Plan B: How the rich are prepping for collapse

[ It’s not just individuals but nations that are seeking land to improve their security.  

As an example of what a house built by someone rich to last beyond the fossil fuel age is like, I have a description of the house George W. Bush has built in Texas.  By the way, he was certainly aware of peak oil, why do you think he invaded Iraq?

Other wealthy people have more than one rat hole to dodge into via private yacht or plane.  The rest of us, even if we’d like to live on a small farm as far from large cities as possible, can’t afford to do so.  And most of us would fail if we tried, as the millions of “back to the landers” did in the first oil crises (find out why here).

I don’t have a Plan B because I’m very happily married to an optimistic husband who like 99.9% of people recoils from the horror of peak everything and insists the scientists will come up with something.  I’d have to leave my husband to move somewhere more sustainable, and I love him too much to do that. Plus I’d have to leave other dearly loved family and friends nearby as well as delightful neighbors in our community that I’ve come to know the past 25 years.

I think most of us have strong ties and are doomed to front row seats on the roller coaster ride down the Seneca cliff and Hubbert’s curve.  

And here’s a great article about why the plans of rich preppers won’t work: 2017 The Ludicrous Prepper Plans of the Super Rich

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ]

Land Grabs

Millions of acres of land are being stolen from local people by international corporations around the globe who bribe corrupt officials to grab land, decimate (rain)forests, and grow palm oil  after the land has been stripped bare.  This releases so much carbon dioxide from the loss of the trees and peat soils that any biofuels produced (and corn ethanol for that matter), release far more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels (Pearce 2013, Institute of Medicine 2014).

Fischetti, M. May 1, 2015. To meet demand for food, fuel and wood, countries are snapping up property beyond their borders. Scientific American.

Fertile land is becoming scarce worldwide, especially for crops for food, feed, biofuels, timber and fiber such as cotton. To produce those goods, wealthy countries such as the U.S. and small countries with little space are buying up or leasing large tracts of land that are suitable for agriculture in other nations. Products are shipped back home or sold locally, at times squeezing out native farmers, landowners and businesses. In the past 15 years companies and government groups in “investor” countries have grabbed 31.8 million hectares of land, the area of New Mexico (column on right), according to the Land Matrix Global Observatory’s database of transactions that target low- and middle-income countries. Crops are being produced on only 2.7 million of those hectares thus far (column on left). Overall, a large transfer of land ownership from the global south to the global north seems to be under way.

The nations leasing or owning to most land are (see Scientific American article for graphics): Austria Belgium   Canada (10)  Chile China (6)  Cyprus   Denmark   Finland   Finland   France   Germany   India (3)   Italy   Japan   Luxembourg   Malaysia (2)   Netherlands   Norway   Portugal   Saudi Arabia (9)   Singapore (5)   South Africa   South Korea (8)  Sweden Thailand   U.K. (7)  United Arab Emirates (4)  USA (1)   Vietnam

The Top 10 countries leasing or selling land IN PRODUCTION are (10,425 square miles, in order of most to least): Ukraine, Indonesia, Uruguay, Brazil, Laos, Papua New Guinea, China, Romania, India, Madagascar

The top 10 countries with LAND UNDER CONTRACT (122,780 square miles): South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Republic of Cong, Ukraine, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, LIberia, Sudan

Former President George Bush’s ranch house in Crawford, Texas

The Texas Two-Step. George W. and Laura Bush’s new Crawford, Texas home boasts a stunning array of eco-friendly features—perhaps not what you’d expect from one of the least environmentally friendly administrations since…um, creation. By Rose Marie Berger

The Bush ranch house in Crawford, Texas, balances beauty with state-of-the-art energy efficiency. Designed by Austin environmental architect David Heymann, and built by members of a religious community from nearby Elm Mott, George W. and Laura Bush’s dream home is built of a BTU-efficient, honey-toned native limestone quarried from the nearby Edwards Limestone Formation.

The passive-solar house is positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls. Underground water, which remains a constant 55 degrees year-round, is piped through a heat exchange system that keeps the interior warm in winter and cool in summer. A graywater reclamation system treats and reuses waste water. Rain gutters feed a cistern hooked to a sprinkler system for watering the fruit orchard and grass. Clearly, Bush goes home from the White House to a green house. Western White House Turns Green with Innovative Onsite Treatment System by Melinda Suchecki

His 1500-acre ranch is located near Crawford, Texas, about 30 miles west of Waco. Aside from the gray and black water recycling and irrigation systems, the home features geothermal heating, active and passive solar energy, and a rainwater collection system with a 40,000-gallon underground cistern. The purpose of the cistern and a separate gray water system is for surface irrigation of fruit trees.

