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)
That gets us to our first Minor, Sub Principal.
SELF SUFFICIENCY IS A MYTH
(Like Santa Clause, Bigfoot, Trickle down economics or Agenda-21)
Have you ever actually met a person that is self sufficient or even self sustaining?
Me neither. (And I have had a much higher chance of having met one) I’m sure there are a tiny few anomalies out there who have done it but it is the exception that proves the rule. So why do we perpetuate this myth or even self identify with it?
20 armed, organized and combat hardened men that decide to take all that you have worked for and that your family needs to survive, or that simply sees you as an enemy, will knock that right out of you.
Lets put a pin in that and come back to it later.
On second thought, lets not. I need to put an exclamation point on this and this is the video to force yourself to watch to learn this lesson.
The next Minor, Sub Principal is…
ADAPTING WILL NOT CURE YOUR EXISTENTIAL ANGST
That would fit more into the realm of religion or psychology. Subjects I chose not to cover much on this blog. Indeed, it is a central part of the human experience. Finding our place in the world. Our search for meaning. You wont find it in Adapting. I only bring it up, in the context of LOCATION, because no matter where you go, there you are. People often go to new places because they are looking for something. We think we will find happiness around the next corner. I have traveled a lot and lived in many places. It’s not there.
I bring this up as a warning. You will have to war against your instinctive drive to keep looking. Choose your location wisely because once you are there, you are there for life and the life of your decedents. What you will be building for sustainability and community may take multiple generations. This is outside of most North Americans experience. Europeans are more likely to get this if they are connected to multi generational farming communities where the land itself has been sculpted for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
Back to Location. If a person finds an area they want to move to, I recommend renting for at least a year in the area. That way, you are not locked in. It takes a while to find the problems of an area. Also to find the land deals in the area.(Those aren’t found by real estate agents who have no interest because it doesn’t make them money. Plus they prey on city folks seeing them as a cash cow) Word of mouth can help. I have seen a lot of homesteaders bankrupt themselves or get into an area they decide they hate and are trapped. I have heard a good term called “Y2K refugees”. These are folks that ran away from the city after abandoning everything for Y2K, then came back to the city broke and destitute. More so, personally, I have had several failed rural living attempts. I didn’t know enough at the time. I even swore not to do it again… until being back in a city and realizing how fruitless it is. I found myself missing the cold and painfulness. Even though I had failed, I found that I had become tougher and wiser and the comfort of urban or suburban life now seemed obscene.
Plus, you need time to find out things like the quality of the water, what poisons were left by hidden industries of the past or what level of nepotism, crime or old family rivalries you may face. Rent for a while. Don’t move in all your stuff. Put it in storage or sell it. Living in a moterhome is even a good idea if you can find a place to park it. Its good training anyhow. I spent a decade doing that. Nothing will teach you more about living off grid in a world of failing infrastructure, than doing it for a year in an RV. You learn about poop, water, garbage disposal, heat, insulation, what you need and don’t need, classism you will face and the insecurity of being landless. It is Adaptation University. You may find that you found the right area but the next town over is the better choice. You are talking about making it to the place your descendants will be stuck, once easy motoring comes to an end. Get on the task ASAP because it is a multi year task and time is running out.
An after thought on this. There are many failed towns that went downhill simply because a highway bypassed them. They may even have had past water transport routes before the heyday of road building. All of this is good because it will be cheaper to purchase and easier to secure in the future. Its easier to secure an off ramp than a thoroughfare. I am thinking Medievaly here as that may be our future. That is not a bad thing.
Now for our next Action Principal
MAKE FOOD FIRST AGAIN
C5 Rule of Survival- People may try to kill you a few times in life. I KNOW. But you have to eat every single day. Often more than once.
I may have to switch those to the C5 Rules of Adaption soon.
This should be obvious. It should be so obviously obvious that people start calling me Mr. Obvious, being obviously agro obvious. Yet somehow it is not. It should be your first thought in the morning. Do I have enough food to get through the year? How can I increase my yield of food? Will anything interrupt my food supply? What can I do to better insulate myself against food interruptions?
