Tag Archives: food

Waves of Refugees, Part 2 of 2

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Waves of Refugees, Part 2 of 2)
Continued from: Waves of Refugees, Part 1 of 2

E.   Four Waves of Food and Shelter Seekers
23 Aug 2012, Code Green Prep, by David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/four-waves-of-food-and-shelter-seekers/

refugee2 crowd1

Shortly after some type of disaster that disrupts the normal flow of food and energy into your nearby towns, people will be forced to leave their residences and fan out into the countryside, foraging for food (and subsequently shelter too). That is obvious – if there is no food in the town/city, people can either stay where they are and die of thirst or starvation, or they can pro-actively start looking for food.

People will initially look for food on one of two different levels.
The first level is ‘looking for food nearby and returning back to one’s normal home to eat it and continue living’.
The second level is ‘abandoning one’s former residence and moving, as a refugee, towards wherever the possibility of ongoing survival may be greatest’.
A third and fourth type of food seeking will develop later into a crisis.

It is helpful to understand the differing types of contacts you’ll have, because each poses different challenges, problems, threats, and even opportunities, calling for different responses on your part.

And while we consider our four different waves to be more or less chronologically sequential, there will be some overlaps, with some people representing some waves either earlier than most others, or later than most others.

The First Wave

refugee2 hoarde march[The waves of refugees after TEOTWAWKI will be both heart-rending and dangerous.]

The first wave will start shortly after the social disruption occurs, initially as a trickle, and then successively greater and greater as more and more people run out of food and come to realize that the government won’t magically solve the problem that occurred.

It will only take a week or two before the first type of food-seeking necessarily ends, due to people running out of gas for their vehicles, and being reduced instead to only traveling and foraging as far as they can walk or bicycle (although, on flat terrain, fitter people could fairly easily cycle up to 50 miles out and then 50 miles back home again).

We predict that people in this ‘first wave’ won’t be very threatening, because they will be more in a hurry to cover as much ground as possible to find as much easy food as possible, rather than becoming fixated on specific potential targets. Plus, the ‘kill or be killed’ reality of tough survival won’t yet have fully penetrated, and the region will have patches of remaining lawfulness alongside areas of growing anarchy.

Furthermore, these people are primarily seeking food only, not shelter. They’ve not yet accepted that their city residences have become unviable and need to be abandoned.

Your tactic to resist problems from the first wave of food/shelter seekers will be to maintain a low profile, so most of such people pass you by, and to positively respond to people who do come visiting, encouraging them to go find easier targets/food sources elsewhere.

Of course, the further you are from the nearby towns and cities, the fewer the number of people who might stumble upon you. But you’ll never be 100% guaranteed to be safely far from such itinerant scavengers. Fortunately the danger they pose to your retreat at this early stage is low, so while your location choice will ideally not be right next to a freeway exit, a mere 10 miles from the city center, you don’t need to keep yourself hundreds of miles away from any and all population concentrations.

The Second Wave
As the first wave ends and is replaced by the second wave, people’s attitudes will be hardening, because their ability to travel far and wide is massively reduced. They have probably used up most of their emergency food stores, and now, limited primarily by their ability to walk, any source of food becomes one they must take full advantage of. They can no longer afford the luxury of leaving empty-handed, and their lack of mobility now reduces the number of places they can travel to in search of food. They have to make the best of every possible opportunity.

The grim reality of the ‘eat or be eaten’ concept will also be one which the survivors can no longer ignore.

refugee2 crowd2
If these people come across your retreat, they are likely to be a stronger and more determined adversary than people in the first wave (and people in the second wave could well be the same people who visited more peaceably in the first wave, too).

Fortunately, most of these people in the second wave will still be nomadic and itinerant. They’ll be traveling in the hope of finding a Shangri-La somewhere that is full of food, energy, and welcoming people keen to help them, and probably won’t yet be in the ‘looking for anywhere to settle’ mode that will come later. They might hope for overnight shelter, but they’re not yet looking for a place to settle – or, if they are, they’re probably not yet realistic enough to appreciate the value of your retreat.

People will start abandoning their homes anytime after only a very few days of the crisis commencing and once they start to accept that no magic solutions are forthcoming. This won’t only be due to the lack of food and lack of any future food supply, but may also be due to lack of water, lack of plumbing, and lack of energy in general. A high-rise apartment with no water, no working elevators, and no lights or heating/cooling will quickly become uninhabitable, food or not.

The second wave will probably diminish after three or so weeks, because by that point, people will have either left the city, or died, or created some sort of semi-stable ongoing basis of existence in the city.

Your strategy during this exodus stage is to be located somewhere reasonably far from the main routes people are likely to travel along. It is as important that you are off the likely refugee routes, whether you are 1 mile or 100 miles from the major population centers, because people will potentially be traveling long distances in their search for somewhere better to live.

People may fan out slightly from the main routes as they search for food en route, but they will generally follow the major arterial routes.

Major routes will tend to be well maintained highways, and generally we expect people will move to the coasts and south, rather than inland and to the north. People will, either by reason or instinct, seek out warm climates and water/ocean. The warm climate reduces their dependency on shelter and energy, and the ocean has the appeal of ‘free fish’ and also some type of instinctive deep-seated lure.

The Third Wave
The third wave will be refugees, the same as the second wave, but this time it will be people looking for somewhere to settle.

These will be people who are becoming more realistic in their expectations, and now rather than mindlessly going anywhere in the hope of finding (nonexistent) salvation, they are now looking for somewhere they can settle and survive for the medium or longer term.

refugee2 hoarde camp

Your appeal to these people is not just the food you have stored, but also your retreat as a whole, the under-way food cultivation, the energy creating resources you have, and everything else you have done to prepare yourselves for this future.

1) Some of these people will be seeking short-term easy solutions. They’ll want to rob you of your food, your shelter, and everything else you have. They have no concern for sustainability, they want to live for the moment, and when they’ve exhausted everything you have, they’ll move on to somewhere else.
2) Others of these people will be more realistic, but they’ll still want to displace you from your property and take it over.
3) There will also be a very few people who will be fair and honest and decent, and who will offer to work their way for and with you. They’ll offer their labor and their skills, in return for your shelter and assistance – probably as a ‘package deal’ for themselves and their other family members.
It would be good if you had a way of responding positively to such people, because they may prove to be valuable additions to your small community.

The Fourth Wave
The fourth wave is very different from the other three. It is longer lasting and more potentially impactful on your retreat and community.
Due to the importance of this fourth wave, we have devoted a separate article to it – below.


F.  Preparing for the Fourth – and Deadliest – Wave of Refugees, Bandits, and other Problem Groups
Code Green Prep, by David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/preparing-for-the-fourth-and-deadliest-wave-of-refugees-bandits-and-other-problem-groups/

refugee2 horseman

A 13th century depiction of the red – second – horse and rider of the Apocalypse.
The biblical prophecy of the four horsemen is eerily similar to how we see the four waves of refugees after TEOTWAWKI.

No-one really knows what to expect after TSHTF in an extended Level 2 or 3 situation, but it seems universally agreed that the starving masses will be forced to flee their city dwellings and do whatever it takes to survive, wherever they can find the opportunity and ability to do so.

It is helpful to look at the types of people who will come out from the cities as a series of different waves, each with different characteristics. We’ve discussed the first three waves of refugees in this other article, and the good news is they will be relatively brief in duration and not necessarily ultimately threatening to the wellbeing of your own retreat community – indeed some people in the third wave could well become positive additions to your community.

In this part we wish to instead look at the last of these waves – the fourth wave. And rather like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, this is the most threatening and dangerous wave – not only by its nature, but also because it will be the longest lived of the four waves. (Christians will be impressed at how closely all four waves can be viewed as having characteristics similar to the four horsemen described in Revelations.)

The first two waves were fairly simple and easily understood. In the third wave, we saw how some members were threats but others could be valuable allies. There is a similar dichotomy to the fourth wave, but in a very different sense, and their duality is part of their danger.

Both will be organized groups, and both will probably already have their own shelter and possibly even other food sources. They probably don’t need your shelter, and they may not even need your food and other resources. But, taking advantage of a collapse of law and order, they want to take it simply because they can, and because all around them, other people and groups are acting similarly, just like the looter who takes items from stores in a city riot, even if they are things of no value – they just take them for nihilistic reasons.

Organized Lawless Gangs
The first of these groups will be organized lawless gangs, seeking to dominate and rule their new expanded territory. The might possibly seek ongoing tribute and ‘taxes’ from you in exchange for their ‘protection’.

refugee2 brigand training
Or maybe they’ll be less formal, and will simply be roaming around as an organized and maybe nomadic gang, taking and destroying as they go.

Gangs that seek to impose their own structure and what passes for their version of order may be groups you can negotiate with. But groups who are little more than anarchistic looters will not be people you can negotiate or create win-win outcomes with.

When encountering the former, you need to shift their perception of you from being a one-way source of goodies they can seize from you, to instead being a two-way trading source and resource they can benefit from. Maybe you can help them maintain some of their equipment. Maybe you have medical resources. Maybe you can trade with them – exchanging items they’ve plundered elsewhere and have no use for, and giving them in return food or other things they do need.

When encountering the latter, you are best advised to indicate to them that you are not an easy target, and any attempt to attack you would seriously weaken or destroy their own force, while leaving you relatively unharmed. With most of the rest of the entire continent lying helpless at their feet, encourage them to go after easier targets.

This encouragement is best done in a ‘face saving’ manner. If you challenge the gang leader’s authority, and the overall ‘machismo’ of the gang itself, they may have no social choice but to fight it out with you – and from their perspective, the lives of their junior gang members probably has much less value to the gang leaders than do the lives of your family and fellow community members to you.

We’re From the ‘Government’ and We’re Here to ‘Help’ You
The second of these groups may be more dangerous. They will claim to be semi-official government groups, seeking to impose their definition of emergency martial law on the region they have assumed control of.

Sometimes their intentions may be honorable and well-meaning (even if dysfunctional and dangerous to you in the process), other times they may be as corrupt and despotic as the outlaw gangs, but cleverly seeking to wrap up their dictatorial actions with an ill deserved veneer of assumed legality.

Unfortunately, whether honorable or not, it is almost a certainty that these self-appointed groups of enforcers will be primarily tasked with taking stuff from you – either to keep for themselves, or to give to the unprepared other people in the region who have empowered these people to act for their benefit.

refugee2 militia

They may attempt to claim special emergency powers that suspend all your normal legal protections and constitutionally guaranteed rights, and if they have been sufficiently clever and sophisticated, they’ll have compliant judges ready to issue court orders authorizing things that should never be authorized.

If you don’t like it, they’ll say, you can go appeal, all the way to the US Supreme Court if you wish – this being in a scenario where the Supreme Court may have ceased to exist, and even if it did, it would be close to impossible for you to go there, and may take years for you to get a case heard and resolved. Meantime, you will be told you must comply with what they tell you is a lawful order to surrender your food, to take in refugees, or in many other ways to destroy the viability of the retreat that you built, for yourself.

Some of the people in this fourth wave will be people you might choose to reluctantly ‘do business’ with. If they are realistic and don’t seek to ‘kill the goose that lays the golden eggs’ and understand that only if your are prosperous can they take a levy or share of your prosperity, then all you’ve done is substituted one form of previous law, order, and taxation for another. And whether the people imposing it on you are bona fide government officials, lawless gangsters, or ‘pretend’ government officials, the net result is the same, and you simply have to matter-of-factly strike the best win-win deal you can.

But if they ask too much, and leave you with too little, you have some real problems to face.

Even a True Democratic Elected Government May Abrogate Your Rights
In particular, you know that even in the ‘best’ of our 50 states, the massive majority of the population is not nearly as well prepared as you are. In the normal world, they might be wealthier than you and have more possessions, a fancier house, and who knows what else, but in the post-crisis world of a Level 2 or 3 event, their wealth and possessions become meaningless while yours become invaluable.

Any sort of democratic majority based government, especially one raised on the notion that the ‘wealthy’ are obliged to support the ‘poor’, and doubly especially where the lawmakers themselves are not prepared and are faced with their own pressing life or death challenges, won’t hesitate to urgently pass any needed laws to compel you to give everything you have to them.

This may well be unconstitutional and unlawful and illegal. But who are you going to complain to, when the local mayor, the local sheriff, and the local judge all turn up on your doorstep together, themselves all starving, and demanding by their joint powers that you give them all your food?

We don’t have easy answers to offer you about these ‘fourth wave’ attackers. But we can tell you that the fourth wave will be an ongoing thorn in your side, and you may find it increasingly difficult to tell between the ‘lawless gang’ fourth wave members and the ‘lawful posse’ fourth wave members.

Hiding from Fourth Wave Threats
A continuation of the article from above: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/preparing-for-the-fourth-and-deadliest-wave-of-refugees-bandits-and-other-problem-groups/

Many preppers feel that an important part of their overall defensive strategy is to keep as low a profile as possible; to obscure the existence of their retreat, so as to avoid being noticed – both before and after the onset of some type of societal collapse.

Obscuring yourself prior to social collapse is getting harder and harder with every passing year. The ‘information society’ is finding out more and more about us, and with the increasing tendency of government drones, spotting planes, and even satellites to survey vast areas of countryside, and to create extremely detailed ‘GIS’ databases of all the land and structures in a region, your retreat structure will surely be noticed and if not officially registered, sooner or later will cause the authorities to respond.

If you have an unauthorized structure that has not been permitted and which is not compliant with applicable zoning and health and other regulations and restrictions, you risk having it seized and destroyed. You also risk civil and possibly criminal penalties, and being labeled as another crazy group of survivalist/supremacists. You can imagine the headlines now – ‘Anti-government supremacists arrested, large weapons cache found on site’ and so on and so forth. Remember that what we consider prudent, and what is indeed truly lawful, can – and will – be portrayed as evidence of crazy extremism by the news media and the authorities.

refugee2 family prep

Because one of the fourth wave groups you may encounter will be some form of revived local government, it is inevitable that the ‘footprints’ you have created in developing your retreat will be uncovered. Local health department approvals for your septic system. Utility records for electricity or internet or cable services. And so on and so on. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of the generally sensible strategy of locating in an area with low population density is that you become more obvious by your presence than you would in a denser region.

You may delay your discovery, but you will not prevent it. You need to have a more viable plan to ensure the safety and security of your retreat – fortunately, we have some suggestions on this point to share.

Becoming Part of the Solution, Not Part of the Problem
Your key strategy is to position yourself, your retreat, and your community, so it can create ‘win-win’ relationships with organized ‘fourth wave’ groups.
One of the key things about this fourth wave threat is that it is longer term. Earlier waves of threats can be repulsed or ignored or in some other way worked around, but the fourth wave will be a longer term issue that must be resolved.

A confrontational approach risks failure on your part. And any type of exchange of hostilities can be much more damaging to you than to your opponents. Your opponents probably have either greater manpower to start with, and/or greater ability to recruit new members into their forces. They are willing to accept some risk to their rank and file ‘foot soldiers’.
But you have a finite community of friends, family, and colleagues. You can not dispassionately risk their lives in an encounter. Remember also that with a loss of the sophisticated healthcare facilities we enjoy at present, even minor wounds become life threatening, and even if the wounds can be treated and resolved, they risk depleting your precious limited supplies of antibiotics and other medical resources.

There may be times when you must respond to force with force yourself; where the potential outcome associated with giving in to a fourth wave group is worse than the potential outcome of repulsing their attack, and in such cases you must be resolute in your defense of your retreat and its community.
But in general, you want to position yourselves so that you can find ways to co-exist on a win-win basis with these fourth wave groups.
How would you do that? Please see our article on becoming part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, for a discussion on strategies to create win-win situations for you and the community you are close to.

After an initial period of grave social disruption, during which the first, second and third waves of refugees will occur, the rate of change will slow and some periods of semi-stable social arrangements will probably follow.
Invariably, regional leadership organizations will appear, and whether they are ostensibly benevolent or despotic, you need to position yourselves and your community so that it can co-exist on a win-win basis with these other (and possibly stronger) forces around it

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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

Waves of Refugees, Part 1 of 2

 (Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Waves of Refugees, Part 1 of 2)

 A. Who Are The Zombie Hordes?
September 2, 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog.com by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/who-are-the-zombie-hordes/

refuge1 zombie

Some preparedness websites will sometimes refer to ‘Zombies’, ‘Hordes’, or ‘Zombie Hordes’. A question is, what are they talking about? What’s their definition of a Zombie?

Zombies became particularly popular following the hit AMC TV series, “The Walking Dead”, in which the $hit had hit the fan, the country had collapsed and some sort of virus/plague/? would turn those who died into flesh eating mind-numbed Zombies. It became a battle of survival for the living – versus the Zombie hordes.

Due to the subsequent popularity of the term Zombie, many have been using the word in varying context, including the preparedness sites.

When we happen to use it here, it is to represent some wide generalizations…

  • Zombies represent those who have not prepared, and have reached a point of desperation.
  • There will also be those in the same category who have not prepared, but will not become Zombies because they will find a way to adapt and manage to survive. However they will certainly not be a majority of the unprepared.
  • To become a Zombie, it will be the unprepared who will have not had the ability to adapt and survive in a SHTF world. They will reach a point of desperation which will cause one of several things to happen…
  • Some Zombies will wither away, unable to help themselves.
  • Some Zombies will be given some help by the goodwill of others, and will remain reliant on them for their continued survival. Some in this category will be able to provide some services in return, while others will not be so able.
  • Some Zombies will venture out in a non-threatening way, in search of solutions for their survival. Some of them will succeed, and many will not.
  • Some Zombies will venture out in a threatening way, and ‘take’ what they need by force. Some will succeed, and many will not.

So… when we happen to reference the word, Zombie, it could mean any of the above. It is a generalization of those who have not prepared for a SHTF scenario, and what many will become afterwards.

By referencing Zombies or a Zombie horde, it does not mean that we would not help a Zombie. That would depend upon many things… Not all Zombies will be ‘bad’. Some even useful. However, many will be ‘bad’.

The Zombie hordes reference those Zombies who are branching out from their origins, in search of survival. Some of them will be organized, some not. There will be varying sized groups. Some will be essentially harmless, but many will not be. A desperate Zombie could be a very dangerous Zombie.

If TSHTF, there will be many hard choices to be made with regards to Zombies. Some easier than others.
Don’t be a Zombie. Get prepared now, so you won’t turn into one…

B.  How to Find Your Way out Of the City on Foot during a Crisis
5 June, by Preparing For SHTF
Pasted from:  http://prepforshtf.com/find-city-foot-crisis/#.UjV_KzEo6zY

refuge1 unprepared populace

You may have seen some of the reality shows where people are practicing their bug-out-techniques. Typically, they are bugging out from large urban areas. Why would you need to know how to escape your own city though?

Large metropolitan areas or areas where there are symbolic structures or events happening are targets. There are certain organizations or even governments that are plotting at this very moment on how to create chaos and havoc in American cities.

Urban areas are heavily populated and creating injuries and fatalities is the objective of these organizations. They do not blow up trees and release chemicals and biological agents to harm the wildlife in rural areas, they will attack where the people are, in heavily populated cities.

You May Have To Escape To Save Your Life
Being ready to evacuate is important, you cannot wake up one morning and hear the sirens and simply flee. You need supplies and a plan, and you can neither plan nor gather supplies once disaster strikes.

Humans have the unique ability to plan for tomorrow by gathering information today and then to make a reasonable assumption about what may happen in the future. Start doing threat assessments for your area to give you some idea of what to expect.

You know that large cities are a target and it is just a matter of time. Just a matter of time before one of the hundreds or even thousands of cyber attacks that occur daily against the United Sates is successful. The power grid can go down, planes would be grounded and trains sidelined.

At anytime, canisters of Sarin gas can be carried away from a rogue nation that has it stockpiled. One drop of the gas the size of a pinhead is deadly to humans, so imagine the destruction if just one canister is left on a subway platform somewhere. You will have to flee and you will need to know how to do it to survive the crisis.

Getting Prepared
You know what a bug-out-bag is but just a quick reminder about priorities. To survive you will need shelter, water, fire and food. In addition, you will need the means to collect and purify water and have the knowledge and skills to forage, fish, hunt or trap for food once you have a base camp set up. You have to assume you will not be able to resupply within a 72-hour period so it is important you have the skills and knowledge needed to obtain what you need from your environment.

Travel Routes
Use Internet mapping software that shows terrain features and landmarks, usually this means satellite imagery and there are free programs that provide this. Have at least three routes mapped out, and ensure none of the routes requires that you travel across bridges, through tunnels or use elevated highways. These are ambush points and they may very well be heavily congested to the point of being impassable even on foot.

If walking alone on level terrain, the average adult can expect to walk at about three miles per hour. With a heavy pack and having to backtrack a few times, you will not be able to maintain this pace. It will take time to clear the urban area.

When to Leave
Avoid leaving at night unless your life is in immediate danger. You will stand out more at night and will be a target for looters and other criminal elements. If Martial Law has been enacted, then troops will be out patrolling at night especially if there are quarantined areas. Mingle with the panicked citizens to make your escape in the early morning hours.

Avoid traveling with others unless they are family or trusted friends and in particular avoid anyone that claims to be fleeing but does not have any supplies with them. They may very well be waiting for the right moment to relive you of your supplies.

Move as efficiently as possible to get clear of the urban sprawl, before sheltering. If you must shelter in the city, do not set up any tents or shelters that you can be trapped in if your camp is overrun. Wrap up in a thermal blanket and sleep with your back to a wall with a clear view of the surrounding area.

Carry all personal protection devices on your belt. Do not pack firearms in your pack you should always carry them on your belt. Use bear spray canisters to repel animals and humans not because it is more potent, but because the canisters can spray farther, up to 25 feet in some cases.

Stun guns are another option but they require physical contact, which is something you want to avoid. An alternative is a stun baton that can extend up to 48 inches, this will prevent anyone from getting close enough to grab on to you or your pack.

C.   What happens after the SHTF, dealing with being a refugee
14 May 2013, IWillGetReady.com, by admin
Pasted from: http://www.iwillgetready.com/what-happens-after-the-shtf-dealing-with-being-a-refugee/

As good preppers we usually think that we will be the lucky ones and we will not be stuck in an urban area when the SHTF. As we all know that is the ideal situation where we will have all of our bug out bags and survival kits to weather any storm, but what happens if you are visiting family or friends that are not preppers? Or if you are on vacation where you flew into the area? Would you have your emergency supplies with you, most likely not as most of that stuff is no longer allowed on an airplane.

So enter into an urban survivalist mode. This is something that is not widely discussed, and should be. Let’s pretend that you are in a major city (like Boston) and something happens and you are no longer able to get out of the area the way you can into it. Using this scenario you just found yourself a refugee, meaning you are pretty much homeless with little cash on hand, what do you do to protect your loved ones and make sure that you stay safe?

For the sake of this blog, cell phones are up and down because so many people are overloading the lines, the local law enforcement are now too busy to be of much assistance to you or anyone else that was not involved directly when the SHTF.

Do you have your everyday carry items on you? This right here will determine how you act. If you do have it then you are moving in the right direction. If you do not have your everyday carry items, you are at a disadvantage as you will have to require those items or try to make do without.

Ask yourself these basic questions:
> Do you have a place to go?
> Would you enter a shelter?
> Would you find a shelter that is off the beaten path?

We all know what happens when we enter a shelter; that is why we say to never go to a shelter if at all possible. Just remember Katrina shelters and what went on in them. In most situations upon entering a shelter they will search your bags and confiscate most of your survival tools, food, and other useful supplies. So what do you do? Do you hid your kit somewhere and hope it survives the night and has not grown legs and walked away by the time you go back to get it?

If you seek out shelter that is secluded and off the beaten path, can anyone see, or find you? You might not want others to be able to find you as they could be gang members, criminals, and your pissed off refugee who has no survival skills and gear.

Mass people will be trying to leave the area so crowd control is something to watch out for. With all the people trying to go the same way people will become heated, angry, tried, scared, and can lash out at others. So do you follow the mob or do you look for another way? Just remember that natural disasters have taught us many things if you paid attention, just look at news footage of the highways where all the cars are stopped and you can’t move your car for hours. Would you leave your car like half of the others, and start walking?

We all know that the basic items like water and food will be the first things to go when something goes down. Or you get the military trying to round everyone up and move them to an area they set up (shelter).

A thing not to forget is that is you end up in one of these scenarios, you will become sleep deprived. This is something that is often overlooked and needs to be reminded, without sleep your ability to process your situation and your decision making ability will become diminished leading to you making bad choices for your family’s survival.

refuge1 bug outD.  The Top 4 Reasons Why You’re Not Going to Survive Bugging Out to the Woods
Pasted from: http://ready4itall.org/the-top-4-reasons-why-youre-not-going-to-survive-bugging-out-to-the-woods/

In today’s post we’re going to go over a very common and highly flawed bugout plan that many preppers have apparently chosen as their first response for most SHTF scenarios. We’re going to dissect the fundamental flaws with this plan and give some viable alternatives to bugging out to the woods.

There are many reasons why bugging out just in general is probably the worst idea you can have in a real-life SHTF scenario. We went into detail about this topic in THIS article. However, it seems that not only are a lot of preppers insisting on bugging out for practically any disaster scenario, but that many of them are planning on grouping up like some para-military pack of wannabe Rambos and “living off the land” and shooting anything and anyone that moves.

The other day on Facebook there was a heated discussion in one of the larger prepper groups about the best way to train “firing teams” to be ready for the eventual wilderness bugout that apparently is right around the corner.

Guys….that’s not prepping. That’s schizophrenia, or at best, extremism. Honestly, if you spend all day arguing on Facebook about the best way to place “troops” around your “bugout base camp” to “stalk and take out the sheeple coming in to YOUR woods” you have problems. Please go talk to a professional.

What I found more interesting about this conversation wasn’t the whole para-military thing. I don’t think we’re ever going to get rid of the unstable, wannabe Rambos from the prepper community, but what was really interesting was that practically everyone commenting on this debate apparently had the same plan to bug out to the woods during a SHTF scenario.

So today, we’re going to go over 4 reasons as to why bugging out to the woods is a REALLY bad idea, why you’re probably not going to survive out there if that’s what you’re planning to do and some alternatives to think about when planning a bug out.

_1. Whose land do you think you’re going to bug out to?
Although there are a lot of public and state-owned forests, nature preserves and other non-private lands out there you could theoretically bug out to, it’s not like these areas are just around the corner for everyone. For most people, it’s going to take some time to get out there, and since you’re not the only one with this plan. It’s very likely you won’t be the first ones out there. Now, you’ve got to hope that everyone else that got there first is either going to welcome you with open arms, not see you, or not shoot you on sight and take your supplies. Remember, there are people on Facebook literally right now that are not only planning on doing exactly that, but DEBATING THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.

Planning on bugging out to that nice patch of woods in the farmlands outside of town? Well, those farmers have been keeping people off their property a lot longer than you’ve been trespassing. They’re more self-reliant that you are, they know the land better than you do and they’re probably a lot better armed. Just because the S has hit the fan, doesn’t mean they’re not going to defend their land.

_ 2. There are VERY few people who have the skills to survive in the wild
This isn’t an attack on anyone that’s spent time working on their bushcraft and wilderness survival skills. These are 2 very important skills that all preppers should learn and practice. That being said, there’s a big difference between surviving in the woods, and surviving in the woods during a SHTF scenario. In a real SHTF scenario, rule of law is likely to be gone. We’ve already shown there are people who have no qualms with shooting people on site, just for their resources and to keep them out of “their” A.O.

If you’ve got a family, and for whatever bonehead reason you’ve drug them out into the middle of the woods to bug out after the S has hit the fan, you’re going to have some real problems. Are you going to be teaching little 4 year-old Jimmy advanced military evasion and survival techniques? How are you going to make sure little 2 year old Sally is going to stay silent for the next couple weeks to avoid the hundreds of confused, hungry, angry and hostile people out there? We could give a hundred examples like this, but in the end the answer is “you’re not”. Even if you’re by yourself, surviving in an area without immediate survival resources AND evading hostiles isn’t something that is usually taught on Man vs. Wild or in your average bushcraft course.

_3. It seems like EVERYONE is planning heading to the hills when SHTF. What makes you so special?
As we mentioned earlier, there are a great many preppers whose SHTF bugout plans involved heading out to the woods to survive. If a real SHTF scenario were to happen, not only will these people be headed out there, but after a day or two without food, even non-preppers are going to start thinking about hunting, fishing and gathering in the woods. Before long, you’re going to see a massive population shift from the cities to the country and forests.

This will mean a few things will happen:

  • The roads leading to the rural and wooded areas are going to be come congested, and probably impassable.
  • The roads leading to the rural and wooded areas are going to be a prime spot for anyone that’s thinking about taking supplies from others by force.
  • There will be intense competition for the limited amount of resources in these areas, likely causing more violence there than in the cities everyone is fleeing from in the first place.
  • Local land owners will very likely be shooting trespassers on sight.

_4. You’re not giving animals nearly enough credit …and humans are greedy.
Despite what a lot of people may believe, animals aren’t stupid. They’ve been surviving without guns, MREs or solar panels a lot longer than we have. Their main instincts revolve around protection and food procurement. They don’t just stand out in the woods waiting for humans to come kill them despite what Elmer Fudd might think.

