Posts filed under ‘Personal Preparation’

A Reminder That People DID See The Crash Coming

I am reading stories about how not many economists saw “The Crash” coming. Are you saying that all the punks I know are smarter than Wall Street and Washington analysts?

Of course it’s bullshit. Any smart person saw it coming, and the military started their peak oil campaign back in 2001. Venezuela – your oil is in our scope sights now!

There are many Americans working for peace, however. Remember – they track you with your cell phone, and you can eat dandelions!

January 26, 2010 at 9:04 am 1 comment

Railer – Live In Portland

We encourage ride-sharing, walking, bike-riding, or public transit to / from our shows! Join up with other Railer fans at http://www.portland.brightneighbor.com.

June 22, 2009 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

Ten Ways To Twitter Our Way To Hyper-Local Sustainability

Twitter bird

Recently, we have had amazing breakthroughs in human communications. We have broken the four-minute mile, and the real-time web of living in the moment has arrived. You can now be instantly witnessed around the world by anyone with a modern communications device. There are useful applications for this technology that can be immediately applied to community-building.

By Randy White
@randywhitepdx and @brightneighbor

The authors of a recent PEW Internet Project report write that
” …developments in social networking and internet applications have begun providing internet users with more opportunities for sharing short updates about themselves, their lives, and their whereabouts online. Users may post messages about their status, their moods, their location and other tidbits on social networks and blogging sites “

The rapid spread of Twitter and Facebook adoption these days is mind-blowing. Twenty percent of online adults 18-34 are on Twitter, and even grandmothers are getting onto Facebook. That is a hefty chunk of the population. While tech-savvy money sharks are figuring out how to carve up profits to be made from selling deep-search stats to Tostitos or whoever, I am thinking about how we can use technology at local levels to deal with economic and ecological collapse. The cool part is that we are starting to quickly track our progress and observe how one’s social influence in a community can help to shape other people’s sustainability actions. Imagine when we will track how neighborly people are:

Twitalyzer

As exciting as these new technology achievements are, we still have real problems to work out. Families are suffering as relationships are becoming more and more strained by financial pressures. Throughout government, business, and communities – our high standards of living have been supported by cheap, easily available energy. President Obama hasn’t told you the super-bad news about our immediate future. In materialistic terms, we have arrived in the gates of hell and now we get to Tweet each other about it. With a second energy shock and major spike in oil prices on the way, communities need to get prepared. Now.

The problem is that even though so many Americans have cell-phones and blinking blue Borg-like communication contraptions glued to their heads, there are still large swaths of communities across America not taking action to build resiliency at hyper-local levels. And if any new political group was able to actually overthrow the existing Democratic / Republican system – who would pave our roads? How does a society run without money? What is money, really?

It seems we are still in shock and awe that things are so messed up, yet so cool at the same time.

As Americans, we subscribe to a social contract that states to be ‘normal’ we must spend time trying to earn this stuff called money. Since we have to constantly chase the stuff to live comfortable lives, it is literally impossible to get to deeply-know all of our neighbors because there is not enough time or desire to do so. On this planet we are physically limited to caring for small tribes of core humans in our lives. We can’t possibly get to know everyone or have them know us back. But, with technology, we have cobbled together ways to build community relationships while tracking local leadership and involvement in communities at the same time.

The significance of this insight is that we can actually report on local neighborhood influence, carbon emissions saved, energy not used, and many other earth-preserving behaviors. For instance, in the following screenshot, you can see I’m communicating with a local neighborhood organizer, a popular radio DJ, a concerned citizen, and a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter Bright Neighbor

Marketers pay millions of dollars to achieve the kind of free PR, influence, and tracking now easily achieved for free on the Internet. Money aside – If you can get others to pay attention to you, you can improve your sphere of influence at a hyper local level to achieve sustainability. The idea is to be a local leader and use your results to help others at the national level through showcasing your success. Other influential leaders can easily amplify your message, creating near instant consciousness of thousands of individuals.

