“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.
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…
Acceptance is the final stage of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. Wikipedia says, “The Kübler-Ross model is popularly known as the five stages of grief, though more accurately, the model postulates a progression of emotional states experienced by terminally ill patients after diagnosis. The five stages are chronologically: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”
Our society and life support system ( The environment, economy, resource base and social bonding ties) is the terminally ill patient. Most folks in our society are in the first four stages. A simplistic analogy would be, the majority of the population are in the Denial Phase. Many people still know an apocalyptic future is coming but because it is not affecting them, they intentionally try not to look at it. They look with suspicion or mockery or fear at anyone actually doing something about it. Once this is shaken and people are seeing their lifestyle threatened, mostly those on the political Right, people swing into the Anger phase. Scapegoating, threats, shootings and bombings follow, weaving complex conspiracy theories in an attempt to bring their shattered inner world under control. People say they have been “Red Pilled” but they have only “Woken” from one control system and don’t realize they are now in the second control system, using The Matrix imagery. This is where a lot of new and inexperience preppers find themselves. An insightful fellow that I dont remember the name of, mentioned that for those that wake up into the second Matrix, that is where they will meet all the Adolf Hitlers. Though not exclusive, those on the political Left and the techno progressive utopians are in the Bargaining phase. They think we can solve all this with the right governmental modification. They think we can solve all of our problems or we can solve technological problems with even more technology. See my discussion on declining EROEI in a previous articles. Now for those of us that have been doing this for A LONG time, we may find ourselves slipping in and out of the Depression phase a lot. (I just want to point out here that we already have the necessary technology to get through this and we have had it for a very long time. Hundreds of years. It’s just not the the answer that people want to hear. In fact, people reject it as unacceptable)
Acceptance means staring the reality strait in the face and actively deciding to move forward. Either to get on with the job of Living in a fundamentally changed world or getting on with dying.
In the conversation with Farmgal that started all this, it started with her sharing that she had shared my Windapult article with her readers… and 7 readers promptly unsubscribed to her. She laughed because she gets me. She then shared about recent death threats she has received. She asked “Have you been noticing that as all these disasters are happening, Denialism is increasing with it” (and I don’t just mean global warming deniers though they are a prime example). I replied, “People’s identities are wrapped up in their excuses. As reality slaps them in the face, they will not change their minds and confront their excuses. Instead, like a drug addict, they will DOUBLE DOWN on their dose. All truth goes through three phases. First, it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Then it is accepted as self evident. The NEXT phase is the “Violently Opposed” part.
I previously posted this but it is worth bringing back for a second read because of the context of this post.
(Press on that to go to article. This is from the fellow that independently came up with the term, “Deep Adaptation”)
Another more recent article of the psychological side of Acceptance is here.
(You will have to cut and paste this title into your search engine as it will not allow us to link) Though worth the whole read, the part of it I want to emphasize is as follows.
“The people I talk to aren’t idiots. On the contrary, they can keep two thoughts in their heads, they’re able to see that two courses of events can be parallel, that what creates prosperity also erodes what it’s based on. That situations can be ambiguous — alternately symbiotic and parasitic. And yet I can’t talk about this. The discomfort is too great.”
“There are people who choose the doomsday narrative because they feel it’s a more correct description of reality. The price they pay is to some extent no longer being able to take part in society. It’s impossible to be happy about your colleagues’ foreign holidays or consumption. You can no longer view increased growth as something desirable and natural. The things that form the foundation of your interaction with other people no longer function. For these people, playing along means a betrayal of themselves. But speaking up makes them so difficult that those around them can’t stand to have them near. There are also many people who wholeheartedly live the progress narrative, who reject every threatening signal or feel confident that every threat can be conquered, just like everything else that once stood in the way of progress. But the majority of us live with our heads down, trying to find a way to avoid the discomfort.”
“When I began to write this essay it was winter. An unusually late, cold and snowy winter, following a period with an unusually high amount of rain. Now, as I finish the text, an extreme heatwave has just finished. Around me people are talking worriedly about the heat, only to go back in the next instant to discussing their holiday plans and renovation projects. We move in and out of these two major narratives, but never stop in the place where they meet. We don’t stop in the dissonance.”
MrsC5 sent that article to me because this has been her experience over the last few years. She has started to avoid old friends because there is simply nothing realistic to talk about anymore. Friends are dropping her because she is too difficult. We find ourselves longing for people that actually “Accept” so that we can talk about the practicals of day to day adapting. For me, This has been the loneliness of my entire life. Superficial friends that I keep light hold of. MrsC5 is the first Keeper.
This effects every aspect of LIFE. How we spend money. Our views on employment. What vacations not to take. What vacation destinations to take for education. What news to view. What objects to own. What skills to learn. How to act. WHERE TO LIVE.
That has been a big one for me. I kept moving from place to place trying to find a suitable destination where Adaptation was feasible. It was a lonely road. I certainly appreciate having found it. Now to build roots.
So, what is acceptance. Lots of preppers say, “It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when”. But if they really were in the Acceptance phase, it would be obvious because of their radically altered lifestyle. If a person is living in an unsustainable city or in an unsustainable location or practicing an unsustainable lifestyle, while just collecting stuff, there is clearly a disconnect. Denial.
Adapting is not the destination though. I dont expect people to have it all together before they can call themselves an Adapter. We certainly haven’t. But it is the path. And it starts with Acceptance.
Some preppers will say, “Prepping is like insurance. I hope I don’t have to use it but it is there if I do”. Unfortunately, we are not on the same page. We are not even playing in the same ball park.
These are the unavoidable disasters of our time. The reality we must face.
-A fundamentally destabilized climate that We All caused, that potentially will end the human race. That is happening NOW. Not some future event and is happening far faster and far worse than we allow ourselves to face.
-A fundamentally unstable Economic, life dependent base, teetering on the edge of collapse that Can Not fix itself. It must simply play out. This will not happen all at once, everywhere… and it will not be evenly distributed.
