Category Archives: Preparedness

You Are Either A Prepper Or A Future Victim

By: Tom Chatham

The recent disasters around the world have shown most people are ill prepared for sudden disruptions to normal life. Just as there was a lack of imagination that allowed 9/11 to happen, the population suffers from a lack of imagination that allows them to suffer from sudden occurrences. Survival favors the prepared mind.

Simply having supplies piled up in preparation for some occurrence is not enough to insure your survival. There are several other things you must keep in mind and balance out among your preparations.

You must imagine the potential catastrophic possibilities
You must prepare yourself mentally to deal with whatever happens
You must have knowledge of how best to employ your resources
You need to use your imagination to think outside the box
You must be able to improvise, adapt and overcome obstacles
You must have a flexible plan to guide you

Many people have spewed hateful rhetoric at preppers over the years and today some are finding themselves in dire circumstances as infrastructure and supplies are cut off for an indefinite period of time. Those unprepared individuals have few options and now rely on the actions of others to insure their survival.

As many in the Caribbean can now attest to, having to wait for help to come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away is slow and stressful to those who wait. They do not know when help will arrive and what resources will be available when they arrive. It could take years for many locations to return to some type of normalcy and this is at a time when help is available and forthcoming. What happens when that help is not available following an event?

In the world we now live in the bulk of the population is conditioned to wait for help to come. They are not encouraged to perform self help to minimize their suffering. This leads to many more victims to deal with overloading services and resources available to the public. This is happening in good times. What happens when things deteriorate and no help is available to communities or cities? What will happen when people and equipment do not come because damage is wide scale? What happens when all expendable resources are exhausted and cannot be replaced?

Preppers already know the answers to those questions and that is why they prepare. They know that someday an event could happen where no help will be available and they will be on their own for weeks or months. They know if something happens, what they have on hand is all they will likely have to work with for the duration. They know those that have not planned will be victims and most will expect someone to help them and their family. This creates a difficult situation for preppers and victims alike.

The act of learned helplessness is the only thing many people know today and that will lead to a reduced chance of survival for many depending on the depth of the event. A prepper can only do so much to help others in this type of situation but the main thing they possess are the leadership qualities and survival skills the masses need to come through the situation.

Following an event there will be a certain number of survivors that will see the light and understand what preppers have been trying to tell them for years. These people will differ from those that will still have the entitlement mentality and expect others to care for them and provide resources they need. These newly enlightened individuals are the ones that preppers will be able to help the most.

The true leaders in society will be able to direct these individuals on courses of action that will allow them to slowly recover and build up some resilience over time. These are the actions that will be necessary to reduce the chaos in society and provide some stabilization. These people will help provide a buffer between preppers and the hostile unprepared masses that manage to survive.

Make no mistake about it. There will be groups with varying mindsets roaming about following an event and it is advantageous to have as many of them on your side as possible. There is little you can do about the entitled victims except defend against their actions. In this case, there will be safety in numbers.

While a prepper cannot foresee every problem, they can plan ahead and set aside some resources that can help solidify your leadership among those you are able to work with. This could take the form of setting aside a few drums of bulk grains like oats or beans that can be purchased cheaply now but will allow you to feed a small group of people a basic meal for several weeks. The small price of a few drums of grain could buy a lot of goodwill.

Being able to provide clean drinking water to a small group by purchasing a good spare water filter will help eliminate the spread of disease among the group. Having a few medications that can help a few individuals that do manage to become sick will mean a lot to their families. Having a few extra radios that the group can share will help with security for everyone. Having a means to provide a small power source for lighting or battery recharging could mean a great deal to those with no power. In some locations having an extra wood stove to share and some wood will provide these people with heat and cooking ability.

There are many little things that could be worth a great deal to unprepared survivors that will help to stabilize their situation and insure they do not become a hostile force you would eventually have to deal with. You may not be able to help everyone or provide everything they need but being able to help a few can have long term benefits.

In a survival situation there will be many that become threats to you no matter what you do but the more you can eliminate from that potential pool the safer life will be for you. No matter what type of event takes place or how long the effects last eventually there will come a time of stabilization. The type of people in control of that stable situation could be a good thing or a very bad thing. As a prepper you could have a lot of influence over the outcome.