In order to focus these breakthroughs, I have been experimenting with ways to use Twitter to track items lent out to neighbors and friends, and many upcoming Bright Neighbor 2.0 features will continue to innovate in these areas. In the meantime, here is a 10-step action plan on how Twitter can help people that live in close proximity to one another get to know one another better:

1) Go to your local neighborhood meetings
This may seem so simple that it’s stupid. Get involved! There is a local neighborhood organization that you can join and if you can’t find one, you can start one. This way you can place faces with people you will be connecting with.

2) Create A group and go back to old-school promotions

Being in a rock band helped me learn this one. If you are ready to be a local leader, then go old-school and hit the streets. Putting flyers up at local shops and into people’s hands still works. The constant real-time flow of communications data goes away in seconds, and if someone has calendared one event and learn via Twitter or whatever where other cool people have gathered – they will alter their plans to go where the people are that can help them advance their social status. Offline flyers help build your online reputation to achieve this by putting your group’s Twitter name or hashtag on the flyer and asking neighbors to join your group.

3) Ride sharing
“Can anyone give me a lift downtown? I’m at the corner of SE 39th and Stark.” If you get a big enough group of followers in your neighborhood, that message could score you a lift if your friends are too lazy or broke to come pick you up.

4) Resource locator
“Does anyone have a ladder I can borrow”? The more you know your neighbors, the more people that will follow you and that will see your plea for help when your bushes go wild and need a trimming. With the ability to add pictures and video to Twitter, soon people will be able to discover a person in close proximity who has what they need and communicate in real time to strike a deal.

5) Saving money
“Does anyone have a coupon they can forward for the India Grill?”
Offering people coupons used to be a paper-only option, and times have made it such that there are multiple online methods to save big money on stuff like:

* Activities
* Bars
* Clubs
* Coffee
* Fitness
* Food
* Shopping
* Health & Beauty
* Hotels
* Automotive
* Events
* Dessert
* Tickets

Because that’s the kind of stuff we humans value right now. And in order to keep getting it, we are looking for ways to save money on it. One way is to call out to our social networks to see if anyone can forward access or knowledge of a money-savings deal without everyone becoming annoyed by cheap people looking for deals.

6) Work with your local government
In Portland, the Office of Emergency Management has set up a Twitter feed. If each neighborhood leader subscribed to the emergency feed and vice-versa, top-down communications could mingle with grassroots reporting to keep communications clear in an emergency.

7) Tap into your neighbor knowledge base
My raspberries developed a bunch of ugly yellow spots on them, and with a click of the camera in my phone, I sent out messages to neighbors and friends asking if they knew what the disease was. While I didn’t get a solid answer back on that try, I found out the solution to the by walking next door and asking my 93-year old neighbor instead. Take care of our old-time gardeners!

8) Give help, get help
As technology allows us to define our roles in society, it also helps define each of us because people are judgmental. The more projects you get involved with, and the more people Tweet about them, the better your Karma Card looks. Your actions and activities are now transparent in real-time and the historical record, and people will be able to see how much you give back in addition to asking for help.

9) Showcase your breakthroughs
Don’t just send out a picture of that new rainwater catchment system you built out of spare parts, invite people over to learn from it! We have so much waste in our system, we can repurpose woods and plastics to help retrofit our homes to prepare for climate change. If it’s too expensive to go buy new stuff like solar arrays or hybrid-cars, then we can help each other by teaching useful, sustainable behaviors that we know how to do. Online video has not yet replaced human-to-human team learning.

10) Make people laugh
Because laughing is a part of healing.

May 19, 2009 at 11:23 am 4 comments

Knock Knock, The Future Is Here!

Don’t you love when your pizza finally arrives at the door? Imagine if the delivery driver arrived at your doorstep wearing a solar powered jacket connected to his i-phone that he’s jamming out to.

Knock knock, the future is here!

the future is here
Credit: World Changing

For years now, I have had people ask me about my Voltaic solar-powered backpack. I use it to charge my phone, which doubles as my camera and music device. I’m a happy camper with a complete mobile ability to stay in communications with the world, and all I need is some sunshine.

Today at Earth Day, Bright Neighbor teamed up with some other great organizations. One of them grows fruit and vegetable starts, and they sell the plants. No big deal, right? What if I told you for every plant they sell, they give away 10 of them to needy families across Oregon? They sell greenhouses to generate funds for making their operation sustainable – so while they are profiting from selling the right kinds of products, they are also giving back 10 X as much to the community at the same time.

Knock Knock, the future has arrived!

Since we began selling soil through Bright Neighbor, we can’t keep up with the orders. We are talking about beautiful, awesome, wonderful living soil. Once the “IKEA” branding of growing food at homes kicks in, capitalism will have completely transformed itself into a lean, mean, earth saving machine – run and managed by more youthful generations.

If you want to order soil, you can do so at the top of this blog.

The point is, that the future HAS arrived, and we are kicking ass. The ship will sail on, even if the banks all fail, oil runs out, and world currencies go away. As long as we have electricity and mobile devices, we are all set! We have music to listen to while we all take turns helping our local communities grow food. Tada!

The future is really, really cool. It looks a lot like Burning Man-meets-the Oregon Country Fair-meets-Capitalism.

future
Credit: World Changing

April 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Leave a comment

Hey America – You Can Do It!

Ben Franklin

Hey America,

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a revolution that has started in Portland.

It’s called Bright Neighbor – and we are starting franchises all over America. Back in the 1700’s, we won the Revolutionary War with money help from France and mothers that kept their children in line and got them to work doing what was necessary… which is farming and keeping the community safe.

It’s time we put kids to work in the fields so they can learn how to farm – but make it fun! Let them jam out to i-pods while learning about food systems and soil – they have to if they want to survive the future. We can bus people (families) out to farms and let them stay in Yurts and housing so they can do hands-on learning. Or we can start farming within the cities themselves – wherever we can. It’s just reality, folks. We need to cooperate at the neighborhood soil level and start taking inventory of what land we have and share it with our friends.

After all, wouldn’t you rather lend your stuff and labor to friends over people you don’t know? MySpace and Facebook are good tools, but they don’t focus to help people survive and thrive in this messed up capitalism system. We can fix this place, but it’s going to take some New England style patriotism for a while.

We need to break out the revolutionary uniforms, get some drummer boys and flutes, and parade through the streets to rally ourselves. It’s time for purple-blooded Americans to take a stand for themselves. We are leading the charge in Portland, Oregon. Here is how:

By connecting rural lifestyle values such as growing and preserving food to hungry city dwellers who are paying to convert their lawns to gardens, Bright Neighbor is helping grow a new bull market – which is urban agriculture. If you are selling soil, then you are making MONEY. If you sell honey, you are making MONEY. If you throw $10 worth of seeds in the ground, it can net you $650 worth of produce!

We did not win the first revolution without the help of farmers, and we will not win the newest American Revolution without farmers either. That means Uncle Sam needs to stop buying frozen food from grocery store shelves and start growing, storing, and preparing his own meals at home. And if you don’t have access to land, one of your friends does.

Using Bright Neighbor, Portland hipsters are asking each other what crops they are growing rather than what music they are listening to. The techno-geek culture has merged with permaculturists, master gardeners, and we are now connecting with rural dwellers to reshape Oregon’s new economy. Our system is even functioning as an emergency back-up communications network for when power goes out to connect neighbors electronically, which means businesses and communities are moving beyond what present city governments throughout Oregon have been able to accomplish.

So get with the program America! We can get a Bright Neighbor system up and running in your town, it just takes $5,000 to get one started. Why not ask your local mayor to look into it? They just got a boatload of money from President Obama to help people, and Bright Neighbor is helping people. We can help you too.

February 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm 2 comments

How To Profit From America’s New Shopping List

Barack Obama Shopping List

Hey America, if you are paying attention, you can make a lot of money right now!

President Obama just told us his shopping list for his three year plan (funny, it takes three years for fruit trees to produce). Obama is about to get a check for $825,000,000,000 dollars and he wants to buy all sorts of cool new things for America, such as:

10,000 school renovations – Great for all the folks who can help kids learn about chickens and growing vegetables and neat stuff like that

Improved local community communications networks – Hey, I sell those things!

75% of Federal building to be more energy efficient – You mean like ride sharing? Light bulbs? Turning computers off?

2.5 Million weatherized homes – Wow, whoever makes bricks and insulation from waste plastic bags & stuff will make a killing!

