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

 
Angelica Harris
Posts: 49
Location: Statesboro, GA
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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As I get further into the research of permaculture, homesteading, etc. and seeing the way that different people do it, I come across the subject of prepping more and more. I'm not really sure whether or not I'm ready to make an opinion on the topic although I do agree that when you start the journey toward taking care of the needs of you, your family, and even your community, storing stuff away happens naturally. However, some of the literature, blogs, and what have you that I come across, while informative a lot of the time, seem fatalistic for lack of better words.

Have you all had this experience? Of course, I mean for those of you who are even interested in the whole prepping thing, heh. Even if you aren't I'm still interested in your opinion of it all. And do you really think the urgency of it all is really necessary? There's so much emphasis on now, now, NOW that I can't help getting riled up about it all, but then I remember that permaculture, or even beginning a garden of your own, taking care of livestock, not to mention setting up a homestead at all is something that takes time and patience.

What does everyone think on the matter? Are dark days ahead? I like some of the ideas, like making sure to have different types of bandages and medicine available just in case, but then there are the scary parts like guns and ammo. I'm not naive to the state of union, but I don't know if I'm willing to believe total collapse is just on the horizon. It just screams conspiracy theory, but that might just be me. Hope to hear some feedback. I'm really interested!
 
Steve Oh
Posts: 44
Location: SW Ohio, 6b, heavy clay prone to hardpan
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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.

I don't think you need to stockpile guns or anti-zombie swords, but a good hunting rifle or a shotgun are great ways to supplement your food stores in an emergency. In fact, a majority of our meat comes from hunting, so it's not really any additional effort for me. I just keep a few extra shells around for emergencies. We have a generator, which came in handy when a windstorm took out the power for a week. We ran the freezer and refrigerator for a few hours a day to keep things cold and cooked on a propane grill, a wood fire and our camp stove. It was a lot of fun, to be honest. Although I could do without the cold showers. We also have a few solar panels and associated kit, which we use for camping. (I need to provide a few modern conveniences if I want wifey to come camping with me) So we can run radios, phones, led lighting, and other low current draw equipment without running the generator.

We garden so we freeze, can, dry, or pickle a lot of our produce, meaning we usually have plenty of food stored around the house. None of this is really prepping, it's just how we live, and because of our lifestyle we are better prepared to deal with interruptions in the supply chain.
There is nothing new about any of this, except now it's associated with a new subculture of "preppers/survivalists". In reality, it just the way life has always been, at least up until very recently when many in our culture had become dependent on others to feed them.

Do I think dark days are ahead? Sure, there are always challenges and adversity. The Earth can be a harsh mistress, as well as a bountiful provider. There will certainly be difficult times, somewhere. Of course, I can't know where or when, so I keep a few things around to tide us over. I feel that if a catastrophic event does happen here, that we can weather it with little trouble. Because we already live in such a way as to be able to fend for ourselves.

Now if you mean; black helicopters, zombies, marshal law, bio-weapons, nuclear war, etc. I don't know, and I don't worry about it much. There is little I can do to stop an ICBM or a plague, or armies of government agents coming to get me. So why waste the time and effort to fret over it? My advice is to prepare for the enemy you know, be it hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, or anything else that can disrupt your trip to the supermarket and cut utilities for a while. If you can handle those things, you'll probably be fine, regardless of the circumstance. There's no need for the tinfoil hats, you can just be prepared for life's little surprises and, in all likelihood, you'll do fine.
 
Joseph Johnson
Posts: 115
Location: Sierra Blanca, TX
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Being pretty new at this myself, I spend a lot of my off duty time surfing the net looking for info and ideas. While I any not sure I put much stock in the whole Henny Penny idea, I will say that some of my best ideas have come from preppers. Many survival skills easily cross over to homesteading. And hey, what if they are right? Better safe than sorry and guns have their uses on the homestead too.
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Personally, I believe that some preparedness is always in order.

Earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters can happen at any moment, and if you don't have sufficient food, medicines, etc, as well as a means of preparing them, you are bound to suffer some hardships at the least. These disasters happen quickly, often without any warning.

A total collapse of society (or economic systems) is not likely to happen suddenly. We will see warning signs building for months (or years) before they become a real threat to our well being. I feel that typical 'homesteading' practices should naturally slow down the onslaught of a full on collapse.

As your garden grows in size, and your fruits/nuts/perennials mature, you will be able to stash away a longer term larder. Infrastructure around the homestead begins becoming more robust, good practices become a way of life. And hopefully, you will have built a network of friends/family/neighbors around yourselves. No farm or family can DO IT ALL. Swapping supplies and labor will become more important as civilization begins to erode.

I don't see any need to get it all done right now, but now is a great time to begin putting it all together.

 
Chadwick Holmes
Posts: 618
Location: Volant, PA
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I think it is wise to be ready for bad times...

The mindset that " the apocalypse is gonna be really bad THIS time" is wearing thin....
 
