My “standard of living” is a fraction of what it formerly was, but my quality of life has never been higher. We live in a house less than half the size of our former house, my beloved boat is gone, and we have a garden and chickens in the backyard.

Peering in from the outside someone might conclude that our family had fallen off the back of the American dream truck with a thud. But from the inside they would observe a tight, comfortable, confident, and grounded family. We owe much of our current state of unity to the fact that we embarked on a journey of becoming more self-sufficient and discovered the importance of resilience and community along the way.

Anyone can do the same. But first, we must lay some groundwork and address the question, “Why prepare?”

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From the Post Carbon Institute/Watershed Media Book:

Post   Carbon  Reader cover

The Post Carbon Reader

Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises

Edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch

Table of Contents
Content available for download
Flyer (pdf download 1.4Mb)
Order the book

about The Post Carbon Reader

How do population, water, energy, food, and climate issues impact one another? What can we do to address one problem without making the others worse? The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and community resilience. This insightful collection takes a hard-nosed look at the interconnected threats of our global sustainability quandary and presents some of the most promising responses.

Contributors to The Post Carbon Reader are some of the world's leading sustainability thinkers, including Bill McKibben, Richard Heinberg, Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Wes Jackson, Erika Allen, Gloria Flora, and dozens more.

Published by Watershed Media
Forthcoming in October
440 pages, 6 x 9“, 4 b/w photographs, 26 line illustrations
$21.95 paper 978-0-9709500-6-2

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Reader Comments


Thank you!

From: Ms R.C. ten Veen, Aug 5, 10 04:33 AM

Very inspiring and positive! Thanks for sharing. In peace, Rianne (

A Small Audience

From: RPeter, Aug 2, 10 03:40 AM

I am sorry to say that while these issues are stark and I fully accept them, I am not a former Fortune 500 VP who now has the time and the resources to become resilient. I need to work all day long on paying off bills and debt, which still does not leave enough to have a garden so I can keep chickens and grow food. Until articles like these articulate a vision which appeals to the majority of their fellow citizens, then I remain quite pessimistic as to the likelihood of an equitable transition.

From: Edpeak, Jul 8, 10 08:49 PM

"My 'standard of living' is a fraction of what it formerly was, but my quality of life has never been higher."

Which is why I have long advocated to stop using the term "standard of living" (which is ambiguous, confusing, and is sometimes used to mean "quality of life" while at other times, to mean "level of consumption")

Instead, say "my level of consumption is lower" or "my resource consumption is lower"