Things that people prepare for:
I suspect many felt the need to prepare when we were blindsided in 2008 with the economic meltdown. Suddenly, folks began to lose their jobs, or had their hours and benefits cut. Factories and staple businesses like Barnes & Noble, J.C. Penney, Sears, Radio shack began to lay off employees and close stores and the nation watched too many lose their homes. Selling a home was no longer easy when too many found themselves upside down in their mortgages.
During that time and for the next several years, I wrote articles about the fate of the American people that wasn’t being reported on. Tent cities sprung up all over the country. Many middle-class Americans joined the leagues flooding into these tent cities that before the economic crisis were living comfortably with decent jobs, retirement plans and many were homeowners. What was being swept under the rug was that these tent cities were being dismantled by city officials who saw them as an eyesore and they were abruptly bulldozed.
Good hearted people began to hand out food to others down on their luck, but many were told they weren’t allowed to do so because they did not have the proper food handler’s licensing.
If this doesn’t send the clear message that we must rely upon ourselves, I don’t know what would!
Escalating Food & Gas Prices
Food and gas prices are another marker that has led people to become more self-sufficient. We’ve all noticed food prices continue to rise and recently one of the main reasons is the drought the U.S. has suffered over the past few years. The decimated wheat and corn crops have led to projections that wheat and corn prices will continue to climb steeper, surpassing last year’s 12 percent price hike for these commodities.
This is important because not only has the price of wheat and corn increased; shortages of grains increased the price of beef, chicken and pork due to steeper feed costs. Where a bale of hay was typically $3.50 to $4.00, the price skyrocketed to $5.00 to $9.00. We had a small respite when ranchers brought their cattle to slaughter to combat the sharp increase in their feed, glutting the market and partially leveling out the price. Even so, the beef, chicken and pork prices were higher last year, and with the continued drought, they are likely to continue to increase.
(David’s note: Hay is still $2 per bale in many places with water and $5-$10 at farm supply stores. What has changed is that fuel prices, tire prices, and other vehicle costs have doubled in the last 4 years and if you don’t have hay locally, the cost to transport it is through the roof.)
Gas prices have hit household budgets in many ways. Not only does higher gasoline prices increase the cost of getting to work, it also increases farming and ranching overhead, which is passed on to the consumer. The same goes for transportation costs to get the food to market which is eventually felt at the checkout stand.
With the attacks on 9/11/01, many Americans were left feeling vulnerable. This, in my opinion, woke up many who took their survival into their own hands and began to take steps towards self-sufficiency.
As global unrest continues both in the political and economic arena, the number of preppers continues to climb. It makes sense when watching the backlash of austerity measures in the EU that led to employment, pensions, and benefits coming under attack, along with riots when people chose to express their anger.
(David’s note: It’s important to remember that, when boiled down to basics, “austerity” is nothing more than taking measures to force a government entity to spend less than it takes in–in other words, it’s not the radical, scary thing that the media has made it out to be and the US WILL be forced to take austerity measures at some point.)
Preparedness is seen by many to be an insurance against whatever Mother Nature throws our way. The recent winter storms in the Northeast and Midwest have been splashed across the headlines with reports of people being without electricity and heat and some have been unable to get to work due to terrible road conditions.
In that past few years, Sandy, flooding in the Midwest, and Katrina have revealed inherent chinks in emergency services ability to help a large numbers of people with rescue, safe shelter and food.
(David’s note: EMS has the desire to help in disasters, but their budgets call for staffs and supplies that are barely able to handle “normal” situations, let alone disasters.)
Recent sun activity has led to concern over our fragile power grid. Thankfully a coronal mass ejection does not threaten us physically, but it can really mess with everything we take for granted today: electricity, technology, banking, services and supply lines.
Certain areas of the country almost dictate preparedness. Living in Alaska, most everyone I knew was a prepper even if they didn’t see themselves as such. Overflowing pantries were the norm because making it to the store in a blizzard wasn’t an option. Everyone saw it as prudent to have a wood stove and oil lamps and a good store of seasoned firewood. Most kept sleeping bags or warm bedding, a flash light and emergency food in their cars even for local trips because winters often delivered twenty below temperatures.
I’ve been in contact with preppers all across the nation and a recurring thread many of them shared was they were brought up in areas of the country where self-sufficiency was a prerequisite for survival.
Have you ever met a prepper who wasn’t watching what our politicians were up to? Lately our freedoms have been under attack and folks are responding by taking control of their own lives through preparedness rather than depending upon our elected officials to rescue us in times of trouble.
Feelings of Unrest
It would be interesting to know how many began prepping because of a nagging feeling that “something” was looming ahead that warranted being prepared. Based on many conversations I’ve had with folks all across the country, this is a common thread with preppers.
Some may call it discernment, others intuition, but no matter what one chooses to call it, many are reporting the feeling that things were about to get worse and are busy kicking their preparedness plan into high gear.
Since the advent of air travel, scientists and physicians have warned the public about the speed a pandemic can spread, infecting people across the globe. Some have taken this concern to heart and chose to become self-sufficient in case quarantining themselves may become necessary.
Many have grown concerned about consuming food grown from Monsanto’s frankenseed and started growing their own food in backyard gardens. But once a taste of independence was experienced, many went on to prepare on a larger scale.
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Many of us got a head start before the Twin Towers or the economic meltdown of 2008. Personally, I had my wakeup call in 2006, although I was always somewhat prepared simply because of my upbringing. It wasn’t some inside knowledge that propelled me to get serious about preparedness, nor was it just one incident, and there have been many over the past several years. It was more an intuition that told me it was time to return to my self-sufficient roots and I haven’t looked back since.
One thing that’s for sure is that we have company. It’s estimated 3 million Americans are preppers, and I suspect that number is greater. We preppers aren’t known to stand and be counted when our neighbors and co-workers continue to place consumerism over preparedness
For me, the most intriguing aspect of the TV series, “Doomsday Preppers” is the why folks were compelled to prepare. Unless I missed one of the shows, the reasons to become self-sufficient were included here. For me personally, the biggest trigger to get prepped was the continuing decline in our nation’s economy (despite what the mainstream media spoon feeds us). So what kick-started your preparedness, or are you one of the few who has always lived a life of self-sufficiency? Please sound off by posting below!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva