Back to Basics

Since world-wide economic collapses are rare events and since the world has somewhat changed since the last one, we can all be forgiven for not knowing the best ways to prepare. And, since we still don’t know if such a collapse is certain or not, we could also be forgiven for not preparing at all. Especially if, as I’ve written before, one has prepared unnecessarily for past “imminent” collapses that never happened.

However, with images of Katrina and other unplanned-for disasters in mind, the consequences of not planning for a disaster that actually occurs are grave, in every sense of the word.

So, the neighbors and I have been pondering this conundrum and what we’ve come up with is Rule #1: make sure that you are able to feed yourself, family and neighbors, without resorting to food that requires any oil-inputs (for fertilizers, factory farming, packaging, processing, or transportation) and without engaging in any survivalist hoarding.

I should mention here that I live on an island, population around 4500, an hour ferry’s ride from America. The Washington State ferry system has been suffering from anti-government, anti-tax attacks since the early ’90s and was already showing alarming signs of breakdown before the price of oil started rising. Now we consider it a given that ferry service will continue to seriously decline, and a high probability that at some point it will stop altogether, or be reserved to the very few who can pay super-sized ticket prices.

So, even if the world manages to avoid world-wide economic collapse, our little world will change and either food shipped from the mainland will become way too expensive or will just stop coming altogether, or, the best case scenario, we will be limited to buying one or two staples that we just can’t give up but can’t produce on our own (such as rice).

We’re rejecting hoarding for several reasons. Practically-speaking, we have neither the money nor the storage space for setting aside large stocks of provisions. Yet even if we did, you can only store so much for so long — sooner or later, if you can’t produce your own food, you’re dead. Lastly, if you’re all stocked up, but you’re surrounded by people who aren’t, you’re going to need weapons also, and you’ll need to be able to let children starve to death without intervening.

Yuck on that.

So, A lot of soil being turned over this spring, seeds going in the ground, more chickens being added to roosts, a lot of thinking about the water supply. Back to basics.

The best thing about this approach is that even if the collapse never happens, everything we’ve done was really worth doing.

Michael Sky