Recently saw a post shared from someone else’s blog about What Kind of Prepper are You? And it made me think more fully of what I’m doing and why. The author of that blog had some pretty distinct characterizations, ranging from Survivalist to Dilettante. Truthfully, think most of us are somewhere in between, know that I am.
As this Blog is Thoughts and Ramblings, am going to Ramble On with my Thoughts! This is a long ramble, so it will be in parts and this is part 1.
First, I’ll say that much of what will be talked about here is useful for the person who is finding this because they are seeking to reduce their footprint. The person who is leading a life that is conscious of their use of resources will be better prepared for when, and if, the SHTF, than those who have a stock of food, but are fully engaged in the ‘use it and throw it away’ mindset! And the more environmentally conscious we could be as human beings, the less likely a SHTF scenario would be a disastrous event. We wouldn’t be as reliant on the overloaded, overburdened systems that currently run this country. There is a very strong connection between the “hippie”, the “prepper”, and the “survivalist”, though few would admit it. And the prepper who brings these skills into their everyday life will also be better prepared as the change in life style would be small, instead of huge.
Most of what and how we prepare has to do with our own vision of SHTF. Many are just interested in being ready in case of getting caught for 18 hours in a snow blizzard traffic jam, or a week long power outage after a nor’easter. Others are thinking Pandemic, EMP, Economic Meltdown! To prepare for the big EOTWAWKI event just requires more of what you have on hand for that 10 day power outage.
Back when I was about 13, read Earth Abides, by George R Stewart (published 1949). Of late, the book has come into its own and has been republished several times. Back then, other than the Library copy, could not find it anywhere. It was decades before I finally found a copy of my own. Compared to many of the current crop of post-apocalyptic fiction out there, it’s mild. At the time, it was RADICAL. It is what opened my eyes to the concept of a Pandemic, and I was amazed that more people didn’t see the threat! But, that was also the nuclear era, the Cold War, and fallout shelters. That had a lot of people into the idea of preparedness, building bunkers, storing water, food, and toilet paper.
But at 13, you’re more interested in appearances, and rock stars.
My early adult hood, living in the NYC metro area, it was still on my mind, but the best I could do was a few extra gallons of water and some canned goods. Maybe a week’s worth of stuff?!?! Although I did start learning skills, the EOTWAWKI fears were replaced with all the immediate fears of young adult hood.
In the back of my brain was a drive to acquire skills and tools; strange things for a city kid, like a dehydrator, bulk buying, preserving, canning, learning to sew, cross country skis (getting around in winter more than FUN – and did get to use that one a couple of times).
Over the years, the world has changed and so has my order of things that will turn our lives upside down. Pandemic is still high on my list. Nuclear War has moved down (although N. Korea is moving it back up some). More now is the general decline in our environment (food sources, clean water, air, agriculture failures), and our economy. The change could come suddenly, or it could continue to be this gradual decline we are currently experiencing. And Mother Nature is always a wild card, ready to give us a blizzard, a flood, a tornado, heat and drought.
A storm will have us back to normal in a couple of weeks, after a Pandemic, things will be almost “normal” within a year. Economic upheaval could just have us limping along with fuel and food shortages, localized riots, for years. Or we could face an EMP that could change our lives completely for a year or two. Regardless of how the SHTF, humans will seek to put back civilization as they knew it; Local agriculture, local transportation, some sort of community. As bad as the movie was, The Postman is a good example of the circuitous route it all will take to bring it all back.
Recently have been reading Green Wizardry by John Michael Greer. His purpose is more on the idea of reducing our footprint and our use of resources by using “appropriate” technology, than EOTWAWKI. He is a Druid by training, but this is not some mystical mumbo jumbo book. Greer takes his role as an Earth Steward seriously and this book talks about some of what is wrong with how we are living our lives (in abusing the Earth through pollution, over use of resources, etc.) and what we can do as individuals to maintain ourselves comfortably WITHOUT continuing this abusive system. He offers his explanations and reasons for his views, and then offers small exercises to help you experience and learn alternatives, or at least, help you understand his view point. But even within his telling, he sees a finite end to these resources and the eventual need to make these alternatives our real lifestyle. He will take you on the journey to creating a simple slow cooker, a solar oven, passive heating for your home, to using mechanical energy directly for your needs, rather than using that energy to create electricity to use another tool to do the work. An excellent example of this latter concept is a water pump. You can use an electrical pump, or you can use a wind driven mechanical pump, like the farmers and ranchers use for getting water from a well. The first you need to take that wind mill or solar panel to generate electricity to make the electric pump work. The second, you skip the electricity making part and use a windmill to just pump water!
He also talks about passive and active heating alternatives that we can use that do not require lots of fuel. Great for Off Grid living, whether by choice or force, embrace such technology now and you will be prepared when the SHTF as well as save money now on your heating bill!