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Humans Left Sustainability Behind as Hunter-Gatherers

Humans Left Sustainability Behind as Hunter-Gatherers

Many people believe that humans can have a sustainable future by using solar panels and wind turbines. Unfortunately, the only truly sustainable course, in terms of moving in cycles with nature, is interacting with the environment in a manner similar to the approach used by chimpanzees and baboons. Even this approach will eventually lead to new and different species predominating. Over a long period, such as 10 million years, we can expect the vast majority of species will become extinct, regardless of how well these species fit in with nature’s plan.

The key to the relative success of animals such as chimpanzees and baboons is living within a truly circular economy. Sun falling on trees provides the food they need. Waste products of their economy come back to the forest ecosystem as fertilizer.

Pre-humans lost the circular economy when they learned to control fire over one million years ago, when they were still hunter-gatherers. With the controlled use of fire, cooked food became possible, making it easier to chew and digest food. The human body adapted to the use of cooked food by reducing the size of the jaw and digestive tract and increasing the size of the brain. This adaptation made pre-humans truly different from other animals.

With the use of fire, pre-humans had many powers. They spent less time chewing, so they could spend more time making tools. They could burn down entire forests, if they so chose, to provide a better environment for the desired types of wild plants to grow. They could use the heat from fire to move to colder environments than the one to which they were originally adapted, thus allowing a greater total population.

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4 Bad Ideas That Can Get You Killed When SHTF

4 Bad Ideas That Can Get You Killed When SHTF

In a survival situation, every decision you make is crucial. One wrong move can quickly cost you your life. If you want to survive when SHTF, you should avoid these four bad prepping ideas at all costs.

(h/t to BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com)

Drinking unfiltered or unpurified water

Just because the water looks clean doesn’t mean it isn’t clean. If you don’t have a reliable source of clean drinking water, you probably won’t last longer than three days. If you start drinking unclean water out of desperation, your chances of survival could dwindle even lower. Even drinking from clear mountain springs can potentially be harmful to your health, if you don’t filter or purify it first. You could expose yourself to all sorts of waterborne diseases and parasites that are invisible to the naked eye. SHTF will really happen if you have to deal with a serious bout of diarrhea on top of all your other problems. At the very least, you should always boil your water first before drinking it. It isn’t worth it to take your chances otherwise. (Related: Do you have a safe source of water for a SHTF situation? Top 5 water purification mistakes.)

Playing with fire

In order to boil your water, you must first learn how to build a fire. Campfires serve a number of uses, such as cooking and keeping you warm, but you must always be responsible for any fires that you start. If you don’t have the faintest idea of how to build a fire, then you shouldn’t try to build one in the first place. You should also first learn how to properly put out fires before making any attempts at starting them. In the right conditions, it can sometimes only take a few neglected embers to spark a raging wildfire.

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Starting a Fire Without Matches or Other Modern Methods

Starting a Fire Without Matches or Other Modern Methods

If you have your Go Bag with you — as well you should — you should have several “modern methods” on-hand to start a fire including: water-proof matches, a lighter, and a magnesium striker. If for some reason you have been caught without these items, or they have been lost, or fail – here are some tried and true methods of starting a fire the “old-fashioned” way.

These techniques can and do work – but they are not as easy as you may have seen in the movies. Making fire without modern fire starters takes a lot of skill and patience, and can be physically demanding and frustrating. That is why it is so important that you carry more than one reliable method of starting a fire in your Go Bag.

You should practice these methods in your backyard until you can do one, or more well, before you should have to do so in an emergency situation. All primitive fire-starting methods use heat generated by friction for ignition. The two most reliable “primitive” fire starting methods are:

The Fire-Plow

To use this method, cut a straight groove in a softwood base and plow the blunt tip of a hardwood shaft up and down the groove. The plowing action of the shaft pushes out small particles of wood fibers. Then, as you apply more pressure on each stroke, the friction ignites the wood particles.

The Bow and Drill

The technique of starting a fire with a bow and drill is practical, but it requires much effort and patience to produce a fire. You need the following items to use this method:

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‘Anonymous’ Greece Takes Down Government Website Over Athens Fire Disaster Response

Cyber group Anonymous Greece have brought down the website of Greek government over the dozens of victims in the Athens wildfires. Access to the website “government.gr” was denied for a period of time and showed “Forbidden.”

As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports, in a post on their Facebook page, Anonymous Greece sent their own message to the disaster. Expressing condolences for the victims, the group blamed the government for the unfair death of  more than 90 people. “Responsibility lies on the government that remained idle at the time of disaster and did not inform the citizens letting them burn alive,” the group argued.

“It is obvious that nobody would have died had the state reacted in time. People didn’t know the fire was approaching and we came to the point to mourn more than 90 dead families and children,” the message read.

The group claimed that “that was the goal” of the government.

The group also criticized the attitude of the Church and especially Bishop Ieremias who claimed three days after the tragedy that the people who died in the fires “with their death they cleaned their sins.”

“Dear Church, instead of offering help to the fire-stricken people you started accusing the citizens. ‘They were burned because of their sins’. What sins did the twin angels have?” the group notes with reference to the 9-year-old twin girls who died in the fires.