If you don’t have a lot of experience hunting then you probably don’t know this, but towards the end of the hunting seasons, it becomes a lot harder to find game on public hunting grounds. The reason is simple. Animals have been hearing gunshots, seeing and smelling humans and generally fleeing for their lives for a couple months or more. There is a cycle among game animals. Towards the tail end of the season, the animals are leaving these areas to go to less populated areas where there are fewer humans. Several months after the hunting season is over, they start coming back because the humans have left. In a SHTF scenario, the same thing is going to happen. The animals will leave when more humans enter the forests and start hunting them. In fact, if everyone flees the cities, that’s exactly where the animals are likely to go!

Additionally, humans are greedy. There’s a reason why conservation agencies exist. It’s to keep us from destroying entire populations of animals. If you stick 100+ “hunters” in an area with only enough game to support 10 of them, all the game will disappear, either by the animals fleeing or they’ve all been taken. The same is true with fishing. If a pond gets over-fished, there are no more fish to mate and restock it naturally.

What about water? Sure, there’s lots of natural ways to procure water in the wild. There’s plenty of water out there for a few people… but not hundreds. Again, if there’s only a handful of streams or rivers to get water from, and EVERYONE wants water from there, 2 things are likely to happen. The water will be gone, or someone’s going to start thinking about defending “their” water source by force. Don’t think it will happen? Read some history books… WARS have been started over water rights.

In a nutshell, all those resources you thought were going to be in abundance out in the woods are going to dry up extremely quickly, likely before you even get there. At that point, you’re going to be hungry, without a source of food or water, living without a real shelter, exposed to the elements and dealing with a lot of angry and armed people.

Sounds fun huh?
Ok, so now, let’s talk about some alternatives to this highly dangerous and extremely illogical plan. First and foremost, please read THIS article. The term “bugging out” has gotten so much hype in what I’m going to start calling the “vanity-prepper” crowd, (I blame that stupid Doomsday Preppers show) that every new prepper I talk to immediately thinks that having a bugout bag for the BIG SHTF scenario and being able to live off the land is the most important thing they need to worry about right now. They spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on weapons and gear and then within a couple months they get burned out of prepping altogether and sell stuff to me for cheap on craigslist. J

Having a bugout plan IS important. That is a given. If a hurricane is coming that is a definite bugout situation. If your house is in the path of a wildfire, that is a bugout situation. Tornados, flooding… I think you see the pattern here. These are REAL bugout scenarios, and yes you should have a bugout bag for every family member ready to go just for these types of situations. However, more importantly, you need to have a bugout PLAN. We will be going more into detail about preparing a detailed bugout plan and bugout bag in a future article, but for now, you NEED to have somewhere you can go if your residence becomes unsafe like a family members home or even a hotel.

Now, I know what some people are thinking “…but what about SHTF?….when the SHTF hits…when the looters come…when the pandemic hits…when the mutant biker gangs take over…..blah blah blah”

You’re arguing a situation that has a 0.00000001% chance of ever actually happening. Yes, there is a chance that someday we may face one of the Hollywood disasters, but why is THAT what you’re so worried about right now? Do you have contingency plans for all the natural disasters that could hit your area? What would you do if you lost your job right now? How much food and water do you have stockpiled? What are you planning on doing about hyper-inflation? Heck, do you even have jumper cables in your car?!

You see, these (and many others) are REAL disasters that you WILL face in the coming days. So, with that being said, maybe instead of arguing with someone on Facebook about “the best way to set up firing teams”, … make a real bug out plan, practice it, document it, prepare for it… and most importantly, try to keep some perspective and reality in your preps and your plans. The rest of the world already thinks we’re nut-jobs; we don’t need to prove them right.

refuge1 rapid mass evacuationPeople fleeing Houston preceding Hurricane Rita


Continued on Thursday, 27 March 2014, in: Waves of Refugees, Part 2 of 2.
E.   Four Waves of Food and Shelter Seekers
F.  Preparing for the Fourth – and Deadliest – Wave of Refugees, Bandits, and other Problem Groups
G. Taking over: The governments proactive attempt to remain in control:


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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

City Survival: Evacuate (Part 2 of 2)

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ City Survival: Evacuate (Part 2 of 2)

How to Effectively Evacuate a Big City Without a Car
January 16, 2008, Grandpappy.info, by Robert Wayne Atkins
Pasteed from: http://www.grandpappy.info/hbigcity.htmcity3 neighborhood

If you live in a major metropolitan area then you may not own your own vehicle. The city’s existing mass transit system will take you anywhere you need to go within the city. Therefore everything you could possibly need is within easy reach, such as doctors, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, and everything else. Purchasing a vehicle is simply not an option for most of the residents in a big city for the following reasons: (1) the down payment, (2) the monthly car payment, (3) the monthly insurance payment, (4) the monthly parking fees, (5) the cost of gas, and (6) the repairs. When added together these costs far exceed the small amount of money you currently spend riding the city’s mass transportation system. [Photo: Living near the older section of an urban region will lead to social issues, a few days sooner than in other areas.]

However, during a major disaster event some of the problems of living in a big city would be: (1) the mass transit system will probably become unreliable or simply stop, (2) deliveries of food to the restaurants and grocery stores will stop, (3) the electricity may become intermittent or stop, (4) the water and sewer systems may fail, and (5) it would only take one fire to burn the city to the ground. The fire could be started intentionally by a terrorist, or it could be a simple heating or cooking fire that accidentally gets out of control. Think about what happened to the World Trade Center in New York City. On September 11, 2001 the city’s fire fighters were able to limit the damage to a very small part of the city. However, if the fire fighters had not had access to an continuous supply of water at high pressure then the entire city could have gone up in flames. Therefore, during a major disaster event a big city will not be a place where people will die of old age.

If you would like to read James Wesley Rawles observations about the feasibility of attempting to survive in a big city during a disaster, please read my post titled, City Survival: Stay (Part 1 of 2) or paste the following website in your browser:  http://aspedantheod.tripod.com/id178.html

The first question is how could you escape from a big city if the mass transit system isn’t working and you do not own a vehicle? The obvious answer is that you could walk or ride a bicycle out of the city. Although this may seem to be a monumental task, it is a feasible option as long as you don’t have to carry a lot of weight with you. In fact, depending on the disaster event, a person walking or riding a bicycle may have a much better chance of escaping a major city if the disaster results in a traffic grid-lock situation and vehicles are stalled for hours or days on the roads, bridges, tunnels, and highways. In this situation it would not be unusual to see lots of people attempting to walk out of the city. Many of these people will have simple daypacks or school backpacks on their backs, or they will be pulling a luggage carrier behind them containing either a suitcase or a backpack. The only individuals who would be noticed would be the ones with specially designed camping backpacks which display a variety of special survival tools or weapons strapped to the outside of those packs. Those individuals would quickly become obvious targets for the thieves and criminals who are also a part of the exodus crowd.

city2 burn

The next question is where would you go and what would you do when you got there. Traveling to a remote small town with very little money in your pocket and with only the clothes on your back is a very scary thought. However, there is a way to make it a little less scary if you are willing to engage in a little advance planning.

Choosing a Safe Destination
Resist the temptation to pick another large city as a safe evacuation destination. All large cities have the same inherent weaknesses during a disaster as your current city. Almost any small community has a far better chance for long-term survival during a disaster event than any big city.

Therefore, you should begin your search by looking at a map of your state and identifying several small towns that:
•  are between 60 to 75 miles away from your current apartment,
•  are not on a major interstate or freeway, and
•  are where you get to them from at least two different directions during a disaster event without adding a significant number of miles to your journey.

A family could walk or ride bicycles a distance of 75 miles within three to seven days, depending on the family. However, the overwhelming vast majority of the people escaping from a city during a disaster would not consider walking that far. They would stop at the first safe community they came to and wait for the federal or state government to rescue them or for the local community to take care of them. Unfortunately their vast numbers will quickly exhaust that community’s charitable goodwill. On the other hand, families that do not stop at the first opportunity but who keep moving towards a more distance community would have a much better chance for long-term survival.

A person could carry enough food and a portable water filter to easily survive for three to seven days. However, you would not be able to carry a lot of equipment, supplies, water, and food with you. When you reached your safe destination, you would be just another homeless refugee family with limited options, unless you had something waiting for you at your destination.

If you rented a car now, before there is any threat of a disaster event, then you could drive to each of your potential safe rural towns and evaluate each town and select the one that would be best suited to your needs. An ideal small rural town would be one that:
1.  is at least several hundred feet above sea level,
2.  is surrounded by farm land, dairy cows, and other typical farm livestock such as horses, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens,
3.  has a reasonable supply of trees and forest timber land,
4.  has a few nearby manufacturing facilities of any size, and
5.  its residents still have the right to own firearms to protect themselves.

city9 small townIf the community meets the above minimum criteria then you should verify that you could afford to pay the local rent for a furnished apartment or Extended Stay Motel that meets the minimum needs for your family. You can find the phone numbers of all the local apartments and motels in the yellow pages of the local phone book. Call each apartment and make a simple list of the location and phone numbers of all the furnished apartments in the area along with the rental price and the required deposit for each apartment. Visit the ones that are of interest to you and politely ask to see the inside of an actual apartment. Write down a brief description of what you see along with your opinion about the place. If you have a camera then take a picture of the apartment building and the inside of the apartment after politely asking the manager’s permission. Record the picture number(s) on your master list of apartments so you can match them up later. This information will provide you with advance knowledge of your options if a disaster forces you to relocate to this community. Some of the places that currently have available apartments may rent them before you return, and some places that are now full may have an available apartment in the future. During an actual disaster the first families to arrive with enough cash to pay the rent and the deposit will get the available living quarters.
[Image: Small town, the kind of place you want to be/go to when SHTF.]

You should also ask if the monthly rent includes the basic utilities or if the utilities will be an additional expense. The utilities are normally included in the rent for Extended Stay Motels but not for apartments, although the apartment rent may sometimes include the water and sewer bills. During a disaster event it would be better if the utilities were included in the rent for the apartment or the Extended Stay Motel so the water, power, and heat would already be on when you arrive. During a disaster it might take a long time for the utility crews to get around to activating new accounts. Also ask if the apartment complex has its own washing machines and dryers for the use of its residents. These machines are usually coin operated. In addition, if an apartment has a functional wood-burning fireplace then you might want to give it more serious consideration than an apartment without a fireplace. If the disaster adversely impacts the state’s power grid then having a wood-burning fireplace would give you the option to heat your apartment and cook your food.

If the quality of the furniture inside the locally available furnished apartments is completely unacceptable to you then you should consider the unfurnished apartments. With an unfurnished apartment you would have three basic options:
1.  Sleep on the floor. Eat your meals while sitting on the floor. If someone in your family chooses to complain then you can remind them of your sleeping      accommodations below a bridge on a creek bank during your long walk to your new apartment.
2.  Purchase some high-quality inflatable air mattresses, and a folding table and some folding chairs, and then store them inside your storage unit at the small town.
3.  Set aside enough cash to purchase some new mattresses and some good used furniture after you relocate to your new apartment. The seller might agree to deliver these items to your apartment for free or for a small fee. Or you could rent a small U-haul truck and go get them yourself.

Renting a Small Storage Unit
After you determine which of the potential rural towns best suits your needs then you could rent a small storage unit near that town. A basic 6 foot by 6 foot by 8 foot tall unit rents for about $25 per month, or a 6 by 10 by 8 foot tall unit rents for about $35 per month. If possible you should pay the rent for at least three months in advance (six months would be better). You can locate these storage facilities in the yellow pages of the local phone book under the word “storage.” If you can afford it, one of these small storage units could easily be packed from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling with enough equipment, supplies, and food to last a family of four for one-year or longer. Put the heavier sturdier items, such as food, on the bottom of a stack and the lighter items, such as clothing, on the top of a stack. If possible leave a narrow aisle along one wall or down the middle of the unit so you can access any stack inside your unit at any time.city5 storage1
Climate controlled and 24-hour security storage units usually cost approximately twice as much. These units may be a better choice if you intend to make a substantial monetary investment in the items you will be storing inside your rental unit. Just remember that if the electricity goes off for any extended period of time then the temperature inside these units will slowly adjust to the current outside air temperatures. It is not unusual for rural communities to be without power for a few days each year and this usually happens during their very worst weather. If the facility has an electronic entrance gate then you may not be able to get to your things if there is a wide spread power failure during the disaster event that forces you to evacuate the city.

If you plan to store a lot of equipment and supplies then it might be wise to rent two small storage units in two different storage facilities a few miles apart, instead of renting one large storage unit. This would increase your family’s chances of survival because you would still have the supplies in one of your units if the supplies in the other unit were stolen or damaged by adverse weather conditions such as a tornado. If one of these units was climate controlled then it would greatly expand your options for long-term food storage. If you rent two units then you should strategically divide your food and clothing between the two units so that you would have some of your basic necessities in each unit. And keep a list of what you store in each unit so you can quickly locate it in an emergency.

It would be extremely useful if the rental storage unit was located within walking distance of the small town, or an Extended Stay Motel, or some other type of furnished rental housing or apartments, or near a campground. If the nearby furnished rental apartments are within walking distance of the small town then you might be able find some type of job if a future disaster results in your relocation to this community. However the chance of finding work after a wide spread disaster event are very slim unless you have marketable skills that would be in demand after a disaster.

Stocking Your Storage Unit
Immediately after you pay the rent and get a receipt, you should put your own padlock on the door of your storage unit. Then you should visit the local Walmart, city6 storage2camping supply stores, and grocery stores and purchase the things your family would need to survive. However, you should have made a comprehensive list ahead of time, along with the estimated cost of each item, so you can quickly purchase the most important things you will need without omitting any critical items. You could load your supplies inside your rental car as you buy them and then take them to your rental unit and store them inside your rental unit. If necessary you can drive back and forth to your rental unit several times. To the extent possible you should avoid attracting attention to yourself. This means it would probably be wise to buy your food items from several different grocery stores in the local or surrounding area instead of making one huge purchase at one store. When you have finished shopping and stocking your rental unit, you should once again lower your rental unit door, put your own personal round padlock  on the sliding door latch, and lock up all your stuff. Then you could drive home and return the rental car. This could all be done in one day, such as on a Saturday, if you had a plan and if you carefully worked your plan. Or you could rent a car for two days and complete your activities over the weekend by spending one night in a motel at the rural town of your choice. The advantage of spending the night in a motel is that it would give you a convenient private place to carefully pack your food and other supplies into your tote containers so you would not be attracting any special attention in public. The next morning you could then easily load your supplies into your rental car and transfer them to your rental unit. If necessary, you could make several trips back and forth from your motel room to your rental unit.

(Note: As you drive back to your apartment in the city you should write down all the highway mile marker numbers where bridges cross over streams or creeks because these could be potential camp spots for your family if a future disaster forces your family to evacuate your city. You could sleep under the bridge out of the weather and you could replenish your water from the creek by using your portable water filter. Depending on the size of the creek you may be able to catch a fish or two to supplement your food supplies. However, other families may have this same idea so you should be cautious when you first look under a bridge during an actual disaster event. As you continue to drive back to your apartment in the city you should also stop briefly at each community or major suburb along the way and look in the yellow pages of the local phone book. Make a list of the phone numbers of the local Taxi companies, the major churches, and the vehicle rental companies in that area. This information may be very useful to you if you are forced to quickly evacuate your city apartment during a future emergency.)

There are also a few other things you should consider. Depending on where you live, the temperatures inside a rental storage unit will fluctuate from below freezing to over 100 degrees during the course of one year. Most canned foods will not survive freezing without rupturing or exploding. Water will not survive freezing and it will burst its storage container. Insects and mice will chew through paper, cardboard, and thin plastic and consume any easy to reach food items. Moisture, humidity, and mildew will attack and gradually destroy clothes, supplies, and equipment that are not properly stored and protected.

city7 efoodsThe only food items that are specifically designed to survive temperature extremes are marine lifeboat ration bars and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat).  Freeze-dried and dehydrated canned foods would also probably be okay, but they may have reduced shelf lives if your area experiences severe temperature extremes. These emergency food items are not sold everywhere so you would probably need to purchase them in advance, have them delivered to your apartment, and then transport them inside your rental car to your rental storage unit. These items are usually delivered in cardboard boxes that can be conveniently stacked on one another. However it would be a good idea to put each big cardboard box inside a 30-gallon heavy-duty black plastic bag and tape the bag tightly to the box like a birthday present using 2-inch wide clear packing tape. This will add a moisture barrier to the outside of the box and help protect its contents. It will also prevent other people from reading what is preprinted on the box as you load and unload your storage unit. The black bags would not reflect light and they would help to make the inside of your storage unit look dark and uninviting if someone who is passing by casually glances inside your unit while you have the door open. However, you should write what is inside each box in very small print on a thin slip of paper and tape it to the outside of the wrapped box so you can later determine the contents of each box without having to unwrap the box.

Large 5, 10, and 20 pound bags of ordinary white rice are usually easy to find at most rural grocery stores prior to a disaster event. You should probably store at least 100 pounds of white rice per family member inside several plastic tote containers. A few hundred pounds of a variety of different kinds of dry beans would also be a wise investment. Dry beans are widely available at most rural grocery stores in 1, 2, and 4 pound plastic bags. Leave the rice and the beans inside their original plastic bags and put several of them inside one large 30-gallon heavy-duty black plastic storage bag that is inside a plastic storage tote. Secure the top of the black bag with one of the twist-ties provided with the bags. Then snap the lid onto the tote. The bag will provide an additional moisture barrier for your food. It would also prevent anyone from seeing what is actually inside your plastic totes if they are made of clear plastic. This would be extremely important if food in the area becomes extremely expensive or unavailable after a disaster event. You should probably use two or three black plastic bags per medium size tote to keep the food separate and thereby help to prevent a total loss in the event one bag of food goes bad. Other good choices for long-term food storage include dry macaroni and spaghetti noodles, instant potatoes, and instant powdered milk. You should probably purchase at least a dozen boxes (or more) of each of these items and add them to your food reserves inside your storage unit.

For some information about the shelf life of canned and dry foods, see: http://www.grandpappy.info/hshelff.htm
For a variety of simple but tasty recipes for white rice and dry beans, see: http://www.grandpappy.info/indexrec.htm

[Note: Grandpappy’s Recipes for Hard Times, Copyright © 1976, 2010 by Robert Wayne Atkins, is for sale through Amazon.com for $9.95.  116 pages, 8.5″ x 11″ format. Mr. Larry]

You should carefully pack all your emergency food into plastic totes with tight fitting lids to protect it from insect and rodent damage and to help prevent it from emitting odors that might attract flies. You should use several medium size plastic storage containers instead of one or two very large plastic totes. This would keep the total weight of each full container to a reasonable level and permit the container to be moved by manual labor. In addition, if the food in one container goes bad it will only contaminate the food inside that one container and the balance of your food will still be edible. If the temperature inside your storage unit exceeds 85 degrees for long periods of time then you would need to replace your rice and beans and other boxed dry food items with fresh supplies every year, or once every two or three years depending on how hot it gets inside your storage unit during the summer months. You could take the old food back to your apartment each October and gradually consume it while it is still safe and tasty to eat.

You should also consider storing several 5-pound bags of white granulated sugar, and several 4-pound boxes of table salt or canning salt, and about ten pounds of baking soda, and a few large boxes of kitchen matches, and a few butane lighters. All of these items can be safely stored for decades and each one is extremely useful in preparing a variety of tasty recipes. Store the matches and butane lighters in a separate small plastic container. Do not store them inside your food or clothing containers.

It is highly unlikely that food will still be available at a reasonable price in remote rural communities after a major disaster destroys a nearby large city. It is more probable that food will skyrocket in price or be completely unavailable at any price. Therefore you should resist the temptation to wait until you actually evacuate to your rural location to buy your food supplies. This strategy has a very, very small chance of being successful, and if it fails then you and your family will die of slow and painfully agonizing starvation.

If possible stack your equipment, supplies, and food containers on some wood boards or on some wood pallets so they are not in direct contact with the floor. This will protect them from absorbing moisture from the floor and it will also help to protect them from water damage if a few inches of water temporarily gets into the storage unit during an exceptionally heavy rain.

Most rental storage unit contracts prohibit the storage of flammable items, explosive items, and food items inside the storage unit. The food clause is necessary because families sometimes store bread and perishable items from their home refrigerator inside the storage unit and this food quickly begins to spoil and stink and attract ants, insects, flies, and rodents. It also frequently leaks down onto the floor of the rental unit and creates a mess for the rental facility manager to clean up after the family has removed their other belongings from the unit. After reading the contract, it would probably be prudent to simply sign the rental contract without asking for a detailed explanation of each clause in the contract, unless there is something in the contract you can’t agree to. In this case you should simply look for a different storage facility in the same general area.

It might also be a good idea to store a folding heavy-duty two-wheel luggage carrier inside your rental storage unit so you could later transport your things to your new apartment or campsite as you need them. Another useful item would be a bicycle so you could ride to work instead of walking each day. Rural city8 hand cartcommunities do not have mass transit systems. You should also place a single battery L.E.D. (Light Emitting Diode) flashlight and a spare battery within easy reach inside the storage unit door in the event you need to access your supplies at night and the power is off.

When you initially go on your rural town evaluation trip you could also take some things from you current apartment with you in your rental car. For example, you could take some of your old clothing, old shoes, old cookware, old dishes, old bed sheets and pillowcases, old blankets and quilts, old towels, and a variety of other old things you no longer use and store them inside your future rental unit. When I say “old” I am not referring to items that are worn out and falling apart. Those types of things should be discarded. Instead I am referring to used items that still have at least half of their useful life remaining. These old things could make your life much easier during a disaster event if they were already at your rental unit. Since you have already paid for these old items they would not be adding to the current cost to stock your storage unit. If you were already thinking about replacing a few of your old items then now would be a good time to do so. You could take your time and carefully pack your used items inside black plastic bags inside plastic totes at your apartment and then later transfer them to your rental car when you are ready to make your journey to rent a storage unit. It would then be a simple matter to transfer them into your new rental storage unit after you acquire one at your destination.

On the other hand, if money is not an issue, then you should consider purchasing several new blue jeans, shirts, thick wool socks, and underwear for each family member. Also some new high quality waterproof walking shoes that each family member has tried on and verified for a comfortable fit while wearing a pair of heavy socks (or two pair of thin socks). If you have growing children then purchase the next size up in shoes.

If you are currently employed in a trade where you use a variety of hand tools that are your personal property then you may want to store some of your older tools, that you have replaced with newer versions, inside your storage unit. This would permit you to continue practicing your trade in your new community if it should become necessary.

If you also include a high quality camping tent, some low-temperature high quality sleeping bags, and some high quality inflatable air mattresses inside your storage unit then your family would have an emergency temporary place to live in the event no rental properties are available when you reach your destination. The sleeping bags and air mattresses would also be very useful if you had to rent an unfurnished apartment. Store each of these camping items inside a big black plastic bag and secure the bag opening with a twist-tie in order to provide a moisture and humidity barrier and to help prevent mildew. It would probably also be a good idea to store several 24-roll packages of toilet tissue inside your storage unit after you put each 24-roll package inside a black plastic bag and secure it with a twist-tie. This will provide an additional moisture barrier for your toilet tissue. If you store all your stuff inside black plastic bags you will prevent anyone from casually looking into your storage unit while you have the door open and instantly recognizing what you have. You should also consider investing in several bars of hand soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, nail clippers, hair brushes and combs, barber hair scissors, and disposable razors. These are relatively inexpensive but very practical items that would help your family more easily make the adjustment to living in their new rural community. It would be a good idea to buy these things now because they could become either unaffordable or unavailable after a major disaster event.

Executing Your Evacuation Plan
If you implement the above plan then you would have equipment, supplies, and some food waiting for you at your destination in the event of a future disaster. And your destination would not be a last minute decision made during a life-threatening event. Instead it would be a carefully calculated destination that would maximize the chances of your family’s long-term survival.

If a disaster event has a serious impact on your city, then all the major banks and credit card companies will probably “immediately temporarily freeze” the accounts of all their customers who addresses match the impacted zip code areas. Therefore, before the disaster hits you should access your checking and savings accounts and withdraw as much cash as you believe you will need to survive for a few months. If possible, get $20 and $50 bills but nothing larger or smaller. This will make it easier to pay for things and it will keep your “roll” of bills to a reasonable size. If necessary, get a cash advance against your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover Card at your existing bank by asking your bank teller to give you a cash advance against your credit card. If you do this before the disaster hits then you will should have enough cash to get you settled into your new small town apartment and to pay for your basic necessities for a short period of time. (Historical Note: After the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans the local regional banks went bankrupt and the larger national banks froze the accounts of the local residents until they could verify all the last minute transactions by their customers at their branch banks in the disaster area. If a future disaster hits your city, then you would be very upset if you had money in your bank and you were not allowed to access your money because of “temporarily policies” your bank might implement to protect itself. On the other hand, if you already had enough cash to last you for a few months then you could afford to be patient and wait for your bank to release the remainder of your money.)

The only remaining element of your plan would be to safely evacuate with your family at the first warning that a disaster was about to strike, or immediately after the disaster hits if there is no advance warning. Families that evacuate quickly and immediately would have a much better chance of escaping the city.

If you have access to a working telephone then you could call the apartment or Extended Stay Motel you are headed towards and reserve the unit in your name and pay the rent and deposit immediately by phone using one of your credit or debit cards and get a paid confirmation number and the number of the apartment you have rented and the name of the individual that rented you the apartment. If possible, you should verify that they actually charge your credit or debit card and not just simply reserve the room for you using your card number. If you evacuate when you are first notified of the approaching disaster then it might be feasible to use your city’s mass transit system to take you a good distance towards your future rural retreat. When you reach the end of the mass transit system line you may then be able to rent a Taxi to take you the rest of the way. The Taxi could deliver your family to the door of the apartment you rented by phone (after you stop by the main office to get the key), or to one of the apartments you previously identified or to an Extended Stay Motel that is within walking distance of your storage rental unit. Also remember to take your Rental Storage Unit Receipt(s) and your padlock key(s) with you when you evacuate the city. (Note: Although it is unlikely you may be able to take a Taxi from your apartment all the way to your final destination if you evacuate at the first warning of an approaching disaster.)

If your family is forced to walk out of the city then you will need a stroller for each small child or infant. Small children cannot walk very far and carrying small children in your arms will exhaust you in a very short period of time. You should also remember to take your list of phone numbers of the Taxi companies, large churches, and vehicle rental companies that are located in each of the communities you will be passing through. This is the list you made earlier on your return trip home to the city when you first rented your rural storage unit. After you have walked out of the danger area and you have reached one of the communities on your list that is not inside the disaster zone, then you should attempt to find transportation the rest of the way to your new apartment. The obvious choice would be to call each of the local Taxi companies. If you have set aside some emergency cash for this specific purpose then you may be able to rent a Taxi that will come and pick you up and drive you the rest of the way to your destination quickly and safely. Or you could try to rent a vehicle, such as a car or a small U-Haul truck. If you rent a U-Haul type truck then rent it one-way only for drop off at a rental dealer near your new apartment at your destination. A rental car or a rental truck would not only get you to your new apartment but you could also use it to quickly transfer some of your things from your storage unit to your apartment. In the long run this option might be cheaper than a Taxi. If you have very little cash then you should call some of the larger churches in the immediate area. The smaller churches are usually only open on Sundays but most of the larger churches have a full-time staff whose primary job is to assist people in distress. These larger churches have people who will answer the phone on weekdays during the day. Just explain your situation to the individual who answers the phone and politely ask if there is anyone currently in their church office, or perhaps a retired church member, who would volunteer to drive your family to your apartment located in your rural town “x” number of miles away. You may be pleasantly surprised at how friendly most of these people are and how eager they will be to assist you in your hour of need. Regardless of the high moral quality of these individuals you should not tell them about your storage unit full of emergency supplies nor should you try to enlist their aid in helping you to move some of your supplies to your new apartment. This activity should be a private matter that only you and your spouse participate in.

Even if you include the above strategies as part of your tentative evacuation plans, your family should still be prepared to walk the entire distance if it becomes absolutely necessary. Eat well, drink a lot of water, and use the bathroom just before you begin your journey. Lock your apartment door when you leave. If your family must walk out of the city then each one of you should be modestly dressed in loose-fitting faded dark colored clothes so you will not attract any unnecessary attention. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes and wear a pair of nylon hose footies under your normal socks to help prevent walking blisters on your feet. If you don’t have any footies then wear nylon panty hose under your socks. This applies to both males and females. If possible, plan to walk completely out of the downtown area of the city during the first day or night of your journey. None of the females should be wearing any makeup and they should have their hair stuffed under a dark color large baseball type cap. To the extent possible the females should look almost like a male except from a very short distance away. This obviously means no visible purses or handbags. All the males should also wear a dark baseball type hat to minimize sun damage to the face and neck. Everyone should keep their head tilted slightly down with their eyes looking towards the ground and slightly ahead of them. The strongest person should be in the rear and the next strongest person in the front. You should have already planned your primary (and backup) departure routes from the city so the person in front will know exactly which way to lead the family. Do not talk to each other unless it is absolutely necessary and then only speak briefly in a whisper. If you must speak to strangers then let the oldest male do the talking while everyone else keeps their mouth completely shut during the entire conversation exchange. Tell your children to walk quietly and to step over anything in their path.
If you have a fixed-blade hunting knife then you should wear it in its case attached to your belt in plain sight. It would be nice if each teenage or older person had one of these hunting knives attached to their belt in visible sight. This includes both males and females.
If you have a firearm then you should keep it concealed and completely out of sight but it should be where you can reach it quickly if necessary.

