Monday, April 28, 2008

Are You As Prepared As You Think You Are?

This post is not meant to disturb you or gross you out . I apologize if parts of it seems to be unnecessarily harsh. It's a serious wake up call to help some of us look beyond ordinary disaster preps.

What will you do if your present best-laid plans fail, or after they are used up? You need to have some idea of Plan B, C & D! Here are some practical ideas that might help you to see your disaster preparations beyond 'Plan A'.

Most preps are temporary, having a life span of only (x) number days, weeks or years. Also, things like theft, bugs, mold, fires and other disasters can easily lay to waste our carefully made preparations.

If you are ever faced with a prolonged crisis, or a series of them that leave you with nothing but your two hands and a half of a mind...What will you do? If you are in good spiritual health, or otherwise strong of heart and mind...then you won't be likely to panic or suffer extreme despair. If you have the know-how to make sustainable preparations work well, and enough staying power, you'll have a greater chance of thriving the crisis at hand.

Truly useful preparations are sustainable. They are often of the kind that you carry in your head. Sometimes, knowledge can carry you further than any storebought disaster prep item.

Take for instance, the most important prep item: water. Instead of focusing only on things like collecting a gazillion empty soda pop bottles, and how many drops of bleach to use for purification, learn what you can about how you can to safely replace the saved water during the most austere of times.

Learn about indicator plants that reveal higher levels of moisture in the ground, and how to harvest it...Know how to make water catchment devices (rainbarrels, cisterns, ponds, or even earthworks like ditches and ridges to funnel water into an area). Get hydrology maps for your area, and study them. Visit alternate sources of water.

That sort of thing.

None of us are immune to severe survival challenges, and that's why we should seriously consider Plan B, C & D, possibly even more so than Plan A.

During good times, it is sometimes difficult to wrap the mind around unknown factors. To remedy that kind of shortsightedness, take a look at recent history. Wars, disasters, famines, and pestilences abounded throughout all of humankind's history.

One eye-opener for me was in an interesting book, When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lundin. Here are a few excerpts that I hope will cause you to open your eyes a little wider, to look beyond the obvious, and to motivate you to gather more knowledge and sustainable preps. As a result, you may be more proactive in making your Plan B, C & D work.

Most people think of famine as ancient history, or something that happens only to third world countries. Notice that most of the following events happened not that long ago...and consider that these are just a few of many.

Here's a sobering look into our history, from Cody Lundin's book:

Europe, AD 1315-1322, The Great Famine
Bad weather and crop failure caused the death of millions of people by starvation, disease, infanticide, and cannibalism. At that time in Europe's history, famines were common and people were lucky to survive to the ripe old age of thirty. It seems that hard times knew no economic boundaries. In 1276, official records from the British royal family, society's wealthiest people at the time, recorded an average life span of thirty-five years.

Ireland, 1845-1849, The Great Potato Famine
Potatoes, the mainstay of the Irish diet, were inflicted with a potato blight that killed the crops. Local grain and livestock were owned by the English, and laws prevented the Irish from importing grain. The combination of crop disease and politics caused the death of 1.5 million people by starvation, cannibalism and disease.

USA, The Great Plains, 1930s
The United States experienced the worst drought of the twentieth century. The resulting lack of precipitation caused massive dust storms, which dominated the landscape, causing severe health problems while destroying crops and killing livestock. Death toll is unknown....

The Soviet Famine, 1932-1943
The Soviet Famine was initiated by Josef Stalin in an attempt to boost industrialization financed by forced collective farms in which grain production fell by 40 percent. His draconian measures included forbidding peasants to leave the country without permission; expelling, killing, or sending rich peasants to labor camps and forcibly seizing what little food remained to double grain exports to raise cash for his failed plan. The predicted chaos included a report issued by an Italian consul member in the Ukraine reporting "a growing commerce in human meat" and that people were killing and eating their own children. Astute authorities immediately responded, not with food, but by distributing posters that read: "Eating Dead Children Is Barbarism". Due to a national cover-up forbidding doctors to disclose on death certificates that the deceased had starved to death, numbers for the total dead are sketchy but estimates are at 5 to 8 million people, 10 to 25 percent of the population of the Ukraine.

The Warsaw Ghetto, 1940-1942
Three hundred eighty thousand Jews were confined to a 3.5. mile area that normally housed 160,000. The population eventually reached 445,000 before the Nazis sealed off the area with a ten-food wall, with the intention of starving all of the inhabitants within nine months. Official food rationing provided 2,613 kilocalories per day for Germans, 699 kilocalories per day for Poles, and 184 kilocalories for Jews in the Ghetto. Tens of thousands died from starvation and disease.

Northern China, 1958-1962
Chairman Mao's failed bid to "industrialize" his nation, along with several natural disasters and drought, killed an unbelievable 30 million people by starvation, disease, infanticide, and cannibalism. Desperate families swapped each other's children to eat, thus avoiding having to eat their kin....

Biafra (now Nigeria), Africa, 1967-1969
Civil war-caused famine kills one million people, leaving another 3.5 million to suffer from extreme malnutrition.

North Korea, 1994-1998
A combination of reduced Chinese and Russian food subsidies, along with the effects of collective farming, flooding, drought, and government corruption, caused an estimated 2 to 3 million people to die of starvation, disease, and cannibalism...

-------------- end of excerpts.

Because of weather, disease or politics, many more famines have occurred, or are happening now, and will happen again in one place after another.

Please don't suffer tunnel-vision and be caught mentally and physically unprepared if a (short or long term) famine comes to your neighborhood. Get ready for a short term crises with the obvious, but look beyond temporary preparedness for a longer lasting and more sustainable kind.

This post was not aimed at increasing worry levels, but to kick up awareness/preparedness levels a notch or two...

Like I said before, if you are in good spiritual health...then you won't be likely to worry needlessly, or suffer despair. Worry is so destructive, and accomplishes nothing good; on the other hand, being fully aware with eyes wide open can be a good thing, and may lead to workable solutions.

I'll wager that most of us have already thought about these things. But I suspect that some of us are preparing pretty much for a temporary event or two, and that 'everything will return to normal' after the dust settles...

It won't. The scene of this world is changing too much, too fast. There are 'new normals' being set every day.

Your ability to adapt to these 'new normals' may well depend upon how sustainable your Plans B, C and D addition to your spiritual health.

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This article is an excerpt from Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #1: HOW TO SURVIVE DISASTERS AND OTHER HARD TIMES. For more information, see the left sidebar on this site: