There was much talk of accountability, in the alternative media recently, having to do with beginning-of-year predictions. Particularly having to do with the peak oil community, those having to reconcile their predictions, against media and industry claims that America is on the verge of energy independence, fracking giving the appearance of a paradigm shift, away from scarcity, toward abundance: Many in the peak oil community predicting a collapse in production that has not materialized. Others have made similar claims, about debt, or food production, or water scarcity, myself included. It goes to integrity; or lack of it, if we do not acknowledge claims we have made that turn out to be less than accurate.
So I would like to offer something up, in the way of self-accounting. Not a failed prediction, but a dumb sabotage of another man's business.
Recently in the Doomstead Diner Forum, I said this about Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture class, upcoming, the week of the Summer Solstice.
Like I said in the Monolithic thread, skip paying for it. You can show up with a tent and hang out, anytime. Mark will put you to work some, but not overly much. Talk your ear off about every bit of the farm, if he has the time. Show up with roamer and he can be the tour guide. Otherwise, there isn't that much that Mark can teach you that roamer doesn't know. You aren't paying for the information as much as you are the fellowship.
Mark Shepard owns and operates New Forest Farm, a working farm based on the concept of perennial agriculture, particularly as it has to do with hybrid hazelnut and hybrid chestnut production. He has done excellent work, proving that hazelnut and chestnut are a potential replacement for corn and soy, much less fossil fuel input required, either in fuel or the chemicals necessary to corn and soy industrial production.
He is offering a Restoration Agriculture Design Course, this June 14-21. The cost is $1200. I have no doubt it is worth every cent; I'm sure it will be attended by very interesting people. Seriously, if there is any class anywhere more important for the long term strategy of Humanity on planet earth, I don't know about it.
For the record, I do not know Mark Shepard, and Mark Shepard does not know me. I was talking like I knew him, based on hearsay. At the time I did not even know how to spell his name (Shepard, not Shepherd). As for my statement about my friend Roamer, an occasional presence on the Diner forum, knowing as much or more about what Mark Shepherd will teach, that is preposterous. Roamer has worked at New Forest Farm; Mark Shepherd lives there, built the farm, operates the farm, knows the land.
As for Mark Shepard wanting random people to drop-in on New Forest Farm, unannounced, I suspect he is like any other landowner - that it would be best to ask first.
This comment of mine I highlight, is me blinded by my antipathy for the current capitalist arrangement, the economy by fiat, of the bank, corporation, industry, military and government; blinded, so that I cannot distinguish friend from foe, so that I cannot see when I am attacking what I should be supporting. Attacking capitalism for the sake of attacking capitalism. Otherwise making an ass of myself, making shit up to make it look like I know what I'm talking about.
Why is Mark Shepard asking for $1200, for a five day class? Probably for the same reason Toby Hemenway is touting an $11,000, nine month permaculture immersion course, in Sebastopol California. One, to teach; but also, to keep up with debt payments, taxes, inflation. America created $11 trillion in debt with a $3 trillion increase in the Federal Reserve balance sheet, since 2000, for $6.5 trillion in GDP growth. We are all feeling that pinch, that increased debt maintenance.
How can I begrudge Mark Shepard's desire to maintain his farm? How can I not support that, of all things, as a model of what the future could look like?
I did the same thing, in a Diner thread about Monolithic dome building, a discussion in part centered on a class many of the Diners are taking, @ Monolithic headquarters in Italy, Texas. Like, 'I don't need the class, because if I want to build a dome I'll build one.'
I said this, knowing nothing about how Monolithic constructs their domes. Reading more about it, I was like, I don't know what I'm talking about.
Fact is, I've been on a negative spiral of late, becoming sloppy about my Internet presence. Contemplating global debt; the polluting asset ponzi that is fracking; copper/nickel sulfide mining in northern Minnesota, one generation of mining for 10-25 generations of pollution; the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade pacts that threaten to make (totalitarian) corporations lords of the earth; Dollar as reserve currency and petro dollar weakness; Fukushima et al nuclear poison pills; military-industrial surveillance state America; Industrial Ag destroying the capacity of the land to feed us, feeding us food that supports Wall Street expectations for Health Care profit/growth; Higher Education as a banking/corporate enslavement racket; another housing bubble; climate hijinks; the vast difference between reality, and the narrative of the MSM, prepared for mass consumption.
A negative spiral that turns a sense of hopelessness into self-abuse, which then leaks out sideways in comments like the one about Mark Shepard, or my attitude toward Monolithic domes.
Since I started this blog, I have tried to make it clear, I am merely a messenger, an interpreter of the times. I am not some expert you must believe; do your own research, use your own head, learn to trust your judgement. I am human.
So let me state, the classes taught by Mark Shepard and Monolithic, are as important as any I know of, for the long-term strategy of human existence on planet earth. But don't take my word for it. Consider supporting their work, in any way you can. And others like them, doing equally important work, as a means to perpetuate what they are teaching. That we might learn to live in balance, with all life, on this earth.