Civil Collapse Strategy Group

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Daryl's picture
Joined: 7 Jul 2008
Civil Collapse Strategy Group

Who's brave?

The chances of a real social meltdown in NZ cant be dismissed.

The removal of the oil supply to NZ would bring both immediate and prolonged hardship with unpredictable survival responses from the population.

What is being done to prepare for this?

Are there any groups that are putting plans into place? Is this on the governments agenda?

I feel a forum is needed to gauge who thinks a response team should be formed and what it might involve.

Calm during the storm could save many lives.

A strong group could help better prepare the available NZ resources. I have been subscribed to the civil defence newsletter for some time and have never seen oil supply emergencies mentioned.

We can be better prepared than 3 days of tinned food.

Joined: 10 Sep 2009
Food security

Some strategies would be:

Get to know your neighbours, start a veggie garden, store some food and water, stop spending money on luxury goods that are only worth value as a status symbol.

Trade your home grown veggies with others in your area (have a look at

I guess, most important, is community. When it comes down to it, that is the key to survival.

Joined: 6 Oct 2010

Community is the future of Humankind, without doubt.

Nature/Creation is based on Interdependence. In the Human societal model, this manifests as intentional community.

Cooperation, not competition.

The window is closing on Industrial Capitalism, not a moment too soon. Return to the Village wau of life sooner rather than later.

Joined: 4 Jul 2008
Bioregional auditing is the place to start

However I will make the point that NZ is more than self sufficient in food production in everything other than staple grains and pulses. So I would suggest any crisis management would have to focus more on the logistics of getting produce to where it is needed as opposed to “emergency” production.

In saying that I am not convinced we will find ourselves in a state requiring emergency type management. Again its more likely to be “the long emergency” of minor crunches and slow decline as opposed to a sudden event

However good bioregional auditing is the first place to start preparing for either scenario.

Some suggestion are

Is there bulk food stored in your region? i.e grain silos, warehouses supermarkets, processing plants. If so how much?

What alternate means of transport are in your area. i.e rail, boat.

What local centralised infrastructure could be utilised for distribution. i.e sports stadiums/carparks, rail stations, wharves etc?

How much food is already grown locally? What types?
Are the growers connected through existing local market and distribution networks etc.

How much arable land is there in your area currently not being utilised? i.e sports fields, parks, schools, lifestyle blocks.

What resources are easily available? i.e Waste refuse stations, bulk compost makers, fish processing, timber processing etc

What skill sets exist? Polytechs, exiting growers, food processors, local industry manufacturers, community workers/organisors etc

What social networks already exist and how can they be utilised i.e TT, OOOOBY, Farmers Markets, co-ops, rotary, lions, probus, widows clubs etc

What energy resources are available? Wind, water, biomass

…and so on. Without an appropriate audit of whats available, its pointless divising strategies that may fail if key inputs are not there.

Some members of Permaculture in New Zealand have created an "Emergency Response" Working group. Let me know if you want to hook up with the co-ordinator of that project team

Joined: 29 Sep 2010
Some useful suggestions, but

Some useful suggestions, but I think the op is referring more to a collapse of Law and Order?

Not something that Civil Defence or most kiwi's are prepaired for.

Rimu's picture
Joined: 17 May 2008
Get real well acquainted with

Get real well acquainted with your bike.

For longer trips, buy a scooter. They're cheap to buy and cheap to run, requiring only a couple of litres of petrol per fortnight.

As petrol prices continue to go up many others will switch to bikes/motorbikes/scooters also, so the danger of being hit by cars will steadily decline in future.

Daryl's picture
Joined: 7 Jul 2008
Panic attack.

Yes, naturally prevention is better than cure. But the chances of everyone being prepared and accepting in the event of a sudden disruption (eg oil tankers turned around)is VERY unlikely.

What I am concerned about is a supermarket is empty scenario and the weeks following it.

How nice it would be for us all to have our gardens growing, and sharing all we need inside our communities, that we hardly notice a shock. Absolutely this is the long term solution, and we are all working towards it...but..

..what about the sudden disruption, millions of New Zealanders in disbelief, panicking and irrational as there life lines grind to a halt.

Do we just ignore that scenario as cant be planned for?
Or do we try to have a response strategy for the unprepared?

This is a team that plans for things not going to plan.

James Samuel
Joined: 27 Jun 2008
Supermarkets are like dinosaurs

And dinosaurs die.

Supermarkets are big.
They rely on abundant cheap energy.
They support unsustainable food production, unhealthy food processing, long distance food transporting.
They suck money/resources from small communities.

They have only been around for 50 years, but they will have to go through a major transformation or go the way of earlier dinosaurs.

