Ok, so it finally happened.
We knew it could happen, and some things were ready, but most were not.
After a week of noise and a mixture of paralysis and ineffective shaking, it's official: the last cargo with external food entered the harbour yesterday. It seems unlikely that there will be more ships in the next few days.
Those in the know say we need to get ready for major disruption. An euphemism for "no food in the foreseable future".
Of course, there are those who don't accept it. They are active negotiating with the country next door, pulling from their database of commercial contacts, looking at who will be an ally of whom. Everybody is looking at how to stock up, but there's not much to stock up.
Those who could help us are using whatever cards they have up their sleves to help themselves, and not even getting good results at that.
WOOO. We're On Our Own. So what do we do?
"I've been thinking, and this is what we need to do", I tell my networks, both formal and informal. "We need to look at the problem and get ready for the worst. Ready for NO FOOD IN MONTHS. And NOT MUCH ENERGY FOR WATER, IN MONTHS."
There's a bunch of people who have been learning how to use Vinay Gupta's "6 ways to die" framework, which I had translated into our local language. Here's the thing:
- "We won't have problems with Too Hot or Too Cold. Our climate is forgiving. So not 6-ways, but 4-ways only." People display wry smiles when I say this, but it's the truth.
- "We need to find out how much water there is, who controls it, and what resources we have to keep it clean and drinkable. We need to stop wasting it, and tell people to fill whatever deposits they have at home, because power may make water unmovable from tank to tap. We need to dig out our information on filters, and start collecting that porous stone from certain mountains that will help us have clean water."
They look at me and seem to be thinking "hey, we're glad we have a mad man among us".
I'd feel almost flattered if we didn't have so much to do. First thing is to instill HOPE. "We can get out of this. I've run the numbers, and we can."
- "There's also agriculture, but we'll deal with that tomorrow. First, we need to count the food we have, and block looting as much as we can. And yes, gather folks who know about growing food. And, immediately, folks who know how much animal food we have. We may want to eat chicken today, but save hens so there are eggs tomorrow."
HOPE is again the issue. We need to tell people how we'll need each other for many months. Those who don't contribute are not specially good people. I'm almost scared at saying this, cos I wouldn't like to see mobs lynching people who may be innocent or just too scared or have small children, but I'm not sure what's the best way forward.
- "We need to give people all the true information, and enough guidance so that they will self-organise as much as possible. We need knowledgeable people leading those with nothing useful to do. Old gardeners telling useless lawyers what to do with their fine hands. A sense of purpose for everyone."
- "We need to save water. Water is precious. We need to reuse shower water for our food gardens. Shower as a function of watering, not the other way round. I think I'll shave my head cos I don't want to water my plants with shampoo if I can help it." But I know many cute heads who won't. Their choice, I guess!
I know I'm not telling people about healthcare and social unrest. At least not directly. The fact is there will be less unrest if there's food and water.
After 19 hours of telling, asking and organising, I try and get some sleep, and I realise we need to keep cell-phones working, no matter what. Both for our island and, of course, for the others! That means fuel for engines for electricity, but tomorrow's another day.
More in the shape of comments, I think. ;-)