Thursday, March 15, 2012

14 Types of Activism

Here are some types of activism. There are more methods, examples, etc., but most forms, acts of and energies direct toward activism for social, environmental and policy changes fall under these categories below:  
Volunteering: if you pick your place/org to offer your volunteer services at carefully, believe in the "cause" regarding the institution/place you're volunteering for, this is an active form of activism. Whether you make larger statements and do more emphasized actions while in your volunteer role is up to you. You can be a quiet volunteer or an outspoken one (drawing attention to your volunteering, the mission statements of the place where you volunteer, the issues surrounding the place, etc). It's all up to you.
Grassroots: these are student, community, neighbourhood groups where some organization is required and where team leaders emerge to "table" issues (put topics out on the table for discussion, problem solving, planning actions to resolve problems, following through to enacting plans, etc). Often, grassroots groups provide literature dealing with the issues the group will take on, discuss, attempt to change, etc. Grassroots groups can be very small or very large. The structure of the groups (not the size) and its members (community, individuals in the community) are the main indicators of whether or not an activist group is grassroots or not. Grassroots groups usually adhere to consensus based decisions and allow any member to speak out, ask questions, suggest solutions and the answers/solutions to problems might come from any individual in the group. Grassroots groups are often effective because the members are experiencing effects of whatever problem is on the table and also understand the limits, strengths and cultural/social details of the individuals/population that is experiencing a problem. Where large activist bodies may suggest and implement solutions based on other models of things that work elsewhere, in a different demographic population, Grassroots groups are likely to know, better, what will work in their population.
Letters/Petitions: can be performed by anyone, members or non-members of any group, by individuals in the general population, by politician, moms, kids, anyone. There are good/effective and bad/ineffective ways to do letters and petitions. Letters can be sent to the managers of companies where you have concerns about the company policies, products and services and wish to see a change in those policies, products and services. Letters to the editor of newspapers and magazines display your viewpoints to a large audience. Petitions require more planning and individuals before they are presented to institutions, companies, corporations, authorities and various entities where you'd like the information on the petition to spark a change in policy, products, services, practices, etc.
Direct Lobbying: going in person to political offices, government buildings, requesting to see/meet with a politician, going into any political meeting of politicians where the general public members are allowed to sit in on the meeting. Going to meet those in control of large corporations in the same manner. 
Litigation: usually used when other methods of activism fail - direct form of activism. Attempting to use the law/lawyers and representatives of the law to help you show where another legal problem exists in government, community, a corporation's products, actions or services, etc. In short - attempting to make an entity responsible for his/her/its actions as punishable by law. Sometimes used against large groups of companies such as advertisers ie: litigation is successful, on occasion, to create rules/laws saying that all advertisers must adhere to a set of principles/laws or that advertisers must stop doing a certain type of advertising or stop advertising to a particular demographic group, etc (perhaps advertisers of certain adult products can no longer place their ads in comic books that will likely be read by a mostly underaged/minor group of people).
Consumer Boycotts: organizing a boycott of products and services from a particular company or manufacturer - stop buying items from a store/company whose practices and activities are seen to be unethical. Stop buying products that encourage something you don't like - no matter which store is selling the products. ie: refusing to buy Barbie toys out of the belief that the scantily clothed, hour-glass shaped anatomy and such promotes unhealthy images of females to a population of impressionable children. Consumer Boycotts often become large EVENTS requiring a lot of organization. For example, boycott participants of the Barbie toy might refuse to feed money into a number of institutions - while making this a public statement (a demonstration), so the parties who are affected might be the company building of the creators of Barbie, the largest store chains that sell Barbie (maybe Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, other large chains), websites online that sell the Barbie toy and accessories, even eBay sellers who are selling second-hand Barbie toys. Usually, all of this "refusal to buy" is accompanied by other activist tactics - letter writing, demonstrations, civil disobedience, others - alone or in tandem as multiple activism tactics all at once. Boycotts can be incredibly powerful activism tools, events, activities. 
Selective Purchasing Ordinances: in some cases this is like a boycott on a larger scale. This is asking/organizing for a large entity to support the idea of not doing business with/not purchasing from another large business entity whose practices, products, services, presence in the community, actions - are considered unethical or unsound. This could be like asking the largest University in your area to stop buying books from a large chain store that is doing something harmful to the environment while manufacturing, transporting or dispersing books. Often, as with consumer boycotting, Selective Purchasing Ordinances often gain wide-spread public attention. The stop to flow of money from the University to the book store will effectively cause the book store financial hardship and the book store will have to review its practices if the Selective Purchasing Ordinance is maintained or else continue to experience lack of funds coming in from the University. Some targets of this type of activism are big enough to withstand financial hardship but when this type of activism grows large and extreme, the parties involved AGAINST the target entity usually have incredibly powerful influences on the general public, other large companies and business entities in the community - and other people might join suit because the University withdrew business from the target entity. In all of this, it will be a rule that people employed by the University will never act on behalf of the University to engage in business with the target book store who is black listed by the University.
