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How do you guys feel about prepping/ survivalist culture?  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Something I've noticed in the doomer world is that hard times always come to the other guy (in this case the guy with the BMW) before they come to the doomer

This is an excellent point, Tyler.

Like in the case of sudden chronic illness, or an traumatic accident, or getting, Heaven forbid, something potentially rapidly terminal like cancer, we always seem to think that it will never happen to us. Same with a regional disaster, a national economic depression, and other calamities, including losing a job. We never think that it will happen to us. I think that this is partly a human error that comes culturally as well as in instinctual ways. We want to, and try to imagine that what we are doing and the choices we are making are providing stability. We delude ourselves into this belief so that we can justify our lives. I think that this is just the kind of rosy glasses that help to keep us sane, no matter how we live. It turns out that it is something that we all need to think about, because in reality it is much better to be prepared for problems than to be forced to do without because we haven't thought to do anything to prepare. I have lost a foot in an accident (when I was a young child), and I've lost jobs in the past. None of these could be foreseen, and certainly a person would not predict amputation or job loss, but SH%T happens. It's how we deal with problems that serves us into our futures as growing human beings, but to think that it wont happen to ME is, although perhaps human, prone to create serious problems down the road. It's a serious and subtle type of denial.

The smart thing about prepping is being prepared-not because you are scared but because it makes sense to be prepared. You don't go out naked into a icy blizzard, you put on some warm clothes. It just makes sense to be prepared.

The prepper that believes that his transition to long term stability will be immediate and pleasant and that he will be safe and that it is only the other people who will be in suffer mode does not take into consideration that the world is a very complicated place, and the chaos of a prepper doomer scenario is going to add a lot more uncontrollable variables to create negative or scary situations that, perhaps, can not be prepared for in the prepper (guns/ammo and a couple years worth of staple foods) sense of the word; especially in the long term. The permaculture sense of the preparedness word is MUCH more resilient, because it has a focus on communities, on regenerative food systems, and economies that actually work with real economic principals.

There was an older coworker of mine who recently told me that when he was in school in Canada in the 60's he was taught History by a old man who grew up in Germany during the depression, and who watched the rise of the Nazis and the transition to war. This was not an immediate transition, though it was always alarming to peaceful people within the country. This teacher consistently drilled into his students to keep in mind "Do not ever think that it can not happen here, or anywhere else in the world." It can happen to you. How you prepare for it, and what is driving us to make changes in our lives, will determine our state of mind and thus our ability to make decisions down the road. Is it fear or simply desiring stability and resiliency. I don't think that living in fear makes people happy or relaxed; it makes people anxious and this creates a spiral or cycle of fear. The desire for stability and resiliency creates a culture of freedom and of ultimately relaxation; this later scenario is a much better place from which to make decisions.

The best thing that we can do is to try to build communities and resiliency and redundancy in our own local systems, while reaching out to more and more people so that these permacultural preparedness practices become the norm.



 
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Dave Forrest wrote:My own main feeling about prepping and survivalism is that any approach to a situation that is fear-based usually turns out to be pretty uninteresting. In the end, it’s less powerful and prone to its own Achilles' heels because fear puts your blinders on. It is not compatible with looking at a situation in a balanced way and playing with the possibilities, looking for all the good that can be gotten out of it.

So maybe "survivalism" as a culture on those terms seems a bit wacked out. I don't really know as I am just watching like others from the other side of the Atlantic at what seems to be a media-hype-induced, country-specific cultural phenomenon... You're focusing on the demon-like instigators and the earth-shattering events which are just about to transpire, right NOW, no.... NOW... oops, not quite yet, wait... NOW! You know the drill. And that is extremely likely to keep you in a perpetual state of running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Not inconsequentially, because of that fear and all the cortisol racing through your blood and that iron will to survive... you work yourself up into an extremely manipulable state and are likely to make many and very costly mistakes. That is because this mindset narrows your focus so severely you literally don't know what you're dealing with. Living in fear is, to put it in Permaculture terms, a Type 1 error.

Preppers and prepping seem to run the gamut as we've seen here on this thread. No harm in being prepared, in fact, it’s a good idea, like having insurance. From splitting your seed library into three locations in case of fire/flood/whatever, to having several different ways to keep warm in the winter... etc., etc. Like all of nature, in diversity there is strengh and resiliency, and that is great. So being prepared, as most human groups have tried to be and have had to be throughout history, has proved itself to very very useful and makes you much less vulnerable to whatever might come your way. I'm not sure it really needs a label or a culture attached to it, and to the extent it does, perhaps we're slipping into a bit of the Type 1 error again... Prepared for what? All the terrible disasters that are inexorably coming our way, of course: peak oil, economic collapse, marauding hordes of starving bandits... Once we start thinking that way, our focus narrows again and our IQs drop dramatically. It is when we are in relaxed, playful-yet-focused conversation with friends that we are at our best and can really deal well with challenges. Some "preppers" no doubt live their lives this way, and in that case I'd say, right on. The fear-based end of the spectrum, however, combined with perhaps a touch of OCD, can produce jittery basketcases in terms of really dealing with what life hands you. So I'd say you have to dig a bit beyond the label "prepper" to see how people actually live their lives. Certainly here on permies.com and on the internet, there are lots of self-identified "preppers" who very generously make available all sorts of fantastically useful information for anyone interested in living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Bravo to those generous folks, however they self-identify.

Don't think I'm poo-pooing the challenges on the horizon that all these groups see. Really, Silent Spring came out in the early 60s and the Club of Rome report and Limits to Growth in the early 70s. And since then, tons of studies that remind us that the modern global consumer capitalist system is destroying the natural capital (ironically) of the earth at a rate that is rapidly undermining the planet's carrying capacity, i.e. how many people living how well that the planet can support. Other studies show (and day-to-day consumer life makes abundantly clear) that the western-style consumer lifestyle depends on sucking up “resources” from around the world, low-paid labor in poor countries, oil and derivatives from the mideast, a series of crucial inputs for industry scattered throughout the third world. And often to safeguard what they tell us are "our resources" that "our allies" provide to us to further "our interests" around the world, well, we have to do whatever we have to do, Type 1 error again. So send the Marines, support that brutal dictatorship, finance an endless series of deadly conflicts, just keep the stuff flowing from those nameless places and faceless people to back over here, please. Yes, the world economy seems to be in the hands of another brand of Type 1 error, fear-based nutcases that really, truly believe that in order for them to live well, everyone else can/should/must suffer.

The thing that I love about Permaculture is that I think it shows all these fear-based, Type-1-error points of view to be unnecessary and counter-productive, and offers a great alternative. Finally! Or at least it is starting to. We know we can vastly increase the capacity of the Earth to support us and all living beings. Pretty quickly even. Just give us a plot of land and we'll start at it, acre by acre. Even stabilizing the world climate seems perfectly possible -- we just need enough people doing enough acres. We can create lushness, beauty, and all we need to survive, mostly with resources that we can find nearly anywhere. We share knowledge with each other and support each other's projects, just like good neighbors. Sure, some industrial inputs are immensely helpful. But in a pinch we can live a great life, better than the alternatives, with a minimum of this stuff if we develop our self-sufficiency skills. And also COMMUNITY and intelligent trade with like-minded people so we can share resources, machinery, work or whatever, so we do not each have to do absolutely everything. We need to design and build up our human guilds just like our food forests. So this weaning ourselves off of consumer culture thing is as important as affirming: regenerative human life on this planet is possible, beauty is possible, it's possible to work with and value nature rather than destroying it, and in my name you do not need to invade any countries, make another strip mine, support any dictators, chop down any forests, steal elections or anything else from anyone, exploit any poor people, fund any wars, dry any valleys, behead any dissidents, etc. It's doing our part to show how great, and peaceful, and beautiful, and strong and resilient, living together on earth can be.

I would love to hear more conversations along those lines. And sure, we have some big challenges. And we're dealing with them in a beautiful and inspiring way. Running towards what inspires you, and building it up, over the long haul, gives you a lot more options and a much more creative and fulfilling life than trying to wall out the stuff you fear.




Dave, you sir, are quite eloquent, and I love your post. You make wonderful points as do everyone else graciously putting in on this thread. I feel quite inspired and want to run off this muse for as long as possible, but I wanted to note the idea that caught my eye the most. I'm sure I'm not the first to make the connection, positive in fact, but with the obvious need to increase our human connections with each other as well as connecting better with the land around us, has anyone contemplated ways to try and link up all these intentional communities together yet?

I imagine I'm skipping steps in the whole building process of a community, but I get that way when I get excited. I'm also not a human relations efficianado, but there does seem to be plenty of communities started, or getting started, and I wonder if they make efforts to try to connect with each other? At least the ones that reside in the same state, I would imagine, would have less of a problem getting together to, I guess, form even bigger communities!