-A fundamental decline in resources that simple belt tightening or technological advance Can Not solve. The low hanging fruit has already been picked. The big money in extraction and Energy Return has already been made with nowhere left to go but down. And we have become totally dependent, to stay alive, on an ever increasing need for more resources that are simply in decline. This will continue until it is no longer economically viable to extract… and then IT WILL STOP.
-A fundamental Fracturing of social bonds, inter dependencies and social cohesion. From the family level to the community level to the state level to the international level. The Hobbesian war of all against all. That Is Not a future event in a post apocalyptic world or Something to expect when the SHTF. That is what we have NOW. It has only been kept in check by the tolerance that comes from abundance where peoples lives are not directly threatened by resource and economic sharing and has, in the past been moderated by religious discipline, Charity and social institutions.
So, the Acceptance Principle starts with acceptance that Anthropomorphic global warming is real and it is A Lot worse than we have allowed ourselves to face. As I write this, (at the time of writing) the California fires are still beyond control. They are trying to find the bodies now. We have already forgotten about Florida, Puerto Rico, or Fort McMurray. We don’t even pay attention to Peru, The Dominican Republic, the Northern Mariana Islands, etc. etc. etc. Climate change deniers may have trouble using the Adapters moniker and there is not much I can do about that. It is a Cult and you can’t argue with cultists. You can systematically go through each of their arguments and junk science and who wrote it and how much they got paid by which corporations or their hired ad agencies or professional spin doctors, and it does not matter because they simply can not hear it. To do so would shatters their Self Identifying Mythologies. An addict must hit rock bottom first. Before that happens, they usually double up their dose, embracing the most ridiculous conspiracies. You would be amazed how many people think all the disasters are caused by the Jews using supper technology blue beams, to take over the world and usher in the antichrist and all the palio-climatologists around the world (in countries that hate each other) are all part of a global satanic conspiracy to cover up that the earth is actually cooling and we are going into an ice age, and all the dead people are crisis actors. It is an addiction and it is best to look at it that way. As things get worse, I expect to see MORE of it. Not less. And people will be murdered for disagreeing with them.
We cant even begin to discuss The Triage Principal until we are well into Acceptance. And to be clear, Triage means Abandoning California, Florida, parts of Spain, northern South America and I can’t even speculate how far the next Dust Bowl will stretch.
Global warming of a few degrees may even sound nice on a cold day like today. But the reason it is cold today is because (at the time of writing) heat is pushing cold air out of polar regions towards us. Since the fall, we have been getting about 2 storms a week. Acceptance for me means I have to think about wind barriers, strengthening structures, increasing insulation, improving drainage, removing combustibles, ground moisture retention, adding storm proof greenhouses for season extenders, Accepting warming will also push unseasonable frosts and lethal cold snaps or lethal humidity and heat towards me, etc.
In the same way, we also have to look at Economic Dependence. These issues are not separate. Preppers often focus on one issue while denying the others (often as a conspiracy). We have been through the biggest Economic Bubble in human History. Even with minor fluctuations, most people can not picture it all falling apart, even temporarily. It’s been growing for so long that it almost seems steady state and the natural order of things. If I were to say, “The worst Economic contraction in human history is about to happen and is happening as we speak”, most people have no reference point for this.. It seems crazy and alarmist. The realm of conspiracy nuts. Of political extremists.
All bubbles burst. That is the nature of economic bubbles.
Still, you may notice, I rarely use the term, “Economic Collapse” as is frequently used. I usually say, Economic contraction. A stock market crash or sell off is not a collapse. Hyper inflation is not a collapse. A “Bank holiday” or closure and stopping or limiting withdrawals is not a collapse. These are all common occurrences. They happen all over the world.
Resource Depletion. Once again, people jump through incredible mental hoops to deny this, decrying anyone pointing it out as being part of a satanic conspiracy at worst, or uneducated Luddites at best. They celebrate each new reported fossil fuel “discovery” as proof. At the moment, fuel prices are at record lows because of a temporary glut. People can’t wrap their heads around that it is because oil companies were simply pumping as fast as they can, often much lower grade quality that can barely be called oil, often losing money while doing it, producing fuels that no longer provide society with economic excess energy return capital and a decline in consumer growth due to economic hollowing out when the pendulum swings back into high fuel costs. How people can not see that when you use something up, it is then gone, is beyond me. And it ain’t just fossil fuels and its many byproducts. It’s potash, copper, rare earths, uranium, soil nutrients, top soil and aquifer water itself. ETC. ETC. Even pollinator insects. That is an extinction level event on its own, right there. I live surrounded by wood lots, much of it on its seventh cutting. There is nothing Forrest like about it anymore. It is now just one great big mega fire waiting to happen.
Social Destabilization. It’s been going on for so long that people now believe it is the natural order.
In Dmitry Orlov’s 2013 book, The Five Stages of Collapse, he talks about, in Stage Four, “Social Collapse. Faith that ‘your people will take care of you’ is lost, as local social institutions… run out of resources or fail through internal conflict”. In Stage 5, “People lose their capacity for ‘kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity’. Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources”.
If we can take a mental step back and look, we are sort of already in stage five.
So the first Action Principle is…
LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION
If someone was wanting an original thought to define the adapters movement, something that makes it different from the established prepping or survivalist movement, this principal separates the wheat from the chaff.
I certainly won’t be the first person to talk about Strategic Relocation. It is a common theme, whether it is relocating to the Idaho or Montana Redoubt for political or racial reasons, finding a Bug Out Location, buying a farm, moving to “The Bush” or moving to a homestead and starting a permaculture farm.
