Get Ready! Here's Why Resilience Is More Important Than Ever

After 8 months of reporting only on the coronavirus pandemic, it’s high time to pivot and look at the other major trends that will shape the next several decades of our lives, as many of them will have just as much impact – or more – than covid-19.

In this video, Chris makes the argument for pursuing resilience vs growth – both in our individual lives as well as a society.

The blind pursuit of ever more “growth” is not only mathematically illogical, but it’s destroying our future as a species. We need to find better ways to live within our economic, energetic and ecological means.

The good news is there are many, many great models that exist today for doing so. We just need to decide to embrace them, and discard the current ones that aren’t serving our interests.


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To learn more about the upcoming seminar, including how to register for it, click here.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Adam and Chris,
I really enjoyed the video! Warm atmosphere combined with crisp clear messages for what world to create. So lovely also for the experience with the nature in the background.
I’m so much looking forward to attending the conference. In my personal case, it’s more relevant than ever since I just started up as a chairman of a foundation that owns 54 ac. of property of which 15 ac. is ecological farmland. We’re based in the Skåne region in Sweden. We are already a community, and are now setting the strategy for how to expand this community going forward. This means that I’m also very focused on the complex task on how to build a great community. I hope, going forward, to learn more and share my own learnings around this topic at Peakprosperity.


Thank you for the video.
I am probably wrong, but outside my window in VA there are white flowered plants that look like those in the field in which you speak, and they are White Snakeroot, poisonous to people and cattle and which killed President Lincoln’s wife.
Also think about battery chainsaws. I have a couple. They are much easier to use than gas ones. The biggest Milwaukee battery chainsaw is equal to about any normal consumer chainsaw, it is a bit heavy. But there are others, Skill, Oregon, etc.
Mike in NW VA

That was a pretty uplifting video right there guys. I’ve been traveling a very similar path for the last decade. Our 10 year anniversary on the homestead was this month. Like Evie (spelling), I didn’t know pigs went to the bathroom in one spot until I got some. It’s been a very uplifting and transformational journey no doubt. We aren’t super hard core live off the land types, but through plenty of trial and error we have developed enough knowledge to have much more resilience than previously. The 10 year head start on fruit and nut trees is also pretty nice to have under the belt.
Every year is a new journey and this year we tried a greenhouse, Cayuga ducks, and some Boer goats. We had to name one of the goats Houdini, but in the end found an electric top line curtails mischief quite quickly. They basically just eat everything I don’t want growing in my pasture. Curious what they taste like when they go to freezer camp this fall. Hopefully as good as lamb, which we have heard. Signed up for the digital conference today and am tickled with all the talent you’re bringing to the table this year. I may have a bit of a crush on Danielle DiMartino booth too…shhhh.
Thanks guys!

On the topic of resiliency from International Storms, I just saw this just now -

“There is one story that may be bigger than the elections, the riots, and the pandemic, but it will take a few years to play out. The U.S. will convert China’s $1.2 trillion of Treasury notes to a trust fund for COVID-19 victims and for economic damages. Bye-bye China reserves.”

Jim Rickards just posted it on his twitter stream.^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

He is backing up his statement further along the stream.

IF it is true, what are some of the consequences? (Especially immediate vs. slightly longer term)

Thanks. 2020/09/16
Oregon woman holds suspected arsonist at gunpoint as wildfires rage
Every woman needs to own her own firearm and vehicle.

If your state has a right to repair movement, suggest you support it. Planned obsolescence is a disease that needs to be stamped out. And as for landfilling all this toxic stuff because it can’t be repaired or recycled - not a pretty sight.