And in the spirit of brotherhood and work ethic, wouldn't it get the purpose of these communities done a lot quicker with more people working together whether that be growing enough food for everyone, building something on land, or even raising money to buy land, etc. The more, the merrier, right?
 
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I think that the terms "survivalist" and "prepper" carry an unfair stigma much in the same way that the term "permaculture" does.

There are a lot of people that are immediately dismissive of anyone talking about permaculture or calling themselves permaculturalists because they assume they're dealing with a know-nothing hippy who has no real world experience and has bought into a load of mystical fantasy garbage. I remember Paul Wheaton saying something about how he'll be talking to a farmer about all these ways to make more money while being less environmentally destructive, and the farmer will be receptive right up until Paul uses the word permaculture. As soon as permaculture is mentioned, the farmer will say something along the lines of "Get the fuck off my land, I won't make any more money by blowing rainbows out my ass!"

Similarly a lot of people are immediately dismissive of survivalists/preppers because they assume they're talking to someone who thinks the apocalypse is right around the corner and it is imperative to max out their credit cards building a bunker stocked with MREs and ammunition out in the middle of nowhere. I've had experiences talking with people about things that can make our lives better right now and also help us out if something were to go wrong, but if I say anything about survivalism/preparedness they shut the conversation down and say something along the lines of "I shouldn't have to live my life in fear."

It's funny, just like some permaculture people have started to use terms like "regenerative agriculture" because of the stigma permaculture carries, the term "prepper" came into use because "survivalist" carried a stigma. Now that term also carries a stigma. I wonder if one of these replacement terms for permaculture ever becomes really popular if it will start carrying its own stigma? (To be fair the original way I saw the term prepper being used was a little different than the way the term survivalist was used, and many of the words people are using instead of permaculture are likely also a little different, but there is so much overlap that they end up being used interchangeably.)

A lot of the stigma for survivalists/preppers comes from the way we are portrayed in the media. I don't think there is some sort of intentional smear campaign against us, it's just that sensationalism sells. Also, there is a tendency to conflate survivalists, militia members, doomsday cults and hate groups with each other. Sure, there are people who fit under several of those categories, but they are all distinct things. Kind of like if "permie" kept getting used to refer to back to the land hippies, psychedelic drug users and New Age spiritualists. Sure, some permies would fit under one or all of those labels, but some permies aren't any of those things.

There's also the prepper shows on reality TV. I think that most people know that a reality TV producer is only going to bring on "interesting" people to start with, and from that baseline they're going to use as much editing as possible to make the person seem extra looney. Reality doesn't make for good Reality TV. Despite most people realizing this, it still leads to a negative public perception of survivalists.

There are definitely a lot of weirdo survivalists and people who are having their lives destroyed by fear. I'm not sure what the ratio of normal, rational people is to wackos. Most survivalists seem pretty normal to me, but I actively avoid dealing with people I consider crazy, so I don't have a very good perspective on it. Also, being a survivalist myself what I consider rational other people might consider crazy. I wonder how close it is to the Wheaton Eco Scale. Like, anyone as prepared or a little more prepared than you is cool, anyone significantly less prepared than you has their head in the sand and anyone significantly more prepared than you has their tinfoil hat on too tight. I don't think it's the best comparison because Paul's scale is based on the assumption that higher on the scale is better regardless of how people lower on the scale view you, where as preparedness is probably more of a golden mean between two vices.

It's hard to overcome this stigma because "normal" survivalists are hesitant to talk openly for fear of being immediately dismissed as crazies, so a lot of people only hear the term survivalist or prepper when someone on the news is talking about a crazy criminal or some reality TV show comes on. I usually feel people out for a while before I use any words like survivalism or preparedness, just like I usually wait for a while before using the word permaculture.
 
pollinator
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Sad but true. On the prepper messageboard I used to frequent, the paranoid goofballs were by far the most outspoken. They had some wacky plans. One I remember was going to loot the local Lowe's for sacks of compost to use as barricades. Another had a plan for if they lost power for any length of time in the winter, to move out of their house into some sort of wigwam (which they hadn't built yet) because they could heat it more easily. When I suggested they might want to have a woodstove in their house, they angrily snapped back at me that they couldn't get a permit for one!