We have lived in a spoiled bubble for so long that we take it for granted. Our food is now grown by only 2 percent of the population. Some prepper minded folks will understand the vulnerabilities of our Just In Time delivery systems and they may hedge against it with food storage. I certainly recommend doing so. But it can act as a placebo or inoculation against the urgency of the next step. We recently faced an unseasonable, climate disruption related storm that took out power to much of the Provence for about 3 days. Forgetting all about those in the cold because they had electric heat, this is what we observed. In town, the grocery store was closed. Even though the lot was empty, elderly folks were driving right up to the door or interrupting traffic flow to get into the obviously empty lot. I wondered how many would be hungry today. I wondered how many couldn’t even cook because of electric ranges. We stopped into the one restaurant with a generator. It was packed. People came to charge their tablets and phones and eat. That is a rural town. Could they even get home because the gas station was closed? The other building with a generator was the drug store so seniors could get their meds. There was a sign that said cash only, since the internet was shut down.
We went to the city the day before. Half of it was down. The line up into McDonalds was blocking the road. By the way, I brought a can of gas, just in case. I should have brought the chainsaw, having thought of it before leaving. Some roads were blocked by trees. The irony was, we faced driving into the storm because we had an appointment to have studded tires installed. Luckily, this part of the city had power. While waiting, we decided to treat ourselves to a breakfast chain restaurant. The line up was out the door. The place was also filled with Lineman teams, waiting to be sent. Hold that thought.
Without internet to occupy our brains, we visited friends the next day. They had a wood stove so they were OK. Their main concern was the freezer full of food they might lose and they were kicking themselves that it was in the house instead of the garage which would have stayed cold. I mentioned that this was a good experience for evaluation. As storms increase, and infrastructure gets old, and there is less money for linesmen crews dew to the economy, and fuels for electric generation being interrupted, and wind or solar cant mathematically fill the void, if we could afford it anyhow…. interruptions will happen more often for ever increasing lengths of time… until that final day where universal electrical distribution is abandoned as the silly idea of a spoiled and delusional people that it was.
I hadn’t meant to go on this rant, considering the topic is food production, but the reason I did was because, EVERYONE had one question. When will WE get OUR power back? Like it is a RIGHT and the natural order of things.
Sort of like them saying to the 2 percent of the population involved in farming, “When will We get OUR food”.
Anthropomorphic Climate disruption. Resource disruption. Energy disruption. Economic disruption. Social disruption. All these things affect whether food can be grown and whether it can make it to your region. Without food, all is lost.
We are speaking about this as conjunction with LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION because your primary concern is being someplace that food production at a local level is possible and will continue to be possible as the climate changes, AND independent of the 2 percent of industrial farmers that may be bankrupted by loss of harvests due to drought, heatwaves, fire, rain deluges, unseasonal frosts, high winds, loss of cheap diesel, chemical fertilizer, unrepayable or unavailable banking loans, devalued commodity prices, unstable markets, societal wealth decline, foreign trade tariffs and lack of government assistance.
Your primary concern is moving to an area where food can be grown or raised… then your primary concern will be learning all the necessary skills to do so and to continue to do so once industrial machines, fuels and feeds become harder to access.
It also needs to be pointed out that the area you find, may not continue to do so due to rapidly changing weather patters. There will be research and guess work involved. You will have to do guess work, predicting HOW the weather will change. Doing the right actions is no guarantee. You want to make predictive choices to be where you stand the best chance, fundamentally trying to avoid becoming a climate refugee yourself, facing total loss and limited future survival chances.
Food production is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. Everything else is Extra.
The next minor sub Principal is…..
GROW IT AND THEY WILL COME
It has been my experience that once you have achieved the skill set to provide the minimum for your own sustenance, that it is not too difficult to expand production. Every year, we have to do TRIAGE, deciding what food sources must be abandoned to rot because we do not have enough time to harvest, process or store it. More hands would exponentially increase production. Certain food production simply can not happen, solely based on that there are not enough hands to do it.
