Urban Scout 5 January 2008
Post-apocalyptic anti hero… With a blog!
I was born and raised in beautiful Portland, OR. At 16 I dropped out of high school to learn wilderness survival skills in order to survival the collapse of industrial civilization. Over the last 10 years of studying and teaching primitive skills, I realized the more I learned the more I realized I didn’t know. My goals shifted from “survival” to “thrival.” I began to understand that in order to live sustainably through the collapse I would need more than a few survival tricks here and there, but a fully wild culture relating to the land to make it more diverse. So last April I started a blog of my artistic adventures in rewilding our bioregion, “Cascadia.” I have received both grief and praise for my efforts and my project has become a lot more successful than I ever thought it would. (I’ve even had some producers from L.A. calling me, but I’m not aloud to talk about that! SO… Hush hush on that)
What are you up to?
Right now I’m reading a lot about how the natives of the Pacific Northwest “managed” the land. Of course, they didn’t use terms or paradigms of “management,” but us civilized folk have a hard time grasping just how native peoples do things without using our own terms. I’m planning on using this information to experiment in some of the methods they used to encourage wild foods in my area. I feel really good about this. Learning that people worked together and had rituals that tied them to the seasons and routines of encouraging wild foods sort of “de-fangs” the mythology that primitive peoples spent most of their lives in constant search of food and that in the end their lives were “nasty, brutish and short” as Thomas Hobbes wrote.
What are you into?
Well, I’m really into reading and writing and making art. I think of myself as a multi-disciplinary artist. I use writing, photography, video production, graphic design, among others. A lot of people who believe civilization will collapse in the next 50 years have a difficult time having fun. I like to take these issues with a light heart and show the humor in the tragedy. I think when I focused on the tragic parts too much, I became paralyzed of any action. Having a sense of humor about it allows me to get a lot more work done! I hope I can provide that to people as well.
What do you like most about Portland?
I love a lot of things about Portland, the dark wet winters and the bright green, warm summers. Most of all I love that I am a fourth generation Portlander; I have family roots and history of connecting to the land here.
So… What do you do for a living?
Well, funny you should ask. I need funding! I am a struggling artist/cultural creator type (I know, I hate myself too) if you couldn’t tell. I work a few day jobs from time to time (from coffee shops to television production to wilderness survival classes) to support my work and am in the process of writing a book on rewilding that I hope to sell some day. For the last year I used my college money (Who needs a degree when we face ecological collapse?!?). I’ll probably write a lot of grants this year and I especially appreciate the tip jar on my website and those who have generously donated their money for my project.
How do you reconcile your use of technology if you hate civilization so much!?! Huh!? Huh!?
Well, I don’t have anything against technology really. I just see tools. The industrial economy that created the tools destroys the planet. I can use the tools to help create a different economy and dismantle the one we have. I find it pretty funny that despite my wishes and dreams for a more wild economy, I found my current girlfriend on Myspace! I also make a lot of rewilding connections through the web. I can use what we have now to speed up the new culture we see emerging. So there.