If only one or two of you are pulling a two-wheel luggage carrier loaded with a medium size suitcase or backpack then your family will not look like it is worth the trouble to attack. Thieves and criminals prefer an unarmed prosperous looking individual instead of a poorly dressed person wearing a visible hunting knife. However, thieves and criminals are always looking to acquire more firearms and that is the reason you should not have a gun in visible sight. This evacuation strategy should permit your family to travel unnoticed and unmolested through a very dangerous life threatening environment.

Once you are completely out of the danger area you should transfer all your belt knives to your suitcase or backpack, along with any firearms you might have. You do not want to terrorize the residents of the small towns and communities you will be passing through. You also do not want to give the local law enforcement officers a reason to arrest and detain you. If you are stopped and questioned then you should provide the law enforcement officers with the phone number of the apartment you are walking towards along with your paid rent confirmation number and then you will most likely be permitted to continue to your destination. However you should not mention that you have a storage unit full of equipment, supplies and food waiting at your destination. These are some of the reasons why it would be wise to reach your destination as soon as you can without unnecessary delays. These are also some of the reasons why travel by night (10 PM to 5 AM) would be preferred to travel during the day. At night there will be little or no traffic and you can see the headlights of the few approaching cars from both directions and your family could quickly get off the road and lay very still to avoid being seen. This is another reason for wearing dark clothing. Night travel during the hot summer months is less fatiguing and during the cold winter months it helps you to keep warm because you are walking (unless a freezing night wind is blowing).

Your emergency travel suitcase or backpack should contain your basic survival necessities, such as a quality portable water filter, one 24-ounce bottle full of drinking water for each person, all your prescription medications, a first aid kit and 100 extra bandaids, a bar of soap, a hand towel, toothbrushes and toothpaste, a few one-gallon ziplock freezer bags (lots of uses such as water collection), a spare hunting knife, a Leatherman type multi-tool, some matches and a butane lighter, some toilet tissue, a waterproof tarp to construct a simple tent-like shelter, a plastic ground sheet to sleep on, at least 200 feet of strong twine or thin wire, a small fishing tackle kit with some fishing line, a wilderness survival manual, a bible, and a blanket and spare socks for each person. You should also take the original copy of all your legal documents, all your cash, credit cards, check book, jewelry, and other small valuables, your cell phones, and enough high-calorie ready-to-eat food items to sustain your family during the entire trip to your safe destination. Each family member will need at least 3000 calories per day if they are going to walk or ride a bicycle all day. If you still have some unused space then you may include a deck of playing cards and some children’s games to entertain your family at the end of each day’s travel. A small solar powered or battery operated radio with an ear plug would permit you to keep up with the current news each time you stop to camp. Sleep in shifts with one teenager or adult always awake. If you still have room then you may include a small laptop computer with DVD drive, or a purse or handbag inside your travel suitcase after you have removed all the useless items that can be easily replaced when you reach your destination. If you strap a ladies purse to the top of a suitcase then it would be obvious to everyone that a women was traveling with your party. Remember how far you have to travel and how long it is going to take you. Each unnecessary pound you add to your travel suitcase will slow you down and delay your arrival at your safe destination. Each unnecessary pound will cause you to burn more energy and require more food and water during the journey. To minimize fatigue and permit the fastest possible average travel speed, you should strap each of your suitcases or backpacks to its own individual folding heavy-duty two-wheel luggage carrier with extra big wheels that can be easily pulled along behind you.

If you decide to rent and stock a small storage unit then you should not tell anyone except your spouse. Even your children should not know of these arrangements. If your children don’t know then you won’t have to worry about them telling their friends. Neither you nor your spouse should discuss your evacuation plans with anyone, including other family members or close friends. It would be okay to give them the web address of http://www.survivalblog.com and suggest they take a look because you found it to be extremely enlightening and informative. But telling anyone about the emergency supplies you have stored in a distant rental unit would be unwise for a multitude of reasons. If either you or your spouse decide to ignore this suggestion then you will probably regret it when a diaster begins to unfold and everyone who knows about your plans shows up at your apartment because they have decided to evacuate the city with you. Normal people behave entirely differently during a disaster because their survival instincts take over and they will not listen to you when you try to explain that you don’t have enough supplies to share with everyone. You are their only hope of survival and they are not going to let you out of their sight under any circumstances. You can completely avoid this unpleasant and potentially dangerous confrontation by remaining absolutely silent about your evacuation plans.

Having an emergency evacuation plan is similar to making a religious decision about eternal salvation. The vast majority of people will agree that it is a truly excellent idea but they will do absolutely nothing about it while there is still time to take positive action.

In summary, the following steps taken now could maximize the chances of your family’s survival during a future disaster event:
1.  Select several small rural towns that are between 60 to 75 miles from your current apartment but are not on a major Interstate Highway.
2.  Visit each of these rural towns and select the one you believe is best suited for your purposes.
3.  Rent a 6 foot by 6 foot (or larger) storage unit near the rural town and stock it with equipment, supplies, and food.
4.  Do not tell anyone about your disaster evacuation plan for any reason. And never mention the name of the town you have selected.
5.  Later, if a disaster strikes then evacuate your family to your preplanned safe  destination as quickly as you can.
6.  Rent a safe place to live in your new community based on your previous survey of rental properties. (Note: If possible complete this transaction by phone before you start your journey, or during your journey when you get      within reach of a working cell phone tower or a working pay phone.)
7.  Your family should now be able to survive for a few months using your storage unit supplies while you and your spouse look for new jobs in your new community.

On the other hand, if you believe your city has a reasonable chance of surviving the disaster then instead of renting an apartment you and your family could rent a modest motel room in the rural town on a daily (or weekly) basis while you wait for the forecasted disaster to pass. Most of the smaller motels have a daily rate and a much lower weekly rate. If the disaster event should come and go and the city is able to survive with only moderate damage, then you could always return to your old apartment and way of life after the debris has been cleaned up, and the water and power is restored throughout the city. Just use a few days of your sick leave during this interval of time while things are being returned to normal inside the city. When you return tell anyone who asks the truth: you and your family stayed in a motel outside the city while you waited for the disaster to pass. You do not need to add any additional details. However, if the water and power is not restored and conditions inside the city continue to degenerate then you and your family would be able start a new future together in your new community.

Some of the very first things you should do after you rent a new apartment are:
1.  Hold onto your cash as long as possible and, if possible, pay by credit card instead.
2.  If necessary have the utilities connected at your new apartment. If necessary have the utilities stopped at your old apartment in the city.
3.  If your bank has a branch in your rural town then visit the bank and change the mailing address on your existing account. Or open a new checking account at a local bank by making the minimum opening deposit. Do not      deposit all of your cash.
4.  Visit the Division of Motor Vehicles and have them change the address on your driver’s license.
5.  Register to vote. You are now a legitimate member of your new community.
6.  Register your children in the local public school system. You will need your apartment rent receipt, your children’s birth certificates, a copy of their immunization records, and maybe a copy of their most recent report      cards or their previous year’s final report cards.
7.  You and your spouse should immediat ely file for unemployment benefits and for any welfare subsidies you may be entitled to. These benefits could keep your family alive until you can find a new job. However, you should not be surprised if it takes a very long time before you actually begin to receive any of these benefits because your state may be swamped with similar requests from millions of other individuals.
8.  Carefully consider who you want to notify of your new address and then do so. It may not be wise to notify everyone.
9.  Establish a budget and stick to it. Do not make any unnecessary purchases. Use the items in your storage unit. Do not tell anyone about the items in your storage unit. It may be a long time before things return to normal so      carefully ration your available food resources beginning immediately and don’t wait until half your food is gone. It is okay if you and your spouse loose a little weight. It will probably help you to better blend in with the other starving families in the immediate area.
10.  Honestly evaluate your current financial situation. If necessary, file for complete bankruptcy immediately. Since you and your spouse have both unexpectedly lost your jobs, a complete write-off of all your previous debts      should be relatively straightforward if you consult a good bankruptcy attorney. A good attorney will advise you to start over with no debt instead of just shuffling your existing debt around and decreasing your monthly payments by a little bit.
11.  You and your spouse should begin a diligent search for new employment. Almost any honest job, including a part-time job, is better than no job. Part-time jobs sometimes become a full-time job after your employer sees that you are a diligent honest hard-working person. You can look for  a better job after you have established some type of regular income. Never quit one job until after you have found another job. If necessary, work two jobs to keep your rent and utility bills paid. Do not continue working at a job if you do not receive your pay when it was originally promised.  There are unethical people even in small rural towns who will try to take advantage of anyone they can. Before you leave a steady paying job you should be reasonably certain you will get paid on your new job on a regular basis.
12.  Become a member of a local church and attend church every Sunday. Give thanks that your family has survived the disaster.


[Provide insurance for yourself and your family. At minimum, put together a “Bug Out Bag” for each family member, include sufficient cash in the bags to meet your finances for up to a month. Keep these minimal supplies out of the way from your daily lives, but in place for an easy grab-and-go should a suprise emergency strike your area. With fifty pounds per person of individual personal supplies, plus a tent, a “portapottie”, and several cases of freeze dried meals or canned goods for two weeks you are pretty much prepared to weather out the aftermath of most natural disasters and could survive the initial shock of other unpleasant  events. Be prepared. Mr. Larry]

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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

City Survival: Stay (Part 1 of 2)

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ City Survival: Stay (Part 1 of 2))

A.  Letter Re: Hunkering Down in an Urban Apartment in a Worst Case Societal Collapse
25  Dec  2007, Survivalblog.com, blog author James Wesley Rawles

city3 neighborhoodHello,
In the event of a disaster (I live in New York City) I intend to shelter in place until all the riotous mobs destroy each other or are starved out. I am preparing for up to six months. I have one liter of water stored for each day (180 liters) and about 50 pounds of rice to eat as well as various canned goods. I have not seen on your site anything about heat sources for urban dwellers who intend to shelter in place. I’m assuming that electricity would go first soon followed by [natural] gas and running water. Do you have any recommendations for cooking rice and other foods in this event.
I am considering oil lamps or candles, methane gel used for chafing dishes, or small propane tanks. Because of the small size of my apartment and potential hazards of storing fuel I’m unsure which would be best. Please advise. Thank You, – Michael F.

JWR Replies: I’ve heard your intended approach suggested by a others, including one of my consulting clients. Frankly, I do not think that it is realistic. From an actuarial standpoint, your chances of survival would probably be low–certainly much lower than “Getting Out of Dodge” to a lightly populated area at the onset of a crisis. Undoubtedly, in a total societal collapse (wherein “the riotous mobs destroy each other”, as you predict) there will be some stay-put urbanites that survive by their wits, supplemented by plenty of providential fortune. But the vast majority would perish. I wouldn’t want to play those odds. There are many drawbacks to your plan, any one of which could attract notice (to be followed soon after by a pack of goblins with a battering ram.) I’ll discuss a few complexities that you may not have fully considered:

Water. Even with extreme conservation measures you will need at least one gallon of water per day. That one gallon of water will provide just enough water for one adult for drinking and cooking. None for washing. If you run out of water before the rioting ends then you will be forced to go out and forage for water, putting yourself at enormous risk. And even then, you will have to treat the water that you find with chlorine, iodine (such as Polar Pure–now very scarce), or with a top quality water filter such as a nKatadyn Pocket water filter.

Food. For a six month stay, you will need far more than just 50 pounds of rice! Work out a daily menu and budget for an honest six month supply of food with a decent variety and sufficient caloric intake. Don’t overlook vitamin supplements to make up for the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sprouting is also a great option to provide vitamins and minerals, as well as aiding digestion. Speaking of digestion, depending on how your body reacts to the change in diet (to your storage food), you may need need a natural laxative in your diet such as bran, or perhaps even a bulk laxative such as Metamucil.

Sanitation. Without water for flushing toilets, odds are that people in neighboring apartments will dump raw sewage out their windows, causing a public health nightmare on the ground floor. Since you will not want to alert others to your presence by opening your window, and no doubt the apartment building’s septic system stack will be clogged in short order, you will need to make plans to store you waste in your apartment. I suggest five gallon buckets. A bucket-type camping toilet seat (a seat that attaches to a standard five or six gallon plastic pail) would be ideal. You should also get a large supply of powdered lime to cut down on the stench before each bucket is sealed. You must also consider the sheer number of storage containers required for six months of accumulated human waste. (Perhaps a dozen 5 gallon buckets with tight-fitting o-ring seal lids would be sufficient.) Since you won’t have water available for washing, you should also lay in a supply of diaper wipes.

Space heating. In mid-winter you could freeze to death in your apartment without supplemental heat. As I will discuss later, a small heater or just a few candles can keep the air temperature above freezing.

Ventilation. If you are going to use any source of open flame, you will need lots of additional ventilation. Asphyxiation from lack of oxygen or slow carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning are the alternatives. Unfortunately, in the circumstances that you envision, the increased ventilation required to mitigate these hazards will be a security risk–as a conduit for the smell of food or fuel, as a source of light that can be seen from outside the apartment, and as an additional point of entry for robbers.

Security. The main point of entry for miscreants will probably be your apartment door. Depending on the age of your apartment, odds are that you have a traditional solid core wood door. In a situation where law and order has evaporated, the malo hombres will be able to take their time and break through doors with fire axes, crow bars and improvised battering rams. It is best to replace wooden apartment doors with steel ones. Unless you own a condo rather than lease an apartment, approval for a door retrofit is unlikely. However, your apartment manager might approve of this if you pay for all the work yourself and you have it painted to match the existing doors. Merely bracing a wood door will not suffice. Furthermore, if you have an exterior window with a fire escape or your apartment has a shared balcony, then those are also points of entry for the bad guys. How could you effectively barricade a large expanse of windows?

If you live in a ground floor apartment or an older apartment with exterior metal fire escapes, then I recommend that you move as soon as possible to a third, fourth, or fifth floor apartment that is in a modern apartment city4 socialbuilding of concrete construction, preferably without balconies, with steel entry doors, and with interior fire escape stairwells.

Self Defense. To fend off intruders, or for self defense when you eventually emerge from your apartment, you will need to be well-armed. Preferably you should also be teamed with at least two other armed and trained adults. Look into local legalities on large volume pepper spray dispensers. These are marketed primarily as bear repellent, with brand names like “Guard Alaska”, “Bear Guard”, and “17% Streetwise.” If they are indeed legal in your jurisdiction, then buy several of the big one-pound dispensers, first making sure that they are at least a 12% OC formulation.

If you can get a firearms permit–a bit complicated in New York City , but not an insurmountable task–then I recommend that you get a Remington, Winchester, or Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun with a SureFire flashlight forend. #4 Buckshot (not to be confused with the much smaller #4 bird shot) is the best load for defense in an urban environment where over-penetration (into neighboring apartments) is an issue. But if getting a firearms permit proves too daunting, there is a nice exemption in the New York City firearms laws for muzzleloaders and pre-1894 manufactured antique guns that are chambered for cartridges that are no longer commercially made. It is not difficult to find a Winchester Model 1876 or a Model 1886 rifle that is in a serial number range that distinguishes it as pre-1894 production. (See: Savage99.com for exact dates of manufacture on 12 different rifle models.) You will be limited to chamberings like .40-65 and .45-90. You can have a supply of ammunition custom loaded. A Winchester Model 1873 or and early Model 1892 chambered in .38-40 might also be an option, but I would recommend one of the more potent calibers available in the large frame (Model 1876 or 1886 ) rifles. Regardless, be sure to select rifles with excellent bores and nice mechanical condition.

For an antique handgun, I would recommend a S&W double action top break revolver chambered in .44 S&W Russian. None of the major manufacturers produce .44 S&W Russian ammunition. However, semi-custom extra mild loads (so-called “cowboy” loads, made specially for the Cowboy Action Shooting enthusiasts) in .44 S&W Russian are now available from Black Hills Ammunition. The Pre-1899 Specialist (one of our advertisers) often has large caliber S&W double action top break revolvers available for sale. The top breaks are very fast to load, and you can even use modern speed loaders designed for .44 Special or .44 Magnum cartridges with the stumpy .44 S&W Russian loads.(It has the same cartridge “head” dimensions.)
Firearms training from a quality school (such as Front Sight) is crucial.

Fire Detection and Contingency Bug-Out. A battery-powered smoke detector is an absolute must. Even if you are careful with candles, lanterns, and cook stoves, your neighbors may not be. There is a considerable risk that your apartment building will catch fire, either intentionally of unintentionally. Therefore, you need to have a “Bug Out” backpack ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Although they are no proper substitute for a fireman’s compressed air breathing rig, a commercially-made egress smoke hood or a military surpluss gas mask might allow you to escape your building in time. But even if you escape the smoke and flames, then where will that you leave you? Outdoors, at an unplanned hour (day or night), in a hostile big city that is blacked out, with no safe means of escape. (This might prove far too reminiscent of the the 1980s Kurt Russell movie Escape from New York.”) By the time this happens, the mobs may not want just the contents of your backpack. They may be sizing you up for a meal!

Fuel storage. Bulk fuel storage has three problematic issues: 1) as a safety issue (fire hazard), 2) as a security issue (odors that could attract robbers), and 3) as a legal issue (fire code or tenant contract restrictions). I suspect that New York City’s fire code would not allow you have more than a week’s worth of propane on hand, and completely prohibit keeping more than just one small container of kerosene or Coleman fuel. From the standpoint of both safety and minimizing detectable odors, propane is probably the best option. (The odors of kerosene and chafing dish gel are both quite discernable.) But of course consult both your local fire code and your apartment lease agreement to determining the maximum allowable quantity to keep on hand.

Odds are that there will be no limit on the number of candles that you can store. If that is the case, then lay in large supply of unscented jar candles designed for long-burning (formulated high in stearic acid.) I suggest the tall, clear glass jar-enclosed “devotional” candles manufactured in large numbers for the Catholic market. You can even heat individual servings of food over these if you construct a stand with a wide base out of stout wire. Watch for these candles at discount and close-out stores. We have found that the large adhesive labels slip off easily if you soak the jars in water for an hour. Since their burning time is approximately 24 hours, and since you might need two of them burning simultaneously for sufficient light and to stay warm, that would necessitate laying in a supply of 360 candles! (This assumes that the worst case, with the outset of a crisis in October, and your having to hunker down for a full six months.)

Fire fighting. Buy at least two large multipurpose (“A-B-C”) chemical fire extinguishers

Cooking odors. In addition to the smell of fuel, cooking food will produce odors. I recommend that you store only foods with minimal spices. In situation where you are surrounded by starving people, just frying foods with grease or heating up a can of spicy chili con carne could be a death warrant.

Noise discipline. Just the sound of moving around your apartment could reveal your presence. For some useful background, see if your local library has a copy of the best-selling memoir “The Painist”, by Wladyslaw Szpilman. (If not, buy a copy through Amazon or request a copy via inter-library loan. It has been published in 35 languages. The US edition’s ISBN is 0312244150.) The book describes the harrowing experiences of a Jewish musician in hiding in Warsaw, Poland, during the Second World War. Following the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising and forced deportation, Szpilman spent many months locked in a Warsaw apartment, receiving just a few parcels of food from some gentile friends. In his situation, the power and water utilities were still operating most of the time, but he suffered from slow starvation and lived in absolute fear of making any noise. His survival absolutely defied the odds. There was also an excellent  2002 movie based on Szpilman’s book, but the memoir provides greater detail than the film.

Light discipline. If you have any source of light in your apartment, it could reveal your presence. In an extended power blackout, it will become obvious to looters within a couple of weeks who has lanterns or large supplies of candles and/or flashlight batteries. (Everyone else will run out within less than two weeks.) And I predict that it will be the apartments that are still lit up that will be deemed the ones worth robbing. So if you are going to have a light source, you must systematically black out all of your windows. But sadly these efforts will be in direct conflict with your need for ventilation for your heating and/or cooking.

Heat. With the aforementioned restrictions on fuel storage, heating your apartment for more than just a few days will probably be impossible. Buy an expedition quality sleeping bag–preferably a two-bag system such as a Wiggy’s brand FTRSS. Under the circumstances that you describe, don’t attempt to heat your entire apartment. Instead, construct a small room-within-a-room (Perhaps under a large dining room table, or by setting up a camping tent inside your apartment, to hoard heat.) Even if the rest of the apartment drops to 25 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit, your body heat alone will keep your demi-room in the 40s. Burning just one candle will raise the temperature another 5 or 10 degrees. For the greatest efficiency at retaining heat, your demi-room should be draped with two layers of  mylar space blankets.

Exercise. While you are “hunkered down”, you will need to maintain muscle tone. Get some quiet exercise equipment, such as a pull-up bar and some large elastic straps. Perhaps, if your budget allows in the future, also purchase or construct your own a quiet stationary bicycle-powered generator. This would provide both exercise and battery charging.

Sanity. .Hunkering down solo in silence for six months would be a supreme challenge, both physically and mentally. Assuming that you can somehow tackle all of the aforementioned problems, you also need to plan to stay sane. Have lots of reading materials on hand.

In conclusion, when one considers the preceding long list of dependencies and complexities, it makes “staying put” in a worst case very unattractive. In less inimical circumstance, it is certainly feasible, but in a grid-down situation with utilities disrupted and wholesale looting and rioting in progress, the big city is no place to live. But, as always, this is just my perspective and your mileage may vary (YMMV).

B.  Cities – A Prepper’s Nightmare & Solutions
10 April 2012, SHTFplan.com, contributed by Jessica Hooley
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/cities-a-preppers-nightmare-solutions_04102012

city1The following article has been generously contributed by Jessica Hooley of the Salt n’ Prepper web site.
Is it a coincidence that all of my nightmares occur in big cities? While it may be a personality glitch, I find that considering the dangers you face in the event of an emergency while living in a city, my nightmares may be justified. If you live in a city – buckle up. As a prepper you will have to work extra hard to make your emergency plan viable. And while I make no judgments on city dwellers, I must say – MOVE! For your own safety – MOVE! Move, move, move, move, move. Okay. I think I got it all out.

Now I understand that not everyone can just pick up and move because some lady on the internet says so. So if you are in the situation where you must stay in the city here are a few things you MUST have in your emergency preparedness plan.

Define Your Strategy
One of the biggest problems with cities are the fact that they aren’t self-sustaining. They rely on outer communities to supply them with food, water and often times electricity. The second biggest issue with cities is the space. Most homes/apartments/condos don’t have the space needed to store supplies for 6 months to a year. And even if they did there is a severely high probability of civil unrest, leading to looting and robbery. In short – you need a plan. The three questions to ask yourself:
1.  How long will we stay – As I said before, in a city you must resign yourself to the fact that you will have to leave if the situation escalates to a point where you either have no supplies or your safety is in jeopardy. Decide with your family how long this period is going to be. After the power is out, the food is gone, and the shelves are empty in the grocery stores of all liquid – how much longer will you hold down the fort. Too short and you may have bugged out too soon. Too long and you risk the possibility of not being able to get out.
2.  How will we get out – Your exit strategy needs to be well planned out. Come up with a minimum of three routes out of the city. You’ve seen how a couple thousand people can shut down a road. Imagine the magnification of that situation when millions are out looking for food and water. You need to be able to navigate your way through the mess and be prepared to defend you and your family. I’ll go into further detail later.
3.  Where will we go – Once again, come up with a couple places as a destination if possible. Think of relatives out in the “boonies”. Anyone that you consider as being in a safe part of the world. If you don’t know anyone within a reasonable distance (you may run out of fuel) start thinking of areas that you could stay. Hotels. Camp spots. Some place to “ride it out”.

Make Connections
As we’ve pointed out before, the population of cities can quickly turn into one of your biggest challenges. So it’s up to you to change that. Build your community into your own personal defense. Help those around you prepare. Educate them about emergency preparedness. You don’t need to reveal all of your prepping secrets but by preparing others you are ensuring help in the event that looting reaches your neighborhood. If everyone has something to defend they are more likely to band together. By not including your neighbors you are making them a potential threat to you. And the last thing you’ll want is to have to pull a gun on your neighbor if they are trying to take your supplies out of desperation.

Get the Gear
__Bug-Out Gear
Although it may not seem like “gear” – a truck may likely be the most important bug-out necessity for someone in a big city. Reasons why:

  • Capable of hauling ALL of your bug-out supplies
  • You will need something capable of maneuvering around rubble, waste, people and stalled vehicles on the road.
  • Able to store extra fuel in the bed to get further away.

Outside of an off road vehicle, you will also need the following items:

  1. 96 hour kits for each person      in the family
  2. 7 days of water – 1 to 2      gallons of water per person per day
  3. A full gas tank and 40 extra      gallons to haul

Make sure in your plan to bug out, you have someone armed. When trying to leave the city there will be plenty of people outside waiting to stop you and take what you have. You must be prepared to face the realization that you may have to defend yourself with force.

No matter where you live, water is the basis to sustaining life. If you are planning to stay in your house longer than a week (after water is unavailable) you need to make storing water a big priority. Get creative with your water storage. As you can find in my other posts, polycarbonate containers are great for water storage. If you are crammed on space, I highly recommend “WaterBricks”. You can store upwards of 60 gallons underneath your queen size bed alone with them. No matter what you decide for a storage system – make the most out of it. You’ll want to store 1-2 gallons for each person in your family for every day you plan on staying in your home.

__Food Storage
Food storage goes along the same lines as water. Make a food storage list to last your family the time you will be staying in your home. The key to your food storage is making it secret. In cities, food is likely to completely run out within 3 days. People will get really hungry really fast. And if someone remembers seeing that stack of food storage in your garage, or remembers you saying something about having 6 months in your basement – you’re their first stop. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you are more likely to have to defend your storage by shouting it from a mountain top. Once again, get creative and bury it in your yard if you must.

In the event of an emergency, you will likely be facing a powerless situation. During the day you’ll just have to get used to being without certain luxuries like powered kitchen gadgets and television. But at night, no power can turn into a psychological battle. Especially for children. Have plenty of snap lights, flashlights and lanterns to keep it bright when the sun goes down so the little ones (and maybe even you) can relief during the night.

TIP: In most cities, homes and other living spaces are close together. When using your evening lighting make sure to draw the shades. Test your emergency lighting during peacetime and see which places in the house you can use them without it being seen from the outside. Light will draw more than just bugs during a power outage. And the result could end up in self defense.

Without electricity you may be in for some cold nights. Be prepared with some down blankets and 4 season sleeping bags. You can also get some indoor kerosene heaters. And if you are lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace, put it use! Get stocked up on firewood and use it when necessary.

The terrible truth is that most places in this country where self-defense is needed most, it’s unavailable to law abiding citizens. I’m talking about guns. Big cities, despite their soaring crimes rates, seem to find rationale in banning guns whenever possible. And while free speech is still available – I’m telling you to get your hands on a gun no matter what it takes. As long as you are an otherwise law abiding citizen and you don’t hear voices in your head telling you to kill people – you need the ability to defend your property and more importantly your family.

Other fantastic weapons to have stored for self-defense include:
•  Pepper spray
• Taser
• Trip wires
• A guard dog – a really mean looking one

These other defense tools are great to get someone off your property initially but keep in mind that they’ll get away and may come back with the knowledge that this time they’ll have to kill you to get your food.

If you plan to stay in your home for more than a month before bugging out, you need to consider investing in fortifications for your home. This includes making some changes that are more functional than pretty. This includes things like plexiglass windows, steel doors, removing landscaping features that people can easily hide in, blacking out windows, etc. Anything that can make your home more secure makes you less of a target.

So for all you city dwelling preppers, I hope this helped. Make your plan bullet proof. You are already at a disadvantage so have a process in place for everything you need to do. Good luck and happy prepping!