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Freedom Means Being Independant

By: Tom Chatham

Most people say they want to be free but will also say we must do as we are told. They see government controls as safety from the world surrounding them. You cannot be free and be under someone’s total control at the same time. They force compliance by threatening to take away the things you need.

The more independent from the system you are the less control they have on you. The less stuff you need the less money you will need. The less money you need the less dependant you will be on the source of that money and the financial system in general.

I have said before that in order to solve some of our problems, we need 20% of the people going back to live on small family farms. Living on a small farm reduces the amount of things you are dependant on from others.

A farm provides you with shelter, food, energy, clothing and employment just to name a few. Providing these things for yourself should not be underestimated when it comes to having more freedom. The more power you have over your life the more freedom you have.

You can build a home to live in of any shape and size without many of the rules and regulations that hamper city living. Governments like everything to conform to their visions and they could care less what you want. Many areas force you to build homes of a certain size and type to insure you will be paying sufficient property taxes every year.

On a farm you can grow the types of food you want without all of the pesticides and chemicals now used. You can produce your own electricity with solar and wind or fuels like biodiesel and ethanol from your own crops. You can choose to home school your kids and teach them a vocation at the same time. You can make some of your own clothes from the leather, wool or cotton you produce. You can free yourself from the bondage of working for a company where you could be fired at any time for any reason.

Being more independent does not mean you need a 200 acre farm. A small 5 or 10 acre farm will provide most of the things you need to get by and even excess to sell for income. By taking control of your life you inevitably achieve more freedom as time goes on.

As the government gets deeper into debt they will ultimately become more repressive as they try to strip assets away from individuals in order to stay afloat. The more dependant you are on the system, the easier it will be for them to do this. Those with no other recourse will have to grin and bear it. It does not have to be this way for you if you depend less on the system.

Being independent will allow you to stand your ground as others falter in the face of shortages and chaos. Being independent gives you options that the dependant will not have. You will have strength instead of fear.

When you have freedom you have the ability to follow your conscience instead of doing as you are told. Desperate people will often resort to desperate actions that lead to totalitarian practices. The only weapon that can defeat this is independence from the oppressive system some wish to impose on you.

The amount of freedom you possess is directly correlated to the amount of independence you have from controlled systems that are designed to keep you compliant. In the coming months this will become more evident to many that thought they had freedom just to find it was just an illusion. As governments at all levels become desperate to maintain their control and income, they will devolve into more despotic rule of the masses as they try to strip away the few remaining assets they can get their hands on. Those that do not have the means to resist will lose everything including their lives.

Saving Rural America

By: Tom Chatham

Rural America is dying a slow and miserable death but only the local inhabitants seem to notice. It was happening slowly but now it is happening faster. The crown jewels of the rural areas, the graduating children, are leaving and taking their potential with them. As rural businesses shut down and opportunities dwindle, younger people are leaving to seek out greener pastures. That is a travesty for small towns and the traditions they have maintained for generations.

There are two main reasons why the youth of America are leaving small towns. One is the economy and the other is the social environment. There are no good jobs and there is nothing to do outside of work. Growing youth need to be kept busy with something and lacking that they will seek out excitement. When the community they grow up in fails to provide them with the opportunities they need they eventually leave and never come back. This is leading to ever smaller towns that are beginning to disappear as the older generation dies off.

If rural communities want to reverse this trend they will have to solve those two problems. They will need to promote locally owned businesses to provide the jobs needed to keep people from moving to cities and they will need to provide a certain amount of entertainment to keep the youth happy.

Multinational companies have stripped the economic base out of small towns as the profits from these businesses get sent to wall street instead of being held locally providing capital for growth and innovation. Smaller local operations employing 5 to 10 people can capitalize on local resources to provide good paying jobs to entice the youth so they can stay local and start a family there. Replacing a few multinational companies with dozens of local operations will make the local area more resilient during economic downturns and insure local access to products produced there.

This type of return to a local economy will happen eventually anyway if economic conditions deteriorate to the point of cutting off goods and services to rural areas. Out of necessity these areas will reconstitute an economic base to provide necessities to the population unless government gets in the way. Multinational companies will pull out and go to where the money is in the world leaving the impoverished towns in their wake after having stripped them economically.