The black water system features over 2000 gallons of pre-treatment and equalization tanks which meter close to a 1000GPD Hoot Aerobic System. However, the treatment process doesn’t stop there. The effluent leaves the aerobic system through a Polylok Effluent Filter and enters a recirculating media filter, which acts like a sand filter. The effluent passes through a unique medium several times prior to discharge from the filter, where it passes through yet another media filter before entering the pump tank. “With this design, we were able to incorporate the high efficiency of an extended aerobic system with the startup and shock load capability of a sand filter. However, the established aeration system will prevent the potential plugging effect seen in sand filters because the water enters in 95% reduced of both BOD and TSS.”

The effluent leaves the recirculating filter and is stored in a pump tank. The Hoot Control Center operates the Lighthouse Beacon Filtration System. The filter not only performs effluent filtration, but automatically back-flushes and performs scheduled field flush cycles as well. The effluent is filtered through the 3-dimensional, 100-micron filter before being pumped 350 feet away to a four-zone drip irrigation field. The drip tubing is Netafim Bioline .62 GPH and features a pressure-compensating emitter design. The pressure-compensating design ensures even distribution throughout the entire field. The zones are automatically advanced each time the system doses, ensuring even distribution. If low levels of water usage are observed, the system can utilize just one zone to encourage plant growth.

Further complicating the design was the system location. If the system was to gravity flow, it would require all the treatment equipment to be placed right out-side the bedroom of George and Laura, between them and their new 7-acre lake. This proved to be unacceptable.

The system needed both gray and black water lift stations from the main house to pump to the location of the equipment, over 500 feet away behind the garage. The guest house gravity flows to the system. All of the controls are remotely mounted inside a specially designed utility room inside the middle of the garage. Over two miles of wiring were used to complete the remote location project.

Each tank has duplex pumps and a separate, independent alarm circuit that goes to an alarm system control panel. The system has the ability to remotely alert if one of the duplex pumps fails, latch to the next, then independently alert of a high water situation. This system is in every tank, and works even in the event of a power failure. The system is remotely monitored by an alarm company that can tell service personnel exactly what the problem is and a determination can be made if it requires immediate attention, or if a problem can wait until the next day. For example, if one of the pumps in the recirculation system has failed, then it may not require immediate attention. “If there is a high water level in the lift station on the main house,” Ron asserted, “well, there will be three of us racing to see who gets out there first.”

The Hoot systems, lift stations, and standard as well as custom tanks to complete the project were all pre-cast concrete, made by CPI of Waco, Texas. Mark Kieran of Brazos Wastewater was the installer of the system, with the majority of the hookup being completed by Ron, Jim, and Jim’s father, Frank Prochaska, from Lorena, Texas.

The incorporation of an innovative onsite wastewater strategy is a testament to the acceptance of onsite as a long-term treatment solution. The Bushes’ incorporation of environmentally sensitive approaches to their new home is an example of what individuals can do to create a better place for us all to live.

Also see:

Robinson, M. June 13, 2017. Billionaires are stockpiling land that could be used in the apocalypse — here’s where they’re going. Business Insider.

10/23/15  Superyacht Getaway Subs And Luxury Bomb Shelters: The Elite Are The Most Paranoid Preppers Of All.

Wellman, A. 26 Jan 2015. Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up. The Mirror.


Institute of Medicine. The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

Pearce, F. 2013. The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth. Beacon Press.

Also see:

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2 Responses to Plan B: How the rich are prepping for collapse

  1. Stephen Truslow says:

    You hit the nail on the head for most of us when you talked about why you’re staying where you presently live. Most of us, even those of us who understand the things that you address at Energyskeptic are tied in many ways to the places where we all live. My extended family actually does own a farm near Albany, NY which has been passed down since the 1800s but no one lives there permanently. I do see it as a fallback place if push comes to a big shove, but no one can predict what kind of chaos might occur. Meanwhile, we stay put near family and friends.

  2. Loki says:

    We need 12 million acres of soil each year for 30 years to feed everybody by 2050, but we are losing 24 million acres of soil every year, all while we plan to use more soil for carbon negative energy. Carbon negative bio-energy requires 1 billion new acres of soil to make a difference, which is the size of India, which is nearly half the arable land on earth. For algae based energy we need land the size of Argentina just to reduce emissions 20%. We will run out of soil, water and habitable climate before we get 100% renewable energy, which only represents 20% of total world energy demand. Everything is going bad twice as fast as we need it to go good. Yet the pentagon can’t account for $7 trillion dollars and no one bats an eye.