Ethical Investing: is related to selective purchasing ordinances. Ethical Investing by large bodies/business entities can be made into legitimate political/activist statements. A business entity may make it known to the public that it will refuse to engage in business with any other business entity or individual who does not uphold certain ethics and that this is as a matter of regular day to day business, not in reaction to a sudden issue in the news, in the business/science community. If, say, some other companies use child labourers and your Ethical Investing company is against this form of child and financial abuse, the company will likely never knowingly engage with another company that uses child labourers, because it has already created a structure of practices that lean toward ethical investing. Likely, the rules on types of people/business entities an ethical investing guided company will or won't do business with are written into employee contracts, in mission statements, and are available to/visible to the general public all or most of the time. Those who engage in Ethical Investing have likely attempted to prevent situations of "selective purchasing ordinances" and public boycott demonstration activism by thinking ahead and being activist-minded while in the process of company development, company regulations and practices development.
Economic Sanctions: these are much like Ethical Investing details above but at a standardized, legal and governmental level. Basically, this is where the activists manage to get the government to make it LAW to do or not do something that has been seen as a problem for/in society. Or - to get the government to attempt to do something in another region for a human rights or economic issue that appears plainly unethical. These are BIG DEAL items - requiring a lot of organization and activism know-how (and usually political environment expertise) to enact and support. These are mainly "country-wide" and "nation-wide" acts of activism... not for the foolhardy, inexperienced crowd or for beginners. Also... I will admit, I am too NEWB to expand upon this topic. It gets complicated, involves a lot of prior actions and levels of activism, and requires people with the time, energy and money to accomplish contacting, persuading, engaging the government or large corporation to act on an issue. These are basically like Ethical Investing, Selective Purchasing Ordinances on a large scale but also include "ethical behavior and action ordinances" in concept. Big stuff.
Demonstration: this is where people come out into the public eye to protest against something. This is too large a topic to address here but I'll mention at least a few types of demonstrative activism here. Sit-ins, marches, rally events, street theatre, teach-ins/seminars, strikes, hunger strikes, etc. These are what people think of mostly when they hear the word "activist" or hear people talking about activism. Sometimes, with demonstrations as the only thing that comes to mind concerning the topic of activism, people think they aren't suited to be activists. Some don't WANT TO do a sit-in, go to a rally, participate in a strike - and this is okay. There are other forms of activism available - as this general list shows! 
Civil Disobedience: is a HUGE topic that won't be covered in full here and will just be mentioned as a form of activism. Civil disobedience is often a form of public demonstration but it can occur in small or large scale. It can also be well performed or very badly done, causing harm to the protester and even to bystanders. Civil disobedience with a group of protesters is usually best done through step by step planning.  On occasion, a single protester (such as Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger when ordered by the bus driver to do so in 1955 - in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.A.) can cause extreme public notice of an injustice or event in society and lead to changes for the better. Civil Disobedience is related to Civil Non-Violent Disobedience but often, what people attempt as Civil Disobedience of the Non-Violent variety turns into something violent. Those wishing to act upon Non-Violent methods usually have to be carefully trained or carefully prepped for an event or instance of this type of activism. Personally, I do public speaking and tabled talk events regularly on Civil Non-Violent Disobedience and believe it is one of the most powerful, empowering types of protest. It can, however, be done in the right place at the wrong time and still turn out as a harm to people, an issue, etc. Usually, pop-culture treats Civil Disobedience incidents and events in a poor way, choosing to associate all Civil Disobedience (including organized and well planned non-violent type) with images and stories of RIOTING, rioting combined with looting, and events in our past where Civil Disobedience instances did, indeed, turn out as harmful events. This is NOT actually how all protesting and activism of this type plays out. Certainly, it is not how responsible Civil Disobedience supporters envision any given protest event.
Agitate/Agitation: sometimes we go into another cultural environment or just any other environment where there might be oppression that we can see/notice but where the general inhabitants of that culture/environment are unable to notice or act against the oppression. In these instances, we can "agitate." Talk to the people about human rights, be supports for them. We have to be very careful to also LISTEN to what these people say about their immediate environment so that we don't suggest something or some action that is going to be harmful. Most "change" occurs with a price in time, mental and emotional strain, discomfort of some sort. We need to be really careful with agitation - so that we don't cause undue harm. It is best if we can remain available to support people who do decide to protest in their environment - for the time of discomfort that is part of almost every process of change in any environment.
Career: Some people make a career out of activism. This can be a situation where an activist-minded person actually goes several stages further and creates an organization dedicated to activism or to a certain cause. Sometimes this will mean a person goes forward to become a politician with a definite title. Other times it means joining with or getting a job at a particular institution or company that is working toward defeating a problem in society/has a definite cause.
Arm-chair Variety: There is an arm-chair variety of activist. These individuals, I rarely encourage but, at the same time, I do try to listen to what they are saying. Often they are people with bark but no bite who have strong opinions on issued but who never get out of their chair to take action on the things they talk about. Many people really hate arm-chair variety activists but I don't take the same view. I think arm-chair variety activists have a lot of good ideas but may be lacking in knowledge of implementation of their ideas. Sure, some people just bitch about things from the safety of their seat at home, but I think that most people, if given information about how to actually get out of their seat and do something in the way of how they're talking and thinking... will get up and do something.

