“Survival does not go to the fittest, the strongest or the biggest. Evolutionary Paleontology shows this over and over. The same can be said for the human history of empires. Like the Brontosaurus or T-Rex, this may run for a while but then it hits an evolutionary dead end when rapid change to the ecosystem comes.
Instead, evolution and survival goes to the most adaptive.” C5
With your host, Category5
(This was originally written as one article. Peer reviewers have asked me to break it down into 4 parts. The 5th part will be the complete article presented as one)
I needed to start this post with a soundtrack. One of those cheesy, sappy 70s songs, that taken out of context makes a great backdrop for a horror film… or in this case, a post apocalyptic story.
For those that have been reading my works, here at the The Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre, since the beginning, I have alluded to something called The Adapters Movement or being an Adapter, that what we do is Adaptation. I tell people, I am not a Prepper anymore. I am already Prepped. What I am now is an Adapter. I am ADAPTING my life NOW to the Apocalypse That Has Already Arrived.
I have said, this theoretical Adapters Movement Does Not Exist. But that it needs to happen. It coming into existence would fill a hole in our culture and solves a problem.
But in saying the Adapters Movement does not exist….. well, that might not be true anymore.
A few people have heard the term. More so, a few people have started using the term. It’s now out there.
Farmgal gave me a phone call from a few Canadian Provinces over. She said, “The reason I called is because I was talking with a colleague and we discussed the Adapters Movement. Next thing I knew, she wanted to hire me to come in and teach a course on the adapters movement. Dont worry. I am going to give you credit as the person that came up with it. The problem I am facing is that Im not sure what to talk about”.
I told Farmgal we would work it out together. More so, I would reach out to some others. Wisdom comes in the council of many.
One person responded, “Which brings me to this idea of a new label. That is in essence what prepper was. It was folks tired of the survivalist label who wanted a label with less baggage. Now prepper has a new set of baggage, mostly due to the horrible “reality” TV show. But how long before this new label Adapter becomes corrupted by elements that don’t represent the intention but take over due to being the loudest voices?”
What I am NOT doing here is sticking a flashy new label on an old radioactive product. What I am doing here is starting over from scratch and putting in clear checks and balances and boundaries so that it cannot be co-opted. Clear, defining Principals will be its base so that old Preppers, Survivalists, conspiracy peddlers, Racist or Christian Reconstructionist militants ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_reconstructionism ) cant just start saying “I guess we are called Adapters now”. This is exactly what we saw happen to the Preppers movement somewhere around 2008.
This will be less of the entertaining style folks have gotten used to here. It will be long. A short thesis. Being that a new “Movement” can not be all about me or what I am doing to adapt, I am bringing in 3 independent and experienced voices to act as a sort of Peer Review. You can think of them as a Board Of Directors or Council of Elders. To put checks and balances on myself I will be giving them 100% authority to EDIT, critique or even ADD input. Once again, Wisdom comes in the council of many.
First Council position, since she brought it up, will be Farmgal. Long time Moderator at the Canadian Preppers Network. Seed breeding Specialist. Permaculturalist. Food Specialist. Animal breeder. And all round “Smartgal”.
Second Council goes to Nicole Alderman. Moderator, Master Steward at Permies.com. Permaculturalist. Homesteader. Prepper. One of the reasons I have brought her in is because I have observed that she is very good at self criticizing her experiences and her reasonable long term thinking. I’ll have her soon for a full interview.
Third Council goes to Doc Michael from Apocadocs. Part of the reason for this is his Transition Town experience. A second reason is because he had to abandon his homestead and Community Supported Agriculture business a few years ago. This had to do with age, injury, health and financial issues. I bring this up because he has deeper experience in things that can go wrong with good ideas and the things rarely talked about on this subject. Even more important Michael has known me personally for several years… so he knows my personal quirks and the man behind the blog. More so, he can hold me to account. Openness and Accountability is one of the “Principles” I will be presenting later.
All three of these folks, I consider actual Peers. A lot of the more well known preppers out there, I do not.
Now, I had high hopes for the preppers movement. Back in the day, it was more of a skills sharing movement. It was more about people digging up hard to find information and spreading that knowledge around. It had become very Inclusive. Anyone could become a prepper. Strangely, this would become its downfall. It was the Wild West.
It would be tempting to start this discussion about becoming an Adapter by just calling it Advanced Prepping. I realized that would be a huge mistake. That would just let the advanced rot fester under the surface. Better to cut the root and plant something new. I had seen some online prepping forums, facing the chaos, institute strict, “No politics. No religious proselytism. No conspiracy theories”, but unfortunately it was already too late. People took this as limiting free speech and went off to the darker web, congregating in echo chambers where extremism festers and the angry try to out compete others there for status and social advancement.
