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Stop digging (peak shrink interview)
KMO, C-Realm Broadcast
KMO welcomes Peak Shrink, Kathy McMahon of back to the program to talk about practical steps people can take to move in the direction of independence and preparedness. KMO also reads a passage about denial and social inertia from The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization by Thomas Homer-Dixon.
(9 July 2008)
The actual interview with McMahon begins at about 16:30 into the podcast. -BA

The world they will inherit

Jon Morgan, The Dominion Post (New Zealand)
When Hawke’s Bay farmers Greg and Rachel Hart’s eldest child, George, was born four years ago they began to think about the world he would inherit.

Gradually, they came to the realisation that if something wasn’t done he and others of his generation would be left with a polluted planet dangerously depleted of its natural resources.

So they did something. They changed to organic fertiliser, took more care of their soils, planted more trees and began to spread the sustainability message through their community.

… “We’re concerned about the urban-rural rift,” Mr Hart says. “We’d like people to come and see and touch the farm. They will see a working farm – a farm that’s environmentally responsible and trying to achieve true sustainability.”

And, most important of all, he wants to pass on a bigger message, that saving the environment is not just a farmer’s problem.

… He is wary of the forecast boom in food demand that economists see lifting New Zealand agriculture. “That’s happening because standards of living are rising in China and India. But those people will just add to the stress on the world’s finite natural resources. At the same time, food prices will keep on rising as the demand for oil which is integral to the industrial food production system we are part of outstrips supply.”

He gives an example that will resonate with farmers. “Our agricultural economy is based on digging up phosphate on the other side of the world with oil-driven machinery, taking it to a port, shipping it here, trucking it to the manufacturing plant, putting it back on a truck to bring it to the farm and flying it on to paddocks.

“It’s totally unsustainable and will not work if you put expensive oil into the equation.”

The future availability of phosphate fertilisers is also in doubt, Mr Hart says. “This is another finite resource which has taken millions of years to form and will have been used up in just a few generations unless we re-evaluate the way we are producing food.
(10 July 2008)

Is frugal the new black?
As down economy sets in, some are embracing the simple life

Allison Linn, MSNBC
To get a sense of the American economy, consider what’s in for summer: house parties instead of bar hopping, thrift stores instead of mall shopping, gardening instead of gourmet restaurants.

Americans have spent the past year or so complaining about the rising price of everything from bread to gas, and bemoaning the ways in which it has changed their lifestyle.

Now, as the reality of a down economy begins to sink in, experts say consumers are starting to embrace the simple life: staying close to home, cooking more, planting a garden and even delighting in bargain hunting. Some retailers, trying to make the best of the situation, have begun looking for ways to latch onto the trend as well.
(9 July 2008)

Shelf life of prescription medications

M.D. Creekmore, Survivalist Blog
Prescription medications can be the most difficult part of survival stockpiling. They can be hard to get in quantity, but without certain medications patients would die or become ill in short order. It is best to do everything possible to avoid the need to take any kind of prescription medications. Following a proper diet and exercising regularly will go a lone way toward meeting this end. Unfortunately, there are people who because of health problems, have no choice but to continue to rely on meds from the drugstore.

The U.S. Air Force performed a study to determine the shelf life of its inventory of medications. It seems the Air Force was concerned about having to dump and restock millions of dollars worth of pharmaceuticals after the stated expiration date. The study proved that even though they were given a date of shelf life, many of them maintain their stability, safety and potency up to as much as an additional 107 months past their expiration dates.

The Viet Cong used antibiotics and other medications in the 1960s and 1970s that were “liberated” from the French in the 1940 and 1950s. While this could be leaning toward the extreme, it is a testament to what has worked in the past, for others in need.

Joel Davis, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, says that with a handful of exceptions — notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics — most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. “Most drugs degrade very slowly,” he says. “In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years, especially if it’s in the refrigerator.”
(9 July 2008)