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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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What Are You Prepared To Live Without?

What Are You Prepared To Live Without?

One of the things about prepping is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. Granted, we all believe in food storage and having things on hand to survive a disaster or a power outage. However, I think sometimes the emphasis on accumulating things gets out of hand. We focus on stuff instead of skills. We don’t think about the idea that we could be living without a lot of things.

If you are preparing for a long-term event, you can only accumulate and use things until you run out of them or have a plan to replace them eventually. You can keep a lot of food on hand, but you need a way to replenish the food. Most people will garden or raise livestock. You can only keep so much potable water on hand before you have to come up with a way to replenish that water. The list goes on, but eventually, we will have to find ways to replenish what we have or live without them. Our priorities will shift in a hurry to important things like food, water, and shelter.

As Americans, we like to accumulate a lot of stuff that doesn’t really have a meaning to us. We think we need a lot of things that we really don’t need. We are subject to a culture that wants us to buy more and more without consequence. We are encouraged to buy new whenever possible and throw away the old. We are bombarded with processed food and gadgets to make life much easier.

The problem is that in terms of a cataclysmic event, we would probably not have those things available to us at all or would run out shortly. In a short-term disaster or power outage, we would probably not have those things to rely on.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

As you well know, many surface water sources must be treated before drinking because they are repositories for bacteria, viruses, and a slew of parasites both microscopic and/or larger.

I have written several articles for Ready Nutrition about water purification methods, as well as methods for water storage. What we’re doing here is “cutting to the chase” to let you know about a product that will do more than just do in a pinch: it will suffice for a long, long time and work quickly and almost effortlessly.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a compact, portable, three-part “system” that you can stick into a cargo pocket of your pants or shorts with ease. It can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel such as a water bottle, or you can hook up the straw that comes with it and drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch. It comes with a pouch of its own that you can fill up with water and then squeeze through the filter into a bottle or other drinking vessel.

The Sawyer was invented a few years back through experimentation with kidney dialysis equipment, and they came up with a filter that uses a 0.1-micron filter that circulates the water to be filtered through fibrous micro-tubes, for a central collection of filtered water.  It works on protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as E.coli, cholera, and salmonella, and also on more “difficult” organisms such as Cryptosporidium. Want the “kicker” for this thing?

It filters up to 100,000 gallons

If you drank 2 gallons a day, in 100 years, you would drink about 74,000 gallons. Pretty good, huh? The whole thing weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, JJ’s tips here are simple when you use this thing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Water Harvesting Earthworkds “Design to Reality”. Part 1.

WATER HARVESTING EARTHWORKS “DESIGN TO REALITY”. PART 1

So, you have been contacted by a client and you’ve discussed the client’s brief. You’ve started to look at the contour map, aerial images, whatever data you can find on the site. And with the client brief in mind, always remembering WATER IS LIFE, you set to the task of patterning the landscape using functional forms.

You start to look at what’s the most economical way to hold water in the landscape, move water around the landscape passively and make it perform as many duties as possible before it leaves the site.

Next is to develop the mainframe design theme. A big part of this is looking for high water storage sites. So we take the approach of looking at the contour map to take into account where the highest possible spot is, where water can safely be stored on the site in dams, (always considering how much catchment area is above the potential dam site or if there are any hard-surface run-off areas above the dam site).

Reader’s will understand catchment area, but hard surface run-off areas aren’t so well utilised and it’s just a bit of pattern recognition to identify when you look at a new site.

Identifying hard surface run off areas

Hard surface run-off areas with a bit of design thinking, can brought into our water harvesting systems. At times it doesrequire good observation skills to identify them, but there are generally clues for the observer.

There are many examples of hard surface run-off areas, sometimes called ‘hard-ware’. Your roof, a road, any compacted surface or a rock outcrop are all examples of ‘hard-ware’.

Gravel roads run off 85% of the water that hits the surface. Concrete areas 100% minus whatever evaporates, and your roof 100%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Analysts Warn We’re Running Out of Resources Needed to Sustain Life on Our Planet

Analysts Warn We’re Running Out of Resources Needed to Sustain Life on Our Planet

Have you ever heard of Earth Overshoot Day? No? Neither had I. It’s the day each year that we use up the resources that can be renewed within that year. This year, it was on August 1st, so for the rest of the year, we’re living on borrowed resources.

