W. Edwards Deming
I've said this before in other "letters" but this bears repeating as this relates to SurvivalMom's post ....
What is a Prepper?
Ask people what a “Prepper” is and for every person you ask, you will get a different answer. However there are some key characteristics that will apply. Top of this list is Independence and Self-Reliance.
Independence is being able to take care of yourself with the least amount of involvement from others. Self-Reliance is knowing you can do what needs to be done or make what you need with the least amount of help from others and at the least amount of cost. Both characteristics require you to handle any situation with what you have, rather than hiring or purchasing what you need.
So to me becoming a Prepper requires independence and self-reliance in all areas of our lives including finances, utilities, food, clothing, health, devices and furniture to name a few key areas. If you want to be a Homesteader you will need to be this way continuously in your day to day life. To be a Prepper, some of these areas will require day to day independence, self-reliance, preparation and diligence while others you need only worry about for shorter periods of emergent times.
To me a Prepper, specifically is a person who considers what can happen: while at home, on the way to work, vacation (air, land or sea), from nature, from bad luck and clumsiness, spiritual, to human caused. Kind of like an adult Boy Scout – Always prepared for anything, anywhere. A Prepper will have a contingency plan to account for the best way to not only avoid such a situation in the first place (whenever possible), but also how to live through such an event and continue to prosper and be happy and content with life.
There are various levels of Preppers and at the highest level you reach Survivalists.
Survivalists also have various levels to them. The most common perception being; the extreme Survivalist who lives in the boonies and off the land in a very “times of yore” way. Yet, you also have wilderness guides who know all kinds of skills in case the worst happens - Another type of survivalist. Military personnel are taught how to make it through being separated from the rest of their team or troupe; How to survive the worst that can happen in a war situation. Again, another type of Survivalist.
If you really stop and think about it, most people are Preppers, at least in some small way. How so? Most of us have insurance for our health, home, vehicles and major “toys” and possessions. Insurance is in case the worst happens is it not? Ha – a Prepper. Many country and northern folk have alternative energy and food stores because winter storms often take out electricity, phone service and the ability to travel safely for days and even weeks. Again – Preppers. If you have a first aid kit in your home, boat, auto or RV you are preparing for the chance you might need it. A Prepper. If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, avalanches, mud slides or floods you no doubt have some kind of plan to get you through each occurrence. Another type of Prepper.
I have long been a hiker and backpacker. I love the outdoors and nature. I love the idea of being self-reliant and have been researching, learning and planning for moving to a rural area with a small, as self-reliant as possible homestead. I want to be independent from as many utilities and outside entities as possible; for my food, energy, health, water, sanitation and all the rest of my basics needs. A homesteader, a small farmer/rancher, a country/rural person – A Prepper.
Even governments worldwide have various programs and agencies to address “disasters” and “emergencies”. Take a look at the FEMA and Homeland Security “Be Prepared” and “Are You Ready” websites. The Church of Latter Day Saints has long been “prepping” for disasters and emergencies that they feel precede the Second Coming of Christ.
Bottom line is that in some small way we are all Preppers consisting of all ages, all nationalities, all faiths, and all races, rich and poor, in urban, suburban and rural areas. We are the adult Boy Scouts – Always Prepared for whatever twists and turns life throws at us from any source.
I also know that in all my years of prepping and planning for homesteading (since the 1970’s); I have never before seen such a proliferation of information and groups on the subject like I have in the last 5-8 years. Something must be up to make people worldwide feel this need.
One thing is for sure – In a disaster or wide spread emergency - You CANNOT count on any government or emergency agency to come to your rescue in a timely fashion. The only things you can count on are yourself (physical, emotional & spiritual), your knowledge and skills and the supplies and tools you have on hand.
Periodically throughout human history there are stories of apocalypse, Armageddon, destruction, turmoil, tribulation and the end of the world as we know it prophecies and predictions. These predictions increase in the eras where the indicators of these events appear to occur in rapid succession and or escalating frequency. This is a normal human trait or emotion to bad times. As our civilizations mature and develop more precise sciences, these predictions gather more validity. This validity raises flags of concern and caution in just about anyone with a lick of common sense.
What makes today any different than yesterday and previous generations? I’m not an expert and can only guess that it has something to do with what the people of today’s generation have seen in their lifetimes. Anyone older than 70 probably lived through part of the Great Depression. They at least saw WWII and Korean wars. Then anyone over 50 has seen science fiction become reality.
Think about it, my grandparents, whom passed in the 1980’s saw the telegraph, telephone, radio, TV, movies, in house plumbing/heating/cooling, electricity, refrigerators instead of ice boxes, the atomic bomb, automobiles, WWI, WWII, Korean War, flu epidemics, polio, measles and chicken pox epidemics (that killed back then), Great Depression, Dust Bowl, computers, airplanes and space flight to name a few.