I just started up as a chairman of a foundation that owns 54 ac. of property of which 15 ac. is ecological farmland. We're based in the Skåne region in Sweden. We are already a community, and are now setting the strategy for how to expand this community going forward.
Pollux - we should definitely compare notes! Evie & I are in the process of 'holding center' as a community forms. Sure there are rules and norms to establish and maybe even enforce, but the bigger part is attracting people to a coherent philosophy. That's how it seems to me. You can plant potatoes out of fear of food insecurity, or because you want to supply a local food bank. Or maybe because you are building soil and its the potato's turn in that plot this year. Or maybe its because your goal is to help return carbon to the soil from the atmosphere? Each is a different reason, a different philosophy. Each will attract very different people with different goals and skills. So the main question centers around your 'why.' Why are you forming a community? For what purposes? I am forming a community because the major trends all say we're collectively headed in the wrong direction. Truthfully, the current direction is really good at filling in the bottom two layers of Maslow's hierarchy of needs - affording food has never been easier in human history on a percentage of time basis - but it's just horrible at offering opportunities on the higher rungs. The top two layers require Integrity. There's none to be had being a participant in a system that lacks all integrity. You can be a great person, doing great work, but if you're still a cog in a culture that is carelessly destroying itself and the future, it's not easy to remain in alignment with core values that center on love, non-violence, service to all life, and being conscientious. Possible, but not easy. So I am keenly interested in how a community can form and then persist. What needs to be in place? What sorts of rituals (beyond birthday celebrations and the major holidays)? What agreements? How do we resolve conflicts...what's the process? How do we encourage each other to grow internally as we age so that we can become true elders full of wisdom? If I had to pick a few qualities, I'd pick people who are curious, have a natural work ethic, are very hard to offend, and with a high emotional IQ. Those last two might be related.

Thanks for commenting on this Barbra. I’ve never heard of it.
I hope somebody takes this into a “right to black-market-health-care” as well - it’s crazy our pets get better care than many of us due to bad law.

I looked at this closely about two decades ago, for some of the same reasons. My conclusions:
1. What needs to be in place? Only external “glue” or “need” will bind non-blood-related people together. This is an evolutionary reality. Read up on the rule of 150 (Dunbar’s number).
2. What sorts of rituals (beyond birthday celebrations and the major holidays)? It’s very funny that you accept birthdays as a “given” that everyone would naturally agree upon. I think the “celebration of self” first started with the Romans, and every culture that goes that route soon dies out. The culture you flee is the one culture that celebrates birthdays like no other! It’s a wholly modern/commercial thing, and any culture with lots of kids couldn’t really do birthdays very much (we don’t do them for this reason). With big families they get impractical, there is one every week. Then regarding “holidays”: that comes from the root “Holy Day”. No accident. Religion is a requirement for any long-lasting culture; you really can’t have group holidays in a secular culture for very long; note in the US St. Pats fading and CincoDM growing. Actually, you can’t have secular culture for long, anyway. It don’t breed and must import people who do.
3. What agreements? Even the Amish follow US law. I don’t see why contract law couldn’t work here. But again, sub-cultures use religion here, even the Amish have bishops who control local rules.
4. How do we resolve conflicts…what’s the process? Again, mere US law. The group won’t last long anyway; without religion or family or at the minimum race, there will be no moral glue to hold people together. It’s a dream, not a reality.
5. How do we encourage each other to grow internally as we age? Not relevant to my mind; methinks the focus should probably be on group unity not the details.
6. I’d pick people who are curious, natural work ethic, very hard to offend, high emotional IQ. I think this idea is kinda silly in the context of community. What happens when people change? Grow? Think about it: the minute you get to “pick” who’s in and who is out of “your” community, there really isn’t a community at all. As I said above, there has gotta the glue of family, religion, and race. Also, “emotional IQ” has been pretty much debunked as unscientific from what I’ve read. However, straight-up IQ is very measurable, and without a doubt a group of high-IQ folk could probably cobble together a half-generation lasting group. Which sounds like all that is being sought after, anyway.
Myself, were I interested in actually succeeding, I would simply pick a religion that is close to Western culture and unify based on that even if I didn’t believe in it personally (Catholics have the longest Western track record for here and among a large diversity of races/cultures…I think the pope is the longest-lasting institution in history). But no matter what, the biggest factors that need to be addressed are family, children, religion, art, and food. This would have to be agreed upon or found pretty fast or the whole thing is toast (which is likely is anyway).

I would love to compare notes in the coming years. Building a sustainable community with all the elements Adam and you mentions in the book Prosper is what I am trying to contribute with. There are so many elements to experiment around and learn from as we develop as a community.
One necessary element that I focus on right now as a leader is to envision how a ”Bright future is possible”. For the community I am responsible for, and also in the long run for humanity. I am very aware of the many trends that are moving in the wrong direction. But I also strongly believe that the current and future crisis stenming from these multiple crisis, will give individuals, groups and societies, an opportunity to step up. We can develop an even better civilisation, with an altered belief system, going forward.

on the sward are belted Galloway and Devon, or is she a red angus?

Chris, I want to encourage you to read Elinor Ostrom’s academic work on the structural side of this question of how people can work together in common to care for a shared resource. It’s an analysis based on game theory, and she shows it operating at 3 levels of hierarchy. She pointed to 7 necessary characteristics. Along the way, she comments on provisioning-appropriating resources, rule formation-rule cheating, sanctioning-forgiving, public processes, etc.
“Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action,” Ostrom, Elinor (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
There’s a growing body of material on leading culture change in corporations that has also been applied to voluntary groups, such as worship communities. The “father” of that work in the business realm is John P. Kotter. You might peruse his books.
I think that since land is at the heart of the kind of community you want to form, your celebrations (hence, culture) need to be tied to the cycles of the land - which is pretty darned old school. So, for example, celebration days can include solstice and equinox where the emphasis is on community fun and letting go. Also celebratory: the day before or day of first spring tilling or planting or seed-sowing in pots; first fruits; harvest home; final day of caring for the soil before winter… all of these can be upbeat, but the underlying point is to mark the calendar of the soil and its productivity. Ad-hoc moments to mark in some shared way: successful birth of a new animal, welcome of a new member, bumper crop, provision of new equipment/tools. (Why not take a moment to “christen” a new tractor with a name and a shared toast?)
Building culture, like changing culture, is a process of identifying metrics and breaking them down into measurable targets, then celebrating those small wins along the way, and marking the milestones as they come up. Dealing with the cycle of nature, many of those can be built into the calendar - maybe not as specific days but approximate, allowing nature to define the “moment.”
Attention to the key values of members can lead to the spontaneous discovery of other kinds of moments to share; encouraging a spirit of spontaneous “marking” of meaningful events, however small, that don’t take away from tasks but a few moments, can build satisfaction, energy, and pleasure. It goes along with recognizing individual, team, and community-wide achievements - metrics met or exceeded, challenges met and resolved, even lessons gleaned from failures and codified as best practices for the replay.
Also think about rules for sharing resources based around lessons from Ostrom’s book. Key, I think:
Group-defined rules governing “provisioning” of resources as a condition for “appropriating” resources; and rules of appropriation so that everyone downstream has a fair share.
Group-defined sanctions for “cheating” the rules and norms, and a public, shared process for airing conflict and resolving conflict, and for resolving cases of “cheating.” (See Ostrom for examples of how that’s played out in voluntary groups that have lasted generations.)
One more, based in having lived in several communities and having visited many more: Some clear group-generated rules about sexuality and pair bonding. Failure to be clear about that is a really good way to destroy a community quickly. Or to suck up lots of emotional capital on some one or three people’s “trust issues”.
Also: look at what’s comparatively neglected. The kitchen in disarray, bathrooms not maintained, shared spaces becoming cluttered or dusty; any of these becoming the main work of a few members but shirked by some others - these things point to underlying issues. I found I could tell a lot about the health of a community or group house just by observing the state of the kitchen, and discovering how they handled food, especially ownership and sharing. (A community that doesn’t break bread together has little in common; eat at least one meal a week, preferably one a day, together - prepared and shared equitably - to promote and affirm a sense of tribe.)

Also, "emotional IQ" has been pretty much debunked as unscientific from what I've read.
Ah. No. Emotional IQ a very real thing and very well described. Some people are aware of their inner landscape and the degree to which their issues are theirs and theirs alone. Other people assign absolute truth to their inner emotions and project them upon the outer world, especially upon those around them. There's a huge body of work on this stretching back thousands of years, with perhaps the most famous being Marcus Aurelius and an entire lineage of philosophy practiced by Stoics. If a Karen is someone who reacts unconsciously and very unpleasantly to, well, practically everything and anything, then a Marcus would be someone who responds thoughtfully and in a controlled manner no matter how profound the apparent insult. For example: Who would you rather have in your community? Someone who flies off the handle when they perceive the slightest challenge to their sense of ego or when they feel that how the world is not granting them something when they believe the world owes them something? Or someone who is unperturbed by the antics of those around them and strives each day to become a better master of themselves and their inner landscape? I know my answers to those questions...  