It reminds me of the economy and quantitative easing. There’s only so far we can push it until there’s nothing left from which to borrow. While the analysts say this is all related to climate change, a theory that many find dubious, one thing is absolutely certain – they’re right about the looming shortage of resources. And a lot of it is because Westerners are so incredibly wasteful as a society.

Water

Look at water, for example. Droughts have stricken us here in parts of the United States for years, and blogger Michael Snyder has suggested it could quickly lead to a return to Dustbowl conditions similar to those of the 1930s. South Africa has barely managed to push back Day Zero, the day in which Cape Town runs completely out of water, using stringent rationing methods.

Even parts of the US that aren’t in drought conditions are seeing frequent water crises, with algae blooms, toxic run-off, chemical spills, and tainted municipal water. Doesn’t it seem to you that these things are happening a lot more often?

The global water shortage is coming fast.

 At this point, approximately 40 percent of the entire population of the planet has little or no access to clean water, and it is being projected that by 2025 two-thirds of humanity will live in “water-stressed” areas.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Making charcoal

Making charcoal

 

Growing up I knew charcoal as the square, chemical-soaked briquettes people bought in bags and poured into the barbecue grill once a summer. Like so much else in our lives it came from a store, wrapped in plastic and pre-treated for shelf life, with no sense that it shared a name with something amazingly useful, which hundreds of generations had made themselves.

Charcoal is simply wood that has been burned without oxygen, either by being heated but sealed away from oxygen or, more commonly, setting it on fire and then cutting it off from the air, keeping the wood from burning completely into ash. Most other substances in the wood are driven off, leaving a porous shape of almost pure carbon, lightweight and easy to transport.

It can purify water by soaking up impurities, as in many kitchen sink filters, and treat poison victims when crushed and drunk in a fluid. It allows people to burn fires hotter than wood, enabling people to smelt iron or shape glass in a way that wood fires cannot. It can be added to soap for abrasion, crushed to make ink or paint or mixed with minerals to make gunpowder.

Perhaps the most surprising use, one that gained a burst of attention in recent years, involves trapping carbon from the atmosphere. Frequent readers of this blog might have already heard of this and can feel free to skip ahead a few paragraphs – but for the unfamiliar, I will recap the basics.

Farmers in Brazil have long known about the “black earth,” or terra preta, found over vast areas of the Amazon. In the last decade or two archaeologists have begun to realise that the terra preta was not a naturally occurring phenomenon, but had been cultivated over centuries, if not millennia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New study on the collapse of Mayan civilization should be climate wake-up call

New study on the collapse of Mayan civilization should be climate wake-up call

Under Trump’s policies, the megadrought that devastated the Mayans will become the new normal.

Mayan civilization ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico, February 2016. CREDIT: DeAgostini/Getty Images
MAYAN CIVILIZATION RUINS, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO, FEBRUARY 2016. CREDIT: DEAGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES

A new study finds that it was a severe and long-lasting megadrought that destroyed the great Mayan civilization a thousand years ago.

But the research has ominous relevance for us today since America’s top scientists have warned us that President Trump’s climate policies will make such civilization destroying megadroughts commonplace in the coming decades.

The Mayans had one of the world’s first written languages, used advanced mathematics, measured timed with an accurate calendar, produced durable rubber three millennia ago, and figured out “how to grow corn, beans, squash and cassava in sometimes-inhospitable places.”

Yet after reaching its height in its “Classic” period (250 AD – 800 AD), the Mayan empire collapsed over the next two hundred years. While many theories have been offered — including environmental degradation, war, and drought — researchers from Cambridge’s Godwin Laboratory for Palaeoclimate Research have shown that the collapse “correlated with an extended period of extreme drought.”

In a recent study published in the journal Science, “Quantification of drought during the collapse of the classic Maya civilization,” the researchers calculated for the first time just how bad the drought was.

From 800 to 1000 AD, they found, “Annual rainfall must have fallen by around 50% on average and by up to 70% during peak drought conditions.” In addition, “relative humidity dropped by 2% to 7%” compared to today.