At that point the only question is whether the town is still big enough to rebuild a local economy or if the aging population will simply see the end of the community. With no youth to help rebuild the economy it will likely signal the end.

It has been said that the most important thing a farmer raises are a set of children with a good work ethic and a set of moral values. These two things are something that the current youth is desperately missing in America. As more people migrate to larger cities to find the life they seek, their urban children are left to their own devices as both of their parents work full time to provide a home where children no longer need to have a job and are entertained by the moral codes prevalent in the urban areas. This is creating a generation of entitlement minded youths that provide little value to their communities.

With fewer of these youths growing up in rural areas, the values that helped build this country are becoming obsolete. A new paradigm is building that will ultimately tear this country apart as the old world with its traditions and the new world with its entitlements fight for control. As the song says, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, is a lesson today’s youth will have to learn through bitter experience.

As rural areas go, so goes the nation. The destruction of our rural heritage will signal the coming of a new paradigm that is not sustainable and will provide no hope for future generations. Unfortunately, that is what certain groups are hoping for. The destruction of the nuclear family will provide a future of chaos and confusion and allow a select few to maintain power over the many. Unless there is a shift back to rural communities and local production soon, the future of this country will be very different from the past, and not for the better.

Prepare For The Black Market With Gold and Silver

By: Tom Chatham

The black market is merely the free market operating in the shadows when government rules and regulations become so oppressive that everything begins to seize up and all commerce and production stop. People can be very creative when there are needs to be filled but government has a way of destroying that potential as they try to maintain control as they slowly lose power.

As the government destroys the economy, people will only play along for so long before they seek out the things they need from any source, legal or not. This is where the free market rises up in the shadows to fulfill those needs. Rules and regulations are no substitute for actual goods and services but this is a notion that is lost on politicians.

When goods begin to disappear from the marketplace, people will try to cope until things get better. But as goods get harder to find, not easier, people will seek them out from those that have them to offer. Those with the resources to provide these goods will soon appear in back alleys and the back of vehicles to sell their goods to anyone with the means to buy them.

Prices will often be higher than before due to supply and demand principles. If you have excess resources at this time you will be in a position to operate an underground business that can likely provide you with a good living. For those that desire those resources, a means to pay for them will be required. In most cases the paper currency normally used may be worthless at some point. Those that do not possess an alternative form of money will likely be left in want. This is the cold hard reality we must live with.

For those that do no see potential supply disruptions soon enough and lay in a supply of goods or alternative payment means, they will suffer from lack of goods they need for their very existence. Unfortunately this will be the fate of a majority of the population that expects things to always be as normal or the government to care for them. You do not want to be one of these people.

Setting aside extra supplies is a reasonable thing to do in these uncertain times. Having excess in a few items will allow you to trade for items later that you had not planned on or for services that cannot be stored for later use.

When systems collapse and black markets arise a good means of exchange can be found in gold and silver. These metals are universal stores of value and can be used to get many types of goods and services in desperate times. Those storing even a few silver coins will be in a better position to deal in the black market for items than someone with household items to trade. In desperate times some things are just worth more than others.

By understanding the dynamics that take place in a functioning black market you can position yourself to function with it and insure access to the things you need. Those selling on the black market are providing goods that are difficult to obtain in the legal marketplace. For this reason you will pay a premium for what you want

The prices may not seem fair to you but this is how the free market works and that is what you need to be prepared for if you want to get what you need. That is why you need to store some gold and silver for trade if you ever have to deal on the black market.

Why gold and silver? Because they are already recognized as a universal medium of exchange. Gold and silver are the best all around mediums of trade because they are compact wealth that can be stored for as long as you need.

There are other goods you can store that will be valuable depending on the specific circumstances. Things like storable food, medicine, booze, fuel, tobacco products and chocolate have proven to be good trading mediums in some cases. It all depends on the prevailing circumstances you find yourself in and how long the troubles persist.

When the current bubble economy collapses there will be a transition period between the time the bubbles burst and the time that prices stabilize with the introduction of a new currency. It is in this period that you need to have the means to acquire the goods you need. You must have a physical medium of exchange that exists outside of government and banking control. The current war on cash is a way to stifle any black market activity following a currency crisis keeping people dependent on banking services under government control.