Minor Activism

From all I can tell, most preppers are people who don't buy into the popular social constructions in society and who believe the media, governments and powers that be are not always straightforward, dealing with the general population in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the population.

Many are activists of the grassroots variety.

Some aren't sure about activism but are working on looking after themselves in the event that institutions fail to or refuse to assist the public/general population in a fair way during times of crisis and emergency mayhem.

What many beginner activists fail to realize or do is actually become INVOLVED in community groups - sometimes thinking that they are too ineffective or small when standing alone or that nobody thinks like they do, so they'd just better do things alone, just with family, etc.

My prepping involves learning how to grow my own food at home. This is an action of protest in a very small way. I can do this at home without bothering anybody and without making any large political statements in my community. In the end, it benefits ME. The issues of protest are food prices and food quality. If I want to take this one step further, I can write about it (Oh look! I am blogging about it). I can outline the why and how and reasons why I am in the act of growing my own food so that I won't be giving my li'l sums of money in trade for big company (large grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc) products that keep increasing in price and also increasing in number of poisons put into or sprayed onto the food I need to eat to survive.

(Video: Mark Winne. Food Activist speaks on how to be a Food Rebel)

My food growing has more to do with my needing cheap, healthy food than my making a huge activist statement, but the secondary bit is present as well. As I increase in stability and become more self-sufficient, I expect to have more time and confidence to perform more activist actions outside my home and in the general community surrounding the issues of food prices, additives/harmful chemicals being put into our food, etc.

(Video: Mark Winne on Closing the Food Gap)

In the meantime, I do speak publicly in a very political way in other areas concerning homelessness, oppression and poverty. For those issues, I know more about speaking out, activism, etc., so I will transfer some of what I know from these realms of activism - to food topics - once I have succeeded in a way to improve my healthy food stores and do so in a way that is replicable. ie: I need to be able to show people a successful way to use an alternative food resource (growing some of my own food). I need to be able to "recommend" this method (home-growing of food) as a way others can also save money on food costs and grow foods that are healthier than what is available in general food stores. Otherwise, I should stay quiet, for the most part, about the food issues - so that I don't become one of the many arm-chair activists who are acting on opinion and screaming loud without actually DOING SOMETHING to move forward with activism and to physically attempt to make a change for the better in the world.

(Note: armchair activist isn't the same as "kitchen table" activist... armchair is inactive, opinionated, not in action - kitchen table is bringing things out as if or actually on the kitchen table to sort out what you are going to do to take action in at least a small way - and then following through to perform at least small action steps of activism - phone calls to authorities, letters to authorities and media, planning and implementing small community groups, getting involved in neighbour groups, etc)

Sure, I have opinions on a lot that seems to be going wrong in the world. I don't have trust in most government actions and certainly have little trust in what most politicians say - but to be effective as an advocate or activist, I think one needs to pick and chose the right battles.

My battle starts at home with my health and finances. I have strong opinions about war, various laws, bills, human rights issues, etc., but right now, I have the time and resources to do only a few things - continue to speak out against poverty and to inform anyone in the general public who wants to listen - about myths concerning the homeless, oppression, and poverty, continue to benefit from growing my own food, participate in community research project with groups who are marginalized.

I'll keep researching on and learning methods of activism and will be adding a tab to the blog with links for others to learn how to be active in opposing things in society they think are wrong, how to write effective activist letters to various entities, etc.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Container Garden In The Works

Instead of blogging here on the When The SHTF blog over the past week or so, I got busy reading more on container gardening, watched videos about the same, and slowly started my container gardening. I worked on article writing (not published yet. The topics of Indrid Cold, Zombie Invasions, UFO theories, etc., require some research time, believe it or not) as well as blogging elsewhere while I waited to see whether or not some seeds I had kickin' around from last year would actually sprout or not - along with some new seeds I just bought and planted. I got the seeds into the soil last weekend (for three store-bought mini-garden "kits" I brought home on the weekend).

I was happy to note that a few days ago, li'l green, white, red and yellow-ish shoots started peeking out from the soil and if I take care of these li'l organic life forms, I'm going to have some salad greens, herbs, tomato snacks and add better nutrition into my lifestyle!

I'm also RE-Purposing many containers! I got baby spinach and lettuce mix each in family sized plastic containers a little while ago and these are being re-used instead of going to the landfill now that I've finished eating the greens. In these containers are - you guessed it - spinach and lettuce mix, in soil, and I'll be able to harvest the leaves in just a few weeks for fresh salad meals and snacks.

When shopping, I've been looking at what kinds of containers are holding the items I bring home. I want to be able to fill the empty containers with something else once the original content is gone out of the container. I never expected to feel this way about shopping, recycling, re-purposing objects when I was growing up but really, I think we all can do more to ease damage and waste to our environment. As well, re-purposing can save money on items I'd normally go out and purchase as empty containers, so there are more benefits to being environmentally friendly than I expected when I first began thinking about making an indoor/outdoor or container garden.

I'm using salad greens containers like in the picture below:

And once I get my digital camera recharged properly, I'll take some pics and show how my own container garden looks. I will do better than the very short vid clip below.

Recycle, Re-purpose, Re-use. I can tell that these three words are going to be very familiar to me from now on, along with the actions that go along with these words.

