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How do you guys feel about prepping/ survivalist culture?

 
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Most folks aren't real when it comes to prepping or surviving.  Prepping is practice.  Just like shooting or setting snares. You have to practice.  Here are some examples:
1)  Go to your main breaker and kill the electric power to your house for 24 hours, (simulating grid down.)  Now, what do you do?
Get out your paper and pencil, not your stupid phone, and write down the problems you encounter and what you would do about them.  What about the food in your fridge or freezer?

2)  Go out to the street and turn off the water for 24 hours.  Same drill here, get out the pencil and paper and begin writing down the problems you encounter and your solutions.  Are you ready to not flush your toilets?  What about water for cooking and personal hygiene?  Do you have adequate water stored up?  With regard to 1) above, what if you have an electric pump on your well?  What then?  Hmm....

3)  Park your cars miles from your house then get a ride home.  What are you going to do now?  (simulating no gas for the car)
Break out that pencil and paper and begin writing it all down.

I'm sure there are many out there that can think of a ton more
 
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There's a lot of lone-wolf doomers out there, but for an outstanding introduction to basic principles, I can't recommend Fieldcraft Survival enough. Mike Glover's concept about The Pillars of Preparedness is just awesome to break things down.



So, if you look at the three pillars and the foundation, it seems to me that most survivalists start with the idea of being well prepared in an EDC sense, and then build up towards mobility (especially the "bug-out" subset) or homesteading (especially the "bug-in" subset), depending on where they live. Most city dwellers end up realising that homesteading is the superior option, and then working towards that. And then they hopefully realise that they really need a community to have a chance of pulling it off.

Now, I don't have much experience with permaculture or the community just yet, but it seems to me that the ultimate goals of both groups are the same, it's just that the permies will start from the other end. Community support for ideas/workshops/experience, then hopefully your own homestead, then being able to go and help out others (mobility), and then ... maybe EDC?

I've yet to see any prominent permie talk about EDC, but likewise in the prepper sphere, not many people talk about communites and how to build them, which seems to confirm my theory about both eating the same pie from different ends.

What's the differentiating factor? Probably something in the mindset. In general, it seems to me that most preppers want the government out of their lives to be able to own anything they like (firearms, radios, etc), and most permies want the government out of their lives to build anything they like (wofatis, rocket mass heaters, etc). So, the differences just come down to a nuance in interest and motivation.

In any case, if you want to check out Mike's work he has videos out on mindset and EDC, the rest presumably coming out at a later date.
 
pollinator
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Humans have a natural tendency to try and improve their lot; at least, most of them do. For that purpose, they save money, grow food, buy only what's necessary, gain good working skills, hacks, befriend their neighbors etc.
That's just called living. We acquire skills along our lives to get better at it. When I came here, I only knew how to be a good cook and save money by doing a little gardening, but I can't say that the permie bug bit me until I was in my 60s. I didn't own a gun and didn't know how to skin a deer or can meat. I learned along the way with hubby #1 who had me skinning deer or cut it up more than once.
I was greatly helped by my parents who inculcated in me having modest tastes, common sense and being an eternal optimist, so I'm not the kind to worry about the end of the world. Maybe I should but that's just not how I'm built. Being eternally observant and curious is also something they encouraged. I have not accumulated an enormous wealth, but I'm happy with my station in life. Would I love to have more money? Of course,  like anyone else, but not so much for myself. My needs are small. In a few days, I'll be 75. I own 7 acres with my hubby and that's OK: I don't need more as I would be hard pressed to make use of all of it. Same thing is an obscene amount of money. I'd have to try and find ways to spend it that are not outrageous. [Because outrageous is not me]. We have 3 cars, 2 motorcycles, a mulching mower, a 4-wheeler and zero debt. Any credit card is paid in full and on time as a matter of course.
As far as natural disasters, we don't live in a flood plain or a tornado corridor. Although we are in a very serious drought this year, we can keep the orchards going. We get a blizzard once in a while and lose electricity but rarely  for more than a few hours at a time [and we do have a generator].
Maybe that's what happiness is: To have enough for you and yours plus a little extra and be able to face adversity if it comes. Always have a project to keep your hands and mind occupied. That's happiness too. Right now harvesting and using aronias; making a root cellar is another one, but farther out, like crocking ducks in their own fat.
Zombies, general starvation, famine, the end of the world, fascism or communism, the 'Govinment' coming to lock me up, take my guns, those are tin foil hat things that I put in the bucket of irrational fears. That kind of fear, the impotent fear is a very negative motivator. But I will remain vigilant, and if the need arises.... well, then there might be hell to pay, but worrying about it is paralyzing, and a waste of time that keeps you from being happy.
 
