A lot has changed for me personally during the past year. While I was writing the blog posts about novel editing, I started watching YouTube videos related to prepping. It started out as sort of an exercise about what I would do if there was an EMP (Electric Magnetic Pulse) and power was out for the foreseeable future. I thought about preparations that I could take. I had talked it over with my husband and he suggested that he would just go out into the woods and live in a tent somewhere. I didn’t see that as a viable option. I thought about what I would do if I stayed here I determined that in order to truly be able to survive, I would need to be part of a community and if that happened today, I would have to organize neighbors.
This goes back to a scenario that we used to do when I was in school. This scenario was called “lifeboat”. In lifeboat, you had to decide who of a group of people would live and who would die. Everyone had positive attributes and also had negative ones. Personally, I always tried to sidestep the scenario and said that I thought that everyone should live until they died naturally. It should never be in the hands of a human being to determine who lives and who dies. Those who were meant to live would live and those who were not meant to live would not.
During the process of thinking about the possibility of an EMP, I realized that if anyone were to survive, that person would have to learn to cooperate with nature. We are all already on a big lifeboat and that lifeboat we call earth.
As I continued watching YouTube videos, the information of the videos that I watched bounced between prepper and homesteading and permaculture content.
The Collapse of American Civilization
When you read the above headline, I bet you were thinking that I was referring to something that will happen in the future, but in fact, I am referring to a period before Columbus sailed to America.
Prior to 1300, there were several great civilizations on the Americas. There were the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Purepecha, Toltec, Mexica/Aztec, and the Cahokia. We don’t know exactly what happened, but before the Spaniards came to America, millions of Native Americans who had lived in large cities died off. Some think that it may have been because of the diseases that the explorers brought with them from Europe. Others think that the mini-ice age that occurred during that time caused the Americans’ food system to collapse and millions died. Still others think that the civilizations began to encroach on each other’s territories, and they killed each other in war.
Whatever the case, the surviving peoples gathered in smaller tribes and began living in harmony with their surroundings and were dependent upon one another for survival. The systems that they lived in were based in permaculture.
Permaculture in Action
When most European descendants think of Pre-Columbian Native Americans, they think that they were all hunter gatherers, but that was far from the truth. These people lived in villages and many grew crops especially maize, beans, and squash, a grouping they often referred to as “the three sisters” (read my article on Hubpages about this subject on Hubpages).
These natives worked together not only to provide for their culture, but they did it in a way that was less harmful to their environment. When they hunted, they learned to use every part of the animals from the hide to the bones. They saved for the future by drying the meat and making pemmican. They stored their maize, beans and squash so that during the lean times they could eat.
Long before Europeans came, they had an integral trading network. after their civilizations collapsed, they finally recognized that it was the earth that gave them their sustenance and they learned to get in touch with the natural forces around them. They had something to teach the Europeans when they came, but the Europeans had their own agendas.
I recently heard that one of the reasons that some people are so intent on getting a commercialized space program off the ground is so that we can find another planet to live on when we finally destroy our earth. It is sort of the same mentality that Europeans used when they came to the Americas. Sadly, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can clean up our lifeboat. We just have to change our paradigm about it.