Nicole Alderman pointed out that there are levels of preppers and survivalists. From those that have “3 days of food and flashlights and are prepared to adapt to a small power outage.” to those that have “ taken a wilderness course, has cool gear and can ID some edibles…knows how to make a debris shelter and a bow and arrow and has backpack camped ” to those that “have some tactical tools, a month of food, and some guns“, to those “who have a garden, maybe some livestock and are trying to learn old-time skills.” to those at “bunker level! They have a buried shipping container filled with guns and freeze dried food and MREs and lots of money spent on all this cool stuff”. (personal note. Never bury a shipping container) ” They all start out pretty similar, and similar skills are revered, but they diverge at the higher levels, because of their differing values and priorities.
I see that less as levels and more as the progression of prepper/survivalist thought. The degrees of commitment. Almost all of them are heading towards “I must get some land” (except for the backpack batman bush ninjas). It’s the end goal. Most don’t make it that far. “I must get out of the city” is as far as they get. After interacting with hundreds of “Preppers” on and off line, reading the posts, books and comments of thousands more, I have found myself thoroughly disappointed with the caliber of 99% of them.
Many of them think they will survive…. and that they are morally superior to non preppers, simply because they call themselves a prepper. It sounds silly when I put it that way, doesn’t it? But that is the vast majority of preppers. The shear contempt and dehumanization of non preppers, while they are so minimally “Prepped”. Even if they have accumulated tens of thousands of dollars of stuff.
Well here is my “Original or Feasible” thought. If you have made it though the Acceptance phase, taking into account those four unavoidable disasters, Climate Chaos, Economic Contraction and Dependence, Resource Depletion and Social Destabilization, it would seem to me that your FIRST “Prep” or Adaptation would be to go outside and begin making a clear assessment of, if where you are… has any future. If the answer is NO, then you must begin the long process of examining areas that stand the best chance as these changes occur and begin the processes of moving there.
You will want to start this NOW. Not “After the collapse” or “When the shit hits the fan”. This is your first action or prep.
The rest is just fluff and self masturbation with sexy gear and camping trips until you get this one thing worked out. Your tens of thousands of dollars of preps will actually be difficult and expensive to move and that money might have been better used getting you into a location where sustainability is actually viable. A place of increased safety. Your stuff may even keep you from moving. Its counter intuitive but your preps might kill you. I suppose you can pawn them for pennies on the dollar when you lose your job and need to pay rent so the state doesn’t take your children. Not a great long term plan. A refugee can only carry so much.. We have to stop calling this the romantic or patriotic sounding Bugging Out, and start calling it what it is. Being a Refugee or self made homeless person.
At this point, I want to introduce you to Irv Mills.
Irv shares the doomershere with me and is regularly presented at the Doomstead Diner. I also noticed he was my 50th subscriber. That is not quite true. I piss off a lot of people that unsubscribe. It’s a badge of honor. I don’t regurgitate the regular prepper prejudices, creating an echo chamber. I tell people what they need to hear. Not what they want to here. They may go away… but the seed will remain rattling around in their brains.
Irv is also a person that, independently started using Adaptation as a better discriptor than prepping. He recently wrote a 4 part series that started with the title ” Preparing For Collapse”… then changed title. His words…
“The title for this series of posts started out as “Preparing for collapse”, but in my last post I immediately went into a rant about how I see a hard, fast, world-crippling collapse as pretty improbable. What I’m observing instead is a slow collapse that has already been happening for several decades and will continue for several more, albeit with much the same end result as a fast collapse. KMO, one of my favorite podcasters and a follower of this blog, suggested a better title would be Responding to Collapse, and that’s what I’ll be using from now on.”
Soooo… a lot of these radical changes I am presenting are not so radical. Others are coming to the same conclusions, independently. It ain’t just me acting all narsasistic. Others have hit the same wall. People have been accumulating the same knowledge set and the transition of thought was an organic change. All change goes through 3 phases. As mentioned before, First it is ridiculed, then violently opposed, then accepted as self evident.
What does Irv Mills have to say about Adaptation, Acceptance and Location?
“things will be much worse in some areas than others and if you are clever you can arrange to be where you’ll miss the worst of it.”
“This is already starting to play out in some parts of the world where things are getting bad enough politically, economically and/or climate-wise that many are leaving in desperation. I am talking about places like the Middle East, North Africa, Venezuela and to some extent even Puerto Rico… As the numbers of refugees mount the welcome they receive gets less enthusiastic…A timely move, before things get serious, can put you on the right side of things.”
“So, you’re looking for a place that is, and will continue to be:
well above sea level
not at the top of a bluff overlooking the sea that is being gradually eroded away
not situated so as to take the full brunt of tropical storms
not in the floodplain of a river
not in a desert or semi-desert that relies on water from fossil aquifers that are being depleted faster than they are replenished or rivers fed by glacial melt water
not subject to hot season temperatures or heat waves that are not survivable if the power goes out or you can’t afford air conditioning
receiving enough rain to allow for agriculture
with a growing season and soil that will support agriculture”
(I love the succinctness of this. I would have droned on and on on each, especially fossil aquifers and rivers fed by glacial melt. I would add, avoid any place with a dam upstream or heavy industry that use chemicals, upstream of your water supply)
“In addition to the problems caused by climate change, the other two main concerns of this blog (resource depletion and economic contraction) are going to see most of us becoming quite a bit poorer, and not relying on anything that uses much energy, including shipping things in from far away. Most of our own food will have to be grown locally”
“I’ll be talking about coping with the challenge of finding and fitting into a community that can survive under these conditions. For now I’ll just say don’t assume that collapse will relieve you of the necessity of earning a living in the growth based capitalist economy. It’s going to take a long time to switch over to a low energy, low consumption, non-growth economy and in the meantime, most of us will have to keep a foot in both worlds, and initially mainly in the currently existing world. So any plan for a move will have to take into account the necessity of earning a living where ever you go. You may well find that the pressure of earning a living pushes you in the opposite direction from what collapse related planning would indicate is best.”