I haven't seen a corresponding amount of blowing rainbows out the ass around here on permies, but maybe the rainbow types hang out somewhere else. Maybe there's a prepper board somewhere that doesn't foster paranoid loons!
 
Tyler Miller
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I'm sure I'm suffering from a severe amount of selection bias, because when I go to a survivalist website and paranoia, anger and other craziness seem to dominate the discussion I leave in a hurry. (Again, what I consider paranoid might be different than what others do.)

My favorite preparedness forum is Zombie Squad. The reason I like it is that discussion of politics, religion, and illegal activities is not allowed. I'm not sure if this helps keep the nutters out, or just keeps them from straying into tinfoil hat land. It helps make it a nicer place for people with differing world views. Unfortunately it isn't invulnerable to standard forum drama and a year or two ago a bunch of people left and the site hasn't been very active since.

ETA: I also enjoy a lot of the crazier aspects of prepping for the laughs. That might make it easier for me to stomach stuff that others find too crazy. I think that quite frequently people post pictures of their projects and plans to survivalist boards with their tongue firmly in their cheek, but outsiders might not get the joke. On the other hand I'm sure I've written off things as absurdist humor when the people were actually deadly serious.
 
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I will second Zombie Squad. The unlikely survival experts. They deserve mention. I usually post on the International Preppers Network. They have the, No Religion, No politics, No conspiracy theory, Rule. There was a fight about it. The trouble makers left. Management and Moderators are good. We have all seen the paranoid fads come and go, sometimes sending them off with a swift kick in the ass. Its very light posting at the moment ...and could use a little Permies input.

True story. I wrote a post on IPN about how "I Got Caught Cheating...with Permies". An IPN member noticed me posting here. The site IPN Administrator replied " If you have to cheat...who better to do it with than Paul Wheaton!".

You see, Paul already has a reputation in the Prepper\Survivalist world. In the same way, this post should make it clear, Preppers\Survivalists are already HERE in abundance...and in administration.

Preppers Prepare for Eventualities. So do Permies. If something is "Unsustainable" Its not a political buzzword so you can root for your team. Unsustainable means...it eventually STOPS...with dire consequences. Permies and preppers are trying to mitigate that consequence. Building Resilience.

Yup...There is a lot of unstable, paranoid people in the survivalist world. The Alex Jonestown factor. The Shit Of A Plan Fan, factor (Dont say they didn't spread it). This is where you come in.

If You want to regenerate the soil and heal the Prepper movement...it requires some "Chop and Drop". YOU will have to be the one that cuts the unproductive leaves out of prepping and fertilises the heathy stock. YOU will have to start inputting on Prepper boards.

 
pollinator
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Without reading the other replies to the OP I will voice some of my take on prepping.

1st, Homesteaders are naturally preppers without the name and baggage. If you go off grid even more so. Since homestead life requires putting away and preparing for lean times. So I think a lot of homestead folks have mingled with the prepper folks as "prepping" became a popular concept.

2nd, "prepping" at it's most basic used to be just how people lived. You canned and put food away. You bought extra and rotated supplies. You saved nails out of reclaimed boards. You put away money for a rainy day. You were aware of natural disaster potential in your area and lived accordingly. Folks have distanced themselves from this as they became more urban and suburban as well as living on credit and overly obsessed with buying the newest throw away tech.

3rd, There are a lot of different types of "preppers" There are folks who only think of local disasters like hurricanes tornadoes and earthquakes. There are bigger problem folks who prep for economic collapse, EMP/solar flare, WW3, and pandemics. As well as other divisions., like the religious prophecy, political ideology, social ideology, etc... Not every prepper is the same is my point. There are vastly different reasons for each prepper as to why they prep.

4th, I have noticed a general evolution of prepping.

In the beginning it is all about gear. The gear hoarder stage the new prepper is all about the newest the best the most multi purpose items. Sometime the gear hoard stage focuses on one aspect. Food stores, bags, firearms, knives, stoves, etc are all common focus. This is an easy stage for a lot of preppers to get stuck in. As it really is just a "throw money at the problem" solution. Buy buy buy your way out of what ever you think your prepping for. This mentality is reinforce by our consumer culture.

Next stage if you get out of gear hoarding is skills. You have all this gear, but do you know how to use it? At this point the prepper is sort of wising up. They are realizing they can't just buy their way out of a disaster. So they start taking gear camping, maybe take some firearms courses, maybe first aid course. Building skills to compliment their gear however can often send them back into gear hoarding but in an elitist version. Where now they actually know what quality gear really means, and how to tell what really is decent. They start getting rid of old gear in favor of new 'better" gear. As I said this can end up being a regression. They loose sight of skills and go back to gear hoarding. Some however do push past this or skip it and often discover the next stage.

As skills gain prominence preppers often discover bushcrafting. This can be a great place for preppers to pick up some wonderful skills, and while predominately focused on wilderness survival/thriving skills the mentality of bushcraft can transfer over into everyday life. As the concepts are travel light with essential tools that help you craft other tools from your surroundings. In an urban area then a multitool is a great tool to help you utilize urban material to craft something. Of course bushcraft has it's limits, it is not really designed as a full time living system, which brings us to the next stage.

This stage sometimes comes before bushcraft sometimes after, and is homesteading. Be it rural homesteading like we generally think of or the suburban backyard homestead. At some point preppers if not trapped in a stage realize you can only store so much food. Eventually you have to actually create it. It is at this point many discover permaculture. Because lets be honest, if your a prepper wouldn't you want the only agriculture system that could actually be sustainable? But at this point is the person just a prepper? Are they a farmer, a bushcrafter, and a prepper? They might be wearing multiple hats and not identify with just a single thing.


And that brings up my own evolution. I sort of went a funny route. Bushcrafting as a kid without knowing there was a name for it. Moving as I got into my teens and 20's into interest in homesteading and community creation as well as some precursors to permaculture as I explored farming concepts for a community. Then heading into prepping and permaculture in my 30's.

My take on prepper culture is I feel there is a growing awareness that things are not sustainable. A general feeling that the other shoe is about to drop. There seems to be a wise distrust and discontent of the leaders, be they government or corporate even religious. There is a massive divide between the haves and the have nots, with a very small population in the in between. At the same time things like Y2K and 2012 pushed civilization end thoughts into the mass consciousnesses in ways not really possible before due to our mass media system of today. The fragility of our system was made common knowledge. So I think there is a growing discontent and feeling of something is about to happen, which has a lot of people preparing for something to happen. And a lot of that also might be wishful thinking. People know the problems of the world are huge, and seem too big to fix by yourself. Some great disaster to act like a reset button is in some ways more preferable to some than to do the hard personal work to fix the problems that are here now. If it isn't as simple as changing your light bulb and recycling, if you have to give up your comfort and reality TV, then it is just too hard to do for many, unless forced by real cataclysm. That apathy and kicking the problem down the generational road is what got us to this point though of the problems stacking up so huge they seem impossible to fix.

My own personal thoughts. I had pretty much always wanted to get out on some land and live a simpler more connected life. For me, that is just where I want to be. It also tends to be a good place to be for a prepper. My feeling is the system of Western civ is a dying dinosaur and the best thing I can do is try and get out of it's way as it dies and live as true to my own ideas as I can. For me that is trying to get some land and set up a permaculture homestead. Which (fingers crossed) is the plan for this year. I am currently in the market for 20-40 acres to get started. Will I completely isolate myself? Not at all. I will work advocacy and what I can from my homestead. I will reach out to others and teach by example. I will try and help spread knowledge and skills to the newer generations. And generally do what I can.

Hopefully my rambling made some sense. If not oh well, I tried.
 
Devin Lavign
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OK actually read through the other posts now.

I will 3rd ZS (Zombie Squad) they are a great prepper forum. For varrious reasons, like being a charity, encouraging meeting up and practicing skills networking, using the popularity of Zombies as a way to lighten up the serious tones of prepping, encouraging positive prepping over doom and fear based prepping, and so many other reasons.

I am active on ZS forum as well as active on BCUSA. Interestingly I have seen a lot of cross over for those two forums including some of the Moderators. I bring this up because there is a lot of overlap and shared interest. A lot of people as I mentioned in my previous comment wear multiple hats. Are they a prepper a bushcrafter or a permaculturist? Can't they be all of those? Does it really matter if they mix and match these things? I don't think so. I think it is perfectly possible to stack these sorts of things into a larger whole of who you are.