Gold and silver provide a means to operate within a black market but outside of government controls. Those holding gold and silver will also find some very good deals that could set them up for success following stabilization if they have the means to take advantage of these deals during the turmoil. When the normal market collapses for whatever reason, you need to be in a position to function in the world that follows.

Technology Is The Master of Modern Slavery

By: Tom Chatham

The recent cyber attack on computers worldwide is just the latest wakeup call to the future we are blindly building for ourselves. The vast majority of humanity embraces technology like it is their next breath of air. Without it, they feel like they will die.

Technology is a double edged sword that we wield that must be handled with care less we cut off one of our own limbs. Technology allows us to be more productive and work faster than without it but as we embrace more technology to relieve us of many manual tasks we must not let it rule our very existence.

Technology must be used as a lever, not a crutch. When we give up our ability to function in daily life and allow technology to rule our every move, we ultimately give up our freedom. To allow technology to dictate what we can do and when we can do it is to reduce ourselves to nothing more than compliant slaves to it.

When a hospital cannot perform operations or even see patients because their computers are down or we cannot communicate or travel because of computer hacking, we have allowed technology to become a crutch that prevents us from falling on our faces in its absence. When we cannot buy food or fuel or depend on electrical power for basic needs we have become too dependant on the technology we invented to assist us.

The use of technology is a good thing that allows us to move forward and build things we never dreamed of before but when it becomes a weakness, we need to reexamine our use of it. If we become so dependant on technology that we cannot function without it we are preparing ourselves for a doomsday scenario when it eventually fails and we are helpless to care for ourselves.

It is only logical to have backup systems to utilize in the event our technology fails for some reason. This is the whole reason we have people to warn us before hand such as the EMP Commission to tell us we are in danger if certain events happen. Technology provides us with many good things but it also leaves us susceptible to many bad things as well if we ignore our responsibility to use it wisely and not become too dependant on it.

Many people today can actually have withdrawal symptoms if they lose access to their technology for any length of time. This should be an alarm to society but most just brush it off as fear mongering. When the loss of technology causes a business to completely stop operations, that should be an indication they do not have sufficient backup systems to fall back on.

One of the prime tenants of the prepper movement is that they have multiple backup systems to rely on if technology stops working. This is just a logical step taken by people that have taken the time to analyze the threats posed by the loss our technology and determine action is warranted for the preservation of life following certain events. The less technology you require to take care of daily activities, the more freedom you have to live a normal life.

Most people still do not take the threat of technological disruptions to society seriously. They think that if something happens, someone will fix it and life will go on as normal. What they refuse to contemplate is if something happens and nobody can fix it. As society moves along this technological road they become more dependent on it and the risk to their lives increases as they lose the ability to do basic tasks. Hopefully this latest cyber attack will instill in people the need to have backup systems in place to continue their daily activities and live life as a free person and not be a slave to the technology they so eagerly seek.

Do You Have a Logistics Plan For Catastrophic Events?

By: Tom Chatham

If you realize that we live in an ever changing and dangerous world where anything could happen at any time then you have probably also realized that you should have a plan to provide resources you need if the supply system is ever cut off. This mindset takes you into the realm of prepping.

The amount of preparations you have is relative to the type and extent of the event you are planning for. The problem is that we never know just how bad an event will be until it happens. Many intelligent people have supplies laid in just in case they need them but what will you do when they run out? We hope any event will be short in duration but what happens if it lasts for decades?

You may have a small farm to rely on but even if it is designed to be largely self sufficient, you will still run into problems later on. For instance, if you have a solar or wind system for power generation, what will you do when the batteries finally fail to work? Even the best lead acid battery will begin to fail after 10 years of use. What will you do then? There are other types of batteries but they all will fail at some point. Some batteries can last many decades such as nickel-iron batteries if you can replace the electrolyte every decade but that would require you to look ahead and store extra chemicals for that job.

If you farm and you need to buy fertilizer, seeds and fuel every year, what will you do when those supplies are cut off? There are ways around those problems such as using manure from your livestock to fertilize fields, using bio-diesel or wood gas for fuel and cultivating open pollinated seeds for future use. All of these solutions require prior planning to utilize them if it is necessary. And for machinery, keep in mind that you may be able to make fuel but lubricating oil and filters are a different matter that will require storage of extra supplies that you cannot make yourself.