“The good news is that there are many rural areas where:
adequate energy can be had locally in the form of firewood which can be cut by hand
potable water can be accessed from already existing wells that can be converted to hand or wind driven pumps and surface water that can be used with fairly simple filtration or treatment
sufficient food for the local population can be grown on existing farmland within walking distance of town, without fossil fuel powered machinery”
“Sure, it will require some degree of advance preparation and a willingness to adapt our lifestyles, but it is all quite doable. This is not the case in the city, where local resources for self-sufficient living are simply not available.”
“When I speak of rural areas, let me make it clear that I am talking about small towns of a few hundred to a few thousand people, surrounded by farmland, not isolated farmsteads. It will take more than a single family or two to make this work. Indeed isolation is one of the most debilitating conditions that you can find yourself in as a human being.”
(Yup. I agree. I live on a secluded farmstead. More than most, I know its shortcomings and dangers. Its counter intuitive. You should move towards people. Not away from them. It may not be an option though. Many will only be able to afford land that others don’t want, at which point you have to think more like a fortified frontier post. Seclusion does not provide you with safety. Quite the opposite.)
“This is more than just a matter of getting out of the cities before things get really miserable there. It’s going to take some time to get set up where you are going and to become integrated into your new community. (C5 addition-Multiple years if not decades) At the moment, people are still leaving small rural towns to find work in the city, but the day will come when that flow reverses. You want to be seen as a relatively old hand in your small town when that happens.” (C5 addition- many rural areas have already reached collapse. Its a buying opportunity. People want out. This is how we have a large farm, instead of a shack. More so, old, small farmers of Boomer age are giving up, retiring or dying without an heir willing to bankrupt themselves continuing farming. Industrial farming doesn’t want the small farms. It is counter intuitive but move towards collapse. Just don’t expect a traditional wage when you get there. Expect to be resented for a long period)
“Your remote location should ensure you won’t be overrun, (and) that a manageable number of refugees show up. Your aim should be to treat these folks as well as you treat yourselves and, without abusing them, to turn them into a resource rather than a burden. You will be switching over to a lifestyle where people are needed to replace automation, so that shouldn’t be too hard.”
You can find more from Irv Mills here. http://theeasiestpersontofool.blogspot.com/
Thank you Irv. You saved me a lot of time awkwardly re writing the same thing. I would have droned on and on more about each point. We are going so far on our doomstead as to create low tech housing for urban refugees because we know we will need them…or we will FAIL.
I would like to add more to Irv Mills work. When considering the long term viability of a location, the new Rain Bombs and flash floods must be factored in. Not on a flood plane is the important one but there is more to that. You cannot be near anything that is a water flow area. A nice gully with a trickling creek becomes a water, mud and debris channel when a years amount of water shows up in 24 hours or all the snowpack melts in a week. You have to ask whether the ground you are on will stay in place or other ground is now heading toward you. You will want to ask if your road way will channel water towards you like an artificial river. You will need to know everything upstream from you like, is there an industrial feed lot, where a breach in a manure lagoon will send it into everyone’s well water. As with the Romaine lettuce, E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, diseases associated with feed lots can include poop related infections, antibiotic resistant super strains of bacteria and even spread or mutate viruses, including jumping to humans.
My only critique of Irv’s work would be to point out that much of the agricultural land around small farming towns is entirely based on central irrigation practices, Diesel heavy machinery reliance and imported heavy chemical fertilizer input as well as toxic pesticides. In most cases, the soil is already dead and simply a sponge for fertilizer. Much of it was nominal land to start with, only made viable by the not so Green Revolution (oil revolution) (Hang on. I need to add in, The new same “Green Revolution” of solar and wind is the same oil revolution. No oil, no solar and wind power). Any interruption in these inputs will cease to make them viable. More so, there are very few farmers left and the ones that are left are geared to industrial agriculture. They don’t have the skills to switch back. Any attempt to would mean they couldn’t pay their debts and would lose their land to banks as is happening now. Also keep in mind that a farm is not a magic supply of diverse food. In most cases, it is monoculture. Farmers get their food from the supermarket like everyone else. Rarely do they have their own truck gardens. They are too busy and in most cases they have already lost the skill set or it was lost with the previous generation.
I want to bring in Farmgal here for a horror story she faced.
She shared, “Four years ago, I got a call from a fellow garden guru who asked if I would go on a farm consult. I knew the new land owners as they had bought lamb from my farm over the years. So I said I would love to. Who does not want to see the start of new permaculture based farm. We did soil samples, hiked around, looked things over and talked about what they wanted.”
“Skip ahead three years and Hubby and I went for spring visit. They wanted to show us what had gotten done. LOTS of work was done. It was by the book. There were hugelbeds, raised beds and so much more.. and it was all under producing and or dying or had died. I walked around with a puzzled look on my face for a couple of hours.”
“They were doing everything right, but if they truly had to live off their garden/land, they would be in trouble and they had spent thousands on setup and plans, they had added compost, created compost, they had deep bedded. They had plants that I had gotten at the same time on the same buy in that were producing in some case hundreds of pounds and had made many babies, where on their land, they were stunted things if still alive.. Finally I looked at the edge of a garden bed and smiled as I found some “weeds” that would be good eating”
“Finally I called in the big guns, I put in a request for a Skype call to Becca in the states and we went over it. It clicked for both of us when I said, the land will not even grow enough “weeds” to feed them.. and my hubby who had been listening said, did you notice that the top of the gentle swale’s while struggling were still alive, where the downsides were dead, did it truly click. Four years, that land had never seen a spray.. but before that, it was hay land for 25 plus years… and that land was still “poisoned”… and they can have up to a ten-year recovery time.”
“TEN BLEEDING YEARS.. so much for the idea that we can just take over crop land and add compost, add permaculture gardening principles. Even in their raised beds with imported soil and imported wood chips used as soil cover, they would get a good first year, a poor second year and they were having enough leaching on the lower areas that they could have death in the 3rd year! Think about that. The movement of the water in the pasture was enough to kill off a well created RAISED BED. If food is life… this was death.”
