Sunday, 23 June 2013

I Need To Think About My Future (Part 8)

Read previous post in this series here.
Or start at the beginning here.


Two things.  

  • I started writing this post on 14 June so the 'News' I speak of in the first section is probably no longer 'newsy' since most news today simply fades into the background little over a day after it occurs. C'est la vie!
  • The main reason for delay in completing this post is because I have been agonising over just what to include here.  I realised that the sort of detail that I intended to include actually best resides in another blog that I started but have left untouched for some time because I found that I couldn't spend the amount of time on it that it demanded and deserved.  That blog is here if you wish to take a look.  I have now decided to write just a little about water, food and shelter in this post and provide links to the relevant sections in my Preparations blog where I will find time to at least do these subjects some justice as soon as I can.  It seems silly to record this stuff in two separate places.  Another reason that I have delayed is because I feel a little daunted by the task.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and faint heart never won fair lady, or something like that.  This series of posts may be just the impetus I need to get me going again on that project and will assist me to get through this one a little quicker.

Not News To Me

Here is another little aside that I thought worthwhile to slip in at this point.  I just saw this on the news (14 June), well actually behind the news.  Important as it is, it is not the sort of thing that tends to feature on mainstream news.  They tend to concentrate on more mundane things like some low-life admitting to the murder of her 6 year old daughter or foreign troops being sent to aid the Syrian regime to continue murdering its civilian population.

What I saw and read was also not even news to me or I suspect to many other people who follow important world events like climate change.  It was a new report issued by Australia's Climate Commissioners entitled The Critical Decade, the main findings of which are that 80% of known fossil fuels must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.  

Welcome as it is to hear such things from officialdom, that news has been known for quite some time already in enlightened circles.

Is that important news or not?  Damn right it is.

Is it going to happen (the abandoning of known fossil energy reserves, I mean)?  Not a chance.  None at all.

What does that mean then?  Well, whether we do or whether we don't, we're stuffed.  Either way it will lead to the sort of collapse scenario that I am talking about in these posts.  

On the one hand, very bad climate precipitated destabilisation of world communities leading to untold suffering and billions of deaths.  Bad not only for humans but also for the environment.  

On the other hand, an almost unthinkable cut to all aspects of economic growth and return to pretty much pre-industrial living conditions (don't let those dreams of a green utopia cloud your thinking on this for one second), pre-empting a relatively fast and unmanageable collapse of civilisation world-wide, leading to untold suffering and billions of deaths, but only to humans and numbers of domesticated animals.  The sort of thing that is going to occur anyway for different reasons fairly soon.

I thought it quite appropriate to mention that here. Now, back to the business at hand.

The 'On-Tap' Expectation

People, at least those accustomed to developed world life-styles, have largely grown used to their everyday needs being 'on-tap', in the sense that they are always available at any time whenever needed.

You get water by turning on a tap or buying a plastic bottle full of the stuff.

You get food by opening the refrigerator or visiting a conveniently located retail food outlet.

You take shelter in your own/rented dwelling place or, while away from home, in a hotel/motel.

Even now in many parts of the world and also increasingly, as society disintegrates in developed nations, none of these things can be taken for granted.  We don't have to go back very many generations to find a time when, other than for the few wealthy or privileged persons, none of these things were available to the vast majority of ordinary folk unless the individual or family laboured to produce, build, or in some other way obtain them personally for themselves.  Much of their time and lives were spent in the process of doing that and pretty much only that.  Though time spent in procuring and maintaining sources of one's own basic necessities would have been considered to be not arduous but enjoyable, fulfilling and community building.

Since the time of industrialisation onwards until today, people have given away their time doing things that are rather pointless and in no way beneficial to themselves or anyone else, in exchange for tokens that allow them to receive their basic necessities, water, food, shelter, and enough other stuff to keep them 'happy' and the economy growing, without any personal connection to the process of procuring any of them.  That total disconnection from process is a very dangerous thing.

I Did It My Way

It was a recognition of that disconnection I spoke about earlier, in my own life, and a deep fear of just what hazards I may find myself up against in the future, that lead me to take steps to alter the parameters a little or as much as I reasonably could in my favour over time.

This is a continuing process and one that no matter how much thought, time, resources and effort I put into it, comes with no guarantee or assurance that all will be well in all circumstances wherever I find myself at any point in the future.  There is however, having taken at least some steps to prepare as best I can, a certain degree of comfort that I will be better placed to obtain a good outcome than if I had stuck my head in the sand and done nothing.

So, what have I done, that I could recommend to others?  I am going to list some of them now but you should, as I have already stressed a number of times, think out your own solutions, build on these suggestions or research (definitely research) to find your own methods as best suit your personal requirements, abilities, energy levels and resources.


