Another insidious distraction is the desire to immediately figure out how to respond to all the scenarios we end up dreaming of. Let's save that for later; by prematurely focusing on the second half of the problem, we may end up glossing over some of the less tractable scenarios - or make haphazard assumptions that will cloud our judgment in other ways.
Why do our dystopian urges emerge at certain moments and not others? Doomsday—as a prophecy, a literary genre, and a business opportunity—is never static; it evolves with our anxieties. The earliest Puritan settlers saw in the awe-inspiring bounty of the American wilderness the prospect of both apocalypse and paradise. When, in May of 1780, sudden darkness settled on New England, farmers perceived it as a cataclysm heralding the return of Christ. (In fact, the darkness was caused by enormous wildfires in Ontario.) D. H. Lawrence diagnosed a specific strain of American dread. “Doom! Doom! Doom!” he wrote in 1923. “Something seems to whisper it in the very dark trees of America.”
When bands of marauders start roaming the streets, how are you going to keep them out? Tear down a few walls, says Timothy Ferraro, a twenty-five-year construction veteran who's thought about this situation plenty while watching The Walking Dead. "Assuming the attackers don't have a battering ram, you should be able to keep them out using the lumber and drywall already in your home," he says.
Hall got the idea for the project about a decade ago, when he read that the federal government was reinvesting in catastrophe planning, which had languished after the Cold War. During the September 11th attacks, the Bush Administration activated a “continuity of government” plan, transporting selected federal workers by helicopter and bus to fortified locations, but, after years of disuse, computers and other equipment in the bunkers were out of date. Bush ordered a renewed focus on continuity plans, and FEMA launched annual government-wide exercises. (The most recent, Eagle Horizon, in 2015, simulated hurricanes, improvised nuclear devices, earthquakes, and cyberattacks.)
Good article! A few years ago, a medical condition for someone in my family required that I learn how to cook without high fat dairy, no corn products, no fish, and very low sodium. That means almost no packaged or processed foods, no fast food, almost no snack foods, no packaged flavor packets, no bottled flavorings…well you get the idea. Now I visit Costco a couple times a year for rice, beans, pasta, and meat. I grow almost all the vegetables we eat year round. Our grocery bills have gone way down. And now I actually know how to cook almost anything from scratch ingredients that I always have on hand in bulk. The foods many preppers stock up, are foods I never have in my house so I wouldn’t miss them if they suddenly became unavailable. In hind sight I’ve learned that “stuff” isn’t as important as skills. Trust me, cooking is a skill.
An April 2018 poll run by YouGov and HuffPost shows that the top concern of voters going into this year’s midterm elections are health care availability and costs, the economy, gun policies and immigration. All of these issues are highly divisive, and the current iterations of them have roots in the past ten to twenty years: Obamacare, the recent recession, rising incidence of large-scale gun violence, and the fallout from 9/11. Though the majority of voters in the 18–34 age bracket still identify as liberal, almost 40% continue to be registered as independent while white men in that age range have flipped to show a majority as registered Republican since the 2016 elections. Millennial voters are the most flexible voter demographic, and the rapidly evolving problematic issues facing them have created an atmosphere of uncertainty in the future that only seems to be growing.
If you have a spouse, walk them through your plans and make sure they can access the essential supplies and know how to use them in your absence. If you have children, give them the very basics as well. For example, in case of a fire, they should know the safest way out without having to wait for you; tell them how to react to home intrusions and medical emergencies, too.
When living in squalor conditions and running short on supplies, even seemingly prosaic medical conditions can become life-threatening. For example, in less developed countries, otherwise non-lethal diarrheal diseases cause almost 2.5 million deaths every year. The reason is simple: without proper care, the disease makes it easy for the victims to get terminally dehydrated or succumb to severe electrolyte imbalance.
Ben had some good ideas. Hiking in the back mountains of Cape Town can sometimes be tricky as being off the beaten track it is not often you will see anyone. I suggest flares to light up the night sky to attract overhead planes. Also a really powerful long range torch (flashlight) is a must as it will also light up a huge part of the mountain and this will ensure one’s safety. Condoms! Yes but it is not what you think – condoms come in handy to waterproof bandages or protect and prevent irritating blisters. Also handy to keep items like your cell phone waterproof. Chapstick – great for soothing burns and bites and takes the itchiness away. Spare socks.
Only suggestion I’d make is for #8 Develop a communications and transportation plan: Add a get home bag to your vehicle or in your office. If you can’t do that, at least have a small every day carry bag that has a few essentials to help you get home if you have to go on foot. I’ll always remember the videos on the news about the hordes of folks walking out of NYC and have to wonder how many of them had more than just a small purse with them. I have GHBs in both cars and another one at my office in case I can’t get access to my car. Just small backpacks with some food, blankets, small first aid kit and a few sundries. Vehicle GHBs add small camping stove and fuel tablets as well as tiny tent and disposable mylar sleeping bag plus a small supply of silver dimes in case I can’t use cash and need to buy my way home.
“How do I tell Dr. Norman Shealy that he was voted out of the meetup?” Finelli asks, rhetorically. “So I told him on-air. I said, ‘Dr. Shealy, they had a vote, and you were voted to be barred from the meeting.’ And he kind of laughed, and I said don’t get all excited, they banned me, too.” He holds no grudges; he says he’s actually glad it happened. Now he knows how his students really felt.
