In Part 1, I linked an article that lets you find out where your county ranks in terms of climate-related threat. (USA only; my apologies to readers elsewhere but maybe something similar has been done for other parts of the world.)
In Part 2, I offered some pointers to guide you in your planning.
In this post, I’ll wrap it up with some more bullet points, and a link to another helpful article for you to read.
• Really, this whole entire website of mine is about “making your plans for climate change.” A low-footprint lifestyle doubles as climate-change adaptation training and household/community preparedness all in one.
• Some bullet points may overlap; this is a big subject to wrap our brains around, and I’m trying to make it digestible and actionable by presenting it from different angles and different magnitudes of viewing.
• The article that inspired this post seems to be looking at a time horizon of 20 to 40 years. But I sense these kinds of changes in a more immediate future; I’m looking at more like 5 to 10 years. Residents of California, Colorado, and other western states; or coastal Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states that are already seeing significant changes, might want to really consider either moving to another part of the country, or staying and taking more of a leadership role: boosting your land-based skills such as gardening, ecosystem restoration, fire-mitigating landscaping. If you can’t breathe the air where you live, it’s time to take a serious look at making some shifts.
• I see personal planning for climate change as falling into two broad categories. One category is steps you take to make yourself, your household, your community more flexible, adaptable, resilient, anti-fragile in the face of whatever the future brings. The other category is steps you take to change your lifestyle in such a manner as to help shift society in a direction that will (possibly) avert some of the most severe consequences of climate change, increasing the likelihood that you, your children, grandchildren and future generations will continue to be able to live life on this planet. Not only survive, but live a life worth living.
• There are no guarantees anything we do will work. We’ve painted ourselves into quite a corner. But we have to try.
• Pick an old-school skill you’ve been interested in, and get good at it, if you don’t have one already. Gardening, carpentry with hand tools, sewing, mending, small-engine repair, knife-sharpening, bicycle repair, animal husbandry, hunting, fishing, cooking, canning, herbal medicine, field medicine, and so on. Nursing, child care, elder care, mental-health services, teaching, writing, food/beverage service — the form of these occupations may change, but I doubt any of them are going away. Occupations like art, music, and storytelling may even come to be more in demand, as traveling and spending money on mass “entertainment” becomes less of an option. However you earn money right now, see if you can become location-independent so you can make a livelihood anywhere.
• When doing your planning, try to override the very strong primal instinct to focus on just your, or your immediate family’s, own safety and wellbeing. Too much self-focus feeds fear and selfishness, and leads to reactivity and mistakes, which end up hurting you as well as others. If you can focus on the wider good, concern for your community, your region, the wellbeing of many others — you’ll be able to stay calmer and will make sounder choices; you’ll be much better off. And not coincidentally, if you focus beyond just yourself and your immediate family you’ll be happier.
• If you live in one of the top threat areas like the Gulf Coast, parts of the Atlantic coast, and so on, you might well be experiencing cognitive dissonance, as so much “business as usual” keeps moving forward in the face of obvious changes in weather patterns and such. Hotels keep getting built on the coast; billion-dollar superhighways keep getting planned as if nothing is amiss. Recognize that large companies and governments are living in a different frame of reality, different timelines, different incentives. Use your own common sense; read and listen to information sources you trust; keep your own senses tuned to your environment. Just because yet another fancy new housing development is getting built in your county, and just because your state highway department is talking about 40-year transportation plans still, doesn’t mean you can assume everything’s hunky-dory and you don’t need to look at making any changes.
• And on a more micro level: Try not to make plans that are predicated on the continued availability of high-energy-input goods and services (such as air travel, or 401(k)s and other retirement funds). I’m not suggesting you need to go cold turkey, but it’s best not to assume such things are going to be an option into the indefinite future. I know it can be hard not to assume the continuation of “business as usual” when everyone else seems to be just going along as if they don’t expect any change in our default way of life. But it is in your best interest to think ahead. Use your own common sense, and don’t let the craziness around you color your judgment.
• If at all possible, secure a house and/or land mortgage-free. Go in with friends and family to buy a place free and clear. I could be mistaken (will have to research this further), but my understanding is that a homesteaded property can’t be taken away from you as payment should you become unable to repay debts such as medical bills or student loans.
• Even if you live in (or plan on moving to) an area that’s expected to be relatively unaffected, plan for extremes. Unseasonably hot AND unseasonably cold weather; drought alternating with heavy rains. And more wildfires everywhere. (At least some expert predictions corroborate my feeling on the droughts and wildfires.) The basic cure to mitigate all of these extremes is vegetation. Tall grasses, shrubs, trees. Plant them. Get them established so they create a moist micro-climate that is self-reinforcing. You may need to remediate the soil first by adding organic matter. I cover these topics and share relevant links elsewhere on this blog. If you can’t find them give me a shout; I will help you.
• Good news! Everything you do in the way of climate-change planning can also help you right here, right now with all of the following: Dealing with Covid and other pandemics. Weathering economic crashes (personal and global). Getting more freedom to pursue your right livelihood, the junction where your skills and passions intersect with the needs of your community and the world. Freeing up your attention and creativity. Reducing loneliness and isolation; building community. Curing boredom and a sense of purposelessness. Improving your relationships with loved ones. Freeing up your time and energy. Improving your physical and mental health. Contributing to your spiritual growth. Facilitating the evolution of consciousness. Wow! What a list!
• I am here for you! I am now offering climate-change planning as a service, free to anyone who wants it. (I will strive to avoid living up to the cliché of “free advice is worth what you pay for it.”) And I will add more bullet points to this post as they come to me.
In closing, here is a great article for you to read. Ancient agricultural systems (some still in use today) embody the kind of mind-set we would do well to embrace, not just in our food-growing but in all of our landscaping, land stewardship. Ancient Gardens of North America (by Jonathon Engels at permaculturenews.org ). I can help you translate the concepts herein to your own geographic region. And can help you apply them to your yard, balcony, or common area.