CITY10 EVAC[Consider the evacuation concepts shown above and begin to impliment.  Mr. Larry]

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Filed under Prepper articles, Survival Manual

Climate and Conflict

(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Climate and Conflict)

A.  Report: Warming could cause greatest human migration ever
6/10/2009, ABCNews.go.com, By Arthur Max, Associated Press Writer
Pasted from: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=7808902
“BONN, Germany — Global warming is uprooting people from their homes and, left unchecked, could lead to the greatest human migration in history, said a report released Wednesday.
Estimates vary on how many people are on the move because of climate change, but the report cites predictions from the International Organization for Migration that 200 million people will be displaced by environmental pressures by 2050. Some estimates go as high as 700 million, said the report, released at U.N negotiations for a new climate treaty.
Researchers questioned more than 2,000 migrants in 23 countries about why they moved, said Koko Warner of the U.N. University, which conducted the study with CARE International.
The results were “a clear signal” that environmental stress already is causing population shifts, she said, and it could be “a mega-trend of the future.”
The potential for masses of humanity fleeing disaster zones or gradually being driven out by increasingly harsh conditions is likely to be part of a global warming agreement under negotiation among 192 countries.
A draft text calls on nations to prepare plans to adapt to climate change by accounting for possible migrations. At U.S. insistence, however, the term “climate refugees” will be stricken from the draft text because refugees have rights under international law, and climate migrants do not fill the description of “persecuted” people, said Warner.
The report, “In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement,” studies people in some of the world’s great river deltas who could be subject to glacial melt, desert dwellers who are vulnerable to increasing drought, and islanders whose entire nations could be submerged by rising sea levels.
It did not try to assess conflicts caused by climate change. The war in Sudan’s desert Darfur region has partly been blamed on contested water supplies and grazing lands, and concern over future water wars has mounted in other areas of the world.
The report said 40 island states could disappear, in whole or in part, if seas rise by six feet. The Maldives, a chain of 1,200 atolls in the Indian Ocean has a plan to abandon some islands and build defenses on others, and has raised the possibility of moving the entire population of 300,000 to another country.
Melting glaciers in the Himalayas threaten repeated flooding in the Ganges, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow river basins, which support 1.4 billion people, or nearly one-fourth of humanity, in India, southeast Asia and China. After the floods will come drought when seasonal glacier runoff no longer feeds the rivers, it said.
In Mexico and Central America drought and hurricanes have led to migrations since the 1980s and they will get worse, it said.
Homes are not always abandoned forever, the researchers said. “Disasters contribute to short-term migration,” especially in countries that failed to take precautions or lack adequate responses, said Charles Ehrhart of CARE. Most migration will be internal, from the country to the city, it said.”

B.  Scenario planning for climate change
March 2011, Climate Cassandra.blogspot.com, by David Flint
Pasted from: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2011/03/scenario-planning-for-climate-change.html
“The science of climate change is good enough to show that global temperatures will rise unless we cut back drastically on greenhouse gas emissions. What no science can do is show whether we will do so – or what policies nations will adopt if we do – or if we don’t. Nor can we predict the human – health, nutritional, political and economic – consequences of rising temperatures. Yet these are what people care about.
We badly need ways of thinking about the implications of climate change. Most of what’s written gets hung up on the uncertainties of the science. If we don’t know, and we don’t, whether temperatures will increase by two or four or six degrees how can we prepare?

The answer is scenario planning.
In scenario planning, a method pioneered by Shell, we focus on the uncertainties, not on forecasts, and use these to define a set of possible scenarios. If we get this right the actual events will follow one scenario or, more likely, fall between several scenarios. But in any case we’ll have considered what we can and should do before we have to do it.
Climate change is a long-term problem so let’s look at the long-term – 2030 and beyond On that timescale little is certain but there are two big uncertainties.
1.  The first uncertainty is the temperature increase. The global temperature is currently 0.6 degrees higher than that in the pre-industrial period. By 2030 we ought to know whether we’ve managed to keep the increase below two degrees. That’s hardly risk-free but it should be manageable. If we haven’t then we’ll already be aware of the positive feedback effects that will drive the temperature to a four or even six degree increase. (Some models suggest that rises over ten degrees are possible but let’s not go overboard; four degrees is bad enough.) (The environmental consequences of various possible temperatures have been discussed by Mark Lynas in Six degrees. Prof. James Lovelock has discussed the positive feedback effects in The Revenge of Gaia.)
2. T he second uncertainty is the degree of international collaboration on dealing with climate change. The Montreal treaty on CFCs showed that international collaboration is possible. The post-Kyoto experience shows that it’s very hard to get when it requires significant economic sacrifice. However, even politicians and civil servants can learn from experience and worsening climate will provide many powerful lessons. The real uncertainty is whether governments will commit to enough change soon enough to avoid triggering the positive feedbacks.

Now we combine the two to get our four scenarios as shown in the figure above. I ignore the possibility that we can keep the temperature increase below two degrees without international collaboration because it’s impossible (unless the scientific consensus is badly wrong).
There are two scenarios for a world without catastrophic climate change. In the Lifeboat scenario this is achieved by international collaboration. In the Emergency Braking scenario collaboration fails and its achieved by unilateral action, mainly geo-engineering, by a major power.
There are also two scenarios that do involve catastrophic climate change. In the Police World scenario the nations collaborate to manage the consequences whilst in the New Dark Age scenario they don’t.
I’m aware that two, perhaps three, of my scenarios may sound more like science fiction than sober reflection. However, these scenarios run forward from 2030 and much of today’s world would have seemed like science fiction to our parents. It’s almost impossible to overstate the impacts of four degrees of warming. It’s inconceivable, at least to me, that our civilization will be unchanged by these impacts and it’s time we took this seriously.

Scenario 1: The Lifeboat Scenario
See: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2010/12/scenario-1-lifeboat-scenario.html
In this scenario the nations collaborate soon enough to restrain greenhouse gas concentrations and the temperature increase is kept below two degrees. As a result we avoid catastrophic climate change. I call this the Lifeboat scenario since it requires that every major state recognizes that we are all in the same boat and that its resources are barely adequate.

The technology base
In his book, Heat, George Monbiot has described the technology changes needed in the UK to reduce its emissions sufficiently. He believes that the UK and developed European nations can retain their standard of living (except for flying) by making an extensive set of changes to our industrial base. Most of this is plausible but almost every part is challenging. His conclusion that we can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050 requires that we meet every one of these challenges. Given the lack of political will and lamentable failures of Kyoto this would be absurd even if we started immediately. And, that, of course, requires a binding international agreement.
It’s now clear that the failure at Copenhagen was not a temporary or anomalous result but a true reflection of the understandings and priorities of the major powers – especially China and the USA. It follows that the required international agreement will not be established in the near future. The most optimistic view with any plausibility is that the nations may have agreed on the need for effective action by 2015 – though 2020 is more likely. This has major implications for the actions needed to keep us below two degrees.
In brief we’ll have to use geo-engineering methods either to remove CO2 from the atmosphere or to reduce the amount of sunlight falling on the planet. Since all geo-engineering methods have disadvantages we’ll probably have to do both – and to use multiple methods for each.
We will need to do more either by cutting our standard of living or by reducing our numbers.

Global organization
The key assumption for this scenario is that the nations collaborate but this collaboration will not be easy. As with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) there will be disputes and we will need a World Climate Authority (WCA), analogous to the World Trade Organization, to deal with them. The WCA will have, at minimum, to issue emissions permits and to check that actual emissions do not exceed these permissions. It will have to impose sanctions against defaulters. These sanctions will have to be backed by at least the threat of military force, though it’s unclear whether this will require a world police force.
It will also have to regulate the geo-engineering systems. Since these are likely to damage some countries and regions even as they improve world climate this regulation will need to include payments, probably very large payments, of compensation. Such payments are needed not only in the name of justice but also as a highly visible sign of the unsustainability of the combination of excessive GHG emissions and geo-engineering.

Cultural change
This scenario requires changes in production with fewer new products, more repair and recycling and longer product lifetimes. It’s likely that the developed countries will see falls in their standards of living; at least according to such usual measures as GDP per head.
A cultural change will be needed to ensure long-term support for the often uncomfortable policies needed to meet our environmental targets, and I’ll call this Green Puritanism. Green Puritans will disapprove of excessive consumption and travel and these attitudes will reinforce and be reinforced by laws against waste. They will emphasize human solidarity and regard competition as a dangerous force – like fire in the proverb, a good servant but a bad master. They will be skeptical of innovations that do not reduce energy use and our environmental impact.
Green Puritans will disapprove of much fashion, since annual changes drive waste, and of its handmaiden, celebrity culture, since that celebrates excess. Indeed they will disapprove of a great deal of advertising and commerce.
Green Puritans will insist that the public and charitable sectors have inherent value and are not to be seen as inferior copies of the private sector. Indeed, they will demand that these sectors behave differently and will the transformation of public companies into mutual societies and co-operatives.
Green Puritans should not be hostile to pleasure (as conventional puritans have usually been). They will applaud the local and home-based pleasures of food, drink, conversation, sport, sex and family life. They will disapprove of energy-intensive pleasures such as motor-racing and holidays in remote places.

The economy
The Green Puritan change will affect business profoundly. In the developed economies growth will cease to be an acceptable objective and may in some cases actually be penalized. Business leaders will have to find other measures of value, such as sustainability and human well-being, and discover how to link them to their internal performance assessment systems.
Much of the Lifeboat economy will be less volatile than we’ve become used to with fewer fashion shifts and less random change. Exceptions will include:
o  Energy generation – where the greenhouse gas emissions targets will prove highly demanding.
o  Energy use – where new opportunities will be sought in all sectors
o  The use of ICT to replace travel through telepresence, simulations and games.

Life in the lifeboat
Lifeboat will be different from our world, but could be a good world to live in. Let’s look at the advantages for people in the developed countries – who would be most affected:
o  It’s sustainable. People living in this scenario would not be dooming their grandchildren to catastrophe; and would know it.
o  It’s more relaxed. Without the economic pressure for growth and the psychological pressures of advertising life would be less frantic and people less stressed. People in developed countries would gain health benefits.
o  It’s healthier with stronger communities. As Wilkinson and Picket have shown inequality undermines health, communities and social order. It increases many bad things including ill-health, drug abuse, obesity and crime.
These advantages will take time to become apparent. The first ten years of the Lifeboat scenario will therefore be especially difficult.
It’s tempting to claim that there would be benefits for the less developed countries too. Sustainability would certainly be a benefit for them – most immediately those, like Kenya, Bangladesh and low-lying island states, in the front-line of climate change. Later, states dependent on seasonal snow-melt for irrigation would see benefits. These include India, Pakistan and China.

In general the emerging middle classes of India, China, etc., would share the other benefits too. Continuing economic growth – with its benefits for the poor – is certainly compatible with this scenario but the degree to it occurs will depend political decisions.
In the long run, of course, the Lifeboat scenario is best because it avoids catastrophic climate change whilst allowing for some justice in the allocation of scarce resources.

Scenario 2: Emergency braking
See: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2010/06/scenario-4-emergency-braking.html
In this scenario the nations do not collaborate effectively but the temperature increase is kept below two degrees nonetheless. Here’s how this might happen.
Copenhagen showed that the USA and China were unwilling to make the changes necessary to achieve the lifeboat scenario whilst China wasn’t even willing for other countries to make the necessary commitments. In this situation most major GHG emitters will give climate change a low priority and the pace of climate change will accelerate in line with the IPCC’s business-as-usual scenario.
By about 2020 the political leaderships of China, India and USA will have recognized that the threat of climate change is serious and urgent, but they will remain locked into existing attitudes and policies.
There will then be a serious climate crisis. It might be a storm, flood, drought or fire. Its immediate consequences may be very severe – thousands of deaths and billions of dollars lost in property damage. However its largest impact may come from symbolic damage, eg. the collapse of the Statue of Liberty in a major storm-surge.
This will lead one major nation, let’s call it Maverick, to a realistic re-examination of the climate change threat. It will conclude that it is already too late for the orderly conservation-based approach described in the Lifeboat scenario. As a result, Maverick will take unilateral action in the form of one or more major geo-engineering programs. Maverick will also introduce strong domestic emission-reduction policies and launch a major campaign for international collaboration. These programs will restrain the temperature growth within ten years, but will probably have a variety of adverse effects on other nations.
At least some of these nations will oppose these geo-engineering programs but Maverick will use its diplomatic, cultural, financial and commercial muscle to neutralize this opposition. It’s not clear whether war can be completely avoided in this scenario, but I’m assuming that any military action against Maverick will not stop its geo-engineering efforts. Maverick will also use its leverage to prevent other powers from benefiting disproportionately from its expenditure on geo-engineering.
The initial hostility to Maverick’s unilateralism will, eventually, be followed by acceptance of its inevitability and even desirability. This scenario is unstable and could degenerate into either of the high temperature scenarios. However, Maverick’s unilateralism may buy enough time for the creation of a consensus between the main powers. This consensus could allow this scenario to evolve into Lifeboat. It will not be sustainable if it doesn’t.

Scenario 3: Police World
See: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2011/02/scenario-3-police-world.html
In this scenario the nations collaborate against climate change but not in time to prevent catastrophe.
By 2030 China will be suffering from water shortages and the USA from increasingly severe hurricane damage. Every government will have recognized the direction and pace of change. Corporate lobbyists who currently deny the reality of anthropogenic change will have shifted to demanding government help in adapting to that change (whilst denying any meaningful responsibility). It will also be clear that even geo-engineering schemes cannot reverse the trend.
Climate change will already have reduced the area under cultivation and the availability of water for irrigation causing starvation in areas, such as those south of the Sahara, where governments are already weak. The reduction in global food production will make it impossible to provide enough food aid leading to major population movements and wars.
Governments will recognize that the Earth cannot support its current population and that existing human institutions cannot survive the huge population movements that these changes will provoke. (In Collapse Jared Diamond has described a variety of precedents for social collapse due to overuse of natural resources.)
Once the inevitability of this collapse becomes clear governments will shift their focus from mitigation to survival. The worst governments will seek their own survival – the best that of as many of their population as they think feasible. Most countries will adopt a ‘war footing’. Specific policy responses will vary according to geography and political feasibility but will typically include:
o  Bans on immigration – enforced by tighter borders and internal controls
o  Central direction of food production – including use of genetically-modified crops and lower animal welfare standards.
o  Forced relocation of people from threatened areas – sometimes to farmlands where human labor will replace diesel engines.

To deal with the inevitable resistance to these measures most governments will suspend many civil rights. Some will suspend elections ‘for the duration of the emergency’ – a suspension that will become permanent.
Even so, most governments will realize that these measures can provide only temporary relief. With large parts of many countries becoming permanently uninhabitable and new farmlands becoming available in the under-populated north the only long-term solution will be a wholesale northward relocation of people and industrial facilities coupled with a reduction in total numbers.
The inevitable strategy will be to identify the territories remote from the equator where the prospects are best and then limit and direct migration into these refuges. The rest of the Earth will be progressively abandoned together with a large part of its population. International institutions will be redirected or created in order to manage the transfer and, more critically, the abandonment and starvation of many millions of people.
This process will play out over many decades and its reality will be generally denied at first.
• By 2050: The temperature rise will have exceeded two degrees and major positive feedback effects will be visible. Major floods and severe hurricanes will be much more common making and major habitat changes have already occurred, eg. in the Sahara and Amazon basin, leading to a marked reduction in the Earth’s carrying capacity. An increase of at least four degrees will now be certain.
• Beyond 2050: The refuges will take on a life of their own. Life in these refuges will be hard but life outside them will become literally impossible; most of those outside them will die. These deaths will be spread over many decades and will mainly be from starvation, though natural disasters and warfare will contribute.
Resistance to the new world order will be severe, but the multinational authorities will take large-scale military action to maintain the borders of the refuges. This scenario assumes that the multinational authorities succeed in maintaining law and order and an industrial base but this will be at the price of human rights and ordinary human compassion. The need for vigorous military action against those outside the refuges and direction of labor within them will lead to severe rationing of almost everything and a police state covering all the refuges; in effect a Police World.
If the authorities are unable to maintain law and order and an industrial base we will get scenario 4 <>.

Scenario 4: The New dark Age
See: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2011/03/scenario-4-new-dark-age.html
In the final scenario attempts at international collaboration have failed to prevent temperature rises and have broken down. As temperatures rise nations and subnational groups will fight for survival destroying civilization and creating a new dark age.

2030: Change will have become irrevocable and some previously fertile land will have gone out of use. Food shortages will be normal and famines common. During famines there will generally not be enough spare food available from outside the stricken area to feed the hungry making starvation common.
Institutions and individuals will generally have recognized that long-term survival with any degree of security and comfort will be possible only in places remote from the equator. Only in these places will the impending climate catastrophe leave land for agriculture.
Since the majority of countries are not remote from the equator their governments will attempt to negotiate access to places that are. Countries that do include high latitude regions will recognize their value and will generally be unwilling to provide access; preferring to keep them for their own inhabitants. They will increase military expenditure and strengthen their defenses.
As temperatures rise food shortages will increase and people will migrate away from the equator and the lowlands. Conflicts will arise as the migrating populations press upon national boundaries or encroach on lands previously used by other ethnic groups within the same countries. Darfur may be seen as an early example of such a conflict. These conflicts will arise even where the disputed land provides no long-term security. If faced with the choice between violence and starvation those not actually starving will choose violence.
Some large nations, the USA and Argentina for instance, will include some refuge areas though not enough for their whole populations. Civil wars will result in these nations. In some cases these wars will be encouraged by neighboring nations who hope to grab some of the more attractive land.
These conflicts will often be exacerbated by religious and ethnic differences and recollections of past grievances, actual or supposed. These differences and grievances will be emphasized and exaggerated, and sometimes invented, by unscrupulous opportunistic politicians. (These processes could be seen operating in Rwanda and Yugoslavia.)
Detailed predictions of these conflicts is impossible, but with stakes so high – both national survival and the physical survival of whole populations – there is no reason to expect much restraint. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons will be used.

2060: Repeated wars will inflict major damage on the very resources, both agricultural and industrial, that they are trying to control. Continued warfare will also destroy much of humanity’s capacity to innovate, except in military matters, and to do or even understand science and the arts.
As climate pressures increase (over a period of many decades) military power will become the dominant reality in human affairs. Political authority will give way to it. Jared Diamond’s, Collapse gives examples of this breakdown.
A new global Dark Age will follow in which most of the survivors will live in militarized refuge areas in high latitudes. Food will be scarce and almost all resources will be devoted to survival – water supply, food production and defense. Commitment to survival goals will be enforced by the authorities and underwritten by new religious ideologies. Dissent will not be tolerated and punishments will be both severe and quick.
Survival outside these refuges will be limited to hunter-gatherer bands and small agricultural villages. As between them, suspicion and violence will be the norm.

After the Dark Age
The new Dark Age will doubtless last several centuries, during which the human population will fall to a fraction of its current level. The best that can be said of this scenario is that it need not last indefinitely. Neither the Greek nor the later European Dark Ages lasted for ever. Each ended and was followed by a notable period of cultural flowering – the Athenian Golden Age and The European Renaissance.
Though we have not previously experienced either a global Dark Age or such abrupt climate change there is reason to hope that our descendants will ultimately be able to rebuild civilization.
From: http://climate-cassandra.blogspot.com/2011/03/scenario-planning-for-climate-change.html

C.  Climate Change and Global Conflicts
March-April 2008, WFS.org, by Cynthia G. Wagner
Pasted from: http://www.wfs.org/node/370
‘Cold’ wars have existed throughout history; now we may see ‘heat’ wars.
Traumatic climate cooling may have launched wars in the past, like the Little Ice Age of the mid-sixteenth through mid-nineteenth centuries. Cold-induced stresses on agriculture led to wars, famines, and population declines, an international team of researchers believes. Now, they warn that future climate change that turns up the heat could also increase conflicts.
Sudden changes in temperature don’t directly cause conflict, but they do disrupt water and food supplies. Shortages of such critical resources can lead people to rise against their governments or invade neighboring countries, according to research led by University of Hong Kong geographer David Zhang and published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To study the relationship between climate and conflict, the researchers collected data on temperature change and wars from A.D. 1400 to 1900. They discovered that cycles of turbulence followed historic low temperatures, with tranquility restored during more-temperate times. Sources for the study included a database of 4,500 wars, assembled by co-author Peter Brecke of Georgia Tech, and climate records reconstructed by paleontologists from historical documents.
The researchers found that there were nearly twice as many wars per year worldwide during cold centuries as there were during the milder eighteenth century. More than 80% of countries around the world experienced more wars in a cold climate, according to Zhang.
The researchers reason that the link between climate shock and conflict is the supply of food: Decreases in agricultural production trigger increases in food prices, and when grain prices reach a certain level, wars erupt.
Population growth and decline are also affected by these climate change driven conflicts, the researchers believe. After peak periods of war in Europe and Asia, such as during the frigid seventeenth century, populations declined. In China, population dropped by 43% between 1620 and 1650, then rose dramatically between 1650 and 1800, when the next cooling period began, bringing another global demographic shock.
“Climate change may have played a more important role on human civilization than has so far been suggested,” says Zhang. The depletion of resources on which livelihoods are based is the most critical effect of such change and is “the root cause of human miseries—e.g., wars, famines, and epidemics.”
Abrupt global warming is upon us now, they warn, and may pose just as dire threats to resource supply and demand as did global cooling in centuries past.
“The speed of global warming is totally beyond our imagination,” says Zhang. “Such abnormal climate will certainly break the balance of human ecosystem. At the moment, scientists cannot accurately predict the chain of ecological effects induced by climate change. If global warming continues, we are afraid that the associated shortages of livelihood resources such as freshwater, arable land, and food may trigger more armed conflicts (e.g., Darfur in Africa) or even general crises in the world.”
As Brecke of Georgia Tech points out, global warming may have some beneficial effects in the short term, but “with more droughts and a rapidly growing population, it is going to get harder and harder to provide food for everyone and thus we should not be surprised to see more instances of starvation and probably more cases of hungry people clashing over scarce food and water.”
Human beings are unlikely to sit still with such dire prospects before them, notes Zhang. Responses to resource shortages extend beyond fighting over dwindling crumbs of bread and drops of water, but include economic change, trade, technological and social innovation, and peaceful resource distribution. In eighteenth century China, for instance, the frequency of war decreased “because the Qing emperors had united all troublesome tribal states in the western and northern marginal areas,” the authors write. “We hope that positive social mechanisms that are conducive to human adaptability will play an ever more effective role in meeting the challenges of the future.”–Cynthia G. Wagner
Sources: “Global Climate Change, War, and Population Decline in Recent Human History” by David D. Zhang et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (November 20, 2007).
Pasted from: http://www.wfs.org/node/370

 D. Global Warring: Climate Change Could Be The Root Of Armed Conflicts
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070709111427.htm
Warfare frequency in eastern China, and the southern part in particular, significantly correlated with temperature oscillations.  Almost all peaks of warfare and dynastic changes coincided with cold phases.
Temperature fluctuations directly impact agriculture and horticulture and, in societies with limited technology such as pre-industrial China, cooling temperatures hugely impact the availability of crops and herds.  In times of such ecological stress, warfare could be the ultimate means of redistributing resources, according to Zhang and his team.
The authors conclude that “it was the oscillations of agricultural production brought by long-term climate change that drove China’s historical war-peace cycles.”  They recommend that researchers consider climate change part of the equation when they consider the reasons behind wars in our history.

E.  Will Global Warming Cause World War IV?
BUSINESS & POLITICS (NEWS), by Eric Leech, New York, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/will-global-warming-cause-world-war-iv.html
Global warming is the cause of a number of damaging effects to the earth and its inhabitants, such as climate change, glacier retreat, rising sea levels, and now we may have a new threat on the horizon… world war! According to the 2007 CNA Corporation report, there is clear indication that as the tensions of global warming continue to heat up, so may the possibilities of war… a Hot War!
There are two obvious factors which will be the cause of the increasing threat of a World War IV (some military historians believe that WWIII has already occurred):

1.  Crowding and Territorial Tensions – The number one cause of such tensions will be the migration of different cultures to other territories in search of new resources to replace the increasingly depleting ones. Not only will many cultures find their resources disappearing, but the rising sea level will cover over parts of much of the land, minimizing usable farm area, fresh water, and cattle herds. In some cases, entire islands may become submerged.
Instead of allowing their sovereignty to disappear along with their dry ground, many of these endangered cultures will choose to battle with nearby countries in order to set-up their governments and house their citizens upon alternative soil. Inevitably larger powers will become a part of such squabbles and before you know it, we’ve got a world war on our hands.

2.  Competition of Newly Habitable Lands – The opposite scenario of crowding may also occur as the open space around the Arctic regions becomes available due to the increased air temperatures. As these uninhabitable areas become habitable for the first time in history, competition from the various coastal countries and islands who have lost their native homeland will become fierce.
In addition to the smaller powers, larger world powers who previously ignored such land will eventually see the profit potential of such areas and involve themselves in the competition. The large nations will be less interested in the usable space and more keen on the possibility of exploiting the relatively untapped oil resources of these areas for strategic economic positioning.

See also, Survival Manual/1. Disaster/War, EMP
Survival Manual/1. Disaster/War, Radiological
Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Volcanic Winter and
Survival Manual /1. Disaster/ Climate- Global Warming

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El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought

(Survival manual/ 1. Disaster/El Nino – La Nina and Megadrought)

The El Nino – La Nina Southern Oscillations (ENSO) alternate quasi-periodically across the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every five years, but over a period which varies from three to seven years. ENSO causes extreme weather such as floods, droughts and other weather disturbances in many regions of the world.

Between 1950 and 1997, El Ninos were present 31%, La Ninas 23% of the time, and about 46% of the period was in a neutral state. El Nino and La Nina occur on average every 3 to 5 years. Based on the historical record, the interval between events has varied from 2 to 7 years. Since 1975, La Ninas have been only half as frequent as El Ninos, therefore, a La Nina episode may, but does not always
follow an El Nino. La Nina conditions typically last approximately 9-12 months, but some episodes may persist for as long as two years.

 1.  EL Nino
El Niño’s Are Growing Stronger, NASA/NOAA Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2010) — A relatively new type of El Niño, which has its warmest waters in the central-equatorial Pacific Ocean, rather than in the eastern-equatorial Pacific, is becoming more common and progressively stronger, according to a new study by NASA and NOAA.

El Niño, Spanish for “the little boy,” is the oceanic component of a climate pattern called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, which appears in the tropical Pacific Ocean on average every three to five years. The most dominant year-to-year fluctuating pattern in Earth’s climate system, El Niños have a powerful impact on the ocean and atmosphere, as well as important socioeconomic consequences.
They can influence global weather patterns and the occurrence and frequency of hurricanes, droughts and floods; and can even raise or lower global temperatures by as much as 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

During a “classic” El Niño episode, the normally strong easterly trade winds in the tropical eastern Pacific weaken. That weakening suppresses the normal upward movement of cold subsurface waters and allows warm surface water from the central Pacific to shift toward the Americas. In these situations, unusually warm surface water occupies much of the tropical Pacific, with the maximum ocean warming remaining in the eastern-equatorial Pacific.

Since the early 1990s, however, scientists have noted a new type of El Niño that has been occurring with greater frequency. Known variously as “central-Pacific El Niño,” “warm-pool El Niño,” “dateline El Niño” or “El Niño Modoki” (Japanese for “similar but different”), the maximum ocean warming from such El Niño’s is found in the central-equatorial, rather than eastern, Pacific. Such central Pacific El Niño events were observed in 1991-92, 1994-95, 2002-03, 2004-05 and 2009-10. A recent study found many climate models predict such events will become much more frequent under projected global warming scenarios.

Graphic above pasted from <http://www.eoearth.org/article/El_Ni%C3%B1o,_La_Ni%C3% B1a_and_the_southern_oscillation>

Our understanding of the processes responsible for the development of El Niño is still incomplete. Scientists are able to predict the future development of an event by noting the occurrence of particular weather precursors. Researchers also now have a pretty complete understanding of the global weather effects caused by the formation of an El Niño (see Figure 5).

2.   La Nina
La Niña is essentially the opposite of an El Niño. During a La Niña, trade winds in the western equatorial Pacific are stronger than normal, and the cold water that normally exists along the coast of South America extends to the central equatorial Pacific. La Niñas change global weather patterns and are associated with less moisture in the air, resulting in less rain along the coasts of North and South America. They also tend to increase the formation of tropical storms in the Atlantic.

“For the American Southwest, La Niñas usually bring a dry winter, not good news for a region that has experienced normal rain and snowpack only once in the past five winters,” said Patzert.

 La Niña causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the North Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest’s southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile there is below average precipitation in the southwestern and outheastern states.

La Niñas occurred in 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1995, 1998-99, 2008, 2010-11.

Recent occurrences
The strength of the La Niña made the 2008 hurricane season one of the most active since 1944; there were 16 named storms of at least 39 mph (63 kph), eight of which became 74 mph or greater hurricanes. The Gulf of Mexico holds about 27 percent of the U.S.’s oil and 15 percent of its natural gas, the U.S. Department of Energy reports. This makes La Niña and hurricanes serious business.

According to NOAA, El Niño conditions have been in place in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since June 2009, peaking in January-February. Positive SST anomalies are expected to last at least through the North American Spring as this El Niño slowly weakens.

3.  Megadrought Ancient megadroughts preview warmer climate -study
By Deborah  Zabarenko, 2/24/2011, WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters Life!) –
“Ancient mega droughts that lasted thousands of years in what is now the American Southwest could offer a preview of a climate changed by modern greenhouse gas emissions, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The scientists found these persistent dry periods were different from even the most severe decades-long modern droughts, including the 1930s “Dust Bowl.” And they determined that these millennial droughts occurred at times when Earth’s mean annual temperature was similar to or slightly higher than what it is now. These findings tally with projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others, according to study author Peter Fawcett of the University of New
Mexico. The results were published in the current edition of Nature.

“The IPCC model suggests that when you warm the climate, you’ll see extended droughts in this part of the world and this is what the paleo record seems to be telling us,” Fawcett said in a telephone interview. “When you’ve got past temperatures that were at or above today’s conditions, conditions got drier.”

