Europe's youth – What does it have to do?


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    Hey guys!

    I’m a 22 year old biology-student living in Germany and deeply concerned about the issues that will shape our future (peak credit, peak energy, climate change etc).
    Now, europe probably in a very challenging condition to navigate through the years of crisis, given that it is very much in the center of the global financial and economic system. What do young people (like me) have to do in order to ease the transition from our current system into a sustainable one?


    I have a 22 year old son who lives in Norway. He is also a student – about to start medicine. He finds everything you mentioned “depressing” and refuses to read articles about it or to listen to me pontifying about it.

    His philosophy is that since there is nothing he can personally do about it, why worry? Perhaps he has a point. I don’t know.

    I was in Los Angeles in the summer of 1970 and I well remember the people in the street who were buttonholing passersby to tell them all about how the Federal deficits were going to sink the country – the Vietnam War was expensive. Petrol was around 27 cents/US gallon at the time and the trial of Charles Manson was ongoing – many young people thought he was a hero because he was smashing up conventions and helping bring down the “system”

    I think it is very easy to predict the eventual breakup of an empire, but the timing can be decades out. I mean, even the British seem to have developed a taste for empire-building once again. I think Germany has a better immunity against these delusions than lots of other places.

    I wish I could be more constructive.



    I suggest you read through the articles in our Primers section (see menubar). That should answer a lot of questions, and help you along towards finding ways to improve your prospects.


    Hi Oilobserver,

    It depends what sort of biology you are studying. Definitely do what Illarghi suggests; this site is one of the best in terms of ‘big picture’ analysis. The recent primer guide is probably a good place to start.

    What do young people (like me) have to do in order to ease the transition from our current system into a sustainable one?

    Well that really is a tough one. As you don’t (I assume) have much wealth yet, it is going to be a case of investing in yourself. Your biology background is a good start as this can be useful in many area such as medicine, but especially as the sustainable growing of food is going to be a key issue going forward. Check out these links:

    Masanobu Fukuoka link:

    If you can get a copy of his “One Straw Revolution”; get it and read it, also his “Natural Farming” though this one is harder to get. This man was a ‘scientist’ with the Japanese agricultural bureau before abandoning this approach to discover how to truly ‘work with nature’. His approach of ‘do nothing’ farming is truly remarkable in both its simplicity and the yields which were more than modern practices with machinery and fertilizers and pesticides could produce.

    Sepp Holzer:
    Another remarkable pioneer, his book “Rebel Farmer” and his ‘Permaculture’ book are highly recommended.

    Robert Hart:
    Again his book “Forest Gardening”, and the pamphlet “The Forest Garden” describe a sustainable perennial garden of fruit and vegetables that can provide for a very large part of ones diet.

    The ‘Soil Food Web’ is something that should interest any biologist interested in sustainability and growing food, there is lots on the internet though you will have to dig for it (or not – digging is very destructive to this ‘web of life’):

    Along these lines the book “Teaming with Microbes” is also an eye opener:

    And Paul Stamets’ “Mycelium Running” is also a must:

    The key thing to realise is how much has been discovered on the way that nature really works, and also how much more there is needed to be discovered as we move away from the dogmatic mechanistic reductionist paradigm towards a more wholistic symbiotic one.

    Finally on ‘education’ in general, check out John Taylor Gatto:

    Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.



    Thank you all for your great advices, I just checked out a frew primers here, good information 🙂 !

    Gurusid, the focus of my study is rather medicine/human biology, but I am keenly interested in gardening, permaculture, and ecology in general, so I really appreciate your advices.

    Does anyone of you have any advice on what people especially in Germany/central Europe should be preparing for in the coming years, compared to other parts of the world?

    Nicole Foss


    Germany’s relative power is likely to increase in Europe IMO, although in absolute terms I expect a very substantial economic contraction there as the export markets dry up with the (in my view inevitable) demise of the single currency. The low level of personal debt is a positive factor, as is the existence of small scale renewable energy adjacent to demand (as opposed to the large scale projects Germany is currently contemplating that will probably never be built). Germany is closer to the Russian energy supply source than most other western European countries.

    The major worry geopolitically is the potential for conflict over the break of up the European centralized institutions and governance structures. Already the blame game has begun in Europe, and I expect it to get much more pronounced. Blaming someone else is always easier.

    I strongly second the recommendation to look into Sepp Holzer (an amazing Austrian farmer) and permaculture. A background in medicine will be very useful too. I would suggest keeping it basic, so as not to build in a dependence on very expensive techniques/drugs/equipment for your expertise to be applied. Primary healthcare will be vital. It’s a barter-able skill if even if no one has any money.

    Also, make sure you carry no debt (less of an issue in Germany than elsewhere, but still worth pointing out) and have a cash reserve on hand if you can manage it. Whatever control you can have over the essentials of your own existence will be very useful.

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