Something to address after reading the thread. The term Survivalism comes with a lot of baggage. The 80's and 90's the media turned survivalism into gun toting crazy militia and hermits preparing for Red Dawn type WW3 in the public's mind. And due to the media and public perception, the scene sort of ended up becoming that as the more moderate rational folks distanced themselves from survivalism. Prepper as a term really sort of came out of that, as the moderate folks slowly banded together in a more rational idea of how to prepare for possible disaster events. They initially had a lot less gun and militarism focus in prepping and a lot more wilderness skills and homesteading skills. Then of course the media caught on to it and the prepper term in public opinion has gone down hill into the crazy bunker people with lots of guns and just one protein bar. Just like the media likes to portray permiculture as a bunch of hippie moon goddess worshiping back to earthers. Are there some people who could identify as the media portray in either of these? Sure, but they are not the whole body and actually a lot less representative of the whole. The point is don't let the media tell you what a group is, check it out yourself if your interested in making an opinion on it, and also remember that there might be alternate sources to check. Zombie Squad forum is very different than Survivalist Network for example. Just like not every permaculture forum or site reflects the same mentality.
 
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From what I've read on this thread about the abundance of crazy nut-job prepper sites on the Internet, I consider myself very lucky that my first ever exposure to prepping was a link from this site to Jack's TSP site. That then became my only idea of what prepping was (due to not watching TV), and I've only recently become aware of the nut-jobs corrupting the meaning of preparedness.

As a result, my preparedness has very much focused on benefiting me in the good times as much as the bad times. One of the posters mentioned his motto being about planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. I prefer to plan for the best, but make sure it also works for the worst. An example is a pallet of MREs. During a zombie apocalypse that would be a great thing to have. But what about during an economic golden age? I don't eat MREs, I don't want to eat MREs, so this would be useless to me. Having a years supply of spaghetti - on the other hand - means I can not replace cans when the store is charging too much, and then make a bulk purchase when the store has a sale. So I save money during the good times, and have food during the zombie apocalypse. I don't do anything that would only work if society collapsed, but is useless to me when times are good.

I also don't consider myself a prepper. Prepper is a label, I'm not a label.
I refer to myself as being prepared. Prepared for what? Exactly!
Prepared for life, and all of life's challenges.
How prepared am I?. Hopefully more prepared than I was last year. And by next year I hope to be more prepared than I was this year.

I see an increase in "brain training" games and websites available to hopefully stave off Alzheimer's and other age-related ailments. But where is the function-stacking in doing those silly games? I'd much rather learn how to repair a broken tap, or learn how to wire up a standalone electrical system for a chicken coop. These train the brain just as much as learning a new language, but are actually helpful in increasing preparedness and saving money.

Digging your own garden gives you free and healthy food during the good times as well as during the zombie apocalypse, and saves you money on gym fees. Learn the latin names for all the plants that you grow, there's your second language right there!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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One of the posters mentioned his motto being about planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. I prefer to plan for the best, but make sure it also works for the worst. An example is a pallet of MREs. During a zombie apocalypse that would be a great thing to have. But what about during an economic golden age? I don't eat MREs, I don't want to eat MREs, so this would be useless to me.

I like that you are rephrasing this, but we come from the same place. I have no intention or focus whatsoever on storing up things that I will only use during extreme events, or long term eventualities. I can't afford to, nor do I want to, buy my way out of all of the unforeseen apocalyptic events of the possible futures that may unfold if... whatever happens. I went mental with that crap for a very short time, and then just dropped it.

I don't do anything that would only work if society collapsed, but is useless to me when times are good.

Me too. The difference is that I go the permaculture route, way more than the grocery store route. I might have a bunch of pasta, but I have a lot more potatoes... and carrots... and beets... and sunchokes... and parsnips... and squash. I also go for the deep bushcrafting/wildcrafting route instead of the well stocked arsenal/bullet proof everything route. I know where the blueberries, the chaga, the cranberries, the stinging nettles, the deer trails, and moose habitat are. I gathered wild tea today and have a cup beside the lap top. I keep myself in shape and live as healthy as I can, not in an obsessive way, but because I want to thrive into the future. I've grown market crops of many vegetables and have confidence in my abilities in many ways that encompass for me what is 'planning for the worst', but also amount to living the amazing life that I desire.

How prepared am I?. Hopefully more prepared than I was last year. And by next year I hope to be more prepared than I was this year.

Awesome, great for you and those you love. I salute you and I really appreciate your post! I just wanted to clarify where I am at.
 
