Many have requested that I weigh-in on the current global pandemic. I have been hesitant to do so because I prefer to stay “in my lane” and not pretend to specialize or be an authority on something that I am not. I also like to actually take time to observe, research, and understand before I speak or give advice. It’s something I wish everyone would do.
While I am still not a person of authority on the pandemic, I do feel qualified to speak on self-reliance, and steps you can take now that it has happened if you didn’t see it coming and aren’t prepared at all. I am in no way claiming to be an expert on anything at all; I don’t believe it’s possible to live long enough to know everything there is to know on a particular subject.
I will start this by saying I do not believe it’s a conspiracy, I believe it is biology. If you came into this hoping to have your opinion on that validated by my own, you may or may not be disappointed already. That’s as far into those weeds as I am willing to go.
I will also tell you in advance that this is not all-inclusive as far as everything that needs to be discussed, and is my opinion on the subject. If you choose to read it, that is equivalent to asking me my opinion and me giving it to you. The beauty of advice and opinions? Anyone can take them or leave them. They don’t require agreement.
It’s also not going to be the last I will say on the subject. Think of this as a precursor; I do plan to help you become more self-reliant. However, education can only happen once you’ve convinced yourself have something to learn. Allow me to offer some points that may or may not be valid for you as you are considering whether or not you have anything to learn from me.
I have often said that bad things can and will happen, and us being able to imagine they could or would happen has never been a requirement. Few people saw a global pandemic coming, and it shows. People are getting sick, people are dying, people are panicking, people are reacting to the current “normal” that they couldn’t imagine before.
I have also often said to not prepare for specific causes, but prepare for the aftermath regardless of the cause. We have no control over why or how things happen, we have control over how we react to them and how we provide for basic biological needs once one (or all) of the props that allow us to live like we currently do, in the places we currently live, are no longer available.
Generally speaking, our biological needs are Core Temperature Control, Hydration, and Calorie Consumption. Of course, many also have additional medical needs that must be provided for in order to live normal daily life, but that is a much more complicated subject and not one I feel qualified to speak on. I do feel qualified to speak on how to provide for basic Biological Needs without the props of society providing them for us.
For those of you living in colder areas like I am, have you thought about how you would keep your family warm until the weather gets better if you can no longer get deliveries of propane, fuel oil, firewood, or electricity for an extended period?
If you live in hot areas, can you keep yourself and your loved ones cool enough without air-conditioning and/or electricity? Most will have appropriate clothing for their environment and weather conditions on hand. Most will have a roof over their heads for shelter. What is your plan for self-sufficient heating or cooling?
I saw many posts about people buying up bottled water and toilet paper as a reaction to this pandemic. If you didn’t also buy food, you are missing the key ingredient to ever needing the toilet paper. If you live in the US, you likely have tap water. Of course, this requires an employee workforce and other resources to be delivered to your tap, but if that is a concern many places also have abundant freshwater sources that can be disinfected.
If you live on the coast, desalination is possible. If you are relying on bottled water because you don’t know how to procure and disinfect natural sources of water (or even your tap water), or you don’t have the resources available to do so, that is an extremely large gap in your ability to sustain life. What is your plan for sourcing and disinfecting water for the long-term if systems you have relied on up to this point are not available?
I also saw people rushing to buy fresh food while ignoring shelf-stable items and items that are base ingredients for making things from scratch. For example, it was nearly impossible to get milk or bread, but powdered milk, flour, baking powder, yeast, etc. for making your own bread long-term was much more abundant. Fresh or frozen meats and poultry gone, but jerky and canned meats that don’t require refrigeration (or electricity) to keep were still available.
That tells me that most have either forgotten or never learned how to make things from scratch with shelf-stable ingredients. I read a comment that all the “crazy Doomsday Preppers” were buying up all the groceries so that all the “normal people” can’t get any. That’s simply not true.
The “crazy preppers” are sitting at home on food that they had already stockpiled, that they “prepared” for in advanced. “Normal people” are currently buying up all the food because they weren’t prepared at all before this, and it’s a race to get what they need before it isn’t available any longer.
With all of that said, how much shelf-stable food do you have available for the long-term? Likely not enough, so what is your plan for keeping yourself and your family fed? Do you know how to trap, fish, and hunt? Do you know how to process and preserve the meat? If not, you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. If so, you likely also know how to process and cook wild game.
Do you know how to preserve that meat without the electricity you need to run that big chest freezer? What do you do with the meat you have in your freezer now? What is your plan for a long-term solution for fresh food and vegetables?
I have always believed that we, as a society, have moved further and further away from self-sufficiency and rely too much on others for our own basic needs. We have outsourced the things we feel we don’t have the time or the need to be able to do to others because others were willing to do them for us.
We felt we didn’t need to know how to use an axe or a saw, or even start a fire for that matter, because we have thermostats on the wall and we could never imagine not having that convenience; what we forgot is that it requires people behind the scenes with the knowledge to create, maintain, and deliver that convenience to us.
We didn’t worry about hydration because we hit the local Costco for a case to two of bottled water or just turn on the faucet. Most have never had to worry about food; it is stockpiled in a grocery in nearly every town and we go get what we need as needed.
What we don’t often consider is the farmer that grew it or raised it; another person had to kill and process it; someone else had to package it; a team of trucks and planes got it from there to the store. All of those “dirty jobs” we have outsourced to people willing to do it for the rest of us to provide that convenience. The list goes on and on.
We have not only outsourced those jobs to others, but we have also outsourced the knowledge of how to do all of that as well. Many can’t use an axe or a saw or start a fire. Many cannot find or disinfect fresh water. Many don’t know where their food comes from, who grew or raised it, or how it got to the store, let alone how to do any of that if that is no longer available.
Many are 100% reliant on others’ ability and willingness to provide for their basic needs. If that shoe fits, accept it and wear it, and do something about it. Take this as a wake-up call, think about some of these things, and take this time to start preparing yourself now and take steps to learn what you need to be self-reliant.
One last note (at least for this blog), if your “plan” was to take from others by force, I’ve got some bad news for you: You don’t know anything about that, either. A 65-year old man with a plaid shirt and a deer rifle, on land that he has hunted since he was a child and knows it like the back of his hand, would lay you and your team of wannabe tactical “raiders” out without breaking a sweat. So would any other prepared person. You best come up with a more realistic plan.
When push comes to shove (and we can likely all agree we have at least gotten a noticeable nudge from Mother Nature recently), the “old ways” things were done may once again just be called “the way things are done”. Let’s take steps now to regain that older wisdom and self-sufficiency.