“Getting Ready” is more commonly known these days as “Preparing”, or “Prepping”. Being prepared or being a prepper has been used as a derogatory term. Many see it as a form of insanity. Boy Scouts, I’m sure, would see it as normal. After all, we’ve heard for years the motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared”. So what is so terrible about being prepared as an adult?
Being prepared as an adult, in this day and age, and in the previous 30 years, has meant preparing for things that the rest of society has deemed either unlikely or even impossible. What are all these people preparing for? A great number of people, around the world, have seen events unfold that are disturbing, to them. Are there extremes in prepping? Yes, of course, there are. Does that negate the need or the requirement? Not even slightly!
What are they preparing for? There are two basic scenarios. I know, there are folks who will say there are dozens, but I did say basic. Natural and man-made is what I reference. The natural world has plenty to throw at us. Look at the United States in January 2014. Deep freeze across the northern half of the country. There’s one scenario. Look at Superstorm Sandy. Sandy made a huge mess of the northeastern corner of the country. That happened in 2012 and there are still people that have not recovered! Go back even further to Hurricane Katrina and you can begin to see how natural events can be devastating, literally, to the structure of our society and fabric of our lives in this country.
Winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, coastal erosion (think Malibu), forest fires, tsunami, typhoons, heat waves, drought, all are events that shape not only the present but also the future. Most of these events are relatively short in duration. Some are ongoing, long term occurrences. In either case, the effects of such events can have long term consequences for those who endure them. Those consequences are often physical, damage to homes and property. In many cases, the consequences are internalized. The emotional after effects of surviving your first large earthquake can last a lifetime.
Mother Nature seems to have sent us numerous reminders in the past couple of decades, that we are NOT in control. We, as a society, have abused the planet so badly that it seems as though she’s had enough and is starting to fight back. I, for one, don’t blame her.
Then there are the man-made catastrophes. We have two ongoing types that should be of major concern right now. I can’t say which I think is worse. Fukushima pops to mind readily. Nobody argues that nuclear power has been a boon to the industrialized world. They say it’s cheaper than digging for coal and natural gas. They say it’s cleaner and has less impact on the environment. That may all be true, when the nuclear power plant is operating properly and safely. However, when Mother Nature says “you’re playing with a fire you don’t understand” by, oh let’s say, sending an earthquake off shore and the resultant tidal wave, or tsunami, toward that same shore where the nuclear power plant is built, all those proclamations of benefit fly right out the window! There is a great deal of debate in the media regarding just how bad the Fukushima disaster has become. Is the Pacific Ocean irreparably damaged? Are the food sources in the Pacific contaminated completely? Well, I’m not going to try persuade or pass judgment. After all, the Pacific Ocean is huge. What I will say is IF there is significant radioactive content being introduced, there is no question in my mind that all land masses bordering this ocean are in danger. At some level.
What’s the other man-made disaster in progress? Oil spills. I don’t mean the Exxon Valdez running aground in Alaska. I don’t mean the Kuwaiti oil fields set ablaze by enemy combatants. I mean pipelines running across this continent. I mean the destruction of hundreds, even thousands, of acres of natural space gutted by the search for the goo below. Look at the Alberta Tar Sands. The before and after pictures of that area should be heartbreaking to any human. Then follow the extracted product along its distribution route. More heartbreak as the pipeline crosses more natural areas and then LEAKS! They call it a leak. Why can’t they call it the engineering failure that neglected to plan properly?!?
Ok, there’s a third man-made (potential) disaster. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has to be one of the most stupid things the mind of man has envisioned. Just this week, four states have published evidence that fracking has contaminated the water supply around the sites. How could it not? If they were using only water to force the minute spaces underground to spread open and release the trapped natural gas, it wouldn’t be a problem, at all. But no, they have to add a chemical cocktail, which is a trade secret, to make it work. It’s not bad enough that they’re pouring thousands of gallons of water, a resource the humans desperately need, into the ground but they’re making that water toxic in the process! If it was just water being pumped underground, it could at least be absorbed into the water table and become usable again. No, let’s contaminate the water to the point where it can be ignited when it comes out of the tap in a local home. I’m sorry but that sounds to me like a terrorist act!
While we can probably list a dozen more potential man-made threats to our world (let’s not go to the nuclear / biological war options), the last one I want to mention is the local (United States) potential for a fiscal / financial meltdown. Corporations have been bailed out by the government. Wait, not by the government, by the People. Oh we didn’t approve it, we weren’t even asked! Our “representatives” decided that these banks and auto makers were “too big to fail” and used OUR money to save them. In my opinion, as someone who has tried to start a business, that’s just bad business. If a business doesn’t plan the use of its financial resources properly and approaches the brink of ruin, it either has to modify its business plan or fail. That’s the way of businesses all over the country. Oh but not those big boys! Thanks to the influence they seem wield over our “representatives”, they get to take our tax dollars and rebuild themselves! Then they turn around and give themselves bonuses! Yes, they were “required” to pay back the funds in the bail out. Have they? I haven’t heard word of that happening. Add to that the housing disaster of 2008, the rise in unemployment, the growth of the poverty sector, the increase in the number of People living on the “assistance” of the government, the growth of greater government control of our lives, the increasing instances of regulatory repression of our rights to life and liberty, and the signs begin to clarify. We’re headed toward a collapse. Is it happening tomorrow? Next month? Next year? Next decade? Not even the nation’s top economists can predict the timing.
Making note of all these factors, natural or man-made, is criticized by a large portion of the population. Many of those who criticize such observations are the same people who are living on the dole. Many are politicians who support increasing the “assistance” of the government. Rather than build the economy in the manner of the “old” ways, more and more our society is succumbing to the mindset of “help me”. When did we stop being a nation of minds finding solutions? When did the American People stop fending for themselves? More importantly, WHY? “Preppers” have become the crazies of the country for looking for alternatives of self-reliance, self-support, independence from government intrusion. There are even those for whom the independent lifestyle has become criminal. Look at those in northern Los Angeles county that have been forced from their homes because they are using solar power and sustainable gardening. Living off the grid is becoming a radical movement. Are they given a reason? No, but it seems quite obvious, to me, that they are being harassed because they are no longer supporting the taxable infrastructure. They’re living for themselves without the help of government agencies. Yes, that’s my opinion.
Am I crazy? Maybe a little. Do I want to live in a society where the government tells me I can’t generate my own power, my own food? NO! There are government entities around the country that are now saying we cannot gather rain water from our rooftops. THEY control the rain. Their justification? By diverting the rain from your roof to your collection system, you are denying the rest of your community access to water which would have accumulated elsewhere. Studies have shown that less than 3% of the accumulated water would have come from rooftop runoff. On the plus side, there are also government entities that are encouraging rainwater collection. I applaud those entities. Is that crazy? If so, I’m glad to be crazy.
Ok, so I’ve now demonstrated why many who follow the “preparing” lifestyle are viewed as lunatics. “Preppers are all scared of things they can’t control.” No, we’re not scared, we’re realistic. IF these things happen, our goal is to be ready to take care of ourselves. If nothing else, Katrina and Sandy have clearly demonstrated that government won’t be there immediately to help you survive until they arrive. You need be able to provide your yourself for at least three days, sometimes longer, in order to await the arrival of the government “saviors”. Even the CDC has pages that encourage preparation.
With all that in mind, I started doing research. I wanted to find out what it meant. There is a LOT of information out there, not only on the web, but in print. Wander over to amazon and Barnes & Noble and search for books about survival. You may be surprised to see how many titles are listed. I was. And I started reading. I started gathering. I started experimenting. I’ve been at it now for about three years. There are a lot of people that have been doing it longer than I have. Luckily, they’ve also published their research and experiences. Since I found them helpful, I started this blog in the hopes that the lessons I’ve learned can help others, too.
I have a lot of projects already in the works. Some can be considered complete. I will write them up and get them posted as soon as I can. My goal is to post an article once a week. In the meantime, I’ll post links to articles I find of particular interest. I hope to find some of the humor in this endeavor as well.
Wishing you Peace and Preparation.