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Let me start by saying that my reasons for wanting to homestead and be self-sufficient are many, partly wanting to atone for the sins of my culture, because I think it's the ethical thing to do to be responsible for my own consumption and waste, and that's very hard to do living in suburbia.  I also want a great deal more control over how I spend my time and energy.  And I care about what is in my food.  There are a lot of great reasons for wanting to provide for myself, and prepping might be one of them, but it's not the biggest reason by far.

I remember seeing something on a prepping forum one time, a university student was trying to do a study on preppers, and she asked for some background information from anyone on the forum who cared to reply to her privately.  Her theory was that there might be some kind of genetic trigger for the prepping mentality, and that it may be generational in nature.  That really struck a chord for me personally, which I'll get into.  But one thing it reminded me of was the study done on obese adults born to mothers who were starved during WWII in Europe (wish I could remember more details).  And this article https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-an-1836-famine-altered-the-genes-of-children-born-d-1200001177 (it's a long read but an interesting point).  And, like baby boomers, whose parents experienced the great depression, becoming hoarders.  There's something to all of this.

For myself, I wonder if it's a genetic memory that makes me think I mustn't be caught off guard.  Imagining my grandmother and her family fleeing their home in the middle of the night to sleep in the woods because the neighbours were coming to kill them (yay war), and then escaping the country the next day, having to build a makeshift bridge to get their cart across a river, and her grandfather dying on this journey to get relative safety across the border.  My grandfather escaping a slave camp while being bombed, then sleeping in haystacks during the day to avoid capture, begging for food at farms and taking what they would feed their pigs, as he made his way cross country before ending up in a capitulation camp, for over a year.  

People act like this can't happen to us, it can't happen here, as though no one here could ever starve or lose everything.  Forgetting it is happening, right now, to less-lucky and geopolitically well-situated people.  And people act like being self-sufficient is a crazy ideology forgetting that a few generations ago that was real life, and what society considers "normal" now is absolutely unsustainable.  By my terms, people who DON'T think they should prep are a little nuts.  Again, not my main reason for the lifestyle change, just a benefit of it.  This is me running toward something, not running away.
 
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You buy insurance for if your house burns down. You buy insurance in case you have a car wreck. You buy insurance in case you get sick. You even buy insurance so "you" get some money after you die. So, it only makes sense to have "insurance" if the flu of 1918 comes around again, Yellowstone blows up, or the economy crashes.

--It's fine to believe that everything is going to continue just fine and dandy. Probably that's what 12 million Jews, Gypsies and others thought before Hitler, the Inca's thought before the boat people arrived and the Roman's thought before The Fall. But probably all of them thought at some later point, "Gee, I wish I was a little better prepared for when things went poorly".

You know, having something to protect your family is not so bad. If you never need it you can always sell it later at a profit (such things never go down in price). And having a years supply of food put away is not so bad either. If you never need it for an emergency, you can always eat it later. ...It's just "insurance".
 
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I’m in Canada and, yes we’re experiencing some climate change, but I’m in a region that is seismically docile and well above sea level, nor is it given to tornadoes, etc.  Crime is low here, people are notably unviolent, with the largest proportion of them being relaxed, friendly types.  Hence, the fear incentives of prepping, as a fad or identity, hardly show theselves here.

But I find this opinion to be commonsensical…

Steve Oh wrote:Although the buzz words are new, there is nothing new about food security and preparing for tough times ahead.  That was the norm for everyone before the industrialized era and many people currently.  What do I think about doing the same thing today?  I think it's a wise, sane, and intelligent idea.  For my family it's really not much effort at all, because we already live that way.


To explain how my own attitude and perspective developed, I’m the son of a man who was raised on a poultry ranch and became “allergic” to that life, wanting nothing to do with living in the countryside, wanting to be sweat-free and clean at the end of a work day… and went into sales (hoping to become wealthy, but that didn’t work out).  He married my mother who was the daughter of cattle ranchers who had, themselves, moved to a modest-size town and gone into business (pharmacy).  So I was raised in a smallish city, and the closest I got to elements of the homesteading life was my brother’s 3’x5’ experimental lettuce & carrot patch, plus my dad teaching me the basics of fishing and showing me how to use a hammer & hand-saw… and hiking & camping with the Scouts.  I had to learn the rest on my own, eventually with the help of a farming family when I moved into a cottage on their land at age 23.

