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    A few photos as an impression of the road I am traveling. So if you want to have a glimpse of some parts and times of my life you are welcome to see what I have seen.

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November 28, 2006


Simonne, The Netherlands

Sorry, I quess not because we're also the most selfish creatures on this planet.


Hi Simonne!

I think you are right. We are either the most selfish or perhaps the most greedy and gluttonous species. Or maybe we are the only species with a strong self-destructive streak. Or all the above. In either case, we have the dubious honor to be the only species that destroys his own habitat to the point of it maybe becoming unlivable.


Came across your site from your comments at Housewife4Palestine. You have quite a remarkable story; thank you for sharing it. Your other pieces show a reflectiveness in too short a supply with many other people. My friend's Theory of Everything (TOE) says that we are genetically selfish and aggressive due to our ancesters the Cro-Magnons, who when push came to shove, essentially wiped the Neanderthals off the map to save their skins. We'll have to fully put into use our higher brain functions if we are ever to get past this genetic legacy. My friend thinks it's impossible (I'll tell you about our 80/20 rule theory sometime), and I think even if it is the only other option is to give up.

As to your observations of urbanized life, I found this recently on a change in how we see our urbanized areas in regards to sustainability.

My friend says it's a pipe dream because people in close proximity causes a lot of friction. I tend to agree at least in regards to public spaces as one jerk can ruin it for everyone (80/20 rule in action), but again, the only other option seems to just let things continue on as before. Hope to comment more when I'm able. Best regards to you.


Hi Lance,

Thanks for stopping by, for the interesting link and for your kind words. We are definitely going to need our higher brain functions to solve this and may other problems. Although in the meanwhile, it looks like we ar e losing the battle to our ancient Cro-Magnum brain stems. I dont know why but Bush keeps popping into my mind when I see the word Cro Magnum. Hahaha

Come by again.


Bush comes to mind too although I wonder if that is being a bit harsh....on the Cro-Magnons.



HAHAHA! Good one.


Hi lennybruce, :)

i guess if i live in ancient times, humans might not pollute as much. it's so easy to pollute in this age. even the small food wrappings, packagings etc. if everyone throws it away daily.. it could be scary, but i don't know what to do after i open my crackers. :T

maybe people who live in the forest are the smartest of the pack? they're resourceful, they also seem to not need money. :R


Hi Nisa,

I really like your writing style... 'dont know what to do after I open my crackers.' From my visits to Australia I know the aboriginals can live in the forest with nothing and make that work. Maybe we can learn from them how to live in harmony with our nature.


It has long been a peeve of mine that more packaging is not made multifunction rather than purely disposable. We need more reusable containers with mix and match lids and other useful characteristics as far as portability, quality of seal, carrying and storage applications.

I wrote a lengthy piece somewhere on the Civil Defense lessons of Katrina and if the manufacturers worked more in conjunction with the end user, a good deal of waste could be reduced. We've done it with cartoon character jelly glasses, butter dishes, reusable tins, etc. This modular concept should be expanded. Make more of the packaging long-term functional rather than immediate candidate for the trash.

The link I mentioned talks about the need for container standardization to maximaze transport efficiency. Imagine if in a true disaster emergency you had ready made modules that were designed to fit neatly into larger containers. Medicines and First-Aid supplies, water and rations, personal gear, important documents, etc. could be gathered at close to a moments notice into the proper sized container for the emergency at hand and readied for transport.

Other materials left behind would at least be kept somewhat safe from the elements (the flood damage protection being the most obvious) as well as in a true wide-spread disaster, might be available for someone else needing survival goods in your absence.

It's a small piece of the puzzle solution but one that, if nothing else, would help establish that the govt fear-mongers really were interested in your well-being and not just trying to sell you on the latest survival widget to come down the pike.


Sorry....make that ""


Hi Lance,

Nice to see you again with some smart suggestions. Given the amount we consume, and given the way most things are way over-packaged, packaging is surely a major source of resource use in terms of ingredients, energy, transportation and disposal. Every little bit helps, as you say, and many of these problems will be solved that way and not with one magic bullet.


I know that done the right way, we (the industrialized nations) could help lift the standard of living up by our "garbage" alone. Refuse and recycled plastics could be molded into modular panels to create shelter domes along the designs of R. Buckminster Fuller. These could be part of prepackaged emergency relief shipments and could serve the function of tents and quanset huts.

