By: Tom Chatham
It is the conclusion of many that in any serious world altering event it will likely be far safer in a rural location than an urban one. Many of the hazards we face during and following any event can largely be reduced to one main threat. People. The more people there are in a disaster area the more competition there will be for any resources that are necessary for life. Population density can become a serious threat in and of itself.
For this reason the rural retreat is seen as the answer to reducing many of the threats we are likely to face. While rural areas offer many advantages, they are still prone to situations that can be detrimental to survival. As I have often stated, those who prepare and have a rural home still need to be concerned about the possibility you may have to bug out of your location. The recent fires in eastern Tennessee are a case in point.
The rural areas hit by these fires could be seen as ideal retreat locations due to their remote locations, low population density and closeness to a national forest. Even with all of these things going for you it is still possible to be forced out of your retreat location by natural and man made forces. It is for this reason that alternative sites should be surveyed ahead of time in the event you have to leave in a hurry.
It is also important to know when to leave. As we have seen with these fires, many people were virtually trapped and unable to evacuate. They waited too long and then had to hope for the best as fires swept through the towns and communities. Roads became blocked with burning trees as people rushed to get out. This situation could have ended much worse than it did.
Having a rural retreat location to hunker down in is preferred but you must take stock of other dangers once you are there. Natural disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes and tornados or dangers such as war or a social breakdown can make your safe haven a death trap. It does not matter if it is a fire or a group of scavengers moving across the land, you will be in great danger at some point unless you have planned for that eventuality.
Even a simple plan can be lifesaving when the time comes. Simply having a hidden cellar where you can store your extra supplies or even your family until the danger is past can make a lot of difference. Having a cellar dug in deeply at some place away from your primary residence that is protected from natural or manmade forces can provide you with options in an emergency.
Having a bug out plan for your retreat is also an option depending on the danger. There are times when leaving is the only option to stay alive. Having some of your supplies stored in a small trailer that can be quickly hooked up to your vehicle can make evacuation much faster. This trailer can also be set up to provide a makeshift shelter until you can return home or to a safe area. You are only limited by your imagination.
Many people live in urban areas and do not have the luxury of moving to a safer area. When disaster strikes, these people can be in the most danger and they need to have a plan to relocate by some means in the event it is required. These people are still at risk of fires , floods and earthquakes not to mention social disorders that can make their current position untenable. For urban dwellers a simple plan of relocation along with resources to support yourself is necessary.
For these people, having a plan to shelter in place under most circumstances is reasonable and proper but there may come a time when you must go. It is important that you realize the implications to you and your family if you fail to at least consider the possibility of evacuation under certain conditions and have a plan to carry it out.
Many people are breathing a sigh of relief now that Trump has been elected but our problems are not over by any means. The many dangers we face in the future are still present and just waiting to unfold. Those that are easing up on their preparations should not be led into a false sense of security. Now is the time to be even more vigilant and review your preparations just in case things do not go as planned.
Of all the dangers we can face our own lack of preparedness is the one most easily corrected and reduced to a negligible level. You do not need to be wealthy to take simple common sense steps to reduce the hazards we will all face at some point in the future. As we have seen in the past, our worst enemy is our own lack of imagination to the threats we can face and the actions we can take to deal with them before they get out of hand and become too big to deal with in a timely manner. There will always be threats to our existence and we will have to face them with a plan or suffer the consequences of our inaction.
By: Tom Chatham
Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. This settlement was meant to establish a functional colony that would earn money for the company that was financially backing it. The new world was overflowing with natural resources yet to be exploited.
As a business venture the men who thought up this colony failed to think it through to its inevitable conclusion. That lack of planning led to the death of many people and almost ended in total failure. They made many assumptions that ended badly. For one thing they intended to supply the colony with regular shipments of food from England. The inability to deliver this food in a timely manner led to massive starvation.
The people that were chosen to populate this colony were regular people that were used to living in an established, stable society where the things they needed were readily available. In reality, the people they needed to establish this colony and get it operational needed to be woodsmen and rugged types that knew how to live and survive in the wilderness. The lack of personnel with the appropriate skills to live here caused much hardship for several years until they figured everything out the hard way.
John Smith was able to work with the Indians and trade with them. Following an accident, Smith went back to England and the relations with the Indians went bad. The colonists became trapped in their fort and slowly starved to death. Did that need to happen?
