So why do I so strongly believe that rural prepping is a necessity in today’s culture. Well, I’ve lived in a small town, a big city and now, in a rural environment. In my humble opinion, there seem to be inherent situations in an urban environment that would become serious issues when the poop hits the propeller.
1 – population density. This can lead to a number of issues in a disaster or collapse situation. First of all, there a significantly more people per square mile that will be trying to gather whatever remaining supplies are left. This can lead to two issues...price gouging as supply dwindles in comparison to demand, and outright fighting over supplies that are left, if any at all. If there are simply no supplies left on store shelves, many people will simply begin stealing from neighbours. Take a news story from last week’s show, where Montreal residents were without drinkable tap water for a relatively short period of time. Within hours of the advisory, local grocery stores were completely out of bottled water. Imagine for a moment that this was an extended situation. In order to survive, many people would simply begin to steal from others. This is a basic human instinct. In general, human morality will keep us from resorting to such tactics, but in a survival situation, instinct will kick in and morality will decay. In response, also by human instinct, those who have will defend their stashes of supplies and thus, fighting and violence will erupt.
2 – population density. The more people you cram into a square mile, the more diverse will be the personalities. There is simply a greater chance of running into those who prey on “easy targets”. This is not to say that every suburban or rural dweller is morally perfect, however with a lower population density, their absolute quantity is reduced.
3 – population density. In an urban environment, there is always activity. When you live in the city, there is always a police, fire, or ambulance siren somewhere within earshot. The constant chatter of passersby, traffic, and general background noise is often numbed out of one’s ears. Thus, audible indications of a dangerous situation in the vicinity becomes next to impossible to detect. Also, one can almost never discern if an attack is directed at you or one of the other dozens of people within spitting distance. Personal space is severely reduced, making perimeter defence difficult at best, more akin to impossible.
4 – Self sufficiency, or lack of opportunity. Within an urban environment, growing your own food becomes a minimalist endeavour. A few potted plants by a window are the best many could ever hope to grow. The concrete jungle lends itself poorly to foraging, unless you consider urban foraging, a fancy term that simply put is garbage picking particularly appeals to you. As for livestock, well forget about raising a few chickens for eggs or meat. Your only sources of wild proteins are rats, pigeons, and squirrels, if you’re lucky.
Stockpiling becomes difficult with a lack of space and the complacency that often overcomes city dwellers. The idea that the grocery store will always be there and full of food is commonplace. Many metropolitains cities are banning the installation of wood based heating systems in an attempt to reduce smog issues. Some cities, such as many subdivisions of Montreal, have even banned the use of existing installations. Although in a collapse situation, one could probably get away with their use, where would you fins a fuel supply now that such fuel is basically useless and without demand. True, an urban environment has a certain supply of wood that could be used for heating & cooking such as park trees, discarded furniture, pallets, etc, but I refer you back to point #1.
A vast majority of inner urban dwellers do not own homes, but rather rent tiny apartments, thus all but eliminating the possibility of alternative heating, cooking & water collection systems. Anyone who attempted to install a wood stove into an apartment would surely be tossed out without a thought. Even a small BBQ on a balcony would work, but every other tenant would then set their sights on you as someone who not only had food, but a means of cooking it to.
Suburban life has less intense population density, but the same issues plague the typical home in the burbs. There may be enough land to plant a small garden, or even one big enough to support a small family, but neighboring home are often a few feet away. Don’t think for a minute that your suburban heighbors will refrain from stealing from you any more than an inner city citizen. Human nature will kick in during a collapse scenario regardless.
Here is where rural life has a few advantages. As population density dwindles, so does the number of post apocalyptic zombies. Rural dwellers tend, and I stress tend, to be more self reliant. Many of them who have lived in the area for a year or more have become accustomed to extended power failures, harsher storms, and more scarce sources of restocking the pantry. As a result, many have taken precautions against such situations, and in the process, become unwitting preppers themselves. In my neighbourhood, almost everyone has a wood stove and a supply of firewood, generator and stored gas, a full pantry, and grows much of their own food. Water barrels are commonly found underneath downspouts and on weekends, most everyone is engaged in some sort of DIY project from home improvement to auto repair. Local farmers areselling fresh eggs and yes, some even raw milk...shhhhhh I won’t tell if you won’t. I know all of my neighbours by name with the exception of the occasional cranky old man down the road who doesn’t talk to anyone. We share our sources for raw materials for around the home projects and often help each other out if not physically, then with some friendly advice on how a certain problem can be most easily solved. Yes, without even knowing it, most people living around me are preppers. The only thing is, around here it is simply how one lives. An ice storm could easily leave us without power for not days, but weeks. A blizzard could block the local roads for days before the plows were able to clear us out. People around here have simply accepted this as the way life is and made sure that these situations affect our lives as little as possible.