Growing and canning your own foods is a smart move but do you have the supplies to do it indefinitely? If you use disposable canning lids how long will your supply last? If you use reusable canning lids and store extra rubber gaskets you will be able to can for many decades.

Following any large event that shuts down the grid or distribution system for several months or more, the supplies you need will not suddenly reappear on store shelves immediately following power restoration, transportation and banking. Many factories will have ceased operation during the event and may never reopen. The production and distribution system is a hardy weed but it will not reappear overnight once it has been shut down and you need to understand that and prepare accordingly.

Most people have a planning horizon of only a week or month at best. Preppers extend that to several months or a few years. If you really think we are headed for some type of catastrophic event then your planning horizon needs to be 5, 10 even 20 years out to foresee any problems you may have and plan your logistics to compensate for it.

Planning for the unknown 20 years out is a big step and the cost of some of the projected logistics could be enormous but simply looking at the problems now and coming up with cost effective solutions can have enormous benefits in the future.

Having a few basic tools and the knowledge to make leather shoes or boots can guarantee you a supply of footwear in the future. Having a sewing machine, spinning wheel, loom and some cotton seeds can provide you with the ability to make clothing indefinitely. A small charcoal foundry will allow you to make many types of metal products.

While we may not want to resort to these primitive types of production, it may be your only option if the worst happens. Simply having the materials and knowledge to resort to these types of production can be inexpensive today but priceless tomorrow if they are ever needed.

Looking ahead today and planning for tomorrow will allow you to deal with anything life throws at you in the future. The more resourceful you can become now, the more likely you will have a good quality of life in the future. It all starts with planning.

Making Extra Income On Your Farm or Rural Property

By: Tom Chatham

One thing many homesteaders and farmers need is extra income, especially if they are new to the area. It can be difficult getting a market established if you have to compete with others that are veterans to the local market. Producing a product is usually easier than finding enough return customers to make the farm sustainable. In this situation you need to think of unconventional services and products you can provide to fill the financial gap.

Rent RV storage space- There are many people that have RV’s or camper trailers for traveling or even bug out use if the need arises. These people may not have the room to store these items where they live or an economical place to store them. By providing a few parking spaces in an out of the way area on your land you can give them a cheap alternative.

Rent storage lockers- It seems everywhere you go these days you see storage units. One way to separate yourself from the pack is to offer these services to urban and suburban preppers that may not have a place to bug out if things get bad in the cities and need a place for their extra stuff. A 20’ cargo container makes a great storage locker and a potential temporary shelter.

Sell bulk grains to individuals- If you only grow a few acres of grains you want to get the maximum price for them so why not sell directly to people who want to store bulk grains. These people are usually willing to pay prices that are premium for the farmer but still lower than people can get from retailers. If you can process these grains as well into flour, cornmeal or rolled oats, you can get even better prices from potential customers.

Make your farm a vacation destination- If you have sufficient area to park a few RV’s or camping sites, your farm could become a seasonal vacation site for some people. If you can also offer things like a small store, horseback riding, swimming pool, fishing or hiking then you have something to draw people in. You could even offer the “farm experience” where they help slop the pigs, collect eggs or milk the cow.

Bug out site for urban dwellers- You could go one step further with the RV parking space and allow extra footage so a person could park their RV, have a storage unit and have room to plant a garden. This might be very appealing to many preppers that see the need to get out of the cities at some point but have no place to go long term.

Just over an acre of land can provide 12 50’x75’ blocks for rent. A road down the center of the area with blocks on either side and a gravel pad down one side of each block to place the storage container and park the RV is all that is needed. At $75 per month per block, a farmer could potentially make $10,800 per year if all blocks are rented. For the price of a monthly cable bill you could provide someone with storage space and a place to camp anytime they wanted.

When you have to compete with others in a small market, it may be necessary to find that niche that others do not see that you can fill. With the large number of preppers scattered around the country, this segment of society may be a good demographic to target for services they cannot find elsewhere.

We see offers for food storage and survival land for sale but seldom do you see anything in between that people with limited funds can afford. A bugout camping site on a farm may look very appealing to many on a limited budget that see the need. If the need ever arose the farmer would have likeminded people on site that would be of great benefit to him. If the world suddenly turns into a lemon, it would be good to have people around to help make lemonade.