“At least we had a plan for them. You see they have lots of bush land and that land is uphill and never been sprayed. The idea was to use their clean bush as the compost builders. I pushed hard to grow on the edges as that was the only place in our walks that we had some natural wild foods growing. When we sat down for a visit late fall after their first summer with this knowledge, they were pleased to tell me that indeed the edges will produce food when planted, that they moved over to planting on the higher ridges, off set from the way the water drained from the biggest hay field and they had been able to get returns. They also admitted that they thought about selling the land and moving to a different farm that didn’t have this issue as it would be a long coming six plus years to correct this issue.”
“The moral of the story? We can read it in the books. We can have the knowledge. We can have the seeds and the skills to make it but the soil itself can hold the failure. How many years will it be that the water movement though those hay fields will still limit their ability to grow the plants of their choice.”
My moral of the story. Just because you are surrounded by farmland or even purchase a farm, doesnt mean it can sustain the local community or even yourself. It can require years of work, not to grow food… but to grow soil.
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…
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…
Triage is where we circle back around. The connection back to Acceptance. The snake grasping its tail. The Yin-Yang symbol being revealed as a whole. The lion laying down with the lamb. All esoteric symbols without my intention to make any of this esoteric. A simple completion of the circle.
Triage is a term usually used by disaster First Responders. Paramedics, Fire fighters and Doctors.
Wikipedia has this to say about Triage. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate, sift or select. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated. Those responsible for the removal of the wounded from a battlefield or their care afterwards would divide the victims into three categories:
Those who are likely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those who are unlikely to live, regardless of what care they receive;
Those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome.
I simplify Triage in this context as to determining what can be saved and what can not… and must be abandoned. What parts of society, civilization… and people, can be saved and what can not and must be abandoned.
I find myself coming back, again and again to two fiction books. The most unlikely of Survivalist Fiction, based around impossible scenarios that could never happen in the real world. World War Z, by Max Brooks. Do not confuse this with the movie. They have nothing in common. The other book is Dies The Fire, by S.M.Stirling but we will set that aside for now. I find the other prepper fiction out there as lightweight and simply ideology driven excuses for adventure stories, lacking any deep insight.
World War Z is a bunch of mini stories spread out over the planet. I will be mentally drawing from it, with “The Redeker Report” story in mind, as I get into the Triage Principal.
Principles of the Redeker Plan:
Step 1: you can’t save everyone; don’t try. Instead, create a safe zone, preferably one where natural obstacles like mountains and rivers work to your advantage.
Step 2, evacuate the civilians. Not all — Just enough to keep the safe zone supplied with a labor force and to rebuild after the war.
Step 3, throw everyone else into isolated zones. Their mission is to act as human bait, drawing off the zombies away from the safe zone. These people are to be resupplied as needed. After all, the longer they fight the zombies and the more they kill, the less the safe zone will have to deal with later.
Spoiler Alert. I recommend reading both books as a homework assignment (most doomers will have already) but I cant get around revealing the shockers of the short story.
In this story, those who first view his plan respond with revulsion. “God, Help you man”. “God, help us all”. The shock changes when the fictionalized Neslon Mandela steps in and says, “This plan will save our people… This man will save our people.” “Then he embraced the White Afrikaner”. The story ends with the realization that the result of the implementation of Redeker’s plan has cost an emotionally detached Redeker, his detachment. He dissociates mentally and becomes a different personality to cope, a reviled man hidden away in a mental institution.
Hopefully we can avoid this fate by the implementation of Grow It And They Will Come and Build Social Capital Principals. PTSD can be managed or repaired by being part of a group in the same way that addicts draw strength from group in AA or NA.
There is really no need to put any effort into Redekers shocking third plan. That is outside of personal Adaptation and perhaps outside of a fiction story.
It has been common in my writings to quote the more Morally minded preppers creed, “Save as many as you can”. It is borrowed from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” and it is also a moral stopgap against some of the extremes of survivalist thought that could lead to what returning soldiers and psychologists refer to as “Moral Damage”. This moral damage is a large contributor to Veteran Suicide.
In this story, A line is drawn, about half way through the U.S. with those below the line evacuated and those above abandoned. You might look at it as Trump’s wall but in a more reasonable place that wasn’t clearly based on avarice and racism.
Of course the direction is reversed. You abandon those south of the line, saving those in moderate northern climates with some chance of agriculture by precipitation.
If that sounds insane, I repeat the other line from that movie. “You didn’t listen to the science when it could have made a difference”. We are all responsible and these are the options left to us.
There is simply no scenario I can envision on our present course that does not leave large swaths of the planet as uninhabitable, what is left struggling to provide crops and a death toll that would leave the 4 horsemen going, “That’s harsh man. Chill out”.
“Save as many as you can” can not become an abdication from making tough choices. Life and death choices.
I have been meaning to write an article with the provocative title “C5 Explains Why Preppers Are Such Dicks- The Lifeboat Principal”. Perhaps it is best if I do a short, summed up version here. Preppers can seem sociopathic from an outsiders point of view. From the inside, you realize it is a Deep Morality. Those that can not handle that level of deep morality, judge it. It’s one of the stumbling blocks for some that may have Adaptation tendencies… but think they are better than that and thus refuse to go there. For others, it becomes the cop-out clause, allowing them to mentally abdicate responsibility for their future survival and that of others. An Immorality that springs from a false sense of morality.
So, This is the lifeboat principal in a nutshell. The Titanic is going down. You find yourself in the water. There is an empty lifeboat. You swim towards it and climb on board. You then begin pulling others on board. With others on board, you can now row towards others and help them onboard. You have now filled up the boat but the mass of people are still in the water and they are swimming towards you as the only floating object around. Arms are grabbing at the boat. You come to realize that if you take on even one more person, the boat will sink and everyone on board will die as well. So what is the moral or ethical solution? You can not force someone out of their seat. That would be murder. You can give up your seat to someone else and re enter the water to die. Very noble? Not really. You have abdicated responsibility and abandoned those on board to be overwhelmed by those in the water and all die. Once again, your noble, pacifist action is an act of murder. There is only one truly ethical or moral option left to you. You must all pick up the oars and begin smashing the people trying to get on board, lest everyone die. Then you must paddle away from the masses still in the water and leave them to die. Then you all have to learn to live with the painful choice you have made, and perhaps help the others on board as well that have to live with the same choice. The Survivors.
