If I were a prepper … …

doomsday-preppers-expect-the-worstSource: Doomsday Preppers.

Two of my favorite bloggers are Dmitry Orlov, who thinks industrial civilization may collapse at any moment, and John Michael Greer, who thinks industrial civilization is doomed to slow decline.

I’m nearly 79 years old, and, at worst, expect to collapse before civilization does.  But suppose I was young, and suppose I took seriously the possibility of collapse of government authority and of the energy, communications and transportation grids.  What would be the best way to prepare?

Stockpile gold?  Stockpile guns and ammunition and practice marksmanship?  Stockpile canned goods?   I don’t think any of these things, in and of themselves, would assure long-term survival.

A 50-dollar gold piece in such circumstances would have less value than a peanut butter sandwich.  Ammunition and canned goods are non-renewable resources.  My chances of survival as a lone individual would be nil.

Much better to learn useful skills, and to treat my family and neighbors in such a way that they would want to keep me alive.

I would learn gardening and keep heirloom seeds.

I am not a hunter and don’t think I would try to learn hunting.  Even bow-and-arrow hunting requires equipment I would be unable to make, and skills I don’t think I have the talent to acquire.   But I would learn fishing and I would consider learning trapping.

Would it be a good idea to leave the city and move someplace where I could keep chickens and horses?  Maybe, but only if I acquired knowledge of how to care for chickens and horses, and had a means of feeding them without store-bought feed and oats.

I would take a Red Cross course in first aid.  Maybe I would take an Emergency Medical Technician training.

I would study basic home repair, out of books and from friends if no courses were available, and practice.  I would try to learn all the basic homesteading skills that my parents and grandparents know, but I never bothered to learn.

I would get a bicycle and learn to go everywhere by bike instead of by car.  I would learn how to fix my bike.

I would, so far as possible, replace everything in my house that is powered by electricity or by a gasoline engine with things that could be operated by hand.

I would super-insulate my house and get solar panels.   I put in a supply of replacement solar panels.

I might join a group of Civil War re-enacters—the hard-core kind who make their own uniforms and musket balls and live as much as possible like our 19th century ancestors.

I would join a neighborhood militia.  Hopefully we would find someone expect in the use of lethal force—a Marine or Ranger or Navy SEAL—who would help us organize in return for food, clothing and shelter.

I would stockpile hard goods that would not be replaceable, but would not soon be used up—hand tools, sealable glass jars, hand-operated appliances such as can openers.   I would stockpile more than I needed for myself and could share with neighbors and friends, knowing that I would have to call on them for favors.

I would own as many books as I do now, but many more reference books and manuals and a lot fewer on politics and economics.

And I would take care to be more prepared than I now am for short-term emergencies—make sure I have flashlight batteries, store water and canned food

I may add to these thoughts if I think of more things.  What am I overlooking?


The Doomsday Preppers of New York by Alan Fueur for The New York Times.

How to be a Prepper, But Not One of Those Crazy Ones by Daisy Luther for The Organic Prepper.


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One Response to “If I were a prepper … …”

  1. peteybee Says:

    Hi Phil,

    I think DO and JMG consistently underestimate technology and human ingenuity. But that said, taking an interest in “being ready” for whatever is like having too many doctors or spending a few more years in school than you really need. A non-problem, at worst.

    I’d try to have at least some: medicine, potable water, water purification equipment, water storage containers, cutting tools and sharpening tools, light industrial equipment, fasteners, rope and line, electrical and electronics tools, high power wifi antennas, and knowing how to really use all of the above.

    I’d try to learn: basic boy scout skills, homesteading skills, motorcycle and auto repair, third-world boat building (rowboat + tree + tarp = romantic. rowboat + lawnmower = redneck??), third-world diesel engine repair. setting up a high power wi-fi computer network, repairing computers or computer-like devices and modifying/upgrading for increased transmission power. making alcohol.

    I should say I have zero expectation of ever needing any of this. What few disaster situations I’ve been in have involved either extreme rain/storm/flood, or being stuck in a city during nonsense when the biggest obstacle was gridlock and/or temporary lack of electricity.

    So for the acute emergency scenario:

    extreme weather knowledge, riding a motorcycle, learning how to revive an automobile after it’s been submerged in water, finding your way around panic-dense traffic in an unfamiliar city with nothing but a map.

    Zombie apocalypse bonus: hot-wiring a gas station that does not have power. hot-wiring and operating heavy construction equipment, building a radio from scratch (and modern-day garbage).

    Liked by 1 person

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