Angelica Harris
Posts: 49
Location: Statesboro, GA
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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You guys make a lot of good points. It certainly is food for thought. And "better safe, than sorry" is always true in my book.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
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As I've said before in other settings, "I've been getting ready for the end of the world for 25 years and it still hasn't happened yet!" Everything from the Second Coming of Christ to nuclear war to Y2K to 2012.....Sometimes I wonder how much of my sustainability commitments....and accomplishments, have at bottom this lingering fear mentality. Consciously, at least, I've given it up. It led me to some very costly blunders....the biggest one being laying out a complete homestead from scratch, and developing it with savings that was vanishing pretty rapidly during the 2008 financial debacle. Complete graywater, gravity feed cistern water, humanure compost, solar power....everything. The fantasy was to eventually be able to shut the gate for a year and ignore the rest of the world if the s**t went down.
I didn't design for changes in my own life....partnership, illness, aging, transition.....Eventually we went to sell that place, and because the cabins had no bathrooms, the property could not be listed as having a "house".....and it ended up selling, with all of my improvements, for the price of raw land!
 
Kyrt Ryder
Posts: 746
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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Bill Mollison wrote:The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.
 
Ross Raven
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Out'a the way. Coming through. Drunk Bull in a china shop, here. Nice gear, Call me. Mind the horns. Im with the band. Did someone mention my name?

As a representative of the Prepper\Survivalist sub culture...I think I can say that 75% percent of them are bat shite, bug nuts, Cwazy....But I speculate that it is because...their sub conscience is screaming at them that something is Wrong Wrong Wrong and they cant quite figure our what it is.
 
Aleksandar Jankovic
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Location: Somewhere in Serbia
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I’m familiar with the prepper/survivalist ideas, but I’m not in or from the US so I will provide a different perspective on the matter.

I like to consider all the things that can go wrong and prepare for specific events: floods, forest fires, droughts, etc. and focus my energy on a proactive approach on trying to prevent these rather than reactive with stockpiling and hoping for the best. If it’s a bigger threat that I cannot hope to prevent, then that takes a load off my shoulders

Every generation since at least the 60s has had reason to believe that a major societal collapse is just around the corner and I see no reason to believe it’s more likely now that it has been. Could be wrong though, there are more variables to consider than we have the capacity to process and predict. In any case, I’m banking on community over walls and guns.

And in the end I find the word “survivalist” off putting, as it defines a lifestyle by negative outcomes that foster fear with a slight tinge of paranoia. Maybe “abundantist” is something that will catch on as more people get into permaculture
 
Raye Beasley
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There is plenty of evidence that the new decline of the Roman empire has begun. When it ends or how it plays out is any bodies guess. I feel it is prudent to go back to my roots and get serious about taking care of me and mine and maybe a few others, because no one else will, and my well being isn't a problem that should be foisted on to others when I have the means to do something about it now at this moment.

It used to be normal to produce the family's food and basic needs to at least get through the winter. Not any more. Doing so now, earns one the title of prepper as if thinking ahead and taking responsibilty is a bad thing. Look at what people are reduced to with a simple job loss. If they had prepped a little when times were good, they would have had more options when things went south. Just take a look at how quickly the lines form at the food banks after an industry such as oil starts laying off; it is as soon as the unemployment insurance runs out at around the six week mark. Very few are prepared to hang on a bit longer and now their choices are severely limited. Beg or starve. What is the true cost of the latest phone, new sofa, truck or big house in those terms? Most preppers who are not rolling in dough do without and stock up now in the good times to buy some security for the bad. They are buying themselves peace of mind. It doesn't matter if the disaster hits in their lifetime or not.

Prepping is not hoarding; another word used to belittle the practise. No one is buying up all the food in a crisis. It is food that is readily available to everyone in a time of plenty and purchasing it is legal and not forcing any one to starve. Just think of a prepper as the same way you would a coupon clipper. Coupon clipper doesn't sound like being one step away from being an axe murderer and we can all sleep easy now.

A great number of preppers know what a permie or homesteader knows; it takes a lot of time to get a garden/farm up and running and make all the mistakes. Prepping buys one that time until one can produce the food from a source other than a grocery store shelf. Strange, but it is not considered prepping once a food is obtained by sweat equity directly from the land. Then you are either a hippy or a greedy farmer; best not to do anything at all and join the lemmings going over the cliff so that every one can keep having happy feelings all day long. Another thing to consider, preppers in urban settings are forced stock mini grocery stores, because the laws are such that they cannot grow anything but grass and flowers and most of us here know how wrong that is. Should someone be labeled crazy because they aren't out competing for bread and milk when the snow comes calling and there really is limited amounts available to the angry hoards?

 
Thomas Partridge
Posts: 130
Location: Zone 7a
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I think most of us on some level are into permaculture for similar reasons as those who are into prepping. Both want to create systems that are sustainable and reliable.

I have always wanted to be a homesteader but for a few years my homesteading plans did shift towards the prepper side. They have since shifted away from that but in all actuality the concerns (or lack thereof) changed very little in how I planned and implemented systems on my homestead. Canning and seed saving (as two off the cuff examples) are good ideas whether it is to save money or to be prepared for the collapse of society .