The recent swath of Extreme Right, hate and racial mass murders and assassination attempts is no surprise to me, whatsoever. They simply did what they said they were going to do.
But before we can talk about Adapting, starting something new with checks and balances and defining principles, first we have to talk about the the history of the preppers movement. The simplest definition of a Prepper is “Someone who prepares” for some future event. There is a lot to say in a defining title. It could be, “some one who prepares for war” as much as “someone who prepares for the next ice storm” or “someone who prepares in case they get lost in the woods. But at its core, prepping is a word focused on some future event.
Let’s look at the word “Survivalism”. “Someone who intends to survive” an event. One of the creepiest things I hear from Survivalists, and a clear warning sign, a point at which I wont let them get to know me or any of my friends, is those 5 toxic words, “I’ll do anything to survive”. The more self deceiving version of this is, “I’ll do anything so that my family survives”. That way a selfish and dangerous, predator douchebag, or “The Purge” type of person can spin theft and murder into some kind of martyr morality high ground… instead of being an antisocial criminal. This is the type of person that will say “It’s Survival of the fittest” and focus on WROL or Without Rule Or Law. These folks mainly have a lot of guns and combat gear, or at least they have given themselves moral permission to embrace their baser instincts. It will probably take a sucking chest wound or seeing a family member with the side of their head missing or the inside of a jail cell before a person like this sees the error of their ways.
On the flip side of this is the person that won’t make even the most rational and modest preparation or Adaptation to a changing world by saying, “If it is going to be like The Road Warrior, I don’t want to SURVIVE”.
Others have seen the problem associated with THAT word. There was a sub genre that said they were Survivor Thrivers. Call me a pretentious Gen-Xer but that term was just far too dorky sounding to ever be a rallying call. Nor was it chopping out the underlying rot.
Here is another reason why words matter. Have you noticed a lot of Survivalism is about Bushcraft. The Boy Scout factor. Building traps. Staring fires. Building lean-tos or debris huts. Primitive hunting and fishing. This can follow the path of either pioneer inspired, black powder and trappers or First Nations, “primitive Survival”. The Fake Indian factor. This is all somehow important to the “Bug Out” phenomena. The term “Bug Out” is the dead give away. A military term. Pre-prepping days, if someone was interested in “Survival”, generally the only books they would find with that title would be about, “Wilderness Survival”. In many cases, that would include Ex Military guys teaching, “Survival, Escape, Evasion and Resistance”. There is that word again. “Survival”. Survivalism evolves from Boy-scout to Militarism. From squirrel traps to human traps, bomb making, improvised guns, lock picking and break and entering. Camouflage and hiding. Tracking, stealth and assassination.
All of this then becomes very interesting for those who’s main focus is “Race Survival” or eliminating Other races. Or Christian Reconstuctionists with plans to make their countries a Theocracy/ Theonomy (if not by the ballot box, then by the cartridge box) and others with fear based conspiracies.
The Military man then becomes the most important person to learn from. This fills up the survivalist world with alot of ex military guys that are offered a position of importance and the opportunity to only be around other military guys that have been through what they have been through. Now days, most people teaching about survivalism or prepping won’t get any real respect unless they give their rank and “service” history, or will be attacked and belittled for not having it.
Now, I cant be the first or only person to point out what should be obvious. Can I? That they have nothing to teach about Actual Survival. NOTHING. At least nothing practical. Well, maybe if they learned electrical engineering or if they were a mechanic in the motor pool. Maybe. But the level of baggage, and cult like brainwashing and trauma doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest, when considering group association. In fact, they are often a clear and present danger.
Some of you long timers out there will chuckle when I bring up the Survivalist Show and Tell moment. You know what I am talking about. That moment when some survivalist guys get together and decide to show off something cool they have. Now, consider me there in that bunch. I pull out a U-Bar for breaking sod and soil and hand it to the military guy, explaining why this is in the top ten “Preps”. The military guy is handling this big awkward garden tool and his brain is shorting, sparks behind the eyeballs. Then I go Full Shock and Awe. “Come check out this awesome SHTF, apocalyptic extension ladder so I can clean the creosote out of my woodstove chimney. It’s #6 on the list of the most important survival items to own”, at which point the military guys head explodes and the headless corpse attacks me. I don’t fit into his world view and am thus, an existential threat to his self identity and place in the world.
I recently checked into Wikipedia for their history of Survivalism. I was there to pass on some info about the early influences of Reconstructionists, Racist groups and the Militia Movement in Survivalism. All that info has now been edited out of Wikipedia. I was shocked. Someone came in and completely “White Washed” it. What I was less shocked about was that Wikipedia had lumped Survivalists and Preppers under the same title saying they were the same thing. I had already seen them edit out the history of preppers. In many ways, it is true. Now days, preppers and survivalists are pretty much the same thing. Not so in the past. Preppers were a reaction to the excesses of the survivalist movement, in the same way as Protestants (protesters) were a reaction to the excesses of Catholicism. (FYI. I’m not picking on Catholics here)
As I have mentioned before, first use of the term “Prepping” in reference to the subject matter came from the Foxfire book series. I suppose I am foolish to think modern preppers or survivalists are already familiar with these books so here are some links.
For those of us that grew up with the Foxfire book series, You will already know it was a documentation of historical Appalachian homesteading practices.
The earlier prepper movement was much more of a homeschooling movement. Arguments were less about politics or gun culture and more about childhood education methods. Though mainly a christian movement, it was not exclusive. I guess folks that grew up with the sunday school hymnal of “Jesus loves the little children. All the Children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight”, were less inclined to hate and exclusion. (I wish I could still say the same today but no)
With this inclusiveness, now-days it’s not unusual to find Black preppers or even Gay preppers, and more and more you find preppers moving towards Permaculture. The permaculture movement, turns out, is now filled with preppers, prepper light or prepper friendly folks, even if they disagree with the prepper movement.
Now, part of the reason I have taken you through this short history lesson is that as I intend to define The Adapters Movement, or to START The Adapters Movement, my deliberate intentions are to make it Exclusive. Not to exclude any group… but to intentionally make it difficult to use that name.
A guy in an apartment with a gun and a few boxes of MREs, obsessing about conspiracy theories on the internet wont be able to say he is an Adapter. A Field and Stream, hunting and fishing person with a seasonal cabin and a quad, wont be able to say they are an Adapter…, unless they have much more backing up the claim. A suburban housewife, planing for an ice storm or earthquake with a week of food, flashlight and a generator, definitely not an Adapter. A city guy into camping trips, justifying it as “Bug Out Training”… where to even begin with that one not being an Adapter. I put out a whole 5 part series on that. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/c5-presents-the-fallacy-of-bugging-out-part-i-by-survival-acres/
Most importantly, a Survivalist in a large truck, clutching the Bible, the Constitution, a copy on Ayn Rand and The Turner Diaries,( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Turner_Diaries ) unable to tell the difference, won’t be able to say, “I guess we are called Adapters Now. What ever. And by the way, we are better than Adapters… and we are claiming the name as our own” as happened with the preppers movement. You will be able to look them strait in the eye and say “The 80s called. They want their Booney hats, Fu Manchu mustaches, 1911’s and Soldier Of Fortune magazines back. You say you are an Adapter? Prove it Buzz Light Beer. If you are not practicing the Adaptation Principles, written down by the Adapters Movement founders, go play plastic survivalist man somewhere else.
The question then follows…. What is the Adapters Movement
Instead of breaching the subject to traditional preppers or survivalist, that I thought may be too trapped in their own ways of thinking to consider a complete tear-down and rebuild from the ground up, I decided to reach outside of the box a bit. I presented this job to folks over in the permaculture world for public debate as I knew they would be (to some degree) more outside of the box thinkers. My guess was that there would be less “self identification” to feel threatened or feel attacked buy a complete tear down of a system. Less “I Am a”…prepper or “I Am a”…survivalist or “I Am a”…Christian, where self identity and direction can be mixed up. Less PREVIOUS INVESTMENT and The Self to defend.
There was some real push back… and a few harsh words… but on the whole, my query was overwhelmingly greeted with enthusiasm, thoughtful participation and several people went out of there way to thank me for bringing this up and taking on this labour.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Like going into a book store and finding out the post apocalyptic fiction section has been moved to current events.
Though it may seem like a nothing issue and easy to dismiss, one person wrote about their discomfort in the regular use of Apocalypse. You will notice that I use that term to describe our predicament more than other terms though it comes with inherent religious overtones. Sometimes Collapse does not do. Collapse from what to what? Banks closing or limiting withdrawals? Is that a collapse? Not really. That happens periodically in history. Life goes on. Generally, when I use SHTF or WROL or TEOTWAWKI, I am using the term sarcastically. Even mockingly. I use Apocalypse often because its a better discriptor and what we are facing is truly Apocalyptic. The commenter rightly pointed out that most people read Apocalypse as the end of the world. The term means Revelation. The truth is Revealed.