“The role of climate change in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization is somewhat controversial, partly because previous records are limited to qualitative reconstructions, for example whether conditions were wetter or drier,” explained lead author Nick Evans.

“Our study represents a substantial advance as it provides statistically robust estimates of rainfall and humidity levels during the Maya downfall.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Have You Considered Spare Parts for Your Preps?

Have You Considered Spare Parts for Your Preps?

One of the most overlooked parts of most people’s preparations is spare parts for the equipment they plan to use in an emergency or a crisis. We all like to think we are covered when we have the actual items in our possession, but what if they break? What if the power source runs out? When you know you could have fixed the problem with a simple spare part, you will get pretty frustrated pretty fast.

What spare parts should you have on hand? That depends on your equipment and what you plan to use it for. Your list could look different from mine because we might have different items. The items mentioned in this post are general items. Most of these things are basic items and would be able to fix or repair your broken-down item. I am also thinking about needing to recharge or refuel items because your generator or camp stove will be worthless if you run out of fuel.
Batteries are always a must. While having hand-cranked flashlights and radios are great, most emergency equipment works better and faster with batteries. I would keep a lot of batteries in sorts of sizes. Most battery powered objects take either AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt batteries. I keep mine in a storage container similar to this. You could keep multiples of these storage containers in the house, garage, shop, and wherever you may need to use them. If you need specialty batteries, I would make a list of those and pick those batteries up the next time shopping. For specialty batteries, I would keep them near the object that takes them so you aren’t hunting them down in an emergency.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SELCO: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

SELCO: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

I have been writing articles and doing survival courses for years, and while it is much easier to show the importance of basics in real courses, it is a bit harder to do that in my articles. That’s because we as humans tend to look for flashy things. We love quick and interesting facts that will occupy our attention. But you must also prepare for the basics so that you can perform those things during the confusion, panic, and mayhem of SHTF. You must observe your surroundings before anything terrible happens.

Basics are simply that: basic – and because that we often overlook it, or forget it.

For example, an article with news about the latest development in tensions between the US and Iran with all the flaming rhetoric will catch more attention than an article about how to grow tomatoes.

We look for flashy stuff, but the majority of us need to go back to the basics (or at least to refresh them).

Every now and then, I like to remind people about that.

Why I don’t like list posts

Lists about what to do and what not to do in the form of “10 things to do” or “10 things not to do” or “10 things to have” are not my favorite, because some people tend to think those “10 things” are definitive lists that solve all problems.

But, as we write, it is easy to put it in that way as a concept. You as a reader must understand it is a list that continues, and as long as you understand that you need to constantly refresh your basics.

Big world events usually will happen no matter what you do or think about it.  You need to operate in your “small circle” where you actually can change things for real.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Joel Salatin: The Rise Of Rogue Food

Joel Salatin: The Rise Of Rogue Food

A ‘food freedom’ revolt against the government is starting

This week, we welcome back Joel Salatin to the podcast. Labeled by The Washington Post as “the most famous farmer in America”, Joel has spent his career advocating for sustainable farming practices and pioneering models that show how food can be grown and raised in ways that are regenerative to our topsoils, more humane to livestock, produce much healthier & tastier food, and contribute profitably to the local economy.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Well, the government and Big Ag for starters. Joel refers to himself as a ‘lunatic farmer’ because so many of the changes he thinks our food system needs are either illegal under the current law or mightily resisted by the deep-pocketed corporations controlling production and distribution.

And this anti-competitive restriction and stifling of small sustainable food producers is only getting worse. While dismayed at this, Salatin finds hope in the burgeoning rebellion of the “rogue food” resistence breaking out:

I’m not optimistic at all about where the government and all its bureaucracy is headed. It is getting more and more stifling. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that Obama put through, it’s absolutely stifling. It’s size prejudicial. It’s putting an inordinate price pressure on smaller producers. That’s a fact all the way across the board. And the cost of compliance is escalating — the amount of paperwork, the amount of licensing, the amount of testing and procedural stuff that’s happening on farms — is through the roof.