Our society is our very enemy here. For immigrants from third world areas, doings so would be a given. They understand food production by hand with little in the way of financial reward. Every year in Canada, we fly in lots of foreign workers to pick our crops because we cannot get locals to do the same jobs. Necessary Jobs. “White people problems”. We think we are above manual labor for less than minimum wage. We think our education or social class makes us too good for that. We have lost the ability to work that hard. The myth of “Progress” has crippled us. It will be our undoing. Even those of the poor “Red Neck” class that are used to doing painful but productive outdoor work with their hands, familiar with mechanical work and rural living, are more apt to leave the farm, putting their skillset to higher paying work in “The growth economy”. By this I mean construction work in the housing Bubble, Oil workers in the shale or tar sands, or simply in car mechanical work or road works. All industries that have no future, by the way.
So if food is the Alpha and Omega, and, by necessity, we must Make Food First Again, and, doing so will be very labor intensive, how do we attract people to the job…especially for almost no pay?
To start, It must be done at an individual level for individual consumption… and it must be visual. It must be seen.
And this completely goes against standard prepper thinking.
Standard prepper thinking is that having any part of their prepping known will get you robbed. “Trust no one” is standard survivalism. Be the Grey Man. Shoot anyone coming for your stuff.
In doing so, survivalists and preppers have created a Self Fulfilling Prophesy. They trust no one… and can not be trusted. Really. You can not trust a survivalist.
More so, the rest of society sees this. They see Survivalists are dangerous, armed and committed to killing you. They are mentally unstable and paranoid as shit. They build ideologys and religions based on worship of the self and having dehumanized others, have become a danger to their neighbors and perhaps need to be disarmed by the police….and locked up for psychological evaluation. A Self Fulfilling Prophesy.
Here is another Self Fulfilling Prophesy. The Predator Prepper. This is a real thing. I have met them. People may not know this but there is a sub genre of preppers who have bypassed self sufficiency and jumped straight to being thieves and murderers. This is the end result of building an ideology and attitude of the moral superiority of the self, while dehumanizing anyone who isn’t them. People were worried about a mob of raiders. Now they have real raiders to worry about. A Self Fulfilling Prophesy.
Preppers and Survivalists need to Own This.
Only they created this and only they can fix it. That is one of the reasons I am doing this. It can be fixed… but it is the harder path… and it is the only path with a viable, sustainable future.
Which leads to the next Minor Sub Principal.
OPENNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
This is going to be a shocker to most preppers. This goes against everything they have ever been taught. I’m saying your prepping or Adaptation must be public and it must be seen. Your neighbor should know what you are up to. The cops should know what you are up to. Is there risk to this? You bet’cha. Buck up, cowboy. But it is much safer than the previous, secret squirrel, spy mentality, once you work it through.
Look. I get it. Secret Squirrel thinking is actually my natural tendency. At heart, I am an old school survivalist with old school ways. The majority don’t store food. We keep about a year of food on hand (our real food store is in the land, production and knowledge). In a system collapse, people will be hungry and desperate enough to think of stealing from us. As my friend, Flightmedic once said, “If someone says, ‘If the collapse happens, I’m coming to your place’, my response is that, that’s great and I will be coming on your next Caribbean vacation. When can I expect you to buy me a ticket”.
Here is the deal though. The reason Flightmedic became my friend is because I came out of “secret squirrel” mode, made myself public and reached out to others. Part of the reason for this was me coming to grips with that this solo survivalist thing would not work.
Farmgal shared a story, where she recently found out one of her relatives was prepper minded and she shared the awkward dance that is usually involved in such a conversation. She said,…
“I was having a family gathering and a cousin that I had not seen for a while started asking questions about the Shuttle Chef cooking pot we were heating hot apple cider in. I noticed they asked a few questions that others would not and realized they were doing the ‘Prepper Probe’. I finally just looked at hubby and said, ‘may I?’ Then I just get it out there”.
