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Get your subterranean doomsday condo — while supplies last!

Scott Carlson, Grist
Developer Larry Hall has a grand plan for four nuclear-missile silos in Kansas. He’s transforming them into impenetrable, bunker-like “condo” complexes for wealthy survivalists — a haven behind nine-foot-thick concrete walls when the country is reeling from a rampant virus, a terrorist attack, an electrical-grid failure, or maybe just an off-the-charts balmy April. You can get a piece of this paradise for anywhere from $1 million to $2 million, according to news reports about his project. Hall already has four buyers, and prospective clients in NFL players, movie producers, and politicians. And he’s reserving a unit for himself — his personal getaway, some 400 miles from his home in Denver.

It’s subterranean living at its finest, in the ultimate gated community.

America is in an apocalyptic mood, and maybe for good reason: Climate change looms as a major threat, gasoline is pushing $4 a gallon, ecosystems are collapsing, and the country is fractured politically, socially, and economically.

… we should consider what Hall’s silos represent: His clients — undoubtedly some of the most influential people in their respective communities — are essentially checking out.

Andrew Szasz, a sociologist from the University of California at Santa Cruz, noted this trend in his book Shopping Our Way to Safety: How We Changed from Protecting the Environment to Protecting Ourselves. Americans, he observes, increasingly believe that if they buy things like bottled water, duct tape for sealing windows, sunscreen, and organic food, they can insulate themselves from threats in society and the environment. The problem is that this “inverted quarantine” provides a false sense of security, and it doesn’t help people address problems that are best tackled collectively. Slowing climate change, addressing peak oil, equalizing the distribution of wealth, halting the demise of ecosystems, building mass transit, mitigating the downsides of agribusiness, or, hell, just getting clean water out of the tap — all are major challenges that require societal or governmental coordination.

It’s about community, stupid.
(10 April 2012)

Transition in Sweden gains support from Environmental Minister

Stephen Hinton
The spread of Transition Towns in Sweden got a big push forward recently from the Swedish Minister for the Environment, Lena Ek.

Speaking at a meeting with Hela Sverige Skall Leva, the Swedish folk movement that hosts Transition in Sweden, she said:

(Our translation from Swedish) “It was so great to get back to Stockholm after the UN climate negotiations to discover all these Transition initiatives. This is exactly what I hoped would start in Sweden, as transition must begin locally.

We will cooperate to connect the local and global”

Visibly pleased, she continued:

” That is why I am so happy to be attending the Rural Parliament in September, to present the Swedish Government’s work with our plan to take us to 2050. “

She especially expressed her support for the work of Transition intitatives in the County of Östergötland who are now cooperataing with the County Board.

“That’s a good initiative that I hope spreads further”.
(11 April 2012)
For information in Swedish, see the newsletter from Hela Sverige Skall Leva.*NuUgtTftQ7iICjpLaem7p-0UQeGheOcx5a7faQhwtcCI

The Swedish Transition movement’s site is at

Stephen Hinton is one of the founding members of the Transition Movement in Sweden.

The Jobless Generation

Michael Schuman, Time Magazine
From Milan to Manila, Seattle to Santiago, the global economy is failing to provide good job opportunities for college graduates and others entering the workforce for the first time. After getting slammed during the 2008–09 financial crisis–when the global youth unemployment rate posted its largest increase on record–young people are discovering that their job prospects remain bleak three years later. Those in the world’s richest nations got hit the hardest. Persistent recession and budget cutting have brought the situation to crisis proportions in some developed countries–like debt-burdened Greece, where youth unemployment is more than 51%.

Over the past two years, the share of Americans ages 18 to 24 who are employed, at only 54%, is the lowest on record, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. In 2007, more than 62% were employed. The International Labor Organization (ILO) figures that 75 million people ages 15 to 24 are unemployed globally–or 2 out of every 5 jobless–and there is little hope of significant improvement. Without action, this army of young jobless could become “a lost generation,” warns Gianni Rosas, the Geneva-based coordinator of the ILO’s Youth Employment Programme. “We are in a situation where our kids are worse off than we were 20 years ago,” he says. “We are going backward.”

. . . In many countries, schools simply are not preparing students for the labor market. Too often, students choose courses of study that are mismatched with the needs of the economy, because of either personal choice (as in the U.S.) or the structure of an educational system that funnels top talent into certain sectors (as in Egypt). The result: a skills gap between what graduates are trained to do and what companies actually desire. One possible solution may be apprenticeship programs like those found in Germany, where youth unemployment is lower than in much of the rest of Europe. High-school-age students spend part of their time in classes and part on the job, absorbing the skills companies require.

(16 April 2012)
Suggested by long-time EB contributor and ASPO-USA board member Jeffrey J. Brown, who writes:

Given the tsunami of Cornucopian Disinformation about energy supplies out there, I think that the chances of any near term recognition of resource limits are pretty low, and I have begun to conclude that perhaps we should focus on reaching common ground with people who may or may not agree with us regarding Peak Oil/Peak Exports. I have often wondered when we were going to see the “Student Loan Protest Marches On Washington.” With the Occupy Movement, we have probably already seen it start to happen.

In any case, I wonder of we should try to focus on encouraging efforts to bring back vocational/apprenticeship and agricultural training in US high schools, together with the same type of training in community colleges.