“Close to God is someone who offers to his fellow man and helps as much as possible for a better world. Who loves and offers support. You are just  pawns of the state, “the group concluded its message.

The message was uploaded on Sunday evening, the government website was down on Monday afternoon. The group page on Facebook has been closed down, notes newsit.

Survival Uses for Pine Tree Resin You Haven’t Thought Of

Survival Uses for Pine Tree Resin You Haven’t Thought Of

There are many uses for the resin that can be collected from pine trees.  Just what is the resin and how does the pine tree use it?  Well, it’s a substance that helps protect the tree from funguses and disease, as it is antimicrobial in nature.  Resin (commonly referred to as “sap”) also enables the tree to hold in water and protect it in times of drought.  It is used by the tree as a sort of natural “self-patching” kit to help it close a wound within it, such as a deep gouge in the bark.

People have been using resin for a long time.  It can be used to make wood stain and varnish.  Yeah, I know, that’s really exciting.  So, let’s cut to the chase and list what it can do.

  1. First Aid: The sap is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.  A hardened piece can be softened with heat and applied to a wound to help stop bleeding.  If you chew it (softer pieces), it can treat sore throats and help with a cold.
  2. For fire and light: the resin burns, and can be used to make torches, fire starters, and makeshift candles. Read more on how to acquire a supply of fat wood for lighting fires in a snap.
  3. Glue: for patching holes and tears…also in skin, akin to super-glue on a cut (double use as first-aid there). You can mount heads on blowgun-darts, spears, and arrows with it.

There’s plenty to go around.  You can gather it in the woods both hardened and soft.  Be sure and use a container, preferably glass and not plastic to carry your resin.  People harvest it by cutting v-shaped notches into the bark in rows parallel to one another.

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When a Zippo Is Not Enough, These Fire Starting Materials Could Be a Lifesaver

When a Zippo Is Not Enough, These Fire Starting Materials Could Be a Lifesaver

ReadyNutrition Readers, this piece is a reiteration of fire-starting basics in terms of materials to stockpile for yourselves, for your winter-fires or for a grid-down/collapse event.  You can place these materials in your home, in your “Bug-Out” bag, your vehicle, and in your work locations.  Sometimes the Zippo lighter is not enough, and you need a little more material in order to “kick start” your fires.  Let’s cover some of them as well as simple procedures to keep them waterproof.

There are several types of stormproof and windproof matches.  The company I recommend for them are UCO windproof and waterproof matches.  You can purchase these at Cabela’s or you can visit the site at UCO gear.

These guys deliver, and they come within a case that keeps them waterproof (even though they can be submerged under water and then struck on virtually any surface).  At $5 to $7 they’re a good investment.  Strike anywhere matches can be waterproofed, however, they are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture/humidity/water with time.

Along with matches, you’ll need a good lighter.  Everyone is familiar with the Zippo, that works on white gas/Coleman fuel, as well as gasoline.  They are good to have for a backup when the times are tough, and butane is in short supply.  The drawbacks lie in the fact that they leak, meaning the lighter doesn’t stay closed and loses/evaporates its fuel.  Also, you need flints and wicks with them.

For disposables, I really like the ones made by Djeep, a French firm.  They are short, rectangular, and stubby, and they both take a beating and are dependable.  It can’t hurt to pick up a few dozen of them.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector?

Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector?

Massive fires in Indonesia caused by the burning of forests and peatlands for agriculture have shrouded large areas of Southeast Asia in smoke this fall. But analysts say international anger over the fires could finally lead to a reduction in Indonesia’s runaway deforestation.

The fires that blazed in Indonesia’s rainforests in 1982 and 1983 came as a shock. The logging industry had embarked on a decades-long pillaging of the country’s woodlands, opening up the canopy and drying out the carbon-rich peat soils. Preceded by an unusually long El Niño-related dry season, the forest fires lasted for months, sending vast clouds of smoke across Southeast Asia.

Fifteen years later, in 1997 and 1998, a record El Niño year coincided with continued massive land-use changes in Indonesia, including the wholesale draining of peatlands to plant oil palm and wood pulp plantations. Large areas of Borneo and Sumatra burned, and again Southeast Asians choked on Indonesian smoke.

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
Smoke last month in South Sumatra, Indonesia, from illegal burning of forests and peatlands.

In the ensuing years, Indonesia’s peat and forest fires have become an annual summer occurrence. But this summer and fall, a huge number of conflagrations have broken out as a strong El Niño has led to dry conditions, and deforestation has continued to soar in Indonesia. Over the past several months, roughly 120,000 fires have burned, eliciting sharp protests from Singapore and other nations fed up with breathing the noxious haze from Indonesian blazes.

The pall of smoke still drifting over Southeast Asia is the most visible manifestation of decades of disastrous policies in Indonesia’s corrupt forestry and palm oil sectors.

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B.C. wildfire forces evacuation near Shelter Cove area of West Kelowna

B.C. wildfire forces evacuation near Shelter Cove area of West Kelowna

Darkness preventing helicopter or air tanker support from effectively assisting firefighters

Fire crews and officials scrambled to keep residents safe from a quickly spreading blaze near Westside Road in West Kelowna, B.C., which has so far destroyed at least one home.