I think the main difference is the level of extreme some preppers take things are not extremes that people just concerned with permanent agriculture would necessarily think are necessary.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
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It seems to me that the terms permaculturist/ prepper/ survivalist have a huge amount of overlap. That overlap is generally historically proven and culturally accepted common sense. There is some silliness along the fringes of all of them also, whether it's the "lips that have eaten non-organic shall never touch mine" or the "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" at another end.

Generally speaking, the people on the fringes get all of the attention, because they are so weird and give us someone to mock. You can't have a hit show about someone acting in an unstressed, reasonable, logical way to deal with events that are likely to happen. I've noticed "reality" shows have little reality in them and they are always falsely manufacturing crisis of some sort or another.

I suspect few permaculturists would allow someone to hurt/kill their loved ones or take all they have without some kind of response. It might well go beyond words. The 'survivalists' I've known would find themselves acting much more humanely in a crisis than some of the stereotypes suggest.

Permaculture, prepping and survivalist all have some valid points, but different emphasis. Overall the prepper and survivalist are perceived as having a much narrower focus. Part of that in my opinion is that permaculture is a much more complex system, harder to understand, and is still getting the word out. I was aware of survivalist and prepping ideas for decades before I heard of permaculture (although I had many of the permaculture concepts, they were not organized or clearly expressed). I think that survivalist and prepper philosophies can be expressed in a few sentences. Permaculture is just to big an idea for that.

I believe that permaculture will eventually be the overarching system, with the prepper and survivalist ideas being absorbed and seen as small areas of the overall philosophy.
 
Ross Raven
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Ross Raven wrote:Out'a the way. Coming through. Drunk Bull in a china shop, here. Nice gear, Call me. Mind the horns. Im with the band. Did someone mention my name?

As a representative of the Prepper\Survivalist sub culture...I think I can say that 75% percent of them are bat shite, bug nuts, Cwazy....But I speculate that it is because...their sub conscience is screaming at them that something is Wrong Wrong Wrong and they cant quite figure out what it is.


My point here is that you want to look for the other 25%. The more mature and well rounded ones. The ones that have been fooled once or twice and have learned to spot a con or hype. I think it is part of the growing up phase just like how we roll our eyes at some of the dumb gardening efforts we were really exited about that turned out to be a waist of effort. A good rule of thumb we have developed, The more adds on someones page, the less valuable their info. They are working for advertising dollars and have to keep people coming back. Those are the snakeoil salesmen.
Look for the experienced people, like the nice, old guy, "Goat Hollow" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUFF68Glio4 or very rational thinkers like Chris Martenson of The Crash Course http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse . I think a lot of people here are into jack spirko. I cant vouch for him because I am not a podcast guy. Coincidentally, these three are also Permaculture voices.

I thought I would also point out a Missing Leg in this three legged stool of resilience. The Transition Town Movement. A sister group to prepping and permaculture. Less guns. More baked goods. They also have started embracing preppers. Their mandate originally was preparing for climate change and peak oil. Over time they upgraded that to climate change, peak oil and Economic Collapse... because one naturally leads to the other
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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For permaculture, my overall impression would be that the prepper/survivalist culture provides a nice counter-balance to the Earth-Mother Moon-Spirit culture. A group with both dread-locked hippies and AR-15 toting preppers is a lot more interesting than either segment by itself.
 
Ross Raven
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You may get a chuckle and insight into the new prepper mindset by reading this post over at a prepper board. Its one of my more epic rants. http://internationalpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5844
 
Angelica Harris
Posts: 49
Location: Statesboro, GA
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Ross Raven wrote:You may get a chuckle and insight into the new prepper mindset by reading this post over at a prepper board. Its one of my more epic rants. http://internationalpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5844


That was a great link, Ross! x,D I laughed so hard at SDQ that I had to take a moment and stop reading. And the points made there are very relevant. I think I'm getting a good idea on what it means to be a bit more self aware and all the forms that can take, whether it means focusing on guns or canning or gardening or anything else. What's in a name, after all? It's about what you do. As for myself, I think I have more than a little survivalist in me, plus plenty of prepper, but I'm much more a permie. I'm glad I started this thread. You guys' insights are really cool. ^_^
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I agree with the many that are saying there is much overlap between preppers and permaculturists. Being prepared for things to go wrong doesn't mean you are paranoid, it simply means you are prepared for the inevitable. At some point, you will probably lose electricity. Having clean water, light, heat, and food is just a good idea. If there is anything about this that is "now, now, NOW", it is those things. Rather than stress about it, put away 50 gals of water, store some food you eat anyway, have some battery operated lights, and an alternate heat source or lots of blankets if you live in a cold climate. I store a few cases of tuna, pineapple, and green beans because we eat them often anyway, along with bags of rice, beans, and a few jars of peanut butter, some venison that we canned, as well as coconut oil and a few other staples. The food sits on shelves in the basement and as we use it, we purchase more and add it to the back. It isn't something we worry or stress about, it's just something we do. Once you start, you'll find it's a much less stressful way to live than being those people that panic and clean out the store shelves if the power goes out.

Guns and ammo are very much a personal choice, but I would urge you, if they are the scary parts for you, to get familiar. Take a class, have a friend that is mature and knowledgeable about weapons show you, whatever works for you. If you are familiar with them, the fear goes away. A loaded firearm in the right hands is no more dangerous than a chainsaw, an automobile, or a lighter. All need to be handled with care. All are simply tools that make life easier and safer in the right hands.
 
Olga Booker
Posts: 86
Location: Pyrenees Mountains, South of France
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I am fairly in agreement with Steve Oh. We also preserve food as a way of life and have done so for many years. Anything that we do not raise or grow for ourselves, we have neighbours and friends who do. There is a fair exchange of help, skills, goods and whatnot. We like to be prepared in case we get cut off by snow for a few weeks or for some reason we cannot go out for supply, besides, we don't much like to go shopping.

One thing that has got me thinking lately is this. A few years ago, there was severe flooding in the valley. Up to 1,20m of water and sludge entered most houses and upon receding revealed its devastation. Now, one of my friends who lived in the valley and who preserved the bulk of its food in 3 large chest freezers, returned home to find the freezers upturned and upside down, ripped from their electric sockets - in any case there was no electricity for more than 3 days. Result: all the food had perished and it was a large amount of food! On the other hand, the few kilner jars he had made, although swimming in 50cms of sludge, fared rather well. Once the jars were cleaned and dried, the content was intact.

More recently, September to be precise, we had a fire in our house. The entire first floor was damaged. It was not a huge disaster as fires go, except for one thing. You see, our house is and old stone barn with walls up to 80cms thick, it keeps the house very cool in the summer, above freezing in the winter and rodent and pest free so one of our back room was our storage room. We lost our winter crop of potatoes, onions and pumpkins but more importantly, our entire seed library. Some going back many years and quite rare.

So what I am trying to say is that from now on, not only am I going to grow a diversity of food, which I do anyway, or have a diversity of methods of preserving, which I have anyway, but I certainly will have a diversity of storage places - you just never know what's going to hit you and it might not be the hordes. Fire or floods, I'd like to be as ready as I can to survive until the next harvest. Come to think of it, if the hordes were to come, several caches of food might not be such a bad idea.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Personally I had a negative experience with the prepper/doomer community. Too much focus on zombie hordes and not enough focus on improving quality of life. Too much focus on following the latest doom news and waiting for TSTHTF and not enough appropriate risk assessment. I find this community (permies) to be much more useful and helpful. I advise avoiding the prepper/doomer boards and lifestyle. I think it is appropriate to prepare for likely emergencies and disasters - plausible natural disasters, personal illness or loss of job, family illness or death. Some people apparently can immerse themselves in bad news all the time and worry about bad stuff happening and be fine; as a person with a depressive illness, I don't have that luxury. I choose to live in a happy jolly fantasy world! The doomers often berated me for my foolish optimism, but I'm much healthier now than when I was hanging out with them.
 
Mick Fisch
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It's easy to get sidetracked and end up focused on a narrow range of possibilities. To me the real difference between permaculture and some of the more extreme survivalist sites is the difference between choosing to live by hope and faith or be controlled by fear. There is a lot validity in being prepared, but we need to make sure we live now, and are willing to live with ourselves. There is nothing more dangerous than a man controlled by fear, he has no limits and not a lot of thought. Our responses to events based on our interpretations seen through our own hopes, faith and fears will make us into different people over time. I want to be satisfied with the man I see in the mirror.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Personally I had a negative experience with the prepper/doomer community. Too much focus on zombie hordes and not enough focus on improving quality of life. Too much focus on following the latest doom news and waiting for TSTHTF and not enough appropriate risk assessment. I find this community (permies) to be much more useful and helpful. I advise avoiding the prepper/doomer boards and lifestyle. I think it is appropriate to prepare for likely emergencies and disasters - plausible natural disasters, personal illness or loss of job, family illness or death. Some people apparently can immerse themselves in bad news all the time and worry about bad stuff happening and be fine; as a person with a depressive illness, I don't have that luxury. I choose to live in a happy jolly fantasy world! The doomers often berated me for my foolish optimism, but I'm much healthier now than when I was hanging out with them.


And, when one is preparing for natural disasters and personal illness or loss of a job, one is also doing a pretty good job preparing for economic collapse, but without the constant bombardment of which new virus is going to kill us all or how FEMA has camps set up for all our dead bodies.

And, if you're going to prepare for those big, less-likely disasters, do so in a way that's multi-purpose. If you get guns, get mostly ones that can be used for hunting, putting down an animal, or killing vermin. If you're worried about a horrible, exceedingly contagious virus that could kill us all, get some good, well-fitting respirators. They aren't too expensive and you can use them for painting or other tasks. You could also set up a plan for how/where to decontaminate yourself (which really isn't too hard, and many people who work in the medical field already do this). If you're worried about water supply problems, by a small water filter (Sawyer Mini), which doesn't cost much, filters 100,000 gallons of water, and can be used camping, too.

A lot of prepping is just gaining knowledge, thinking it over, and making a plan. Such as figuring out how you'd get out of your house with your child and your necessities if there's a fire. Or, how you'd get home if a bridge washed out (or bandits were on it, or there was a horrible accident that closed it). Or how you'd decontaminate your clothes if you got something horrid on them (which if you have a sick animal and get barfed on by it, you'll want to know, anyway). Or what you'd want to make sure to bring if you have to evacuate due to earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flood, etc. It's not very glorious or as much fun, but it gets you a lot further than worrying about every new and terrible thing that might happen.