Local Civil Defense Needs To Be Revived

By: Tom Chatham

The ability to provide emergency assistance to the local population following an event is critical to preservation of law and order, not to mention life. The ability to keep the population calm in the face of mass destruction will make recovery much easier by freeing up valuable manpower for recovery efforts. The ability to provide food and water will be the primary resources that will be needed to maintain control of the situation for long periods of time. A food storage and distribution system will be needed to provide sustenance to local populations very quickly following an event.

The need of civil defense personnel to provide the manpower for this function can not be over emphasized. Following an event such as a nuclear war or EMP strike, communication, transportation and deployment of personnel will be difficult if not impossible. If CD personnel are already present in the local communities nationwide, deployment will be automatic and immediate. There will be no need to find available personnel and transport them to the site. Local CD personnel can begin emergency operations within a few hours of an event providing the stability and direction the community will need to face the event.

A local CD program can be as small or as extensive as the community wishes. It can consist of a few dozen families on the same street or a whole town. It can simply have food stores to distribute or it can provide food, medical assistance, fuel supplies, power generation, shelter and transportation abilities. Food is the most basic need and must be stored before anything else, For a food distribution system, minimal equipment will be required if bulk storage is located locally and CD members have a distribution plan already mapped out for the worst case scenario.

A basic ration that can provide suitable calories to survivors can be packaged and dispersed on a monthly basis at designated dispersal areas. Local individuals can be issued a ration card in the initial days following an event that can be used to receive monthly rations. The card can have designated boxes that can be punched out every month when rations are received. Parents can be issued cards for each child to insure each person will get a monthly ration. A basic ration can consist of the following items.

183 lbs. Hard Wheat 15.25lbs./month
45 lbs. Oats 3.75lbs./ month
137 lbs. Corn 11.4lbs./ month
113 lbs. Beans 9.4lbs./ month
46 lbs. dry milk 3.8lbs./ month
1.5 Gal. Veg. oil 16oz./ month
45 lbs. Sugar 3.75lbs./ month
7.5 lbs. iodized salt .625lbs./ month

These items and amounts will provide one person with a basic daily ration for one year or month as noted. The ability to store these items in bulk will provide an efficient means to store a food supply for a community that can feed them for up to a year. One simply has to multiply these amounts by the number of people you will need to feed to determine the total amount of food you should store for such an event.

A community that knows it will have basic food supplies regardless of the situation will prevent acts of violence and desperation following an event when people will normally panic due to the many unknowns in their future. Providing them with a certain number of knowns will keep the panic to a minimum and allow the community to focus human energies on alleviating their longer term problems.

Power for basic systems can be provided by fuel storage and ultimately by the use of wood gas generators for longer term situations when fuel resupply is not possible. Wood gas can also be used for vehicle fuel if functional vehicles are available. The ability to provide local energy for critical systems like water and sewage pumping will go far in alleviating suffering due to lack of functional infrastructure. It will also provide power needed for any functional communication systems available to the community.

A local civil defense corps can fill many of the needs a community will face following a catastrophic event and is one of the only solutions that can be run by local communities that offers immediate results. Local governments like to think they have a plan to deal with most emergencies but when it comes to the low probability/ high impact events, they are all largely ill equipped to handle them. A power grid failure can cascade into something much worse if the problem is not resolved fairly quickly. It is the potential for these cascading failures to occur that makes modern life so deadly for the population.

Government entities do not possess the ability to care for the entire population of the country if everything stops suddenly. The government has little in the way of food stores that can feed the nation without going to individuals and companies and taking what they have to be distributed in an ad hoc fashion.

Having bulk supplies in every community nationwide is the only way to insure we have the means to survive the worst if it ever happens. By explaining the potential dangers to locals and gaining their support by real leadership, money can be raised in the community and used to construct bulk storage sites and equip a civil defense unit. When our previous civil defense organization was folded into FEMA we lost all local control of any response and the benefits it brought to local communities and individuals.

As with most things, you do not have to do it all at once. Simply buying 9 food grade 55 gallon drums and filling 4 with wheat, 2 with beans, 2 with corn and 1 with oats, you will have sufficient grains and beans to feed over 50 people for a month. This is at a cost of about $310 dollars at current prices. That is a small investment to insure 20 families are working together rather than against one another. It should also be noted that those with the resources following an event will have control over the population. Would you rather some government entity have that control or your community.

While there are no simple answers that will work equally well for all communities, having something to work with in an emergency is a far better situation than having nothing. We often forget that in our just in time delivery system we can go from everything to nothing in a matter of hours. When something goes wrong, how well our communities handle the aftermath will depend on what they have to handle it with. With the many dangers we face today, it is likely only a matter of time before we are forced to respond to an event, and what price will we pay in our current state of readiness?

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Create Their Own Jobs

By: Tom Chatham

Many Americans have been in dire straits for the past 8 years since the last economic implosion. Many still do not have full time jobs and some do not even have part time jobs. These people have been left behind while Washington plows ahead as if everything is just fine. To those with government jobs life is just fine. When times are bad it helps to have a guaranteed paycheck regardless if you produce any meaningful work in society.

For those that need employment all they are greeted with is a chorus of go get a job from elitists. That is easier said than done in many cases. When you are confronted with a need to earn money, you need a plan to make it happen. When jobs are hard to find then you need to think outside of the box and create a job for yourself. Having good luck is great but for the rest of us brainstorming is a must to find a niche to fill.

To brainstorm, all you need to do is take a sheet of paper and pencil and begin writing out a list of things you know how to do, things you have the tools to do it with and things you think are an unserved need in your area. Once you have a good long list start looking over it and assess the potential of each item.

Typical ways to make extra money are to offer a service that people in your area may need such as lawn maintenance, tree trimming, small engine repair, auto repair, welding or handy man services. These are some tried and true jobs that work just about anywhere. This is a way to cash in on some of your hobbies or special talents such as wood working, sewing, riding lessons or teaching a musical instrument.

For the last two decades, the internet has provided people with ways to earn extra money through web design, web sites and e commerce sites to name a few. New technology is always welcome when making extra money requires new ideas.

One problem many people will run into these days is the fact that many ways of earning extra income are service related jobs that depend on a good economy and people that have money to spare. When the economy gets bad the types of jobs will shift to things that people must have or will save them money by having you do it.

In a bad economy certain things happen like cars and homes get repossessed. The people who end up with these items may need someone to clean them up for resale, repair items or maintain the location until it is sold. You can sometimes find these kinds of jobs by talking to your local banker. Many people may find these types of jobs distasteful but if you need the money you’ll have to make a decision.

The first things people will seek to satisfy are food, shelter and clothing. These are the primary needs of humans. So in a bad economy something that fills one of these needs is a good choice if you can provide an economical price in your location. Growing some food to sell, converting your garage into a small apartment to rent out or mending clothes are good examples. If you are good with cars you might be able to buy cheap cars to fix up and resell for a small profit. In a bad economy many people will be looking to get a cheap car because they need transportation but cannot afford a newer one.

What services or products do you look for when your money is tight and you need to stretch it out? Is there something there that you can provide for others? We all hope things get better but if history is any indicator, things will likely get much worse before they improve substantially. The west line has shifted from North America to Asia. The west line indicates where the shipping center of the world is at any given time. Once it shifts away from a country that location will suffer the types of economic degradation we are now witnessing in the U.S. We can try to get some of our jobs back but that ship has sailed so we must learn to work with a smaller, slower economy if we are to survive as a nation.

Many people will not want to hear that but the truth hurts. Those that understand the dynamics of this phenomenon will be better able to cope with the new reality and plan their future to deal with it. This means understanding what products and services people will need and having a plan to provide them as the economy continues to be unstable for years to come until some type of equilibrium is achieved.

Many people have dreamed of being their own boss and running their own business. The economy we see unfolding will make it imperative for you to have more control of your income opportunities. Taking some time now to evaluate your current finances and developing a plan to insure your family has the things they will need will determine your standard of living in the coming years. Failure to plan now will likely end in a lower standard of living for you and force you to navigate the many difficulties ahead with far fewer resources.

Could You Rebuild Civilization?