These colonists were depending on things to work as they had planned but life teaches us that the best laid plans often go awry. They had few contingency plans if things did not work right. They failed to take stock of the resources available to them and learn how to use them to their advantage.
What really amazes me is that they slowly starved while living only yards away from the James River. This is a waterway that was teaming with seafood. Fish, crabs and oysters are just some of the resources available in this waterway but the lack of knowledge to harvest this food led to massive suffering.
History teaches us lessons and we become wiser by learning those lessons. We can learn the easy way, from other peoples mistakes, or the hard way, by making those mistakes ourselves and hopefully surviving it. I prefer to learn from others mistakes as much as possible. So, what does this have to do with modern civilization?
If and when we are suddenly taken out of the comfortable, well organized world that we know and are suddenly thrown back onto our own resources, what we know will determine how well we get by. Knowing how to acquire food from the local area and how to avoid dangerous places and people while doing it are just some of the things you will need to know if the current distribution system ever shuts down for any length of time.
Learning history gives us more than just dry historical facts. History tells us what questions we should be asking ourselves and shows us what the consequences are for not knowing the answer. Knowing history is just as important as knowing survival skills. History teaches us what works and what does not. It helps to put the survival skills into context. It teaches us what comes next when something bad happens. We now know that lack of sanitation can lead to contaminated water that leads to cholera epidemics. We know this because we know history.
While you are learning to survive disasters you also need to learn some history to go with it to help you answer the questions you have not even thought of yet. Knowledge comes from many places and in many forms and allows us to adapt to changing circumstances. The technology may change but we have been in these situations before and learned to deal with it. Learn from the past so you can better deal with the future. There is nothing new under the sun.
By: Tom Chatham
The coming elections are very important to the future of the U.S. but do not think for a second that our troubles will end on Nov. 8. We have many serious problems that must be addressed and solved in order to maintain our current quality of life. This election will determine how we approach these problems and try to solve them or if the status quo will win out and we will continue on this path with no serious attempt to correct them.
Either way this nation is in for many years of hardship we are ill prepared to face at this time. The majority of the nation believes the facts according to the government that everything is just great. Those following the true numbers know otherwise and fear what is about to happen to this nation. They know the chaos that will be unleashed when the truth finally comes out and the majority no longer has the well entrenched safety net to keep people afloat. It will be like survivors fighting for a place on the lifeboats. It will likely get very ugly.
Time is now short and the time to get preparations in order is running out. Those with sufficient resources to see them through what is likely to be the worst crisis in this nations history will still have to fight for their survival every day. These resources will determine whether you suffer a little in the coming months or you suffer a lot. That decision is entirely up to you at this point.
The west line has now moved to Asia and that means we are no longer the shipping center of the world. This is one of the reasons we will soon lose reserve currency status just as Great Britain did in the past. And just as they did, we will suffer from a slower, weaker economy that we will have to learn to live with and survive in. The days of having lots of money to spend are coming to an end in America so get used to it now. This will be especially hard for the snowflake generation that thinks everything should be free.
A service economy depends on people having excess spendable income that generates service related jobs in the community. When this excess income dries up those service related jobs will largely disappear. This will be the depression level event that puts the nation over the edge. With no jobs to be had and a broken social safety net that no longer functions, people will get very desperate.
In a time such as this the true moral character of a nation will be laid bare for all to see. A truly virtuous country would see the people come together and help one another just as we saw in the 1930’s. But this time is different and we will see the lack of moral fiber that has been cultivated in this nation over the past 70 years. That is what those in the know fear the most.
Unless our moral character is restored we will tear ourselves to pieces and leave a scorched nation behind us that may never recover. It is the hope of many that once we see the future for what it may hold that a moral and just people will once again rise from the ashes and rebuild what we once had. A nation we can all be proud to live in. Until we achieve that revelation we will be doomed to follow the path of destruction we have set out on.
We need to go back to the basics and relearn the lessons we have fought so hard to learn over the past 200 years. We will need to regain the entrepreneurial spirit that built this nation starting at the local level. We will need to work hard every day and once again learn to give thanks for what we have. Only through our spiritual growth will we regain what we have lost and repair the damage we have done to ourselves.
By: Tom Chatham
Many people today know there is danger on the horizon and want to do something to prepare for it but lack substantial money to buy what they think they will need. They have scanned many good lists online and know what others are stocking up on. There are many good ideas out there but most of them take a conventional stance in preparing. When everything goes wrong with the economy and you can no longer depend on a regular income you must have a plan to maintain a decent standard of living.
If the day ever comes that you suddenly have no job, your savings and retirement are gone and you have no source of income, what will you do? If you can no longer make your monthly rent or mortgage payment, do you think you will be able to continue living there and for how long? This is a serious question that many people have not contemplated and refuse to even think about. When the greater depression picks up speed, your whole world can be turned upside down overnight.
Those that have made the decision to store emergency supplies may not have contemplated losing their dwelling when it hit’s the fan. Even if you have supplies for your family where will you take them if you lose your home? Have you planned for that eventuality? Even if it is remote you need to think about it.
The first three things people need to satisfy are shelter, food and clothing. Regardless of the situation, these are the first things people will try to get before moving on to other needs such as transportation, security and sanitation to name a few.
As a minimum your 72 hour kit should be upgraded to a two week kit with a good four season tent and cold weather sleeping bags for each person. This will provide you with the minimal level of food and shelter that you should be prepared to provide for your family. Adding to this, you should increase your food reserves to the amount you could transport if you had to move. This should be the minimum resources you have to take care of your family if it all falls apart.
In the event you lose your home and have no place to go you should plan on a more permanent type of shelter that you can feasibly pay for on a limited budget. The following are the six items you should try to acquire to care for your family in a worst case scenario. Even if you declare bankruptcy, in many cases the homestead act will allow you to keep up to $5,000 worth of property. The following list will fall far below that threshold with a little shopping around.
Older pickup truck- You should have a vehicle that is fully owned so there is no chance of losing it if all of your financial assets are lost. You want an older vehicle so you can maintain it yourself to a large degree. Newer vehicles since the mid 1980’s have fuel injection, computers and many electronic sensors that make diagnosis and repair difficult for anyone without the proper equipment. You also want a vehicle that can pull a trailer which leads us to the next item.
Camper trailer- Living in a tent is better than nothing but is still miserable in very cold weather. Having a hard shelter is far more comfortable especially if you have children. You can maintain a good deal of normalcy with a camper and you still maintain your mobility. Trailers can be found very cheaply today and the longer you have to look for one the more likely you will find a good deal.
Food supply- With a hard shelter that is mobile you maintain the ability to store several months of food and move it quickly if needed. You should acquire at least a years food supply even before you have a trailer to carry it all. If you plan to set up for long periods of time at a stationary location you would also benefit from having some basic garden tools and a supply of seeds to extend your food supply.
Energy systems- In a long term depression you will still need a certain amount of energy for certain systems. A wood gasifier will allow you to power your vehicle when fuel is hard to find or too expensive to buy. Your vehicle will also provide you with a power source for electrical power. Solar panels will also prove useful for electrical power over the long term crisis. For heating and cooking, wood stoves are good to have since wood is available in most locations and relatively cheap.
Security- Having a means to protect your family will become necessary if the social conditions deteriorate to the point that large numbers of people seek out resources for survival. A good pump shotgun and at least 500 rounds of ammo will give you a basic level of protection in most circumstances. It will also provide you with the means to hunt for food should it become necessary. A shotgun is a good entry level weapon for someone with little or no experience handling weapons. If finances permit a good pistol and a rifle with a good supply of ammo would be a good investment as well.
Silver-Some wealth preserved in the form of precious metals will give you the ability to buy items in the future that are truly needed. Paper money can lose it’s value in a national crisis but gold and silver will maintain their purchasing power over the long term and provide you with options you would not have otherwise. Having at least $20 face value in junk silver coins is a good start but more is better based on some of the economic signs we are now seeing.
These six things are only one type of plan but they provide you with the means to provide the basics no matter how disruptive things get. If you are unable to service your debts in the future you may end up with only those things you fully own and have physical control over. Regardless of your plans you need to analyze your current situation very carefully to insure you will have the means to provide the basics to your family.
It may be thought as premature by some to make such drastic plans at this time but once crisis strikes it will be too late to get the things you will need to ride out the social disruptions. If the government continues to print money we will eventually lose our reserve currency status and the petrodollar will be destroyed. When that happens inflation will run rampant until the dollar that we know disintegrates into nothing. Before that happens you need to ask yourself some important questions and have good answers now.
