

The difficulty I have with the "Titanic" metaphor is the notion that some people are going to make it into a handful of lifeboats, while the rest go down with the ship.

Sorry, I don't buy that concept at all, although it may be comforting, in a personal sense, to help people focus on personal preparation. Essentially, where I think we find ourselves, is that the whole planet is sinking. There are no lifeboats. If we don't all find a way pull on the oars of the "ship" together, the whole thing goes down.

And I don't see it as a "left vs right" issue at all, although it is amazing to me how quickly it turns into that. I'm not talking "bailout" or any other buzzword like that.

My personal view is that we have all benefitted, to a greater or lesser extent, from the globalised economy, whether we like to admit it or not. We're all computerised, after all.

Now that the bill for pigging out at the table of industrial civilization is coming due, it appears many are trying to back towards the exits, and make their escape. There's really no place to escape to, when all's considered, although some places might certainly face a more difficult transition than others.

I had an exchange with someone (a city guy) on another list who said he was going to pack a bag and head for the mountains until "it" (whatever his vision of "it" was) was all over. And then he'd come back "after 'it' had all settled down".

My question to him was "Who would want you back?"

Spring tides,

I agree that this is not a left or righ question, and for purpopses of discussion will agree that a hard general world wide collapse is on its way.

I respect your pov, and apoligized even though I did not feel an apology was DUE concerning Jewish people and escaping the Holocaust.(JUst down thread, no reply as yet from anybody.Best practice, always apologize when you are wrong , and ESPECIALLY when you are right.)

I disagree with those , and vehemently,who think that we are ALL OF US headed for extinction or a stone age existence.Such a thing is certainly possible, but it's actually happening presupposes the whole world being , for lack of a better short descriptive term ,on the same schedule.

We are most emphatically NOT going to run out of food, oil, water, or anthing else, including weapons,medical care, electricity, etc, SILMANTANEOUSLY.

I have read many many books dealing with this subject in general , and I have clicked nearly every link found here , and read it too, for the last six months or so.I am in contact with professional biologists, and have enough hours , but not correctly distributed, to hold at three diverse degrees, one in agriculture.

We can and very well may muck things up in a grand way ,and have made a very good start in that respect already. We probably will suffer a major population collapse shortly.

We are not going to destroy the entire world wide ecosystem in such a way that some portion of it will not recover somewhere in a fashion adequate to support people before there are no people left.Barring flatout nuclear war, there will be people in most places people are found now
a century from now.

We are not going extinct, but we are going to fight tooth and claw.There are no gaurantees, but many places promise to be much safer than the average, and those of us who make serious plans and execute them have an excellent chance to see grand children growing up.

We WILL do the Darwinian thing when the chips are down.That means looking after things in this order:immediate family, extended family/immediate community, larger community, nation state to humanity.

If you fail to recognize the truth of this general scenario, you may be signing your own death warrant.The death warrant of your children perhaps.

I'm sorry about the harsh tone of these words , but this is a harsh subject and I don't buy (much of ) my meat neatly wrapped-I live in the nitty gritty physical world and butcher my own.Do my own dirty work so to speak.

I am still hopeful that civil society and civil authority will survive at least here in the states, but I expect things to be very hard here and desperate to catastrophic in much of the world.

If things get REALLY BAD and those who have failed to prepare show up at my gate,I will feel compelled turn them away-there is no possible way I will be able to ensure the survival of more than a few close kin and perhaps a couple of life long friends.If there are only a very few small children in our group when tshtf, we may be able to take a couple of little kids in.

A farmer who does not have enough feed to get his cows thru the winter does not feed them all until mid January just so he can watch them ALL starve before the gras returns in April.He butchers or sells as necessary.

Cruelty and lack of compassion has nothing to do with this reality , except sleeping afterwards.

oldfarmermac, if you only go one century out, you are probably right. But extinction for humanity in the not too distant future is definitely a possibility and one for which the odds are surely increasing.

The Earth has gone through several mass extinctions in the past. We are heading for uncharted territory in the global changes we are causing. It's not just warming, the oceans are acidifying, permafrost is melting and outgassing, the great ocean conveyor current is slowing due to salinity changes, methane hydrates are thawing and outgassing off the Russian coast.

These feedback mechanisms are powerful and difficult to fully predict.

The biosphere of earth is largely the way that it is due to a balance of life. Bacteria and algae in the oceans produce much of the oxygen we need for our cars and factories and also to occaisionally breath. If we continue to change the chemistry of the ocean toward favoring hydrogen sulfide emitting bacteria our atmosphere could become toxic. There's plenty of other doomsday scenarios that have been considered in trying to explain past mass extinctions.

My guess is nuclear war is currently a much greater threat, but It's surely not the sole possibility of how me might do ourselves in.

If there is lesser water, within a few weeks there will be great deaths. Sure, possibly a tooth-and-claw fight - but not something that will last for more than a couple of months. Majority of individuals today live in cities with a growing trend of migration to cities.

People in the cities will soon leave and the "leaving", like when the Native Indians were removed.

The nature of raw-material scarcity is that it is homeostatic - populations can quickly reduce.

We are clearly walking into unchartered territories. I'm of the belief that an individual's preparation will only help so much for certain scenarios. Collective, concerted effort - like that of the hunting wild dog packs, can see us through. I'd argue that "Our rise to power as a species was through communication, language". I believe we'll naturally make use of it to either make a phenomenal transition or go through a .

It all depends on whether the reptilian brain gets convinced by the neo-cortex :)

Hi Speedy,

The possibility of extinction is there, and it is significant, nobody who understands these things can deny that.

But the probability of ENOUGH people with ENOUGH industry surviving LONG ENOUGH to flip the ocean chemistry to H2S based is very very small.The various forces known as the Four Horsemen in literature will see to that.The ocean might not be the one we know, but the odds seem to indicate that we aren't going to perturb it to that extent-we won't be around long enough in sufficient numbers with sufficient industry.

When I say that we are not going extinct I AM NOT predicting that we will be living in large numbers in industrial societies.Dieoff on a grand scale seems to be in the cards without a doubt.

Humans are probably the most adaptable species ever-we don't actually require very much in the way of resources to survive, if not competeing for those resources with other humans.

If I were young and tough again, I expect I could easily survive in a Canada as warm as Virginia, even if the only animals around in any numbers were to be rabbits,by gathering a few plants rich in vitamins and minerals.I don't have ALL the necessary skills to live like a native , but with a few durable and tools such as an axe and a knife and a little luck I would make it.(I do have many more survival skills than most people)

In my opinion it is the utmost expression of unthinking hubris for doomers to think that we are SO CAPABLE, SO ADAPTABLE, that we will be the LAST of the larger animals to perish, or that we can take down the greater mass of the plant community.That we can knock out keystone species, and that a new and perhaps CHAOTIC ecosystem would then evolve, and very very quickly, is not in question.

But there is no reason to think that some of us would not survive the transition-we can eat damn near anything alive,if we cook it right,except wood. ;)

I suggest that those who think in such terms contemplate the lowly RAT, which is incidentally perfectly edible, or crab grass, or poison ivy, or johnson grass or the house fly-allthough I must admit I can't see much hope of dining on flies in significant quantities.Not that I would , either, unless truly starving.;)

I understand where you're coming from. My stance is harder perhaps and maybe if you read some of this you'll have a better understanding:

Heinberg's latest:

It's easy to see the advantage of collapse preparedness for the citizenry—with better preparation, more will survive.

Greer's latest:

Racist revisionism is seems to be rampant amongst conservatives.
Jews were kept out of the US, Palestine, etc.

Voyage of the St. Louis

Hi Spring,

I'm sorry that I have touched upon a sensivite and painful experience on your part.

My second wife was a Jewish artist from New York who lost substantial part of her own extended family to the Nazis.

(I haven't always been an old fat deaf conservative curmedgeon. Once upon a time I was a young, fairly good looking,card carrying member of the ACLU with long hair and a corn cob pipe in my pocket loaded with green vegetable matter.Todays conservatives are yesterdays liberals in many more cases than most people suspect.)

Of course it would have been impossible for the vast majority of the Jewish people to have escaped the Nazis, there was no possible way out, no place to go that would accept them in large numbers.

Real conservatives STUDY and learn from history.Preening liberals interested in mucking around in the mud and building themselves up by putting others down,rather than actually examining an issue in depth,well , that's another story altogether. ;)

But a very small PORTION of them did see the handwriting on the wall and made the tough decision in time to get out.That was still a fairly large number of people in absolute terms.Many more could have gotten out imo if they had taken the warning signs more seriously,SOON ENOUGH.

(If TOD has any value to us as individuals at the prsonal level, much of that value must reside in helping us see the writing on the wall SOON ENOUGH to make the tough decisions while there is still time .)

I have read many books about the WWII era in an attempt to understand how and why things can go wrong so fast.

If anyone is interested in REALLY understanding what happened in Europe from WWI up until beginning of the cold war era, I strongly reccomend that they start with the works of William L Shirer.

If there is time to read only ONE book for those who have a life doing other things, there is nothing else that comes close to The Rise and Fall of the Third Riech.

The first half of the book is devoted almost entirely to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and goes into considerable depth in exploring the politics and diplomacy of the twenties and thirties.

Shirer was actually THERE, right in the same place at the same time exactly , when many of the key events took place.

Warning:This is one THICK book and my copy is in fairly SMALL PRINT ON THIN PAPER.

Not one person in a hundred of the general public, excepting history buffs, will ever actually read such a book.

I never learned much about my wife's family in Europe as her branch came to America very early in the twentieth century and did not have a lot of contact with those who remained in Europe. They never talked about the Holocaust in my presence.My impression is thay they themselves knew very little except that nearly all thier cousins were exterminated.

One thing that did not bother my little artist was the fact that even in those days , having grown up in a Scots/Irish family in the southern mountians I believed in guns and owned several at the time.

There will be Nazis of a new stripe in the world again someday, and she understood that.She also understood that if they ever came to our house they might get us but some of them would be leaving leaving only because thier scumbag buddies carried away thier dead bodies.

Paint me a radical of the worst redneck stripe-or ALTERNATIVELY, an anarchist and a libertarian,depending on the points YOU my dear reader wish to score , but the price we pay in gun violence is , despite the undeniable tragedy, a PAYABLE one, in relation to the COLLECTIVE risk of not being armed.

My first wife was a BARBIE DOLL physically who loved to ride her horse on these formerly very lonesome mountian roads dressed in shorts and a halter on warm moonlit summer nights.I never worried about anybody bothering her. Rapists in isolated communities where husbands and daddies are known to shoot first and ANSWER questions later-if answers cannot be avoided-are very thin on the ground.

Nobody within my circle of acquaintances can remember the last one.Seriously.

When we lived in the city I worried about her constantly.

Given modern technology our only possible defense against Big Brother taking over, if circumstances should favor that scenario and BB was well on his way to consolidating his power, would be to take to the streets and do away with his low level minions.

Or catch the SXB in the telescopic sights of a good deer rifle maybe.

