About Me, Updated

Soon, this page will feature a somewhat complete autobiography.

For now, my name is Irv Mills and I live in Kincardine, a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada.

I grew up on a beef farm here in Ontario and spent the first part of my working life as a maintenance electrician (switchyard worker) for the provincial power utility. I started a graphics design, printing and sign making business in 1992 to occupy my spare time, and retired when I was 51 to operate it full time. I sold it at the end of 2014 and am fully retired now.

I am the co-ordinator for the Community Garden here in Kincardine and have a vegetable garden in my front yard as well.

I've known about climate change since the 1990s and Peak Oil since the early 2000s. I started this blog in 2012 and in the next couple of years came to some sort of an understanding of what's going wrong with the economy.

I am an atheist and a skeptic and try to keep true to that by presenting an evidence based version of the topics I discuss here.

In the spring of 2018 I wrote a series of posts that is essentially an autobiography. Someday, I'll move them here as a single piece and add in all the things I forgot. In the meantime here are links to that series of posts:


R. Stephen Dorsey said...

Dear Mr. Mills,
I'm sorry that we will likely not have the chance to meet and chat about your observations and thoughts and how very much they parallel mine. I first read your THE BUMPY ROAD DOWN and was most impressed. I eased into becoming a prepper about 12 years ago and have been working seriously on it since that time. While it is a somewhat lonely effort it hasn't diminished my enjoyment of my rural/forest lifestyle, good books, good ideas (such as yours) and a glass of wine at the end of a well-invested day. Like you, I'm retired from several careers and eleven books. I count as friends or at least friendlies Chris Martenson, Jim Kunstler, Charles Hugh Smith, Conn Hallinan, Mike Whitney and a few other far seers. Even at 78, I think now that I'll live to see the denouement really become obvious to the most insensitive and, like you, I am not sanguine about the reaction of the average Mercan. I suppose that at the end of the day my feelings are that it is time that the matches are taken away from the American Empire before we burn ourselves (more) and the world. We had our chance and have behaved badly, bloodily and with great hubris. And, viewing poor Yemen, we are still doing it.
So, again, I have enjoyed "meeting" you through your works and wish you and yours well.
Best Regards from Rural Western Oregon,
R. Stephen Dorsey

Ian Graham said...

found you thru Rob M's Undenial blog. I'm in Hamilton, been farming permaculture style on 20 acres since 2007. got peakoil-itis in 2000 when I retired from industry and went back to school. Hope to speak with you in the near future, we have lots in common.

Irv Mills said...

@ R. Stephen Dorsey
Since I am not much of a traveler, you are probably right. Especially since I am more and more reluctant to travel from here in Canada to the U.S of A.
But it is good to hear from you and I am glad you've enjoyed what I have been writing lately. I'll be publishing more posts over the coming months and it would be great to hear what you think of them.

Irv Mills said...

@ Ian Graham
It's always nice to hear from some one a little closer to home than most of my readers.
I think it is important to concentrate of what we have in common, so I would indeed like to talk to you. Feel free to email me at irv.mills@gmail.com
What we don't have in common may be more than you think, though. Have a look at my series of posts entitled "Business as Usual, Crunchiness and Woo". The best way to find it is in my Site Map.
These six post do a good job of laying out the purpose of this blog, which is to look at the "woo" (beliefs not backed by evidence) held on both sides of the divide between mainstream culture and the counter-culture.

Doug Barr said...

Before I read your post (and just after reading your bio) I see our journeys are parallel. I, off grid on 21 acres near Perth, ON at 65 and, having just returned from 4 years in the Arctic am tackling resilience and runners no for councillor as a Green. Now I will read your blog-rant? Doug

Irv Mills said...

@ Doug Barr
I envy you,
Doug--I'd love to have a few acres on which to try out my ideas about preparing for collapse. It's not likely going to happen in my case, though.
I would be interested to hear what you think of my rants, though.

brian dalton said...

Irv,I really do appreciate the material you listed -if it weren't for you I wouldn't (not couldn't) be able to find the writers, articles, topics you have provided- I hope you continue- for me it is (you are) a 'service-
I hear a rumor about spring!

Irv Mills said...

@ Brian Dalton
Nice to hear from you, Brian, and you can rest assured that I am defintely planning to continue with this.
It's cold and clear here in Kincardine today, but the long rage forecast is talking about warmer weather.

ZeaLitY said...

Mr Mills, thanks so much for this blog, and the preparing for collapse series. This has been an absolute treasure to read, and has greatly aided my own preparation efforts. It's nice to find advice not caked in alt-right, Mad Max-style patriarchal fantasy.