What will I do if I lose my job and cannot find another?
How will I continue to pay for food, rent, energy, clothing or medications if my income is cut off?
What will I do if inflation destroys my wages, savings and retirement accounts leaving me with nothing?
Will I be able to stay at my current home if I no longer have any money?
Where will I go if I am forced to leave my home?
What assets do I have that are fully owned?
How can I preserve my wealth if the dollar hyper inflates to nothing?
How will I take care of my family if the banks are closed?
What can I do to earn money if we have another great depression?
This is just a sample of some of the things you will need to know if the worst happens and judging from the current economic numbers we are getting very close to a terminal situation that will destroy most of the wealth that exists in paper and digital form. Continued money printing will only make the situation worse but that is the path of least resistance and the one we are likely to take as a nation of economically illiterate stooges.
If you do not have your economic survival strategy operational at this time you are playing with an economic fire that will burn everything you have in short order. You should not complain about your preps if it does not happen next week or next month. The longer it takes to happen gives you that much more time to make the necessary preparations so use this time wisely.
By: Tom Chatham
As Russia prepares its people and military for possible nuclear war with the U.S. the American propaganda organs are busy selling the notion that everything is just fine. While Russia has been building fallout shelters for its people the U.S. government has been building FEMA camps for theirs. It just goes to show the prevailing mentality in each of these nations.
The corrupt policies and inept leadership in the U.S. has done everything to create this situation. Unfortunately when the bombs begin to fall it will not be the leadership that pays the price for their failed ideology but the average American citizen. Long before the first bombs arrive the leadership will be whisked away to the safety of underground shelters while the citizens are told to stay calm.
The great terror for the people will not be the sudden blinding flash that vaporizes whole cities but the majority that will survive the bombs only to have to deal with the fallout that follows. Many people think that a nuclear war will mean their instant death but that will only happen for the few at ground zero. What will follow for the rest will be a slow death as radiation slowly destroys them from the inside out due to lack of proper shelters to protect them.
The lucky few that survive this horror will then have to deal with the next problem of finding clean water and food. Anyone that has made it this far has a good chance of survival if they are prepared. Many will say why bother, I would not want to live in a world like this. The thing is, if you do not prepare to survive you will eventually die but it will be slower and increasingly traumatic along the way. You will have to watch your family die a slow death as they dehydrate and starve.
Being located away from military bases and large cities and being upwind of them will greatly increase your chances of survival. At the same time, being underground to some extent will also be helpful. To be effective against fallout a shelter does not have to be a large concrete bunker with all of the amenities. A simple hole in the ground with sufficient overhead cover and some type of air filtration system will get you through the first few weeks that are the most dangerous. This is realistic and possible by the average person with the proper knowledge.
The book Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny provides a wealth of usable knowledge to help the average person survive the unthinkable. This book can be downloaded online for free so there are no excuses for anyone not to have this valuable information especially in times such as these.
A temporary shelter to protect you from fallout can be as simple as a 3’x6’x12’ hole in the ground lined with plastic and covered with logs and a few feet of dirt. The entrance would need a sealed door of some type and an air pump to remove stale air and moisture. Basic supplies would include food, water, lighting, bedding, medical supplies, a radiation meter and sanitation system. Nuclear War Survival Skills shows you how to supply these items with the least amount of cost. This book provides you with the means to survive many other disasters as well with the same supplies.
We all hope for the best possible outcome in world events but when everything goes terribly wrong we owe it to ourselves and our families to have the means to take care of them even when the worst happens. Every family that can care for itself after an event will provide that much more stability to society in the days following that are crucial to recovery. Even in the worst case scenario there will be survivors. How well you plan will determine if you are one of the few.
It is unfortunate that the vast majority will simply not prepare and wait for FEMA to come to their rescue but that is a foolish action. FEMA’s primary mission is for continuity of government so when the worst happens there will be no serious help coming for the regular people. To aid in your own planning you should have a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills which you can find with a web search. Here is one site that offers a free download. http://nuclearwarsurvivalskills.com/
By: Tom Chatham
Most people that take future disruptions to their lives as a given usually go to the next step and have a backup plan to deal with those disruptions. Some people set aside extra money to pay for unexpected breakdowns or appliance repair. Some set aside money to pay rent and utilities in the event of job loss or sickness. Some set aside supplies in the event of natural or man made disasters that cut off their normal supply systems. Some even prepare for world altering disasters that may only happen once in a millennium.
