A blog by Mel Riser about LifeBoat Permaculture and Solar Villages

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What is valuable to YOU?

I gleaned this from another blog...

but will do the exercise myself to see what goes on my lawn...

I have a book called Material World by Peter Menzel in which average families from around the world put everything they own on their lawn and you get to see what they own and how they live. While I purchased the book as a way to demonstrate to my kids 'just how good they have it' there are also some lessons for us survivalists.

I went through the poorest nations where per capita income was usually far less than $1,000 USD per year (and in the case of Mali, Africa, $251 per year). What I noticed was a pattern in both the kinds of belongings these families had as well as what was considered their 'most valuable possession.' I will now share with you these observations.
The possessions even the poorest could not do without were containers and blankets.

Moving up the income level came rugs, farm tools, spare shoes, mosquito nets and livestock.
When asked what their most valuable possessions were, answers were:
radios, bicycle/moped, treadle sewing machine, jewelry, holy book(s) relevant to their religion, an anatomy book, family heirlooms/photographs, and insecticide sprayers.

When can be gleaned from this information? These are real live survivalists trying to live in some of the most difficult situations imaginable. Most of their basic possessions revolve around food and warmth. Luxuries were a method of transportation, spiritual inspiration, information and entertainment (radio), portable wealth and a way of dealing with insects.

I already own a small insecticide sprayer (never used) which I was going to use as a backup shower (a luxury I find difficult to be without), but now am considering a second one for actual insecticides. I will also need to find out which flowers can be brewed for use as home grown pest killers (I'm not into toxic chemicals). How frustrating (dangerous?) to get your heirloom seeds into the ground and have them eaten by bugs before harvest. I'm also reconsidering a mountain bike. I have plenty of spare shoes in multiple sizes for my kids but I need to look at containers and farm tools again.

One last observation was that I don't recall seeing one weapon in the poorer countries. Not even an old WWI rifle. Even a Kalashnikov can be had for the price of a quart of milk in many parts of the world. While some might argue that that means that they didn't find it necessary, I would counter that their lack of weaponry was perhaps the cause of their poverty. Case in point, Switzerland with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world mandates an automatic rifle and ammo in every home in their country to protect against invasion.


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