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Showing posts from 2020

How could Scotland have a more resilient food system?

The question that's led me to write this has been how do we adapt long term, specifically here in Scotland, where I live now, to coronavirus and the idea that pandemics are here to stay if we stay this industrialised and globalised. How does a society look if it's to be resilient long term, sensible and ecologically regenerative? We do know a few things about this novel coronavirus that we seem to be slowly figuring out as it evolves and spreads, and I have almost a picture of how it might look in my head. Here is the closest I can get so far to it, on a regional scale at least:

In the picture, each block is a community of several households and work spaces, and each green space is where they grow crops, or graze animals. So why this system?

Around the time when it was obvious a lockdown was coming, I read a community organisation manual that mentioned how graph theory applies to limiting the spread of something like Covid-19. It advocates getting together with your closest ne…

When all this was over

Who would have known that all the old men, the old women, all their knowledge and experiences, all the people with asthma and diabetes, all the poor people and the indigenous people and disabled, the doctors, nurses and the ill would suffer and die so much from one moment to the next?

But by the time all the waves, all the quarantines and thousands dying every day, we had changed our society. We had been forced to reorganise, if we wanted to enjoy a life even a little bit like the life we had before the pandemic. We wanted to go out, we wanted to have some comfort, but we wanted to have food, to be able to offer some hope to our children, we needed a basis on which to build our lives.

But we dealt with it, back in the 20s. We rebuilt into a new society, and the names of those who suffered and died, of the doctors and activists, whistleblowers and rent strikers are now the names of our streets.

I am standing outside a replica of an urbanisation, a block of flats in hexagonal shape, ty…

An app for mutual aid groups against coronavirus in Glasgow

After a bunch of mutual networks formed over the weekend of the 14th of March in Glasgow and as I can see from the internet, are still forming around the world, I started to look into the tech side of the response to coronavirus. A lot of things happening, with Tech companies giving away free access to their content, data bundles and services, during the crisis, On the other hand the governments plan and in some cases already carried out intrusive policies that violate many established privacy rights. Many people have also lost their jobs and the capacity to renew their data packages, so have gone offline, just at a time when online forms and services become a far more attractive format than going in person to somewhere that with the lockdown is probably now closed.

So many things can be solved: a neighbour can open their wifi network for others, a group of techies can help build a local wifi network that might cover all of Glasgow and beyond, coronavirus makers on telegram have alrea…

Stories of exile

My granddad helped set up the telegraph line that once ran across Chile, from Santiago to the south.

When he was up a pole in the middle of the 1940s forests of the south, did he ever look at the green landscape to the next place, the next pole ahead, and imagine what would happen when all of Chile was connected?

My grandparents, aunts and uncles ran the post office in La Pintana where my mother, one of the younger siblings would wander. They did regular post office work and received telegrams for the people in the vicinity, which was part of their income after he bought his 1 Acre of farmland there.

The 12 kids would play around with the telegraph between messages on their shifts, chatting in morse to other operators across Chile.

When we finally returned from exile and spent a first Chilean winter at that farm, they had pigs and had once had horses and cows, but still had geese, ducks, chickens and all sorts of other animals, a small enclosed herb garden that said fowl couldn't …