Column: Cramming for the Apocalypse

I’m pretty much the least qualified person in the entire Sea to Sky corridor to write a column about Wellness.

Surrounded by farmers, pro athletes, amateur IRONMEN, raw food gurus, yogis, RMTs, naturalists and other wise folk, I keep bumping hard up against my own ignorance about how the body works, how to feed the mind and spirit, what to eat, how to grow it. After 17 years of formal education and 38 years on the planet, I would have hoped to have worked out a bit more than this.

I have a long-standing argument with a friend who wouldn’t pick me to be on his Apocalypse Team. It’s pretty obvious why he wouldn’t rate me one of the 10 folk he’d run with given total societal collapse. I have no life skills. (Really, you should pick a vet.)

Luckily, I live in Pemberton. So I’ve been cramming.

That’s one of the advantages to not being an expert. “The world is changing at such a rapid rate,” says creativity guru Austin Kleon in Show Your Work, “that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.”

Plus, it gives you the freedom to ask stupid questions.

Linda Welsh, President of the Women’s Institute, articulated it for me best.

The WI will be hosting their annual Plant and Bake Sale on Saturday, May 3, at the Legion, from 9am – noon. (Take it from photographer Dave Steers, “If you’re not there on time, you’re too late.”)

Screen shot 2014-04-27 at 7.24.52 PM

Seeking the secret green-thumb formula of long-term locals, I asked Welsh how a person works out what grows well in Pemberton.

“Trial and error,” she said, simply.

I took this as permission for a high-strung little overachiever to feel free to experiment and fail and try again, (and to realize that that’s the fun of it.)

It’s working for Riley Johnson at Bandit Farms. One of the newest young farmers in the Valley, launching into his second season on the land, I asked him where he found the learning he needed to become a farmer. Google? Books? A mentor? “All of the above,” he said. “I used my background as a landscaper, made contacts with the other local farmers, trial and error was definitely happening, asking people around me. I also have books all over the house, not to mention seed catalogues.”

My pro book bias runs deep. I have a kindred in that respect in Harriet Van Wart. Harriet works with the Land and Resources team for the Lil’wat Nation. At work the other day, Chief Lucinda Phillips handed her a book and said, “You should read this.”

Harriet soon found herself riveted by the 2013 Canada Reads finalist, Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse. Apart from being eloquent and riveting and full of the joy of hockey, she says it’s a really Canadian book. Just not the part of Canada we often see in museums or history books.

Van Wart says, “It’s become clear to me how the history of residential schools, the reserve land system and the racial segregation embedded in our laws is a blind spot for Canadians.”

I admit to a blind spot, myself, when it comes to Emergency Preparedness. Even with earthquakes shaking the chandeliers last week, I can’t get my head around putting together an emergency kit. Luckily, Bettina Falloon is all over it.

With Emergency Preparedness Week coming up, May 5-10, Falloon, the Emergency Program Coordinator for the Village of Pemberton, is blogging daily tips in the 20 Day Emergency Preparedness Challenge, to get us ready to outlast a power outage, storm, flood or earthquake for the 72 hours or more that it might take before emergency services personnel can get to us.

If the apocalypse does come, I figure I’m in the best place one could hope to be – surrounded by people with admirable resilience who are generous with what they know. So, who wants to be on my team?

If you like paper, pick up a copy of the Question this week to read this column for realz.






3 thoughts on “Column: Cramming for the Apocalypse

  1. Jeannette Nadon says:

    Thanks for another great article, Lisa! I appreciated your insights regarding blind spots.

    A co-worker and I were just speaking about this the other day. We both work for the SLRD, and we know full well that emergencies happen. Yet, neither one of us has an emergency kit. I attribute it to two things – “busyness” and the naive belief that “it won’t happen to me.” I am going to make it a personal goal to have a kit prepared by the end of the month.

    I also appreciated the book referral; I’ll be looking for it at the library so I can read it too. I watched a TED Talk a couple of weeks ago that resonated as I read Harriet’s quotation about blind spots. You can check it out here:

    And finally, being a local food enthusiast, it’s always good to read about new farmers getting started in Pemberton. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Bandit Farms; hopefully I’ll be eating their veggies soon!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your efforts. I enjoy reading your columns, posts, etc. Keep it up!

    • Lisa Richardson says:

      Let’s get on that emergency kit, eh? What’s the deadline? May 31? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
      Will check out that TED Talk, too.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

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