As always, thanks for sharing your wisdom VTGothic.
I like the “kitchen test.”
My “strong work ethic” is really code-speak for “can easily see 8 things that needs attending to from any standing position and attends to each of them when they are done doing whatever it is they are already doing.”
Some people are doers. Some are not. I prefer doers. Just my preference. And I can measure contribution in many ways beyond using muscle power to move physical items about. Thoughtfulness takes energy, planning, and sitting with someone as they process and clear their inner landscape are all ‘doings.’
If (or when) the ‘doing’ to ‘not doing’ ratio slips out of balance is when resentment builds. I vastly prefer to live with and around people who operate in a way that this particular resentment doesn’t drain the energy from the system.
Plenty of other ways to have energy leak out of a community, might as well use a pail without any obvious and easily controlled leaks.

I’m not sure I have anything novel or particularly interesting to add. But I have always found the concept of “community” very interesting. And the concept of building a community has always tickled me a bit. I’ve always had this inner voice that says “This cannot be done. You are either born into one or one arises out of necessity but it is almost always organic. Never planned and executed.”
But I’ve no idea where this notion comes from. I’ve never examined my thoughts on it.
OTOH I’ll admit that I belong to a pretty strong community. And I was born into it. Hillbilly/Mountaineer culture is not often taken seriously, and it’s an object of derision when it is often enough. But it is real and, honestly, it has shaped me from my childhood. Patriotism runs strong here but if we were honest most of us think of ourselves as West Virginians first. Then you have a hierarchy of communities that differ from one to another. Hometown, church, family, that kind of thing. And they kind of support one another. I’m not sure that you could separate them all into granular “communities”.
I’m glad I belong to a real community. I don’t envy those who don’t have one. But I will admit that just because you are a member of one now does not mean you cannot lose it. There’s a price to gain admission and another to retain membership. And there is a line between “us” and “them”. I’m sorry if this offends but it is the truth. That line is fluid I think. And contrary to popular belief that line of separation can be crossed. In both directions. Culture seems to trump most other lines that have been brought up in this thread. But culture is also a fluid thing. Ours is strong but not like it used to be.
A thought that keeps popping into my head as an example on the opposite end of the scale, is the old TV series on Easy Company. Now there’s a group of men who definitely belonged to a community. They weren’t born into it. The price of admission was sky high and their exploits legendary. I witnessed a small example of this kind of thing with my own father who was a proud member of the “8th and I” presidential guard company of the Marine Corps back when that was a hand picked outfit. They stayed in touch, helped each other out when they could, and have had regular get-togethers long after leaving the corps. Shared pain and danger I guess.
Anyway I will follow this thread and look forward to the insights from other commenters.

Thank you, Chris, for directing our attention to building cultural/spiritual capital. It’s very important to a prosperous future.
The HEART Principles is most useful when recited daily as a reminder of the importance of empathic understanding, acceptance of the other person (not necessarily agreement with), and compassionate action.
"The HEART Principles

  • Hear and understand me.
  • Even if you disagree, please don't make me wrong.
  • Acknowledge the greatness within me.
  • Remember to look for my loving intentions.
  • Tell the truth with compassion.
These all speak to looking past our hurt and disappointment, or our need to be right, to seeing the person within, the beloved child of God. Conversely, when we are the target of meanness or anger, we can look past the words and actions of the other person and imagine the hurt or fear that underlies their behavior, and maybe even let that understanding motivate us to respond with compassion rather than mirroring their anger. Of course, this is never easy." from Bethany UMC Allies Newsletter January 31, 2020   I hope this is useful to our PP community.

I’m thinking B F Skinner’s community, Walden II!
Skinner married Eve, and was a entrepenural medicinal farmer:
During one summer, Doc and Skinner started an elderberry business to gather berries and sell them door to door. They had found that out when they picked the ripe berries, the unripe ones came off the branches too, so they built a device that was able to separate them. The device was a bent piece of metal to form a trough. They would pour water down the trough into a bucket, and the ripe berries would sink into the bucket and the unripe ones would be pushed over the edge to be thrown away.[17]
The behavioral framework is like a religion, a liberal scientific one…

on community

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”