I read the story of a rich Jewish merchant who sold his business to a Jewish associate for a song, took his gold to his Jewish banker and converted it to platinum, then took the platinum to his Jewish goldsmith along with his Mercedes tool-box. The next month he was given back his tool box with platinum tools. Soon after he drove to Switzerland with his reluctant wife, daughter and grandmother. At the border, the German guards stripped the women, and pulled the jewels from their dresses, slashed the seats and pulled out wads of cash, and stripped everything from the car that might have value. To get rid of the derelict car, they let the man with his hysterical women drive across the border.

The next week the border was closed to autos. The next month it was closed to Jews. All the other Jews in this story profited, but only the family survived.

I've lost the source, probably a fable, but worth considering.

Cold Camel

There would be no safe place if the economy collapsed completely. There may be a safer place but there would be no safe place. If you have a job that you can tolerate you should stay put. The collapse could be a slow collapse over years. You may find you’re in a worst situation. If you live in a high crime area move. If you hate where you live move. If you hate your neighbors move. If the your drinking water smells like swamp water move. Don’t move because of PO. No one knows how PO will develop for certain. I live in a rural area on five acres of woodland. I love it. When my daughter comes to visit it drives her crazy. Boring. I’m old and like to be bored.

We had a sail boat but my husband refused to go where he couldn't see land. We sold the boat. We bought 120 acres in the country; we're less than 2 hours from Austin, Texas, Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi. So while we are out in the boondocks, I feel connected with, and have friends/family in each of these locations.

I've always wanted to be self-sufficient and since 9/11 (we bought this place in 2000), I've considered it my "doomstead." We can feed ourselves completely if necessary, we've had the decade to get to know our neighbors and establish some trust and even some mutual respect. We've been good stewards and good stock people. Our neighbors have many more superior skills than we have in certain areas (hunting, fishing, small animal butchering) but I'm the only beekeeper around and they like honey.

As has been said, country life is hard. But I look at it as my health/work out program and love the slower-paced life. As long as I have internet, I feel connected to urbanity. We've put in a 7 kW PV system, have a windmill, a pond -- enough water to drink and keep a garden anyway.

I would never want to live in a big city, surrounded by thousands or hundreds of thousands of strangers again. I also wouldn't want to be a "newcomer" anywhere after a collapse!

Lauren has a good point. It takes time and established relationships when tough times "come acallin". Since my folks died several years ago I haven't gotten to the point where I want to deal with cattle again. However, I have good pasture that farming neighbors have utilized for hay cutting and now one of these guys wants to use my pasture for cows in trade for a calf or two. If one has farm land that he/she doesn't want to farm themselves it still will have a great deal of value after peak oil. If you can establish relationships with other farmers in the area, there can be cooperation there. Grow a garden for yourself and let someone else farm the rest for a cut, maybe a beef or two. When TSHTF, good winter pasture will be worth alot. Lauren's beekeeping skills give her an "in" that is grounds for future cooperation.

When PO comes cities will become uninhabitable. The only solution is to resettle urban people in rural areas in an egalitarian society.

The founders of the kibbutz were morally appalled by what they saw in the Jewish settlers there "with their Jewish overseers, Arab peasant laborers, and Bedouin guards." They saw the new villages and were reminded of the places they had left in Eastern Europe. Instead of the beginning of a pure Jewish commonwealth, they felt that what they saw recreated the Jewish socioeconomic structure of the Pale of Settlement, where Jews functioned in clean jobs, while other groups did the dirty work.[2]

Yossef Baratz, who went on to found the first kibbutz, wrote of his time working at Zikhron Yaakov:

We were happy enough working on the land, but we knew more and more certainly that the ways of the old settlements were not for us. This was not the way we hoped to settle the country—this old way with Jews on top and Arabs working for them; anyway, we thought that there shouldn't be employers and employed at all. There must be a better way.[3]
Though Baratz and other laborers wanted to farm the land themselves, becoming independent farmers was not a realistic option in 1909. As Arthur Ruppin, a proponent of Jewish agricultural colonization of the Trans-Jordan would later say, "The question was not whether group settlement was preferable to individual settlement; it was rather one of either group settlement or no settlement at all."[4]

The kibbutz is the best known of Israel's three types of co-operative farming settlements <7>. Its members live in a single community and share the work. The word kibbutz is the Hebrew name for such a community.

Kibbutzim <1> were mainly agricultural co-operative communities. Property such as land, buildings and equipment, factories and tools, is owned by the kibbutz, is owned jointly (collectively) by the community.

There is no private wealth and members transfer all their assets (but not personal belongings) to the community when joining. The kibbutz looks after all the needs of its members and their families and usually provides communal dining, laundry and other services and facilities for its members.

Families do have private accommodation and some personal property, and what is provided depends to a considerable extent on how rich the kibbutz is, on what they can afford.

'From each according to their ability, to each according to their need' is practiced. The kibbutz looks after its members from cradle to grave and this includes education and social security. Children are largely brought up by the community.

It was only through this kind of co-operative living that a deprived people could settle successfully in a hostile environment. Aided by the community at large, the settlements successfully struggled to establish themselves and prospered.

But there are few kibbutz members who do not know that the pioneering spirit, the drive and motivation to succeed, diminished and evaporated with success. Kibbutz members are aware of the need for rejuvenating the movement, its settlements, its ideological motivation and its drive.

Children were brought up communally in age groups, away from their parents. One age group would progress from creche to nursery to school and so on, living together during the week and seeing their parents, and perhaps living with them, only at weekends.

This may have freed both parents for work and defence in the initial struggle for survival. But the practice was continued when successful, possibly to free women for work and so increase production. But it was done at the expense of the family.

Of any group in the country, the kibbutz children consequently showed the highest incidence of mental problems. The kibbutzim have had to backtrack and now give their children a more normal and strengthening family-life experience with their parents.

Kibbutzim now own and operate factories, hotels and restaurants, and much else. Degania, for example, has a factory with an annual turnover of about USD 15 million which provides roughly 75 per cent of its income. {KIB 02}

And kibbutzim are successful. Three per cent of Israel's population, about 125,000 people, live in 270 kibbutzim ranging in size from say 200 to 2,000 members. They produce something like 50 per cent of Israel's agricultural produce and about 9 per cent of its industrial goods.

I think climate change is a bigger issue then peak oil when considering relocation. Certainly coastal cities are not the place to locate. A place with a good water supply, close to a reliable food supply, and generally not prone to severe weather is a place for relocation. Ironically, much of our refining capacity is near the gulf coast where it is prone to hurricanes and rising sea levels.

A place with a good water supply, close to a reliable food supply, and generally not prone to severe weather is a place for relocation.

You think the conditions won't change with climate change ?

A place with a good water supply, ...

My thoughts too.

I don't think too many here consider moving to Las Vegas or Phoenix a smart move if PO and severe Climate Change are going to soon kick into high gear.

Then again, too much water (i.e. constant rain, floods) is not a good thing either.

'''''''''''''''''I think peak oil already is looking like recession, and as we go forward, will look more and more like recession, job layoffs, governments running short of money, and all kinds of financial problems. High price of oil may or may not go with it. If people (and government agencies) don't have money to spend, they can't bid the price of oil up.''''''''''''''''

All the futures being painted on this thread are negative.

Peak oil would be a non starter in a creative science based society. Technology is controlled by special interest groups and not science groups.
I guess I find it odd that this many well intentioned people can not see other creative methods for changing society.
Neoclassical economic theory is not going to be the future, if there is a future.

As long as groups of people are uncreative in approach like the Kunstlerites and Libertarians and Progressive liberals... we are doomed. There are other approaches that chuck the current method of people control using debt tokens..., The Mystery of Money.

Why not protect ALL the people of a given resource area and not rely on the 'every thing for me and nothing for you', current way of looking at the world in the Price System 'Rules of the Game.'?

There are other approaches that chuck the current method of people control using debt tokens...,

Behold the brave new world, John, where at the touch of a button you can access a thousand channels. The problem is, 99% of the people are tuned to a different one. But if you can get their attention and convince them there's a better way to do things, and that they have to do it now, you go for it.

Thanks Ghung.
I think we will go into a default new system based ultimately on energy economics for the sake of survival. But it does not hurt to get other people aware and interested in the idea.
A lot of the other choices being discussed here are bleak otherwise, with very little to endorse.

Technology destroys the price system by eliminating purchasing power. Consuming is then no longer possible unless you pay people not to work, and that seems too antithetical to the 'Rules of the Game' in a Price System. It does not appear that the Price System is reformable.
Energy conversion and engineering (robotics), have eliminated most toil and the basis of scarcity economics (Adam Smith 1776) is over... unless we really do want to end up in a collapsed fascist socialist state, that will be tagged a 'democracy'. The present system is only good for a kind of retarded social control.

The original Fema system suspended rents, mortgages and utilities for the entire United States under a national emergency with the Fema director in charge. The plug was pulled on the political system at that point. It was generally known in the 1930's that our type of system eventually dead ends itself. Fema was designed as a bridge originally to another society. Many in the war colleges and intelligence are aware of this. No conspiracy... just the facts.

Homeland Defense got rid of the old Fema system and put the new Fema under itself (homeland defense) with the Whitehouse and Congress in charge, instead of technical or science people,... in other words the bad guys that are puppets of special interest groups (all politicians), will now be in charge at least initially, in a societal breakdown, if or when, it goes that way.
The military may take it from there to restore some kind of order... perhaps a technate based on energy economics then. It may be the next most logical social system because it is viable. That is something the current system can not claim. Sustainability in a Price System? Never.

The original Fema was started under F.D.R. and was composed and initiated by technocrats.
F.D.R had 18 technocrats in his administration... without them we would not have social security and other basic things now that mitigate our present system.
History and Purpose of Technocracy by Howard Scott, here.

[All would be wonderful] in a creative science based society. [However] Technology is controlled by special interest groups and not science groups.

Nice dream.

However scientists are people. Just like everybody else.

We are all evolved from the clan of the irrational cave monkey. ;-)

Peak oil is for the next 20 years a transportation and economic issue. It does not imply any shortages of food or electricity. In fact, the deteriorating economy is freeing up electricity, as is the trend to more efficiency in its use. Oil consumption in developing countries is also declining, which will somewhat offset consumption growth elsewhere. The price of oil in greatly depreciated currencies will be damaging.

The deteriorating economy is a bigger issue than peak oil. There is no good solution to globalization. The government is insolvent and discontent and division is growing over increased spending and shrinking tax revenues. I fear a breakdown of the current form of government and a shift to totalitarianism. Gasoline will be rationed and there will be crefews and perhaps martial law at times. That will come if we have civil disturbances. Civil unrest is the most valid case for relocation. Increased crime will also be an issue, but being in an area with less dense population does not guarantee safety, although there are many cities I would avoid.

There are only two possible solutions to the government revenue shortfall: higher taxes or hyperinflation. Of course, it would crush the economy to raise taxes in a depression.

If you have a job it would not make sense to move to another area without one, unless you are in health care or other profession in high demand. However, there are a few areas that have relatively low unemployment, although that does not mean whatever particular skills you have are in demand there.

The house and land price decline is not over, based on income to price having only corrected halfway to trend (in the bubble areas like CA, NV and including entire countries like Australia) and on the experience of Japan. Therefore, it may still be worthwhile to move from a high cost area and rent until the bottom is in.

Wow, there are others really thinking about this stuff.

Sometimes it is lonely when you believe that you see the sign posts and they don't look so great.

We fluked out. We used to live in a small city of 35,ooo and I just got sick of years ago. I moved to the place when it was a small town, and it seemed to just get bigger! Anyway, we looked for a few years and finally stumbled on to a place that said, "yes, do it". Then we discovered peak oil. Paul the Engineer sums up what Paulo Paul believes, and that is to not move for the sake of the stampede. The deteriorating economy is certainly linked to energy, but mostly a population of almost 7 billion people in a world too small really determines the inevitable. We cannot continue with compounded 3.4% growth, (it always seems like the good years are 3.4%), forever. There is no safe islands.

Anyway, to echo others, have skills..or get some. Forget about the white shirted tie world. In the country it is about what you can do and who you are, not what society defines you as. The last link in my chain is getting some solid first aid training. It is something I wish I knew more about, more than anything. Make and enjoy friends. Live in the moment. It doesn't last, that I do know.

My long departed Father used to say this one truism that I have never forgotten and always live by. It applies to all scenarios. "If the world is better off for you having lived, then you have done something, something okay". Well TOD compadres, it has your name on it. Share the knowledge and help others. If anything, I feel stronger for having connected to TOD. Before, we were on our own and it was lonely....scary.

The one thing about TOD that I respect and appreciate is that it is usually a positive place in a negative world. I appreciate the energy information. I have enjoyed discovering the personalities behind the postings....the rants, the mistakes. It is kind of like a family.

ps...I am building a windmill. There, the energy theme prevails.

yes, it does pay to move. You will know when.


unless you are in health care or other profession in high demand

This is a giant myth.

Health care is not immune to ups and downs of surrounding economy.

Where exactly do you think the money comes from to pay doctors, nurses and other health care providers?

Surprise, surprise. It comes from the general populace.

I'm not in healthcare, but they do have excellent pricing ability. How much will you pay to stop the bleeding? $10 after one minute, $500 after ten, All you have as things start to go gray?

You nailed it Home.I have enrolled in nursing school for the fall semester at a local college-can't get in med school , don't have all the prereqs, too old, too broke.

I'm still hoping that ts won't hit so hard that we won't have a real doctor locally for the next decade or two, but I am not very busy and can afford the two year RN program.It looks like the best thing I can do to be a more useful member of the local community it ts hits really hard while I'm still able to get around.

Besides that, it's very pleasant being around all those young women.Wish I could remember what it is that is so interesting about them! ;)

Most of them are rather nice to me out of deference to my gray hair and resemblence to thier grandfathers.Taking a couple of refresher courses now.

I don't doubt that if the time comes that there is nobody around to prosecute me for practicing medicine without a liscense there will be work to be done that will earm me a load of firewood, a bushel of potatos, and a lot of friends.

Of course I will not be nearly as useful as a real doctor, but with a good library, etc, I will be far from useless.And even a nurse can often do about as much for someone sick as a doctor without access to a hospital and a drug store-giving advice as to a proper diabetic diet for instance, or how to isolate someone with a highly contagious disease,or cleaning and bandaging a nasty axe wound.

Gotta stay busy or you die!

There is no good solution to globalization.

If by that you mean the transnational corporations will scream, and governments who have been able to exploit an absolute advantage in labor and environmental costs will scream, true. If you mean that solutions will violate various WTO rules (that largely benefit the transnationals), true. But partial solutions are straightforward: tariffs to offset environmental costs, trade restricted to goods and services, much more limited international capital flows. In short, Ricardian trade rather than Krugmanian. Heck, even Krugman has written that since the assumption that trade gains would be equitably redistributed is clearly wrong, he should revisit his conclusions about the net gains of trade.

One can make at least an argument that we would be in much better shape today than we are if China had had to recycle their US dollars into purchases of goods and services (either directly or indirectly through trade with third-party countries), rather than buying up US equities and government bonds.

Because of peak oil, in 2006 I moved from a Los Angeles suburb to Seattle. I love the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I feel very fortunate to be here and to have a federal job. I'm also glad my children will not suffer because I don't have any. I've had a good life. Thank you.

Skip, I'm not so certain that having a federal job is a strong point post peak/post BAU. Likewise Gails point about having a pension or other regular source of money (super, annuities, dividends, rental property etc). I expect most of those sources of income to be very unreliable going forward. When the economy takes a few more steps (or plunges) down then .gov will have to retrench a large (majority?) proportion of their payroll (and close many offices and services). Pensions and rentier income streams will either decline (or lose value to hyperinflation or devaluation) or vanish(you get zero dividends from bankrupt entities).
Me, I'll stay where I am and collect my decent wage for the next few years, I paid off the last of my debts last year and will pay off my kids education debts this year. Being debt free is one less worry going foreward.
Gails points about the negatives of moving misses one, an outsider moving to a different country doesn't just face not being welcome but faces the very real risk of being attacked/killed after TSHTF (kill the gringos/infidels or steal their assets).

It would have been nice to have known about all this some years ago. I think part of what my exposure to peak oil/economic woes/AGW has done is to help me clarify what I really think a great lifestyle would be. If I had done this sort of thinking fifteen years ago - I'd be there now. I suspect one gets caught up in careers and stuff and keeps thinking there is plenty of time.

Re: move or not. Don't move because of PO/AGW/Economy unless it is a move you would make if those things weren't an issue.

If you are getting on in age and do not live within reasonable walking/biking distance to the things you'll need - you should consider moving. If things do get really bad - then you will not be able to count on your caqr or even mass transit.

If you live in an area that already is having some problems - be that water issues or rising energy costs or high crime - moving seems like a good idea since the stress of additonal unemployment etc will only make those problems get worse.

If moving would help you significantly eliminate debt - do it. One step which is sensible in this economy or under any circumstances is to eliminate debt. I know folks with homes that are worth still in the half million range - if they sold them they could pay the remaining mortgage and downsize with no mortgage. If that is possible I would say do it.

If you are in your fifties or older - stay close to family - you will need them even if BAU continues.

Stay healthy - which means I think stay in shape - best advice if things go bad or if all is well.

We may not see sea rises for twenty years - but consider - are you willing to move when you are 80? Or endure evacuations from coastal areas at that age? Think about how it will be where you now live when you get older. You may not have the chance to move once it becomes apparent that your place isn't suited for someone who is older.

The best place of all is a community that has already demonstrated the ability and willingness to organize and work together on community needs. Maybe it was just to resist bad zoning laws or create a community trust to preserve open space or build a playground. But if your place is characterized by that sort of community minded stuff - it bodes well for the future when such organization could be vital to survival. The reverse is also true - if your place is one where there is no evidence of past community mindedness or where people don't even know each other - that does not predict well for a difficult future. Obviouslt - transition towns look really good to me.

Stop putting things off - if you are staying put - make sure you have a wood stove or start learning how to manage a small garden or pay off those credit cards.

Most of all - do not lose your shelter. Becoming homeless is the worst predictor of bad outcomes for people. Consider what might put you at risk of being disposessed and take steps to minimize those risks.

I'm working on moving the wife and kids closer to her family & increasing our income to save for hard times & renting for a while instead of buying a house - hopefully I can knock out three birds with one stone. If we decide to buy a house later, we'll put down mostly cash and have a short, small mortgage to pay off. After a few years of this, we can see what our next egg will buy. I'm betting that housing prices will continue to fall for some time as well. I don't see how loan rates can stay this low and a rise to 6-7-8% should really kick the wind out of house values. And since 99% of the US towns and cities refuse to establish a hard 'urban boundary' that would end the expansion of sprawl, I don't see how home prices can stay high. Maybe, once normalcy is achieved again, the denser areas of towns will hold their value and those of us that saved our cash can pick up assets at a fair price.

I just finished reading "No Impact Man" and "Green Metropolis". Both really opened my eyes to the magnitude of efficiencies that can be achieved with dense urban living. I will admit to being a city slicker, so if we can find a decent bikable neighborhood with a small house and small yard for veggies, I think that's where we'll be long-term.

I would like to join a Transition movement, but just may have to start one myself.

If someone really wants to move because of peak oil - then the right place is some place where you don't need oil to live. I was watching a program on a remote Tibetan village the other day - probably an ideal place.

Greer thinks in US living in isolated places is the worst - easy for a band of thugs to run over.

I've been reading Greer for quite some time, and I agree with most of what he has to say. Being intimately involved with FEMA myself, it is very true, that an isolated farm or homestead will be taken very quickly. Even a small community of Farmers is almost helpless.

Yes, I know, "but I've got a bunch of guns and neighbors with a bunch of guns" YADDA YADDA YADDA......

I myself have the training to take whatever I need, from almost anyone, at anytime, and it's unfortunate that so many, even here, think they can survive independently. A very small group of highly trained men, can do very serious damage. If it comes to, you die and I eat, guess what rules the day?

What counts first of all, over water, food and everything else, is Security of the group. There is no substitute for that.

So if the choice is between starving in the city or fighting it out in the countryside, I suppose I'll choose the latter. I know this: security is meaningless if the basics for life don't exist where you are. And who's to say that people in larger communities will be more civil when TSHTF? It seems like a wash to me.

Why would anyone want to mess with other people with guns when there would be many easier targets that would be unarmed?

Hello Gail, first of all I love your work and always read all of your articles with great interest. I am now of the belief that oil is unlikely to reach hundreds of dollars a barrel as some commentators predict but we are likely to see a long never ending slowly worsening recession. It took $147/barrel to break the economy so I think from now on every time it starts creeping back up to,say, $100/barrel it will put further downward pressure on the economy and keeping us in permanent recession.
I have 3 adult sons and have done everything I can to educate them about Peak Oil. The basics that I always emphasize with them is that:
1) We stay close together living not too far apart
2) We live in a small town with good community ties
3) We live on the coast so at least part of our food can be taken from the sea
4) We all have good camping skills
5) I have always taught my boys to NEVER rely on the government for anything eg Social Security etc
It is very important to break those feelings of entitlement that many people have nowadays
6) We are currently building a DEBT free shelter with solar panels

We don't know how things will unfold but at least I feel we are doing something to help ourselves. The more I read articles from you and others the better I can get a feel for what needs to be done for our particular situation.

I have always taught my boys to NEVER rely on the government for anything eg Social Security etc.

Great point, PeakO

The inevitable point where the PTB admit to Americans that the social safety net programs (Social Security, Medicare) that they have been forced to pay into are insolvent and will no longer be available will be a critical time. This may be the catalyst of "change". The anger and rage that result may well be the big straw that breaks the camel's back. Look for big but incremental reductions as a sign.

Kotlikoff warned of this in "The Coming Generational Storm" and the Peterson Group has been active in bringing this issue to the fore. These unfunded liabilities are truly massive and unsustainable, so any plan should not factor these into it's accounting.

I have always taught my boys to NEVER rely on the government for anything eg Social Security etc

You know, my father taught me the same thing when I was younger. Now that I'm older and retired, I can live off my accumulated savings and use my monthly government pension cheque to travel to foreign countries, maintain my sailboat, helicopter into remote lodges to ski, and eat gourmet food. It's probably not what the government intended, but I enjoy it. If the government cut off my pension, I'd have to cut back on luxuries. Other people would starve.

It is very important to break those feelings of entitlement that many people have nowadays

You know, it's tough to explain to the younger generation that they're not hard done by. One of my nephews (his father was VP of an oil company) complained that he couldn't afford to repair his Honda Civic. I told him, "Well, you can always take the bus." He looked down his nose at me and said, "Buses are for the OTHER half". I told him, "You're unclear on the situation: Buses are for YOUR half." He was completely crushed by the realization.

His sister visited a school friend who lived in a semi-detached house in a lower middle-class neighborhood, came back, and said, "I don't know know how poor people can live like that!" Her mother had to take her aside and tell her, "Honey, that's not poor. Your father grew up in a garage because his parents couldn't afford a house." Actually, we weren't poor, we just didn't have much money. There's a critical distinction.

Kids nowadays don't understand that you have to work and scrimp and save for what you get. They think we ended up with our money by magic or something. You have to work hard, and you have to work smart, and you have to save a lot of what you earn to pay for what you want.

Family, connections, community. For me, everything else is secondary ... especially when times get tough.

There's a reason why through most of history, people stayed close to home: survival value.

Have you ever looked at the geographical patterns in your family history? It's striking how families clustered together for generations. Clumps of my family have been in Virginia, NH/Mass, Ky/Ohio, Michigan, California. One person moved and another branch of the family seemed to grow up around him or her.

Then for about 50 years (1960-2010), we could forget the basic patterns of human society and move far away from home, living alone or in nuclear families. Tain't natural!

Personally, I was on the move for about 4 years during college, when I changed locations about every 3 or 6 months. Although I learned a lot, it was very stressful and ever since I've stayed in the same region (San Francisco Bay Area). Like any place, it has its pluses and minuses, but because my family is here, this is where I'll take my stand.


There is a reason I put family connections first, on both lists. I expect that will be the reason for most moves.

I'm at least as concerned about climate change as peak oil and would factor that into any decision making. Will your ideal location survive heat stress, water stress and extreme weather conditions? Also thought long and hard about self sufficiency and decided that this would not be sensible, but that living in a resilent community would be the best option for access to local services and support. Anyhow, I'm too long in the tooth and back muscles torn too many times to think I could handle a farm.

Re climate change it seems that the UK will not be one of the worst countries affected, but that we, and the EU in general, can expect substantial inward migration from areas suffering from sea level rise, floods and drought. Now that will be interesting and adds the slant to the original question, will you be welcome if you move?

For better or worse I'll take my chances where I am. We are gradually reducing our energy footprint and improving our resilience against energy and food price shocks, including lots of insulation, rainwater collection, grid tied solar pv, woodburner, converting garden to fruit and veg,soil improving and skilling up on some key areas. But I dont kid myself that we would survive a major collapse of society, Britain is too small to escape from the mobs so it makes more sense to plan for a survival of the whole society.

Still, the focus is on the local community and in particular our market town only 3 miles away. It has a transition group which i've joined, but we are a small group only and the general awareness of peak oil and climate change is poor, with many sceptics. I'm not convinced that we will have much impact but we'll try.

As for govt preparation its late as usual and may be partially derailed with this years election likely seeing a new party in power with pretty poor green credentials. It was instructive to see yesterdays OFGEM report on energy generation stress tested which reconcluded, in spades, its October report highlighting potential UK energy shortages 2015-2018 and probable real price rises of 20-60% by 2020

Interesting times.

1. To be closer to family. If times get tough, economically or otherwise, it is can be better to be near kin-folk.

My kin-folk live reasonably close by.

> 2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. If one actually plans to operate the farm by oneself, one would need the skills to use the land productively.

Got it in the family.

> 3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. This could be as simple as being near wooded areas. It could also be to be near hydroelectric, or some other form of energy (coal, oil, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.).

Plenty of hydro, nuclear power, biomass and also plenty of grid and wind power investmnets.

> 4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Los Vegas and Phoenix come to mind as examples.

The fresh water supply is almost unlimited.

> 5. To be in a better place for long-term jobs. Different people will have different ideas as to where these locations might be.

Seems good.

> 6. To be part of a Transition Town. Or perhaps some similar group, that is planning to deal creatively with peak oil issues.

I prefer to live in a well run municipiality where this studd is boring and nothing special.

> 7. To be where public transportation is available. If one feels that the major issue will be a lack of cheap fuel, this might be an option.

Good tran service and plenty of city busses that run on locally produced biogas. High speed rail to other large towns and cities and trams are being planned.

> 8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. This could be a city or a country.

This area is a net food exporter.

> 9. To leave an area where the weather is very severe. This might especially be the case if you believe heating is likely to be a problem in the future.

We got a real winter this year and the climate change prognosis is benign for this area.

I will stay here and also invite people to move to Sweden and Linköping.

It would be good for us if we could get more resourcefull people to move over
here, especially if they take a business with them since we have excess capacity
and resources in manny areas.

A good friend of mine, when asked how he will see the collapse of modern society, when peak oil becomes unavoidable and probably provoke a snow ball effect in the modern society, told me, from a psychological point of view, that he foresees, for the moment when everything goes to a deep collapse, that in a given triggered moment, chaos will be enormous, but only for a short period of time.

He expects, contrary to many beliefs of generalized violence, that probably billions will die in a fetal position in a corner of a room in their homes, without understanding a bit what has happened, unable to assimilate, unable to react, unable to look for alternatives, completely blocked, defenseless, given themselves up, mentally broken. Even the Mad Max author was unable to envisage a world without cars, in the same way many Western film directors were unable to imagine American Indians, in their first contacts with "whites", without horses, despite of being animals taken by the Spaniards to America for the first time. Even to fight for scarce goods, in such apocalyptic scenario, Mel Gibson was still using cars. This gives an idea on how deep our current way of living is embedded in some minds.

Given the degree of absolute denial and false hopes of a civilization, that has been accustomed for more than a century to eternal growth; that problems were cyclical and temporary, that their way of living was not negotiable and so much abandoned to the myth “they will invent something” or “they will take care when needed or appropriate”, I sometimes tend to agree with him. Only those aware of the roots of the problem will be able to rationalize what is happening and be able to minimally react.

will die in a fetal position in a corner of a room in their homes, without understanding a bit what has happened, unable to assimilate, unable to react, unable to look for alternatives, completely blocked, defenseless, given themselves up, mentally broken.

I have been in New Orleans immediately post-Katrina (and a decade before) and understand more than most other residents the mental health issues. I phrased it "Having your life put into a Cuisinart, set on high". (i.e. a food blender that chops and mixes).
Loss of pre-Katrina social networks had the greatest impact, more than living in a tent inside a gutted home with water & sewage being the only utilities. Or no health care, no place to shop, etc.

For American Suburbia, with minimal social networks, I can see some bad results (increased suicide mainly) and rampant depression. But very few "fetal responses" till death.

Blame and anger are more likely. But then a disaster response with communities coming together and making half baked adjustments (I would lead raid on a grain export elevator and work on solar ovens to bake bread, etc.)

Again, those that have chosen to isolate themselves in Suburbia, I do not know.

Best Hopes,


Dear Magnus,

I wish you well, I hope you can cope when the people in those dysfunctional immigrant ghettoes in Malmoe Stockholm and Gottenburg when there welfare check is stopped because Sweden is bankrupt and start to rape and pillage the local country side . They hate the indigenous Swedes almost as much as your Government does.

Will the UK be spared the wrath of angry immigrant groups when they are booted from their subsidized flats? I don't think so.

Dear Floridian,

the UK will certainly not be spared, I think 71% of a certain group of immigrants want Sharia Law. The elite might think it a good idea, you don't need a degree in rocket science to understand that that it will mean subjection and slavery. When an immovable object meets an irresistible force the results are going to be very bloody. Our Politicians are in denial at the moment Political correctness is nothing more than mugwumphism (having your mug on one side of he fence and your wump on the other. One day soon they are going to have to make a decision. Unfortunately Yorkshire is going to be one of the main battlefields. The disconnect between the politicians and the electorate is at an unbelievable level. I weep.

That's too bad, I'm of significant Irish heritage, I hope nothing happens to my distant cousins over in the ROI and Northern Ireland. Do you intend to vote for UKIP, Griffin, or some other party such as the Greens? Griffin at least has PO as a party plank. I've seen some troubling polling data in regards to what Muslims in the UK think about suicide bombings. I see this is in the news today,

Dear Floridian,

If I was living in England I would hold my nose and vote BNP, they are the only party that supports the indigenous Aboriginals, as for the bog trotters they have never taken too kindly too foreigners ruling them, I think it is in their DNA. I pity anyone trying to establish an Irish Caliphate. The Irish are the last of my worries.

Deep regards

You clearly have no idea about the cultural and political situation in Sweden. But I do hope the immigrants hate us as much as our governmnet does since there is no hatered. There are problems and they have to do with implementing too much socialism and our cultural elite not handling the islamists well. This has hurt our societies ability to create jobs and an understandable social environment (What is the right wording?) but I am sure this is fixable and even possible to hande during a post peak oil downslope with a shrinking economy.

Dear Magnus
how do you know I don't know anything about the cultural and political situation in Sweden? perhaps I might know more than you think. I lived in Denmark for 8 years and studied at a Danish University in Danish a language I speak fluently, I also worked in Sweden for a Danish firm doing different projects. I have no difficulty in making myself understood in any of the Scandinavian languages both written or spoken. Now why don't you go here, you can download all the crime statistics for Sweden in excel formate.

check the no of rapes they even have a section for under 15, that should work as a reality enema. I apologize if I come over somewhat brusk, it wasn't the meaning, but I study what goes on in Scandinavia very closely. I have a Danish daughter living in Copenhagen her late granddad was Swedish by the way. I sincerely hope that your economy is fixable unfortunately I don't think so Immigrants make up 4% of the Danish Population but consume 40% of the welfare payment, I expect that in Sweden it is even worse, until something is done about that I don't think you will have enough capital to force through any real change. you have also to replace all those school that keep getting burn down.

Deep Regards

We seem to have different axes to grind.

I want to talk about what is good in my society and how it can be made better but I also talk about problems, otherwise they cant be solved. I see this as a part of a constructive competition, I dare other regions, municipialities and states to do better then we do.

You axe seems to be talking down government and making people afraid.

When you talk about hate and perhaps even percieve it I see a failed socialistic experiment that we need to dismantle in an orderly way. We both need to find new jobs for the socialists and the immigrants who has a hard time integrating and we need to be clearer about the rules for living togeather.

I get the impression that you see conflicts as an opportunity while I want to solve problems before they turn violent and becomes very hard to solve. I like the society I live in and I am quite sure there are manny ways to make it better and none of them are revolutionary.

We completed our move in the fall, although we're still working to sell our house in the suburbs. Of Gail's reasons, these are the ones that apply to us:

1. To be closer to family. If times get tough, economically or otherwise, it is can be better to be near kin-folk.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. If one actually plans to operate the farm by oneself, one would need the skills to use the land productively.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. This could be as simple as being near wooded areas. It could also be to be near hydroelectric, or some other form of energy (coal, oil, geothermal, wind turbines, etc.).