Ross Raven wrote:
You may get a chuckle and insight into the new prepper mindset by reading this post over at a prepper board. Its one of my more epic rants. http://internationalpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=5844
Ross Raven wrote: How could I possibly have forgotten the Maxpadition Tactical Man Purse. Dead give away that you might be a Survivalist Drag queen.

In fact....anything that has the word "Tactical" or "SHTF" attached to it. The Tactical Multitool. Its not just a Multi tool that does what other tools do and do it badly. Its Tactical and a fashion accessory. Always a give away of being a survivalist drag queen. The SHTF drill. The tactical pencil sharpener. The tactical toe nail trimmer.


But, but, but, I love myMaxpedition Versipack, and all the crazy little things I can cram in there! Of course, this thing is my actual purse, and it's the tiniest purse they sell, but I sure can cram a lot of "tactical" goodness in there: carving knife, tiny Bible, water filter, giant bandage (aka pad), pencil, notepad, scissors, knitting needles that I use as hair sticks, hairband, can opener, first aid kit, cards, dice, whistle, utility knife, matches, magnifying glass, mirror, eyeglass repair kit, prayer oil (which I once resorted to using as cooking oil because we had none while camping. Those were some odd-tasting pancakes!), my grandfather's old bandanna, hand-crank flashlight, tiny saw, small tape measure, sewing kit, safety pins, emergency blanket, tissues, coconut oil (great for lotion, cleaning teeth, wound care, or cooking oil--we end up using it a lot!), tiny bottle of soap, hand sanitizer, fire starter, billfold, and more that I'm probably forgetting.

I carry these things because (1) They don't cost much; (2) I've used everything in there--except the emergency blanket--at least once when were were out and about; (3) They don't take up much space; (4) It makes me happy to be prepared for random things; (5) Some of them I started collecting in Jr. High and I'm sentimental about them; and, (6) I have all these things in a place where I can find them (at least five times now my husband misplaced his screwdriver or tape measure and needed one, and I grabbed the one from my purse).

But, aside from my Mary Poppins-esk purse, most of my "preps" are just doing permaculture, some respirators, knowing various ways to get home, storing up some food in case of being snowed in, and living in a safer area surrounded by nice people. I used to go to survivalist websites, but there was only so much good info on there, and a lot of it was some iteration of which gun to buy, which candidate was better, how we'd all die from this virus, etc. I learn a lot more useful stuff here on permies.

One website I did find useful was Listening to Katrina, where the author mostly talks about how to actually be prepared for the normal disasters of life (fire, hurricane, job loss, etc). Most of his advice is just knowing what valuables you'd want to take and where they are, and planning out how to react. The 60 Second Plan (for a house fire) and 12 Hour Plan (hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, etc.) were especially useful and eye-opening.
 
Ross Raven
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Personally I had a negative experience with the prepper/doomer community. Too much focus on zombie hordes and not enough focus on improving quality of life. Too much focus on following the latest doom news and waiting for TSTHTF and not enough appropriate risk assessment. I find this community (permies) to be much more useful and helpful. I advise avoiding the prepper/doomer boards and lifestyle. I think it is appropriate to prepare for likely emergencies and disasters - plausible natural disasters, personal illness or loss of job, family illness or death. Some people apparently can immerse themselves in bad news all the time and worry about bad stuff happening and be fine; as a person with a depressive illness, I don't have that luxury. I choose to live in a happy jolly fantasy world! The doomers often berated me for my foolish optimism, but I'm much healthier now than when I was hanging out with them.


Some people see DOOOOOM. Others see Hope. Depends on your mindset.

I think there is a Matrix metaphor here...damned if I can remember what it is...maybe it was StarWars....something on the other side...not quite getting it... senior moment....nevermind......
 
Steve Oh
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
But, but, but, I love myMaxpedition Versipack, and all the crazy little things I can cram in there!


Hehe, My wife carries a pink maxpedition fatboy, and she loves it, too. It is always prepacked for our hiking/daytrips/wilderness activities.
I carry one in the original green color, it looks beat all to hell, but it's still solid after many years of service. I'll even admit to have a few emergency items in there, because when you're three hours into a day hike and you need a bandaid or an advil, it's good to have those with you. No lime green anti-zombie katanas in there, but there is a Benchmade 162 knife. It's equally good at splitting kindling and slicing salami/cheese for wifey to nibble, with her wine. (What? Don't you bring snacks on your hikes?)

Between the two of us, I suppose we have the makings of a pretty good impromptu camp in those bags. I guess that could be called "survivalist" but I just think it's common sense when you do extended hikes in a wilderness area. Now, if we did the same while wearing camo, face paint, and carrying assault rifles...
 
Chris Badgett
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Prepping as a survivalist is always a good idea.

In my opinion, you don't need to be negative about it as if a collapse is some kind of zombie apocalypse.

It can peaceful and grounding to learn primitive survival skills in nature.

It's also important to learn primitive survival skills in the human made environment and society.

