Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To Prep or not to Prep

A while ago the New York Times ran an article about prepping, saying:

"Prepping is the big short: a bet not just against a city, or a country or a government, but against the whole idea of sustainable civilization. For that reason, it chafes against one of polite society’s last remaining taboos — that the way we live is not simply plagued by certain problems, but is itself insolubly problematic."

This is true, and maybe this is why no one talks about whether we should be preparing for some potential disaster, whether it be environmental or economic. For my part, all I've done is wonder if I should be prepping and read Sharon Astyk's books on how to adapt our lives and homes for an uncertain future.

But when the internet goes down at work for a few hours, it reminds me of how reliant we are on electricity and the internet. I'm so used to the idea of information being readily available at our fingertips - but there's no way to look up skills or tools if the internet's not working. I know how to bake bread, and my boyfriend knows how to make hard cider, but consuming and bartering those can only get one so far. My ability to grow my own food is quite limited, based on the meager supply coming out of my garden right now. Should I be spending more time on learning useful skills?

There's also the issue of prepping versus minimalism. I'm on the minimalist end of the spectrum, so the idea of having a stockpile of canned food and blankets and survivalist gear doesn't sit well with me, nor is there really room for it in my home.

I'm more in favor of the strategy espoused by Sharon Astyk - having things not just to hide away for some future emergency, but to find ways to incorporate them into your everyday life, which can reduce our reliance on infrastructure in the meantime. For example, using solar lanterns inside instead of lamps, using heavy blankets in winter to keep the heat low, and learning to grow your own food. Other items might be useful for camping trips.

When I asked my boyfriend if he's ever thought about it, he noted that he actually meant to create "go bags" for family holidays gifts last year. So maybe we'll get around to doing that for ourselves and loved ones next winter. And I think I'll take The Self-Sufficient Life out from the library.

Have you put any thought or work into prepping?


Rachel said...

I feel guilty about not being prepared ALL THE TIME. And then I resolve to do something about it and then I get lazy/overwhelmed and give up.

Granted, I live in earthquake country, but growing up we always had a simple emergency kit. It was a large trashcan filled with a few big jugs of water, blankets, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, copies of ID and spare meds/glasses. We also had an emergency cash stash, stored separately.

The large trash can method won't really fly in our apartment because we don't have space, but I keep meaning to put something together. We do keep a cash stash, though. I keep telling myself that we'd be okay living out of our fairly well stocked pantry for 10 days (amount of time they generally tell you to be prepared to weather on your own) but I'd like to be better prepared.

Green World said...

Right now, TODAY, the Chinese have the ability to launch a cyber attack that could take down the grid in both the US and Europe!

Christy said...

A few Christmases ago I gave everyone in my family a large tub with a homemade emergency plan book, some basic supplies and a list of more that they should add. I also purchased for myself and my husband 72 hour survival kits for our car, and I also keep blankets and rain gear in the car (we live in a coastal rainforest).

However, I have let my emergency tub lapse, I'm sure the water is expired and I never finished putting everything in that I meant to.

A good reminder to add this to my to do list!

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

Rachel - ah that makes sense in earthquake country that emergency kits would be more popular. i always forget about california's earthquake problem and then it makes me never want to live there ha.

christy, does water expire? having some emergency items on hand better than none!


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