In any case people are taking responsibility for their own well being and doing what they think is reasonable diligence given the uncertain world we live in. Do you have a backup plan to deal with any disruptions in your normal daily life? If you do not, then why not? Now is a good time to sit down and contemplate some of the things that could alter your life but could be substantially minimized if you only take some preventive actions now.
Disasters that can prevent you from going about your daily routine for an extended period of time can be life altering. Especially if these disruptions prevent you from acquiring the basic necessities of life you have come to depend on. The inability to satisfy your needs can be depressing and even life threatening at some point. The following is just one of many ways you can reduce possible problems to mere inconveniences with just a little though and preparation. This list only lists food and energy in the solutions but can be expanded to include anything you might deem necessary. Just think of it as a starting point.
Normal operations in your daily life that encompass small manageable problems that everybody faces from time to time.
Mitigation options: Maintain 30 days worth of money to deal with unexpected financial problems.
Temporary disruptions that disrupt your daily routine and can prevent you from doing certain tasks that need to be done. The disruption will limit your access to food, water and energy resources for up to two weeks. It can be a power outage, cyber attack, natural disaster or man made disaster.
Mitigation options: Generator with 20 gallons of fuel storage, battery pack with power inverter to reduce generator use, canned foods, water storage, cash on hand.
Long term disruptions that alter your daily routine and can prevent you from doing certain tasks. This disruption will eliminate all availability of food and energy resources for the duration of the emergency. The situation is much like a temporary disruption except it can last much longer putting the health and welfare of the population in serious risk.
Mitigation options: generator with at least 50 gallons of fuel, batteries with power inverter, solar and wind generation as backup, larger food stores or garden production, water filtration and storage, alternative fuel source ie: wood gas or biogas system, wood stove with wood supply.
This could be a long term disruption that falls outside of normal circumstances. It could be something like an EMP or CME that takes down the technological infrastructure. It can also encompass your response to a long term disaster that goes beyond the limits of your technological preparations in earlier plans.
Mitigation options: Oil lamps and lamp fuel, hand operated water pumps for wells, water filters, gas stove with bio gas fuel or wood stove with wood supply, absorption refrigeration with bio gas system.
This is merely an example of how you can break down potential problems and devise solutions to the type of situation. It also allows you to jump ahead to the proper plan given the known problem allowing you to react in a timely fashion. The faster you can respond to the problem the better you will be able to limit the negative effects on you.
In many disasters it is all too familiar to see people running around in a daze not knowing what to do. It is these people that present the greatest threat to keeping society stable when things seem to fall apart quickly. The more that you can reduce disasters to mere inconveniences the better off you and your community will be. Having a plan and resources standing by when that happens is instrumental to maintaining order and allowing some type of recovery to begin.
Granted, living in a rural area on a few acres of land will give you many options that an apartment dweller will not have so it is important to do a realistic appraisal of your situation and determine the best course of action in the event of a disaster. Your plan needs to be tailored to you and no one else. This is why you must give considerable thought to it and not just try to copy the plan of others. While others may have very good ideas to incorporate into your plan your plan must work for you when the time comes.
A plan does not have to be complicated or expensive, it just needs to work. When it comes to disasters the greatest asset you have is your own mind. Expanding your knowledge base and just taking the time to think through different situations will greatly increase your response to situations that might send your neighbors over the edge. When disaster strikes, how you are able to respond will determine how well you get through it so give yourself every opportunity to stay safe and healthy.
By: Tom Chatham
The current declining state of the economy is just the first leg in a long journey to the bottom of the pit of misery we will all know in the coming years. The cycle of business has been turned on its head as bankers rush to save themselves and their ill gotten loot. Never in the course of human history has so much been stolen from so many by so few. All of the human labor that has been converted into wealth has been diverted to the ruling elite and now that they have gotten all that they can get they will pull out of the system and let everything else crash. It is a slow process as they move their wealth around to insure most of it survives but when they reach that point the lowly masses will see the next leg of the greater depression unfold.