I know the video clip is only a few seconds but it shows the very small containers I am using to start my garden in. Yes, that little tiny rectangular container at the back is a lunchbox sandwich container - extremely small - but I intend to transplant the plants into a larger container soon. The soil should come out of that box in a little brick and I can just lay it down into a soil filled bucket in a couple of weeks. The little round container is a plastic pop bottle, cut in half with the top inverted to make a very small version of the pop bottle planter I displayed in the last blog post. I wanted to try making a self-watering bottle planter on a small bottle before I started hacking away at larger plastic bottles.

To get a better idea of the scale, here's a snap shot from a vid where I placed an ordinary drinking box in the area and ran the video camera again.

I found some excellent items in my backyard today that will come in handy for my gardening needs this year - some strollers and a li'l red wagon. I started cleaning up the wagon but since it's still really sloppy with melting snow outside, the wagon isn't ready for use yet.

I hope to get my li'l red wagon as clean as the one above in just a few days.

There isn't a whole lot of vegetation going on or to show just yet but I've made a start. The good part of all this is that I've still got a whole bunch of soil and seeds here. As a low income resident in my community, I have a whole store of motivation to grow my own food, save myself money on groceries, eat healthy and stay engaged with this gardening project!

So far, the items I've planted:

lettuce (3 or 4 different kinds, including a red lettuce)
green onions, chives and sweet basil
tomato, cayenne pepper and cilantro
swiss chard (a nice variety, ruby red)
garlic (in the mini pop bottle)
a few bean and pea plants and an experiment with beet seeds (lol)

I may have forgotten something but by mid-week next week I will have put together some containers with more beans (green and yellow varieties) and peas, carrots, parsnips, radish, more lettuce, and more garlic. Once I get to a store that has a better variety of seeds on display than I've found so far, I'll buy more seeds and plant more herbs.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Indoor Outdoor Garden Almost Ready

Last week I was writing about getting set up to grow my own food and hoped I would be setting up soil, planters, starting seeds, etc., by now.

As it turns out, things are more complicated for me than I thought, so I haven't gotten any seeds started yet. I expected to have seeds in the soil last weekend but am delayed an extra week. The delay is just minor. I'm getting more ordinary items ready to be growing beds, pots, containers for growing seeds.

I just watched a local news item this week which showed a lady in my city who has made a hydroponics set up out of everyday household items - POP BOTTLES! She has set things up for growing organic food in her home to beat rising food costs as well as beat all the preservatives and garbage that is allowed in our store-bought food. Clever, clever, lady! I will not be setting up hydroponics in my place but watching the news clip (luckily it was aired several times this week) made me slap my own forehead because I never thought about using some of the CHEAP containers shown on the news clip.

Had I not stopped to watch, I really would have had my garden started by now but I would be lighter in my pockets.

Voila... by stalling/delaying the planting of my stuff, watching the news and this story a few times, I'm going to save myself a LOT of cash. After watching, I did more Spring Cleaning and found a LOT of things that will act as planters. I think I can safely say I only need seeds and soil from the store now. In doing some Spring Cleaning, I found small shelves I can use to put containers outside then bring them in again if it happens to SNOW again (in my area of the world, we've had snow during every single month of the year... it just happens). I found dented pots (used to use these for camping) I can put soil and seeds in, some large and small baskets I was going to throw out (which will now become planters). It was silly for me to worry about spending money for my food growing project!

I have a back yard area that ends up shaded by the house for much of the day. My neighbours have front-yard access and more sun, so I have found a small dolly and have rigged up some baskets already for use with the dolly. I will now be able to haul my plant baskets quite easily out to the front yard so they can experience more sun. I might have to reload the baskets 3- 5 times but it will be worth it!

Okay - so I was delayed in actual planting but I used the time delay wisely this week, still on track for my food growing project! I was really starting to wonder about what types of vegetables to grow from my (often shaded) backyard area but now I don't have to worry and will plant whatever I want. Plants that need more sun are going to GET MORE SUN this year!

