Even if you're a doomer.
How to Prepare for What's Coming without Being a Complete Asshole
About ten years ago, the National Geographic Channel aired this show about doomsday preppers. One woman was filling her entire house with food. She thought she was going to continue cooking gourmet meals while the world burned down around her. One guy tried to build a castle in the middle of the woods. He forced his children from two marriages to eat expired MREs and almost got them electrocuted during a severe storm. The unfinished part of his fortress was basically a long line of lightning rods.
One guy almost shot his thumb off.
Every now and then, you ran across someone smart. One guy was learning how to cook food with parabolic solar mirrors.
One guy was farming worms.
One thing became clear after two seasons. Some people were actually trying to figure out how to make it in a worst-case scenario. Others were just playing Rambo and maxing out their privilege.
Our planet just got a new expiration date. Nobody really knows when something like a breadbasket failure or a major supply chain collapse will happen. That's kind of the point of ecological collapse.
There's definitely a right and a wrong way to prep. The wrong way involves bunkers and rifles. That's not prepping.
It just makes them an asshole.
I started prepping about two years ago. Over the last few weeks, I've thought about what I would tell myself back then.
Here it is:
Forget underground bunkers and steel-reinforced shelters. They're worthless. You probably can't afford one anyway. Forget survival food. It's overrated. It's also full of sodium. It's not designed for you to eat for long periods of time, not for years on end, and certainly not for decades.
It's for short-term emergencies.
Think tiny house.
You don't want a giant 2400-square-foot house to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That's a waste of time. You want a small space that you can power with a few solar panels.
Learn how to make your own system.
This guy can show you how.
It's better to learn how to enjoy life without electricity. It used to be a luxury. In the future, it's going to be a luxury again.
It's a good idea to store food. You can store dry goods. We're talking about pasta, rice, beans, oatmeal, and wheat berries. They stay good for a long time. They can last decades if stored properly. Don't bother trying to store more than a year's worth of food. If you need more than that, then you've got bigger problems. More food won't help you. It will make you a liability.
Cycle through your supply. Don't buy a bunch of canned corn and then leave it to rot in a basement. Eat as you go.
Keep an inventory.
Go ahead and commit to a space for storing your emergency supplies. Make it a closet. Put up shelving. Be organized about it. Don't be one of those preppers who has stuff scattered around everywhere.
That just creates stress.
Don't be one of those "preppers" who rushes out to the store every time there's a scary story online. That's not prepping.
That's panic-buying and hoarding.
Prepping is the opposite of that.
It's a good idea to store water. Don't buy a bunch of bottled water. That's wasteful. Get a 50-gallon barrel made with foodsafe plastic. Put a spigot in there. You can make a filter with charcoal, gravel, and sand. You can build a rain catchment system. YouTube will show you how. If you're going to store water, get something that stores upright, like an aquatainer.
Remember one crucial thing:
Water containers can leak.
You might've seen little tips and tricks about making your own water generator with a dehumidifier and a filter. I wouldn't risk it. Companies warn you not to. It's hard to filter water from dehumidifiers. You can drop thousands of dollars on a water generator that's basically a dehumidifier made with higher standards. Warning, they use a lot of electricity. They're not going to help if you're in a grid-down situation.
You want a small space where you can store food, and you want it to stay cool without relying on electricity. Think root cellar. You can dig one yourself. It's a lot of work. Here's the ironic part. The pioneers didn't pay anything for root cellars. They harvested their own materials. You'll have to pay for it.
That's why capitalism sucks.
If you don't know how to shoot a gun, I wouldn't start now. Learn how to make your own pepper spray. Get a baseball bat. If you need more than pepper spray and a baseball bat then I'm sorry, but you're f*cked anyway. You're not going to drive off battalions of militia dudes. If you plan on hiring an army to protect your stuff, you'd better be able to feed them.
Learn how to grow food.
This is where things get frustrating. There's no end to YouTube hipsters who talk about self-sufficiency and off-grid living on their ten-acre ranches they bought with their Apple stock. That's not you.
You don't have those resources.
No, you're going to be growing beans and tomatoes in your backyard. You don't need a farm. A backyard works fine. Watch this woman explain how she adapts homesteading for an urban setting. There's entire books and YouTbe channels dedicated to urban and suburban food production in small spaces. Start learning now. You'll get better over time.
Figure out what grows in your area. Plant crops that can withstand drought and high temperatures. For example, you can plant tepary beans and amaranth. Plant food that doesn't look like food.
Learn about foraging.
Yes, you're going to have fights with the city council who don't want you growing vegetables. You're going to have fights with HOAs.
Get ready for water shortages.
You yourself only require one gallon of water a day to stay hydrated. Oh, but you'll want water for bathing, washing clothes, doing dishes, and going to the bathroom. Americans use 3-4 times as much water as the rest of the world. It's insane. You'll have to learn how to use less. You're going to want a washing board or this thing called a Laundry Alternative, which was designed for water-scarce regions. Get ready to use the bathroom without plumbing.
I would suggest getting a portable, luggable toilet. It's shaped like a bucket, but it has a little seat on top. You can fill it with hay, leaves, or coconut coir to absorb some of the nasty smell. It goes without saying...
You can use your own waste as fertilizer if you hot compost it properly. That solves two problems at once. It helps you grow food, and it also deals with the problem of what to do with your crap.
Whatever knowledge you think you'll need, print it out. Get physical books. It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to understand why.
Get a bicycle and learn how to fix it yourself.
Don't try to plan for every kind of disaster. Figure out what kind of disasters are most likely to happen where you live.
Plan for those.
This isn't an exhaustive list. It's a starter post. It's meant to address your mindset. Real prepping doesn't mean hiring someone to build a bunker for you. It means learning skills. It means adjusting your attitude. It means reducing your reliance by also reducing your consumption.
Make yourself a resource. That way, people won't want to kill you for your stuff. You won't have stuff. You'll have knowledge. If anything, your friends and neighbors will want to keep you alive.
They'll want to protect you.
This is what newbie preppers and bunker billionaires don't understand. They don't understand it because they never lived like this. Their entire mindset is about taking things from the world, while giving nothing.
Don't be an asshole at the end of the world.
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