The withdrawal of this wealth from the markets will insure the system crumbles and what little that is left will be fought over by the masses as they scramble for dwindling resources. The life work of many people will be reduced to a few scraps of worthless paper in the end. After these people realize they have been robbed they will look for the person to blame but the machinations of the elite will insure this anger is redirected to other priorities. When the masses are reduced to poverty and misery they will then be subjected to war. This is the slight of hand that will keep the bankers safe for the time being. Hopefully by the time the war is over the masses will be so glad, they will have forgotten how it all began.
As the wealth is pulled out of the financial system the distribution system will begin to crumble from lack of credit to function in the just in time delivery system we now employ. This breakdown will seem like a slow motion train wreck as things slowly get worse until they simply stop one day. Truckers are now in survival mode as loads are drying up nationwide. Hundreds of locomotives are now parked on rail sidings because there is no freight to move. Major retailers are closing hundreds of stores and laying off workers because consumers no longer have the credit they need to maintain their former lifestyles.
Hanjin, one of the largest freight carriers in the world is now in bankruptcy and the 500,000 containers filled with goods still on their ships are now in limbo. Some are now using the word chaos to describe what is happening as customers and manufacturers rush to find new carriers and get their containers of goods back. This is just the first crack in the global distribution system that we are seeing and more cracks will appear in the future as shippers succumb to lower shipping rates and fewer goods to haul. Most of the goods and about 50% of the food eaten in the U.S. is imported. As these goods stop flowing into the country the population will see their standard of living get worse.
This loss of goods will trigger internal strife and fighting among the population as they seek to maintain their living standards. Unlike our ancestors who knew how to live in hard times, the snowflake generation will be unable to adjust to the desperate times. This combined with the over medication of our population will make the world a very dangerous place. Society will gyrate from withdrawal and fear to fits of rage on a regular basis and this will do little to help the average person make things better as we try to work through our problems as a nation.
Unlike previous hard times when people worked together and made the tough decisions needed to recover, the future will be very different. It will be a time of chaos, deceit, violence and lack of sympathy toward others. Families will be torn apart and social groups will fight one another. The war that comes may very well be on our own shores this time and Americans will be the cannon fodder for the global cover-up of theft and mismanagement of resources.
The coming days will truly try mens souls as we each work to live day to day and survive the turmoil that follows. Each person will need to understand the changes that are to come and determine what infrastructure they will need to get by for the several years that anarchy will rule. They need to know what they will need to do now so they will have the resources available when they need them. When the social safety nets collapse they may not have anyone to turn to for their needs. The future may seem bleak but the human spirit is more than able to compensate and see us through if we allow it and we all rise to our potential.
In times like this it is all too easy to allow a country to slip into a dictatorship in the hopes that some strong man will fix our woes but that never happens in the real world. The fundamental loss of freedoms will lead to more misery and poverty as the few remaining resources are diverted to the ruling class and the excess goods are used as a weapon to control the masses. Those that do not go along to get along will find themselves hunted as enemies of the state and see neighbors turn into informants to stay in the good graces of the state.
The only recourse in times like this are to become invisible and stay out of the way of the state while you work behind the scenes to undermine the states power and control through covert methods. Being off the beaten path will be the best method of survival that will allow you the most freedom to utilize natural resources and live a decent life away from the machinations of those that would enslave you for their own purposes. Hard times are coming and ignoring this will not change the future it will just make your life that much harder. Times change but how well you live through them is entirely up to you.
By: Tom Chatham
If we follow the premise that all things on Earth are finite such as the physical resources we use then we must assume that at some point we will begin to run out of these resources as they are more heavily utilized. Our use of energy is one such item that should be addressed by the average person before we hit the wall of limited and then lack of these resources.
There are those that think solar and wind will be the salvation of our energy problems but these people fail to take into account the limitations of these energy sources. It still requires energy to extract the raw materials needed to build solar panels and these must be replaced at some point. Wind turbines require steel, concrete, fiberglass and copper just to name a few of the resources needed to make these things work and they too must be replaced every few decades as they wear out.
One problem with solar that I have talked about to people is the fact that massive amounts of energy must be stored in order for it to power the grid continuously. One person recently calculated that batteries to store enough energy to power the U.S for one day would require batteries covering 923 sq. miles and costing 41 trillion dollars. While I am an advocate of wind and solar I do not believe they are capable of powering our grid reliably. I think their benefits can only be utilized as stand alone systems on individual buildings.
