Friday, May 16, 2008
Working Citizen - Concerned with paying rent & utilities, keeping or getting health insurance, paying taxes, inflation, car repairs, leaky plumbing, back pains... May work two jobs, does without personal luxuries, hopes their children will do better than themselves. Emotional, physical and financial survival is the focus of daily life.
Upwardly Mobile - Concerned about aging, retirement investments, cholesterol levels, loss of employment, lawsuits, burglaries, bandwidth, clothes dryer lint fires. Takes vitamins, exercises, eats oatmeal, wears seatbelts, has smoke & carbon-monoxide detectors, requests medical tests, has numerous insurance policies, files lawsuits, pampers themselves wherever ,whenever possible. "Survival" to them means living long enough to take full benefit of extensive retirement plans and long term care insurance policies.
Medical Crisis - Has very complete medical pack in house and in car. Donates blood and is active in the Red Cross. Has taken paramedic EMT & CPR courses, knows vital signs, stockpiles medicines, etc. Concerned with vehicle accidents and emergencies involving injuries. Focus is on helping family, friends & community survive medical emergencies.
Safety Preparedness - Learns principles and techniques needed for surviving worse-case scenarios that can occur anyplace, anywhere. Makes preparations for such common calamities as building fires, dog attacks, physical confrontations, lightning strikes, car breakdowns, third-world travel problems, flash floods, home invasions and even train wrecks. Reads: Survive Safely Anywhere, Worse-Case Scenario Handbooks
Wilderness Survival - Being able to stay alive for indefinite periods in life threatening wilderness scenarios. These can include: plane crashes, shipwrecks, being lost in the woods. Concerns are: thirst, hunger, climate, terrain, health, stress, fear. Prepares with: knowledge, training & practice. Kit includes: water purifiers, shelter, fire starters, clothing, food, medical supplies, navigation & signaling gear. Reads: Nessmuk, Kephart, Angier, Mears
Personal Assault Survival - Individuals concerned with surviving brief encounters of violent activity. Focus is on personal protection & it's legal ramifications, danger awareness, Boyd's cycle (also known as the OODA cycle - observe, orient, decide & act), martial arts, self defense tactics and tools (both lethal & less-than-lethal). Reads: Ayoob, Cooper, Jordan, Applegate, Sanow, Marshall, Taylor, Steele, Sun Tzu
Natural Disaster, Brief - People that live in tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall areas and want to be prepared for the inevitable. Investment in material for fortifying structures and tools for rebuilding & constructing temporary shelter, perhaps have a below ground shelter, food, water, medicine, and supplies, enough to get by until contact with the rest of the world resumes.
Natural Disaster, Years Long - Concerned about long term weather cycles of 2-10 years, unusually cold or warm periods, that have happened on and off for thousands of years. Might stock several tons of food per family member and have a heavy duty greenhouse with packed in nitrogen non-hybrid seeds.
Natural Disaster, Lifelong - Possible scenarios include: severe global warming and the coming ice age, the greenhouse-effect-gone-wild, warming/cooling of gulf steam waters, large meteor strike, shift in earth's axis or reversal of geo-magnetic fields... Owns maps of previous ice age glacier patterns and are hopeful they live south of the permafrost line. May have purchased snowshoes. Reads reports by National Academy of Science and Woods Hole Physical Oceanography Dept.
General Social/Political Decline, Liberal - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of the constitution & the bill of rights. Into anti-crime measures, both passive (alarms) and active (neighborhood watch). Most often anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-environment, anti- war, against prayer in school, against death penalty... Supporters of the ACLU, Amnesty International, Ban Handguns in America, Greenpeace.
General Social/Political Decline, Conservative - Concerned about growing cultural problems and the slow destruction of the constitution & the bill of rights. Into anti-crime measures, both passive (alarms) and active (Rottweilers & guns). Most often pro-gun, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro- national defense, for prayer in school, pro-death penalty... Supporters of Attorney General Ashcroft, Rush Limbaugh, NRA, the Alaska "Support Industry" Alliance.
Cold War "Survivalists" - Fear homeland invasion by nation's enemies, whether foreign or domestic. This was a group of substantial size before the fall of the Soviet Union. True-believers currently suspect the U.N. of one-world domination plans and fear black helicopters, government intervention & taxation. The majority of these people have relocated to other groups. Favorite movies: Red Dawn, Mad Max trilogy.
Nuclear War - These folks know all primary, secondary & tertiary targets, downwind fallout patterns and chose to live in locales they deem to be safest in the event of all out nuclear war. They've built fallout shelters and have the necessary food, water, tools and skills to see them though. Other groups also prepare for nuclear war as an exercise, in that if you are prepared for nuclear war, you are prepared for all other scenarios. Reads: Tappan, Kearny, Clayton.
Bio-Chem - Concerned with the spread of fatal diseases and terrorist use of biological agents & nerve gases. Examples: E.Coli 0157, botulism, dengue, Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease, SARS, rabies, hantavirus, anthrax, plague, cholera, HIV, ebola, marburg, lassa, saron, VX ... Might own NBC (nuclear, biological & chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, Nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape. Reads: CDC reports, Haz-Mat manuals, Preston's "Hot Zone"
Knowledge-Enabled Mass Destruction (KMD) - Concerned with unintended consequences of genetic manipulation, nano-technology, transgenic crops, psychological engineering, genome hybridized cloning, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, engineered organisms, self-replicating molecular robotic assemblers ("gray goo problem")... Techno-luddites fear human extinction. At the other end are the bioethicists who believe policies and self regulation will avert disaster. Reads: Kurzweil, Kaczynski, Moravec, Dyson
Over-Population - Soaring increase in world's uncontrolled human growth impacts available freshwater, food, health-care, environment, economics, consumerism, spread of diseases and just about every other facet of life. projections indicate that world population of 6.2 billion may again double in fifty years. Followers range from those who've foregone children & have had voluntary sterilization to those who've embrace large families and only then sound the alarm, like Al Gore, David Packard (H-P founder) and Sripati Chandrasekhar (India's birth control advocate). Supports: Family planning, birth control and voluntary sterilization.
Monetary Disaster - Reads lots of Ayn Rand and believe the Federal Reserve system is evil. Newsletters suggest hard assets of gold & silver bullion/coin and similar precious-metal oriented investments. They are preparing for paper money to become worthless, thus have a good burglar alarm system and enough food/ supplies to last a couple of months, or perhaps even a year, until a new monetary system (formal or informal) is re-established.
Biblical Revelations - The Savior is going to return very soon, the final battle with the devil will occur in their lifetime, the rapture is eminent. Very wide range of beliefs and attitudes in this group. Pacifist to armed camp, no food stockpiles (leave that to God) to decades of food storage, etc. The ability to put trust in faith, above all else, is essential to members of this group. Usually follow one very charismatic leader's interpretations of the bible.
Post-9/11 Reactionaries - Are convinced that government should have unlimited powers to do everything and anything to stop all potential terrorist threats. They want greater protection through increased governmental controls over citizens and foreigners alike, both within the country's borders and elsewhere. Willing to preemptively strike the enemy. Willing to surrender civil liberties and human rights in order to feel safe and secure. Believers rarely take any personal action, relying instead on the government to make changes.
PROMINENT mutations of bird flu are resistant to one of the main antiviral drugs Australia has stockpiled in case of an outbreak, new research reveals.
A report in Nature - an international weekly journal of science - has found common mutations of the H5N1 bird flu virus that have emerged in human influenza are resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
However, they are still "strongly inhibited" by an alternative drug Relenza.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The majority of readers (67%) believe economic collapse will be our undoing, closely followed by climate change (17%), with a possible pandemic (influenza etc) and World War III tying for third place with 15%. The least likely scenario embraced by readers was an asteroid strike (5%).
Given the skyrocketing price of oil, the shockwaves of the sub-prime mortgage fallout, various drought and flood events that have pushed up the price of food (combined with petrol price hikes), it's little surprise that economic collapse is at the forefront of readers' minds.
Stay tuned for a fresh survey :^)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
But wait, there's more!
I've always been mad-keen on falconry, but there doesn't seem to be much of a 'scene' in Australia. But that doesn't mean I can't read about it, and this book definitely has survival merit IMHO - Falcon Fever: A Falconer in the Twenty-first Century by Tim Gallagher.
And lastly, of interest to Australians is Australia's Empire (Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series) by Deryck Schreuder. I loved this particular quote:
"From the 1850s, survivalist anxieties became a feature of colonial political culture as rival European powers made their presence felt in the Pacific. These dangers were often more imaginary than real, as the succession of Russian invasion scares indicates; but this did not curtail their capacity to influence colonial attitudes and defence strategies." So we've always been paranoid!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like:
Burned, underdone, crude --
Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling.
One moment of knowing that
If you don't want to end up singing this kind of refrain when the shit hits the fan (TSHTF) or things are otherwise generally tough, some forward planning insofar as your personal food storage is concerned is mandatory.
Don't go crazy buying kilos of rice because everyone else is doing it, if you can't stand the stuff. Adhere to that favourite survivalist maxim 'Eat what you store and store what you eat!'
Keep a food diary for a fortnight and record every meal and normal shopping purpose, then sit down and work out what foods make yup your normal intake.
Now compare this to lists at one of these websites:
And then have a tinker with these food calculators:
Now go shopping! Be sure to reach for produce at the very back of shelves (the longer life/more recently manufactured foods are - just like they should be in your own kitchen - often stored here.
If you're a cereal lover, it's not a bad idea to buy bulk. Cereal is a great filler and I know many lazy folk who, when they can't be bothered, will often dine on cereal for dinner! Combined with long-life milk which can be stored on shelves until opened, this is a great addition to your stores.
Large tins of fruit are also good buys, as are jars of Tang (vitamin C), Milo, coffee, tea, chai, cheap 'tea' biscuits (check packaging is intact), crackers etc.
When shopping, avoid crowds - shop late at night, or in off-peak times (ie not on pension/dole/pay days). Try not to draw too much attention to yourself. Shop at different supermarkets, chase bargains and - most importantly - ensure you can store food in a safe way free of weevils and mice/rats.
Go easy on frozen foods - if the power goes, so does several hundred dollars worth of meat and other produce. A good idea to prolong the life of your freezer for a day or so is to line it with bottles of water which will freeze, and defrost, very slowly.
For the cupboard, Bay leaves can deter moths, but freezing flour etc overnight ensures any eggs will be killed, then your produce can be safely stored.
The monster 253-page guide is packed with helpful hints and divided into ecosystems, making it easy to reference if you ever find yourself lost in the Amazon or stuck in the middle of the Sahara...but how relevant is it for your average 'survivor'?
Monday, May 12, 2008
They're nature's tireless workers - no wonder they call them busy.But you've probably never considered just how busy bees really are.
Well, consider this, these humble little insects are responsible for pollinating much of the food we eat.
Without them, we'd starve.
And this is where it gets scary.
Because, right now, a tiny parasite is threatening to wipe out our bees.
It's already destroyed bee populations around the world.
And, now, it's on our doorstep in New Zealand.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
A report to be released today finds that Australia has more to fear from natural disasters than a terrorist attack.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report says Australia is not well placed to deal with a major natural disaster and governments need to pay more attention to emergency response management.
The report finds that since September 11, 2001, governments have spent around $10 billion on counter-terrorism initiatives, but only $500 million on emergency response capabilities.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Great Scott, what kind of empire thrives without an iconic beverage like tea? Not the British empire, which was plagued by fears of a potential dramatic shortage of tea in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, recently declassified documents show.
A tea drought would be "very serious" if Britain were to come under nuclear attack, according to a memo drafted between 1954 and 1956.
"The tea position would be very serious with a loss of 75 percent of stocks and substantial delays in imports and with no system of rationing it would be wrong to consider that even one ounce (28 grams) per head per week could be ensured," it said. "No satisfactory solution has yet been found."The memos were among a number of documents released by the National Archives.
What happens when one partner believes the end is nigh, and the other partner's preparations for 'the big one' are regarded as a quaint, somewhat eccentric hobby? A UK journalist was in that very predicament until prevailing world events changed her mind - and she's written about it in a recent issue of UK's Guardian newspaper.
"For three years, my husband has talked about taking to the hills. About buying a smallholding on Exmoor where, with our four-year-old daughter, we can safely survive the coming storm - famine, pestilence and a total breakdown of society. I would wait for his lectures to finish, then return to my own interests. I had no time for the end of civilisation. As an editor on a glossy magazine until a few months ago, I was too busy. There was always a new Anya Hindmarch bag to buy, or a George Clooney premiere to attend.