Foraging for food would be as easy as opening the refrigerator. Plant and animal life are everywhere and in such quantities as to sustain the population count. As for a defensible perimeter, well, let me tell you that the most subtle disturbance in the normal peacefulness would have ears perked, both human and canine. Yes, owning a dog is as commonplace in the country as owning a house. Zombies be damned, around here, you have no element of surprise.
So with prepping being so commonplace in rural settings, why does it seem to be so difficult to get the idea to grow into a mainstream movement? Certainly, it isn’t due to a lack of informative resources. Forums & blogs such as the CPN & APN, along with countless other online sites do a great job of informing us with any number of meathods to any number of topics. Although KPRN is likely the most diverse prepper radio station around, there are any number of podcast networks with a multitude of hosts regularly pounding prepping into our brains. So with resources abound, what seems to be the problem. Let’s take a lookat the issues I mentioned above regarding the urban environment. Population density rears it’s familiar head once again. With such a high percentage of the population living in a complacent scenario, where the water will always flow from the tap, electricity will always be just an outlet away, and food just a short trip to the corner market, is it any wonder that the majority of sheeple refuse to believe that anything bad could happen. If you lose your job, the government will send you a check. If the power goes out for more than a few hours, then te local town will provide a shelter. Hard time finding food, well there’s always a church group, food bank or something like that available. The fact is that too many people have become falsly reliant on some form of government handout. When the fecal matter flies, and I mean really flies, like after an earthquake, tornado, major hurricane or major ice storm, those resources will simply become overwhelmed and available to only a few if any. But these agencies, as well intentioned as they are, have simply instilled a false sense of security. And people in general, simply believe they don’t have to REALLY worry about taking care of themselves.
Now let’s take a look at the media. Many of you heard my rant last week regarding a certain “documentary” show and how they portrayed preppers. Yes, it is true that there are many preppers out there who have taken things to the extreme with fortified underground bunkers, 25 plus year supplies of wheat, rice, & beans and to those people, well, kudos quite frankly, If this is the level of prepping you believe is necessary to survive the future, then all the power to you.
But not every prepper believes that the world as we know it is about to come to a screeching halt. To many of us, the government will not simply fail and disappear sometime around next Tuesday. A comet is not expected to crash to earth and destroy almost every living thing, and neither are the Chinese about to take over North America in a cleverly planned coup.
We simply want to be ready for the everyday crud that mother nature tosses our way along with the occasional human blunder that causes some sort of disruption to our everyday lives.
So why, when we want to spread the word about prepping do we come up against such resistance. Why does it seem that people consider preppers to be some sort of radical group of rebellious hillbillies to be feared and mocked?
Has society groomed the majority into believing that preparing for an uncertain future just isn’t necessary?
Could it be that the everyday practice of stocking up on food and other essential supplies like our grandparents did just isn’t required in today’s society?
Why have the terms prepper & survivalist become synonymous with lunatic & nutjob?
All you have to do is go to google images and search for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, nuclear accidents, or any number of natural or man made disasters you can think of. What you will find is not just horrifying, but true. This is not science fiction. This is not the predictions of some midevil mind. This is not the imagination of a cult guru promising salvation from a magical spaceship. This is what has happened around the world, and much of it recently. Not convinced it could happen to you? Narrow your search by adding your province to the search term.
But still, when I try to talk to people about the most basic preparedness, the plethora of excuses continues to astound me. Honestly, what do you need to convince you that a few basic supplies is not only ideal, but a requirement of life?
To try to combat the complacency so commonplace today, I have decided to start another new segment to the show starting next week. DISASTER OF THE WEEK will highlite a natural or manmade disaster in Canadian history and outline it’s scope & effects on the people affected by it. I will also be starting a blog to go along with it with pictures and an explanation of what you would be in for if it happened to you. I’ll get the blog link to you in next week’s show, as it will take me a bit of time to get things up and running. Hopefully, enough people will see this and decide that being ready for the unknown is not only a great idea, but one that is long overdue.