Those that think solar and wind can replace oil do not understand our energy requirements at the present time and certainly do not understand the power requirements of things such as ships, trains and semi trucks that move the bulk of our commodities around the world. Cheap oil has made the current world trade system possible and the lack of cheap energy will cause a collapse of the status quo. The collapse of our current energy system will cause widespread chaos and depressed living standards if we do not address this issue now. It is for this reason that we need to look forward to the energy we will use in the future.
Hydrogen is more akin to a storage battery as it takes energy to separate the hydrogen from other elements to utilize in most cases. Fusion is still a promising energy source that we still do not know how to produce and maybe in the future if we figure it out it will change things but that is some time off. Things such as oil, natural gas and coal are heavily used today but they will only last so long and a growing population is using them at a faster rate as time goes on insuring their demise at some point. Nuclear power plants are filled with controversy and their future is uncertain unless something changes.
If our fossil fuel system begins to erode we will have to fall back on what we know. In this case the most available source of energy available to the population is that age old element, wood. As archaic as it sounds if our energy grid begins to shut down wood may be the go to system for individuals at the local level. A mature wood lot can produce about ¾ of a chord of wood per acre per year. When utilized within these limits it becomes sustainable for the long term.
A small homestead with a good woodlot and some solar and wind power may be the future we are forced to embrace until some new energy source becomes available in large enough quantities to fulfill our needs on a large scale. Now is the time to begin this conversion before we are forced to do so when the materials we need are no longer available to the masses. There are many people that have made this change and live off the grid today and are very happy about it.
Wood is also a viable source of energy for vehicles utilized in the local area. Wood gas can provide the energy to power much of the agricultural equipment we need to maintain the food supply. While this is a step back it will likely become a necessity at some point if we wait too long. With wood gas a conservative estimate of wood power indicates about 20 pounds of wood equals a gallon of gasoline when utilized in a motor vehicle. There is some power loss with wood and production efficiencies vary from system to system.
Much of the population growth of the world has been made possible by the availability of cheap energy and the loss of this cheap energy will cause a drastic adjustment to the population on this planet as we run into resource scarcity. The abundance of food we now produce depends on vast quantities of cheap, available energy. Nature has a way of balancing things out if we refuse to do so on our own. People need to understand this.
While a small homestead with solar and wind power and equipment powered by wood may not be the ideal plan, it is one you can be working towards while you can do so with minimal disruption to your lifestyle. In the near future if energy prices and availability should become more of an issue than it is now, having alternative energy systems will minimize the effect on your quality of life. I suggest you have a plan that works for you and your family before you are forced into one by events.
A plan to deal with an energy shortage will not only protect you from a shortage but also from manmade and natural disasters that would curtail or eliminate the timely delivery of energy to the masses. The ability to provide the majority of your own energy needs makes you less vulnerable to shocks that can send society into panic and disrupt many lives. Over time things change. This can be beneficial or detrimental to our well being and your ability to adapt to those changes will determine your quality of life in the years to follow.
Our energy resources may be stable for many years to come. Then again they could change drastically in a matter of weeks. Walking into the future with your eyes closed knowing full well you could fall off a cliff is a dangerous way to live, especially when you could take steps to minimize the dangers and insure your quality of life if something does happen.
By: Tom Chatham
The prosperity we once knew as a nation was made possible because of cheap oil. When the EROI, Energy Returned On Invested, was at 30/1 we had unprecedented prosperity. The EROI is now falling below 10/1 and is taking prosperity with it. The EROI is the amount of energy we expend to get energy, in this case oil, out of the ground. We are getting 10 units of energy for every unit we expend to get it. Shale oil production results in 5 units of energy for every unit we expend.
This matters because everything we use depends on cheap energy to maintain the status quo. An EROI of 10/1 is necessary to maintain our current standard of living. The Hills Group project oil will drop to $11.76 by 2020. This may sound good on the surface but cheap oil will not mean much if you have no job and no money to buy it. As the next depression sets in many more people will lose their job and as a result prices will collapse. They project by 2020 we will have 75% fewer gas stations as a result of collapsing oil.