My parents were children during the Dust Bowl and Depression years but they saw jet airplanes, microwaves, computers, cell phones, GPS, TV dinners, the birth of suburbs, SS, welfare, income taxes, inflation, landing on the moon, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and lived through the Cold War, as well as many of the same things their parents, my grandparents saw.
I look back on what my generation has seen from the rapid development and deployment of computers, graphics, cell phones (I remember those big military type ones), calculators (the first el-cheapo was $100), I remember A-bomb drills in elementary school, the first 8086 PC and a thing called a “portable computer” that was as clunky and heavy as a portable sewing machine of the day. I grew up on Star Trek and now quite a bit of the science fiction of that show is reality.
Add to this the natural secretive nature of governments, militaries; the instantaneousness of communications and travel and the nature of humans to seek and possess power.
Next add that today we are at far greater risk of a nuclear holocaust than at any time during the cold war. This is because the world powers of the Cold War knew what kind of hell would result. Sure they postulated and slung threats back and forth, but neither great power wanted any part of a nuclear war. Today however we do not have seasoned leaders that know and care about this, instead we see rich mini-countries or rich large cause oriented organizations with the nuclear power and they don’t care what happens as long as they can throw their “power” around.
Many of the developed “western world” countries like the United States face other issues that could undermine our civilizations. Like the physical age of the physical components of the electrical GRID, bridges and dams. Many urban water, storm and waste systems are old and already at capacity. Water reservoirs are at capacity and many are seeing lower water levels. Aquifers are drying up.
We don’t have enough fertile farm land to grow enough crops to feed the world population and that population is growing every day.
For decades, humans have collectively abused the chemicals that we discovered resulting in an “unhealthily” environment as well as “super bugs” and other ailments. Other life forms, like insects, are developing immunities to our chemicals resulting in crop and disease “plagues”.
Modern science now knows more about plate tectonics and has found thousands more very dangerous faults that are in major population and business areas around the globe.
Think about it: What would you do right now, this instant if the electricity goes out and stays out for the next 7 days? Where are you most likely to be? Where are the water, heat, cooling, and food? Are these items reliant on electricity? Will these items stay fresh and viable for 7 days without electricity? Can you even get to and or use them without electricity?
I don’t know a single person who wants to see or be involved in a disaster or emergency. Even the fire, rescue and safety people I know hope and pray they are never called upon. Historically, rarely a generation goes by that has not survived some kind of emergency or disaster, be it large or small. In fact, statistically, most of us will experience some sort of emergency or disaster, sometime in our lifetimes.
As the world population spirals towards forgetting how to live on what we have, and instead lives on credit to get what we want and we all become “commercial driven” to use and toss, many of us have started to “sense” the self-destructive nature of our ways. We collectively start to fear the unknown and that leads us to prepare for the worst case scenario our minds can conger up. We logically know that if we survive and how well we survive depends on how prepared we and those around us are.
This is why it is wise to prepare for whatever obstacles life throws our way. NO - SurvuvalMom, Preppers are not crazy it truly is crazy not to prepare!
Play the “What If” game. Be sure to think about what would be available and not available if each “What If” occurred. How long would it take for your area to recover? Where would you be? What would you be doing? Is your home safe and secure for each of these incidents? Would this incident have an effect on other parts of the country and what would they be? What would your neighbors and friends do? If you live rural, how easy is it for urban people to get to where you are even if they walked?
- The electricity goes down for 7 days starting tomorrow at 5am?
- A hurricane, tornado, flood or 7.8 earthquake hits tomorrow at 3PM?
- Plastic disappears and humans cannot make more tomorrow at 12 noon?
- Mexico enters a civil war and refugees start flooding our boarders tomorrow at 6PM?
- The State comes by and puts meters on your private domestic water well tomorrow morning at 7AM?
- The prisons run out of money and release all of their prisoners tomorrow at 1PM?
- The sun has a huge, never before recorded solar storm and it wipes out microwaves, radio waves, TV/Satellite transmissions and electricity worldwide tomorrow at 1AM?
- A large, but not extinction level event, sized asteroid hits the Pacific Ocean at 3AM tomorrow morning?
- Starting tomorrow at 10AM; There is a very large, gang in the streets setting fires and spreading destruction in a major city near you, civil upheaval is spreading with each passing hour?
- This spring an unprecedented rain storm saturates the Snake, Columbia, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Mississippi River basins, with floods that cover most of our bread basket states and farms?
- A fanatical faction sets off nuclear explosions in one or more major cities here in the U.S. and or world tomorrow at 8PM?
- There is some kind of explosion or attack at one or more oil refineries, storage facilities or power plants, here in the U.S. tomorrow at 12 midnight?
Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday
From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}