Now, I am fully aware of this, being the wordy fellow that I am. It’s a subtle joke in my writing. Apocalypse is the moment the veil has been pulled back and the truth is exposed. It’s the moment people see that they have followed a lie, their suburban middle class lifestyle was a false god, weeping and nashing of teeth to follow. But it is not the end. When people use the term TEOTWAWKI or The End Of The World As We Know It, They generally only see The End Of The World part. I jump up and down waving my arms to point out the As We Know It part. This may seem a strange place to start my description and principles of The Adapters Movement, but it is good to point out, folks from other countries often point out and criticize that what North Americans call prepping is simply just called LIFE in most of the world.
And now the veil is pulled back and the truth is revealed of why I chose that incongruent piece of music to start this article, with the lyrics…
-“We’ve only just begun… to live…. So many roads to chose. We start out walking and learn to run… Sharing horizons that are new to us. Watching the signs along the way. Talking it over, just the two of us. Working together, day to day, together. And when the evening comes, we smile. So much of life ahead. We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow. And yes, We’ve just begun.”
The Adapters Movement- Pinciples and Directions
At its core, Adaptation is about living. It’s about Life, today and tomorrow. I wrote at the beginning of all this, “I tell people, I am not a Prepper anymore. I am already Prepped. (I am not living in the future) What I am now is an Adapter. I am ADAPTING my life NOW to the Apocalypse That Has Already Arrived.”
This may seem like a Don Quixote like jousting of windmills, so it was good to hear from others. One replied,
“your quest resonates with me. Your observation that the apocalypse has already arrived and that we are living in it resonates with me. Of course, as with anything else in this oddly-globalized world, it’s far from evenly distributed… Nor will it ever be evenly distributed… But every time I turn on the news the horsemen are getting closer to my house.” (I should ad that Malibu California is burning today.C5)
Another wrote, “It is more and more an apocalyptic place we live in. I agree. Maybe almost post-apoc. Communication is key… With communication comes information to save lives. Most people take it all for granted that we can talk to anyone anywhere, but what do they speak of?”
Still another wrote, “Wow, so many good thoughts on here! Thank you for starting this! My health crashed HARD in1996, I lost my health, my career, my friends, my money, everything. I am living the back side of SHTF…Anyone who has read my dumpster diving threads will know how I coped with a lot of that. I learned to adapt. I’m GOOD at adapt. I had to be. I KNOW I will have to adapt again at some point…What I’m doing with my life right now is putting into place what I wish I had the first time the world crashed around me, using the currently available resources to set up a life that doesn’t rely on needing that. I beat the rush! But hey, I have experience points now! I know more of what doesn’t work. “
To keep this all from becoming just a C5 love fest, I thought I would add a detractor. She wrote, “ your presentation reads like a Youtube motivational or real estate commercial. Your aggressive dismissal of everyone else out there who is not using your vocabulary is a turnoff. I got tired about half way through so I’m out. …and if spirit doesn’t give me enough to survive then, so be it.”
Well, I cant please everyone and I don’t make any attempt to. And clearly one of my defining principles is that I can’t save everyone. See Triage. Another Detractor wrote,..
“It appears this new “Adapters” movement can be simply defined by three traits: 1) We are not like survivalists or preppers . 2) We have a name for our movement but no original or feasible ideas/concepts to base a movement on. 3) Our defining group characteristic is our mutual desire to mock and ridicule survivalists/preppers”.
See my comments on people that would have there personal identity wrapped up with their self identifying titles, previous investment and actions. Now, lets move on to some of those “original or feasible ideas/concepts to base a movement on.”
So, the first Major Defining Principal is…
To be continued, next episode
Bonus reads that I will edit out later. I started writing this, mid October. Since then, many others were catching up with my thinking, often using the exact same words.
This is where I usually pass the hat… but stick around for a bit and continue reading.
This took my all… and it did mentally burn me out some. I really reached deep. I did consider putting it behind a pay wall… for about 15 seconds. This is meant for the world. The most valuable “Tip” you can offer me here is for you to share this post. Re post it. Spread it around. Talk about it with people. If not, this has been a big ol’ waist. It dies in the dustbin of the internet.
I should also mention Farmgal gave me an ear full. She wrote, “STOP IT! LOL.. you are allowed to find a way to charge for your work! Yes, I fully agree that the principles and the overall needs to be free (with a request for give the tip) but this was a shit load of work and you have the right to value your time, your knowledge and your words.”
So, there you go. The paypal link is at top of the page where it says, “Giving Just the Tip”.