My camera, ~1000 pictures, and two near-full notebooks are gone, with small and diminishing hope of return. They were in a red drysack that got lifted from my backpack somewhere along the road from Kunming （昆明） to Dali（大理). The camera can be replaced with a month’s work, but the memories, the posts planned, and the sunrise photos of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the chance to be, are gone.
I have a chance now to try and reconstruct some of what was lost, as my friend Chris DeLacy and I spend a few weeks in 大理. Here, we’ve become the oh-so-professional chefs of a western food restaurant called The Cuckoo’s Nest. I’m also working part-time on the construction of a permaculture house in a village down the road. I plan to work here, practice my Chinese, and get to know this Chinese hippy town until February 15th, when I’ll head to 长沙(Changsha, Hunan) to celebrate spring festival with my students.
I’ve mentioned the Earth Policy Institute’s Books, which pull together decades worth of interdisciplinary research to reveal the path that we’re on now as one that is leading to a slow but accelerating collapse of our civilisation. Far from being hopeless, though, the institute proposes a clear and detailed “Plan B,” a prescription to save our society and put us on a path that will allow us to live indefinitely on this earth. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it now: I think these books should be required reading for every literate person. They communicate in an easy-to-understand way the biggest challenges of our time, and give hope for their resolution. Start with “Plan B 4.0” (available for free download here and for purchase here)
I’m planning an ongoing series that paraphrases the most striking and important information that these books communicate, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.