pollinator
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I think a lot of people regard preppers as nut jobs/anarchists/bunker living lone wolves. And certainly, some of them probably are. In my mind, I tend to blur the line between prepping and homesteading common sense. I happen to believe the prepping rule of "2 is 1 and 1 is none" is an excellent idea but it totally depends on your individual circumstances.  I think the S is hitting the fan as we speak and my govt. is NOT my friend. I have a generator and I certainly don't expect to run it for years on end but we lose power every winter and if we lost it and it didn't come back on (never say never) then my generator will keep my freezers running long enough to pressure can everything in them, rather than lose it all. I don't think that's being paranoid.

Waaay back in 1999 when everyone was spazzing out over Y2K, I had an aunt who put up barrels and barrels of dry goods. She bought into the hype and wanted to be prepared. It turned out to be a non-event, but a couple years later, she lost her job and she survived just dandy off that food she'd stored. I definitely don't think that's being paranoid.  Yes, I think having a stash of long term food storage is extremely smart, but thinking you can rely on that forever is just short-sighted. Skills certainly are more important but it's time to give "preppers" a break. We are all doing whatever we think is necessary to weather whatever may come our way and if stashing a few hundred pounds of wheat berries means I can make bread for my neighbors who weren't so "paranoid", then I'm all for it!

Just my 2 cents....(or with inflation, just my $47.95)
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
pollinator
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Something Ra said really resonated with me. It is about insurance and being self made ready in case of a disaster. When we buy 'insurance', what we really buy is convenience, and we pay and pay through the nose for it: The convenience of not having to pay at the time when we get sick or the washer takes a dump. Convenience is also when we buy those horrible TV dinners [but don't we pay for them *also* with bad nutrition?]
I feel that insurance is a racket. Sure health is so expensive that you pretty much have to have it: One week in the hospital could bankrupt many of us. Car insurance is mandated in case we drive poorly and injure someone. Life insurance is a nice thing to leave to our children if you have a little extra...
So what happens when we buy insurance, any insurance?
We start paying premiums, and those premiums come due every month, with depressing regularity, whether we have an accident or not, whether we get sick or not, whether the house floods or burns down... or not. We pay them for month upon month, year upon year. My husband has never had an accident. I've had mostly slow moving ones, with no one hurt, but we've always had insurance.
So what did those premiums buy besides peace of mind, perhaps. Well, the insurance agents' salary/ wages for one, his kid's braces, his daughter 's college tuition, his car, his insurance policies, his TV dinners, his trips to Disney land.
I wish them no ill, mind you, everyone has to make a living and in their own way, they are performing a service. The living they make is totally parasitic, however.
Another is buying on credit. There too, you buy convenience. The convenience of not having to pay immediately. However, you still have to pay the whole sum +++ interests. If you buy on credit, you also pay interest on that purchase, so you end up paying more than if you had paid the whole sum at the time, and that money could have been making babies in your bank on YOUR account. When they sell cars, they don't even bother to write down how much more you will end up paying altogether. But they dazzle you with "This car can be yours for $? a month". Yes, but if you have to pay for 60 months, that is quite a pile of extra dough that you will pay for the convenience.
I realized early that I would always need a car, but I never financed one. My first one was bought with a share certificate I redeemed [a very long time ago] plus some savings. As soon as I drove the car out of the lot, I started saving for the next car.
My mom showed me her system: Every month, she would make 4 envelopes and in each one, enough money to buy what was needed for the week. At the end of the week, when she had money left, she would roll it in the next envelope or put in in the savings. A car should last you 10 years. Dad made them last 15, and in 15 years, $10 here, $50 there really adds up. When that car was on its last leg, so to speak, they had the time to find the best car available that they could afford and pay cash. I did  the same thing when I came here. You should have seen the look on the salesman's face when I'd tell him I would not finance. The sad look on their face at all that extra money they would not get out of me.
And don't think that I ever felt deprived. We went on vacation, ate out once in a while. Mom used to say: "It is not the expensive, good quality stuff that ruins you. It is bad little habits, like the daily sweets you don't need, stopping at a tavern on your way home. You can piss that money away and not realize it's gone until you need it".
Now, I don't seek to malign folks who buy stuff on credit. Once in a while, the car get totaled, you have a serious injury/ illness and you need money you just don't have, but if you think about it, buying on credit *all the time* is really not necessary, and a person may be courting disasters in getting over extended. "A bad thing never comes alone as we say in French".
 
