A quick Google search about survival related topics quickly nets you page after page of doom and gloom. Military-style MREs, weapons stashes, and techniques for building a shelter in the forest seem to dominate survival forums worldwide.
There is nothing wrong with being prepared for disaster. I think everyone should have a supply of food, water, and other basic needs on hand at all times.
That said, there is a distinct difference between “preppers” and people who wish to become more resilient. A prepper may be concerned with short-term survival following a catastrophe, resiliency dictates that we plan for long-term success; now and in an increasingly uncertain future.
Let’s take a look at how these two mindsets differ so we can better understand why resiliency is a better long-term solution.
The Prepper Mindset
What exactly is a prepper? What motivates these people and what are the ultimate goals that drive them to prepare for the worst?
Although the reasons will differ for each individual, we can break down the prepper mindset into a few basic components:
- Fear of imminent catastrophe – This could be a terrorist attack, nuclear war, or a massive natural disaster unlike anything recorded in history.
- Tendency to disconnect from society – This doesn’t mean that preppers are anti-social. Rather, most preppers could be your average next-door neighbor but they feel the only way to remain safe following a catastrophe is to live an “off grid” lifestyle.Often these people feel that their safety is dependent on distance from others. For example, a remote bug out location is often promoted as a “must do” for any would be prepper.
- Focus on short-term needs – Most preppers focus on short-term needs. Short-term could be 72 hours or it could be six months. Either way, it is impossible to store enough food and water to live indefinitely if a full-fledged societal collapse does occur.
Many preppers do try to incorporate more sustainable long-term solutions; however, these solutions are usually overshadowed by the immediate concerns of food, water, and weapons.
By no means am I attempting to stuff every prepper into this small description. It’s the first stage of reaction after learning about how fragile the system is.
I simply want to point out that there is a difference between a prepper mindset that is focused on cataclysmic future events from a short-term perspective and a resilient mindset that adopts sustainable solutions that work just as well now as they will in the future.
The Resiliency Movement
The fact is that many people currently involved in the resiliency movement are also concerned about the future of society.
The difference, of course, is that we attempt to incorporate truly sustainable, self-sufficient practices into our daily lives. Not only do these sustainable assets save us money right now, but they also set us up for success in an uncertain future.
Anything we can do to reduce our dependence on fragile food, water and energy systems makes us more resilient; more capable of thriving when these things are no longer available to the public.
These solutions aren’t about adopting old strategies. They are using the newest technology advances to build something better. Why abandon the standard of living we have built in the past two generations? It’s not about separating from these modern conveniences, it’s about leveraging them to build a resilient lifestyle.
Resilient solutions come in many forms including:
- Gardening techniques that do not rely on commercial fertilizers. Permaculture, natural composting, and backyard orchards are all excellent examples of sustainable gardening.
- Home protein production such as raising rabbits or chickens (these protein sources are much more efficient when produced at home compared to cattle).
- Renewable energy sources that rely on the sun, the wind, and water to provide electricity to our homes in the event of grid failure.
This is just a small list of some of the techniques resilient people incorporate into their daily lives. These techniques provide quantifiable benefits now and position us for success in the wake of catastrophe.
Part of resiliency is not only strengthening your own household, but also your entire community. If an entire neighborhood or community aims to reduce its dependence on manufactured products, that community has a much greater chance of surviving just about anything that could, and probably will, occur.
It extends far beyond the doom and gloom associated with large-scale catastrophe. Look at the droughts that occurred in 2011. Produce prices skyrocketed as millions of dollars in crops were destroyed by cracked ground.
A resilient community that practices home food production will be relatively unaffected by events like this. Not only that, but this resilient community could even profit from increased food prices by selling some of their homegrown products at local farmers markets and grocery stores.
Resiliency demands that we look “outside the box” for solutions that are not dependent on anyone or anything else.
The skills required to become resilient are the same skills that will allow any individual and any community to flourish in any environment following practically any catastrophic event.
If you currently subscribe to the prepper mindset and spend most of your time worrying about short-term needs, we welcome you to consider adopting some resiliency strategies into your survival plan.
If you already realize the benefits of resiliency in our everyday lives and the potential benefits provided during an uncertain future, know that your chances of successfully thriving in any situation are exponentially greater thanks to your efforts to grow the resiliency movement.