We all know the alternative. Local food production, local food processing, local food distribution.
Get yourself an Ooooby box or similar (
Australia have their version of social business focused on appropriate food.

Joined: 4 Jul 2008
Supermarkets are all those

Supermarkets are all those things…..but in the event of the shit hitting the fan, they, like all other warehouses and food processing plants, are also existing depots of bulk food and goods.

Undertaking a bioregional audit is not just about prevention, it is about having the knowledge of where and how much bulk supply is in your area at a given time.

If in Daryl’s scenario the tankers stop coming, a bioregional audit of the “resources” in your area coupled with a functional plan to distribute such goods such as designated locations and rationing systems is really the way to keep things civil and orderly and reduce the potential of hysteria and the anarchy of a free for all.

Instead of an Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) think of it as an Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP). The information gained through an appropriate audit can be used to develop both.

In any scenario other than immediate major natural disaster (massive tsunami/earthquake/volcanic eruption or some bizarre event like an electromagnetic pulse from a solar flare that cripples every electrical appliance) there would be at least a few days forewarning, as there ARE reserves to keep things moving for a small period of time. In other words you’re not going to wake up on Monday and suddenly the pumps are dry.

Therefore with a well thought out ERAP tailored to your bioregion there would be a window of opportunity to implement it. Civil Defence and Local Councils are the ones who will manage such a scenario if it happened and I’m sure they would appreciate community groups such as TT undertaking such audits and working with them on such plans in the meantime. After all, along with developing local resilience through food production and community engagement, scenario planning is what Transition is all about or at least that’s how I interpreted it.

………but if we are just talking managing the potential break down of law and order as Kurakai suggests, we could set up rapid response Transition Vigilante groups roaming the streets on our armour plated electric bicycles doubling a gun nut on the handlebars to keep everyone in line.

Not sure if Rob H would appreciate Transition Culture being hijacked in that way though and I doubt that the ARMY would appreciate it either, given they WILL be deployed to deal with such a we have recently seen in Christchurch.

Joined: 6 Oct 2010

So supermarkets will be the fossil fuel of the future?

Joined: 29 Sep 2010
I don't think this is a

I don't think this is a scenario that should be ignored, but I suspect it is a topic that many here will be uncomfortable with and maybe rightly so.

The Police and Army are as reliant on oil as the rest of New Zealand society and there is little provision for self defence in NZ law ("Self defence" is not a legitamte reason for owning firearms in this country). I doubt they would be much help in a sudden collapse situation and suspect many would want to be with their own families.

I think Self defense is something that needs to be considered and developed at a community level, like neigbourhood watch.

Joined: 12 Nov 2008
Relocation scenarios outside of city in time of need

There seems to be some synchronicity of thought. The events and slow recovery from the Christchurch earthquake are a signal of the problems which can occur at any time. A similar natural disaster or an oil shock or other significant life style change on a bigger scale or city just escalates the problems to be solved. Large cities will have greater difficulties in supporting themselves as they rely on transport of goods and supplies.

At some level of problem, there may be a need to relocate away from large cities to rural areas and become ecological refugees. Earthquakes, floods, sea level rises etc are all possibilities, which could lead to this need.

We would like to believe that there are plans and developed strategies for such problems, but the skills and experience for these sorts of problems are limited. Aid agencies and armed forces may be able to cope in some areas, but they are often short term solutions and long term prospects are more difficult. Planning for the areas which may receive ecological refugees will also need to consider available skills and resources of any destination and how those who may arrive can assist in the development and ongoing operation of any such destination.

Scenario planning for the future may well require the reversal of the urban drift as cities lose their residents to provide labour and an alternative living option in rural areas.

Yes Daryl. Plans for things that the future may decide to send our way. Certainly the structure which Project Lyttelton managed to pull together was a result of the previous projects they had accomplished.

Daryl's picture
Joined: 7 Jul 2008
Here are some notes

Here are some notes from 2009 when Laurence Bloomert and Tim Jones got together. Paul Bruce also was supporting the idea a while back. Need to check if that went anywhere.

Approaching Ground Zero
The concept here is of a sudden, dramatic economic and social collapse in the near future - unemployment goes off the scale, etc. In this case, the key vulnerabilities include:
1) Law and order
2) The electrical system - we are completely dependent on it (except for some isolated communities which are, or may go, off-grid). How can people meet their basic needs if the grid goes down?
3) Civil Defence. Civil Defence works on a "three days' supplies" basis
- we need work on a "three weeks' supply", or longer, basis. There needs to be integration between civil defence, transition towns, local government - a network of leadership. People need to know that a plan is being developed and put in place for such a situation - and planning needs to start now.
Actions Needed:
1) First Aid Training - for individuals, and also to be encouraged in schools and communities
2) Skill-building workshops
3) Map/database of living models (of useful skills and activities) to be created for NZ (2010 done
4) Reinvigorate Employment Boards
5) Set up and promulgate local currencies
6) Social defence - locally based by definition - to take the place of national systems that break down
7) Alerting local government to the need to prepare for a sudden collapse of central systems

Joined: 29 Sep 2010
Interesting points Daryl. I

Interesting points Daryl. I think this is definately one of those things that fits the "Plan for the worst, hope for the best" theory and these actions are useful if the Collaspe is sudden or a prolonged one.

Joined: 20 Aug 2008
oil shock

I would be very happy to support a forum on a civil collapse strategy at a regional level. Has anybody got a written proposal?

Disruption of fuel supplies. Susan Krumdiek has proposed a market system similar to that used for airline tickets, where availability determines price and demand. However, that needs a functioning internet system.

There are a number of other emergency situations not mentioned above.

1: loss of eftpos.. people with cash may be able to make purchases for a limited time, then we will move to barter! Could be a software problem, supperbug, loss of power supply.

2: Water supply. Rain water collection tanks will ensure some supply.

Joined: 28 Dec 2009
Likely Scenario

For a likely scenario I would consider what happened in Russia in the years following the revolution. The country was in disarray due to the aftermath of WW1, and they were also under embargo from the major powers who were also backing the "White Russian" forces in their counter-revolutionary civil war.
The populations in the cities were starving, and the ruling communist party knew that they had better be fed or they would lose control of the situation, so they dispatched commissars with militia units to the rural areas to sieze food supplies from the peasants and "kulaks"(larger landowning farmers)who, of course were vilified as "counter-revolutionaries" in order to justify the appropriation of their goods. As a result of this many of the rural workers and experienced and knowledgable agriculturalists starved- guess what that did to the food supply?
I suppose what I am saying is that, in this sort of a crisis, the government is more dangerous to you than random pilagers if you had the foresight to produce enough food to keep yourself and your family (which we do).
Provision needs to be made to enable the movement of significant numbers of urban workers to be billeted in areas capable of food production- ideally with friends and relatives at first. Surveys need to be done to determine which areas of the country best produce the foodstuffs we mainly import (principally grains) which shouldn't be too difficut as NZ was self-sufficient in grains until the 1970's.
The political parties will never address these issues as political power lies principally in the cities. City dwellers would be horrified by what I am suggesting (I can hear the cries of "Pol Pot" as I write) but how many of them have ever actually experienced an empty belly? Many city dwellers produce "wealth" on paper but in a crisis their efforts become completely nullified as they create no tangible benefit with respect to peoples immediate needs. In the longest term I would expect to see a reduction of urban population to between 10 and 30% of total population. I sincerely believe every one of us needs to develop three skill sets to survive and thrive- as a food producer, as a craftsperson, and a cultural / artistic component too.

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Some initial comments on civil collapse

I am fairly new to all of this, although I have been aware of climate change for about 20 years and peak oil since End of Suburbia came out. However since seeing Mike Ruppert’s Collapse I have had more of a sense of urgency. I feel that some fairly major changes in the economic front driven by oil which has already peaked are coming, so those of us who are aware of this need to give some urgent attention to developing a lifeboat movement (Transition Towns)

The problem is that the main response is denial - it reminds me of the Ministry in Harry Potter “Order of the Phoenix”. The truth is just too much to acknowledge so quite a lot of effort is expended to pretend everything is normal (as in National Radio Geoff Robinson ‘s “pumps on the road to recovery”)

Because of this we are unlikely at this stage to be able to persuade local or national authorities to take any action to preapre the population. To the extent they have any awareness of this they will be wanting to avoid panic .

That means that we have to concentrate on developing our own movement and links between those that are far-sighted enough to prepare.

In addition to becoming as self-sufficient as possible through gardening and water tanks (and possibly solar heating for those that can’t go off the grid) I would also add two things that have been emphasised by Mike Ruppert in the US.

The first is buying in and storing staples such as grains - enough for about 2 months. With Russia banning the sale of wheat and crises in other areas of food production, the cost of food is likely to go through the roof.

Seeds is another area.

No one really mentions gold and silver very much. I was, until very recently comparitively disinterested in economic areas but have been persuaded that, for those with some savings, unless we want to lose it some investment in gold and silver is advisable. Ruppert talks about it as a transitional phase between the (probable) collapse of fiat currency and the development of more sustainable ways of organising our economic life.

Just some initial ideas.

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