We have been experiencing abundance in a lot of ways as a species, but there can be "corrections" like we've seen in financial markets.

This book is an eye opener of what you might expect in a collapse: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CGNQVIY/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

 
Tyler Ludens
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Ross Raven wrote:

Some people see DOOOOOM. Others see Hope. Depends on your mindset.


I can see that. From a purely impersonal standpoint, I can understand that relatively rapid collapse might mean more of the biosphere is preserved, and that it might mean a Hopeful future for healthy young people. From my personal point of view as an older person with chronic illness, with family who are either very old, older with illness and disability, or young with chronic disorder dependent on modern medicine, I can only see collapse as DOOOOOM.
 
Scott Strough
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Angelica Harris wrote:
What does everyone think on the matter? Are dark days ahead? I like some of the ideas, like making sure to have different types of bandages and medicine available just in case, but then there are the scary parts like guns and ammo. I'm not naive to the state of union, but I don't know if I'm willing to believe total collapse is just on the horizon. It just screams conspiracy theory, but that might just be me. Hope to hear some feedback. I'm really interested!
Most everyone here covered the basics about prepping and permaculture etc... And did a great job of it too. So I will skip that and focus on the last part of your post. What is the likelihood of a crisis requiring those permaculture skills and preparedness?

Well of course there are two parts to answer that too. The future is unknown, but you can say that the skillset is 100% certain to be necessary. In fact it is that skillset that just might avert the crisis, if enough people make the change.

For example, take a crisis that we see potentially happening. Here is an article in Scientific American Only 60 Years of Farming Left if Soil Degradation Continues So a permaculturist sees that and decides to grow their own food in a sustainable manner. Their soil is regenerating, not degrading. Others see the wisdom and join in because they don't want to be a part of the starving masses that is certainly coming. Small family farmers see it coming and join in. Even a few larger farms after seeing the positive results of the small farms join in too. Funny thing happens though. Enough people make the change so they won't be part of the starving hordes, and almost by magic the crisis never even happens. Because enough people growing their own food in a sustainable manner that regenerates soil health, and we don't run out of soil in the first place. No crisis. It doesn't mean the permaculturists were wrong. Scientific American wasn't wrong either. The coming crisis was real enough, but the actions to save YOUR family, repeated by enough families, saves everyone. Crisis averted.

Lets look at another crisis that is coming. This an economic crisis predicted by a writer for Politico Magazine. The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats He has a great Ted Talk too BTW. Again same prediction, angry starving mobs as the economy and society itself collapses. Without a change this certainly will happen. So we have permies and preppers making plans to avoid the crisis for their own families when the infrastructure collapses. They start small businesses selling excess food and plans for things like rocket stoves and self sufficient housing. Even selling educational videos and websites like this one that generate income serving the growing community. Locally an infant infrastructure of small business around permaculture begins to mature and grow. The small "hubs" of infrastructure begin to merge regionally. Funny thing happens again. The very economic crisis that is predicted is averted by simply preparing for it, if enough people do those preparations to generate it's own economic growth. All over the people supplying preppers and permies what they need become their own small but growing businesses. The economic wasteland that is our rural situation currently starts reversing. Enough people do this and the middle classes are replenished and crisis averted.

You can make the same case for almost every crisis on the horizon, Global Warming, Peak Oil, Escalating violence and crime, etc etc etc...

So I would answer your questions "Are dark days ahead?.....(Is) total collapse is just on the horizon(?)" by saying absolutely YES. 100% certain that is our future. It is coming and it is coming soon. BUT The very act of preparing for that dark future prevents it from happening. If enough people make those changes that are needed.

I will finish with a motto that I found on another Ted Talk I saw about organic agriculture, modified slightly for this forum.

I am a Permie. I am not afraid of change. I am the change.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I love your post, Scott.

 
Olga Booker
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We have no guarantee that any of us will be alive tomorrow. The only guarantee is that one day we will go. In the scheme of things, life is very, very short so why worry so much. Each day is a blessing and I am thankful for each one of them.

Not worrying does not mean that you should be careless. I have a very extensive First Aid box for instance. It is in a flight case, shock proof and water proof. It caters for humans and small animals' needs. At a drop of a hat I can grab it and take it to any spot where needed. I take it in the camper when we sometimes go away for a day or two. It certainly does not mean that I am constantly worried about accidents, illnesses or disasters to befall us but it certainly makes life easier to be prepared. I always carry a folding knife in my pocket as well as a phone, sometimes a bit of string. I also carry a whistle, just in case I fall and I am too far for my other half to hear me.

I feel the same about my food preparation, I don't worry so much about hordes or natural disasters (they will happen anyway) but I love the feeling of rightness when at the end of the season, food is preserved, hay is in the barn, split wood is in the store, the pantry is stocked up and should a few friends drop in without notice on a cold winter night, I can easily fix a meal. If I have a cold or I am tired from a long day out in the field and I don't feel like cooking, it is heavenly to just open a jar of stew or soup, put it on the range and savour. So yes, I prepare, but I prepare with joy and not fear in my heart. I prepare so that can I share, give, exchange, barter.