"But recently, I've wavered. Much of what he has been predicting has come true: global economic meltdown, looming environmental disaster, a sharp rise in oil and food prices that has already led to the rationing of rice in the US, and riots in dozens of countries worldwide."
University of Western Sydney medical researchers are launching a study to investigate how Australians would cope psychologically and emotionally in the face of an emergency, including a nuclear accident or attack.
The confidential online survey will gauge what Australians know, think and feel about nuclear and radiological issues and canvas concerns they may have about accidents and terrorism involving nuclear materials. Similar surveys have been carried out in Canada and Europe.
Professor Beverley Raphael, from the School of Medicine's Science of Mental Health and Adversity Unit (SCIMHA), says information is an important resource for helping Australians cope with the psychological and emotional challenges of any emergency.
"It's vital we establish the community's perceptions of potential threats, their knowledge of the dangers and their expectations of the response of government and emergency services," says Professor Raphael, who is also the Chair of the National Committee advising on mental health impacts of terrorism and disasters.
The survey asks questions about how people have reacted in previous emergencies and how they would react in different situations involving accidents or attacks, their level of preparedness, and their thoughts on matters such as nuclear and radiological issues and the likelihood of a terrorist strike in Australia.
"While it is unlikely that such an incident will happen, it is important to understand how individuals think they would respond and, if an incident did occur, which sources they would turn to for critical emergency information," says Professor Raphael.
"In general, people respond well to such challenges and are emotionally resilient. However, education can focus on helping people to be better prepared and to understand the most effective ways to deal with such a threat."
"Previous international research has shown people are less anxious about potential threats and dangers if they are better informed," she says.
"While there are substantial initiatives in place to deal with any such threat and to protect the population, there is the need for greater understanding of ways in which people would cope with any stresses involved and how they might best be supported afterwards," says Professor Raphael.
The research results will be used to help improve the community's understanding of emergency preparedness programs and the response of emergency services that are first on the scene of an accident or attack.
This UWS research is supported by the Federal Government with assistance from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
The survey can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2x6z9o and will remain open until mid May 2008.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Alex Steffen, a journalist and editor based in Seattle, is one of those "daring to prepare" for a coming "tiny apocalypse".
"The systems we rely on are brittle and facing strain," he says. "Here in Seattle we are vulnerable to earthquakes and I also live near a big volcano. Climate change is causing more extreme weather events. There could be a global bird flu outbreak or some other pandemic."
For these reasons, Steffen and his girlfriend have stocked six weeks' worth of food in their basement and have invested in a water-purifying kit. "We are taking precautions," he says, referring to himself as an "urban liberal survivalist".
"All I could think about was how empty the city was. Sydney wasn’t sleeping, it died on March 21. It was a corpse. Where there had been so much life, and drama, and laughter, there was now no breathe, no movement, nothing.Still and dead.Tens of thousands of utterly lifeless apartments and offices and mansions and weatherboard cottages and supermarkets and coffee shops and bars. The best city in the world was already decaying around us, eight weeks after ED Day."
Thursday, May 1, 2008
"As the survivalist instinct rises in all of us, it's worth asking ourselves, How much of this should I do for real emergency preparedness and how much for an investment because everyone else is feeling the same way?
"Much of the current growth in survivalism comes from people who, having witnessed the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, are adopting measures to ensure that they will at least have food and shelter in a worst-case scenario. They stock up on emergency food supplies and water and maybe look into solar panels - things that would be considered reasonable to anyone who lived through the Cold War and spent time in school learning to huddle under a desk should anyone press the big red button. Those things just seem like Good Common Sense."
This interesting article from the San Franciso Chronicle shows that even seasoned global strategists are getting gloomy about the future:
"The traditional face of survivalism is that of a shaggy loner in camouflage, holed up in a cabin in the wilderness and surrounded by cases of canned goods and ammunition.
"It is not that of Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley. Yet in Biggs' new book, "Wealth, War and Wisdom," he says people should "assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure."
"Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food," Biggs writes. "It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe, there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down."If that doesn't make the average person sit up and take interest, then nothing will. We are all in control of our own destinies, but a destabilising event such as economic collapse resulting in a breakdown of society could redirect the future of us all. The question is - will you be prepared for the fallout? Will you survive?