Its always an awkward dance because of years of Secret Squirrel thinking. It’s also an awkward dance because once someone comes out of the prepper closet, sometimes you find out the prepper advice they have received may put them in danger. Either that or you find out the reason they are preppers is because they fed on some dangerous loons propaganda. If it all had been out in the open, it would have been talked about with experience friends that you respect, someone would have said, “That’s silly. Here is why”. That works in reverse as well. Sometimes when hanging out with other preppers, I will see them doing something I was doing. Outside of my own head, seeing someone else do it, it suddenly becomes obvious how silly they are and I clearly need to change my ways. Some times I will be doing something survivaly and my experienced buddy will give me the look that tells me, that I just discovered that I am a dumb ass.
True story. Flightmedic was over for a visit. After a few beers, I decided to put on and show him the tactical load support system I was working on. Flightmedic, who has been there and done that, dryly said “Yes. Very sexy”, turned his head and went back to the conversation he was already engaged in. I immediately realized I’ld had a dumb ass moment, and the tac vest has pretty much been in the back of the closet ever since, amongst bad fashion choices and adult toys I don’t want anyone to know about. It seemed like a good idea at the time in my old school survivalist mind… until it was brought to light by public scrutiny. Openness and Accountability.
Farmgal continued, “I told them i don’t like the prepper label I have been given and prefer homesteader. I then answered some of there questions. Its turned out that they had a Bug Out location and it was better thought out than most I hear, but still I shook my head and went, its just NOT that easy and started the process of creating trust in regards to talking about our front plans, our back up plans and the flaws in them. It will be wonderful to work towards giving each other a helping hand in a number of ways over the coming years.”
My point being, if all of this is done in secret, there is no opportunity for Adapters to become leaders in their communities and set an example for others to mirror. No opportunity to bring people together, and thus mitigate some of the worst problems associated with collapse that Secret Squirrels fear.
So, How can we do this in a concrete and practical way. We are back to the Make Food First Again and Grow It And They Will Come principles. The best way I can think of to put your Adaptation principles into practice, is to very visually show what you have been growing or raising. It’s counter intuitive. Speaking of that other collapse issue, Social Destabilization, nothing can bring people from diametrically opposed world views together more than chatting about gardening or small farming.
It bridges social gaps. It bridges generational gaps. Giving away excess produce also builds loyalty amongst strangers. It’s an excuse to visit your neighbors.
We are closely tied to one of our neighbors that we wouldn’t have much reason to know, because randomly, he drove up the driveway (setting off all my Secret Squirrel, oldschool survivalist paranoia) and asked if we would like some chickens because he had too many. I had just built a chicken coop a few days before. Does this fellow have my loyalty? You bet’cha.
If people are apt to compete instead of cooperate, best to compete over your gardens. By making it visual, it encourages others to do the same. Compete over your water catchment or solar panels, etc. Learn from each others.
What we are really talking about is LEADERSHIP here. If leadership is not your natural inclination, the more important roll is getting behind someone that is doing something great. Backing their play. It’s a much more important roll. Leadership is over rated. I want you all to watch this.
Secrecy inspires fear which inspires more secrecy that inspires more fear and suspicion. It’s cult-like behavior and makes a person more susceptible to cult personalities that will offer inclusion but feed on and encourage your fear. There is a whole industry of news sellers, religion sellers, politics sellers, product sellers and gun sellers based around this…. and you are its Mark. It is a self fulfilling prophesy.
I can’t over emphasis the words, mind control “Cult” enough. (Alex Jonestown massacre, anyone)
If it has to be done in the dark, in secret, chances are, it’s The Dark Side. And the irony of this is that people pick up on your behavior, if only on a subconscious level. If you are doing something secret, people will pick up on it, see you as sketchy and a potential threat and are more likely to fear you on some level and watch you. Self fulfilling prophesy.