Double America’s renewable energy – Woo hoo! I sell hooch making machines! I’m gonna be rich!

Anyway, I am writing about this because the secret is, and always will be, to be a master of markets for things people really need. That means neighborhood collectives can team up and go legally harvest firewood and split it up among the community, where people volunteer their labor in exchange for good and services they need.

Money, as we know it, is just a means of representing value. What has real value to you? Probably the same things that have value to everyone else: Food, shelter, transportation, water, electricity, friends, resilient neighborhoods and communities, skills and stuff the community can use.

That’s the power behind Bright Neighbor. We offer a machine that helps fix community economies and ecology. Think about it this way…

Chickens are egg machines.
Gardens are fruit and vegetable machines.
Trees are fruit and nut machines.
Worms and mushrooms are soil fixing machines.

Bright Neighbor is a communications system, a carbon reduction machine, a money saving machine, and a community repair machine all-in-one. We have implemented it in governments, businesses, faith communities, private corporations, and with individual community organizers who want to fix their community. Our customer base now ranges in all of these markets, and if President Obama wants to buy any of these things, Bright Neighbor is one of America’s post-petroleum startups now open for business.

Three cheers for the Three Year Plan! I hope you make oodles of money.

– Randy White

PS: If you are interested in setting up a Bright Neighbor community communications system, please fill out this form.

January 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

The Mother Of All Crossroads

Bright Neighbor brave

My buddy Sam Drevo is a world class kayaker. He has navigated some of the fiercest waters on planet earth while simultaneously making love to and taunting mother nature. Sam looks at rapids ahead, and paddles straight into what could be the last moments of his life every time. It is his confidence, training, and humility that always allow him to come through alive, even if he knocks his head along the way. At least he has a plan for rough waters, and knows how to navigate new, uncharted territory like an expert.

And Sam has known adventurers who have made mistakes and paid with their lives. We are all fallible, right? You know you yourself have made miscalculations in the past just like everyone else, and things haven’t gone according the exact way you thought they might go.

Oh sure, you must have been smart about your plans, made all your mental details, laid out your strategy, and went for it, right? You were plotting, you see. We all plot every day, because we have to in order to survive. It could be anything from what to do in case you wash your cell phone and lose all your stuff, get that hot person to go out with you, or try to get away with something naughty. It could have be anything from trying to fake your own death, to helping fix your community. As long as you have a plan.

And right now, it seems many people have been caught off guard with this economic hardship and are just now scrambling to make a plan.

Who usually makes the plans for you? Is it your faith leader? Your boss? Your spouse? Henry Kissinger?

As we continue along the timeline of our lives, we are at the mother of all crossroads in human history. Everyone knows something really, really big is going on, but no one seems to know who to listen to about it anymore. Even as Obama takes his place on the throne, I am finding people asking themselves “what is my plan, and do I know exactly what to do?”

Miscalculation

We can certainly make up for our past mistakes, we absolutely must. We blew it, America. We screwed up, bigtime. I have screwed up , you have screwed up, we all screwed up. Now we are facing the consequences, and we need plans that are not only ready to go, but that are already working.

As we each can at least pitch in at the local level, we need to be asking ourselves:

– Do I have a good relationship with my neighbors?
– What skills do I have that can help the community?
– What can I do to help others that will make me feel better?
– Do I really need all this stuff I have acquired to be happy?
– How will I make rent / the mortgage this month?

In globalism, we are expected to either be a producer or a consumer. You either make something, or you use something. Then there are the middlemen – called markets. And it is the markets that are collapsing, along with the ability for people to earn money as markets cease. If you get laid off, and no one else will hire you, what are you going to do to survive?

It is for this reason that I created Bright Neighbor. We are setting up communities across the country right now, and we are here to help governments, communities, businesses, and faith groups. We are already doing it, and are teaming up with Powell’s Books to offer the new Bright Neighbor University lecture series.

In April, I will be presenting an hour long workshop called “Lawns to Gardens: 10 Strategies For Thriving Through The Recession“. Or a title like that. More details to come!

– Randy White

BONUS VIDEO:
Sam Drevo and the Down The River Cleanup Crew

January 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm 3 comments

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