That spirit of self-sufficiency runs through the history of American food culture. Lydia Maria Child’s 1829 manual The Frugal Housewife, one of the first American cookbooks ever published, instructed women to contribute to their family’s finances by making sure no scrap of food was wasted: “Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints* encourages members to keep a three-month food supply on hand at all times, and even sells dehydrated food products on its official website. This Mormon connection may be why Utah is such a freeze-dried food hub: Of 21 freeze-dried food companies I counted online, 16 were from the state, and Bedford told me she first learned about long-term food storage by reading blogs by Mormon women.
Most break-ins are purely opportunistic: thieves are in and out within five minutes, quickly rummaging through all the places where people usually keep valuable stuff. You can bank on them going through every nook and cranny of your bedroom, looking under the mattress, peeking into every drawer - and grabbing everything that looks shiny and is easy to lift. Their usual targets include phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, jewelry, firearms, loose cash, checkbooks, credit cards, and prescription meds. Vital documents that may be useful for identity theft or benefits fraud, such as drivers licenses, passports, and SSN cards, are also a fair game.
At seventy-seven, living on a tugboat in Sausalito, Brand is less impressed by signs of fragility than by examples of resilience. In the past decade, the world survived, without violence, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Ebola, without cataclysm; and, in Japan, a tsunami and nuclear meltdown, after which the country has persevered. He sees risks in escapism. As Americans withdraw into smaller circles of experience, we jeopardize the “larger circle of empathy,” he said, the search for solutions to shared problems. “The easy question is, How do I protect me and mine? The more interesting question is, What if civilization actually manages continuity as well as it has managed it for the past few centuries? What do we do if it just keeps on chugging?”
For experienced preppers like Daisy Luther, founder of the blog The Organic Prepper and the online survival goods store Preppers Market, ready-to-go freeze-dried meals are more of a last line of defense than anything else. Though she insists these products “have their place,” her version of long-term food storage sounds more like a way of life, a process of slowly building up a pantry that will enable her to feed her family as healthfully and economically as possible. Sometimes that means stocking up on the freeze-dried stuff, or buying whatever’s on sale at the supermarket; but it’s also about living in sync with the seasons, growing food in her own garden and using timetested home preservation methods—like canning and dehydrating—to ensure she always has food on hand.
The value of such a step extends beyond the mere task of shielding you from glacial shifts in the job market: if a major disaster suddenly cripples the local economy, there may be no more jobs for insurance claims adjusters or account executives, but carpentry or metalworking skills could be in high demand for the coming year or two. You can never predict it exactly, but the more you can do, the better you can cope with whatever adventures come your way.
No! They’re buying less! Way, way less. The market is way different. If Hillary would’ve got elected, then it would’ve been completely different for our market — more guns, more bullets, more everything. It would’ve continued what was going on during Obama, for sure. But now people are happy and comfortable. It’s not that they aren’t buying; they’re just buying when they want to have purified water at home.
In the mid to late 20th century, prepping was born in the wake of Cold War fears. People learned about strategies from books and in-person meetings and communicated in Ham radio chains across the country. Since the turn of the century, though, the internet and the rise of reality television that glorifies survival challenges have contributed to a nationwide surge in prepping. The base of hardcore preppers has grown considerably, but the businesses that have traditionally supported them are seeing massive growth as large proportions of average people buy supplies from outdoor and camping stores, freeze-dried food suppliers, and gun and self-defense companies. There is even a new class of retailers, like Emergency Essentials, that have been able to thrive solely due to the “prep-shopper” category.
While not all household conditions are perfect, be aware of the six enemies of food storage and do your best to mitigate their effect on your precious food supply. This means you should avoid storing food in garages that are 90 degrees in summer and 30 degrees in winter. I am repeating what I said before but it is important: empty your cupboards and closets of excess stuff and stow these items in the basement, attic, or garage. This will make room for you to store your food inside your main living area where the ambient room temperature is stable.
Perhaps interestingly, there is a handful of rifles chambered for handgun ammunition. Canonical examples include Ruger 77 series, Henry Big Boy, and some of the modern-day clones of Winchester Models 1873 and 1892 (e.g., Chiappa 1892 Alaskan). In the prepper context, their appeal is that you only need to keep one kind of ammo for two types of firearms. Putting a handgun caliber in a rifle gives you greatly improved accuracy, virtually no recoil, comparatively quiet operation, and somewhat improved range - but going past 100 yards is still going to be a stretch.
The growing foreign appetite for New Zealand property has generated a backlash. The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa—the Maori name for New Zealand—opposes sales to foreigners. In particular, the attention of American survivalists has generated resentment. In a discussion about New Zealand on the Modern Survivalist, a prepper Web site, a commentator wrote, “Yanks, get this in your heads. Aotearoa NZ is not your little last resort safe haven.”
Food supplies in a bug-out vehicle include hundreds of pounds of wheat, rice, and beans, and enough honey, powdered milk, canned goods, bottled fruit, vitamins, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, salt, pepper, spices, and oil for several months. In addition, the kits often contain high-calorie energy bars, a cooking kit, utensils, liquid soap, and towels. The water supplies may include bottled water, filtering kit, bottles, collapsible water containers, and chlorine bleach for water purification. Food preparation and washing equipment may include items such as a grain grinder, a bread mixer, a strainer, a manual can opener, a steam canner with canning jars and O-rings, cutlery, knives, an electric 12-volt cooler icebox, kerosene lamps and heaters, kerosene or propane stoves, extra fuel, a clothes wringer, a foot-operated treadle sewing machine, and an electric hot plate (which would require an inverter to operate off a car battery).