Additionally, cargo container housing would be practical for a large part of the globe. Many designs are on par with standard finish construction. I feel a pilot program could be done in New Orleans since the units are perfect for above ground construction. With the proper support frame, a first level carport or a shaded play area would provide an excellent safety buffer in case of flood. Check out some of the exceptional design ideas at the following links:


Hey Lance,

I can see you are quite knowledgeable on and committed to this subject. Wow! Thanks for the links as well. One of my consulting clients is a large energy company with many social projects that have to do with CO2, recycling, environmental balance, etc. Your input is starting to give me some new ideas. Thank you very much.



It's one of the things I value most about the exchange of ideas on the net; someone may see something that sparks an idea in them that they take and run with. It reminds me of a statement that Kurt Vonnegut once made about how our existence here would be viewed. He said, "We could have done so much better." I appreciate the dialog you've provided to help bring that about.



Thank you for your kind words but more for your participation. I hope you come back from time to time.


You can count on that, Lenny. Love seeing familiar names and faces around the webiverse.


Not to beat a dead horse but I found the commentary I was looking for.


KATRINA: Ideas for Future Disaster Reaction: R&D

Thanks for this opportunity to offer some suggestions that have been percolating since 9/11. The government showed it handled things pretty much according to their agenda and that everyone else's need were largely secondary. Additionally, we have seen that all sorts of priorities will come into play that override what should be done (rescue vs. protection of property, basic needs - food, medical, shelter, transportation, securing of a crime scene; one of the biggest failures of 9/11).

The first thing that came to mind was trying to determine a "one-size fits all" strategy. That can largely be accomplished by having a multi-stage plan. Your response to an event such as losing power and/or communication would be different from an immediate evacuation. What it requires is looking at the DHS personal emergency preparedness site at and breaking it down into manageable chunks. Be ready to prioritize *your* response and act quickly and effectively.

Your 1st priority is obviously your life and the lives of your loved ones. Have several plans for the different types of emergencies. Have prearranged communication and response models. An emergency situation occurring while you are at work is different from if it strikes when you are at home. Gather your family if possible when necessary but give them the basic instructions to fend for themselves if they find themselves separated. Also, figure out how you will deal with pets. It was sad that emergency personnel would not allow in certain situations family pets. It traumatized many of the children and was not always absolutely necessary (and might have been useful to prevent trauma and when all else is lost, used for food). It seems an area at the Superdome could have been cordoned of for pets until the point that it ceased to be practical.

George Carlin does a bit about how all our lives revolve around what we do with our "stuff" and how much of it we take with us to do other stuff. Create survival/escape kits for different level emergencies/evacuation. Imagine if you could pack one as a victim of Katrina knowing what was about to unfold. Create check-lists. Remember special needs both short term and long term (toilet needs, first-aid kits, medicines, prescription & med-records, extras like glasses, med-aids, etc child needs - diapers, comforting stuffed animal, outerwear.) Have duplicate back packs/duffel bags tagged and labelled for emergency response level with ID info, cash, bankcard, pens, notepads, markers, tel #'s, maps, compass, shoes, clothes, water, energy foods, emergency band and 2-way radios, flashlights, extra batteries in addition to those devices powered by cranking (I have a cell-phone crank charger but could I find it when I need it?).

Do not forget workers safety gear; gloves, eye protection, dust masks, sturdy boots, tool kits (pocket, travel, and heavy duty), trash bags, plastic sheeting, rope, chains, saw, scuba mask/swim goggles for submerged tasks. You also need to think about weaponry; knives, bats, and firearms depending on the threat. I think it is a sad realization that if emergency personnel trusted more Americans with firearms in lawless situations, much anarchy could be avoided. It might not be perfect, but leaving the helpless in the power of thugs seems insane when the level of devastation could be so severe as to make normal planning meaningless. Maybe in the same way that First Aid and CPR certifications are given, maybe emergency circumstance permits to carry should be issued to allow open possession of firearms by evacuating citizens.