Today most of our population lives in the city. When jobs see their final collapse those people will have no way to survive. Living in the city requires stuff being brought in from other places. Those living in the city must pay for this stuff with the pay they earn. No jobs mean no pay and no goods.
During the last great depression many city dwellers had family in the country to move back in with to stay fed but most city dwellers today are several generations removed from the country life and no longer have living family members in the country to move in with.
Many of the farms that were left to city dwelling children after the parents died were sold and the money either spent or put into paper assets for retirement. When those paper assets evaporate those people will have nothing to fall back on.
I have said before that when this next depression hits it will devastate everyone and the only way people will be able to get by is if they produce most of their basic goods themselves. This will require a small farm and a family to help run it.
The U.S labor department has reported that productivity has declined for the third straight quarter. The real hourly wage increase reported in the first quarter at 4.2% has been revised to a decrease of .4%. GDP growth annualized for the first two quarters is 1%. S&P 500 companies are reporting declining earnings for the fifth quarter in a row. Economic growth is at its weakest rate since 1949. Gold is up 25% this year so far. All of these metrics are indicative of a stagnant or declining economy at a time when we are told everything is doing great.
The massive amount of money being printed is the only thing holding the economy in place right now but we are now moving beyond the point where that is even effective. From here on out more money will only cause more damage and it will compound the effects when the economy finally fails in earnest. Those that do not see this train wreck coming will still be sitting calmly as everything falls apart around them. They will be lucky to survive the impact and will be totally helpless in the days following. Those that see the danger will have gotten off a long way back and will be in a better position to help themselves and their family.
It is good to help others but you can only do so after you have taken steps to help yourself. The carnage we are about to see in world markets will affect everyone in some way. The best way to help is to understand what is coming and be prepared to deal with the realities that will follow. Global markets will revert back to local markets and those prepared for these changes will survive the initial collapse and thrive in the aftermath.
You can read more about EROI at https://srsroccoreport.com/the-coming-breakdown-of-u-s-global-markets-explained-what-most-analysts-missed/
By: Tom Chatham
Should you dig in or bug out? That is a question many people will have to ask themselves at some point in the future. That answer will be different for many people due to a range of circumstances and conditions.
What is right for one person and location may be lethal for someone else in another location. That is why you need to have situational awareness and critical thinking ability. You need to analyze the threats and determine the best course of action in that time and place. What once was a safe location could quickly become a death trap if you fail to see the changing situation. This is why normalcy bias kills.
Just like a person who loses their job and decides to stay where they are and continue life as normal while watching their savings quickly depleting. They fail to look ahead and contemplate the dangers if they take no action. If they did an honest assessment and determined they probably will not find a new job before they run out of money and lose their home, they would come to that conclusion while they still had resources to work with and determine a safer course of action.
Your knowledge, location and preparedness level will largely determine what you should do at any given time. When disaster arrives what you do and when you do it will determine how well you overcome the problems and make it to the end.
If you live in a large city and something happens that destroys basic services and the ability to care for your family, you may not have much time to act. In some situations you must act before the disaster strikes if you are to have any chance of getting through it. Hurricane Katrina is a good example. Martial law that cuts off cities from surrounding areas is another.
In most survival situations your chances of survival in a rural area is about 10 times better than in a city. That is because you have lower population density and you are surrounded by the resources you need to survive. That means fewer people competing for those resources. You also have the space to produce more resources that you need over time.
Even in the country you will face dangers and have to determine if you should stay in place or move to another location. Fires, floods or roving bands of survivors from other places may make a rural location unsafe. You need to see those dangers coming before they happen and decide your best course of action.
In the end, your knowledge, location and preparedness level will help you decide what you should do before you find yourself in a situation you cannot get out of. There are many unknowns when a disaster happens. Being prepared and having thought through some of those potential problems reduces some of those unknowns so that you can make good decisions. The better informed that you are, the better your decisions will be.
The decision to dig in or bug out will be a pivotal moment in your life because it will have serious repercussions on future events. You need to make decisions that greatly enhance your chances to survive not put you in more danger. You need to expand your comfort zone to allow you to think outside of normal situations and doing so will help eliminate your normalcy bias and give you the best chance to make good decisions in a timely manner. When the worst happens, you may not have the benefit of someone else telling you what to do, it will be up to you to make those decisions. Once you make a decision you will have to live with it.