As well, I got into learning about SOLAR OVENS this week and intend on making one, myself, asap!

Tomorrow - off I'll go to get soil and seeds - and heavy foil for building my solar oven!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Disaster Panic and Dangerous Humans

For a little while, I was buying into the concepts and images that are commonly shown about chaos during times/events of disaster. After some due diligence, I am starting to change my mind at least marginally on the following concepts:

  • During an emergency, people will generally be "out for number 1"
  • During emergency situations, most people will panic and become dangerous
  • During disasters, most people will loot goods and harm other people

I am very much a newcomer to the survivalist scene. Information is plentiful online on survivalist topics, and I joined several survival-themed forums in order to glean information and engage in discussion about survival methods, tools, planning, etc.

In most of the forums I joined, an overwhelming number of discussion threads are dedicated to human to human dangers and violence immediately following natural and man-made disasters. After reading a great deal in these threads, I started thinking, "I'll never be even two-percent prepared for this kind of chaos and violence, no matter how much time I dedicate to survival preparations!"

This way of thinking, of course, caused further internal panic and no small touch of fear about surviving emergencies and disasters.

Then I took a step backward, realizing that much of what I was reading was emotionally-charged opinion on various topics all related to survival. In the forums, the general mood and air is one of PANIC, for the most part. After this realization hit, I had to decide, "Do I want to be part of this panic, do I want to succumb to this panic and end up not feeling as if I can prepare sufficiently? Or, do I want to do my best to prepare, within my means, and have at least something to go on in the event of near-future emergency or disaster?"

For a few days, I was working under the first option... sort of succumbing to panic so that I could do very little to actually take action and do preparing activities. Then I realized that, in real life, I have been IN a number of pretty bad situations, even emergencies - but the bulk of people around at the time didn't panic. Sure, in every crowd there are people who don't know what to do but I don't recall a time when bystanders just started getting out of control, violent, etc. In my region, we don't have a lot of guns and weapons, so nobody went nuts and started panicking and shooting anyone. Not a single person mentioned, asked for, or suggested a firearm should be present for reasons of safety, control, or otherwise. Most people stood by nervously, wondering what to do... very concerned about the people who were hurt, involved in altercations, etc. Some bystanders cried and shook along the side-lines, and a number of people jumped immediately to action if they were told to do something, so long as these orders were issued with confidence.

Maybe the most dangerous humans are the ones who aren't in any kind of survival situation, who are thinking about worst case scenarios and using some of their leisure time to post about violence, mayhem, chaos and all-or-nothing tactics in the forums.

This morning, I started to think upon what I know about media, propaganda, entertainment, etc., (basically a great deal of what we call news from major media sources is actually only propaganda) and now I wonder wholeheartedly if the reason many survivalists seem to truly believe that human to human dangers during and after a disaster are going to be the worst form of danger - is because this is what we see from mainstream media news.

How deeply are people actually thinking on the matter of survivalist methods, planning, etc? I have to conclude that much of what I am seeing in electronic correspondence and online discussion threads is fear based and reaction based commenting. I'm not saying preparing and looking out for people who are temporarily not using critical thinking skills in a disaster isn't important. I think what I'm getting at is - WE NEED TO CALM THE HECK DOWN HERE!

I know that if half of what is said in forums is true - no amount of planning by me or anyone else is going to matter during survival conditions because ultimately, the people who have prepared by getting themselves some big guns and automatic weapons - are basically going to go nuts and kill us all.

In the same way of thinking, if the above is true, storing food for ourselves is going to be of no use - storing anything and prepping anything is going to just give violent, gun-slinging people a cache of items to take away.

This might end up being the case, it's true - if we keep allowing discussion threads such as are in existence as the bulk of survivalist tips in the current forums online. If these words, discussions and such are our only options, the only discussions and information being spread around, then we truly WILL BE in serious trouble when SHTF. If people are panicky, they've got to go through the steps of calming down before they can think critically about certain situations. If they are in reaction mode most of the time, with just tidbits and violence, all-out-for-ourselves information as the only stuff that comes to mind in any emergency...yes, then surely we are all hooped!