The wildfire was sparked by lightning on Sunday afternoon, and had largely died down before erupting again late Monday. It’s now grown to 30 hectares in size, fuelled by strong winds and dry conditions, according to fire officials in the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Dramatic images on social media show it burning down the western slope of Okanagan Lake above Westside Road.

Fire still spreading. Smaller fire on the edge of lake next to house

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire is burning at Rank 4, which is described as a vigorous surface fire.

The service says in a release that an evacuation order has been recommended to the Central Okanagan Regional District for approximately 70 properties in the Shelter Cove area.

The district has confirmed to CBC News that it is trying to move people out from residences and properties along Westside Road near Shelter Cove between La Casa and Lake Okanagan Resort.



Minority, Low-Income Communities Bear Disproportionate Share Of Risk From Oil Trains In California

People of color and low-income communities are bearing a disproportionate burden of risk from dangerous oil trains rolling through California, according to a new report by ForestEthics and Communities for a Better Environment.

Called “Crude Injustice On The Rails,” the report found that 80 percent of the 5.5 million Californians with homes in the oil train blast zone — the one-mile region around train tracks that would need to be evacuated in the event of an oil train derailment, explosion and fire — live in communities with predominantly minority, low-income or non-English speaking households.

Nine of California’s 10 largest cities that have oil train routes running through them have an even higher rate of “discriminatory impact,” the authors of the report found. In those cities, 82–100 percent of people living in the blast zone are in what they call “environmental justice communities.”

“In California you are 33 percent more likely to live in the blast zone if you live in a nonwhite, low income, or non-English speaking household,” Matt Krogh, ForestEthics extreme oil campaign director and one of the authors of the report, said in a statement.

New oil-by-rail rules inadequate

The Obama Administration released new oil-by-rail regulations in May that were heavily criticized as inadequate because the industry had too much influence over the final rules, which would not stop more incidents like the oil train derailment in North Dakota in May that led to an explosion and fire that burned for days. That was the fifth accident of its kind in theUS so far this year.

Massive fireballs and raging infernos often accompany oil train accidents because of the highly volatile Bakken crude they frequently carry. Yet, as Justin Mikulka wrote here on DeSmog, the US Department of Transportation’s new regulations are so weak as to be little more than “a guidebook for the oil and rail industries to continue doing business as usual when it comes to moving explosive Bakken crude oil by rail.”


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Alberta forest fire forces evacuation of oilsands facilities

Alberta forest fire forces evacuation of oilsands facilities

Cenovus and CNRL shut down operations as precautionary move

Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources Limited have evacuated their facilities within the Cold Lake Air Weapons range, close to Alberta’s eastern border, due to an out-of-control forest fire in the area.

“Yesterday, CNRL evacuated their plant facilities in the Primrose area and then, last night at 11 o’clock, we advised Cenovus in Foster Creek that it would be a good precautionary move to evacuate their personnel as well,” said  Leslie Lozinski, spokeswoman for the province’s environmental and resource ministry.

Cenovus evacuated their facilities at Foster Creek because the fire threatened the only road out, which would have made any evacuation of the facility difficult.

Rhona Delfrari, spokeswoman for the company, said there were approximately 1,800 staff on site last night before the evacuation started early Saturday morning. By the afternoon, only a handful of staff were left over to shut down the plant before escaping by helicopter.

“As far as we know right now, there is no threat from the fire to our facilities, it was more about the road being blocked off from the fire,” said Delfrari.

Monitoring the situation

CNRL’s operations in the area are closer to the fire.

Scott Stauth, the company’s vice-president for North American operations said they have shut down “almost all of our operations, but we still have our main facility, which is not in the weapons range, we still have it manned and operating.”


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How to Make A Campfire Last All Night

How to Make A Campfire Last All Night

How to make a campfire that will last all night with little or no further maintenance beyond the initial phase. This fire lay (or a variation) was a traditional fire used in the Scandinavian countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden. It was and is used as an all night fire lay for traditional type camping while using open front shelters. It is known there as “Rakovalkea” or “Nying”. In english it would be known as possibly “gap fire” or “long fire”.

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Wind change upgrades Bullsbrook bushfire to emergency warning as firefighters focus on the northern flank

Wind change upgrades Bullsbrook bushfire to emergency warning as firefighters focus on the northern flank

A bushfire in the northern Perth suburb of Bullsbrook has been upgraded to an emergency warning after a wind change drives the blaze north-east.

There is a risk the northern flank could become the new head of the fire and push north into suburbs including Chittering and Muchea, the Department of Fire and Emergency (DFES) said.

The fire was downgraded to a watch and act warning this morning after fire crews worked overnight to try and contain it, but the south-easterly wind change has sparked a bushfire emergency warning.

The fire is uncontrolled and uncontained and has so far burnt 6,600 hectares of land, damaging two derelict homes and five sheds.

About 350 firefighters will work throughout the night to fight the blaze, focusing their efforts on establishing new containment lines and shoring-up existing ones.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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