For a moment let me sketch out the the typical mental image that people see when they hear the word survivalist. For most people the word evokes images of a man (usually in his late 40s early 50s) holed up in a bunker beneath his house surrounded by stockpiles of MRE's canned food and cradling an M-16 in his arms while checking his other illegally obtained weapons and waiting for the Soviets or New World Order to come knocking. Now while this stereotype isn't completely undeserved (as an unfortunate number of websites and authors show) it is only focusing on the extreme fringe of so survivalist movement. Many people who identify as survivalists have recently been using the term 'prepper' to differentiate themselves from this fringe. I myself use it as I am not in the process of prepping for a global collapse, but rather more local things.
More about me in a moment though. What people will find today is that may preppers are people who are members of the Green movement and want to get back to the land. Or they are simply people who live in areas that are at risk for terrible weather and other natural disasters (hurricanes and earthquakes and the like). Most people will simply have an emergency supply of food, batteries, and blankets to be used in case of a terrible power outage or storm. If you do something basic like that then yes dear reader, you are indeed a prepper. It's even just the little things that make someone a prepper, if you are preparing for any kind of freak hit mother nature can throw at you, you fall into the category of prepper.
Though now some of you may be asking 'Stienberg why do you prep? Surely you aren't afraid of the NWO nor do you need to fear the weather so much?' well readers I'm glad you asked that!
As I'm sure many of you will remember back in 1998 we had the mother of all ice storms which came down on us like the wrath of an inebriated and severely ticked off Jack Frost! For some readers who may not remember, or who would like to see how devastating this was I present you these:
|This is some trees bent under their own weight from the ice (one having its branches totally ripped off)|
|No these aren't ice scupltures.|
|This is a twig, covered in two inches of ice, to illustrate just how bad this was.|
The problem grew so great and many communities (like my own) were isolated and the roads impassable from the ice sheets and debris covering them. Eventually the army was called in and I can remember how glad my parents were to see helicopters flying overhead and for a soldier to come and check on us.
That time dear readers, was bad. Some froze to death in their homes (especially the elderly) and many who did leave to stay with relatives who did have power, returned to find their homes looted by opportunistic scavengers (of both the four and two legged variety). Now it wasn't anarchy in the streets, nor a world ending disaster, but it made many people quite upset and uncomfortable and made me realize just how fragile our modern way of life is. My father for instance, has not owned a house without a woodstove since.
Now of course I was to young at the time to really appreciate these details. As I got older though, I began to really see the effects that a few days without power could have on people. Take the 2003 blackout for instance. I was again cast into a world of darkness and no power, but was thankfully warm as it was summer. So these memories have weighed heavily on me as I see how catastrophic man made screw ups can be.
From the time I was sixteen onwards I began asking myself what I could do in situations like these. So from there I began reading about disaster prepardness and storm shelters. What will surprise readers is that it wasn't any man made disaster that finally tilted me over the edge into full on prepper, but a fictional one.
I purchased the Zombie Survival Guide (and consequently have reviewd it on Amazon as MDStien) many years ago. I bought this book as friends and I had become infatuated with zombie movies, and all the post-apocalyptic aspects there of. This book really got me thinking, what if the power goes out for weeks at a time? What if I get caught up in a riot or other civil disturbance? And even, what if maybe, just maybe a horde of undead flesh eating monsters tries to force its way into my home? The last one aside (well I'd focus that on burglers really) these are very important questions. What will I do if I'm without power for a number of days, or what will I do if there is a critical shortage and I have to stock up on food for something, and even what if I'm stranded in the great Canadian wilderness?
These are all important questions people should ask themselves. It's little things like that which can throw our entire world into disorder. Especially with food, there's an old saying 'every country is three meals away from a revolution' and if an entire region were deprived of food for many days I can assure the reader that things would not end well.
I personally began scanning the web and blogosphere for websites which might help me prepare. Eventually I've come across two important websites which have given me tips and tricks to help prepare. One is the famous Survivalblog by James Wesley Rawles a well known author and blogger on the subject. His political leanings do however influence his writings and ideas about survival and he has a bit of a militia bent to him. That being said he also spends a considerable ammount of time on weapons and other self-defense ideas. However, his blog is an excellent resource for starting preppers, and his book How to Survive the end of the world as we know it, is a must have for starting preppers as it gives you an idea of where to begin, and where to go.
Now Rawles does have another book. This one:
Now understandably this may begin to sound alarm bells in some readers heads screaming 'militia fanatic!!' and while there are some elements in the book of this, it actually reads more like Red Dawn in Weirmar Republic Germany. The author is controversial because of his viewpoints and beliefs and this will certainly turn away some readers. Though it doesn't even read as well as a regular novel I can gaurentee it is chock full of excellent ideas and tips packed into a useful narrative. His non-fiction works and blog are much less controversial and could be easier to swallow, I merely reccomend this book to people who want to see what would be described as the best-case scenario for a prepper group put into print.
Now on another note, here is a blog that is a) more Canadian and b) closer to what I'd envisage as my prepping scenario dream. Modern Homesteading is a blog begun by Victoria Gazeley when she moved to her proverbial cabin in the woods and began a life of self-sufficiency and work. Now my proverbial cabin in the woods would look something like this but that's beside the point. Gazeley sets out her ideas on self-sufficient living, and how to prep in a Canadian environment and for a rural lifestyle. This resonates with me a) because I come from a very rural background and seek to return to it and b) because it is from a Canadian perspective and will thankfully avoid foreign politics and ideological banter. The blog offers so many helpful tips and advice that you would be hardpressed to keep track of it all.
That being said online resources are not the only resources that can be used. Amazon has a plethora of books and how to guides on things that can be essential for prepping, and I encourage readers to check some of these items out starting with this.
In the end dear readers I ask you to remember a few things. Being a prepper does not make a person crazy, it is something that almost everyone does to one extent or another (and some simply take it further) and that it is something we should all practice to some extent, just in case.
For now though readers I hope I have outlined the pros for a prepper mindset, and I can assure you I will be doing some more prep oriented posts in the future. Keep on reading and please give these issues some thought.
As a final note, I encourage everyone to think about Hurricane Sandy and many of the ill effects it has had when you consider prepping. If you don't think you can be affected by weird weather and natural disasters, you are oh so sadly wrong dear reader.