This puts you in more danger. Not less.
I’m one of the few preppers that proudly shows off my food storage when having visitors over. It’s nothing special but I am proud of it. Doing so de-mystifies it to others, to hopefully encourage others to do the same.
Putting my money where my mouth is, this is me. Flab and post winter pastiness included. the photo is 8 years old. I’m much greyer now.
If people now recognize me and want to chat about all this, I’ll do my best to share what I know. To answer question. To LEAD. (or Follow if that is the more appropriate choice)
So lets get to the next Major Principal.
BUILD SOCIAL CAPITAL
The single greatest survival commodity is…(envelope please)… Other People.
It’s also the most difficult and requires the most effort. More than food production or firewood.
I talk about social disintegration as being one of the great disasters of our time, up there with anthropomorphic climate chaos, economic disintegration and resource scarcity or depletion. Our temporary bonanza of cheap energy didn’t give us plenty of free time to build relationships. Instead, it gave us the ability to not need each other, as has been part of our evolution since before we even walked upright. We are evolved to be part of a tribe. Rejection by the tribe leads to death, alone against predators and madness.
This energy and wealth abundance has allowed us to go where we want and do what we want, without consequence. The end result has been existentially profound loneliness that is quite literally killing us. This has lead to the epidemic of deaths from despair. Turned inward to depression, the opioid epidemic, obesity or credit card consumerism for a world of polluting junk that we don’t need and does not fulfill. Full disclosure. Like many collapse commentators, I drink too much and am pretty self destructive. Turned outward, to RAGE and mass shootings, riots and terrorism, right wing extremism, racism and the advocation of violence against “The Other”.
Part of me doing all this is that I believe it is within our means to mitigate some of the worst and most frightening aspects of societal collapse. Part of that is to actively rebuild what was lost. We MUST build social connections. We MUST build inter-dependencies. We MUST reach out to strangers and we MUST do it with the URGENCY of realizing Our lives depend on it… because they do.
If you want a Principal that distinguishes us from the prepper or survivalist world, this is it. I have been beating this drum for quite a while.
Now…Are you ready for the plot twist?
There is no altruism in this.
If you have read any of this as, “It’s nice to be nice”, you are mistaken. I am only presenting cold, hard, dispassionate truths.
I’m not the hero of this story. Merely a protector by inclination. I’m the soldier you send into an impossible situation in a last ditch effort to fight a path out of utter defeat and annihilation.
And that is the cold hard fact of where we find ourselves. We are at the point of utter defeat.
The best way I have heard this presented was by the late Micheal Ruppert, who said, “We may be forced by necessity to live the way we probably should have been living in the first place. ”
I’m going to flip that statement a bit. The way we probably should have been living in the first place, we may be forced into by necessity, to simply LIVE.
The second Major Defining Principal is…
To be continued, next episode
Bonus read- To be edited out later- We have found ourselves screaming at CBC radio lately, at the last round of weapons of mass distraction propaganda. We have to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, er… Libya, er… Ukraine, er…. Syria, er….., Nicaragua, er…. Hang on. Its on the tip of my tongue…. Venezuela. Then we can bring democracy and freedom to Cuba, Iran…. and the illegitimate, socialist dictatorship, Canada. Haven’t you heard about the humanitarian crisis in Alberta. Oil sands workers are fleeing the Provence in fear for their lives. Those that remain are starving, forming gangs to scavenge the ruins for bits of food in the trash. Russia and China have been meddling in in their elections. The US and its allies recognize Rob Ford as the legitimate president of Canada after putting sanctions on maple syrup producers and marijuana drug cartels . All options are on the table and they are moving troops into Montana to…. bring in humanitarian aid and arm moderate rebels. Mr and MrsC5 are being held on an extradition request from the US for spreading Fake News.
Venezuela and declining EROEI coming to a neighborhood near you. https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/venezuelas-collapse-is-a-window-into-how-the-oil-age-will-unravel-f80aadff7786
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”.