As for survivalist culture, which after all is the title of this thread, I personally don't know much about it. I can only go by what I read or see on films and I would not want to live like that. Fear engenders fear and I've heard it said that a life lived in fear is a life half lived!
 
Tyler Ludens
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This is about as doomy as I want to be: http://geofflawton.com/videos/surviving-collapse-designing-way-abundance/



 
David Livingston
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Well said Tyler
Some of us across this side of the pond just look and see "preppers and survivalists " and think thank goodness for the Adlantic . Its another world .
I dont know if an alignment with permaculture is a good thing as it may put many europeans off the idea of permaculture if we see it being too aligned .

David
 
Eric Thomas
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Hmmmm..........and here I thought I was just doing the same things as my grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents; not exactly plowing (in a metaphorical, non-permie sense) new ground here.

A few acquaintances made the mistake of comparing me to those folks on the National Geographic prepper series. Took a few seconds to straighten that out. I'm not suffering from some sociopathy that causes me to dig spider holes and hoard Charmin Ultra by the car load.

No one expects a disaster, man-made or natural. I read somewhere that some folks in France keep a couple of weeks of durable foodstuffs around because the truck drivers go on strike with alarming regularity. WWI was started by some knucklehead shooting someone not all that important, just important enough to put small spark to ready fuse. Reminds me of a time years ago; I was talking to an Amish man and mentioned that I wanted to get on my way because there was a nasty snowstorm forecast. He gave me a odd, utterly blank look that confused me at that moment. Wasn't until a few days later that it dawned on me that, A: he didn't have a TV or radio, hence no idea what the weathermen were proposing, and B: he didn't care. Livestock would be fed and tended, meals would be served, family would be warm. regardless of what happened short of a global thermonuclear event. He was 'prepared'.

I have the diary of a 18th century ancestor, generations back. He described having his house ransacked by British soldiers during the Revolution. Took everything he had including his "gammon" (ham, apparently his protein source for the winter) and left him with nothing but a blanket. In the middle of a New York winter. Recorded his snide remarks in the diary regarding his 'buried', apparently spare gammon. Just in case. He was 'prepared'.

Read Lord Cameron's great piece, Nine Meals to Anarchy If you haven't seen it yet, follow that up with Ruth Goodman's great series, War Time Farm

I'm not afraid of the Army of the Undead, I'm afraid of a bunch of really stupid and extraordinarily hungry people at the end of my road. I think it was Stephen Gaskin that said something to the effect that 'you'll know when things are really bad. There will be a guy at the end of your driveway wanting to trade a BMW with an empty tank for something to eat.'





 
Kyrt Ryder
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Eric Thomas wrote:I think it was Stephen Gaskin that said something to the effect that 'you'll know when things are really bad. There will be a guy at the end of your driveway wanting to trade a BMW with an empty tank for something to eat.'
The greatest challenge of prepping is finding a way to bring that person into your community as a productive member, rather than either bringing on a User or sending away someone who'll come back with friends.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I like Jack Spirko's take on things, and here is his moto on his "survival podcast" site: Helping You Live A Better Life, If Times Get Tough, Or Even If They Don't

One of my own motos: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

I got into some primitive skills partly for the extreme prepper reasons back in the day, but mostly I just wanted to remove as many of the phases of man made reality from me and the Earth. Maybe I'm just a moon prayin freak, but I like to think of myself mostly as an Earthling first rather than a person who relates to this crazy dominator consumer culture that is so manipulated and removed from the source.

All that said, when I go into the bush for a multi day hike, I carry bic lighters. I know a bit about how to make a fire with a match, with sticks, with rocks, or with flint and steel, because I'm a bit of a nut like that, but I carry bic lighters. Cause when push comes to shove and my fingers are numb, and I NEED a fire, I got it, now. And I have gotten near hypothermia when it was way below freezing and it is not easy to start a fire when you are shaking cold numb and wet, even with a lighter, let alone a hand drill.

When I see birch bark on my hike, I grab some. It burns even wet. It helps to dry it off, sure, but it's magic stuff, and burns when wet. I gather a bit, and take it with me. It just makes sense, like burying some spuds below the frostline but above the waterline so you have some in the spring.

Prepping to me, is being prepared, anything more and you might be getting a little wacked in the head... might. So just be careful where your thought patterns go. Not that I don't occasionally get caught up in my own paranoid delusions about the instability of the current global financial and political situation, myself... but I try to moderate this with a careful and measured dose of reality based on the fact that I have confidence not only in my ability to survive, but in my ability to build and sustain communities that are resilient in the event of calamitous situations. Some of these communities involve people, and others involve plant guilds.

I haven't gotten into the ammo end of things at all. I do have a sling shot.

There are probably more guns per capita in my valley in Canada than there are in Texas, but there are some huge differences in the two demographics. Here there is a large population of large wild mammals, which not only pose potential danger to people who live in a very rural setting, but also form a large part of the local diet. I don't hunt, personally, but I do trade garlic for moose sausage, and deer jerky!
 