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I think that “prepping” is smart.. better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. That being said, my location, and lifestyle, demands a certain amount of this approach regardless of any impending doom scenario. Luckily for me, I have artesian springs gushing with high quality water.. no pump necessary, and native people lived successfully in this area since time immemorial.. so even without “preps” life will continue.
 
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

I feel that insurance is a racket..



I have to pay vehicle liability and my licence plate since I am fortunate enough to own running vehicles at this time. But hey yeah! Insurance is a racket.

My father worked for an insurance company fresh out of his studies and I am sure he was places there to help provide information to take down a pyramid scheme back in the 1960s.

He would say above the bankers the most crooked people that exist are the ones that run the insurance companies, especially insurance one is required to pay the mortgage and often run by the same gang, yes gang.

My property has been paid off in insurance I never had to pay. Thats why I can live off less than $7K cdn annually. And because I dont buy TV, tobacco, alcohol etc. I bought when I had a ten year old, so needed somewhere where there were some children nearby, but next time around I am buying more land and there won't be a house unless it devalues the property (one that has a functioning well would be nice).

I watched the documentary Sicko a decade ago and I am so fortunate not too have to pay health insurance that probably won't pay out. It was an eye opener into how all insurance works.

I grow a lot of medicinals on my septic tile bed. Just as well because medical help is usually not helpful.

My new partner when he moved in, asked why I have so much water stored (400' well uses 220A) and I told him eventually he will find out which of course he did.

He was also really happy about my plan to eliminate grass on the tile bed (for medicinals and wild edibles) and continue to restore the forest by replacing all the grass around the house, so that when the spluttering antique lawn mower finally died, there would be no lawn left anyway. (As it is, a small trail of trodden grass around compost guilds mowed in 10 minutes with a push mower on occasion,  and he got the tractor running better and removed the blades and now it pulls a home made trailer with things we need moved around like manure and rainwater.)

The idea about replacing lawn with food, I think I read on this site about a decade ago long before I registered.
 
pollinator
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I agree that the long slow decline has begun but Rome took 400 years to fall, more or less. “ Supply chain”, political insanity, technology failures ( remember:batteries burning & planes flying into the ground recently?), increasing gaps “have” versus “have nots” etc etc. I’m betting on building community, whether it’s permies (Yes!) or joint resistance to HOV or subverting landscapers to grow flowers hiding food (and influence owner of apartment complex). I’m too old to do it all, all by myself, but I can influence the people around me by example. It helps to not be at all shy, persistent and willing to be nice to people whom are annoying.  Start small & keep going, the world will be better for my great grandkids and others. And maybe have more northern avocados!
 
leigh gates
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And at least these stunningly hot summers allow me to grow sweet potatos!
 
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I see these as two different categories. Someone might be either/or/neither. Permaculture is usually more promoting of community and creating abundance. Most of the survivalist stuff I’ve seen focuses on the individual or household and tends to imagine some kind of Walking Dead scenario. Personally, I like to be reasonably prepared with things like reasonable amounts of food, water, savings account, and fuel, in case of “normal” emergencies like job loss, natural disaster, or the 2020s possibility of the government shutting everything down.
 
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It's okay to be a bit fearful. It was built into us, so to speak, for a reason. It helps us avoid calamities and dangers. Of course, there is that "everything in moderation" bit too.

I've lived through 50 below winters in an old, no-insulation, two story farm house with an antique wood burner as it's only heating source.

I've lived through a few weeks of city life without any electricity. Again, wood heat meant the difference between keeping warm and not, as well as keeping the water pipes from freezing.  Being able to heat water on the wood burner was big deal. Coffee is important, right?

Out on the Pacific Northwet beaches, I saw both days without power and limited access to what passed for civilization because of flooding and winds that took down shallow rooted trees (like the ones I water around my house).

When I was a kid, in Brewster, Washington, we got more than a little snow. Main highways were shut down. Even State Highway truck drivers were concerned about drifts that reached above their trucks. Needless to say, many were unable to leave their homes.

