As I'm sure many of you know, there are tons of "challenges" and "initiatives" out there in the blogosphere and beyond. Many of them are in some fashion related to living a more sustainably and socially just life, or surviving something like peak oil or an economic/social collapse. A lot of them focus on personal responsibility and individual action in response to these situations. Many of these challenges/initiatives (though of course not all), with the notable exception of Melinda over at One Green Generation (an excellent blog you all should check out), tend to leave something very important out: creating solid communities and developing relationships.
While ensuring our families well being and survival are of the utmost importance, we seem to forget that we cannot, and never really have been, completely self-sufficient. In this day and age, it really is damn near impossible. We need others to provide the services we cannot provide ourselves. But more importantly than that, we are social creatures, who need the company of others to be truly human. What bothers me is this almost "every man for himself" mentality as a reasonable approach to complex situations. I might remind us all, including myself, that this mentality has a lot to do with the current state of things - how we got in this "boat" to begin with.
What are we going to do? Prepare ourselves and leave our neighbors in the dark? Take turns guarding our possessions with a gun while our neighbors starve? Where is the humanity in that? And what do we do when our provisions run out and we do not have the appropriate relationships developed to provide for our own needs? We must remember that others were necessary for us to prepare for these potential calamities to begin with. I am in no way saying that this is what the hosts of these challenges are implying, but by ignoring community and others, this might well be the end result.
I do not know how to form strong communities. I do not know how to get self interested people to work together for a common good. But what I do know is that none of us can go it alone. We need each other, we need to share what we have, whether it is a skill, or food for a neighbor in need should times get really tough. It takes all of us, and we all succeed or none of us do. I hope none of these doomsday scenarios ever come to pass, but want to throw my "two cents" out there about a vital aspect of preparation that we have largely overlooked.
As always, thanks for listening to (well, reading) my rant.
'Til next time.