The U.S. Southwest has seen steep population growth over the last century, with population increasing by 1,500 percent from 1900 to 1990, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The total U.S. population grew 225 percent over the same period.

The settlement of this area depended, as all human settlements do, on access to water. There would clearly be less water available in a megadrought.

Earth’s orbit and greenhouse emissions
Megadroughts in the past were caused by subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which were also responsible for periodic ice ages. If these orbital changes were the only influence on the
planet’s climate, Earth should be heading into a cool period, Fawcett said in a telephone interview.

However, recent temperature statistics indicate that is not the case. The decade that ended last year was the hottest since modern record-keeping began in 1880. The previous decade, 1991-2000, was next-warmest and 1981-1990 was third-warmest.

Emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide help trap heat near Earth’s surface and could be influencing the natural orbital cycle that would dictate a cooling period.

To figure out just how long these megadroughts lasted, and what happened during them, scientists took samples from a dried lake bed in northern New Mexico called the Valles Caldera. They analyzed these sediments for biochemical signs of drought, ranging from which trees and shrubs grew and how much calcium was in the cracked mud in the dried lake bottom.

Looking at records going back more than a half-million years, they also developed a technique to determine temperature in the ancient past by looking at signs left by soil bacteria, Fawcett said.

The fats in the walls of these bacteria change their structure in response to temperature changes, he said, and act like a “tape recorder” for antique temperatures. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
Pasted from <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41739225/ns/business->

4.  Mega-drought threat to US Southwest
Quirin Schiermeier
The Dust Bowl — the seven-year drought that devastated large swathes of US prairie land in the 1930s — was the worst prolonged environmental disaster recorded for the country. But a study of the American Southwest’s more distant climatic past reveals that the catastrophic drought was a mere dry spell compared to the ‘mega-droughts’ that were recurring long before humans began to settle the continent.

The findings, reported in a paper in Nature this week, add to concerns that the already arid region might face quasi-permanent drought conditions as climate continues to warm.

The team, led by Peter Fawcett, a climate scientist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, reconstructed the region’s climate history using geochemical indicators from an 82-metre-long lake sediment core from the Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico. Analysis of climate and vegetation proxies, such as pollen and carbon-isotope ratios, suggests that the Southwest experienced abrupt and surprisingly pronounced climate shifts during warm periods of the Pleistocee, including transitions to extended dry periods that lasted for hundreds or even thousands of years.

 5.  Reliving the past
If today’s climate repeated past patterns, the southwestern United States might move into a wetter and cooler phase. Such a transition happened at one point during the so-called Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, an interglacial period around 400,000 years ago that shows some striking parallels with the Holocene, our current warm period. This seems to have roughly advanced to the point at which the climate in MIS 11 began to switch to a less arid one.

Earth’s orbit and axial tilt during the unusually long MIS 11 stage was similar to orbital conditions during the Holocene, which scientists think will last longer than most Pleistocene warm periods.

But for all the similarities, the climate during MIS 11 was unperturbed by human activity. This time around, rising greenhouse-gas concentrations driven by human activity will very likely override any natural cooling trend. Scientists fear that the Southwestern climate may in fact switch to an extended dry mode such as the ones that occurred during particularly warm Pleistocene periods.

“We won’t know for sure if it happens again until we get there,” says Fawcett. “But we are certainly increasing the possibility of crossing a critical threshold to severe and lasting drought conditions.”

Sudden shifts in carbon isotopes and lowered total organic carbon in the sediment record suggest that grasses and shrubs that depend mostly on summer rain died out during extended Pleistocene droughts. This is surprising, says Fawcett, because summer monsoon rainfall was thought to become more intense in a warmer climate. That summer rain was in fact strongly reduced, or had almost stopped, suggests that regional climate patterns must have shifted radically when Pleistocene temperatures crossed a threshold.

“The scary thing is that we seem to be very close to this point again,” he says.

 6.  A dry future
The Southwest has experienced significant reductions in rainfall during the last decade, causing freshwater reservoirs and groundwater to fall to unusually low levels. Colorado River flows recorded at Lees Ferry, Arizona, from 2000 to 2009 are the lowest on record.

Climate models suggest that the region will in future become even drier as atmospheric circulation patterns change and subtropical dry zones expand towards the poles2.
“The drying we expect for the twenty-first century is entirely the result of increased greenhouse forcing,” says Richard Seager, a climate researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. “Any natural variations in orbital forcing and incoming sunlight will hardly have a noticeable role in the near future.”

A 10–15% reduction in rainfall is enough to cause severe drought in the region, he says. Meanwhile, debate continues among scientists whether a transition to quasi-permanent dry conditions is imminent or already underway, and to what extent global warming has increased the risk of drought.

“A signal of anthropogenic drying is emerging, but it is still small,” says Seager. “I’d expect that by mid-century the human signal will exceed the amplitude of natural climate variability. Then we can safely say that the Southwest has entered a new climate stage.”
[Chart: Drought in American west]

“The climate system clearly has the capacity to get ‘stuck’ in drought-inducing modes over North America that can last several decades to a century or more,” Seager and colleagues wrote in an article published in 2009.

The researchers also point out that the megadroughts occurred without any intervention from human beings. So they could well happen again. It’s also very possible that human-caused warming could bring a return to megadroughts by inducing the same climatic conditions that appear to have been associated with them in the past.

Given projected increases in demand for water on the river, and a 20 percent reduction in its annual flow by 2057 due to climate change, there would be a nearly 10-fold increase in the chances that lakes Mead and Powell would become depleted.
Pasted from <http://www.cejournal.net/?p=4924&gt;

7.  Higher Water Shortage Risks in One Third of US Counties Due to Climate Change: NRDC Report
21 July 2010, Tree Hugger.com, by Matthew McDermott,  http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/07/higher-water-shortage-risks-one-third-u-s-counties-climate-change.php#ch02

A new report from the National Resources Defense Council paints a really dry and thirsty picture in a world warmed by climate change: More than 1100 counties in the United States face higher risks of water shortages by 2050, with more than 400 of these placed at extremely high risk.

14 States At Extreme Risk
Tetra Tech, which did the report for NRDC, used publicly available water use data and climate change models to examine water withdrawals versus renewable water supply. The result was that 14 states face extreme to high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to experience limitations in the water
supply. This is a 14-fold increase from previous estimates.

Parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas all are in this latter category–with the Great Plains and Southwest states singled out as places where “water sustainability is at extreme risk.”

Arid Western States’ Water Use Already Unsustainable
Stats on water use as a percentage of available precipitation clearly illustrate the problem: In the eastern US generally less than 5% of precipitation is withdrawn; in the majority of the western US water withdrawals are under 30% of precipitation. But in the arid areas of the states mentioned in the report (particularly in California, Texas and the desert Southwest), withdrawals top 100% of available precipitation.

In the Ogallala Aquifer, stretching from Nebraska to Texas and supplying about 30% of all the water used for farmland irrigation in the country, unsustainable water withdrawals have led to the aquifer dropping by more than 100 feet in many places. In fact The Nature Conservancy, whose scientists contributed research for the report, points out that some studies show the aquifer drying up in as little as 25 years.

As previous studies have indicated, the effect of these water shortages and patently unsustainable water use trend on agricultural production is pronounced. NRDC cites 2007 data to show that the value of crops raised in the 1100 counties at risk exceeded $105 billion.

Strong Climate Action by Congress Can Help
Dan Lashof, director of NRDC’s Climate Center:This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades, with over one out of three U.S. counties facing greater risks of water shortages. Water shortages can strangle economic development and agricultural production and affected communities.

As a result, cities and states will bear real and significant costs if Congress fails to take the steps necessary to slow down and reverse the warming trend. Water management and climate change adaptation plans will be essential to lessen the impacts, but they cannot be expected to counter the effects of a warming climate. The only way to truly manage the risks exposed by this report is for Congress to pass meaningful legislation that cuts global warming pollution and allows the U.S. to exercise global leadership on the issue.

[The jury has delivered its verdict: Look for increasing drought during the next few decades. The drought is not a temporary climatic anomaly, but a global change in climatic conditions that will persist  for several centuries. -Mr Larry]

8.  Understanding Your Risk and Impacts: Economic Impacts
2006-2011, The National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Costs and losses to agricultural producers:

  • Costs and losses to agricultural producers Annual and perennial crop losses [wheat and other grains]
  • Damage to crop quality [reduced yield]
  • Income loss for farmers due to reduced crop yields
  • Reduced productivity of cropland (wind erosion, long-term loss of organic matter, etc.) {late in oil decline making fertilizer very expensive]
  • Insect infestation [late in the oil decline]
  • Plant disease
  • Wildlife damage to crops
  • Increased irrigation costs [during a spreading and  increasingly severe  megadrought]
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • Costs and losses to livestock producers
  • Reduced productivity of rangeland
  • Reduced milk production
  • Forced reduction of foundation stock
  • Closure/limitation of public lands to grazing
  • High cost/unavailability of water for livestock
  • Cost of new or supplemental water resource development (wells, dams, pipelines)
  • High cost/unavailability of feed for livestock
  • Increased feed transportation costs
  • High livestock mortality rates
  • Disruption of reproduction cycles (delayed breeding, more miscarriages)
  • Decreased stock weights
  • Increased predation
  • Range fires
  • Loss from timber production
  • Wildland fires
  • Tree disease
  • Insect infestation
  • Impaired productivity of forest land
  • Direct loss of trees, especially young ones
  • Loss from fishery production
  • Damage to fish habitat
  • Loss of fish and other aquatic organisms due to decreased flows
  • General economic effects
  • Decreased land prices
  • Loss to industries directly dependent on agricultural production (e.g., machinery and fertilizer manufacturers, food processors, dairies, etc.)
  • Unemployment from drought-related declines in production
  • Strain on financial institutions (foreclosures, more credit risk, capital shortfalls)
  • Revenue losses to federal, state, and local governments (from reduced tax base)
  • Reduction of economic development
  • Fewer agricultural producers (due to bankruptcies, new occupations)
  • Rural population loss
  • Loss to recreation and tourism industry
  • Loss to manufacturers and sellers of recreational equipment
  • Losses related to curtailed activities: hunting and fishing, bird watching, boating, etc.
  • Energy-related effects
  • Increased energy demand and reduced supply because of drought-related power curtailments
  • Costs to energy industry and consumers associated with substituting more expensive fuels (oil) for hydroelectric power
  • Water Suppliers
  • Revenue shortfalls and/or windfall profits
  • Cost of water transport or transfer
  • Cost of new or supplemental
    water resource development
  • Transportation Industry
  • Loss from impaired navigability of streams, rivers, and canals
  • Declinein food production/disrupted food supply
  • Increase in food prices
  • Increased importation of food (higher costs)

[The lists above speak of reduced agricultural production, rapidly accelerating input costs due to the decline in world petroleum production, stress on agricultural producers-fewer farmers, less land, less product—and much higher U.S. food prices, as a percentage of net income, hence much less discretionary income, less ability to develop a finacial cushion, and a lower quality of life. Add to this the hunger/ socially driven measures some foreign countries may be willing to undertake in these circumstances and we will likely see regional wars; one theater of broad damage might be on American soil. The lists also  speaks quietly about a global and US overpopulation on a diminishing resource base. As every ecologist knows, when  a population has exceeded its resources, its numbers must adjust to a level that is sustainable. Mr Larry]

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Global Cooling

A. Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ in just 15 years, scientists say
11 July 2015, upi.com, by Doug G. Ware
Pasted from: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/07/11/Earth-heading-for-mini-ice-age-in-just-15-years-scientists-say/2751436649025/

cooling iceSolar scientists predict that the Earth will enter a “mini ice age” around 2030 due to decreased activity by the sun, which will bring with it frigid cold winters. The last time the Earth experienced a similar situation occurred between 1645 and 1715. Photo: Albina Tiplyashina / Shutterstock

LLANDUDNO, Wales, July 11 (UPI) — Solar scientists, armed with the best data yet regarding the activities of the sun, say the Earth is headed for a “mini ice age” in just 15 years — something that hasn’t happened for three centuries.

Professor Valentina Zharkova, of the University of Northumbria, presented the findings at the National Astronomy Meeting in Wales this week, Britain’s Independent reported Saturday.

Researchers, saying they understand solar cycles better than ever, predict that the sun’s normal activity will decrease by 60 percent around 2030 — triggering the “mini ice age” that could last for a decade. The last time the Earth was hit by such a lull in solar activity happened 300 years ago, during the Maunder Minimum, which lasted from 1645 to 1715.

Scientists say there are magnetic waves in the sun’s interior that fluctuate between the body’s northern and southern hemispheres, resulting in various solar conditions over a period of 10 to 12 years. Based on that data, researchers say they are now better able to anticipate the sun’s activity — which has led to the Zharkova team’s prediction.

“Combining both [magnetic] waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97 percent,” Zharkova said. If the “mini ice age” does indeed arrive, scientists say it will be accompanied by bitter cold winters — frigid enough to cause rivers, like the Thames in London, to freeze over.

  B.  Ice Core Analysis Shows Fastest Decline in Solar Activity for 10,000 Years
18 January 2014, The Daily Sheeple, by Chris Carrington
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/ice-core-analysis-shows-fastest-decline-in-solar-activity-for-10000-years_012014

Solar physicist Richard Harrison says he has never seen the sun this quiet in more than 30 years of studying it.
“If you want to go back to see when the Sun was this inactive… you’ve got to go back about 100 years,” he says.
At this point in the solar cycle the sun should be a hive of activity, popping off flares and dotted with sunspots.

cooling solar flareProfessor Mike Lockwood, a space environment physicist at Reading University UK has studied ice cores going back tens of thousands of years. He thinks there’s a very good chance that the Sun is heading for an extremely quiet period. Speaking to the BBC  he said that it was
“…an unusually rapid decline. It’s a very active research topic at the present time, but we do think there is a mechanism in place where we should expect more cold winters when solar activity is low.”

He went on to explain how Europe would bear the brunt of the change he believes is afoot.
“There are large meanders in the jet stream, and they’re called blocking events because they block off the normal moist, mild winds we get from the Atlantic, and instead we get cold air being dragged down from the Arctic and from Russia,” he says.

“These are what we call a cold snap… a series of three or four cold snaps in a row adds up to a cold winter. And that’s quite likely what we’ll see as solar activity declines.”

“If we take all the science that we know relating to how the Sun emits heat and light and how that heat and light powers our climate system, and we look at the climate system globally, the difference that it makes even going back into Maunder Minimum conditions is very small.
“I’ve done a number of studies that show at the very most it might buy you about five years before you reach a certain global average temperature level. But that’s not to say, on a more regional basis there aren’t changes to the patterns of our weather that we’ll have to get used to.”

The Maunder Minimum was a period of intensely cold winters during the 1600′s. If Lockwood and his colleagues are right this is yet another indicator that points towards global cooling. Although the effects of the jet stream are predominantly felt in Europe the overall temperature drops caused by a cessation of activity on the Sun will be felt across the Northern Hemisphere.
As the warnings about global cooling and it’s connection to lack of activity on the Sun continue to gather pace, we need to start thinking about a world where the summers are cooler, where growing zone boundaries are changing due to the weather.

The government, backed by their butt buddies at the IPCC are not going to warn us, they are not going to admit that global warming was flawed science at best and an out and out con at the worst.

C. The Number Of Volcanic Eruptions Is Increasing And That Could Lead To An Extremely Cold Winter
16 Sep 2014, theeconomiccollapseblog.com, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-number-of-volcanic-eruptions-is-increasing-and-that-could-lead-to-an-extremely-cold-winter

The number of volcanoes that are erupting continues to rise, and scientists cannot seem to explain why this is happening.  In 2013, we witnessed the most volcanic eruptions worldwide that we have ever seen in a single year, and this increased activity has carried over into 2014.  In recent months, we have seen major volcanoes roar to life in Russia, Peru, Hawaii, Reunion Island, Indonesia, and all over Alaska.  It is highly unusual for so many volcanoes to all be erupting at the same time.  According to Volcano Discovery, a whopping 34 volcanoes are erupting around the globe right now.  This is sending a massive amount of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere, and it may explain why many parts of the planet are experiencing strangely cold weather at the moment.  If this trend continues, we could potentially be facing years of crop failures and widespread famines all over the world.

And what we have witnessed already may just be the beginning.  There are several more very large volcanoes around the globe that scientists are extremely concerned about right now.

For example, just check out what is going on in the Philippines…cooling volcanic activity
Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on “Alert Level 3” on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of “relatively high unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.
In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.
PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a “Critical Alert” in the agency’s 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.

But of even greater concern is Bardarbunga.  It is the largest volcano system in Iceland, and a major eruption could potentially be absolutely catastrophic…
This time the threat of an eruption – potentially even more powerful than the one in 2010 – is posed by Bardarbunga, the biggest of Iceland’s 30 or so volcanic systems. Located roughly at the country’s centre, the volcano’s 10-kilometre caldera lies several hundred metres beneath Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier by volume.
Scientists are taking the latest rumblings seriously: roughly 8000 years ago, after all, the volcanic leviathan let rip with the largest eruption of the past 10,000 years.
“It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen with an eruption,” says Monash University vulcanologist Professor Ray Cas, who is president of the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.

Scientists tell us that over the last 10,000 years Bardarbunga has produced “more lava than any other volcano on the planet.”
If we witness a full scale eruption at Bardarbunga, the cancellation of a few thousand flights may be the smallest of our concerns.
The truth is that we might be looking at the coldest winter that any of us have ever seen in the northern hemisphere.

But don’t just take my word for it.  The following is from a British newspaper article entitled “Icelandic volcano could trigger Britain’s coldest winter EVER this year”…
Depending on the force of the explosion, minute particles thrust beyond the earth’s atmosphere can trigger DECADES of chaotic weather patterns. Tiny pieces of debris act as billions of shields reflecting the sun’s light away from earth meaning winter temperatures could plunge LOWER THAN EVER before while summer will be devoid of sunshine. The first effect could be a bitterly cold winter to arrive in weeks with thermometers plunging into minus figures and not rising long before next summer.

If this did happen, there is nothing that we could do to change it. We would just have to deal with it.

This is a kind of “climate change” that everyone can agree on.  It is well known that volcanic eruptions can substantially lower global temperatures.  In fact, some global warming theorists are already blaming increased volcanic activity for why temperatures have not been rising in recent years…
“In the last decade, the amount of volcanic aerosol in the stratosphere has increased, so more sunlight is being reflected back into space,” said lead author Benjamin Santer, climate scientist at Laurence Livermore National Laboratory, in a press release. “This has created a natural cooling of the planet and has partly offset the increase in surface and atmospheric temperatures due to human influence.”

But if Bardarbunga fully erupts, we could be looking at something a lot worse than a little “global cooling”. We could potentially be facing winters that never seem to end. It has happened before in recorded history many times.  The following list comes from Wikipedia…
The effects of volcanic eruptions on recent winters are modest in scale, but historically have been significant. Most recently, the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo, a stratovolcano in the Philippines, cooled global temperatures for about 2–3 years.
In 1883, the explosion of
Krakatoa (Krakatau) created volcanic winter-like conditions. The four years following the explosion were unusually cold, and the winter of 1887-1888 included powerful blizzards.  Record snowfalls were recorded worldwide The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a stratovolcano in Indonesia, occasioned mid-summer frosts in New York State and June snowfalls in New England and Newfoundland and Labrador in what came to be known as the “Year Without a Summer” of 1816.

A paper written by Benjamin Franklin in 1783 blamed the unusually cool summer of 1783 on volcanic dust coming from Iceland, where the eruption of Laki volcano had released enormous amounts of sulfur dioxide, resulting in the death of much of the island’s livestock and a catastrophic famine which killed a quarter of the Icelandic population. Northern hemisphere temperatures dropped by about 1 °C in the year following the Laki eruption.

In 1600, the Huaynaputina in Peru erupted. Tree ring studies show that 1601 was cold. Russia had its worst famine in 1601-1603. From 1600 to 1602, Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia had exceptionally cold winters. The wine harvest was late in 1601 in France, and in Peru and Germany, wine production collapsed. Peach trees bloomed late in China, and Lake Suwa in Japan froze early.

The possibility of volcanic eruptions substantially cooling our weather is the biggest “climate threat” that we are facing by far.
Without warm summers and plenty of sunshine, our crops will not succeed. And global food supplies are already stretched to the limit.  Just this week we learned that one out of every nine people in the world does not have enough food to eat. What would happen if global food production was cut by 10 or 20 percent for a few years?

So keep an eye on Bardarbunga and the other major volcanoes around the planet that are rumbling right now. They may just play a major role in our immediate future.


D.  Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age coming?
7 Jan 2014, Scottnet, from YouTube
Pasted from: http://www.sott.net/article/271736-Global-Cooling-Is-an-Ice-Age-coming

YouTubeVideo: Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age Coming?

The climate is changing, but it’s not changing the way the climate change crowd predicted it would. Nature has made a mockery of global warming, so who are the real climate deniers?


E.  Heaviest snow in 50 years blankets most of Iran
5 Feb 2014, Posted by EU Times
Pasted from: http://www.eutimes.net/2014/02/heaviest-snow-in-50-years-blankets-most-of-iran/

cooling Iran snowRescue operations are underway in different parts of Iran as the heaviest snowstorm in five decades has blanketed the country’s northern provinces, leaving many people without power and running water.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society says teams have rescued over 10,000 people caught in the heavy snow in 18 different provinces.
Rescue operations are also underway in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. Thousands of people are reportedly trapped on the roads of the two provinces.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and army troops have been sent to help people. Water and power supplies were cut off in the remote regions, but reports say electricity is mostly restored. Schools and universities have been shut down because of the heavy snow. There have been no official reports of casualties. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has formed an emergency ministerial team to supervise relief assistance to provinces.

(News & Editorial/ Global Cooling)

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Venezuela: Shortages and hyper inflation… How it looks on Main Street

news-desk[1]A. Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America 2 April 2014, SHTFplan.com, by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper, http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america-04022014

Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america_04022014

Editor’s Note: In recent weeks the country of Venezuela has implemented everything from price controls to rationing in an effort to control the hyperinflation that has gripped the nation. All attempts at controlling demand and ‘hoarding’ have thus far failed, prompting government officials to issue directives requiring biometric verification for the purchase of foodstuffs. What’s happening in Venezuela is a clear example of how government first causes the problem, often leading to panic, and then points the blame at everyone but themselves. Officials claim that unscrupulous merchants (who have been forced to sell goods at prices lower than they have acquired them) and the hoarding of food by individuals is to blame for the shortages.

The solution, of course, is more government, and in this case that means registration of fingerprints and other personal data in exchange for permission to purchase food. Be assured that the same plans are in place right here in the USA. In fact, we already have an electronic mechanism of exchange in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Should the worst happen and the US dollar crashes at some point in the future, those who failed to prepare (or, hoard as the government would suggest) are destined to forced registrations at their local post office or other government entity. Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper explains what’s happening right now in Venezuela, how a similar situation could unfold in the USA, and what you can do to prepare in advance.

For those looking to implement a frugal and highly effective strategy in advance of food shortages or currency crisis we suggest taking a look at Daisy’s book The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.

Venesuela1(Pictured: Amateur photo: Venezuelans line up for miles in an effort to acquire food during hyperinflationary food shortages – March 2014)

.Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America
By Daisy Luther

What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries?  And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now.  The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families.  These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…

Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan.

“The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings,” said Juan Rodriguez, who waited two hours to enter the government-run Abastos Bicentenario supermarket near downtown Caracas on Monday, and then waited another three hours to check out.

Checkout workers at Abastos Bicentenario were taking down customers’ cellphone numbers Monday, to ensure they couldn’t return for eight days. Shoppers said employees also banned purchases by minors, to stop parents from using their children to engage in hoarding, which the government calls “nervous buying.”

Rodriguez supports both measures.

“People who go shopping every day hurt us all,” he said, drawing approving nods from the friends he made over the course of his afternoon slowly snaking through the aisles with his oversized cart.

Reflecting Maduro’s increasingly militarized discourse against opponents he accuses of waging “economic war,” the government is calling the new program the “system of secure supply.”

Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. On Tuesday, Food Minister Felix Osorio said the process was off to a smooth start. He says the system will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But he also says the cards will be voluntary, with incentives like discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.

Expressionless men with rifles patrolled the warehouse-size supermarket Monday as shoppers hurried by, focusing on grabbing meat and pantry items before they were gone.

Last year in Venezuela, it became a crime to “hoard” food, and the country’s Attorney General called upon prosecutors to crack down on “hoarders” by imprisoning them for the “crime”.

Some people may read this and think to themselves, “Why on earth do I care about what happens in Venezuela?” You’d better care, because this is our future.

Already the Obama administration has moved the pieces into place on the board to be able to appropriate supplies from anyone, at any time.  Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns: It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.

Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.

In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in an attempt to take complete control.

They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material.

Just think how much easier it would be to do so if every purchase you make is tracked and documented for future reference.

How Much of a Footprint Are You Leaving?
Now, think about those “loyalty cards” that every grocery store in North America promotes when you go through the checkout. Have you noticed how much more those are being pushed lately? Could there be a nefarious purpose to that?  I doubt the person at the cash register thinks twice about it – if these actually are data collection tools, it is something put in place by people far higher up the food chain (pun intended) than the staff of your local supermarket.

I strongly recommend you think twice about collecting “points” – the discounts may not be worth it if it means that your stock-up purchases are in some database, easily accessible to the NSA.  If you feel it is imperative to have one of those cards, consider using a pseudonym and false address.  You really don’t want to provide an inventory of your stockpile to the government. Some cards, like the one from Target, for example, even take it a step further and link to your credit card or debit account.  I can’t even wrap my brain around giving out that type of information to the person who rings up my paper towels and garbage bags.

To take this even further, if you haven’t been convinced yet that you need to begin producing your own food by gardening and raising micro-livestock, this should solidify the importance of not being totally dependent on “the system” for what you eat. Looking at the drought conditions across America’s farmland, is it a stretch of the imagination to think we could soon be facing rationing like that which is currently happening in Venezuela?  As the middle class gasps its last breath here in America, we may soon be faced with a situation where only the wealthy can afford to avoid rationing.  By becoming independent from the purveyors of food, you can assure that your family will not go hungry at the whims of a government who really doesn’t care.

Plan of Action
Here are a few things that you can do to pre-empt feeling the effects of a system like the one in Venezuela before such a change occurs on our own soil. Start now to leave less of a footprint for the government to follow.

  1. Plant a garden.
  2. Grow food indoors in sunny windows.
  3. Consider an aquaponics set-up in a spare room.
  4. Raise chickens and meat rabbits.
  5. Stock up NOW on long-term staples like grains and beans, before limits are instituted.
  6. Buy heirloom seeds – lots and lots of seeds.
  7. Practice careful OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) when making large purchases.
  8. Store long term food supplies in more than one location. That way if you lose some of your supplies to thugs (government or other varieties), you still have supplies to fall back on.
  9. Learn to preserve food.
  10. Stock up of preservation supplies like lids, jars, etc.
  11. Do NOT use so-called “loyalty cards” or memberships to make large purchases.
  12. When ordering large quantities of supplies, consider having them mailed to some place other than your home.
  13. Use cash or prepaid VISA cards purchased with cash to make large purchases.
  14. Don’t tell others about your supplies and purchases.
  15. Teach your children not to discuss things like food pantries and preparedness.
  16. Don’t store your supplies out in the open for anyone who comes into your home to see. Stash your 5 gallon pails away in closets, under beds, or in the basement.
  17. Disengage from the system by purchasing from small local farmers.
  18. Use the barter system whenever possible.  When money was tight and I lived in a place where I couldn’t grow much food, I worked on a farm harvesting vegetables in exchange for produce that I could preserve for my family.
  19. Change the way you eat – go with a local, in-season menu that is far more difficult to track than grocery-store purchased items.
  20. Learn to forage. Even in the city, you might be surprised at how many things can be found growing in your own back yard or falling off of the trees in a local park.  My children and I picked up one small bag of walnuts a day at a little park down the street one year, resulting in almost 15 pounds of shelled nuts by the time we were through.

Whatever your plan, don’t delay. We need only to read the many articles predicting a food shortage this year due to poor weather conditions to see the writing on the wall. You must become responsible for your family’s sustenance if you don’t want to suffer at the hands of those in power. I have no intention of standing in line for hours with my “ID card”, only to be allowed to purchase a small amount of highly inflated food.

[Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca


B. Price controls and scarcity force Venezuelans to turn to the black market for milk and toilet paper
16 Apr 2015, by Girish Gupta in Caracas
Pasted from: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/16/venezuela-economy-black-market-milk-and-toilet-paper

From those struggling to meet inflated prices for everyday goods, to lawyers turned pasta smugglers, the street economy flourishes under President Maduro

Venesuela vendorWith supermarket shelves empty, buhoneros (street peddlers) hustling everything from coffee to
shampoo are an increasingly common sight across Venezuela’s slums.  Photograph: Girish Gupta

In Petare, a giant slum overlooking Caracas from the east, hustlers known as buhoneros sell their goods at a busy intersection. “I’ve got milk, toilet paper, coffee, soap…” said 30-year-old Carmen Rodríguez, pointing to her wares by the side of a road busy with honking motorbikes, cars and buses. “Of course they cost more than the government say they should. We have to queue up to get them or buy them from someone who has done. We’re helping people get the basics.”

Yet, many of the poor simply can’t afford Rodríguez’s basics. In a raw and arguably necessary display of capitalism, she sells them for far more than the government’s legally required “fair prices”. It is ironically because of those government-imposed fair prices that the goods often aren’t available at supermarkets at fair prices as it’s simply not profitable to import them. This is thanks to economic policies dating back more than a decade.

Rodríguez sells each of her products for around 100 bolívares. At the black market currency exchange rate, that’s just 30 pence or so. But at that same exchange rate, the minimum wage in Venezuela is around £15 a month.

Venesuela2 queueA queue for a supermarket in Caracas. Photograph: Girish Gupta

“I can’t live like this, earning the minimum wage. It’s not enough at all,” said Araceli Belaez, 40, lining up for groceries at a supermarket in the Caracas slum of Catia.

Johan Elizandre is a fruit-seller in 23 de enero, a slum on the other side of Caracas. It overlooks the presidential palace and its walls are adorned with murals of leftist heroes such as Che Guevara, Karl Marx and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. “A kilo of meat costs me 600 bolívares” said Elizandre, who earns 7,000 bolívares a month, around £20 when measured at the black market exchange rate – far more than the minimum wage. “I have sons, aged five and seven. I’d rather give them the food and not eat so much myself.”

Of course my goods cost more than the government say they should. We’re helping people get the basics

The scenes at Petare’s intersection, 23 de enero’s streets and Catia’s supermarkets are manifestations of an economy in tatters: one in which people buy milk, toilet paper and shampoo at inflated prices because supermarkets, with long queues outside, are near empty; in which engineers and lawyers smuggle pasta and petrol across borders to earn many times more than they would carrying out their profession; and in which surgeons complain that people are dying on the operating table because they cannot import medicines and equipment.

Venesuela3 queueThere will not be much left in the supermarket for people at the back of this queue Photograph: Girish Gupta

President Nicolás Maduro’s approval ratings are currently in the mid-20s. Annual inflation is at nearly 70% – which doesn’t include goods prices with the hefty premiums charged by the buhoneros like Rodríguez. The currency has fallen some 30% against the US dollar this year on the black market. And the murder rate is one of the world’s worst.

In 2003, Maduro’s predecessor Chávez enacted strict currency controls, pegging the bolívar to the US dollar. The aim was to reduce inflation and curb capital flight though neither has been achieved. Price controls, currency controls and the lack of dollars the government provides mean that importers no longer have the incentive to bring in goods. A thousand bolívares would have bought £30 on the black market when Maduro was elected to power in March 2013; it now buys less than £3. In the meantime, prices have risen rapidly while wages have not kept up.

On the country’s border with Colombia at San Antonio, engineer Jesús Arias, 33, has given up on his profession and smuggles petrol across the border. One of the country’s most costly price controls means that filling an entire tank costs just a couple of cents, converted at black market rates. Over the border, petrol sells for hundreds of times more. “Here petrol is practically a free gift,” Arias said. “A litre of mineral water costs more than a litre of gas.”

Children walk across the bridge to Colombia with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrolThe subsidy costs the government around $12bn (£8bn) a year and Maduro is very clear that it needs to end – though that would be politically disastrous. Arias fills his 50-litre tank for just a few pence; a few hundred metres across the bridge in Cúcuta, Colombia, he can sell that for around £15. “Doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers we’re all doing it,” he said. “Here on the border, I can earn in three or four days what I earn as a professional in a month.” Children walk across the bridge with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrol.

Maduro blames the problems on an “economic war” being waged against his government, with help from Washington. He blames smugglers, hoarders and street vendors for causing the problems rather than being a consequence of them.

Venesuela cash- barterPeople are leaving their jobs as they can make more as a black-market vendor. Photograph: Girish Gupta

Last year, the government tried to ban websites which publish the black market exchange rate, leading one blogger to liken the manoeuvre to banning the sale of thermometers to crack down on cold weather.

Yet, the black market, while imperfect, is offering an escape valve for the economy, a means for the poor by whatever means to obtain goods they would otherwise have to do without. “Repressing the black market rate, smuggling or trading is going to deteriorate the economic picture even further,” said Alberto Ramos, a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. “It will lead to even high inflation and higher levels of goods’ scarcity. The unofficial foreign exchange market and smuggling are to a large extent economic escape valves.”

(News & Editorial/ Venezuela: shortages and hyper inflation. How it looks on Main Street)

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Yes, there’s “climate change”, its cooling

A. Sunspots 2015: Year of the decline
4 Jan 2015, Posted by azleader
Pasted from: https://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/sunspots-2015-year-of-the-decline/

Cooling1 sun Giant solar flare on October 27, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Solar maximum has passed. What climate effects will come next?
Austin, January 4, 2015 – Solar maximum activity peaked in April 2014 at an exceptionally low 81.9 spots/day. Waning solar activity in 2015 will begin the long, inexorably journey towards solar minimum over the next half decade or so.

If solar physicists are correct, solar activity could be very low for several decades to come. How that will affect climate change is anyone’s guess, but low sunspot activity has already been identified by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the main causes for the 15+ year “hiatus” from atmospheric global warming.

cooling2 progressionSolar max arrived in April 2014. Credit/Steve Davidson-SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released December’s official monthly international sunspot numbers on January 1, 2015. Sunspots increased again in December, but the 13-month smoothed sunspot number that defines solar maximum declined for the 2nd month in a row. Given that solar maximum is a 13-month running average, no one knows maximum has been reached until at least seven months after the fact.

What does the downturn in solar activity mean for earth’s long-term climate change? One legitimate comparison of the current situation on the sun is to a cold period on earth called the Dalton Minimum. It happened 200 years ago.

cooling3 daltonCurrent solar activity is similar to the Dalton Minimum. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

There were three declining solar cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum, just like now. The third exceptionally weak cycle had a rare higher secondary peak than its first when the Dalton was reached, just like now.

That cycle was followed by a decline to zero spots. The period of zero spots lasted nearly two years before another weak cycle occurred. The match to current activity isn’t exact, but it’s eerily similar. There is modern supporting evidence that the sun will have an exceptionally weak cycle next time, just like the Dalton.

cooling umbralSunspots are becoming harder to see and weaker. Credit/Dr. Leif Svalgaard Research Page

Umbral intensity is a measure of how black the center of the average sunspot is compared to its surroundings. An intensity of 1 means the sunspot is invisible. Sunspots have been fading away since the late 1990s. In the last 3-4 years, though, the fading has leveled off.

Umbral magnetic field is a measure of the strength of the average sunspot, measured in Gauss. The lower the number, the weaker the sunspot. Strong magnetic fields are what cause giant solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that dramatically affect earth. Sunspots cannot form with a field strength below 1,500 Gauss. In the last 3-4 years the decline in magnetic field strength has leveled off, too.

When this data was first published in 2011 it caused quite a stir among solar physicists. Some predicted sunspots would totally disappear after the current cycle ended. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after all. It looks like the next cycle, Cycle 25, will be another weak one, just like during the Dalton Minimum.

Reliable global temperature data does not extend further back than about 1850, fifty years after the Dalton. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there were very cold winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere during that time period.

The current sunspot cycle most closely matches Cycle 12, which peaked in 1883. That one is within reliable global temperature records.

cooling monthly smoothedThe current solar cycle is best matched to Cycle 12. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

Both Cycle 12 and the current cycle have a rare secondary peak higher than the first. That has got to mean something.

According to IPCC data, the period of the 1880s to the early 1900s was characterized by a general decline in earth’s global atmospheric temperature.

 cooling trend1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Source/IPCC AR5 Report

Cycle 12 and the two cycles following it were exceptionally weak cycles leading into the early 1900s. It corresponded to declining global temperatures. Coincidence? Not likely.

Solar sunspot maximum was reached in April of 2014. That did not become known until recently because solar max is computed as a 13-month running average. You can’t know it has been reached until at least seven months after the fact. There have been two months of decline since then, so it is reasonably certain the maximum was finally reached. As it is, it was over two years later than originally predicted.

If the current cycle follows past solar behavior then 2015 will see a steep decline in solar activity as it progresses toward solar minimum in the next five years or so.
The current cycle (Cycle 24) has strong similarities to both the Dalton Minimum and Cycle 12 that peaked in 1883. Both time periods are associated with cold earth temperatures. Cycle 12 is more meaningful because it is supported by current United Nations IPCC data.
That being the case, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the cold weather gear.

B. New Ice Age to Begin in 2014
23 Feb 2012, IceAgeNow.info, By Robert
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/ice-age-2014/

“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com.

“Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014. “According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055. “It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. “The expected decrease in temperature may … become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the “little ice age”, it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.” http://russia-ic.com/news/show/13717#.T0Q3Ms7rk9C Thanks to Thomas McHart, Stephanie Relfe for this link

Habibullo Abdussamatov is not just “a scientist.” Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, astrophysicist, is head of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I
’m inclined to take his forecasts seriously.
I’ve met Dr Abdussamatov, and posted other articles about him here: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/
And here: http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/russian-scientists-predict-100-years-cooling/


C. New Little Ice Age ‘to Begin in 2014′
20 May 2010,IceAgeNow.info, by Bob
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/

cooling Habibullo AbdussamatovRussian scientist to alarmists: ‘Sun heats Earth!’ 20 May 10 – CHICAGO – Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicts that a new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years.
I sat just ten feet away from Abdussamatov as he made this startling assertion at the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago just two days ago.
Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily covered the proceedings exceedingly well, and I am quoting or paraphrasing him extensively here.
In a two-part video recorded at the conference by WND (link below), Abdussamatov explains that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s.

Habibullo Abdussamatov Head of the Russian-Ukrainian project “Astrometria” on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov’s theory is that “long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods.”

In his speech, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to curtail our use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be “to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century.”

Sun’s activity determines temperatures
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is “not guilty,” says Abdussamatov. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov pointed to the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who noticed that sunspots had been generally absent from 1645 to 1715. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age (see article D, below), which began around 1650 and extended through 1850.

“There is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum,” he wrote. “Already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century.” “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”

I have the utmost respect for the courageous scientists who presented at this convention.


D. The Little Ice Age in Europe
Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences, S.C.C.C., Selden, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Agriculture
Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England’s growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.

cooling wheat pricesFigure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Health
The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)

Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550’s deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun’s Priest Tale:

You are so very choleric of complexion. Beware the mounting sun and all dejection, Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot; For if you do, I dare well lay a groat That you shall have the tertian fever’s pain, Or some ague that may well be your bane.

In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.

Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare’s “unwholesome fens.”) The term malaria comes from the Italian term “mala aria” meaning “bad air.”

Impact on Economics
In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)

Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400’s who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)

Social Unrest
Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: “The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed…. Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died…. No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou…. I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell.” (Ladurie, 1971) In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.

The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Liège told the rich to “fire into the middle of them. That’s the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot.” (Ladurie, 1971)

Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions – people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

One of history’s most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette’s alleged remark “Let them eat cake,” and the storming of the Bastille.

Art and Literature
Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, “the year without a summer,” many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said “We will each write a ghost story.” Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem “Mont Blanc” when he wrote “…and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish…”

Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.

cooling sky paintingsFigure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)

Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.

Frequency of Storms
Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.

cooling severe sea floodsFigure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.

(News & Editorial/ Yes there’s “climate change”, it cooling)

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After peak oil

(Survival manual/2. Social issues/After peak oil)

1.  Peak Oil facts
2. When the lights go out
3. Depletion of key resources
4. Peak oil info and strategies
5. Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
6. Cities, Peak Oil and Sustainability
7. Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression

Oil is the fuel that enabled the growth of modern civilization, and all industrialized countries now rely on it to an extraordinary extent.
Oil provides 40 percent of all primary energy, and 90 percent of our transportation energy.
It is furthermore critical to industrial agriculture, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, much of the clothing industry, and a vast array of others.
The physical and chemical versatility of oil, combined with its high energy density, are such that no other known energy source can serve as a full or even adequate substitute. In short, oil is the lifeblood of the industrial world.

Once peak oil hits, economic growth will  be gone. Our financial system needs growth to sustain it, so that loans can be paid back with interest. What has been economic growth may be replaced with economic  decline.

1.  Peak Oil Facts & What They Mean to You

Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>
The peak oil facts are undisputed despite the raging debate over when it will actually occur. This page summarizes peak oil theory, facts and what it all means to you…
•  Undisputed facts about peak oil
•  Peak oil: taking the facts one step further
•  Projections about peak oil’s timing
•  Boiling it all down & next steps

Undisputed Peak Oil Facts
There are widely opposing viewpoints about peak oil. When will it happen? How much oil is left? How will renewable energy reduce its demand? What will be the impact to the national and global economy?

Before you can consider these questions, their implications and what they mean to you, you must first establish a foundation of the undisputed peak oil facts accepted by all viewpoints…

Fact #1 of 11 Peak Oil Facts:
Oil is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it can’t be reproduced for use by humans (it is made over millions of years). In other words, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Fact #2: Peak oil occurs and can be confirmed when the rate at which oil is taken from the ground worldwide hits its high point and starts to decline.

Fact #3: There are a finite number of oil reserves on the planet. Regardless of technological advancements that allow us to find and extract what’s there, eventually existing reserves will be depleted and there will be no more oil to find.

Fact  #4: All individual oil fields (and therefore all nations’ and the planet’s oil production) inevitably peak, decline and are depleted. For example, the United States reached peak oil production in the 1970’s which has been in decline ever since.

Fact #5: One or both of two things must occur after peak oil is reached and the decline in oil production continues:
•  The price of oil will go up
•  The demand for oil will go down

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: Canadian Tar Sands
Canada has about 178 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (2nd only to Saudi Arabia), over 95% of which are in the form of oil sand deposits. If it could be easily extracted, it would still only add about another 5- 1/2 years to the world’s oil supply at the current rate of consumption. However…
The amount of oil able to be extracted per day from tar sands: About 3.5 million barrels or roughly 4% of the world’s daily consumption

__Environmental impact of tar sand oil extraction:
•  By 2012, the Canadian tar sands operations are expected to  use as much gas as is needed to heat all of the homes in Canada.
•  Extracting oil from tar sands causes as much as 3 times the greenhouse gas pollution as a regular barrel of oil.
•  Canadian tar sands production methods do not comply with many U.S. environmental laws.
In either  case, all but the wealthiest individuals must reduce their dependence on oil as the price increases.

Fact  #6: Our current prevailing culture is utterly dependent on oil.Oil makes the modern world tick… not only does it fuel our cars, trucks, trains, boats and planes but it is used to produce the materials they are made up of.

It’s also extensively used during every step of the food process up to the point that the food enters your mouth… oil’s products are used to plant seeds, fertilize crops, kill bugs and weeds, harvest crops (which are also fed to the animals we eat) and to preserve, package, ship and refrigerate our food. Fully one-fifth of the United States’ oil consumption is used to produce and transport our food.

Oil is also used directly or indirectly to create the utensils, plates, pots, pans, counters, stoves, dinner tables and chairs that we use when cooking and eating…not to mention part of the electricity used to cook our food and to keep the lights on while we eat.
Rather use candles? Most are made of paraffin wax which is made from refined oil.
Countless oil-derived products are used in our everyday lives. See some common examples in the table above:

Fact  #7: Demand for oil is overtaking the speed at which we can produce it, regardless of peak oil’s timing, which will ultimately prevent oil prices from falling.
If demand continues on the same long-term trajectory — which appears to be the case outside of intermittent fluctuations caused by economic factors — there is no end in sight to rising oil prices.
The 2008 “Great Recession” caused a reduction in the demand of oil which caused its price to drop, but oil’s price must resume its increases for two main reasons:
1)  As illustrated in Fact #6 above and Fact #8 below, oil is used in too many aspects of our lives for us to reduce our consumption past a certain point and there is not enough energy available from alternative sources to make up for a significant shortfall.
2)  If oil’s demand drops for a long enough period of time, either production will slow down and bring prices back in line or production will continue at its current pace thus getting us closer to depleting the world’s oil (and therefore reducing oil’s supply which will eventually bringing its price back up). At best, reduction in the demand of oil would only serve to push back the timing of peak oil.
For a case in point about our world’s unquenchable and growing thirst for oil, consider that the United States and its 311 million citizens currently consume about 25% of the world’s oil and increase their demand every year.

__Chinese Oil Flow
China, the most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion citizens, currently consumes 9% of the world’s oil. It is increasing its oil consumption at a rate of 7.5% per year, 7 times faster than the U.S.
According to the International Energy Agency, by 2030 world energy demand will be 40% higher than it was in 2007: “Price volatility will continue, but the days of cheap energy are over.”

The United States Joint Forces Command concludes, “Assuming the most optimistic scenario for improved petroleum production through enhanced recovery means, the development of non-conventional oils (such as oil shales or tar sands) and new discoveries, petroleum production will be hard pressed to meet the expected future demand of 118 million barrels per day.”

__Peak Oil Facts In Context: New Oil Discoveries
The 10 largest oil discoveries from 2000 – 2010 combined (including Brazil’s 2010 discoveries) amount to about 48 billion barrels.
•  The world’s 2010 oil consumption per day was 87.4 million barrels
•  Number of days these combined discoveries will last at current rate of consumption: 549 (about 1.5 years)
In a typical economic scenario, when a  price point gets too high consumers simply shift their buying over to another good or service. But what happens when our infrastructure, products and services
don’t have a viable replacement?

Fact  #8: On the global scale, renewable energy sources and non-conventional oil will come nowhere close to offsetting our dependence on oil through 2030 and beyond.
According to United States Joint Forces Command, even taking into account all other available energy sources, oil will still need to satisfy the majority of our energy needs through 2030.
ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, agrees: “80% of global energy needs through 2030 will continue to be met by oil, natural gas and coal.”

Fact #9: Everyone will eventually be forced to reduce their consumption of oil and its byproducts. Whether oil price increases make it unaffordable or government policy requires less consumption, as oil production continues to decline every single person will be affected at some point.

__Energy Per Barrel: Pros & Cons
One barrel of oil is equivalent to about 25,000 hours of human labor. Assuming weekends off, no vacation time and a 40 hour work week, that’s equivalent to over 12 years of work from one person.
That much work packed into one barrel of oil has enabled humans to accomplish amazing feats, ultimately allowing us to grow our global population 575% since 1857 when the first large oil refinery was built. That’s a growth of 5.8 billion people over the last 150 years compared to 1.2 billion over the previous 2,000. What happens as that amazing energy source starts to go away?

Fact  #10: Those people that have permanently adopted the use of less oil-dependent products, services, forms of energy and lifestyles will be less affected as the availability of oil declines and its price increases.

Fact  #11:  On the individual level, reducing dependence on oil is affordable and requires only minor changes to lifestyle. There are hundreds of ways to reduce your dependence on oil and the other finitely-available fossil fuels, many of which are either completely free or very affordable.
For example, replacing just one incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulb and always turning it off when it’s not in use can save up to $75 or more per year (this is after taking the higher cost of the fluorescent bulb into account). And that’s just the very tip of the energy-saving, oil-dependence-reducing iceberg.

More on what can be done on the individual level in a moment. First, let’s discuss how these peak oil facts will affect the oil-dependent…

Taking the Peak Oil Facts One Step Further & What it Means to You
As  illustrated above, oil is intimately connected to almost every aspect our culture. So what happens when the price of oil increases? History has shown the following three effects:

1)  Inflation goes up proportionately. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), “inflation, measured by the rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI), tracks movements in the world oil price.”
What this means to you: A little inflation is a good thing. By encouraging people to outpace it, low inflation (as opposed to 0% inflation or deflation) leads to additional investing and borrowing thereby creating jobs, additional spending and an improved economy.
But rising inflation is bad for several reasons. In general, it means that the money you earn today (or saved in the past) will not buy you as much tomorrow… especially if your employer’s pay raises don’t keep up. For example, a 5% pay raise alongside 2% inflation means that you’ll be able to buy 3% more stuff with your money than you could previously. But that same 5% pay raise alongside 10% inflation has the opposite effect: a reduced standard of living.
It’s also bad news for retirement accounts since higher inflation makes it more difficult for your investments to outpace it, ultimately leaving you with a difficult decision: make riskier investments in an attempt to outpace higher inflation or remain in safer investments and watch your money lose value.
Higher inflation also leads to higher interest rates which makes borrowing money more expensive.

2)  The price of oil-dependent goods and services increases. Not surprisingly, when the cost of a good or service’s underlying expenses go up, the price of those goods and services must go up as well.
What this means to you: Every oil-dependent product or service that you currently use will go up in price. In general, the more oil that a product or service uses, the more dramatic its price increase will be.
For example, the price of corn keeps pace with the price of oil since so much oil is used in its production and because ethanol, an alternative energy source, is made from corn. Organic crops, on the other hand, use much less oil and are therefore less affected.

3)  Recession occurs. The DoE also points out that since the 1970s there have been “dramatic changes in GDP growth as the world oil price has undergone dramatic change.”11 More explicitly, as the price of oil and inflation (CPI’s rate of increase) go up, the economy goes down.
What this means to you: Recessions cause obvious hardships… unemployment rises, employer pay falls or remains stagnant, housing prices fall and inflation becomes more painful.

To recap what we’ve established so far…

1)  Oil will eventually run out. As it does, the price will continue to go up.
2) If demand outpaces supply before oil runs out, the price will go up in a similar fashion since oil is unique in its energy-producing capacity and because…
3) On a global scale, oil will be still be required to provide as much as 80% of our energy needs by 2030; there will not be enough power available from alternative sources to reduce our projected dependence on oil much below this.
4) On an individual scale, reducing oil dependence is relatively easy and affordable.
Before getting into ways to reduce our individual oil dependence, the next question should be obvious: when will peak oil – or the time when demand outstrips supply – occur? In other words, how much time do we have?

Boiling down the Peak Oil Facts & Next Steps
Oil is going away eventually for all of us – either because we’ll use it all up or because it will become too expensive as its demand outstrips its supply.

Rising oil prices will cause a severe and compounding downward spiral in a world that is dramatically underprepared with alternative energy sources; The inevitable oil-induced inflation increases, the higher cost of oil-dependent goods and services and an ongoing recession that is in lock-step with rising oil prices will eat away at more and more of our paychecks and savings.

When evaluating predictions from the US and international governments to the largest oil companies to organizations specifically focused on analyzing the data, it appears that if the scales have not tipped already, at the latest they will have by the time our babies are out of college.

This all may come as a shock. (Why hasn’t the media at-large assembled and communicated the research and opinions? Why isn’t the government acting more aggressively on the opinions of the organizations that they themselves have charged with compiling the research?)

Regardless of who’s right about the timing or how quickly the data will make its way into the minds of the masses, the peak oil facts should leave you asking three important questions first over all others:
1) When (not if) oil peaks or its demand outstrips its supply, how will the rising cost of oil affect you and your family?
2) What is the worst thing that can happen by beginning a transition to a less oil- and fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle? (Here’s part of the answer: it will permanently reduce your expenses, freeing your money up for use elsewhere)
c) What can you do now to begin the transition?
Fortunately, the transition –- and where it leads — is neither all that bad nor expensive.
Pasted from <http://www.energytrove.com/peak-oil-facts.html>

First, about 2008-2010, global oil use per capita (purple bell curve on bottom) is seen just beginning to decline from its peak plateau. It’s use per capita declines at a rate of about 20% per decade so that in 50-60 years there is very little being used

Coal quickly peaks after oil and by 2025, it too is in decline.

The Human population has exploded as a result of the energy bonanza provided by petroleum and coal and their generation of electricity, resource extraction and transportation. The population numbers steeply declines when the free lunch diminishes.

2.  When the Lights Go Out

When the Lights Go Out
10 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild

When fossil fuels begin to vanish, the first sign of the times will not be made of cardboard and propped up in front of an empty gas pump. The sign will be the flickering bulb in the ceiling, because electricity is always the weakest link in the synergistic triad that includes fossil fuels and metals.

When the lights go out, so does everything else. The house or apartment will be largely non-functioning. Not only will there be darkness throughout the dwelling between sunset and sunrise, but all the sockets in the wall will be useless. The “four major appliances,” stove, refrigerator, washer, and drier, will be nothing more than large white objects taking up space, so there will be no means of cooking food or preserving it, and no means of doing laundry. There will be no heating or air-conditioning, because these are either controlled by electricity or entirely powered by it. For the same reason, there will be no plumbing, so clean water will not be coming into the house, and waste water will not be leaving it.

And that is only one’s own habitation. The entire country will be affected, the whole world will be affected. Computers will cease to operate, and computers have insinuated themselves into almost every device we use. There will be no long-distance communication: no telephones, no Internet, no transmission of data from anywhere to anywhere.

Money will largely cease to exist, because there will be no electronic means of sending or receiving it, and no way of balancing accounts. In fact money nowadays is not reckoned as coins or bills, but as data on a screen, and the data will no longer be there. All bank accounts will cease to exist.

Modern medicine will vanish. Doctors will have almost no means of taking care of their patients. Hospitals will be burdened with the sick and dying, and there will be no means of taking care of them. There will not even be a means of removing and burying the dead.

The police will be immobilized, because they will have no means of sending or receiving information. Since police forces anywhere have only enough personnel to deal with normal crises, it will not take long for officers to realize that they are powerless to do anything, but stay home and protect their own families.

For anyone, it will be impossible to jump into a car and get help, because cars require gasoline, and the gas pumps are run by electricity. In any case, the oil wells and the refineries will have ceased operation. The biggest “vicious circle” will have taken place: no electricity means no fossil fuels, and no fossil fuels means no electricity.

For a while, people will try to get by with emergency devices and equipment. Backup generators can save lives for a while, but those generators are not meant to be running for more than a few weeks, because they themselves require fuel. On a more primitive level there will be battery-powered devices, and even simple oil lamps and candles, but these will not last very long.

“When the lights go out” is mainly a synecdoche, of course, because the incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs in a house will not be the major concern: in the daylight hours, one does not need light bulbs. But the flickering of bulbs will nevertheless act as an early-warning system, the canary in the coal mine. During a severe storm, it is the flickering of light bulbs that indicates that it is time to get to whatever emergency supplies have been put aside: bottled water, canned food, and in winter warm clothing. The unsolved problem, however, may be that the concept of “emergency” is usually regarded in terms of a short period of time. There is always the spoken or silent refrain of “until the authorities arrive.” But those authorities will be waiting for other authorities to arrive, and so on ad absurdum.

On a more optimistic note, nevertheless, it must be said that there is a great deal that can be done. Of all the resources one can accumulate, the most important are those that are stored inside one’s own head: knowledge, skills, wisdom. “Knowledge” is perhaps not the right word, though, because to have read or heard a particular fact does not automatically grant the ability to deal with particular issues.

Even more important than mere “knowledge” is practice. For example, I used to read a great many books on vegetable gardening, but when I owned and ran a market garden for several years I was constantly mumbling, “Why isn’t this information in the books?” And there were several answers to that question. In the first place, the books were badly written. Secondly, it is not the overall principles that count, but the minutiae. Thirdly, those particulars often cannot be put into writing or even into speech: “I can’t explain it, I can only show you” is an expression I often heard. A good gardener knows a thousand tiny tricks that lead to success, and it is those particulars that matter, not the general statement that one does not sprinkle seed in a snowstorm.

The skills needed for country living are rarely the same as those needed in the city, although anyone who has built up experience in what the books call “home repair and improvement” will be ahead of those whose knowledge consists of more ethereal matters. Hunting and fishing are not taught in academia.

When I say, “When the lights go out, so does everything else,” I mean “everything in the city.” What matters is not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Living in the city will certainly be a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. There will be no food and no water, and no mans of dealing with the victims of famine and disease. When there is an inkling that the light bulbs everywhere are about to fail, the answer is to be well outside the city limits. One should either be living in the country or at least have some property in the country and a well-tested means of getting there.

Even a plan of that sort, however, involves a few caveats. “Property” in the modern world is nothing more than a convenient legal fiction. If a gang of outlaws moves in next door, or even if there is a single oppressive neighbor to be dealt with, then the whole concept of “property” can vanish into thin air. I have known several cases in which people gave up house and land because they could not deal with troublemakers. What will it be like when the troublemakers are doing something more unpleasant than a little trespassing? So it is good to own property, but it is better to realize that ownership, in the modern sense of the word, might be nothing more than a scrap of paper.

Getting out of the city means knowing the roads ― not the main highways, but the back roads. In an emergency of any duration, the main roads become jammed, partly because of the volume of traffic but also because of accidents. In more severe situations, vehicles will even be abandoned, either because they are out of gas or because the passengers have discovered that it is quicker to walk. Knowing the back roads, and even knowing alternative routes among those back roads, means freedom of choice in one’s movements.

The last matter is that of community. As mentioned above, the concept of property can be illusive, but there is more to consider in the question of who lives in the general area. Neighbors who take pleasure in noisy dogs, loud radios, or heavy drinking can make proximity unpleasant nowadays, but such people may not prevail in the kind of “natural selection” that will take place, where common decency will be everyone’s concern. In any case, the greatest blessing of the post-petroleum age will be the demise of all-terrain vehicles, electronic amplifiers, and the other technological marvels with which people now ruin one another’s enjoyment of “cottage country.”