I remember the year power lines came down because of the weight of the snow that build up on them. Apple trees sounded like someone shooting a 30-06, as the sub zero temps froze 20" thick trees, causing them to explode.

There were the earth quakes that were game changing. Roads became non-existent.  Power went with them too. I lucked out and only felt a bit of them. People in Seattle, California and Alaska were not so fortunate.

Then there were the brush and forest fires.

Fires called for the ability to bug out quickly, with things critical to your future, and a plan to protect pets and livestock.  Planning for it included, when possible, making sure there was little near your house and cars that could catch fire. Ideally, green things with no terpenes and clearing things to keep back at least 300 feet back is all just part of the planning.  

NOTE: Planning commissions are heavily influenced by commerce and allow combustible house A to be within ten feet of combustible house B, rather than applying common sense distancing that would minimize the danger of fires jumping house to house. In other words. Good prep means NOT relying on the wisdom of public agents whose qualifications to advise on a given thing may be non-existant, or so much BS.

In recent years, we've seen public agents play with money so much the value of the promissory notes we call dollars have taken huge hits. We've seen suspicious fires all across our land. Each one raising the cost and value of food supplies (loss of farmed food, packing plants, fuel sources, etc.). Meanwhile, or on the other hand, food bought and stored doesn't go down in value.  Especially things like salt and honey that have no respect for expiration dates.

Prepping for the worst, often, means having more wood than needed. It means having food that will not spoil, and food that can be prepared easily is, also, at the top of the list. It can mean having a water supply, a means of using a bathroom without wasting water resources.

Sadly, life is real and not everyone near you is your friend. Some are even sociopaths or psychopaths. Others are just outright stupid. Being able to keep them at bay in an extreme situation, be it by way of sound construction or other means, is far from a radical concept.

However called, those who plan for the bad side of the future are far from fools. Storing food and water with long term and rotation plans, being prepared to drop it all and run, having a means by which you can hold back a bad guy, or planning to stop a fire or flood from reaching you is a bit like having auto, home or renters insurance, or a fire alarm and a fire extinguisher, or three.  The wisdom of it is obvious.
 
Kelly Craig
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About that racket:  A BUNCH of decades ago, I was having trouble finding a job. I decided to become an insurance salesman, with an eye to, eventually, becoming a broker.  The class I attended was attended by any and all future insurance agents. That includes Pemco, Allstate, people in butchers aprons (okay, that one may not have existed yet), Farmers and so on.

The class was eye opening. The instructor cut no bones about the BS tied to the industry. He made clear the disdain he had for EVERY company that sold life insurance as savings tool, and was quick to remind us all it was illegal to promote it as an investment, because it wasn't.

The first several years of your cash value life insurance plan runs a a loss of nearly 5% (figures may have gotten nastier in fifty years).  You'd neve call that investment if you got that from investing in the market, depositing in a bank, buying a bond or CD.

When you borrow against your cash value plan, all you are doing is borrowing money you already paid in back. Try borrowing the day after you start the con program if you don't believe it.

If you died after borrowing your own money, the money you borrowed is take out of what would be paid on your death.

I passed the class, got my certificate to sell insurance, and went and found another job that didn't result in people being fleeced.


Ra Kenworth wrote:

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

I feel that insurance is a racket..

. . . .

 
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Ted Abbey wrote: …better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. …



This is exactly my view I say this all the time! Always over packing over preparing, but always ready! I keep a grill a tent and a couple tarps and matches all in the cargo top on the van. Fresh water really is the biggest concern. Native peoples lived all over very primitive, but they lived.

My version of prepping is planting things in places where they will grow despite no irrigation. This ensures I have something edible medicinal or of some sort of value. The “ back to Eden “ guy plants his taters by a pond and just harvests what he needs every year and they boom and come back.

Prepping has many forms spending gobs of money isn’t really necessary… I mean if you’re rich do it up,  but humans are resourceful and we have now planted millions of fruit trees and berry bushes all over. If SHTF tomorrow we would be way ahead of our ancestors simply because we have so many edibles spread throughout gardens all over the world.
 
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as an American I had no idea how limited my knowledge of certain things was until I spent a few months roaming around Europe and the Middle East. it sure was eye opening to visit places where an olive tree had been providing for the same family for 1000 years or more and the home the family lives in had been there for possibly as long while back home a "historic" building might be 300 years old at the most and the people who built it are long gone moved away to a condo on the beach. there are peoples outside the United States that have survived though all types of disasters over 1000's of years.
prepping? could it be maybe a marketing and advertising ploy that feeds off of peoples fear that has become a trendy lifestyle for many and a way to survive in the modern world living comfortably being as self sufficient as possible? there is only just so much gas and oil and everyone seems to need as much as they can get. if you want reliable transportation get a couple mules.
 
pollinator
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I've spent a lot of time in rational and reasonable wilderness survival and disaster preparedness forums where there were all sorts of Search and Rescue professionals.

They had seen a lot -- and they were adamant that the Zombie Apocalypse / Lord of the Flies narrative of "each man for himself!" isn't what actually happens. Instead, people generally tend to pull together and try to help each other.

There's an interesting article in the NYT that explores this, but it's behind a paywall. I'm afraid you'll have to search for "Dirty Rotten Douglas" in Permies for the dirty rotten workaround.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/03/opinion/columnists/burning-man-rain-mud.html
 
gardener
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I think preppers are awesome.  I like hanging out with folks who are reality based.


Preppers are making it "cool" to do all the things I want to do anyway.  


 
Dalton Dycer
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Samantha Lewis wrote:I think preppers are awesome.  I like hanging out with folks who are reality based.


Preppers are making it "cool" to do all the things I want to do anyway.  




All the things everyone should be into to be prepared anyways. Totally agree most preppers I’ve met, the hard core ones, are the most laid back and chill people because they know their garden and their food supply creates no reason to stress in times of struggle. These people usually have a million dollars in ideas of how to get by and that’s worth way more than money. My aunt and uncle are these people they just smoke their homegrown and wait for the world to collapse. With little money they are way more prepped than most people I know because they’ve lived the off grid life for 20 years. Skills and knowledge and creativity under pressure are the ultimate preps.
 
pollinator
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We prepped for Y2K because of a better-safe-than-sorry mentality.  Afterward, we donated a lot of it to the local food bank and kept what was readily usable.  Now we are back to stocking up on things and learning how to make use of every bit of things -- like not throwing away chicken bones, veggie scraps, etc, repurposing things we already have, and changing what and the way we buy things.  I prefer "prepared" to "survivalist" though if my bad neighbor decided to take what was mine, some of the survivalist methods might come in handy.  
 
Theresa Garrison
pollinator
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...It's hard to overcome this stigma because "normal" survivalists are hesitant to talk openly for fear of being immediately dismissed as crazies...

^^This^^

Until you have gained the trust of survivalists, you'll never know who they are.   We have a contractor friend that I never would've guessed if his son hadn't spilled the beans about the fortifications to his house.  And a retired police officer friend who has about $200,000 worth of firearms -- which, btw, hold or increase in value.  Another older couple well into their 60s who have paid off every debt and stocked their pantry with enough food to feed their block for years.  More than a couple of Mormon friends who have seven years' worth of canned goods (!) in their suburban garages.  And two Amish acquaintances that trade in firearms here in TN whose concerns are with encroaching government.

My point is that most people probably do know those who would be considered "survivalists" or extreme preppers; they simply wouldn't know before an emergency who they are.

"The first rule of fight club..."
 
pollinator
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That's why it's important to be active in your community as a food security person or whatever. It communicates to the preppers that you are also on their team in a supportive way.

I'm not into the guns, but the person in my neighborhood who is, will know who I am, and connect with me early on.
 
gardener
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Joseph Johnson wrote: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.



My boyfriend is a Prepper and we met through similar interests.   My son fancies himself a Survivalist.  We all have so much in common.
I'm not a zombie enthusiast and believe the world is already improving.  More and more information of the insidious deeds and pollutants are
being brought to our attention.  Isn't it true that you have to know you have a problem before you can fix it?   The more people focused on
fixing these issues the faster they will be repaired/resolved.
I keep plugging along to make the world a better place by participating in Permaculture as much as possible.
 
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I think preparedness is great, but any kind of zealotry can be blinding and make one less prepared for the unknowns ahead. For practical purposes, I would recommend all preparedness minded folk and especially homesteaders living “out there”, to take a Wilderness First Responder course (72hrs of course time, usually over 2 weeks), or at least a Wilderness First Aid course (24hrs/3-days). It has paid for itself for me many times over in avoiding injury and treating my own, my friends, passersby, and pets. It even helped me to understand plumbing (which our circulatory system is a fancy form of). I have also met many adventurous and altruistic people this way.
 
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