Clean, potent, uncontaminated drinking water is the most basic human need, assuming that a ready supply of clean breathable air is a given.  A person can live without eating for many days but only for a few days without ingesting water.  Dehydration is an unforgiving killer and will quickly deplete your ability to function autonomously.  In a time of upheaval when medical care of any sort may be in just as short supply as law and order, any and all illness or preventable physical weakness, from any source, is something to be strenuously avoided at all costs.

You should know that a power-down of any sort will quickly result in loss of your supply of tap water.  Shop shelves will also very quickly empty of bottled water, assuming that you have either of those luxuries in the first place.  This is one item that you would be well advised to keep an emergency supply of at all times.

So where would you get your water from if these normal supply sources were suddenly not available to you?

There are a number of things to consider.  Are you in an established location where you may be able to secure a fixed water supply or are you en-route to somewhere such that your daily water supply has to be searched for in a different place every day?  In either case, are you sure of the potency of any water that you have access to ie. is it fit to drink?

There is much more to say about this but I have, and will continue to do so, written on the subject elsewhere and we can utilise the power of the internet, while it is still available, to pull in and refer to that information. Further details about water as a resource, necessary skills and equipment that may enable procurement of supplies of this valuable commodity, can be found here at my Preparations blog site.


Food is, whether you agree or not and irrespective of the fact that I have listed it here, not the next most important basic resource for humans.  We can live for many days without food, although not for too many without becoming weak, impaired and eventually incapacitated. No, shelter holds that 'next' position.  No matter, we will talk about food anyway because it is pretty much always on most people's mind.

Both food and water are heavy and cumbersome to tote around much, especially if you are on foot.  Even in most wheeled transport it would be difficult to transport a sufficient quantity of either to last for more than a few days for a family.  There is little point therefore in storing up huge quantities, especially of food, unless you are in a secure place where you intend on staying, to defend it come hell or high water.

This is not to say that you shouldn't keep an emergency store of both food and water.  In fact, many government bodies at all levels are saying that it makes good sense to do so.  Relying on normal sources of nutrition, supermarkets etc., you are only 9 meals (3 days) away from starvation at all times.  Even the best of times.

Again, I have, and will continue to do so, written on the subject elsewhere on this for your reference.  Further details about food as a resource, necessary skills and equipment that may enable procurement of supplies of this valuable commodity, can be found here at my Preparations blog site.


Have you ever slept rough?  Outside, without shelter?  I don't mean like in those CEO sleep-outs in support of the homeless.

I have, once.  Well actually, twice but the first time was when I was fourteen and arrived home late one night.  I didn't want to wake my parents so I slept on the porch which was open to the night but at least I had a roof above me.  My recollection is that it wasn't a particularly pleasant experience and as soon as I heard someone stirring next morning I was banging on the door to be let in.

My other experience was when as part of my Air Force training, living for a week under canvas in Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood's hang out) along with other trainees, we were taken deep into the forest on a 'night exercise'.  When we got there we were told to individually find somewhere to sleep for the night by building a lean-to next to a friendly tree somewhere in the vicinity and not so far away that they would need to come looking for us next day.  We had only the clothes we were standing up in. No tools. No food/water. No packs. No torch/flashlights.  I was personally very pleased that it was only for one night I can tell you.

Imagine, if you will, being caught unprepared for a situation where to escape with your life, you had to flee everything that you were familiar with and try to make your way to a safe place.  Imagine if that happened tomorrow or in the middle of the night tonight.  How prepared would you be.

I personally have two plans for such events.  One involves being able to escape in a vehicle which can be quickly loaded with the temporary necessities for survival.  But I also recognise that even if an escape by such means is possible, I might have to complete that trip on foot from some point in the journey. Part of my plans therefore are to make my way on foot with a much reduced load, always assuming that I am physically capable of achieving such an effort at the time.  Both plans include some form of shelter but, even if they didn't, I know how to build myself shelter in the woods if no better safe options are available.

Any time that you go away from your normal place of residence, even in low risk times like a local shopping trip, common sense (at least to me) says that you should go 'prepared' as well as you are able, to at least be equipped to make it back home or to some other place of safety if something unexpected should occur.  Again, many government sources are warning on these things and many advocate taking a Go-Bag with you that contains all your needs for at least 24 hours any time you are away from home such as a work day trip to a city complex. Makes perfect sense to me and part of that is having the assurance that whatever happens you can keep yourself sheltered for a while.  Your life may depend on it.

Further details about shelter as a valuable resource, necessary skills and equipment that may enable adequate shelter to be found or constructed, can be found here.

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