How Important is to Build Our Community Mesh Network?

Hello everyone,

I am just back from a two and a half week trip to Brazil. While I was there, I have been informed by neighbors and friends that a fire of great scale had started near and surrounding my the region where I live. Probably, some of you also noticed in the news about the Kincade Fire that started on Northern California, Sonoma County. If you haven’t noticed, here are some links to get you up to date.

As I am writing here, we still do not have Gas because PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric Company had to shut off the power lines for safety reasons, learning from their mistakes on previous incidents where many homes got burnt to the ground because of leaks or uncontrolled pressure in the power lines. Our prayers have been answered and we are all thankful to GOD that the fire did not hit our area. However, many business and homes have been decimated by the flames.

Photo/Noah Berger

Flames from a backfire, lit by firefighters to slow the spread of the Kincade Fire, burn a hillside Sonoma County near Geyserville on Oct. 26, 2019.

Learning from a friend that was taking care of our home and our dogs that the air was starting to become unbreathable, we were quick to take our decisions and tell her to evacuate before anyone else. She was able to cross through light traffic towards Napa Valley, east side of California without any problems. All these decisions were taken through a conversation was done thanks to the Internet and a little app called “Signal”.

Going back to the motive of this article, before our trip to Brazil, I was talking to my neighbors about building a mesh network for emergencies like that. People, in general, are very relaxed and slow in regards to some events until they get caught in a stranded situation where they do not have electricity, water or gas to cook their food.

Then, their awareness just hit by the necessity and sure many started to think; - “why did I do this or that before as a precaution for surviving in a situation like that”. This is not something I am saying to push people into doing things but we all should start to think and act to take steps to become self-sustainable from the system structure because they will fail when disasters strike.

  1. We should build our own self-sustainable communications emergency grid.
  2. We should build our power from solar power or wind.
  3. We should have oxygen tanks, masks, and fire retardants clothes.
  4. We should bring our community together to build our underground bankers where we can survive for days or weeks without having to go anywhere for evacuations.

Do you think this is too much? Then, try destruction! How much does it cost a house with all the people belongs burnt to the ground? People built their bankers on tornadoes zones and that is the way they survive from a catastrophe. Individualism, mostly preached by the economic systematics won’t survive when disasters strike. Many Americans are reluctant to socialize, (by misinformed or ideological concepts) until they are caught in a situation where they are forced to do it or die.

My hope, as always, is for people to be more pro-active towards events like that before these types of reality starts knocking at their doors by surprise.

For more information on Mesh Networks;

The SudoRoom meets every Tuesdays after 7:00 PM in Oakland. ( Please, contact the chat line to confirm)

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When Dominica was flattened by Hurricane Maria, communications were completely knocked out for a long time. A community mesh network would have been extremely helpful under those trying circumstances, and given that the country is only 60,000 people total, perhaps a nationwide mesh network could be established there.

It reminds me a bit of when I was in Anguilla for a financial cryptography conference in early 2000, and the organisers turned up the gain on select wifi transceivers so high that wireless Internet was available throughout most of the island. (Probably couldn’t get away with that today, though!)

As a point of clarification, however, I’d add the voluntary cooperation championed by individualists is at least as conducive as centralised control could ever be to the laudible goal of building a community mesh network. There’s no reason this cannot be done by civil society.

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