Whenever we post about survival or outdoor skills like making a DIY wood gasifier built from old cans; a wood-burning rocket stove made from wood; or food foraging lessons for the recession, the discussion invariably kicks off about how "green" such activities are and whether they can be sustained if they become mainstream (as opposed to a niche interest).
But I can't help feeling this discussion misses the point.
With the exception of the hardcore peak oil doomers, I don't think many of us are advocating for a return to primitive technologies or an abandoning of all creature comforts. Short of a total cultural or economic meltdown (which isn't, of course, out of the question), most of us are likely to keep living in houses and utilizing the infrastructure of the modern world. But learning about outdoor skills is still important, even vicariously, because it connects us to the fundamentals of what we actually need to survive, and reminds us of the incredible power we are wielding at our fingertips each time we turn on a light or get behind the wheel of a car. (If in doubt of how many "energy slaves" each of us utilizes, check out the number of cyclists it takes to run a typical household.)
That seems to be the message behind the latest Perennial Plate video, in which Daniel and Mirra get back to basics with some survival specialists:
This video is a sort of meditation on survival and the beauty of doing things that are no longer necessary, but still worth doing. It takes place on a fall day in Andalusia, Alabama where we collected invasive Corbicula Clam with Jimmy and Sierra Stiles. After wading in the river looking for the creatures, we cooked them over a fire... made by hand.
Even by Perennial Plate standards, this is an exceptionally thoughtful and beautiful film. Enjoy—whether or not you plan to ever make your own fire entirely by hand. (I'll confess it all looks a little too much like hard work for me.)