So on the federal level, I think it’s getting worse. Now, I think what’s happening on the local level, the other thing that’s a pushback that’s happened, is what’s now known as the food sovereignty movement.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Today we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can renew in a year

Today we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can renew in a year

Our economies are operating a giant planetary Ponzi scheme: borrowing far more from the Earth’s ecosystems than they can sustain. 

Photo by Jenny Tañedo

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the date when we have taken more from nature than it can renew in an entire year. Unsustainable extraction is occurring on a planetary scale: we are using natural resources 1.7 times faster in 2018 than the Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate this year. Critically, this year is the earliest date that we have gone into ecological deficit, the only deficit that truly matters.

Earth Overshoot Day is a clear and growing signal that our economies are, in the words of the Global Footprint Network, operating a giant planetary Ponzi scheme: borrowing far more from the Earth’s ecosystems than they can sustain. But we are already having to pay the price. From deadly heat waves to mass extinctions, soil erosion to dwindling water supplies, we are entering a new era of accelerating environmental collapse.

And on current trends, this is only set to worsen. Critically, those most likely to bear the violence of climate and other environmental change will be those with least past responsibility for our current situation.

The continued reliance on carbon to power our economies means that we are highly unlikely to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the ambition agreed at the Paris climate summit, increasing the chance of severe climate disruption and the resulting social stress. Meanwhile, the global food system has destroyed a third of all arable land and, at current rates, global top soil degradation means that there may only be 60 global harvests left. The collapse of ecosystems means we are in the age of the sixth mass extinction – the last being the dinosaurs – with nearly two-thirds of all vertebral life having died since the 1970s.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the World Elites are Going to Betray us: Lessons from Roman History

How the World Elites are Going to Betray us: Lessons from Roman History

The more I study the story of the Roman Empire, the more I see the similarities with our world. Of course, history doesn’t always repeat itself, but it is impressive to note how with the start of the collapse of the Western Empire, the Roman elites abandoned the people to build themselves strongholds in safe places. Something similar may be starting to occur in our times and our elites may decide to seek for safe havens while leaving us to drown, starve, or burn.

Rutilius Namatianus is known today for his “De Reditu Suo” (of his return). It is a long poem where he tells us of his travel along the Italian coast around 416 AD, during the last decades of the Western Roman Empire. We read in it a chilling report of the ongoing collapse: abandoned cities, wastelands, ruined roads, and more.

But who was Rutilius Namatianus, and what was he doing? A patrician, a powerful man, a rich man, and also a liar and a traitor. He was running away from Rome, probably taking with him gold, slaves, and troops with the idea of building himself a feud in Southern France, where he had some possessions. In doing so, he was abandoning the people of Rome to fend off for themselves. The people whom it was his duty to defend as praefectus urbi, the prefect of Rome, the delegate of the Emperor himself.

Namatianus was doing nothing worse than other rich and powerful Romans were. Emperor Honorius himself had run away from Rome, settling in Ravenna, protected by the marshes surrounding the city and with ships ready to take him to safety in Byzantium if things were to get really bad.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Eternity, nature, society and the absurd fantasies of the rich

Eternity, nature, society and the absurd fantasies of the rich

Professor and author Douglas Rushkoff recently wrote about a group of wealthy individuals who paid him to answer questions about how to manage their lives after what they believe will be the collapse of society. He only knew at the time he was engaged that the group wanted to talk about the future of technology.

Rushkoff afterwards explained that the group assumed they would need armed guards after this collapse to defend themselves. But they rightly wondered in a collapsed society how they could even control such guards. What would they pay those guards with when the normal forms of payment ceased to mean anything? Would the guards organize against them?

Rushkoff provides a compelling analysis of a group of frightened wealthy men trying to escape the troubles of this world while alive and wishing to leave a decaying body behind when the time comes and transfer their consciousness digitally into a computer. (I’ve written about consciousness and computers previously.)

Here I want to focus on what I see as the failure of these people to understand the single most salient fact about their situations: Their wealth and their identities are social constructs that depend on thousands if not millions of people who are employees; customers; employees of vendors; government workers who maintain and run the law courts, the police force, the public physical infrastructure, legislative bodies, the administrative agencies and the educational institutions—and who thereby maintain public order, public health and public support for our current systems.

Those wealthy men aren’t taking all this with them when they die. And, while they are alive, their identities will shift radically if the intellectual, social, economic and governmental infrastructure degrades to the point where their safety is no longer guaranteed by at least minimal well-being among others in society.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Still Be Chill Without a Refrigerator

How to Still Be Chill Without a Refrigerator

Looking for a fun way to spend this hot summer week? I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that spending it without a working refrigerator is NOT it.

A few years ago I was out for the day.  I got home and opened the fridge and grabbed a drink. I though, “Hmm….that isn’t very cold.”

And indeed it was not, because my refrigerator had stopped working properly sometime earlier that day. Because of the 4th of July weekend, I wasn’t able to get anyone to come and repair it until Monday. Then, after it was diagnosed, a part had to be ordered which will not arrive until tomorrow. So there you have it…a solid week in 90+ weather with no fridge.

In a power outage situation, this is not an unlikely scenario at all.  So  in the spirit of making this a “chance-to-practice-preps” experience instead of a “dad-gum-it- I-had-to-throw-out-a-bunch-of-groceries” experience, here’s what I learned.

Food safety rules

I was absolutely loathe to throw away groceries, but after having a recent bout of food poisoning after a dinner out, I wasn’t will to take any chances.  The dog thoroughly enjoyed her bowl of roast beef with potatoes and carrots though.

FoodSafety.gov offers these guidelines:

Is food in the refrigerator safe during a power outage? It should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.

Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

Note: Always discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

You will have to evaluate each item separately. Use this chart as a guide.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

5 Things You Never Thought You Needed In Your Prepper Gear

5 Things You Never Thought You Needed In Your Prepper Gear

Preparing for the worst is often looked down upon by those who don’t think there’s any reason to prepare for even a natural disaster by storing a bit of extra food.  But when you live in an area where even major blizzards are possible in winter, thoughts often go to the most obscure items and their potential use.  Here, we will list five things you may or may not have thought to add to prepping supply or gear and some possible uses.

While food, water, and ammunition seem like the obvious items to hoard and store safely for a SHTF scenario, these five items could also help, even though it may not have been considered before now.  But once you see the things we’ve come up with, we are confident you could think of even more ways to use these valuable items!

1.A PENCIL SHARPENER

A pencil sharpener is small and light, but that’s only one reason to toss it in your bug out bag or put it in your bunker or food storage room.  You could even save a few pencils if you so desire.  But a pencil sharpener could be an invaluable tool to help you make kindling.  You would simply use the pencil sharpener to sharpen a pencil (or a twig) and get kindling to help you start a fire. Most preppers carry a lighter but stop short at thinking they could need kindling to help get a fire going. Obviously, you can shave down wood into tinder using a great knife (if you have one handy) or you might be able to find some small twigs, but nothing you can carry can make kindling quite as easily and more safely as a pencil sharpener.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

12-Plus Methods For Keeping Challenging Weeds and Pests Out of the Garden

12-PLUS METHODS FOR KEEPING CHALLENGING WEEDS AND PESTS OUT OF THE GARDEN

With organic gardening, especially at the outset, comes a few new challenges for transitioning growers. Pesticides and other chemicals have, for several decades, become the go-to solution for all things in the garden, and now that many of us are clearing our heads from that fog, we are left to rediscover methods for dealing with everyday garden problems. 

When herbicides have been the trick for combating weeds, how do we do it without the chemicals? Where aphids once elicited a poison spray (on our food no less), how do we now stop them from eating our crops? When voles are feasting, how do we protect our food without resorting to awful compound killers? This is our food after all, so we have cause to protect it! If we have to do so without chemicals (which seems a form of protection in its own right), what are we to do? 

The permaculture way is to find somewhat natural solutions (we kind of stage them) to such problems. Bill Mollison is famously quoted as claiming there isn’t slug problem but rather a duck shortage. In other words, we can control slugs with ducks and get more production from the system on the whole. With permaculture techniques, solutions to problems have multiple functions in the garden. Not only will pest insects be thwarted, but pollinators will be invited. Not only will weeds be suppressed, but the soil life will be enlivened. Stacking solutions is how permaculture gardens, much more organically than typical organic gardens, handle weeds and pests, as well as fertility, soil structuring, and so on.  

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase