The future of stuff: emergency preparedness

I hope most of you see me as more of a realist than an alarmist.  I am generally optimistic about the future, but I also see the value in being prepared for some of the more unlikely (yet entirely possible) scenarios that may unfold around us.  I mean, who would’ve thought Japan would be in nuclear meltdown?  And, if you think nuclear meltdown will contain its effect to a small geographic area, you might be wrong.  Now, more than even, we live on a small planet.  And, by that I mean, “stuff” travels all over the globe.

Speaking of “stuff”… now is a good time for you to examine yours.  I’m guessing a lot of you have already parted with a great deal of your stuff in your downsizing process… either when you lost your job or your home was foreclosed upon.  This can be a very difficult process, and perhaps you have procrastinated it by shoving all your things into a storage unit for which you are paying monthly.

The question is, have you kept the right stuff?  Or do you need to supplement your current stuff with more useful stuff?  My personal theory is that, because of the economy, the rising cost of oil and the current situation in Japan, “stuff” is going to become harder to obtain.  So is money.  (Unless you are one of the few fortunate people who do not ever have to worry about money.)  But if you’re a normal person like me, you do worry about money, and you are worrying about it right now.  Saving is good, but with inflation, it’s actually better to spend some of it now before it becomes completely worthless.  But the key is to spend it on practical “stuff”, which is more valuable to have than money in times of high inflation.  (The higher the inflation gets, the more expensive it would be for you to buy something later on.)

Let’s say that there were a nuclear meltdown or other environmental disaster in China which caused all imports from China to the U.S. to come to a halt.  That’s where all our stuff comes from, right?  So, what if you needed a lawn mower or a new light fixture?  I’m all for buying on the second-hand market, but occasionally we need something new.

Most importantly, in my mind, we should each have a way whereby to 1) grow some of our own food, 2) capture rainwater, 3) do many of our household chores without electricity, 4) cook food without electricity, 5) be responsible for our waste stream, and our home needs to be as energy efficient as possible.  These smalls things would make each of us amazingly self sufficient, prepared for almost anything, and would give us an enormous sense of satisfaction that we are not numbingly dependent on anonymous, thoughtless corporations for all of our essentials.

We have become so disconnected from our own lives because of the “advances” of the world that we’ve more or less enslaved ourselves.  To Comcast, to our cell phone companies, to our grocery stores, oil companies, electric company, the government… we are completely dependent.  What we should be putting more dependence on and paying more attention to are our communities… our neighbors.  In a time of crisis, they can be our saviors.

If a serious crisis doesn’t happen, you’ve got fresh veggies, a lower water bill and a lower electricity bill.  If you don’t engage in any emergency preparedness and the crisis DOES happen, then how would you go about obtaining the things that you need after the fact?  A crisis that comes to mind would be that we wouldn’t have access to electricity or oil – possibly because it becomes too expensive for the average person to obtain.  Unfortunately for those of us accustomed to luxurious living, the world is changing in rather permanent ways, and we really need to change with it.


  • I am blown away by your blog, I love it! I see a million parallels to my own thoughts. I absolutely see the importance of being prepared (for disaster or otherwise) and the connection to living a “greener” lifestyle. I am in the process of growing my first serious food garden and have always been a supporter of self-sufficiency.

  • Thanks so much, Alex! Congrats on your green journey! It can be so rewarding and so much fun.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *