Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tempus Fugit

If you’ve been watching the news this week, you’ll have seen stories about tornados, fires and floods. Devastating events, to be sure, but they are relatively short in duration and the effects are transient in their nature. They have devastating effects on the areas in which they occur, possibly fatal to some people. Yet in the big picture, it’s not that bad.

While terrible, these disasters are generally mitigated by the arrival of outside help from other communities, agencies, and levels of government. The loss of a hundred or two hundred lives is devastating to their families, but sustainable by a city such as Joplin, Mo., when taken as a whole. The loss of people’s homes in Slave Lake, Alta. is shocking to the homeowners, but they will rebuild, likely with some government insurance. Likewise with the flooding in various areas. Life will go on and things will return to normal sooner or later.

Now consider what happens if it does not. Consider what happens when everyone is in the same situation, and has little or nothing to spare to help out others. This is the sort of thing that a CME might bring about. Even a major economic collapse might leave individuals, towns, and cities in an ‘every man for themselves’ state of mind.

Most preppers prepare to a particular timeframe: 72 or 96 hours. Three months, six months, one year. Underlying those preparations is the assumption that somehow, things will return to some sort of normalcy. Even if that normalcy is a return to a lower level of technology, or a lower standard of living, the human desire for stability is there.

After all, who other than the hopelessly insane wants to live every day of the rest of their life armed to the teeth against attack, vulnerable to famine if their crops fail, and doomed to die if they get seriously ill? Unfortunately, in much of human history, those conditions have too often occurred, and may occur again.

In reality, surviving through a major collapse will not be like a novel where all the plot elements are neatly wound up in the last chapter and everyone lives happily ever after. Hopefully, your story will continue for years and years, but if you want that to happen, you need to consider what happens after you’ve eaten 23 months of a two year food supply, what you do when you’re down to only 10 rounds for your .22, and what you’ll for new shoes, new clothes, new anything once whatever you have runs out.

I’m not advocating massive stockpiling, nor am I saying it’s a hopeless situation. What I am saying is that once you’ve prepared to a certain level, you need to think and plan for the long haul. Think of as many long term scenarios as you can and try to imagine what you’ll need to prosper in those conditions. If you’re doing this honestly and not imagining yourself as some neo-feudal lord surrounded by loyal minions, you’ll likely come up with a list of skills and perhaps a few tools and supplies you may want to work toward in the long term.

A stockpile of bullets, band-aids and beany-weenies is fine, but it won’t last forever. Plan for when it runs out.


  1. Good thoughts to get the mind going.

    I believe it would be helpful when feeding one's self and family to garden and save seeds. My 6th great grandfather, who was a founding father in Lunenburg had a garden on what is now called Garden Lots Road. It wasn't a 4 x 8 foot raised bed, it was huge because they had to grow their family's food for winter in order to survive.

    Although I know that not everyone has room to garden that much, and not everyone would wish to, many new ways have been discovered to grow good harvests in smaller spaces. Learning how to do that, and learning how to save seeds would come in handy after the food storage has run out I believe.

  2. Knowing how to provide food for yourself on an ongoing basis is a very high priority!