The one advantage of moving I would add to Gail's list, at least as it applies to us, is that it gave us the chance to recalibrate our lives so we can be happy while making far less money and using far less energy of all kinds.

And of course, we had to overcome some of the reasons not to move:

1. Have friends, family, and a job where you are now. It would be impossible to move everyone, and find jobs for everyone, in a new location.

4. Not enough money. It costs money to relocate. Buying several acres for a farm, plus equipment, is likely to be prohibitively expensive for most.

5. Devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. The new community may only appear to be better than what you have. Trying to farm without the skills will be very difficult.

6. Can't sell your house. Or the price you would get for it would leave your penniless.

8. Inertia. It takes a lot of work to research a new area, uproot family, and get settled in a new area.

So far the small town where we now live has welcomed the Folks from the Big City with open arms and seemingly complete acceptance, although they do keep asking us why we left. It's fair to say the area where we've moved is even less peak oil aware than the one we left!

I have a flat in Budapest, Hungary. Unfortunately I already spent a lot of money buying it but still I have a lot of mortgage on it. Hopefully I will be able to pay it off this year if my company won't decrease the amount of daily allowance I'm getting for working abroad. Which is not very unlikely because the income of this company went down 85% compared to last year. Now they're just firing everyone in western Europe and moving all jobs to eastern Europe. I just don't know anymore if that flat will worth anything in the future in a city of two millions. I'm just thinking about if things get really bad then both my flat and my money will be worthless and the bank will go bankrupt so does it make any difference if I pay off the mortgage or not? My parents have two houses and arable land in a small village so I do have a backup plan.

I expect there will be a lot of defaults on mortgages around the world. The system is not set up to deal with what we are running into now. I expect the plan with your parents will work better.

Nate has postulated that there may come a time that debt will be forgiven due to a total default of financial systems, banks and currencies. Just make sure the banks default before you do. There are already signs that banks are realizing that they can't handle anymore forclosures.

I think you put your finger on all the main considerations.

Plus, one more consideration. How does one predict with enough certainty what the future will bring once all the complexities are considered? Is the Peak Oil future even predictable with enough certainty to justify the large commitment of time, money and research required to make any intelligently thought out move?

Probably most locations in the U.S have enough pluses and minuses that they largely cancel each other out.

More information is needed than is available at this time, I think.

One last thought. Although I am all in favor of self reliance and would never discourage anyone from starting up a small farm if they so desired, I think that there is an over emphasis on the whole idea of the small farm as a survival model here in the Peak Oil community. I believe we can be pretty sure that even a post peak oil economy is going to be a complex economy. Meaning that there will be opportunities for all kinds of trades and skills other than "farmer". "Non-industrial Economy" does not equal, "subsistence only, agrarian economy".

Just because there will remain a complex economy doesn't mean city dwellers will be better off. Even if we don't have cannibalistic zombie hordes, we're likely to see a lot of food inflation. We've got a looong way to go before food becomes the main expense in the household budget, but if it does, then having enough land to grow your own will be a huge advantage over those who have to make do with whatever paychecks they can maintain in the failing economy.

You see, common wisdom is to see the future as being just more of the present. The future is likely to be in many respects a reversal of the status quo. To be ahead of the curve, you have to consider doing things that don't currently make economic sense.

So while JD at peak oil debunked says the ROI of subsistence gardening is poor, he misses the point. It's an insurance policy.

I never implied that city dwellers would be better off. However, there does seem to be an assumption by many that they WILL be better off. (Like you, I lean more to the argument that the cities in many cases have become too populated to be viable given the ratio/deficit of surrounding arable land.) But isn't the large dependent population of urban areas a compelling reason to believe that government will do whatever it can to preserve, prop up, subsidize them for however long is possible? This is the core of my point. It is very difficult to make generalizations with any real confidence that the future will play out in any given way. There are just too many variables, too many existing power centers stand ready and able to tilt the game table as much as they can to gain advantage.

What I think we're in right now is the last moments before the guy stops letting you move chips around and rolls the damn roulette wheel, after which these endless debates about what to do will shift to monday morning quarterbacking.

This entire debate is predicated on the idea that we still have time to adapt. Once we're fully on the collapse express, our options will become much more limited.

To whatever extent the financial crash will dovetail with peak oil doom, we may not have any time left really. If you've lost your job (as I have) then for all intents and purposes we may be living in a post-peak world as far as standard of living goes.

What I'm trying to say is that procrastination is probably the worst thing to do. It takes courage to make a life or death decision like this, but not making a decision in time means you'll be a prisoner of fate.

If someone wants to bet on reurbanization, fine. If someone wants to bet on the rural doomstead, fine. Go that route and make the most of it. Time will tell whether your bet was a good one or not. But it's the guy stuck on the fence like me who is going to be screwed the most.

I had some though about relocation but probably stay where I am. I can't get the family behind it. To obscure a concept for my wife to get behind. We have water here and could grow some stuff but I'm probably not able to be here when and if it gets that bad.
We are getting squeezed financially everyday it seams. Both my wifes job and mine are paying less last year and looks like this year will be worse. I'll be lucky to hang onto my part time job. Pay goes down and benefits cost more at my wifes job. Her company is trying it's best to get production over to China.
Only debt we have is the mortgage,but
one thing I'm thinking about with having land is taxes. Our tiny suburban lot have taxes are about 1/2 as much as the mortgage now (town and school taxes) and every Town, City, State and USofA seams to be in deep debt. I bet someone will pay for that. Here we have property and sales taxes.
I'm sure the biggest employer in our small village is the school district! Years ago there was some industry but that's long gone.
The small town shop thing could come back here I suppose in time but what is here now is Kinny Drugs. Most retail space in the village is empty right now.

one thought re 'being close to energy sources.

these will be of such importance if they are significant sources that they will get national focus/power, etc. so consider carefully when say relocating for these.

a local hydrostation could be the center for a local greenzone with the pros & cons of such.

in the coal fields i expect trouble/regional fighting over such, & i bet oil would be the same.

I relocated to Western NC about 14 years ago, and am very happy here. I would much rather be here than any of the other places in which I have lived. Since you asked for our experiences, I'll try to address your pro and con points:

Some reasons one might want to move:
1. To be closer to family. Actually, when we moved here we were moving farther away from family. However, since then we've managed to relocate my parents here, and a lot of other members of our extended family have died off, so that is no longer much of an issue one way or another.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. I live in a small town and don't farm, but do garden. The Southern Appalachians are the most biodiverse area in North America, so a very wide range of crops can be grown here.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. We are surrounded by huge forests, so firewood supply is no problem. There is quite a bit of hydroelectric, and I bought a house with a south-facing roof and plan to put in solar water and space heating and PVs eventually. This region really needs to invest in wind power in a big way, but that means putting WTs on the ridge tops and so far people are against it.

4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. Plenty of water here.

5. To be in a better place for long-term jobs. That is a negative; the saying is that it is a great place to live and a tough place to make a living. We came here because my wife had a job in hand; it took me years of struggle with part-time things before I finally landed an adequate full-time job. If either of us lost our job anytime soon, we would be hard up. Fortunately, for now at least, since we have so many retirees with relatively stable and secure incomes, that helps place a floor under the local economy, so our area isn't doing as badly as some parts of the nation.

6. To be part of a Transition Town. Not happening here yet, but it is the type of place where it (or something like it) probably will eventually.

7. To be where public transportation is available. Another negative, only a very poor and inadequate bus system. Fortunately, I'm within walking distance of work and the town is small enough that I could walk or bike anywhere. Some talk of extending passenger rail up to here, but I don't know if the money will ever be forthcoming to make it happen.

8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. This isn't an issue yet, but I was getting nervous about it. The Great Recession has actually been a good thing in that respect, it has stopped the influx of people moving into the area.

9. To leave an area where the weather is very severe. Except for an occasional hurricane remnant punching through, dumping rainfall and causing floods, it is a pretty mild 4-season climate.

10. To leave an area where obtaining enough fuel (or electricity) is a problem. Firewood is no problem, electricity might become a problem eventually. Motor fuel has already been a problem, Sept. 2008 we were almost totally without for a few days.

Some reasons not to move
1. Have friends, family, and a job where you are now. Now that my parents have relocated here, it is not feasible for us to relocate.

2. Not customary to move. Not really an issue, but as far as I am concerned, it is time to settle down and put down roots.

3. Not welcome in the new area. Since we came here in response to a job offer for my wife, we actually were invited here. People have been moving into this area from elsewhere for over a century now, most of the people I know come from somewhere else. I feel very integrated in my community.

4. Not enough money. That would be a problem if we tried to relocate now.

5. Devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. Yes, at this point I feel I've just gotten to really know the lay of the land, and wouldn't want to have to start over. I really doubt that there is greener grass elsewhere.

6. Can't sell your house. Property prices actually have held up pretty well here, we actually still have positive equity in our home. Selling would take a while, though, but could eventually be done.

7. Too many sunk investments. Yes, that is a big one, and will be getting bigger in the years ahead. I would hate to have to start all over at this late date.

8. Inertia. Not just that, I like it here, why should I want to leave?

I don't worry about the worst case catastrophic collapse scenarios. If those come to pass, for those few who survive it will be mostly a matter of luck - being in the right place at the right time, and not in the wrong place at the wrong time, and with no way of knowing in advance which will be which. Actually, I assume that for me, at least, the worse case scenarios are not survivable, so there is no need to plan for them.

As most of you should know by now, I am a declinist and not a doomer, which means I DO base my personal planning on an assumption of long term economic decline or catabolic collapse. Scenarios in this mid-range are both quite possible (probable, I would say) and survivable. It might even be argued that planning properly for decline places one in at least a slightly better position should something approaching a worst case catastrophic collapse actually materialize.

I don't have any intention of leaving New Orleans for the time being. I enjoy the urban lifestyle, the close proximity to rich farmland (giving us excellent and inexpensive organic goods in our farmer's markets), and the walkability of the city. While I think climate change will likely cause severe changes in weather, I'm not convinced there's enough recoverable carbon-intensive fuels to push us to radical sea level change, particularly as global competition for ever-dwindling resources continues to increase the price for carbon-based fuels. A combination of resource scarcity and virtually endless demand will likely insure that prices will not drop as demand is destroyed. As the economy picks up, I think we'll see a price-driven increase in renewable energy deployment and consolidation of supply chains. So the climate issue, while horrifying from my environmentalist perspective, I don't think is going to be quite as catastrophic as people think, but changing weather patterns may alter the distribution of arable land.

As for generally dealing with an energy scarce world, I'd rather stay in Louisiana due to its huge potential for biomass (a chord of wood here is about 400 bucks stacked and delivered and with our mild climate that might be all you need for most of winter), it's native natural gas and brown coal deposits, and the growing interest in hydrokinetic and offshore wind power in the state. More importantly, if some of these experimental OTEC designs can be made commercially viable, we have a huge industry that specializes in offshore construction which an easily be retooled to deploy these generators in the Gulf of Mexico, essentially making use of the Gulf's huge solar heat gain.