Luckily, from what I know about sociology and history, past emergencies and even a few serious emergencies I have experienced myself, human psychology goes lower functioning than all the violent-related things I see as mainstay conversation on survival forums... what actually happens when people are very frightened and confused is - THEY SHUT DOWN. In my estimation, few people are taking THIS into account. Consequently, people who are SHUT DOWN are really quite non-violent... they're frozen. If given firm instructions from a confident source, they will often follow along. THIS is going to be a benefit in emergency situations for at least a few moments.

I wish people posting lists and large chunks of "instructional" and "warning" content in forums would think about how "panic" and the human psyche really works! Yes, some people freak out - and even so, many who freak out, harm themselves much more than harming other people. This has been something I have seen on a consistent basis from working and being around a "trauma" field/profession, being around homeless (and desperate!), addicted people. My best defense possible is to just stay away from gun-toting survivalists who are all prepping for violence...because if these people "lose it," their back-up plans all involve 'shot-to-kill' prompts. People are actually trying to train themselves to kill or be killed. I'm really sure that in my region, this kind of scenario is going to be limited (because firearms are very restricted where I'm at) and I'm thankful for this.

I suppose in all this, I am also saying that I feel the most dangerous people right at this time are the people who believe in violence as the only panic reaction during times of stress and disaster. Most appear to be willing to fight violence with violence, so I'll have to stay a hop, skip and big jump away from those types.

As well, for most of the day (better part of 5 hours straight), I've been reading up on research papers about real cases of disaster - which say that MOST PEOPLE DO NOT become violent at all in disaster situations even when threatened by other human beings who are being violent. Most people freeze up - and are easily prompted by firm, confident conversation.

So... this tells me that most people are going to enter into a state of not knowing what to do, experience overload leading to numbing and stillness. These people can actually be worked with and are very unlikely to be a danger to anyone. Some will literally even FALL RIGHT ASLEEP (it's called emotional/stimulus overload leading to dissociation).

I'm ready to believe now - that in order to avoid disaster panic and dangerous humans in the event of an emergency or disaster - I'll need to stay away from people who are going to act upon FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERRORS (making wrong conclusions based on interpretations of situations that are missing pieces of data) in their survival planning.

Suggestion: think very critically about whether you're reading survival tips or survival hype - the latter might be just as dangerous as real survival dangers during an emergency or disaster situation!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Food Storage Prepping

This information comes from Wendy DeWitt who facilitates seminars on how to start food storage preparation to alleviate stress and discomfort should a natural or man-made disaster happen in the near future.

In this video series, Wendy Dewitt talks about the Top 10 reasons that people give for not actually preparing for disaster and storing food right now.

Vid 1:

Vid 2. Wendy continues to say why food storage is very important to do NOW, to proceed with on a continual basis, etc. Vid 2 is Wendy's disclaimer and she also mentions that her ebook is free, where it can be found online, etc.

Vid 3 below, Wendy starts talking about creating a system, making choices about what foods to start learning to store, how to make decisions, etc., and talks about Worst Case Scenario.

Vid 4 below, "Equivalency Page" and cooking options so you'll know how much stuff to buy in stores as you're planning on stocking up on items. Wendy talks about where to find information in her free book.

Vid 5: Where to store all this food!

Vid 6: Food cooking and food preparation before storage... canning meat, etc.

Vid 7. How are you going to cook your stored food once SHTF? Talk about a solar oven. Very interesting - "If you've got sunshine - you can cook!"

Vid 8: Food Saver - vacuum packing, etc. - How long can you make food last with proper storing methods and materials?

Vid 9 - Wendy answers questions from the seminar audience:

I hope you take the time to watch these and start planning and prepping.