Even then, the trouble of having a neighbor may be less than the trouble of not having one. It has often been said, correctly, that in reality the loner will not survive. If such a person is the hero of a Hollywood movie, it is only for the sake of a story, for the vicarious excitement of defying the odds. No one can stay awake for a month, cradled in a corner with a gun. Without a family, a band, a tribe, there will be no means of distributing the tasks to be done.

It is not reasonable to expect a perfect neighborhood. Within the happiest band of jungle-dwellers there is gossip, discontent, jealousy, manipulation. Troubles and troublemakers can be dealt with in such a way that the community itself does not fall apart. In a primitive community, ostracism, for example, can be an effective means of resolving a problem. A community leader who lacks what we now call “managerial skills” can be replaced by one who does a better job. It is largely a myth to say that country people are nicer than city people; in any setting, neighbors are merely human, with common desires and antipathies and fears. What is important is not to wish for angelic neighbors but to have enough daily contact with them to anticipate how they will respond in a difficult situation.

When the lights go out, so does everything else, but that is not entirely true for those who are far from the city. Living out in the country when the lights go out means getting a better look at the stars.

3.  Depletion of Key Resources

Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips
27 January 2010, by Peter Goodchild

The author presents a definitive essay. Learn why,
•  “Those who expect to get by with ‘victory gardens’ are unaware of the arithmetic involved.”
•  “There are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture.”
•  “To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need… a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.”
•  “In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? “

 Modern industrial society is based on a triad of hydrocarbons, metals, and electricity.
The three are intricately connected; each is accessible only if the other two are present. Electricity, for example, can be generated on a global scale only with hydrocarbons. The same dependence on hydrocarbons is true of metals; in fact the better types of ore are now becoming depleted, while those that remain can be processed only with modern machinery and require more hydrocarbons for smelting. In turn, without metals and electricity there would be no means of extracting and processing hydrocarbons. Of the three members of the triad, electricity is the most fragile, and its failure serves as an early warning of trouble with the other two.

Often the interactions of this triad are hiding in plain sight. Global production of steel, for example, requires 420 million tons of coke (from coal) annually, as well as other hydrocarbons adding up to an equivalent of another 100 million tons. To maintain industrial society, the production of steel cannot be curtailed: there are no “green” materials for the construction of skyscrapers, large bridges, automobiles, machinery, or tools. But the interconnections among fossil fuels, metals, and electricity are innumerable.

As each of the three members of the triad threatens to break down, we are looking at a society that is far more primitive than the one to which we have been accustomed.

The ascent and descent of oil production are those of the famous promontory known as Hubbert’s curve. The back side of the mountain probably does not greatly resemble the front. It is likely that the descent will be rather steep, again because of synergistic factors. As oil declines, more energy and money must be devoted to getting the less-accessible and lower-quality oil out of the ground. In turn, as more energy and money are devoted to oil production, the production of metals and electricity becomes more difficult. One problem feeds on another. The issue can also be described in terms of sheer money: when oil production costs about 4.5 percent of the economy, the latter begins a downward spiral.

There is a final piece of ill luck that occurs after the peak. When individual countries such as the USA begin to run out of domestic oil, depletion can be mitigated by the importation of oil from other countries, so the descent is not as troublesome as it might have been. When the entire planet begins to run out of oil, however, there will be nowhere to turn in order to make up the difference. We cannot get oil from outer space.

Global Energy per Capita
Global consumption of energy for the year 2005 was about 500 exajoules (EJ), most of which was supplied by fossil fuels. This annual consumption of energy can also be expressed in terms of billion barrels of oil equivalent. What is more important in terms of the effects on daily human life, though, is not consumption in an absolute sense, but consumption per capita, which reached what Richard C. Duncan calls a “rough plateau” in 1979.

Use of electricity worldwide rose by 70 percent from 1990 to 2008 [1]. This means an increase per capita of 41 percent. Since global energy per capita is not increasing significantly, there may come a point at which there is insufficient energy to prevent widespread brownouts and rolling blackouts [6, 7].

Fossil Fuels
The entire world’s economy is based on oil and other fossil fuels. These provide fuel, lubricants, asphalt, paint, plastics, fertilizer, and many other products. In 1850, before commercial production began, there were about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the ground. By about the year 2010, half of that oil had been
consumed, so about 1 trillion barrels remain. At the moment about 30 billion barrels of oil are consumed annually, and that is probably close to the maximum that will ever be possible. By the year 2030, some analysts say, oil production will be down to about half of that amount. [Editor’s note: we must consider the factor of oil-industry inflexibility to contract and to maintain extraction if collapse has already hit the economy.]

A vast amount of debate has gone on about “peak oil,” the date at which the world’s annual oil production will reach (or did reach) its maximum and will begin (or did begin) to decline. The exact numbers are unobtainable, mainly because oil-producing countries give rather inexact figures on their remaining supplies. The situation can perhaps be summarized by saying that many studies have been done, and that the consensus is that the peak is somewhere between the years 2000 and 2020. Within that period, a middle date seems rather more likely. Among the many who have contributed to that debate are Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Colin J. Campbell, Jean Laherrère, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, and Matthew R. Simmons, and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil has done its own appraisals.

The quest for the date of peak oil is somewhat of a red herring. In terms of daily life, what is more important is not peak oil in the absolute sense, but peak oil per capita. The date of the latter was 1979, when there were 5.5 barrels of oil per person annually, as opposed to 4.5 in 2007. This per-capita date of 1979 for oil consumption is the same as that noted above for per-capita consumption of energy in general.

Coal and natural gas are also disappearing. Coal will be available for a while after oil is gone, although previous reports of its abundance in the US were highly exaggerated. Coal is highly polluting and cannot be used as a fuel for most forms of transportation. Natural gas is not easily transported, and it is not suitable for most equipment.

Solar Power
The world’s deserts have an area of 36 million km2, and the solar energy they receive annually is 300,000 EJ, which at a typical 11-percent electrical-conversion rate would result in 33,000 EJ.

(EJ=exajoule;  1 EJ = 1018 joules.
Electrically, one joule is the work required to produce one watt of electric power for one second. Mechanically , one joule is the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter.  [The United  States uses  roughly 94 exojoules per year, so 1 exojoule is about 1% of the US energy needs.]

As noted above, annual global energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 500 EJ. To meet the world’s present energy needs by using solar power, then, we would need  an array (or an equivalent number of smaller ones) with a size of 500/33,000 x 36 million km2, which is about 550,000 km2 — a machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials — a self-defeating process. Solar power will therefore do little to solve the world’s energy problems.

Minerals Other than Petroleum
Depletion of other minerals on a global scale is somewhat difficult to determine, partly because recycling complicates the issues, partly because trade goes on in all directions, and partly because one material can sometimes be replaced by another. Figures from the US Geological Survey indicate that within the US most types of minerals and other nonrenewable resources are well past their peak dates of production. Besides oil, these include bauxite (peaking in 1943), copper (1998), iron ore (1951),
magnesium (1966), phosphate rock (1980), potash (1967), rare earth metals (1984), tin (1945), titanium (1964), and zinc (1969). The depletion of these resources continues swiftly in spite of recycling.

In the past it was iron ores such as natural hematite (Fe2O3) that were being mined. For thousands of years, also, tools were produced by melting down bog iron, mainly goethite, FeO(OH), in clay cylinders only a meter or so in height. Modern mining must rely more heavily on taconite, a flint-like ore containing less than 30 percent magnetite and hematite.

Iron ore of the sort that can be processed with primitive equipment is becoming scarce, in other words, and only the less-tractable forms such as taconite will be available when the oil-powered machinery has disappeared — a chicken-and-egg problem. To put it more bluntly: with the types of iron ore used in the past, a fair proportion of the human race would have been able to survive; in the post-industrial world, with only taconite, it will not.

Annual world production of grain per capita peaked in 1984 at 342 kg. For years production has not met demand, so carryover stocks must fill the gap, now leaving less than 2 months’ supply as a buffer.
Rising temperatures and falling water tables are causing havoc in grain harvests everywhere, but the biggest dent is caused by the bio-fuel industry, which is growing at over 20 percent per year. In 2007, 88 million tons of US corn, a quarter of the entire US harvest, was turned into automotive fuel.

The production rate of fresh water is declining everywhere. According to the UN’s Global Environment Outlook 4, “by 2025, about 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under conditions of water stress ― the threshold for meeting the water requirements for agriculture, industry, domestic purposes, energy and the environment. . . .”

Arable Land
[While reading this section, remember that 1 acre is about the area as a football field and that 2.5 acres is the area of 1 hectare]
With “low technology,” i.e. technology that does not use fossil fuels, crop yields diminish considerably. The production of so-called field or grain corn (maize) without irrigation or mechanized agriculture is only about 2,000 kilograms per hectare (10,000 m2), about a third of the yield that a farmer would get with modern machinery and chemical fertilizer.

Yields for corn provide a handy baseline for other studies of population and food supply. More specifically, corn is one of the most useful grains for supporting human life; the native people of the Americas lived on it for thousands of years. Corn is high-yielding and needs little in the way of equipment, and the more ancient varieties are largely trouble-free in terms of diseases, pests, and soil depletion.

[A hard-working (i.e. farming) adult burns about 2 million kilocalories (“calories”) per year. The food energy from a2.5 acres of corn is about 7 million kilocalories. Under primitive conditions, then, 2.5 acres of corn would support only 3 or 4 people. [2.5 acre or about an area about 208 ft x 520 ft – lfp]

Even those figures are rather idealistic. We are assuming that people will follow a largely vegetarian diet; if not, they will need even more land. We also need to allow for fallow land, cover crops, and green manure, for inevitable inequities in distribution, and for other uses of the land. On a global scale a far more realistic ratio would be 2 people to each 2.5 acres of arable land. [Or about 1 person/1.25 acre just for food]

The average American house lot is about 900 square yards, i.e. less than a tenth of a hectare, including the land the house is sitting on. Those who expect to get by with “victory gardens” are unaware of the arithmetic involved.

In the entire world there are 15,749,300 square yards of arable land. This is 11 percent of the world’s total land area. The present world population is about 6,900,000,000. Dividing the figure for population by that for arable land, we see that there are 438 people per km2 of arable land. On a smaller scale that means about 4 people per hectare. Less than a third of the world’s 200-odd countries are actually within that ratio.
In other words, there are already too many people to be supported by non-mechanized agriculture. [Currently, with fossil fuels, fertilizer and mechanized farming, there are globally, 4 people receiving food from each hectare arable land. Without fossil fuel inputs, ie no gas/oil, no fertilizer, and without modern farm mechanization, global arable land will only support 2 people/hectare – lfp]

The UK, for example, has a population-to-arable ratio of slightly more than 10 people per hectare (2.5 acres or 2.5 football fields]. What exactly is going to happen to the 8 people who will not fit onto the hectare? But many countries have far worse ratios.

The world’s population grew from about 1.6 billion in 1900, to about 2.5 in 1950, to about 6.1 billion in 2000 and in  Nov 2011 has become 7 billion. It has often been said that without fossil fuels the population must drop to about 2 or 3 billion. The above figures on arable land indicate that in terms of agriculture alone we would be able to accommodate only about half the present number of people.

Another calculation about future population can be made by looking more closely at Hubbert’s curve. The rapid increase in population over the last hundred years is not merely coincident with the rapid increase in oil production. It is the latter that has actually allowed the former: that is to say, oil has been the main source of energy within industrial society. It is only with abundant oil that a large population is possible. It was industrialization, improved agriculture, improved medicine, the expansion of humanity into the Americas, and so on, that first created the modern rise in population, but it was oil in particular that made it possible for human population to grow as fast as it has been doing. It is not only fossil fuels that form a bell curve: there is also a bell curve for human population.

Of course, this calculation of population on the basis of oil is largely the converse of the calculation on the basis of arable land, since in industrial society the amount of farm production is mainly a reflection of the amount of available oil.

If we look further into the future, we see an even smaller number for human population, still using previous ratios of oil to population as the basis for our figures. But the world a hundred years from now might not be a mirror image of the world of a hundred years in the past. The general depletion of resources could cause such damage to the structure of society that government, education, and intricate division of labor no longer exist. In a milieu of social chaos, what are the chances that the oil industry will be using extremely advanced technology to extract the last drops of oil? Even then we have not factored in war, epidemics, and other aspects of social breakdown. The figure of 1 to 3 billion may be wildly optimistic.

Looking Forward
A great deal of silliness goes on in the name of preparing for the future. Global collapse should not been seen in terms of middle-class country elegance. At present there are no “transition towns” that acquire food, clothing, or shelter without large quantities of fossil fuels somewhere in the background. The post-oil world will be much grimmer than most people imagine, and that is partly because they are not looking at the big picture. Hydrocarbons are the entire substructure of modern society. The usual concept of “transition towns” evades the sheer enormity of the problems.

Whatever a “transition” polity might be, it most certainly will not be a city or town. Those who are living at the end of all the bell curves will prosper only if they are far from anything resembling an urban or suburban area. It has always been possible for small rural communities to live close to the land, somewhat avoiding the use of fossil fuels, metals, and electricity, but modern large centers of population are founded on the premise of an abundance of all three. Urban areas, in fact, will be experiencing the worst of each form of depletion described above.

In view of the general unpopularity of family-planning policies, it can only be said euphemistically that nature will decide the outcome. Even if his words owe as much to observation of the stages of collapse as to divine inspiration, it is St. John’s ‘Four Horsemen’ of war, famine, plague, and death who will characterize the future of the industrial world. Nor can we expect people to be overly concerned about good manners: although there are too many variables for civil strife to be entirely predictable, if we look at accounts of large-scale disasters of the past, ranging from the financial to the meteorological, we can see that there is a point at which the looting and lynching begin. The survivors of industrial society will have to distance themselves from the carnage.

The need for a successful community to be far removed from urban areas is also a matter of access to the natural resources that will remain. With primitive technology, it takes a great deal of land to support human life. What may look like a long stretch of empty wilderness is certainly not empty to the people who are out there picking blueberries or catching fish. That emptiness is not a prerogative or luxury of the summer vacationer. It is an essential ratio of the human world to the non-human.

4.  Peak Oil Info and Strategies

Peak Oil Info and Strategies
The world is not running out of oil itself, but rather its ability to produce high-quality cheap and economically extractable oil on demand. After more than fifty years of research and analysis on the subject by the most widely respected & rational scientists, it is now clear that the rate at which world oil producers can extract oil is reaching the maximum level possible. This is what is meant by Peak Oil. With great effort and expenditure, the current level of oil production can possibly be maintained for a few more years, but beyond that oil production must begin a permanent & irreversible decline. The Stone Age did not end because of the lack of stones, and the Oil Age won’t end because of lack of oil. The issue is lack of further growth, followed by gradual, then steep decline. Dr King Hubbert correctly predicted peaking of USA oil production in the 1970’s on this basis.

We have taken our lifestyles and the cheap & abundant supply of oil all for granted. We expect the pumps will run to supply us with fuel to drive our SUV’s to run around town, work and school and we cannot accept an alternate future. But when oil becomes more scarce, it is very likely that these pumps will be the first to run dry, because they are at the end of the supply chain. But implications will be much worse than that.

It is not a question if but when the world economy will be confronted with a major shock that will stunt economic growth, increase inflation, and potentially destabilize the Middle East. It will make the Great Second Depression look like a dress rehearsal and may change the world as we know it today.

It is a coming crisis that few understand, but with far reaching implications. Nations will fight over the remaining oil. Without hydrocarbons, this planet can only produce enough food to sustain a population of 2.5 billion. The current world population is in excess of 7 billion and growing (UN projection: 7.3 billion by 2050). In the US, without industrial agriculture, it is estimated that only 2/3’s of the current population can be fed (D. Preiffer). Fossil fuels effectively temporarily raised the carrying capacity of the earth.
__A.  Peak Oil Imminent
While there is no agreement yet on the exact date that world oil production will peak, the degree of consensus among them is quite remarkable. Out of 21 studies, the statistical mean date is 2013 (excluding some of the biased oil company estimates), suggesting that the world may be facing shortfalls much sooner than expected.
Recently, CNN and Britain’s Independent also point out the reality of Peak Oil, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted.

__B. The fallacy of Alternatives
The public, business leaders and politicians are all under the false assumption that oil depletion is a straightforward engineering problem of exactly the kind that technology and human ingenuity have so successfully solved before. Technology itself has become a kind of supernatural force, although in reality it is just the hardware and programming for running that fuel, and governed by the basic laws of physics and thermodynamics. Much of our existing technology simply won’t work without an abundant underlying fossil fuel base. In addition, physicist Jonathan Huebner has concluded in The History of Science and Technology that the rate of innovation in the US peaked in 1873, and the current rate of innovation is about the same as it was in 1600.
According to Huebner, by 2024 it will have slumped to the same level as it was in the Dark Ages. Hence, without sufficient innovation and a comfortable surplus of fossil fuels, we may simply lack the tools to move forward.

With this energy base dwindling, there is simply not enough time to replace a fluid so cheap, abundant and versatile. It is rich in energy, easy to use, store, and transport. Nothing has the bang for the buck of oil, and nothing can replace it in time – either separately or in combination. Wind, waves and other renewables are all pretty marginal and also take a lot of energy to construct and require a petroleum platform to work off.
•  Natural gas is a diminishing resource as well and cannot satisfy the growing demand for energy. US Gas supplies were so low in 2003 after a harsh winter that to preserve life and property supplies were close to being cut off to manufacturers, electric plants and lastly homes.
•  Ethanol has a net energy value of zero (not accounting for soil and water damage and other costs due to unsustainable agricultural practices) – it is subsidized as a boon to agribusiness and would have a negligible effect (Prindle, ACEEE).
•  Solar energy produces marginal net energy, but are still decades away at best from being a viable substitute given the recent rate of progress in efficiency and costs (averaging about five percent a year) and is nowhere ready to meet the world’s energy needs. More importantly, solar photovoltaic cells (PVC) are built from hydrocarbon feed stocks and therefore require excess resources. It is estimated that a global solar energy system would take a century to build and would consume a major portion of world iron production (Foreign Affairs, Rhodes).
•  The widespread belief that hydrogen is going to save the day is a good example of how delusional people have become. Hydrogen fuel cells are not an energy source at all, but are more properly termed a form of energy storage. Free hydrogen does not exist on this planet. It requires more energy to break a hydrogen bond than will ever be garnered from that free hydrogen. The current source of hydrogen is natural gas – that is, a hydrocarbon. In the envisioned system of solar PVC & hydrogen fuel cells, every major component of the system, from the PVC to the fuel cells themselves will require hydrocarbon energy and feedstocks. The oil age will never be replaced by a hydrogen fuel-cell economy.
•  Coal is abundant, but its net energy profile is poor compared to oil and its conversion process to synthetic fuels is very inefficient. Coal would have to be mined at much higher rates to replace declining oil field. In addition, coal production is extremely harmful to the environment. One large coal burning electric plant releases enough radioactive material in a year to build two atomic bombs, apart from emitting more greenhouse gases than any other fuels.  Coal is implicated in mercury pollution that causes 60.000 cases of brain damage in newborn children every year in the USA. Resorting to coal would be a very big step backwards and what we may face then may be more like the Dim Ages. More importantly,  coal is distributed very unevenly with the top three countries (China, USA, USSR) possessing almost 70% of total. Much of the current oil and gas supply is in low-population countries, such as Saudi Arabia, that cannot possibly use all of the production for themselves. They are hence quite willing, indeed eager, to sell it to other countries. When oil and gas are gone, and only coal remains, and the few (large-population) countries that possess it need all of it for their own populations, it will be
interesting to see how much is offered for sale to other countries.
•  Obtaining usable oil from tar sands requires huge amounts of energy, as it has to be mined and washed with super hot water. From an energy balance, it takes the equivalence of two barrels of oil to produce three, which is still positive but poor in terms of energy economics. In the early days of conventional oil, this ratio used to be one to thirty.
•  Nuclear power plants are simply too expensive and take ten years to build, relying on a fossil fuel platform for all stages of construction, maintenance, and extracting & processing nuclear fuels. Additionally, uranium is also a rare and finite source with its own production peak. Since 2006, the uranium price has already more than doubled.
•  Nuclear fusion is the kind of energy that the world needs. However, mastering it has been 25 years away for the past 50 years, and still is…

Fossil fuels allowed us to operate highly complex systems at gigantic scales. Renewables are simply incompatible in this context and the new fuels and technologies required would simply take a lot more time to develop than available and require access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels, putting the industrial adventure out of business.

In a recent interview with The Times, Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer calls for a “reality check” and warns that the world’s energy crisis cannot be solved by renewables. “Contrary to public perceptions, renewable energy is not the silver bullet that will soon solve all our problems. Just when energy demand is surging, many of the world’s conventional oilfields are going into decline. The world is blinding itself to the reality of its energy problems, ignoring the scale of growth in demand from developing countries and
placing too much faith in renewable sources of power”, according to van der Veer.

Nobody knows exactly what will happen. We have never seen a situation like this where the excesses have been so extreme. It is difficult to see how it will resolve itself. What is terrifying is that when you get excesses this bad you get results you can’t expect.

Highlights of what to expect:
•  Oil extraction from wells will be physically unable to meet global demand
•  Alternative energy sources will fall far short of compensating for expected shortages of oil. There is simply not enough time to convert over to them and all require an underlying fossil fuel platform.
•  Disruptions to transportation and the economy are expected as the global decline of petroleum begins.
•  Gradual, permanent cut-off of fuel for transport and for industrial machinery. Global trade will greatly
•  Food shortages; agrobusinesses would not be able to operate without the supporting fossil fuels
•  Resource scarcity; most products depend on fossil fuels
•  Reduction of virtually all business and government activity and very serious unemployment
•  Social unrest
•  Resource wars

Dr. Smalley, in the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine gave the following prognosis as a result of the energy shortage brought on by peak oil and the fact that the world cannot produce oil as fast as the world’s growing economies demand it: “There will be inflation as billions of people compete for insufficient resources. There will be famine. There will be terrorism and war.”

__C.  Rising Oil Prices
The inexorable tightening of supply is destabilizing oil markets, which now exhibit extreme price responses to the smallest of disturbances. Higher oil prices are hurting economies by increasing the cost of consumer goods while simultaneously reducing disposable income. Sharply rising oil prices have always preceded economic recession and plummeting stocks.

Analysts predict that market-based panic will drive prices skyward. And as supplies can no longer slack daily world demand, the market will become paralyzed at prices too high for the wheels of economy and even daily living in ‘advanced’ societies”. No region in the world would be able to rely on distant energy supplies and they would have to fall back on their own resources.

One economic aspect of oil is that its demand is very price inelastic in the short term, meaning that it would require a large price increase to cause a significant reduction in demand. Prices at the pumps in the USA have almost doubled in recent times, yet gas-guzzling Hummers and other SUV’s are still purchased like there is no tomorrow. Industry experts say massive effects on behavior will only happen if supplies are disrupted or prices hit $5-a-gallon.

Another complication is that in the more developed countries the services industry has replaced much of their traditional oil dependent industries. This is why I don’t believe that the oil prices will stop at $100 a barrel, like some financial experts predict. In the short term, they would probably have to increase in excess of 300% or so to have the desired effect. This uptrend would then eventually be (temporarily) interrupted by slowing economic growth and from efforts of conservation.

Rising energy prices would spur overall price increases, causing inflation. Energy costs will then become an increasingly bigger part of the economy, and the same % increase in oil prices that once had a negligible economic effect will suddenly be significant. At the same time, higher prices will cause a fall in demand and a stagnating economy. This is called ‘stagflation’ and is exactly what happened during the 1973 oil crisis.

Debt in many countries like the USA and the United Kingdom are at record levels, and strong economic growth then becomes essential. Falling home prices would threaten the foundations of those economies. Therefore, efforts to curb inflation by raising interest rates would hit house prices, which in a leveraged economy would cause a devastating downward spiral, pulling down businesses, consumers and banks. Policymakers will therefore be powerless to fight inflation that will then soon become widespread. Prices of food and manufactured goods will shoot up.

The world will first enter a recession followed by a very deep Depression that may well be greater than the 1930’s Great Depression. Stock markets may plunge, businesses will go bankrupt and huge job losses will follow. Eventually, economic growth will cease or continue only in a few places at the expense of other places. The economic stress among almost all nations, advanced and developing, rich and poor will be considerable and is certain to lead to increasingly desperate competition for diminishing supplies of oil. The world will become a larger place again with less and less globalism.

Resource Wars
Many countries have become heavily reliant on Middle Eastern oil, and the geopolitical stakes of conflicts in this region have risen to all-time highs.

Indeed, the worst case scenarios are terrifying: genocide on a scale never before seen, as control of the remaining oil divides along racial, ethnic and national boundaries. Even the best-case scenarios, all of which require unprecedented levels of international cooperation, political courage and public participation, offer grim life-and-death choices. (Richard Heinberg)

So far, only the United States have ventured into the Middle East. But what is to stop China from continuing into Iran, Iraq and even Saudi Arabia as China will be energy starved in the foreseeable future. A military contest over oil could eventually spread war from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and it could leave the oil production infrastructure of many countries severely damaged in the process. Such a conflict may be the Third World War.

Some Latin American countries may find themselves combatants in their own oil wars. Australia and New Zealand may fall victim to desperate Chinese adventuring or to anarchy emanating from Southeast Asia.

Social Chaos & Dark Ages
The European fuel protests of 2000 were an excellent example of what will happen when we are deprived of our the fuel powering our artificial lives. The implications of just this minor shortage
caused by blockades of fuel depots was tremendous. Naturally, there were huge lines at petrol stations to refuel, but there was also panic buying at the shops. Some ran out of bread and milk. Postal collections were suspended on Sundays to conserve fuel. Farm animals were threatened with starvation because
the feed was unable to be delivered. Schools closed down and hospitals cancelled all but emergency operations. And all this from two and a half weeks. Similar events happened in the USA during the 1973 Oil Embargo.

The impending fuel crisis will be permanent though and the trucks will no longer pull into the Wal-Marts or supermarkets. The freighters bringing cheap and disposable household products from China will have no fuel. There will be fuel in many places, but hoarding and uncertainty will trigger outages, violence, and chaos. For only a short time will the police and military be able to maintain order, if at all.”

When worldwide oil production starts to decline considerably, countries will be competing aggressively for fossil fuels as  difficulties will start with even keeping electricity plants running.

The blackouts that hit the eastern USA and Canada in August 2003, and the lesser failure that hit London’s Underground system shortly afterwards shows the how totally dependent we are on electricity power and the dramatic effects that its absence causes.

Reduced food supplies will also comprise immune systems and set up refugee camps will lead to diseases. New strains of the age-old human enemies such as tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and others will be on hand while vaccines will be ineffective and out of reach.

It may come as a surprise to many that the world’s industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production. Fossil fuels are also essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. Just consider that currently agriculture accounts for 17% of the US annual energy budget.

Industrial, ‘green revolution’-style agriculture is particularly energy intensive. Every calorie of food produced today requires between 10-16 calories of hydrocarbon energy (from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging). This style of agriculture increased world grain production by 250%, and was almost entirely attributable to fossil fuel input.

Food  production will become a problem of extreme urgency
Modern agriculture is merely a way of converting petroleum into food. Without energy, food supplies decrease and the current world population of 7 billion has no hope whatsoever of sustaining itself at current levels.

It has been estimated that, without hydrocarbons to provide energy, fertilizers and pesticides, agriculture could not support a population greater than two billion. This reduction would take us back to pre-20th century levels but the disruption to society and its infrastructure would probably mean a reversion to pre-industrial revolution.

The example of North Korea shows us what happens to agriculture when oil products are removed. After the Korean war, it had developed a modern farming system depending on machinery and oil-based fertilizers. After the Soviet Union fell, Communist aid to the country stopped and they were unable to purchase oil and supplies. Without oil, farm machinery was sitting idle and large proportions of the people had to return to the agriculture. Unfortunately the soil had been drained of nutrients over the
years and, without fertilizers, it was unable to produce the same output as before. Crop yields fell by 60% over the period 1989-1998. US congressmen and others who have visited North Korea tell stories of people eating grass and bark. Other reports talk of soldiers who are nothing more than skin and bones.
Throughout the country, there is starvation to rival the worst found in Africa.
 Chronic malnutrition has reached the point where many of the effects are irreversible. Unless it can get access to oil and fertilizers again, the population will decline until it reaches a sustainable level and civilization will be faced with the delicate task of determining who survives. The history of North-Korea (DPRK) demonstrates how an energy crisis in an industrialized nation can lead to complete systemic breakdown.

Mitigation Strategies?
Peak Oil represents a unique challenge and unlike 1973, peaking won’t be brief but permanent. The inescapable conclusion is that the scale and complexity of the problems that must be resolved to avert a permanent crisis are enormous and almost inconceivable. More than a decade will be required, under the most favorable circumstances, for the collective contributions of substitutes to produce meaningful results. Understanding Net Energy is crucial. Optimists may argue that technology, the market, brilliant scientists, and comprehensive government programs are going to hold things together. However, with an acute lack of awareness, time, knowledge, capital, energy, political will, and international collaboration, it is difficult to see how business can continue as usual. This is a startling conclusion, but it would be the most logical and likely outcome of a process that has been building for decades. Addictions are hard to shake…
You cannot solve this world’s problems with the same thinking that created them,” Albert Einstein

“You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward”
“… it’s easier to put off dealing with problems that seem just too complicated and unpleasant to fix now (because of human nature).”