All in all, peak oil will mostly effective transportation costs. While the chemical industry is huge and important, it wasn't that long ago that we mostly did without it (besides, coal and natural gas could still be used as chemical feedstock). While we may need to abandon our automobiles, I don't think the transportation issue is insurmountable.
I don't really see peak oil as being the end of civilization; just the end of the growth paradigm of economics. We'll adapt to a stable state and, while the first few generations will be impoverished, I'm unconvinced that it will in the long run lead to the decline of civilization. Just civilization as we've come to know it.

It depends what you believe will happen.

If you expect power to be intermittent, living in a place that requires a/c like Phoenix might be very hard for a house not designed to handle it. If you need heat, but have no ready source of firewood, that too can be a problem as your house freezes up. Those 'woods' may be stripped clean if 10,000 folks suddenly need to keep warm and mass expeditions to strip entire forests occur.

The bigger problems is likely spot shortages - lack of fuel for a week or weeks - meaning disruption to transportation of foods and goods. The US may be like a 3rd world country with limited availability of many things.

Living in the country may not be a solution unless you have a defensible position - imagine 20-30 people desperate for food with enough fuel to get to your location, and a car full of automatic weapons, intent upon not starving, going farm to farm to strip them of anything edible. After they kill and eat every dog, it will be every animal they see, night and day.

On the other hand, things might just deteriorate slowly to a Cuba type situation over decades.

However, with the entire US economy dependent upon finance, debt, and increasing GDP annually to pay off that debt - the 'collapse' could mean that all those entitlements vanish, most pensions vanish, and incomes drop across the board by 50% or more.....and many are left without income sources. Of course, many other 'investments' vanish too.

This is where we disagree. Economic survival doesn't necessarily equate to survival of persons. From a purely utilitarian perspective, much of our economic activity is wasteful anyway. Currencies can collapse, financial institutions can implode, but so long as you and your community can organize and produce what you need to survive, or barter for it otherwise, then you'll make it.

I think things probably will deteriorate to something more akin to Cuba or Argentina following it's debt crisis. Life in Cuba is hard by our standards, mostly because of the police state (most Cubans I've met don't seem to mind the Communist economy, particularly after the farm reforms) but it's also much better than life was for most Americans a century ago.

One could argue that we've out-consumed ourselves and borrowed against the material wealth of our world. I don't think it will be as catastrophic as people think, but we will have to re-adapt our economy from a growth paradigm to a stable-state paradigm.

eMail me (link to name) if you would like to meet for lunch (after the Saints win the SuperBowl and Mardi Gras perhaps). I live in the Lower Garden District but can easily take the streetcar Uptown, CBD, FQ and Mid-City, etc.

Best Hopes for New Orleans,


With solar hot water (fill bathtub on coldest nights with hot water) and warm clothing/blankets one could struggle but get by (barely) without heat or a/c here.

Will do!


I don't have any reasons to move..., I live in Los Angeles County in California.


After years of lurking, this subject hit a point for which I feel is worthy of commenting. (Lots have been worth commenting but I didn't feel I had anything to add to some very good discourse I've seen on TOD.)

Foregoing the long list, I can state that if it were up to me, I would like move to the rural setting. But my wife is really happy with where we are now, the nice suburban house (near Austin) with my nicely paying engineering job. (And I admit choosing to give up the "good life" would be hard.)

I grew up on a cotton farm in West Texas and joined the Army to flee that life. Later I left the Army for college and employment as a computer engineer. However, the stress of my current job and a touch of romantic nostalgia and a desire for a simpler life (albeit hard working) make me consider that rural/farm/ranch setting again. But when I bring this up my hard-core realist wife metaphorically whacks me aside the head and we continue as before.

One of my seriously enjoyed hobbies is woodworking and I harbor a desire to retire from engineering to do woodworking for a living. Once again, when I bring this up I get whacked by my wife (whom I love dearly.) Life goes on. However, I believe that if things do go downhill rapidly, trading my engineering for woodworking in a bartering world might be a reasonable thing to do. In the event the descent is rapid and large amounts of power outages are common, I've started studying how people accomplished woodworking in the era before power tools. In the less rapid descent world I can envision a scenario in which I have the power tools at the ready, and when we get one of the infrequent resumptions of power I rip up a batch of ready and waiting rough wood as quickly as possible, then hand tool my wares from there. Some questions are, who will be the customers and will I be making wooden replacements for farming implements and other life supporting devices rather than the furniture I now make?

My wife, the realist, does agree that we should put by a store of food for emergencies and a few years ago we put in a vegetable garden in our back yard (her hobby, my labor). She even thinks we should investigate putting solar on our roof. I just wonder how well suburban living under those conditions will survive the worst case scenario. It also makes me ask the question if the people of the neighborhood (who currently don't communicate to my knowledge) can come together to create a survival-style community.

John G

Let me offer my own perspectives on this:

1. To be closer to family. To cope with expenses, you might have to live on the same property with family members, but you want to put a little space between them and you. You want a place that allows you to put a "granny cottage" in the back yard for the old folks and secondary suites over the garage or in the basement for the adult kids. Most places don't allow these.

2. To own a piece of arable land in an area with good weather. Most American suburban lots are the size of the average Chinese farm - You could raise all the vegetables you need, and with a few chickens you can get enough protein. However, don't try to operate a farm unless you know how, because farming is much more complicated and difficult than city people realize. Gardening is relatively easy and relaxing.

3. To be closer to energy sources that are likely to continue. Look at the energy balance of the area. Where does the energy come from? What's on the other side of that light switch? If there are big hydro plants or wind farms nearby, you're probably okay. If it's an oil burning power plant supplied by Saudi Arabia, or a gas burning plant supplied by Russia, you may be in trouble.

4. To leave an area with inadequate water supply. In addition to Las Vegas and Phoenix, think about Southern California, which gets much of its water from the Colorado River. It is using more than its legal share. In the event of a shortage, California may have to cut back to allow Arizona and New Mexico to get their legal allocation. Mexico also has a minimum allocation.

5. To be in a better place for long-term jobs. This would definitely not be Detroit, because the automobile companies will probably go bankrupt again. Better places have abundant energy production and limited total energy consumption - i.e. few people. Western Australia and Western Canada leap to mind.

6. To be part of a Transition Town. At a minimum, you want a walkable, bicycle-able community with employment and shopping accessible without driving. This excludes most new suburbs in the US. They may all have to be abandoned because nobody will be able to commute or shop.

7. To be where public transportation is available. Not only do you want a place with good public transit, you want a place where transit authorities do not cut back on service when fuel prices skyrocket and the tax base collapses. Unfortunately, much of the US does not fall into this category.

8. To leave an area that seems to be seriously overpopulated for its resources. More specifically, overpopulated in relation to its energy resources. California leaps to mind, with New York in second place. Once again, Western Australia and Western Canada seem to be good places to go to. Parts of the Western US are potentially good, as long as you stay away from California and stick to places with enough water.

9. To leave an area where the weather is very severe. Keep in mind that areas which have bad weather often have huge energy resources. You can always super-insulate your house to minimize your heating costs, and if you can heat it with wood or local natural gas or geothermal, it won't be that expensive. If the weather is relatively warm but you have to heat it with oil, you might find yourself freezing in a relatively warm climate.

10. To leave an area where obtaining enough fuel (or electricity) is a problem. Alaska is not that short of fuel or electricity, and people there have the option of burning wood. In Southern California (once again a worst-case location), if you can't get fuel for your car or electricity for your air conditioner, you are probably going to be stuck. They keep talking about electric cars, but have no idea where their electricity comes from and have completely forgotten the electricity shortages of a few years ago.

Those are my thoughts on the subject. Other people's may vary.

I have thought a lot about this since becoming aware of Peak Oil. We currently live in a small Midwestern city, and while I have something of a "head for the hills" homesteading urge, my husband wants to go more urban--get rid of the car, live in a completely walkable area, etc. So I think our compromise is to stay right here.

Someone commented about towns that show signs of being able to work together to address problems being a good place, and our town is making some strides--investing heavily in bike/ped infrastructure, just passed an ordinance allowing chickens, has an active and growing urban agriculture movement, etc. But don't get me wrong--those things have been met with a great deal of angry pushback from those heavily invested in BAU.

For me, the inertia/sunk costs is big. We have been gradually adding gardens, energy saving features, etc. We hope to add solar water this year. And best of all, will be debt free once the mortgage is paid off this year. So those things add up to staying in our same house, even though, if we were house hunting now, I would choose something smaller, in a more walkable area. As it is, we average one car trip per day for a family of 4. I comfort myself that the largish house may be a good thing some day--maybe my parents will move in as they age, and/or we will have room for one or more kids to come back to the nest in a few years (for now, they are unfledged!). I think there's going to be a lot more of extended families actually living together in the future. And we do have an excellent network of people who are already doing a lot to power down, whether for environmental, peak oil, or financial reasons.

I too fear the hordes of angry formerly well-off, as well as those who have been just hanging on, and can't anymore, but I don't see that there's anywhere you can go to avoid them, and maybe the best answer is to do all you can to build a positive community, that will offer an alternative to violent or otherwise antisocial responses to problems--and maybe even, through things like local food production, adequate non-motorized transportation options, decent community relief organizations and people knowing their neighbors well enough to take care of each other where you can, have a lower percentage of the population really hurting.

In the end, I don't think we have much control over how the future unfolds now--we're too far along the roads of depletion and climate change. I would agree that unless you live in a place that didn't really support significant human populations until the fossil fuel age, if you already have a family or community support network, your best bet may be to stay put and work on those ties and the small things regarding your own life that you can put in place.

You have not mentioned one important reason to stay or leave:

11. The political and cultural systems are (or are not) conducive to survival.

I am, of course, from Canada, and while it's not perfect up here (especially with the current government) I do look across the lake from time to time and am relieved to be on this side of the border. (To paraphrase Sara Palin as channeled by Tina Fey: "I can see Buffalo from my house!")

I live in Toronto, on the largest body of fresh water on the planet, with both a massive hydro installation and large nuclear facilities nearby. The streetcar stops 50 feet from my door. Southern Ontario is prime farmland, and food sovereignty is probably still possible, particularly in a declinist scenario. Our fertility rate is declining, which may lead to a reduced population. Even AGW is unlikely to make this area uninhabitable in my lifetime (I'll be 90 in 2048). We could be self sufficient in farm equipment, and possibly machine tools, with short lead times, and It's even possible that our banking system will survive.

More to the point, however, is that there is still a socialist culture in place, despite the best efforts of the current gov. and bus. interests. I think that these advantages- that we have something to share and still know how to share on a national level- will allow us to pull through whatever comes next better than most. I'm pulling for indoor plumbing until I die.

That, and that we're less likely to shoot each other. (I expect- well, hope, anyway- that refugees from south of the Mason-Dixon line and the West will have used up their ammo before they get here.)

Hi Canuckistani. I hate to rain on your parade, but I almost have to, because I'm like from Alberta, eh?

I live in Toronto, on the largest body of fresh water on the planet

Lake Ontario is the fifth largest of the Great Lakes.

with both a massive hydro installation and large nuclear facilities nearby.

