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If you can’t beat the Bushmen…

My latest foray into the gloom and doom literature predicting our bleak future is Workman’s book Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought. Cheery title, don’t ya think? I especially like the word “endure.” Maybe it’s just me, but crouching under the minimal shade of dry brush all day, limiting my brain activity and physical movements to dusk and dawn, and burying myself in urine-soaked sand to keep cool are not at the top of my “Things I Want To Do In This Lifetime” list.

Nothing against the Bushmen, of course. These tough people are the closest genetic link to “first man.” Even when threatened with military force, separation from their families, and death if they don’t give up their “primitive” ways, the bushmen choose this lifestyle over a more leisurely, modern one. I admire and respect them, yet I confess that I have no inclination to join them. 

For months, I’ve been reading books about the coming emergencies due to climate change, peak oil, possible pandemics, etc. And, I’ve been taking some reasonable steps to prepare my family: storing water, stocking a pantry, buying cast-iron cookware, making sure we have adequate warm clothing and bedding. But, the thing is, if there’s no freakin’ water, what the heck is the point in learning food preservation, baking my bread, grinding my own grain, learning to garden,stockpiling food, buying all sorts of survival gear…

My brain reels after I read books like this. I’m left with a strong sense of  – I wish I could say urgency, but it’s more like PANIC. There’s no possible way to prepare! And, even if we take huge steps to cut global emissions and the planet doesn’t warm up any further than it already has, looks like the desserts will continue to spread anyway, the water evaporate, rains cease to fall, ice caps melt. We’ve already screwed ourselves with technology and changed the weather patterns so drastically that there’s no turning back.

It’s hard to know what to do with all of this information. Colleagues at work urge me, “Stop reading that stuff!” But, it’s addictive. I can’t get enough. I keep hoping some resource will give me a comprehensive list that I can follow methodically and somehow avoid the unpleasant future: 100 Things You and Your Family Can Do To Avoid Being Wiped Off The Face Of The Planet. 

If it were just me – or even me and my husband, that’s one thing. Say, “black tongue and dehydration-induced delusion” and I’m all over it, baby. But I have kids. Someone please hurry up and create the list that will get us through this.

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