If you can not make that deep ethical decision, please stay out of the boat as you put the others in grave danger. This is why I quoted Orlov in my blog introduction, “collapse is the worst possible time to suffer a nervous breakdown, so please get your blubbering over with ahead of time.” A bit of humor softens the blow.
But please be honest. Some off you have abdicated your ethical responsibility to others by actively choosing not to Adapt. It puts those around you in danger. It’s an ethical or moral FAIL.
Let’s give an example. Food Storage. The first F in C5’s F5’s of Adaptation.
I have been open in sharing with you that we keep on hand at least a year of food. This seems outrageous to those that live hand to mouth or those that rely on consistent re-supply chains like a grocery store. For other experienced preppers, that amount seems laughably lightweight. For Farmgal who has experience hunger and deprivation before, even in Canada with a semi-functioning social safety net, she doesn’t feel comfortable allowing her stores to dip below two and a half years. Other readers have a decades worth of easily storable wheat berries.
In spite of what I said about the survival necessity of sharing food and actively growing enough food to cover many for the sheer security necessity, here is the math reality.
For easy math, we will say MrsC5 and myself have exactly one year of food. If we take in one other couple, this means the four of us can last six months. If we take in three couples, we can only last three months. But it was already untenable the moment we brought in the first couple. We don’t have enough to get us through to the next harvest. That is assuming climate chaos allows the next harvest to even happen. Everyone would die slow instead of MrsC5 and myself surviving and the second couple not.
Here is the associated problems though, that helps to explain why their are so many “Dicks” in the prepper and survivalist worlds. This hard edge is attractive to people that were sociopathic Dicks to start with.
They found a home in the Survivalist/Prepper fantasy world and are now entrenched like ticks. Hard to dig out. They have now overwhelmed the host. The poisonous virus has spread through the body like Lyme Disease. Thus, a few experienced people declaring that Prepping and Survivalism is dead.
So, this gets to our first minor sub principal under the Triage Principle.
DON’T BE A DICK
Sure, I understand that is a bit of the Pot calling the Kettle black. I’ve developed an online personality that mirrors Dick behavior back at Dicks. It’s very intentional. It’s meant to shock dicks back into ethical behavior… and if not, to teach them to be very afraid of the consequences of their behavior. Do not think for one moment that I will not S.S.S. a survivalist Dick that is a threat to others during a collapse. That is, Shoot, Shovel and keep my mouth Shut. I have an ethical responsibility to do so. It is well within my skill set.
The Adaptive skillset to avoid being a Dick and attracting the consequence, is to develop a heightened sense of MANNERS. Excess oil wealth has allowed us to discard this. We have allowed police and government and distance to shield us from the consequence of rudeness to others. Most people will understand that what has happened on social media has gotten out of hand and is damaging society. We have created a monster we can not get back in the genii bottle. “Free Speech” mixed with anonymity… has revealed just how evil humans truly are. Full disclosure. I have certainly lost control and let loose with lethal bile before and suspect it will happen again.
But I have presented this question before. “Do you think a collapse will give you less consequences for your actions… or more?”. I think many Dicks long for collapse and fantasize about it so they can walk away from consequence, or worse, release their inner beast. Their inner Viking. This will get you and those around you killed. Its that simple.
We see this historical Adaptation in truly exaggerated ways in both the English and Japanese cultures. Deeply ritualized Manners and codes of conduct. These evolved because those that hadn’t evolved this Adaptation technique were already dead because someone offended put a sword through them or removed their head and maybe those of their family members or village members as well. You see this in European Court behavior and in more modern times you might see it among Texans. Southerners brag about it. Canadians are known for this behavior, especially by Americans, but we are also known for “dropping the hockey gloves”when it is not recipricated. Organized Crime, Biker or street Gang violence breaks out because someone “Dissed” or Disrespected them. Proper Etiquette in these circles is to say “Respect”, a shortening of, I am not disrespecting you and your ability to bring lethal violence into play if not respected. There would be no greater insult.
So, start developing an exaggerated sense of etiquette as if you life and those of your family depends on it… because it does.
Please. Thank you. Can I give you a hand. Let me get that for you. I apologize. I was in the wrong. Oh, no, You go first. I insist. Respect.
It sounds silly to even point this out but these are all conflict de-escalation techniques and build social inclusion or cohesion.
Hold the door for a stranger. Let someone into traffic.
This is how we avoid the “Make Me First Again” attitude that communicates to others that you can not be trusted and are a threat.
This gets us to our final, Minor Sub Principle.
DON’T BLAME ANYONE BUT YOURSELF FOR NOT ADAPTING
Yes, there are forces plotting against you that hold you down, rob you and unequally distribute your efforts to those at the top… But focusing on that is not going to get you where you need to go. You need to be smarter and more focused to work your way around these obstacles.
It’s a trap.
There is a danger in any declining culture to find scapegoats. Someone to blame for what went wrong in our life. More so, during times of stress or fear, it has been scientifically documented that the human mind has a tendency to see patterns and connections that are NOT THERE. This is the mind trying to bring order back or find meaning in a chaotic time or after a catastrophic life event.
From Nazi Germany after Hyper inflation to Rwandas aftermath of colonization dividing the genetically same people into Hutu and Tutsi, to Alex Jones calling for armed insurrection against anyone that doesn’t believe his bipolar conspiracy insanity.
