In the face of our current situation, Johan Kuilder tells us a few ideas of it and how he plans on handling it

Johan Kuilder was born in the Netherlands where he has finished his career as an engineer, with emphasis on drinking water and black water purification, at the Technical University in Delft. He has exerted a teaching profession in his home country as well as in Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The six years spent in Africa were also used to help develop better educational programs in ex-refugee schools, and secondary schools for students who have had interrupted education. The interview took place the morning of Thursday, the 4th of July, at Multiplaza, Escazú, Costa Rica. The interviewer was Sarah Paradis Vilar.
When and why did you come to Costa Rica?
We came to Costa Rica in 2006.
When I was about 55 years old, a few things happened that made me go to Costa Rica faster than originally planned. We had been in Costa Rica three times on vacation to investigate the possibilities to live there as pensioners. Legally the Dutch government was planning to restrict early retirement, and practically the school management was trying to get more and more involved in the teaching process while they, in my opinion, did not have a clue as to how to teach. As I preferred to leave the teaching profession while I still felt physically and mentally fit we decided to go, with a minimal pension but sufficient to live on in Costa Rica. The aim of us going to Costa Rica was to buy a finca, make it auto-sustainable and do some reforestation in the process.
How do you plan to manage your finca?
Once acquired a piece of land of about 20 hectares a few things will have to be done.
I want to have a house built according to my own design. It must be simple, but solid, using long lasting materials. Secondary requirements are that it must be safe for us and auto-sufficient for water and electricity. While working on this a start must be made to the production of our own food. One hectare will be set aside for this purpose. A selection of all kinds of fruit trees will be planted and in the space between the trees we will grow different kinds of fruits, vegetables and potatoes. We have a list of healthy foods that we want to grow. We will try to get them in Costa Rica if available and if not then we will import them, e.g. a certain type of grape with a lot of anti-oxidants form California. Over time we have collected information about all kinds of food products but the necessary experimentation should be done of course. Plants do not grow well in all climates. As someone born and raised in the countryside I think I can handle most things myself but we also met quite some people in Costa Rica that have a lot of knowledge in this area. In Zimbabwe we also had a garden of 400 m2 and that went excellent.
Some other activities that could be taken on are a fishpond, geese for protection and food, chickens, rabbits and maybe some beekeeping could be done. I used to do beekeeping in Africa with the famous African bees.
Why do you want to be auto-sufficient? Do you do it based on economic, social or environmental reasons?
There are two main reasons behind this. One is that I expect that society will collapse in the coming crisis and one cannot predict to what extend this will happen. I want to be sure that our life can go on more or less as usual. Simple but dependable. The second reason is an economic/environmental one, namely by producing your own requirements you reduce a lot of activities that can be seen as wasteful in our current society. Packaging and transport are very important industries these days. You could also consider the fact that things you produce yourself give you a much higher degree of satisfaction than something you bought in a shop.
For me, the physical work in the garden early in the morning feels good for body and mind.

Our activist, Johan Kuilder 

You say that society will collapse. What do you think will happen during the following years?
The future will be interpreted as the next 10 to 15 years because I think the worst will be over after that time span. The economic situation will change drastically and because of this there will be societal and environmental changes. Economically, we can already see the beginning of the coming crisis. There is already a growing tension between trading blocks and also between countries: e.g. by lowering the value of their currency, blocks try to get an advantage over others to sell their products on the world market. (Japan officially has that policy but others follow suit with all kinds of excuses).  In Europe one cannot miss the tension between the northern countries and the southern ones. The North decides how much the austerity the South has to apply!  Countries also have problems in not falling apart (the USSR already did) Spain has provinces that want to segregate from the rest and so do the UK (Scotland) and the USA (15 states have started the segregation process. If the (sub-)states do not get at least more autonomy trouble is on the horizon.  What the central banks are doing at the moment to turn the tide of deflation (creating lots of money out of thin air) will not stop the deflation but will make things worse because more money means basically more debt. e. g. Greece gets more money from Europe but they will have to pay it back with interest!  It is not a write off!! Now that the southern countries slide deeper into a recession they will have less opportunities to pay off their debt but will go bankrupt just a little later.
So the economic crisis has arrived and there are in my view a few reasons that the economy is falling apart. I don’t like to blame people because it is more complicated than a few too greedy persons who wrecked the system. One reason is the so called fractional banking system. In this system banks can create money in times of growth.  It works roughly like this; when a bank has deposits of 1 million currency units it can lend out to clients about 10 million units (legally). The bank creates 9 million but expects their clients to pay it back with interest that was not created at the same time. In times of production growth it works reasonably well but in times of reduced production the clients cannot repay the loan plus interest and go bankrupt. As a consequence the bank loses money that has to be taken from the deposits which means they have to withdraw money from clients that need it. These clients might go bankrupt and the cycle is repeated. When this process starts to accelerate, the central banks are powerless to stop it. When people lose their livelihood, things start falling apart and the thin layer of civilization cracks and societies will be uprooted.
This crisis will be far greater than the crisis in the thirties (the Great Depression) and one can expect distractions to "solve" the problem. A favorite distraction in history has always been war. By the way, the war has started already. First one country at a time, but now there are wars in several countries and people get used to hear and see every day on television that hundreds of people are killed. All of it, of course, to protect or spread democracy.
The question will be; when will they stop? Will they stop if it is so lucrative for them?
Good reading material on these topics can be found in the following books. The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe and The Web of Debt by Ellen Brown. Both books are very insightful and will prepare you for the things to come.
Based on your opinion, what do you think will happen in the future to those who have economic or political means?
My feeling on this is that we will all be in the same boat when the time comes, the haves and the have-nots.
We can survive if we are prepared to help friends, neighbors and family to survive. We will have to start working on a new society fully aware of all the weaknesses that people have.
What is the best solution?  I don’t know, but your generation will have to find some answers to create a better society.
Since most of our audience is made of environmentalists, how do you think the environment will be affected by the crisis? What would you recommend us to do, for ourselves and for the environment?
I am aware that quite some people are worried about our environment but in my opinion nature is stronger than we expect. A book that can explain this much better than I can is; Introduction to Ecology by Paul A. Colinvaux (a Spanish edition is also available). Based on this you could say that the best thing we can do is give nature a chance. Plant some trees here and there and do not use more than you need for a decent living.

Finally I would like to make it perfectly clear that ideas brought forward by someone are just that: ideas.
It will always be the obligation of everyone who hears or reads the ideas to think them over and form his/her opinion about it and get engaged in a discussion about it.
I expect that your generation will lead us out of the ruins that my generation is leaving behind.
May the Force be with you to overcome all Jedis from the dark side.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario