Sunday, July 31, 2016

Grimace to Loathe

We are in summer re-runs now and have selected another vintage blast from the past. This was originally published to The Great Change on Friday, February 15, 2008.

Charlie Hall sent us this lovely graph, which has his handwritten scrawl over the page torn from Limits to Growth in 1972. As Charlie points out, "the Limits to growth basic model is right on track as of 2007. Most people (including most environmental scientists) think that the original LTG model has failed because the large oscillations did not come to pass. The original diagram did not have numbers on the x axis except at the ends 1900 and 2100. So no one seemed to have thought about the timing of things. The economists tore that model from limb to limb. In fact when we put a ruler on the axis and drew in some years the model seems to be right on track as of 2007 (the model oscillations are not supposed to have occurred yet)....

"Anyway how many economic models are basically correct 37 years later?"

We added the red arrow to help provide a sense of why it feels so chaotic now. We are at the critical crossing junctions of many of the lines. Unsustainable growth didn't.

Two other interesting takes on growth came across the transom from Jeff Vail and Peter Salonius. Jeff's is the first of three parts, Peter's the first of two. Jeff's theme is that human psychology drives growth and hierarchal systems, including all agriculture, demand continuous growth. Peter's theme is that humanity has been in overshoot of carrying capacity since we abandoned hunting and gathering in favor of crop cultivation 10,000 years ago and that all intensive agriculture, including John Jeavons' minifarming and Steinerian biodynamics, is flatly unsustainable.

While we savor these pieces, we recommend a nice dish from the Financial Collapse Survival Guide and Cookbook (free on Kindle Unlimited), such as Shiitake Joes, but with some small modifications to base the recipe entirely on foraged ingredients. More complete substitution tables are in the book.

Shiitake Joes

This is a very simple and timeless recipe that lends itself to a world of substitution for seasonal and local ingredients. When trying this out recently, we found an old jar of dried peppers marked “2004” that didn’t look especially hot. Wrong. The one tiny dried pepper we selected was more than enough heat for a double recipe of these, shared with a dozen friends.
Serves 6

One half cup finely diced wild onions, wild garlic or ramps.
2 cups rehydrated or fresh wild mushrooms, stemmed and diced
1 Tbsp oil, cold pressed from wild olives
1 tsp sea salt
1 3/4 cup wild tomatillos, finely diced
2 Tbsp fresh wild cilantro and/or Mexican oregano chopped finely

Immerse wild onions, garlic or ramps in hot water and let stand 20 to 60 minutes, then reserve the water. If mushrooms need to be rehydrated, immerse in the reserved warm water and let stand 60 minutes. Add tomatillos to reserved liquid in a small sauce pot and simmer until creamy. Preheat iron skillet. Add oil, onions and mushrooms and lightly brown. Stir in tomatillo sauce. Salt to taste and sprinkle on cilantro and/or oregano. Heat and serve on open-faced arrowroot or acorn flour biscuits or buns, or over wild rice.


Sherril Bowman said...

I never comment on what i read and maybe most of your readers are like me in that way. But i feel compelled to say thank you and please don't stop. I am there every Sunday morning.

foodnstuff said...

I want to read those pieces by Vail and Salonius, but they aren't showing as links.

dex3703 said...


Albert Bates said...

Thanks for the note foodnstuff. Here are those links in case they don't show in your browser:

Collapse does nothing to address the causes of Growth, and only results in a set-back for the growth-system. Exhaustion of energy reserves or environmental capacity could hobble the ability of civilization to grow for long periods of time--perhaps even on a geological time scale--but we have no way of knowing for sure that a post-crash civilization will not be just as ragingly growth-oriented as today's civilization, replete with the same or greater negative effects on the environment and the human spirit.

As human numbers are contracting/shrinking under a OCPF/RPD scenario, the extant population will insist on being properly nourished -- and the only way we can produce enough food for them is by agricultural means that will further deplete the arable soils on the planet.

During the centuries of transition, as we move toward a solar-dependent culture that again sustainably exploits complex, species-diverse, self-managing, nutrient-conservative, natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems, we should be exercising as responsible an agriculture as possible on the shrinking arable land-base upon which it is still practiced. During this transition, the growing portion of the arable land base that is abandoned will rapidly revert toward natural grassland/prairie and forest ecosystems as soon as we cease cultivating it.

Mark said...

Umm, humm, 1975, world population 3,500,000,000. I don't remember when I first read the book, but I was looking at it again last Summer. I've concluded since then, that Earth is the most creative and unstable planet in the universe. Great place to study and practice Buddha Dharma! Just don't get attached, haha! Maybe we now have 3,500,000,000 more coming buddhas? You never know who's a bodhisattva and who's not.

I guess I really wanted to say that I liked the red arrow, "You are Here", and the note.

"Liked" as in "appreciated".




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