I hadn’t intended to but I might as well throw in an example. There is a stubbornly persistent conspiracy theory called Agenda 21 where a secret world government is depopulating the world by chem trails, spraying chemicals out of every commercial aircraft in the world and the like. (This is a more PC version of the Jewish Conspiracy theory where it first started floating around). All of this is to make Strong White Americans week so they can be rounded up into FEMA camps to be given the number of the beast. Somehow the believers of this miss the very obvious conclusion that if this secret world government Illuminati exists, then they are the most incompetent people in the world as world population continues to increase exponentially, as are increased world life expectancies. If this conspiracy was real, with the technology we have today, it could have been accomplished over a couple of weeks.
It’s a TRAP.
I see it over and over. There is a lot of people wasting a lot of time on this type of thinking and a lot of collapse commentators that are just regurgitating stuff to others that already believe….. instead of fundamentally ADAPTING there lives to those beliefs.
It all starts by putting some of the principals mentioned above into concrete action.
It starts by putting a shovel in the ground and turning soil. It starts by picking up a hammer or saw to build shelving. It starts by Moving to a location where Adaptation is possible. You are the one responsible for Adapting and you are the one responsible for not.
I want to bring Farmgal back in her before we hit the final Principle. She writes,..
“I have been mulling it around myself.. Talking it out with hubby and a few close friends. I came to understand that one of the biggest issues to me about prepping is that you are always buying/hoarding now in fear of what the future could bring and that the more you have, the more you fall down the prepper hole that says, I will do this and this and own that, so MY family will be able to live a life that is still comfortable when SHTF happens.”
“Adapting in place(to me) is all about living in the moment, understanding that its about your mental head space that is dealing with what is here and now.. right in front of you! Can you find the balance right now to understand what is happening, to make the choice to see it, to make the choice to deal with it in a positive way that will leave you settled. Learning how to function during a slow eating away of our living conditions, or dealing with the here and now when life is ripped out from under your feet.”
“I was listening to CBC the other day and they were talking about the fact that new comers to Canada do not like to camp. They had a refugee come on and talk about that there are no safety nets in the woods, no witnesses… but they had someone who came from a third world country and they said, when you lose your home and you have to leave with what you can carry, you are housed in a tent. To live in a tent is the very proof in front of you that you have lost your home. No one would choose to go live in a tent in the woods, after you have lived in a tent because you had no choice.”
“Hubby asked me what the biggest difference between the two are, and I said.. it does not matter where you live… that is the biggest one to me… if you want to be a effective prepper, you MUST have land to grow food, you must have water and you need, at least in Canada, enough fuel to not freeze to death.. I think the reason preppers love their BUG OUT is because they know.. that when they look at it even just slightly hard that they are humped if they try and live a major crash in the cities.. they will never be able to keep up that “cover” of.. MY family, MY group will do better then yours.”
“However Adapting in place applies to everyone. It means the little grandmother who babysits the little ones so the mothers can work, has value. It means that hippy chick that has turned every space or bit of land into food production has value.”
The last Major Action Principle…
COLLAPSE NOW AND AVOID THE RUSH
Time and time again, those I asked for advice on the subject, kept bringing up the statement by “That Crazy Arch Druid Guy” John Michael Greer. Their words. Not mine. The person that came up with that particular pop statement. Before I stumbled onto him, I had been using a similar meme, “Mutate Now and Avoid the Post Apocalyptic Rush” which I had stole from an 80s comic cover I passed, which was stolen from street graffiti in England which was adapted from the Great Depression/Dust bowl era as “Get Poor Now. Avoid The Rush”
You have to get out in front of it.
If there is one thing you take away from the concept of “The Adapters Movement” and this article, This Is It.
Live TODAY as if the apocalypse is at hand… because it is. It’s actually now being seen in the rear view mirror. WE ARE HERE. It’s not a future event to “Prep” for. And if you haven’t Already started Adapting, you have a long learning curve ahead of you to get through. You are going to have to make a lot of costly mistakes and you want to do this NOW while there is still a semi functional society to make up for your mistakes. It’s that simple. It’s that hard.
My favorite statement of all time by John Michael Greer is that, in the future, people will get used to finding empty, garden in a box kits next to overgrown garden plots and the skeletal remains of preppers, where the learning curve lasted just a little bit longer than they did. Funny but profound.
You are going to need a plan and then, Get To It. Now is a good time to start. 20 years ago would be better.
So, What does this look like in practical actions? I want to bring in Nicole Alderman. She writes…
“Adaption is for me:
Using what resources I have available NOW (gas, electricity, TIME) to set up systems that are more easily sustainable/ For example:
Building garden beds NOW. Those things take time to become productive, and they’re a big pain to make in a rush. If you sheet mulch and start the bed now, it doesn’t take nearly as much time, and you get a better product
Scrounging for fencing and investing in galvanized fencing now. Durable, predator-proof fencing is hard to make in a hurry!..Figuring out how/where/why/what to scrounge
Getting all those plants that multiply now, so that in 5 years my place is taken over by sorrel and strawberries and chives and other edible things.
Insulating the house/adding more mass to the house, etc.
Taking the time NOW to meet my neighbors and become friends and form bonds. Time is at a premium when life gets hard. Use it now while you have it!
Changing my perspective. Thinking about what I NEED and getting in the habit of not wanting so much. Big, forced changes are HARD.
Start eating what you can grow, and figure out what foods you like to eat and how to grow them. If you plant tons of daikon radishes, and they grow great and are pest resistant, but you can’t stand to eat them, then you really shouldn’t plan on surviving on them.
Get used to driving less. Get used to waiting longer before you can buy something
Learn to work hard now. Get used to spending all day working your tail off and not having time to watch netflicks.
Start living without your wants. You may want to sleep in but don’t need to. You may want to buy your kids lots of toys, but you don’t need to. You might want to eat out or go for drives, but you don’t need to. At some point, you might not be able to do those things–if you’re used to going without them by choice, it’ll be easier when you DON’T have the choice.