Unfortunately the hydro capacity is completely developed, and the nuclear facilities have been much less reliable than expected.

Southern Ontario is prime farmland, and food sovereignty is probably still possible, particularly in a declinist scenario.

But Alberta has four times as much farmland, and Saskatchewan has five times as much.

It's even possible that our banking system will survive.

Given that Canada has the strongest banking system in the world, one would hope so.

More to the point, however, is that there is still a socialist culture in place,

But that's not going to save you.

I think that these advantages- that we have something to share and still know how to share on a national level- will allow us to pull through whatever comes next better than most.

We in the wild, riled West will keep you supplied with oil into the next century. Don't worry, we've got you covered. Just quit complaining we're making too much money doing it.

Here's a few other things to consider before 'going bush'

- physical stamina. If you are going to build, dig or lift you need to be in good shape.
- local yokels. Long term residents can either be a goldmine of useful help or they can make you miserable. Think guns, drugs, motorbikes and vicious dogs.
- property taxes. You may be debt free but various levels of government will keep eroding your cash flow.
- high rainfall = bleak. Things grow because it rains for weeks on end. Your PV may have low output.
- car dependence. Riding a bicycle or motorbike may not be practical in back hills country. Think $200 oil.
- low standard schools. Teenagers who aspire to university may need to avoid local high schools. That could involve long hours of travel.

In my locale of southwest Tasmania I've seen people come and go since I arrived late 2004. I'm not sure nearby family is needed; it could be the family who cling to the city may be still on the Titanic when you have taken a lifeboat. I note properties come up for sale as older residents (often with health problems) return to the suburbs to be near their family. Despite favourable reality TV shows my impression is that most of those who will make the 'tree change' have already done so.

Hello Boof,

I moved into the hills north of Lismore (New South Wales, Australia for the non Aussie readers). Your comment on guns and drugs and vicious dogs sure is true round here. But these people are worth getting to know. They often are pretty smart and have great survival instincts. They also have a fabulous dislike of "government" despite getting every government assist package they can get their hands on. They also exist quite well in the black market economy of dope and/or barter.

I disagree with your comment on everyone wanting the tree change has already moved. I believe the rural move has barely started. As babyboomers retire and as cities become more and more dysfunctional you better prepare for an invasion.

My next move will be a sail boat.

Modern Cities and Megacities will become dangerous places to live.

Historically cities have been the safest places to move to in times of social stress (war, invasion, societal decline). Premodern cities nearly all had available water supply for their relatively small populations compared to the millions of people in modern cities. Food was produced close to the cities and some food produced inside premodern cities as well. Safety in numbers and ability to defend a well defined area was important (yes, yes I know all about Genghis Khan and Troy and how eventually all defenses eventually fail but city defenses have also been incredibly effective for ages).

Also, the ruling and comercial elite did everything possible to keep cities functioning. This is true in modern times as well, note the sacrifice of rural areas to city interests in recent times in the authoritarian regimes of Russia and China.

However, things have changed dramatically. Cities are now vast concentrations of humanity where all supplies of essential services (food, water, fuel, electricity) are brought in from "outside", usually "way outside".

Supermarkets have 3 days supply of food. Add the two days supply you have in your kitchen cabinet and you're out of food in 5 days.

Food resupply depends on trucks and diesel. If the transport system goes down cities go down.

Diesel refining and pumping depend on electricity.

Water supply, gasoline supply and sewerage removal depend entirely on the electric grid and how vulnerable is that.

Modern cities "collapse" at blinding speed - remember New Orleans? It WAS NOT Katrina that destroyed the city, it was the collapse of the electrid grid and the transport infrastructure.

In the next few decades I believe cities will become extremely dangerous places to live. Find a small rural community a long way from the desperate city people. A community support will be vital.

It WAS NOT Katrina that destroyed the city, it was the collapse of the electrid grid and the transport infrastructure.

BS !!

7' (2 meters) of water had no effect. And the willful diversion of relief to "Republican First" also had no effect.

The rest of your analysis is faulty as well.


Take this as racism or not. Sometimes after a day of tough rural chores with little to show I switch on the TV and see fights between illegal immigrants and the authorities. Example

Then I think those mad buggers are not going to come anywhere near me out in the back blocks. If they get approved for refugee immigration most will cling to the cities. All the more reason to get out.

My own view of this issue is that there will be advantages and disadvantages to both urban and rural locations. I doubt that society will descend abruptly into a Hobbesian wasteland, but strategies for success will differ depending on the location in which you find yourself when the opportunity for relocation becomes limited.

The advantages of the urban setting are the opportunities for cooperation with other people. Thriving in this setting will require social skills. The most successful individuals will be those who are seen as leaders and valuable individuals that contribute to their community - because the members of the community will work to protect those people. The advantage of a rural setting is the opportunity to build a more self-reliant system, perhaps, but in my opinion there are significant risks in the countryside too.

I plan to remain living in the inner suburbs of a small western city. If things really go to the worst case scenario then luck will be the determining factor in many cases whether one survives or not. I know that luck favors the prepared mind, and it is certainly wise to consider the needs of your family and closest friends and work out a plan to provide for those needs in an environment of scarcity. But I don't think there is only a single strategy for success, and I think that opportunities for catastrophic failure will present themselves even to those of us who prepare the most extensively.

An interesting set of comments. My interpretation is that most (almost all?) are based on Gail's slow decline scenario rather than a collapse. Examples:

  • Plans to work up to several or more acres of land, but no mention of horses/mules/oxen. Might be okay if there are no plans to grow grain, but based on my childhood experiences I would still think plowing and not hand cultivation. OTOH, if we're talking self-sufficient villages, there's grain and there's fiber (hemp or flax, cotton restricted to river bottoms that flood regularly).
  • Little mention of any village-level technology. Blacksmiths? Spinners and weavers? Lumber? Pottery? Villages don't do things like electricity.
  • Boats, especially sailing vessels (in one case for South Africa to Brazil trading runs), require a considerable degree of infrastructure for ongoing parts and repairs. Will there be the means to maintain a hull built out of synthetics? Will the rigging take the weight of wet canvas rather than more modern water-repellent sails? Replacement hardware? It seems worth noting that sailing ships that routinely did cross-Atlantic trading were much bigger than the boats I think are being described.
  • No one seems particularly concerned about the disappearance of reasonably modern medicine: antibiotics, surgery, etc. It's not just enough to know about penicillin; production on any scale requires some sophisticated technology. Maybe it's my age, but I for one worry a bunch about the decline of modern medical technology.

I made a move from a very large city to a pretty small town based on my thoughts on Peak Oil. I was fortunate to not have any debts, own anything I couldn't sell or have any real reason to stay and on the flipside I had enough money to make the move and could continue my job at the new location. I did not feel the city would be sustainable in any form. Heating and excrement disposal on top of a lack of places to grow plentiful food w/o seed catalogs were the major issues for leaving.

I picked my location for several reasons. I moved within the same Hardiness zone but further north figuring that the zones will only but moving up in my opinion. The region has adequate rain fall and more importantly no underlying tensions in the populace to cause it to go batshit when things start to break down.

My specific place is about a 1/2hr walk to town (1.5 miles) and I'm only 1/5th mile from a decent sized (canoe-able river). My place has sufficient acerage to provide food yet not so much that I need animals to do the work.

I'm a reformed city person learning how to grow food based on Permaculture practices. I do this because it will require less work when established and will help trap more carbon than row cropping. I know people on here argue about organic but sooner or later the fertilizers will be gone and you'll have to use what you got.

I don't miss the city at all. I've always liked nature and I realized that I love having chickens, barn carts and the general peace and quiet (and sunsets) that my small spread has to offer.

My town isn't as Progressive or proven to be much of a Transition Town place just yet. Those places are far and few between and I figure if I can get that started here at my own pace. I don't plan on hijacking the community with love vibes but if I can help foster communal feelings about sharing, helping, and growing food then I feel that's a good start.

I was concerned about leaving my folks which are only 3hrs away and the house I bought is large enough to accomodate friends/family in case the cities/burbs they live in become inhabitable. I would have preferred a smaller house for winter heating reasons but I figure consolidation will happen some time.

That's why I don't care much about technology. Public transportation in my old town was highly subsidized and barely afloat. It will prob be the first thing to go as state budgets fail. Electricity can become spotty or plain unavailable as electric companies go under and infrastructure capital isn't replenished. I don't want an egg incubator but I do wanty some broody cochins.

For the sailors I've thought about that. Having the ability to go to sea to avoid land-based chaos would be nice. Then I realize that w/o land the sea is nothing. If something bad happens I don't want to have to worry about drowning on top of it. I've also thought about leaving to a more tropical nation but am concerned my caucasion-ess would make me a target.

I've been reading Survival+ by Charles Hugh Smith and he's made me believe my conclusions are correct. I've got work to do but I'm on the right page.

I sometimes get annoyed with the anti-city folk/outsider bias that's shown by some rural readers of this page. Perhaps it's cuz it's in writing and not in conversation that it seems so righteous and stand-offish or maybe there's really something to the "stay out" kinda comments. I want to drop a quote from a movie that helps keep things in perspective on the matter, "You can't stop what's coming and it ain't all waiting on you, that's vanity." Just because you can frame a door or plow acerage or lay in wait at a feed plot doesn't mean that's all going to carry over either. It's gonna be hard no matter where you're from, where you are at now and anywhere you might go in the future. I do hope that if anything from Transition Towns carries over it will be the care for other humans, from wherever they may be from.

I did move from one country to another and I found that the thing that made a big difference to me was religion. A surprise because I was never a religious person! But the Buddhist view over here made me feel peaceful and gave me some sort of new perspective I needed. I just felt less stressed out....I don`t know why!

If you like the religious culture that you live in I think that is a good sign.

Religion can help people deal with hardships that would otherwise be impossible to bear.

Also I think having a lot of rain is a very important thing!

And finally, not being in a huge city would be a big help.

Other than that you have to use your wits! But isn`t that the fun of peak oil? Now that the boring cubicle-office days are over we will really find out what our fellow earthlings are made of.....all our friends, all our relatives...most fun of all: your spouse`s reaction to PO!

I am already seeing some interesting changes in people I`ve known a long time. A new sense of charm and wonder, some shock, some denial, yes a variety of reactions. Some predictable! Some not....


Been reading this stuff for years now. What makes sense is to live a rewarding life right now, a life that makes sense in terms of the relationships you want, the resources you consume, the pleasures it gives you.

Maybe peak oil is already biting, maybe it bites in the next few years, or maybe it bites in 10 or 15 years. How could any serious person claim to know the answer to that question?

Garden because it makes sense now (in your opinion)... not because it might make sense 10 years from now.

Respond to the actual price signals in your world.

For most spending and investment, maintain a 2 to 5 year time horizon, just like any business.

Should you plan for your retirement? Look ahead 10 or 20 years? Sure you should save a little, but your saving strategy is dependent on your risk analysis.... and YOU DON'T KNOW whether industrial capitalism and its stock market are going to make your 401K into a reasonable investment over the next 10 to 20 years or a fools delusion.