Survival Prepping Overwhelming For Newbies

I have some friends who have seen the blog who are freaked out with the whole idea of planning for SHTF time. In part, when they saw the already varied topics here, they mentioned feeling overwhelmed at all that will have to go into prepping for survival in case of potential (some say, "inevitable") disasters - both natural and man-made.

I have more time available than most of my friends, so I've decided my task is to keep prepping, answer questions if anyone ever has them for me, keep filling this blog with information and - most importantly - to REFRAIN from bugging my friends constantly to prep, prep, PREPARE for when SHTF! (If I don't refrain, then I will fall into the classification of "Prepper Freak" or "doomsday fanatic" and will never be taken seriously).

Luckily, I have a few Zombie movie fan and horror movie fan friends so we end up in good natured, short off the cuff discussions about "Survival" quite often. In the least, this prompts the mind to think often and briefly about survival options (even if we're laughing about wooden stakes, silver bullets, the fact that in almost every horror movie, at least one girl will trip over her own feet right at the wrong time).

For my friends who aren't horror or Zombie movie fans, I understand that I can't prompt them often to get prepared for possible disasters or else they will freak out and flock off! When SHTF, I want them to survive with me 'cos I very much like these people... so I've been thinking up suggestions for those who are resistant to the idea of preparing for the future and who are too busy working to think much about the future (Not to mention those who are AVOIDING prep for when SHTF because they are afraid of the future).

There will never be anything I can do or say to those who already think I am a nutcase - to convince them to prep before SHTF - so I'm going to save my time, words, and energy and not bother with those people... even though I like some of 'em.

Consequently, nobody I've ever run into who has been prepping for when Shyt Hits The Fan has ever turned down a discussion on the topic of prepping, survival or even Doomsday or Zombie Apocalypse survival (even if most people don't believe SHTF time is going to be about Doomsday or Zombies). As well, of those who never turn these topics down, I have always learned a new and important thing about survival from these people.

For newbies, people who are too busy to prep in large chunks of time, and semi-avoidant people, here are a few suggestions:

  • Prep a bug out bag for possible home fire or home flooding emergencies
  • Pet owners, prep a bug out bag for your pet in case you end up in the hospital or stranded on a road trip sometime
  • People with medical conditions, prep a bug out bag for emergency hospital trips 

And that's all.

Enjoy the relief you'll feel once you get these emergency bags together, place them in easy to access locations and you'll have fewer worries about sometimes minor but extremely COMMON emergencies.

Seriously - that's all - don't do anymore. Just think about how you feel about having put together something for a possible future emergency. Think back, once you're done, on how difficult or simple you found putting an emergency bug out bag together.

Next time you are stranded away from home and you've only left 2 days of food out for your pet, you'll be able to call a neighbor or friend, say, "Hey, look in such and such closet/room for a bug out bag. Everything for Rover/Whiskers is in there - will call you when I get back home."

Next time you're having minor health difficulties and think you might need to head to the hospital, just grab your hospital bug out bag from the easy-access location you've stored it at and you won't have to worry about your medical cards, a bit of cash (you put that in your bug out bag, right???), notepad and pen, emergency phone numbers, medications list, etc. If your medical emergency is severe and you end up unconscious, what you've prepped into your bug out bag might be very helpful for emergency workers to see! (This happens in my case).

If your fire alarm goes off and home and you really have to get out because nobody has staged an official fire drill - you can be really certain that you can leave your home and go to a safe location... so long as you grab your easy to access bug out bag - alert the other people in your home and grab your pets on your way out the door.

Yes, learning about survival skills, honing skills, prepping and all the rest can be overwhelming. Do a few things at a time. Many things you can do to prepare for an emergency or for when SHTF aren't freakish, weird, or dramatic at all - they're smart and logical. They will give you peace of mind and free up your thoughts after the prep work is done - so you can enjoy time with family, friends, hobbies, pets, activities and events.

Enjoy knowing that you're prepared for at least a few emergencies and give yourself credit for having adopted some survival skills!