Friday, March 6, 2009

Wishful thinking

Have you ever seen the movie The Matrix? In it, the hero Neo gets his brain jacked into a computer that enables him to instantly learn new skills. "Whoa dude, I know ju-jit-su."

Sometimes it's nice to daydream that all the hard work we need to prepare for a life of declining and expensive energy (and hopefully, sustainable and resilient communities), could just be done with a wink and a wriggle of our noses and a twitch of our fingers.

So here's the game: what three skills, useful in a post-peak era, would you pick to instantly become black-belt proficient in? But NO magical skills. No mind-reading, teleporting fire-throwers today!

Here's my three:

1. Sustainable agriculture - permaculture, annual vegeculture, soil fertility

2. Healing - herbal medicine and field medicine

3. Defense - security, alarm systems, martial arts, krav maga, weaponry

How about you?


Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife said...

My list would be very similar to yours. I'd probably include knowledge of how to slaughter and dress common meat animals, domestic and wild. Definitely first aid and field medicine, including knowledge of medically useful herbs. And self defense/weaponry.

I've been looking at the first aid courses available through the Red Cross in my area. It's on the list of things to do. But the next class begins in June, and I know I'll be up to my eyeballs in the garden at that point. Should've done it over the winter months!

Gun safety courses are also, theoretically, on the list for this year. When that's going to happen, I just don't know.

Green Assassin Brigade said...

Your choices are all logical but seem based on the desire to be totaly independant of community, I hope we won't fall so far that each person will be totaly responsible for their own medical and safety. I guess it all depends on how far you expect the fall to be?

Besides no amount of skill is going to make this body that of a ninaj.

1. I agree I would want the skill of sustainable agriculture.

2. I think I would want a valuable trade, smith, farrier, carpenter, VET , Brewer/vintner/distiller something that would both improve the community and be in enough demand to make more than a mere serf or share cropper. Vet would probably be the most valuable(as would being the towns medicine Hausfrau)

yet I'm not enough of an animal person to enjoy this,(I really don't like things big enough to step on me or crush me.) Brewer or cheese maker would suit me well. Efficient use of resouces might also justify baker as well, one massive oven uses less fuel than a dozen small ones.

#3 I'd like to be an Orator. I know a great deal of what needs to get done but I'm not a great speaker. I think being the kind of orator that can engage, motivate and direct people to common action would be The most important skill you could have(assuming your not just an ass who'd misuse it)

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

GAB - I like your choices but don't see why you think my choices make me seem to want to be independent of community. I think the skill of healing is primarily a community skill. And, I would hope that permaculture would be very valuable in assisting others in the transition.

GAB said...

No offense I've just been sampling too much survivalist literature and "field medicine" gave me a flash of the combat zone me, me, me, mentality I've been reading, but I did realized that medicine women was akin to the skills I was proposing.

It's partly a different culture thing too, as a Canadian who feels perfectly safe even in a city of 5.5 million, the need to learn about weaponry as someones main concern is kinda disturbing. I also rebel against the thought we might need to give up our passiveness and take this things as our personal responsibility

Theresa said...

My list would also include knowledge of how to grow and prepare herbal medicine. I have this vision of me picking things and packaging them and giving them to family and neighbors with a smile, helping them to feel better when they thought that was a thing of the past once their Immodium and Advil ran out :)

I think I would also want to be able to read the land so that I could discern where water is most likely to be located. I believe peak water is going to be more of a problem than peak oil, sooner rather than later.

Like you Housfrau, I would also want to have the knowlege and skill to grow food under challenging conditions, and be able to store it and collect the seed successfully.

All these things can be taught to others, which would build community.

If I was permitted a 4th bonus skill, that 'scorpion kick' of Trinity's in the Matrix is pretty cool!

MeadowLark said...

1) Tact (getting people do what you want and they think it's their idea)
2) Healing arts
3) Some kick-ass "skill" like blacksmithing (wait, I'm afraid of animals kicking me) or welding or knife making or something barterable.

Lewru said...

I think he says..."I know kung fu." Pretty sure, anyway.


Ryan said...

It is hard to narrow it down to just 3 but I like what Meadowlark and GAB said about having a barterable skill. The people who produce a product or service will be the next power trades and farmers and hunters will do well.
I think I would rather have the knowledge of wild plants for both medicine and food, as it requires less work than totalitarian gardening, hunting also would be a great asset as it is a barterable product that everyone would need daily (food), and thirdly perhaps being gifted in some musical ability. The value of the story teller/musician will be up there with top skills

knutty knitter said...

I think I'll stick with what I do anyhow - household skills and textiles along with all the other stuff I've picked up over the years. Mostly small stuff but useful (did you know that plain wood is antibacterial for example? Or how to deal with a bee sting? How to prepare a hide for shoes might come in useful or weave a basket.)

I don't know what I'd pick really - maybe making a decent bow and arrows?

viv in nz

dandelionlady said...

I would love to know how to read the land, where water is, what different plants mean in terms of pH and minerals, where to find food plants and how to recognize them.

I agree that a barter skill is great, and recently I've been daydreaming about pottery. Pots are really useful, and we've got plenty of clay here in Michigan.

Third I would become an archer. Able to shoot as well as make my own arrows and longbow.

dixiebelle said...

Yes, natural medicine to complement my nursing skills, better green thumb skills and knowledge of preserving food, but perhaps something else like Solar or Wind engineering skills, maybe waste management, or water treatment skills...

Wendy said...

If I could wake up knowing how to do three things without spending years and years studying them, the three things I would pick are:

1. Play my guitar.
2. Speak German, French and Spanish fluently.
3. Have an intimate knowledge of the plants that grow in North America and their potential benefits to me as food and/or medicine ;).

I know those aren't all, necessarily, "survival" skills, but of the things I've tried to learn, those are the ones that have proven the most difficult for me. I guess, I think, knowing the languages would give me an edge. My choices might be a little odd, but those are the three that I've found the most need for in my life.

And being able to play the guitar ... I've always said that if one can play a musical instrument, one won't starve ;). People will always want entertainment, and if all else fails, with a fluency in languages, the ability to play the guitar, and the story-telling/performing skills I already possess, I could travel the continent as a Bard :).

Anonymous said...

1. Networking/non-violent communication/compassion (for good friends and neighbors that I can trade with for mutual benefit)
2. Sustainable agriculture/homesteading (not really a fair choice as everything from animal husbandry to brewing to food preservation to building fits in this category)
3.Contentment (with critical thinking intact)

Young Snowbird said...

Wildcrafting /Foraging the desert for food (I'm in the Sonoran desert)and how to prepare those to consume/preserve.

Herbal medicines - how to grow herbs, preserve and use them appropriately and holistic health practices.

Knife and blade sharpening for personal use and for bartering. A good sharp tool is of utmost importance in a powered down world.

It would be great to instantly wake up with these skills. Since that is not possible, I am inching my way into obtaining them the old fashioned way.

If I had a fourth, it would be to speak Spanish, since that is a language in my area that is in high use.