This isn’t an exhaustive list but it’s a start on how to survive 2020.
I received this timely inquiry from astute reader Paul B.:
I’m interested in Number One, while you seem to take into account 300 million people in your writings–would you comment on rubber-meets-the-road impacts and proactive actions we can take to help shield ourselves (and our local communities) from the economic problems we’re facing?
Would you consider including concrete actions “average” people could take to protect themselves in one of your future columns? I’d certainly appreciate it and I bet many others would, too. (emphasis added, CHS)
That’s big challenge but I’ll give it a shot. None of this is startlingly new–it’s just common sense, and I will undoubtedly leave a few things off–but as a start:
1. Build/strengthen a small community based on sharing, generosity and reciprocity around yourself and family. My critique of much survivalist thinking–and my alternative view–can be found here: The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States (June 27, 2008)
The strongest “survivor” is not the most heavily armed individual but the individual surrounded by a community which values his/her contributions and support, and who cares whether he/she lives or dies. Nobody gives a damn if the individual holed up in a bunker somewhere lives or dies, and that’s the fatal weakness in all too many survivalist scenarios.
A community can be a small as three neighbors, or a block, or a church, or an extended family. The way to build a community, or join a community if you don’t have one at the moment is to extend yourself via generosity. Provide something of value without worrying about whether you’ll get back an “equal value.” Believe me, if you surprise decent people with something useful/good, their delight will exceed all known monetary value of whatever time or product or service you offered.
Just cleaning up the trash on your street or baking some cookies and giving them away can have huge consequences. We as a society have become selfish, greedy and isolated behind an insane wall of “entertainment,” TV and other digital derangements (video games, etc.) The way forward is to be selfless occasionally, and then those who have benefited from your generosity will start caring about you.
That’s always the way humans have survived extremely trying/difficult times. For instance, the 13th century: Food Shortages, Rising Prices, Stagnant Wages:
Welcome to the 13th Century (June 23, 2008).
Here are two related entries:
The Remnant, the Pareto Principle and You (June 26, 2008)
A Critique of Reinventing Collapse (June 25, 2008)
2. Cancel your cable or satellite TV. Wean yourself from the souring insanity of “cable news”, “sports” and other soul-deadening wastes of time. Sure, see an occasional movie/DVD, but by cutting off the 200 channels then you will find something better to do than watch TV for 6 hours a day (the U.S. average). Your kids will scream and cry and whine, so tell them you’re not raising zombies any more. They can go plant a garden or contribute to the community doing something they enjoy. Watching TV, adding mindless cookie-cutter songs to their iPod and going shopping are out, over, done, gone, history. You want music? Then learn to play an instrument. Yes, it’s hard and time-consuming, but the result is rewarding in a way no “guitar hero” game can ever be.
Set the example by limiting TV yourself. NOVA, Nature, American Experience and a few other PBS shows are worth watching–the rest, including the food and history channels, are fluff. You want history? Then read a book; there are literally a hundred great history books listed in my “books/films” link at the top of this page. Go actually cook something instead of watching some sappy/lame “entertainer” whip together something which has all been prepped for them.
3. Get lean and prepare to heal yourself. One of the first things to go will be the bloated, unaffordable, and largely ineffective “healthcare” a.k.a. “sickcare” system. Hundreds of thousands of people blindly trust the medical system and enter the hospital like sheep to slaughter, where they contract incurable infections, get the wrong meds, or endure an operation of some sort that only makes them worse.