Everything takes MORE time when life gets hard. The end of the world isn’t playing boardgames inside to pass the time because there’s no electricity. It’s more like all your worst days put together: you get sick, you have less money, more bills, the weather is worse and more crops fail, your kids are screaming, you can and you have NO time to juggle all the balls you NEED to juggle, let alone time to learn those skills you hoarded books for. Get good at things now, because you’re not going to have time to do so when life goes nuts.
See my thread (The reality of homesteading has dissolved my “prepper”/homesteading fantasies, where I learned that if I can’t do something now, like eat a ton of radishes, or maintain my tools , or form a community, or chop fodder for my ducks), I sure wouldn’t be able to do so when life gets nuts!
Learn skills and get good at them now, so they are second nature and you get most of the kinks out before your life really depends on it. Figure out gardening, figure out raising lifestock, figure out mending and building, etc. Get past the worst of those learning curves–those can be steep!
Use less. Reuse more. Our world is so wasteful. It’s ingrained in us to use more reseouces than our world can sustain. Make your life more “closed system” where you don’t need as many outputs and can reuse more of what you do have
Help as many people move up the “Eco-scale” and be less wasteful, grow more food, and gain more skills. Why do you think I write?”
Nicole also adds about the importance of teaching Adaptation techniques to children, as they will be the ones inheriting this new world, and much of what we will be building is multi-generational in nature. We don’t plant an Oak Tree for ourselves. We do it so the survivors have acorns.
One last thought from Nicole,
“One way I like to think about it is: ‘Live like it’s the end of the world, because in many ways it kind of is almost there!’ For me, this is a really helpful mentality. I always liked dystopian novels. Now I can just think of myself as a character in one of those novels, and it’s suddenly more epic to be maintaining my tools or eating squash I grew!”
With that in mind, do you remember the 70s piece of music I started this article with? If you are going to be the hero of your own apocalyptic novel, I thought you might like an epic version for your personal soundtrack to get you motivated and remind you of optimism in the face of overwhelming odds.
So, lets revisit the Adaption principles to help commit them to memory.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
SELF SUFFICIENCY IS A MYTH
ADAPTING WILL NOT CURE YOUR EXISTENTIAL ANGST
MAKE FOOD FIRST AGAIN
GROW IT AND THEY WILL COME
OPENNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
BUILD SOCIAL CAPITAL
DON’T BE A DICK
DON’T BLAME ANYONE BUT YOURSELF FOR NOT ADAPTING
COLLAPSE NOW AND AVOID THE RUSH
Before I bring this to an end and open the door to the peer reviewers, I wanted to bring in one more commentor from when I first floated this idea. They wrote,
“An ‘Adapters Movement’? That’s just another label for Permaculture.
“According to Mollison and Holmgren: Permaculture is an ‘… integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.’ ”
“Integration and evolution = adaptation.”
This post is not meant to be the Be All and End All of the Adapters Movement. This is simply the sum up of a life’s work in the survivalist world, wrestling with what works and what does not. My life. This is the best of my life experience to offer to the world to help. I find that I am still mentally held back by my old school survivalist thinking. Where the real work begins is when the next generation, unsullied by old survivalism, take up these principles… and begin to expand on them, evolving creative Adaptive solutions and implimentation. This movement is theirs. Not mine. I simply gave it a name. They are the ones that will have to live in this new world.
I now open the floor.
Farmgal adds, “I am so very pleased and excited that C5 has taken on the very heavy job of working though this and has taken the time to create this project as the jumping off point for those that agree. I will be bringing a version of it to my own blog and sharing it
Adapt in place.. Focus on the here and now..”
Nicole Alderman adds- Today I was driving with my husband though a rapidly-growing suburbia and city, and I turned to him and said, “I don’t know which is worse to live in, a slow collapse that takes over 100 years, with the continual expansion of suburbia destroying our environment and society crumbling though social media and more invasive technology…or a quicker collapse that happens in our lifetime with more forest fires and extreme weather and lots of starvation. Both are ugly dystopias…” He responded, “We’re living in it right now.” He’s right.
When I read Category5’s writings, his ideas makes sense. C5’s principles for adaption are good principles for living even if there isn’t a collapse, but are vital if there is one. But, honestly, I think “collapse” isn’t some distant event; it’s right now, and we’ve done it to ourselves, and the longer it goes on, the worse it will become. I hope and I pray that we can halt it before it becomes a total nightmare. I try to teach people how to use less resources and grow more food. To be better stewards of the resources we have. To adapt today. I try to, as Paul Wheaton says, “Build a Better World.” Will we succeed? I don’t know, but I sure will try–for my children, for everyone around the world, and for future generations.
Michael Jensen adds- There’s a bunch of great in these four posts. Rational realism meets hardnosed futurism. Pragmatic practicality. And a recognition of the community as key to the survival of any individual associated with it.
I just got back from work-related travels in southern India. I visited as many rural small villages as I could. There, thousand-year-old cultures of localized survival demonstrate many of these themes. And there, I saw how unlikely a “recovery” scenario is — they will have their scooters, and motorcycles, and transport, no matter what. I paid closest attention to the smallest villages, where self-sustainability might actually be possible, if there’s still water over the next decade….
I think my favorite Principle is ‘Don’t be a Dick.’ Being a not-Dick goes a very long way towards being an Asset to Your Community. If you can become an AYC (Asset to Your Community), then your chances of success in the new Adapter economy are dramatically increased.
Crazy times we’re living in — yet we may be able to pull a sane civilization out of this insanity. May that be so.
De Nob, Administrator of the Canadian Preppers Network and the International Preppers Network adds- “Let’s just say that I’ve been frustrated lately with the established “prepper leadership” in general.
Way too much product promotion, dishonest product reviews, useless political posturing, and don’t even get me started on all the idiots comparing survival knives like frat boys laying their junk out on the table to see whos is bigger.
It’s long past time to shake that tree.”
Irv Mills adds “Category 5 has put forth some serious good ideas here on the subject of adapting. Ignore them at your own peril.”
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 though. 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!.. 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”.