Jenny Barnes
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I agree, there are massive differences in culture. My take on it is that in the US, you get a lot more actual disasters – hurricanes, flooding, droughts, mass shootings. This probably makes you more aware of what actually could go wrong, because it's more likely to have happened to you or someone you know. Of course, we do get that sort of thing here in Europe but our climate – for the time being – is more stable (10 years ago, we had the first tornado in 70 years all that happened was roof tiles were knocked off and trees blown down).

Also, very few people in the UK and Europe have a gun. So this aspect of survivalist culture is quite alien to us and can be off-putting. We are quite aware of the increased risk if more people did have guns.

However, having said this, I do think it’s useful to be aware of the potential for TSTHTF, in a reasoned sort of way! Chris Martenson's Crash Course is very good (although it did scare me a bit). We know we can’t rely on the status quo to last forever.

I agree with Ross, we should be trying to build communities, and this is where think the Transition Movement can be a positive step. Sometimes, it seems that when survivalist/preppers talk about protecting yourself and your family from the zombie hordes, they’re doing exactly the opposite thing from building communities – they’re isolating themselves further.

I’m mainly focusing on trying to do what Scott said – trying to prevent the SHTF by organising community events about climate change. As Paul is doing with the Spiffy threads, it’s much easier to get others to take one small action than to take a huge action in your own life. Influencing others is a much better way of preventing disaster, and you’ll all be stronger if it does go t*ts up. What if you could prepare your whole community so there were no zombie hordes?
 
Olga Booker
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Hi Jenny,

When you say that " very few people in the UK and Europe have a gun" I slightly disagree with you.

It is true that very few people in the UK own a gun (hunting is the premise of the rich and privileged), but in rural France, many people own a gun, as we do, and hunting is very common, more like a passion for some. I grew up with my grandfather's gun hanging over the fire place and I can assure you that many fire places in the South of France had the same decoration until the rules and regulations forced them to put that gun in a locker. I can also assure you that around here, not many people keep their guns under lock and key, the French are notorious for putting the finger up at any rule and regulation!

There are plenty of guns in Europe, but I totally agree with you when you say that it is a question of culture, and that this survivalist thing is totally alien to us on this side of the pond. Now, food is another matter and anyone of those gun owners, will more than likely have a larder full of preserves, dried mushrooms (another passion of theirs), and a freezer full of venison and wild boar. Are they prepping? Not on your life, it's just something they do - they've always done it. It's jut that freezers make life a teeny, tiny bit easier for them!

 
Zach Muller
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I don't feel any particular way about prepping in general, sometimes it's over the top silly, sometimes it makes sense. That said I personally avoid all connections with it. It's political associations are too extreme and would not serve to legitimize any out of the box ideas I may have or practice. When people think your a prepper, they assume you are also a conspiracy nut, militia but, uneducated etc... It's just not worth associating with.
 
Eric Thomas
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Eric Thomas wrote:I think it was Stephen Gaskin that said something to the effect that 'you'll know when things are really bad. There will be a guy at the end of your driveway wanting to trade a BMW with an empty tank for something to eat.'
The greatest challenge of prepping is finding a way to bring that person into your community as a productive member, rather than either bringing on a User or sending away someone who'll come back with friends.


Agree absolutely. Old age has made me ornery and unable to grasp the obvious while I'm furiously typing. I remember a prof at college saying that revolutions aren't started by poor people, they're started by hungry people. Poverty is an economic condition, you can (for the most part) deal with it on some level and survive. Hunger is a biological imperative and will make otherwise civilized folks do things they might not otherwise do. Occurs to me that we could easily segue into another interesting thread that was recently posted about Wal-Mart pulling out of small towns leaving food deserts behind. Forget the irony that the initial introduction of Wal-Mart often displaced the local food production and distribution systems.

City friends here abouts meet resistance from HOA restrictions and city high-weed ordinances when trying to turn a 'desert' into an oasis. That's what I meant by "extraordinarily stupid people"; folks that have all the means at their disposal but would prefer to rely on an illusion of food security to the real thing.

Keep the faith, spread the word, practice what you preach.
 
Dave de Basque
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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.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Eric Thomas wrote:I think it was Stephen Gaskin that said something to the effect that 'you'll know when things are really bad. There will be a guy at the end of your driveway wanting to trade a BMW with an empty tank for something to eat.'


This seems to assume the observer has either divorced himself from the economy somehow, in other words has no bills to pay, or is wealthier than the guy with the BMW. It seems to me more realistic to not expect the guy with the BMW, because he would have traded it long ago for a beater or some food. 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, but I have not seen doomers discuss how they have divorced themselves from the economy or otherwise prepared for their own loss of income. I've even seen doomers advocate running up massive debt buying land and preps because when the economy collapses you won't have to pay your bills! I hate to think of the lives ruined by this strategy.

My own household is dealing with "economic collapse" because due to changes in the industry, my business has mostly ceased to make money. I think it earned about $600 last month. So we have suddenly plummeted below the poverty line. But we own our house and land and have relatively few bills. We're mostly eating from the garden and land these days, though we still buy some groceries. But this is the sort of thing doomers didn't want to talk about; doom would always befall someone else, or it would befall everyone instantly all at once. Most of them seemed to have regular jobs, not even self-employed. Yet somehow these jobs would magically last until the last second before TSHTF....

 
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