So sure, diversify, invest in your social relationships, in your savings and investments, but invest in your pleasure too. If these are the last years of civilization, why not buy that huge TV, that car, that vacation, that marajuana, that home, that bathroom remodel, and enjoy them? Seriously. Why not? If we are all going to get serious and desperate in five years, is it really wiser to prepare for that Mad Max world now... or enjoy the relative beauty of civilization at its oil fueled peak?

Move somewhere because of peak oil? Don't be silly. Move there because it feels right. Your "peak oil consciousness" may impinge on that feeling.... but it should only do so to the extent that a serious person can probabalistically estimate when peak oil is going to hit and how bad it will be... and that means that most of the decision factors are weighted toward the present and don't involve that great unknown.

It is WISE to discount the future... it's a long way away... it may not get here in the form we think it will.... and we tend to make huge mistakes in allocating resources if we fail to apply a sufficient discount rate when making investment decisions.

In a declinist world, rational cities (those that exist for rational reasons, i.e not Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc.) are likely to be better places than small homesteads.

As Todd has noted, "his" road is already starting to fail. He uses much more oil for transportation than, say, I do. As well as much more energy in toto. Keeping a city street used by thousands more people/day open is much easier to justify.

If energy in general and oil in particular is more expensive, then jobs that do not require being in high energy areas (rural, exurban, suburban) should migrate to lower energy areas.

In other words, farmers and ranchers will stay on the land (and post-Peak agriculture may require more hands) but everyone else will be pushed inwards by high energy costs. Exurban commuters (a majority of rural residents in some areas) will not commute anymore. Inwards may be a village of 482 people, a small town of 5,112 (both very walkable in not sprawled much) or a small city of 108,723 (bikeable).

As we all age, health becomes more essential. A minimum population of a couple hundred thousand is required to provide decent care, even if we stop using some of the heroic measures.

For example - Removing cataracts has about the highest ROI I know (other than setting a broken leg or arm for a teenager). It takes about 100,000 people to keep one specialist busy (the busier they are the better the results). Going blind in a rural homestead is not good.

Rational cities will generate some primary jobs and these will, in turn, generate support jobs. manufacturing is best done in cities (there was a move to "cornfield" factories in the 1970s & 1980s, but these depended upon cheap transportation from cities for support).

What size cities are optimum "depends" and reality will work that out. 125,000 to 200,000 ? 300,000 to 500,000 ? 1 to 1.5 million ? 8 million ?

I suspect that the answer is "all of the above".

Best Hopes for Post-Peak Oil Cities and Towns,


I'm moving out of San Diego county, California in August. While the move was almost inevitable because my contract as a scientist was coming to an end, the choice of were to move to is based on peak oil and climate change consideration. I'm moving back to France after 12 years in the US near the city of Lyon.
So my reasons are:
1-Move closer to my families,including some who do have significant farming lands .
3- Lyon is close to the main hydro in the Alps as well as nukes.
4-San Diego county is facing drought and I expect it to be worse when water cannot be imported from 200 miles away over mountain range while the area I move to has two major rivers and many streams.
5- The job I'm taking will results in a 30% pay cut partly compensated by lower cost of life, specially health care but is stable since its a "life" position as professor (or until the French government collapse) while my job in the US is unstable.
7-The place has good public transportation, including train and the rivers (if train stop working).
8-Southern California is definitively over populated.
9- Without energy Southern California is going to suffer seriously from climate changes (and is already suffering), this includes drought, fire storm (imagine facing one without firefighter or car to evacuate)
I would add a point number 10 to relocate: moving out of a place with high risk of violence when the situation degrade further. From my point of view this include most of USA but Southern California is really bad (gang + gun + drug). I remember reading that people in the US buy 9 billion bullets per year (what an energy waste), thats almost 10 per person (including babies and eldery) per day. If wave of violence explode, the risk of being killed is high whether you are yourself armed or not. There are way less weapon in France and far less powerful in general... also the proportion of people in jail in France is 10 fold lower than US (and France has an high rate for Europe).
In the negative part,
4- Moving my family to Europe is going to cost about 10,000 $..and I will have to rent for a while but renter law in France offer a lot (too much) protection for the renter.
6- I actually plan to loose my house to foreclosure.. By stopping paying my mortgage now I will recover about 25% of the money I did put in the house but it is better than nothing which is what I would get otherwise.

Yes I totally agree that the issue of violence is also important. I left Chicago for Japan and it is so much easier to get around without fear here so that is worth a lot. For example, we don`t need a car, we don`t have to worry about guns, we can go out at night. So I can work at night (I was teaching in a school in Tokyo that had evening classes until 10) and go home at 11. Just walking home, taking the train....easier!

My husband I became peak-oil aware at the end of 2004. At that time we decided the first consequences of peak oil would be economic so we moved immediately to protect our retirement funds and started paying down dept. Longer term we expect mobility and rising energy and food costs to become a big issue especially for those on a fixed income. At the time we had a mortgage, debt on two cars and our oldest child just about to start college. We have since sold our house, paid off debts, and moved down the street from my in-laws and within an hour of where the two oldest kids got jobs after college. We are on the edge of Amish country near many farms and plenty of water. We decided to downsize into an older walkable neighborhood with a small yard large enough for a decent kitchen garden. We are doing a "green" renovation of a 100 year old queen Anne Victorian. So far we have insulated all the walls and the attic with cellulose, re-did the bathrooms with high efficiency toilets, and replaced the furnace with a geothermal system. We plan to add a sun room with solar thermal radiant heat and a roof oriented for solar panels. We bought a Sunfrost refrigerator and as we update the electrical system we'll be adding led lighting. We expect a slow decline in living standards with regional disruptions.

Our most important peak oil prep, our "insurance" in the event of a significant disruption in our area or a more total collapse, was the purchase of a blue water capable sailboat. Historically, those in crisis areas that tended to fare the best were those that were mobile. We decided that the best way to remain mobile is not to require public transportation, to limit dependence on fuel. Last year we found a suitable boat and hired a captain to help us learn how to sail (our experience was limited to small boats). We sailed up the east coast part way on the ICW and part way outside. We figure this plan allows us to do something we love for retirement and provides us with some insurance against a worst case situation.

Our sailboat is named TEOTWAWKI ;)

Yes, it does make sense...sort of. Move to Europe where fuel is 2 or 3 times more expensive than in the USA and yet the life goes on. You might even consider moving to Eastern Europe where fuel costs almost as much as in the much richer West and despite lower wages almost everyone owns a car- a smaller car. About 2 years ago there was an article on MSN I think, where someone predicted that when gas prices in US reached $8 or $9 per gallon pizza delivery guys would go out of business and the whole world would fall apart. Most people on this forum know that Europeans already pay about 8 dollars per gallon and all pizza places in my area that I know of are still in business. When oil reached nearly $150 per barrel Prius was the talk of the town and people could not sell used SUVs as their value plummeted. The moment the oil went down the sales of SUVs went up again. So be sensible and do not move if you really like your place. Buy a smaller car. It's cheaper to run and cheaper to buy.
Also as the cost of oil goes up production will be more local and that includes manufacturing jobs coming back to the West. Just look for articles on oil from June & July 2008 on Google News. The change in trends includes smaller local plants becoming more profitable as transporting food products over hundreds of miles does not make sense any more. Nor does making furniture and other products in China-

...I don't know, its a toss-up between Colombia and Cuba, Findhorn and Finland, Toronto and Tierra Del Fuego...I wish I had traveled more when I was younger (Joe Jackson's 'Big World' playing in my mind) maybe Gaviotas in Colombia...

Good Luck and Good Night to All (its past my bedtime...)


I have only been a member of TOD for a few weeks but feel that I would like to add a few points from the point of view of someone who lives in the UK.
I was born and grew up in a country village in Devon and having left school found a job in a hospital laboratory in Exeter, a city of about 100,000 people 20 miles away. Preferring to live cheaply and more comfortably at home for 7 years I was car, van and lorry dependent in that I daily hitchhiked to and from work. Then I had the opportunity to buy my own house without a mortgage (thanks to damages resulting from an accident in which I was very nearly killed by being struck by a lorry (I suffered a depressed fractured skull, operated on by a visiting American neurosurgeon) and which has left me with a permamently partially paralysed arm, so a sort of mixed blessing) and I moved to Exeter to be close to my work. I have lived in the same house ever since and have never owned a car but then Exeter has a walkability index of 90% and I have never felt the need to own one.
Although I am sure that PO is a reality there is little evidence of it here in Exeter as yet. Crossing Heavitree Road is still as much of a pain as it has ever been, especially in the rush hours, thanks to the endless traffic (there is a good bus service to all parts of the town, which also has five stations or halts on three railway lines, but many people seem wedded to their cars). Aircraft noise is still as constant as ever (with talk of expanding Exeter airport) and PO is rarely if ever mentioned in the British media, though climate change is. Exeter is also a Transition Town, though there is not a great deal of evidence of it other than the city council's encouragement of cycling, mainly I think to reduce rush hour congestion.
I have no intention of moving from here but then this seems a reasonable place to be should TSHTF. Several of the other considerations mentioned by Gail do not apply to me, for example as an only child who has never married and whose parents have both passed away I have no close family. My garden consists of a few square feet of gravelled ex-lawn at the rear of the house, hardly enough to grow anything on even if I had the ability. I have worked in the same job in the National Health Service since leaving school and hopefully will be able to retire in 8 or 9 years with a reasonable final salary pension, though reading predictions here re the world economy is a worry.
I have never been to the United States but reading of totally car-orientated cities, no universal health care, everyone it seems owning firearms (even the police here are not generally armed) and so on makes me very glad to be on this side of the Atlantic.

It sounds to me like you need to stay put. Not a bad situation. I would still ask myself what I would do in a food shortage, how to heat the home in a fuel/power crisis, etc. Oh yeah, and how far is the nearest Pub ;-)

Food could perhaps be a problem, though Devon has a lot of rich farmland so there should be plenty available locally. My heating consists of one rarely used night storage heater and two electric fires. Were there no electric in mid-winter I could just turn off the water supply at the mains (to avoid a burst pipe) and put on another couple of jumpers. Devon rarely gets that cold. The last time I had a drink was about three years ago but should the need arise, as it were, there are three pubs in Heavitree within a quarter mile.

If I remember, the local Pub is more important than a couple of pints.

I've moved to New Zealand since I became concerned with how things were going five years ago. Physical isolation, low population, well developed, well educated, able to grow its own food, surrounded by fertile oceans, lowest corruption rate in the world, gets 80% or better of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric.

If there's anyplace to lay back and watch the show, it might be from here.

Perfect except for the violent Maori gang element, eh?

I'm currently considering to move as well. I'm living in Thailand about 40 km (25 miles) from bangkok. I can imagine that situations in especially the US but also some of the stories above about Australia and other places might be different from Thailand. Anyway, I believe my current location isn't the best though living near work doesn't sound good either as I believe living in Bangkok with 10 million people isn't the best option. So I'm considering to move to the North of Thailand (Chiang Mai). I might have a option for a job there. So I would live near work, in a less crowded place and would have to option to buy some land and start growing my own supply. Still many questions would remain with not much information available in Thailand. Is there proper water supply, what about electricity supply? So any suggestions on my possible move?