Bush is always saying he "trusts" the American people. Put up or shut up I say. Next is attempts at reasonable protection of property, assets, and records. This must be addressed beforehand as panicked attemps after the fact could seriously risk your safety. Waterproof/fireproof storage, storage of records and valuables out of the area, and other contingency plans created to deal the most likely threats you face (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) as well as those more difficult to anticipate (toxic, bio, nuclear, complete breakdown of social order and infrastructure). If your home is to be a fortress, generators and reserve fuel seem sensible as well as reserves for eating requirements (short term, long term, and on the move), transportation (vehicle - truck, bus, car, motorcycle, boat, aircraft, bicycle, hiking, etc).

If the water, power or plumbing is out, dig a latrine or use disposable containers for latrine duty; capped liter bottles, liquid detergent jugs, and 5-gallon buckets would certainly be preferable to the health hazards created by open wastes. If you feel fairly confident that you can take care of the needs of your family adequately, you need to consider how much help you can provide your community and/or the areas most affected. If you have extra food, water, blankets, shelter/transportation/skills/materials to offer, do so in a manner that does not put yourself or your immediate charges at unreasonably increased risk.

There is always the possibility of more of the same or worse after the initial crisis. That being said, coordinate with your neighbors and community beforehand and afterwards. Share what you can in planning and resources with others (you may be in a situation where you might have to depend on others to do so for you). Create/have checklists for others to use to inventory or gather essential supplies.

If you have to abandon your home for any period of time, post something to assist stragglers to find what they might need in order to discourage them from ransacking or destroying what may be retrievable by you at a later date. No reason to go insane on this but remember that the level of emergency could be absolutely total with any number of normal safeguards being erased.

These are basics that can found just about anywhere in greater detail but the main thing that disappoints me in regards to government taking the lead in preparedness is that we should make our packaging sturdy, modular and interchangeable. Think of how many of us had collections of cartoon glasses from jelly jars. Other useful and portable packaging should be created; plastics containers suitable for water, bandages, food, etc. Some should be seal-able and watertight, with holes or clips to put a belt through to carry them, interlocking to make something else; ground-cover, bed, chair, shade, etc. Industrial plastic and packaging items should match up with racks, carriers, fasteners and couplers from somewhere else.

I was impressed with the resourcefulness of flood victims that used store material handling bins and carts to transport the sick, invalid, young and survival supplies. More of that should be available/created with adaptations for multiple usages from food, medical, shelter and transport. Imagine an abundance of construction couplers/adapters that could turn tubing or pipe into geodesic domes placed on pallets grouped together to be up off the ground for basic emergency shelter from wind, rain or sun, as well as affording occasional privacy. Rope clasps, buckles and carabiners to use for makeshift blanket tents and securing all types of gear/essentials/belongings for transport. My bike tires crack in the LA smog but a liter bottle is indestructible. Accessories such as funnels that screw onto common sizes of bottles should be available for efficient filling and mixing. Adaptors and couplers should also be plentiful; a cut-off detergent jug coupled with another one would make a more sanitary urinal of fecal receptacle.

They try to sell us overpriced individual kits and storage tubs and containers but it might be worth the cost to market almost everything is truly functional and reusable containers. The abilty to protect their contents from the elements, store, stack, and identify, as well as quality generic labels to indicate perishables, edible, type of gear/item/med supply, and most importantly waste/toxic material. The foul conditions at the Superdome could have been more effectively deal with if instead of open sewage, wastes could have been in sealed containers to be disposed of away from the living areas and more readily by the cleanup personnel in the aftermath. It seems a bit of a bother, but to fail to deal with these basic human functions can lead to outbreaks of sickness and disease that would only worsen the nature of the threat to life and safety.

The other thing about cheap and practical storage in abundance is that if we are more organized in our daily lives and emergency situations, we can protect our own better, be more able to assist others, prevent as much damage as possible when the difference between little or no damage and complete loss is often how and where it was stored.

DHS and FEMA need to urge manufacturers to create as much packaging and coordinated survival items because we have seen that when things seriously break down, some of the most simple and basic resources can prevent needless death and suffering.

Wouldn't you like to think that if you personally couldn't tend to the needs of your family, there would be enough readily available to provide for at least a subsistence level of existence? If not, maybe they need to just come clean and admit that there are the unlucky/unprepared victims, the unfortunate and underclass that do not deserve to live with or without help.

Posted by LanceThruster on 05 September, 2005 6:01:52 PM PDT

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