Collapse is not mere speculation. It is a matter of when and how. Collapse warranting prep doesn’t have to be the one big apocalyptic event, although total collapse of the system is coming. There will likely be varying degrees of collapse in different areas of the world leading up to the collapse of the whole system, much of which is already manifesting. It would be wise and prudent for everyone to cultivate practical skills now, not just for the total collapse but for the period preceeding it and what is happening currently.
America has a very large and profitable ‘prepping’ industry, but unfortunately I think most of these people have it terribly wrong. They Imagine they will suckle on the nipple of the system right up until collapse, then be able to survive because they have a gun and canned food. Most think that all they need is a gun because they can just go out and shoot animals for their food. A great deal of this is likely media conditioning in shows like The Walking Dead, but also just the fact that things often seem much more feasible and easy in our heads.
First, let’s talk about prepping before collapse. The nature of our industrial world is highly complex and tightly coupled, meaning that each part of the system largely depends on all of the other parts. If one thing is disrupted, it affects everything else. It has been reported by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that knocking out just 9 of the U.S.’s 55,000 substations could disable the nation’s power for 18 months. There is already much stress on the system as I’m sure people in industrialized nations are beginning to realize with rampant supply shortages in lumber, steel, and others. Countries like China are sending fleets of hundreds of ships to other nations waters to pillage the sea for enough fish to feed their people. It is widely believed that there will soon be wars fought over water as we continue to rape the planet to death’s door. No solutions are being seriously pursued because its too advantageous in the short term to recklessly consume and burn all sources of energy and sustenance. Our civilization is much more fragile than we commonly recognize. We have been afforded very unusual grace in the climate and natural disasters in our time up until now.
So, when any degree of collapse does happen, it is best not only to be prepared but to already have in practice and application the skills you will need to safeguard yourself and your loved ones. Emancipation from the system is the best form of collapse preparedness. This means being increasingly self-sufficient with your resources like water and food. Not being close to the city is preferable because there will be many starving urbanites desperate for any food or water even if they have to take it by force. Most of the people are shackled to urbania by a job in order to survive as the population of industrialized nations are landless laborers that are forever paying rent and thus have to forever work a job in the industrial economy, even if they’ve paid for their land in full. If you have enough money saved, you can put aside the amount you need to pay property tax for the rest of your life, which depending on the state may be less than you think. However, money is continually being devalued and saving enough to do that will be worth significantly less in the future.
I am not an economist nor a financial advisor, but I’d imagine it would be preferable to put much of this savings into some sort of asset that is not directly tied to the dollar in value such as gold. Do NOT put it in crypto for the love of God almighty above. Moving on from finances, self-reliance is the cornerstone of preparedness, securing all of your own physical necessities. Of course you won’t produce literally everything but you can secure all that you need to live. For what cannot be made on the land one can trade with others. Avoiding depending on ‘imports’ like supermarket goods is the name of the game.
This comprises of crop production like permaculture and agriculture, foraging around your area, hunting, fishing, raising livestock and poultry who may produce eggs, finding a way to secure and purify water, and learning about natural medicines and nutrition for self-preservation. Aside from the sedentary prep, it is important to keep in mind the possibility of being forced to live nomadic. Bushcraft skills (I would highly recommend reading and listening to Dave Canterbury), hunting, gathering, navigation, tracking, the ecology of the land, etc. You may be forced off of your land, but that can be prepared for as well with practical and sustainable means of self defense. Firearms, archery, melee, trap-making, positioning, and general combat readiness.
When collapse prep is approached like this, it is no longer just a ‘bug-out’ you have to do when shit hits the fan. It is making sure that you won’t be caught with your pants down when the systems around you fall apart. Even people who have an arsenal of prep equipment and food don’t do much if any practice in bushcraft or homesteading skills that will be essential. Sure, you can survive in a bunker with 10 years of food, but eventually you’re going to have to learn how to produce it yourself, and its best to do so now when you have the vast informational repository of the internet to learn about these things. Pre-collapse and post-collapse blend together to a degree. You are already cultivating your skills and hopefully as little as possible will change for you in terms of the things that keep you alive once you cannot go to Walmart anymore or for when the global supply chain cannot deliver food and water to you.
This writer is currently in the process of practicing both agriculture and permaculture. I would like to produce all of my own sustenance one day, but its going to take some years for me to get it all right and be completely independent from the supply chains. I have chickens and access to a river for fish and water. So many nuts, mushrooms, greens, etc grow here to be foraged. I practice and try to improve my bushcrafting skills and think about situations I could be put in.
Some will say that they can’t see themselves living the life of a homesteader. I understand this well as I used to live in the city and was a proper urbanite in my career and lifestyle aspirations. For me, at least, I am so much happier doing what I do now. I am in the best place I have ever been. This may not be the case for everyone, but the crux of the issue of prep isn’t if you personally think you will or won’t enjoy self-reliance, it is that being able to provide for yourself is the most responsible thing to do. Even if you don’t begin living full time as a homesteader, at least begin learning about these skills and perhaps practice them on a small-scale for now. Grow a backyard garden. You will be surprised with the amount of food that will be produced in a small area of land. Grow a field of lentils one harvest and you will have a stockpile of nutrients to last you years.
So what about after collapse? Much of this has already been covered by your prep and practice in the here and now. However, there will be a bloody, tumultuous period following collapse and will affect some people more than others. The population of the Earth has exploded largely because of the production of Industrial agriculture and infrastructure to build and supply cities. When collapse happens, the systems on which so many people rely will no longer be there. It unfortunately logically follows that there will be a major reduction in population. There will be many, many desperate people who have not learned to rely on themselves but to take from others. Strong and smart defensive skills and tactics are going to be vital. Political philosophy is going to be important as well. People will need to work together in order to better defend and care for one another. Positioning of your residence can be hard to determine for some because of the financial doom of so many in Gen X, Millennials, and especially Gen Z, but where you dwell, who is there, and who may show up, geography, ecology, and climate is vital.
I personally think that every person would get much more fulfillment out of providing for themselves in a ‘natural’ manner because it is an exercise of the power process that is tangible and close to the way humans evolved to be emotionally fulfilled. It is certainly much better for the soul than sitting down all day typing numbers into spreadsheets 40+ hours a week so you can get paper to take to the giant concrete box and walk out with processed foods wrapped in 4 layers of plastic. Many of us may be used to that and think we wouldn’t be able to live any other way, but as Fyodor Dostoevsky said in Crime and Punishment, ‘Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel’.
This cannot all just be implemented at once, as if you can quit your job as a barista and move to the mountains to immediately become independent. These are things for you to think about, investigate, plan for, coordinate, practice, and hopefully be able to execute one day.
Stay safe – Normandie