Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Money, Money, Money, Money...No Money = No Jobs = ???

For those of you who are following this blog for info on my bike trek...

...I'm currently "Couch Surfing" in Santa Barbara, hoping to raise money to return to Texas and re-start my trip. Otherwise, I've been spending my time here enjoying much of the culture and natural beauty that this region has to offer. To that end, I wandered the streets with many other residents and tourists during the "Old Spanish Days Fiesta", and took in the opera, "The Rakes Progress", with my hosts Gilbert and Joy, which was performed by the Santa Barbara Music Academy of the West. I also participated with them in the "Arlington West" demonstration conducted by the Santa Barbara Veteran's for Peace organization, followed by a brief talk at their regular meeting on August 6th. That same evening, I had the honor and privilege of attending the 18th Annual Sadako Peace Day event at the Sadako Peace Garden at La Casa de Maria, commemorating the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This past Friday I walked the beach from my host's home in the Mesa area all the way to the pier in downtown Santa Barbara and then made my way to the offices of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation where I have been spending most of the rest of my time since I have been here. Tomorrow, I will be relocating to a new couch-surfing destination, as Gilbert and Joy have relatives coming on the 15th. They have been very gracious hosts, and my stay here with them has been a pleasant one.

As for the rest of this particular post...

There are two main reasons I am choosing to focus on "Money". First of all, I need to raise between $200-300 to get back to Texas, and I would prefer to raise another $500 to $1500 before I restart my trip. Having the first half of my journey already under my belt, so to speak, I have realized how challenging it is to do the bike trek and raise money at the same time. However, I had less than $300 in my pocket when I started from Jacksonville Beach, and if I cannot raise the $500 to $1500 in advance, I will again make do with whatever I am able to raise. I still have a lot of riding and a lot of work ahead to continue to raise awareness for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and its mission as well as to bring attention to Paul K. Chappell's writing and Peace Leadership Work. I feel even more so now, having spent a full week learning from Paul, that he really does have a handle on how we need to shift our ideas about human nature in general, and what are the best methods to "Wage Peace". As he communicated, "Peaceful Leadership Skills are Life Skills", and being able to Lead Peacefully and Effectively are great skills to have as we all move forward in many different areas of our culture to bring about positive changes locally and throughout the World. So, if you would like to make a contribution to my ongoing efforts...please feel free to donate via the PayPal "Donate" button over there ===> in the right-hand column of this blog. Even small donations make a difference for me, so, Thanks! : ))

The second reason I am focusing on money is because of a few posts I've seen on Facebook recently. Apparently, there are rumors circulating concerning the government telling the banks to start putting plans together to respond to a possibly eminent "collapse of the dollar". ("Eminent" could mean after the election, or sometime in 2013, or 2014, you know, these things are really hard to predict.)

Now these "predictions of collapse" have actually been circulating for many years. It is interesting to me that one of the truly peculiar aspects of our technologically advanced society is that we are witnessing and communicating and "blogging" about what we are witnessing As We Are Witnessing it ... or thinking we're witnessing it ... or predicting that we will be witnessing it at some point in the future. Something tells me the still "un-contacted tribes" of the Amazon are not really all that worried about our pending economic collapse, in part because they have better things to do with their hunt and gather their food, and make their clothes from leaves and grasses, put some new thatching on the roofs of their earthen huts, and chat with their tribemates around their campfires.

So, here's my point of view on all of this: Wouldn't that be nice if that were really all we had to worry about as well? You know? Do a little gardening, gather some chicken eggs and goat's milk, make or mend clothes from the stockpiles most everyone already has in their closets, and chat with the neighbors. Because if there's No Money, then that means there's No Money to Work For. If there's no money, then that means there are no jobs, including the jobs that are currently being held to collect all that money from us. If the banks go bust...guess're probably not going to be paying rent or mortgages or car payments because there will not be anyone working to collect them. A huge portion of our national GDP is in the "money markets" and on the most basic level, that has Very Little to Do with Food, Clothing, and Shelter for most ordinary human beings.

Furthermore, just because the "money" is not there, certainly does not mean the Goods and Services are not there - the "money" everyone is so concerned about is merely the "Means of Exchange" for those goods and services. Don't you think, if we put our heads together, we all might be able to come up with other ways to exchange the goods and resources that are ALREADY STREWN ALL OVER THIS COUNTRY? Have you looked at the "Good Will" and "Thrift Stores" lately? They Are Packed with perfectly usable clothing and household goods. There are garages and storage facilities Packed with "stuff" that may or may not have any Real value, but, trust me, a truly "free" market will sort all of that "stuff" out pretty darn quickly.

Food: Some of the best food we can eat can be grown in a back-yard garden and eaten fresh. No cooking required. Kale for instance. Really, really, high in all kinds of nutrients and all you have to do is let a few plants go to seed and you'll have plenty of seeds to keep going. So you won't have McDonald's and Cheetos...Please, give me a break! Everybody needs to be learning to grow their own food Right Now and there is PLENTY of information on line for figuring out how to do that, in pretty much every situation imaginable. So the corn is dying? So no corn to feed the cattle (Again, No McDonald's), and no corn to make "High Fructose Corn Syrup" so no Sodas (Darn!), and once again, no corn for Cheetos! Whoop-dee-do! Ever heard of the "paleo diet"? Seems to be helping a lot of people lose weight and be healthier and, from what I understand, there's not a lot of "grains" of any kind involved.

Water: If resources have to be conserved, then sure, we probably want to keep water treatment plants going. You may not get electricity to run all of your high-tech equipment, but there will probably be enough to keep the pumps running. It's time you got out and talked with your neighbors instead of watching TV all the time anyway. And whatever water you've been using on your Worthless Turf Grass, should be going on your New Vegetable Garden.

Alcohol, Coffee (Caffeine), and Cigarettes (Nicotine): This could be rough for some.. Can you imagine a whole population of people going through withdrawals more or less simultaneously? However, with no work...everyone will have plenty of time to get through that! Just Stay Home! Don't try to interact with anyone else until your headaches and agitation subside naturally. Or, start a vigorous exercise routine...again, you'll Have Time because you won't be working anymore.

Shelter: Like I said above...if you're in it...then I'm betting you'll be staying "rent free indefinitely" should this "collapse" really happen. Got any major plumbing problems or electrical problems? Roof leaks? You may want to be getting those taken care of sooner rather than later. But either way, you should know who the plumbers, and electricians, and carpenters, and seamstresses, and mechanics are in your neighborhood.

Fuel: No job? Then that's going to cut down your need to Drive to Work to...oh...let's say...ZERO! Don't have gardens in walking distance? (First of all, see "Food" above), then, start thinking about Car Pooling for food shopping. Something tells me, though, people will be coming out of the woodwork on every street corner to share and exchange food if we all Start Gardening Now..

Medicines? Well, do we Really need to be taking as many as we are?

Is there a reason why we fight so hard to avoid a "natural death"?

Still a good idea to know who the doctors and nurses are in your neighborhoods, and the undertakers. And maybe that is another kind of big issue for which we need to plan ahead. If there is a major "die off" as people have to adapt to these new social and environmental pressures, then how are we going to take care of the bodies? I know that may sound pretty morbid, but, seriously, we can be thinking ahead here.

Heating/Air Conditioning? Well...I think we're going to have more problems with heat here soon rather than cold. But, from my experience riding my bicycle across the country, even into the summer heat of Texas...over time, our bodies will adapt. If you're carrying excess weight though, you're going to feel it more than others, but when all of those "fast foods" start disappearing from the stores, something tells me you'll be losing that weight pretty quickly.

Oh, and that's another thing...a lot of people will probably start losing weight because they don't have access to all of the foods that were once available. They'll have to be eating more locally grown produce instead. Oh, and that means, in general, they will be healthier, so not so much need for medications. Oh, and because they won't be working, they'll have much, much more time to exercise, maybe by Digging, Pulling Weeds, Planting, etc., In Their Own Vegetable Gardens.

You know, I don't want to sound overly humorous, or "naive" about what lies ahead. Yes, of course, there's going to be some suffering through this transition. But, does any of what I've described above sound like "The End of the World" to you?

Is there a chance, just maybe, there's actually A Lot We Have To Look Forward To with this "Impending Collapse of the Almighty (well, really, Not so "Almighty") Dollar"? (Because, really, if it were all it was cracked up to be, we wouldn't have to be worrying about it "collapsing" in the first place, and over and over again!)

We are going to need food.

Most of us already have Way Too Many Clothes.

I'm guessing there are enough houses and other buildings around that we can all learn to use effectively for shelter.

We're going to need water.

Probably going to need some police (but then, I suspect there are a few people in all the communities around this country who can also pitch in to help "Keep the Peace"), let's just make sure they are the Sane, Rational ones (who actually make up the majority of the population) and not the Paranoid Psychopathic types who make-up about 6% of the population.

Probably going to need some other emergency services, like Fire Trucks, etc.

Going to need some medical services, but, as far as I'm concerned, we need to get more comfortable with the natural flow of the Life/Death/Life cycles of this world. The deaths of individuals should not mean the automatic poverty of those who are depending on them. We need to structure our culture so that everyone is, in effect, supported by everyone else, and so that when one member "falls away" in death, there are naturally, and automatically, others their to fill that gap, especially where the care of dependents is involved.

Is that not the way things work, even in our own bodies, where cells live and die and are replaced by other cells on an ongoing basis, and all are connected together as part of an interdependent whole?

I encourage everyone who is reading this to do some "soul searching": Really, What Do You Need to Survive From Day to Day???? I've been on the road with my bicycle in part to find that out for myself, and really, it's not that much! I don't Have to Have Ice Cream! If I time my purchase of local produce right, I don't really need all that much refrigeration. I started out with a "bicycle blender", at the beginning of this trek, and although it was a good idea, the design and functioning (and Weight) could definitely stand some improvement. Because my budget has continued to be really tight over the past couple of weeks, I'm learning, that I can get by with quite a bit less food than I would have thought. I'm certainly getting by with a lot less money, but the only reason I have even needed that, is because it's the only "medium of exchange" available in this culture, with respect to the exchange of particular goods and services. Again, that doesn't mean the goods and services are not's just the Medium of Exchange that has its issues.

For a follow-up to this blog, I would encourage you to check out a couple of other links in the right-hand column: "The Money Fix" video, and "Understanding the Current and Historical Influence of Psychopaths on Human Culture". The first should give you some perspective on the actual function of "money" within a society and how it can be Changed as necessary. The second article, will help you understand why we have been taught to be afraid of one another, when, for the most part, There Is No Good Reason for that Fear. As I say in my TEDx Talk (also linked at right), such Fear is a Waste of Our Energy, and far from our need for fossil fuels, what we all need to realize is the Untapped Creative Potential of Our Human Energy when it is finally Liberated from the Bonds of Fear!

So as far as this impending "collapse" is concerned? I say: Bring It On! We will be Just Fine and I predict, Even Better for It in the long run! : ))

(Oh, but in the short run, I still need a little of that money to keep myself going, so please consider making a contribution via the PayPal "Donate" button at the right. Thanks! : ))


Wait...I just thought of one more thing: Birth Control - We're going to need condoms, etc. - Because people are going to have a lot more time and energy on their hands (better diet, more exercise [from gardening], no longer working long hours at the office, less electricity means going to bed earlier or using candles, etc., much more romantic.. : )). We don't want to get too carried away with a lot of "Baby Making", especially while we're still figuring out how to live in balance with all of our locally available resources...

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