But preppers do enter my story.  See, I made a deliberate dive into vegetable gardening, chickens, auto mechanics, woodworking, carpentry, household electrical work, plumbing, water systems, welding, etc — a lot of this becoming truly serious once I got settled on the first piece of rural property I owned.  Once I got onto the internet in 1996, I discovered that useful info in these areas was being shared online.  As wildly paranoid and fanatical as I’ve found some prepper fixations & passions to be, I’ve recognized that rurally based preppers sometimes have more knowledge in certain practical spheres that I’ve mentioned than I myself have.  And some of them are sharing info on the Web — and not restricted to guns, booby traps, bug-out bags, etc.

That’s due to the considerable overlap between rural skills in general and prepper lifestyle & self-education.  A bunch of the Youtube channels preppers have established include instructive videos about doing things on a rural homesite that virtually all homesteaders need to become skilled at.  After all, the rurally-based preppers aren’t constantly firing an AR15 on a shooting range or rehearsing a bug-out, but instead are just living day-to-day life on their home places.

So I have no plans to jump on the prepper bandwagon, but I don’t tar all preppers with the same brush.
 
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Norma Guy wrote:
For myself, I wonder if it's a genetic memory that makes me think I mustn't be caught off guard.  Imagining my grandmother and her family fleeing their home in the middle of the night to sleep in the woods because the neighbours were coming to kill them (yay war), and then escaping the country the next day, having to build a makeshift bridge to get their cart across a river, and her grandfather dying on this journey to get relative safety across the border.  My grandfather escaping a slave camp while being bombed, then sleeping in haystacks during the day to avoid capture, begging for food at farms and taking what they would feed their pigs, as he made his way cross country before ending up in a capitulation camp, for over a year.

People act like this can't happen to us, it can't happen here, as though no one here could ever starve or lose everything.  Forgetting it is happening, right now, to less-lucky and geopolitically well-situated people.  And people act like being self-sufficient is a crazy ideology forgetting that a few generations ago that was real life, and what society considers "normal" now is absolutely unsustainable.  By my terms, people who DON'T think they should prep are a little nuts.  Again, not my main reason for the lifestyle change, just a benefit of it.  This is me running toward something, not running away.



Yeah more and more people are starting to talk about the possibility of a civil war.  I didn't put that much stock in it until very recently. A "close call" happened a couple of weeks ago that now makes me think it is a very real possibility. I can't go into the details here due to the forum rules, but the real possibility of certain private property being outlawed and then forcefully seized by the state came up very unexpectedly. If that were to happen it would absolutely result in armed conflict.

Up until recently I would have said "That is ridiculous, it isn't going to happen in my lifetime" but now I am thinking that it absolutely COULD happen and it could happen way sooner than any of us expect (these things always do).

Here is an interesting article that does a mathematical breakdown of the likelihood of a civil war in our lifetime. The author's conclusion is that the odds are about 37% in any given lifetime (some experts say at this current point in time it is more like 60%). The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Prepper

Excerpt from the article:

Pretend you’re someone with your eyes on the horizon. What would you be looking for, exactly? Increasing partisanship. Civil disorder. Coup rhetoric. A widening wealth gap. A further entrenching oligarchy. Dysfunctional governance. The rise of violent extremist ideologies such as Nazism and Communism. Violent street protests. People marching with masks and dressing like the Italian Blackshirts. Attempts at large scale political assassination. Any one of those might not necessarily be the canary in the coal mine, but all of them in aggregate might be alarming to someone with their eyes on the horizon.



And on a really strange note, there was apparently a fairly large scale plot (involving 200 members of the German military) to commit several political assassinations in what was apparently a coup attempt.  For some odd reason the media has been hush-hush about this (guess they don't want to give people ideas).

One would think this would make world headlines! This happened in freaking Germany of all places! Sounds like there is a whole lot of unrest in their military and it will probably happen again.

Germany’s Focus magazine has reported that some 200 far-right special operations forces (KSK) soldiers and vets had conspired to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and former President Joachim Gauck, as well as the leaders of asylum groups.


Their final goal was to unleash Day-X, thus ending any semblance of law and order in the country. The plotters regarded this as an imminent development. Weapons, ammunition, and fuel had been secretly stockpiled. Training camps had been established near the Austrian and Swiss borders.


https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-14/conspiracy-within-german-military-uncovered-armed-groups-pose-threat-europe

 
My honeysuckle is blooming this year! Now to fertilize this tiny ad:
Got a New Homestead? Here is What You Need to Know to Before You Start a Homestead
https://permies.com/t/97104/Starting-homestead-strong-foundation
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