By: Tom Chatham

Most people would agree that when disaster strikes, what you know is one of the most important things you will have to work with. Your knowledge base is the one thing you can carry with you wherever you go. It will allow you to create items from locally available materials and improve your situation, whatever it may be. It is this mindset that many preppers use to improve their chances if the unthinkable should happen.

But lets take this mindset a step further. What would you be capable of doing if a global catastrophe happened? One such as a pole shift that destroys much of the infrastructure, knowledge and people that know how to build things and how they work. Would you be able to recreate some of the things you would need to rebuild society if you had to start from scratch with only your knowledge to guide you?

I like to play a mental game sometimes to help me understand just how much I actually know so I can identify what I need to learn. One scenario I use is to imagine that I am suddenly left in a destroyed world. What complex system could I recreate that would help me utilize many of the technologies I have lost? One system I use is the aircraft carrier. That may sound strange but just think of all of the various systems that comprise of that one ship.

While you may not be able to recreate all of the systems in their current form you can retain the knowledge to build primitive versions of those systems. You may not have the ability to build microprocessors but you can build vacuum tubes. You may not be able to recreate the telephone but you can build a telegraph set. You may not be able to build a nuclear reactor but you can build a wood fired steam engine. You may not be able to build a GPS unit but you can build a sextant and compass.

All of the technology we have today was built on the foundation of previous technologies we once used. Even if you do not understand current technologies, knowing how antiquated equipment worked gives you a base of knowledge you can build on. The following are some of the technologies it is helpful to know if you ever need to recreate them from scratch.

How to identify iron ore in rocks and refine it into cast iron and steel
How to weld or rivet steel plates together
How to build a boat or large ship
How to build a simple steam engine fueled by wood
How to build a propeller for a ship
How to make oil lamps and fuel for them
How to make a basic light bulb
How to make copper wires
How to make a simple telegraph set
How to make a basic battery
How to make a basic radio set or crystal radio
How to make vacuum tubes for radios
How to build a simple airplane or glider
How to build a simple generator
How to build a crossbow
How to build a flintlock rifle
How to make gunpowder
How to make glass
How to make paper
How to build a water wheel for power
How to build basic machining tools such as a lathe or milling machine
How to build a water pump
How to build a saw blade to cut lumber
How to make lead pencils or ink
How to make cloth
How to build a still
How to build a compass
How to build a mechanical clock
How to navigate by the stars or sun
How to make a camera or tin type
How to make camera film
How to make a telescope or binoculars

If this list seems overwhelming, that is the idea, and this is a small list. Most people do not realize how much technology we use on a daily basis and most have no clue how any of it works. If they were suddenly cast out into the wilderness, they would likely revert to caveman living if they survived at all.

Learning about how things work does not have to be boring. Many people would find sitting around reading about making stuff enough to say forget it. If you want to learn about building boats you don’t need to build a ship, just build a canoe or row boat in your spare time. If you want to know about radios get a crystal radio kit or build a basic tube radio from scratch. If you want to learn about the basic structure of airplanes buy a balsa wood airplane kit and build a model from scratch. If you think a clock is too difficult to build try a paper clock kit that works. If you have kids these projects can be even more fun and educational if you do it with them.

In the event of a world cataclysm, if the few survivors could even recreate the technology of the early 20th century, they would have a good start on rebuilding our technology base. When knowledge is lost, it takes centuries to rediscover it. Just look at the achievements of the Romans and how much knowledge was lost when the Roman empire collapsed. Many of the areas reverted to more basic technologies until centuries later when the knowledge was rediscovered. Roman concrete was much harder than modern cement because they added volcanic ash to it to make it harder. How many people today know that?

When disaster strikes humanity at any level, the more MacGyver’s there are in society, the more likely we will recover from it with much less pain. Knowledge allows humans to be creative and constructive following a crisis while lack of knowledge turns people into animals doing anything they can to survive. Modern society has very little real knowledge and that does not bode well for the survival of humanity if the fateful day ever comes.

While very few people today may be able to recreate all of the things on this list, the more each person knows, the better off society as a whole will be in the future. You should endeavor to learn something new as often as possible until the day you die because you never know when that little bit of knowledge will be a lifesaver. It would be a shame for something to happen to this planet and the survivors be forced to revert to medieval living and the hardships it would entail for lack of knowledge of our most basic technologies.