I was just curious -- if you were a young professional and had the option of 1) emigrating to Canada, but likely not ever having the money to buy an appreciable house/land outright under 10 years and thus being extremely dependent on the small town you end up at, or 2) staying in the US and moving to the Great Lakes, achieving a house/land in 5-10 years in a small town while maintaining one foot in the BAU world -- which would you take? If I stay in the US and head north, I can very likely have a house paid off and land to spare in around 5 years. However, long-term, I'm more concerned that:

1. Canada has a much better track record on human rights
2. Being north of the 45th parallel in the US is one thing, but eventually the US runs out -- Canada will inherit the great north that may continue to be a viable place to live as the rest of the world scorches
3. Canadian culture seems more rationalist/communal-minded (like comparing Scotland to England -- the former subsidizes university, etc. to a much greater degree than the latter; likewise, with Canada, there's perhaps less of a "I've got mine, screw you" attitude than the US, and I've been considering how that will impact long-term survival)

The great rub, of course, is that we're staring down this inevitable recession, and job opportunities may dry up, so one feels a need to get to Canada soon if that ends up being the final destination, to start the clock on citizenship...

Anyhow, thanks again!

Irv Mills said...

@ ZeaLitY
Nice to hear from you,and thanks for your kind words.

Interesting that you should bring up the subject of immigrating to Canada. My oldest son is married to an American girl who moved here to be with him and is now a Canadian citizen. She came here in 2009 and just this spring was sworn in as a Canadian citizen. Yes, it took ten years. I was very much a bystander during this process, so don't rely on me for accurate information, but I can tell you that it took a long time, and a small fortune in lawyer's fees. And none of her work qualifications as a high school teacher in the U.S. were recognized here. Despite having a Masters degree in education, she has not been able to get work other that minimum wage service jobs. I hear this is a typical experience for professionals moving to Canada, unless they are coming here with a job already arranged.

This is not directed at you, please take no offense, but many Americans I hear talking about moving to Canada seem to think that it will be a cakewalk. While we do welcoming immigrants, this is misleading--you only get to be an immigrant if you have skills and qualification that we are looking for, you are a refugee, or you marry a Canadian. Then we will welcome you, otherwise you are out of luck.

The political atmosphere here also has an effect. My daughter-in-law moved here while the Conservative party was in power federally. They are against immigration and the wheel ground exceedingly slow on her application. Finally all the paperwork was good, but still there was no approval. Then we had a Federal election and the Liberal party won and came into power. They are in favour of immigration and within a very few months her application was approved and she had PR (permanent resident) status. She then went ahead immediately to get his citizenship and it still took a few years. She had two school age children with her from her first marriage who are now Canadian citizens as well, and that did complicate her application somewhat, but still...

Here is what I would recommend to you. Start researching the Canadian immigration process now, but don't commit yourself right away. We are having a federal election this fall (2019). If the Liberal party wins, I think your ideas about Canada will be proved right. But if the Conservative party wins, then Canada will be headed in the same direction the U.S. has been headed the last few years. And immigration will be more difficult.

The American election in the fall of 2020 should also enter into your thinking. If Trump gets in for a second term, then I suspect you'll really want to get out of your country--democracy may be over in the U.S. If the Democrats win, you might want to stick around and see what happens.

We are all going to have some adaptation to do as the economy, the climate and our resource base all continue to fall apart. I do believe you're right that this will be easier to do in Canada. It sounds like you are already aware, but our society really is quite different form the one you are used to.

Anyway, I think owning some land will not be as important as becoming an accepted member of a community. In southwestern Ontario, where I live, there are still many towns that haven't completely fallen apart economically and where, if you have the right skills, you can probably find a job of some sort.

Good luck with your efforts to immigrate. I'd be interested to hear how it goes.

ZeaLitY said...

Thanks a ton. I've been worried about collapse adaptation for an absurdly long time, so as an accountant, I've got a UK chartered accounting certification that maintains reciprocity with Canada -- so I might have a leg up...but I will absolutely heed your warnings and counsel. I've asked a couple others, and they tend to agree, Canada as a cohesive nation/community, and also as the possessor of the great north, may ride this out a smidge easier than the US.

Unknown said...

Hi Irv,

First of all, thanks for the work you have done in putting this blog together, it is an invaluable resource and has helped me to come to terms with how different things may look further down the line.

The main reason I am messaging is to ask a favour of you if possible. I'm from the UK studying a Master's in Sustainability, currently working on a 2050 scenario development. My focus is on Drayton Valley, Alberta, as an example of a single-industry town heavily reliant on fossil fuel production (i.e. likely to look very different in 30 years time). I was wondering if you would be willing to have a short phone conversation to discuss your thoughts on what small-town Canada might look like in a few decades time? I would really appreciate your perspective on this (or if you know someone who actually lives in/near Drayton Valley and could put me in touch with them, that would be great!)

You can email me at pds121 at student dot aru dot ac dot uk

Many thanks,