September 27, 2010, Fortune.., by Becky Quick
The experts and politicians have no plan B to fall back on. On a global scale Peak Oil is a problem without a solution. No amount of savings will help us if there is no more oil to purchase. We need to
start planning for alternative sources of energy now. If we wait until we are given no other option, it could be chaos.

It is extremely difficult to gather and process the enormous amount of information available and figure out what to do about it. Is it not a problem with an immediate solution or as some say, a condition without a remedy. You must not only be able to survive the crash, but continue afterward.

We must shortly choose a new path, or one will be forced upon us.

In the short time available, attempts to make collective changes are most likely to fail. Energy expert Simmons says that once energy peaks, the shock will be greater than anyone could imagine, while there is no solution to the problem other than to pray.

However, on the level of the individual/family there is much that can be done at relatively low cost to not only prepare for an economic crash, but to leapfrog past it to a post oil paradigm. While the present infrastructure continues to function you still have vast resources disposable that are only a click away.  Once a crisis begins, it may be too late.

There is probably no cluster of solutions which do not involve some major changes in lifestyles, especially for the global affluent. Peak Oil presents the potential for quite catastrophic upheavals, but also some more hopeful possibilities, a chance to address many underlying societal problems, and the opportunity return to simpler, healthier and more community oriented lifestyles.

Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst, and Accept whatever comes.
The majority of the preparation (perhaps as much as 2/3) is mental  preparation. Acceptance of a new future is crucial and knowledge about Peak Oil will give you a new perspective on life and the future and will serve as an excellent guidance when making important decisions in areas such as careers, real estate and retirement, even absent a well defined ‘plan B’.
•  Protection of your wealth is a crucial step, and having many of your assets hedged against inflation, in my opinion, is never going to hurt you, even if a peak oil crisis fails to materialize in the short or medium term future. Purchasing power will most likely have a positive impact on survival chances during a crisis.
•  If you think the crisis is going to be severe, if you can afford it, it would be a good idea to plan some sort of safe haven, at least 200 miles or so from any major city / metropolitan area.

I am fairly pessimistic about the feasibility (especially long-term) of isolated retreats. It is going to involved extensive, informed planning tailored to the precise needs of the people who will use it. The problems that you must resolve in making such an arrangement viable are enormous and most likely unachievable. Land ownership laws may become meaningless in a post-oil world.
•  It is useless to be well prepared if you are in the wrong place to start with. Some countries around the globe will without doubt suffer much more than others as a result of a Peak Oil crisis. The odds of eventually being discovered are not negligible and will go up as a function of general population density. And then, once you have been discovered, the chances of you becoming a target of jealous & needy thieves, mobs or organized gangs much depend on how relatively well-off a country is as a whole during a global crisis. As an example there is the story about a village in India during a famine. After a while, the starving villagers noticed that some villagers did not seem to be as starving as the rest of them. The end result was that the well off who had stored food were killed and the food stolen. [Killed by the ‘Zombies’- Mr Larry] You may be better off ill-prepared, but in the right place than vice-versa. There are going to be some countries that may remain relatively immune, based on their geographic position and potential degree of self-sufficiency, where ambient chances of survival are relatively higher. This is why the focus of my research & planning is on individual countries.
•  When considering strategic relocation and you want to also take into account climate change, an excellent and very recent source of information on average predicted temperature changes is the BBC site that ran an experiment involving millions of computers from around the world. In its conclusions, countries like New Zealand will be relatively unaffected, while other areas like Asia and Central America will be greatly affected.
•  You can never be sure what will happen, and it is extremely difficult to cross that mental barrier to jump into action. Any life impacting decision you make, you must be able to live with until the crisis unfolds, even if this is still a decade away.

__D.  History As A Guide To Survival….
For a year, five experts ditched theory for practice, running a Welsh farm using 17th Century methods. What lessons for modern living did they learn? The BBC series Tales from the Green Valley follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts. They wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

It was a time when daily life was a hard grind, intimately connected with the physical environment where routines were dictated by the weather and the seasons. A far cry from today’s experience of the countryside, which for many involves a bracing walk ahead of a pub lunch.

While few would choose to live a 17th Century lifestyle, the participants found they picked up some valuable tips for modern life.
•  Know thy neighbor’s. Today it’s possible to live alone, without knowing anyone within a 20-mile radius (the same goes for townies). That was simply not possible in the past – not only did the neighbors provide social contact, people shared labor, specialist skills and produce. “And women were judged on good neighborliness,” says historian Ruth Goodman. “If you were willing to help others – particularly during and after childbirth – then others would be more prepared to help you in times of need.”
•  Share the load. It was nigh on impossible to run a 1620s farm single-handedly, and the family – either blood relatives, or a farmer, his wife and hired help – had to be multi-skilled. Labor, too, was
often divided along gender lines, but at busy periods, such as harvest time, it was all hands on deck.
•  Fewer creature comforts have some benefits. No electricity meant once daylight faded, work stopped in favor of conversation, music-making and knitting. And no carpets meant fewer dust mites,
which are linked to asthma and allergies. “They scattered herbs on the floor which released scent when trodden on – this drove out flies and other insects,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Eat seasonally. Today it’s because of “food miles” and the inferior quality of forced products. In the 1620s, it was because foods were only available at certain times of year – and not just fruit and veg. Mutton, for instance, was in abundance in spring, soon after shearing time. This was because a sheep’s wool quality plunges after eight years – thus animals of that age were killed after their final fleece was
•  Tasty food comes in small batches. Today farmers’ markets are a tourist attraction and many delight in regional specialties. For these producers play to the strengths of their ingredients, unlike, for instance, the makers of mass-produced cheese. This has to taste the same year-round, despite seasonal variations in milk quality. “So high-quality milk in the spring is downgraded so the finished product is consistent throughout the year,” says Ms Goodman.
•  Reuse and recycle. Today we throw away vast mountains of packaging, food, garden waste and other materials. In 1620s, there was a use for everything, with tattered bed linens made into fire-lighters and animal fat into soap. Even human waste had uses. Faeces was a fertiliser, and urine was stored to make ammonia to remove laundry stains.
•  Dress for practicalities. Today fashion and social convention dictate our wardrobes. While polar fleeces and high-performance tramping boots may be all the rage when going rural, the wardrobe of 400 years ago proved more comfortable. “While the crew shivered in their modern garb, we never felt the cold in just two layers – a linen shirt and woolen doublet,” says archaeologist Alex Langlands.
Breeches meant no wet and muddy trouser legs, and staying covered up – rather than stripping off in the heat – prevented bites, stings, sunburn and scratches.
•  Corsets, not bras. “By that I don’t mean Victorian corseting,” says Ms Goodman. “Corsets support your back as well as your chest, and don’t leave red welts on your skin like bra elastic does. They made it hard to breath walking up hills, but I get short of breath doing that anyway. And most people feel sexy in a corset.”
•  Biodiversity protects against unforeseen calamity. While the developed world no longer counts the cost of crop failure in starvation and mass migration – the result of Ireland’s Great Potato Famine in 1845 – the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis decimated farms up and down the country as animals, the farmers’ livelihoods, were put to death. The 1620s farm had grains, fruit and vegetables, and a range of animals – if one failed, alternatives were available.
•  Reliance on any one thing leaves you vulnerable. Hence the country ground to a halt during the petrol blockades of 2000, and a shortage of coal during 1978-9’s Winter of Discontent caused electricity shortages. On the 1620s farm, when oxen used to plough fields fell ill, the implements were reshaped and horses did the job instead.
•  No pesticides means a richer variety of birds, butterflies and other insects, many of which feast on pests – a result as desirable for the gardener as the farmer. And the hedgerow and fields of wild flowers of the past are today making a comeback, as these provide habitats for these creatures and allow edible plants to flourish.


5.  Urban vs. Rural Sustainability

Urban vs. Rural Sustainability
Published Dec 25 2004 by Permaculture  Activist
by Toby Hemenway
“Over ten years ago my wife and I moved to the country. One of our many reasons for leaving the city was to finally pursue the dream of self-reliance: to create a permaculture homestead that would trim our resource use and let us tap in more fully to nature’s abundance. And in the back of my mind was the quietly nibbling worry that someday the overconsumption party would end—the oil would run out, and things might get ugly. I wanted to be settled where we could be less dependent on the fossil fuel umbilicus when the cord finally snapped.

We went a good way toward making that dream come true. The red clay of our former clearcut turned, in places, to chocolate loam, though I noticed that even as our trees matured I still seemed to be needing more wood chips from the electric company or manure from a stable two miles away. From the garden flowed a steady procession of fruit and vegetables, but I confess I tried to ignore how much well-water we were pumping once our rain catchment ran dry partway through Southern Oregon’s four-month dry season.

We became involved in the local community: Master Gardeners, an environmental group, town meetings. Although we were busy in regional life in the beginning, eventually I found I preferred to drive the hour to see friends in progressive-minded Eugene than fight the pro-logging consciousness that permeated our county. Over the years my few local friends fell away as I became more drawn to the mind-set of those in Eugene, and as the local economics made it necessary for me to be away for weeks to teach and do design work. We were on good speaking terms with all our neighbors, but never found much common ground with them. Local parties began with watery beer and often ended in drunken fights, and neither was to our taste.

Slowly a mild paranoia set in. I started to wonder whether, if the Big Crash came, I was really in the right place. We had the best garden for miles around, and everyone knew it. If law broke down, wasn’t there more than a chance that my next door neighbor, a gun-selling meth dealer and felon, might just shoot me for all that food? How about the right-wing fundamentalists past him, who shot Stellar’s jays for fun and clear cut their land when they suspected spotted owls lived there? Or the two feuding families beyond them—one had fired a pistol during an argument, and neither would give way when their cars met on the road. I began to sense the outlines of a pattern that replicated one in society at large. We have the technical means to feed, clothe, and house all humanity. But legions starve because we have not learned to tolerate and support one another. People’s real problems are not technical, they are social and political. Down in Douglas County, I’d solved most of the technical problems for our own personal survival, but the social hurdles to true security were staring me in the face.

Our isolation also meant we were burning a lot of gas. A simple drive for groceries was a 40-minute round trip. Fortunately we both worked at home and had no children, so we could go for days without using the car. But the odometer was whirling to higher numbers than it ever had in the city. A couple of families had moved off our hill because they were exhausted by two to four round trips each day down our steep, potholed gravel road to work, school, soccer practice, music lessons, and shopping.

We cherished our decade-plus in the country, but eventually the realities began to pile up. There wasn’t a local market for the work we did. Community events left us saddened by the gulf between our way of life and theirs. And we were still tethered to the fossil-fuel beast, just by a much longer lifeline of wire, pipe, and pavement. That the beast looked smaller by being farther away no longer fooled us.

There was a positive side, too. We had achieved what we’d set out to do: to make sense of our lives, find the work we loved, and grow into ourselves. The portents now spoke clearly. It was time to return to where the people were, and to be in the thick of things once more.

So we have moved to Portland, and into the heart of town. We love it. The first of many good omens was the bio-diesel Mercedes across the street sporting a Kucinich sticker. And it’s a pleasure to be within walking distance of a bookstore, good coffee, and Ben and Jerry’s.

During the first few days in the city I would stand on the back porch, eyeing our yard with permaculture dreams in my head. The sole tree is a sprawling European prune plum. Other than that, the yard is a blank slate, dominated by a brick patio, a lawn, and an old dog run. And it’s small. I wondered how I would I fit all my favorite fruit trees in that tiny space.

The answer soon came. The plum tree straddles the fence we share with our neighbor Johnny, who has lived next door for 55 years. One day, on opposite sides of the fence, Johnny and I were gathering a small fraction of the branch-bending loads of plums when he called out, “Do you like figs?” I said I did, and soon a tub of black mission figs wobbled over the fence toward me.

We kept returning the basin to Johnny, but it found its way back almost immediately, full of figs. “You weren’t here in time for the apricots I’ve got,” Johnny told us, “But next year you’ll get your fill of them.”

As the buckets of plums began to fill up the yard, I tried to unload some on Theressa across the street. “Oh, no,” she said, “I’ve got my own tree. But when the Granny Smith’s come on, you’d better help me with them. And next year’s peaches will knock you out.”

When I met our neighbor Will, he begged me to take some of the pears that were plopping onto his yard. The American chestnuts up the street are bearing heavily, although the Asian community is all over them each morning before I wake up. I’ve cracked a few of the local walnuts, and they’re pretty good. And yesterday I discovered a nearby strawberry tree dotted with creamy mild fruit.

This informal assessment of local resources has revised my mental landscape design. I don’t need to grow all my favorite trees, only the ones that my neighbors lack (I’m thinking Asian pears, persimmons, and some early and storage apples). My neighbor’s yards are my Zones Two and Three. [Ed’s note: a common feature of permaculture design is the zoning of a property up into areas, numbered one through to five or so, relating to proximity to the house and levels of required maintainence. -AF ] Plus, Stacey and Troy on the next block have persuaded the owner of a vacant lot to let eight families create a community garden on the site. A local tree service will soon be dumping chips there for sheet mulch, and next year we’ll be awash in food.

The Big Rural Footprint
I had always assumed that cities would be the worst place to be in bad times. I’m revising my opinion. Granted, Portland is an exceptional city. (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!) But I can’t help comparing this neighborhood to our old one. There, we were twelve families on two miles of road, driveways hundreds of feet long, all served by long runs of phone and electric wire, individual septic systems and wells, each commuting long distances. And with political and social views so divergent that feuds, gossip, and awkward conversations about safe topics were the norm.

In the city, an equal group of twelve families use 10% of the road, wire, and pipe needed in my old neighborhood. Many neighbors bus or bike to work, or at worst, drive single-digit mileages. And our social and political views are close enough that I am fairly confident we can work in mutual support if times get tough.

This is not the place to go deeply into the question of whether cities are more sustainable than contemporary American country life, but at each point where I delve into the issues, I find suggestions that urbanites have a smaller ecological footprint per capita.

Over the last two decades, millions of people have moved out of cities. Many of them are people of modest means, driven out by the high costs of urban life. Unfortunately, they have brought their city ways with them. Our neighbors in the country all clear cut their land and planted acres of grass. Many built enormous houses, since low interest rates made more square footage affordable. Some put up
glaring streetlights in their front yards. They bought boats, ATVs, RVs, and other gas-guzzling toys. Unlike earlier self-reliant country folk, these are simply city people with really big yards. And there are millions of them.

Sociologists Jane Jacobs and Lewis Mumford have each noted that during the Depression and other hard times, urban residents have generally fared better than ruralites. The causes mainly boil down to market forces and simple physics. Since most of the population lives in or near cities, when goods are scarce the greater demand, density, and economic power in the cities directs resources to them. Shipping hubs are mostly in cities, so trucks are emptied before they get out of town.

In the Depression, farmers initially had the advantage of being able to feed themselves. But they soon ran out of other supplies: coal to run forges to fix machinery, fertilizer, medicine, clothing, and almost every other non-food item. Without those, they couldn’t grow food. Farmers who could still do business with cities survived. Those too remote or obstinate blew away with the Kansas dust.

Survival Skills
Today the situation for farmers has worsened. Few farmers grow their own food. Agribusiness has made them utterly dependent on chemicals and other shipped-in products. The main lack of cities compared to farms is food-growing, but farms lack nearly everything else—and most of that comes from cities. Setting aside for the moment the all-important issue of social and political cohesion, for cities to survive a peak-oil crash, the critical necessity is for them to learn to grow food. For country people to survive, inhabitants will need to provide nearly every single other essential good for themselves. And since many country people are simply transplanted urbanites lacking gardening or other land skills, but having the isolation that makes social cohesion unnecessary to learn (for now), their survival is even more doubtful. If catastrophe comes, the cities may be unpleasant, but I fear the countryside may be far worse off.

One important tenet of permaculture is to design for disaster. While giving a talk on the wildfire that destroyed his cabin at the Lama Foundation, Santa Fe designer Ben Haggard was asked what his biggest lesson was. “Plan for disaster,” he said. “Whatever is the likely catastrophe at your site, count on
it happening. Because sooner or later, it will.”

A technique displayed in good design that also happens to be a way to deter disaster is to meet destructive forces with mechanisms or attitudes that transform them into productive, or at worst, harmless energies. When this machinery of transformation is missing, even seemingly mild events wreak havoc. A gentle rain falling on bare ground will quickly sluice away topsoil and wash downhill in gullies. If instead plants carpet that same patch of earth, the rain becomes not an erosive force, but life-giving moisture whose energy is damped and welcomed by the vegetation. Instead of gullying, the water is held by the plants, stored over a longer time for them and for the animals that feed on or live among the vegetation. This is one of nature’s secrets: knowing how to create structures and systems that convert gales to refreshing breezes, change baking sun into sugars and living tissue.

What nature doesn’t do, and humans attempt so often, is to treat large forces as enemies to be vanquished and destroyed. This summer, as hurricanes repeatedly battered the Caribbean, ridiculous proposals appeared in letters-to-the-editor columns: Let’s build giant fans on the Florida coast
to blow away the storms. Pour oil over the Atlantic to smooth out the waves. And (inevitably), why can’t we toss a few nukes into those pesky hurricanes? (Whether it’s replacing the Panama canal or toppling Saddam, someone always seems to propose atomic bombs.)

Sector Acceptance
The conceptual tool offered by permaculture in these cases is to view large forces as sector energies: influences from off the site that are beyond the control of the designer. We deal with sector energies by designing systems or placing elements to deflect, absorb, or harvest these forces, or allow them to pass unhindered. This is nature’s way as well, and how she does it offers, as usual, some profound lessons.

As ecosystems mature, biomass and complexity increase. Ecologist Ramon Margalef, in his landmark 1963 paper, “On Certain Unifying Principles in Ecology” (American Naturalist 97:357-374), suggests we think of biomass as “a keeper of organization, something that is proportional to the influence that an   actual ecosystem can exert on future events.” In other words, we can think of biomass, complexity, and the other indicators of maturity as measures not only of the resilience of a system, but as a form of wisdom. That’s because as ecosystems mature, the aftermath of environmental tumult such as storm or
drought depends more on the richness of the ecosystem than on the nature of the disturbance. A drought that withers a weed lot doesn’t faze an old-growth forest—the forest has learned what to do with drought. It has grown structures, cycles, and patterns that convert nearly any outside influence into more  forest, and that protect key cycles during bad times. It has become wise.

Nature uses two principal tools to achieve this  protection from catastrophe.

1)  The first is diversity in space—in size, shape, physical pattern, and composition. If all the pieces of a system are at the same physical scale—all the same size, or the same genetic makeup, for example—a disturbance occurring at that scale will wipe out the whole system. Diversity in scale brings protection. When a hurricane hits a trailer park, the trailers blow away, but the bacteria, mice, and other elements of very different size escape damage. A plague of cats, on the other hand, strikes at the scale of the mice, leaving the trailers and bacteria unscathed. Mature ecosystems have enough diversity in space that any catastrophe may knock out the pieces living at that particular scale but will almost never destroy the whole landscape.

2)  The second protective tool of mature ecosystems is diversity in time—in rate, frequency, and schedule. Understory shrubs often leaf out earlier in spring than canopy trees, which lets the shrubs grab enough light to build plenty of leaves. Then when the trees grow leaves, the shrubs have the photosynthetic area to gather ample light in the dappled shade. Another classic example of diversity in time is the hatching cycle of locusts. Timed to emerge at intervals of years having prime numbers such as 13 and 17, they frustrate the predators whose more regular breeding period requires their food to arrive  more predictably.

Permaculture designers use similar approaches to design for disaster. Instead of using concrete embankments and other brute-force tactics to resist flood, we place fences that can lie down, reed-like as rushing waters advance and then can be easily set up afterward. Rather than gouging enormous barren firebreaks into their hillside, Lama Foundation stacks roads, swales, and plantings together in
a multiply functioning firebreak. When monsoon downpours arrive in Tucson, instead of standing by as flooding street runoff pours down sewers, Brad Lancaster harvests the water with cleverly placed curb cuts that lead to mulched food-tree basins. All these examples are detailed in Permaculture Activist #54 (November, 2004).

By observing nature’s wisdom, permaculturists follow nature’s lead and use patterning, succession, edge, and cyclic opportunities to convert large pulses of energy into smooth generators of structure, harvest, and nutrient flow. Permaculture design inquires into the nature of some of these “large pulses” and shows how they can teach us to use their energy, aikido-like, to benefit ourselves and the larger ecosystem.”

6.   Cities, peak oil, and sustainability

Cities, peak oil, and sustainability
Energy Bulletin, Published Dec 25 2004, by Permaculture Activist by Toby Hemenway
In  mid-August I drove to a party in the country outside of Portland, Oregon. Twenty miles of freeway took me to a two-lane road that wound ten miles up steep forested hills and down through remote valleys. As the roads grew narrower and less traveled, I began to wonder how, if gas hits $5 or $10 a
gallon, people and supplies will reach these isolated spots. What kind of post-oil vehicle will climb this hilly, winding road that quite literally goes nowhere—a converted truck run on home-made biodigested methane? Then, after I arrived at the secluded acreage, I questioned whether my hosts could really supply most of their own needs, just the two of them and their kids.

I think these isolated places will disappear the way that Roman outposts in Britain and Gaul did during the empire’s decline.

In a recent issue of this magazine (Permaculture Activist 54 p. 2, “Designing Beyond Disaster”) I wrote that when I moved to the country 11 years ago, I assumed that rural people use fewer resources than urbanites, but now that I’m back in the city I can see that isn’t true. That article [“Urban vs. Rural Sustainability.”-immediately above this article-lfp] has generated more response than any other I’ve written, and has been reprinted around the Web many times, often with some furious comments. Obviously, a lot of people are thinking about the same topics. I’d like to re-visit the subject, respond to some of the commentary, elaborate on my reasoning, and describe some new thoughts on the subject.

First, a clarification on word usage. When I speak of rural, I generally mean places where people live on acreage outside of towns, with most services too far to walk to. Small towns decreasingly can be called rural, as their takeover by chain stores, engulfment by sprawl, and reliance on non-local goods renders many indistinguishable from suburbs.

•  I’m not a believer in the Peak Oil “end of the world” scenario, where decreasing oil production somehow mutates into the sudden, permanent shutoff of urban water supplies, and contented suburbanites are transformed overnight into looting gangs. Yes, fossil fuels surely will become much more expensive in the next decades, and scarce soon after. I don’t doubt that several tipping points will be broached along the way, with rapid and unexpected changes cascading through society. But civilization won’t end. People have repeatedly predicted the apocalypse: in millennial 1000, again in 1666 (the number of the beast), and many times between and since. Is our memory so short that we have forgotten the foolishness around Y2k? Or are we so wedded to the delicious notion of our annihilation that we grasp at any possibility? Why do we hunger so for our own extinction?

•  Neither the mega-cities nor the survivalist’s bunker will be viable in a post-oil future. The places with the best chance of surviving an oil peak will be cities of less than a million people, ranging down to well-placed smaller cities and towns. Cities of a million or so existed before fossil fuels—ancient Rome proper held roughly a million people—thus they are clearly possible in a limited-oil era.

Scale works to the advantage of sensibly sized cities. For example, Portland’s 500,000 people are served by two sewage treatment plants that use about 2000 miles of pipe to reach every home. Building this cost in the low hundreds of millions of dollars (exact figures don’t exist). Compare this to the sewage system for 500,000 rural people. That’s roughly 125,000 septic tanks, each with 300 or more feet of drain-field pipe, plus trenching and drain rock for all. A septic system costs about $10,000 to build, so the cost of 125,000 of them is $1.25 billion, several times that of the urban system, and the ruralites need 7000 miles of pipe compared to Portland’s 2000 miles. Of course, composting toilets and graywater systems would obviate the need for both of those unsustainable, resource-intensive methods of waste treatment, but I’m talking about what exists right now. Virtually any service system—electricity, fuel, food—follows the same brutal mathematics of scale. A dispersed population requires more resources to serve it—and to connect it together—than a concentrated one. That fact cannot be gotten around.

•  One of the most common responses to the Peak Oil panic is, “We’re planning on moving to the country with our friends and producing everything we need.” Let me burst that bubble: Back-to-the-landers have been pursuing this dream for 40 years now, and I don’t know of a single homesteader or community that has achieved it. Even the Amish shop in town. When I moved to the country, I became rapidly disabused of the idea of growing even half my own food. I like doing one or two other things during my day. During my life…” [Having ‘been there and done that’ myself, with 27 years experience on 29 acres of rural MN acreage, I agree. Mr. Larry]

7.  Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression.

Surviving Peak Oil, The Economic Meltdown and A Possible New Great Depression: Hypothetical Scenarios and Crazy Ideas For a Crazy New World.
The following survival strategies are for the possibility a post peak oil  world that is truly in chaos. No one knows if we will see such a scenario come to pass and I hope that they won’t.  As a self described “survivalist” and a Red Cross Volunteer who has spent time at the epicenter of category 5 hurricanes,  I have firsthand knowledge of what you need to stay alive. You need: 1) clean water, 2) food, 3) shelter, 4) medicines and 5) communications, basically in that order and last but not least, 6) a good plan.

If you are one of the lucky ones and can afford to keep your home during the current financial crisis or an even worse one that could happen, what kind of neighborhood will your home be located in? Already, in the early stages of the mortgage meltdown some of our suburbs are turning into suburban slums as the homeless and criminals occupy foreclosed homes and mosquitoes breed in abandoned swimming pools. There are nearly 12 million U.S. homeowners who owe more on their homes than those homes are worth and many people are walking away, bad credit be damned because they can now rent for a fraction of what they were paying the bank.  For those who choose to hang on to their homes it will be a challenge to keep that home safe as the crime rate increases.

 Strategy # 1: Standing Your Ground In The City
If you are able to hold onto your home and can find work in the area where you live then your home will become your fortress against the increasingly dangerous urban world around you. Residents of “bad neighborhoods” such as parts of East Los Angeles already have experience in protecting their castles against invaders. But for those of us accustomed to living in “nice” neighborhoods the learning curve will be steep.

a) You can start by spending some of the money you might have left on security bars for your windows, shotgun, and a fence for your yard. By this time property associations will be bankrupt and won’t be able to enforce rules so make your fence as high as possible. You’ll be building the fence to keep thieves out and a dog in. Dog food is an added expense but a good watchdog can be worth their weight in gold.
b) See the book, The Secure Home for more ideas on how to protect your property.
c) You’ll need a backup source of power since the power grid will become increasingly unreliable  and power may only be available for certain hours of the day. A tri fuel generator that runs on natural gas, propane and gasoline is a good choice. So is a diesel generator since you can store barrels of diesel more safely than gasoline. Ideally a large propane tank, in an area away from thieves, is the best way to go. You can run a tri-fuel generator several days straight on a 150 gallon propane tank. You will need at least 5000 watts of power to run your appliances.
d) A more lasting solution is to invest in a solar power system of at least 500 watts for battery charging and to power an inverter to run small appliances. If you can afford a larger backup solar power system of at least 3KW, with multiple deep cycle batteries now is the time to buy one before prices skyrocket. An Air Marine wind generator can provide additional power when the sun is not shining.
e) A wood stove can burn waste wood and lumber  to keep your home warm in winter. Choose one that has a cooking surface. You will need  a flue cleaning kit to clean your smokestack regularly when burning anything other than clean firewood.
f) For water you can divert your gutters into a 1000 gallon or larger fiberglass tank and use a solar panel and RV type demand pump to pressure up your plumbing if city water is interrupted. Broken water mains will be a frequent problem as cities go bankrupt and can’t afford to pay for repair crews.
g) If your yard is big enough you will want to replace much of your existing lawn with food producing
plants including fruit trees.
There are many varieties  of greens such as mustard, collard and kale that grow in marginal soil and shade. You can plant pinto beans, straight from the pantry to produce green beans in spring and summer. Choose hardy varieties of plants such as hybrid tomatoes that are resistant to blight and fungus.  Plant the eyes of russet potatoes in deep flower beds or stacked up tires filled with soil. You can kill pests with diluted dishwashing soap and by picking them off by hand. It is unlikely that you will be able to produce enough food on your own city lot to feed your family but your garden will fill in when other sources are scarce. You can also trade for different varieties of vegetables with your neighbors.
h) Since food supplies will be disrupted having a good supply of food on hand is a must. Buy canned
staples such as corned beef, evaporated milk, brown rice and beans and keep them in airtight containers such as Rubbermaid trash cans. Rust is the enemy of canned food so add dehydration packets which are available at boating supply stores. Keep a stock of dehydrated and freeze dried food for more long term storage. One good tasting brand is made by a company called Mountain House. Also keep a good supply of multivitamins to supply the nutrients you may be missing. Body-builder’s protein powder made from soy or whey also keeps well.
i) Skills like sewing will be needed again to mend items. Get a good quality sewing machine, a supply of thread and spare parts for it.
j) You’ll need a source of news and  it is unlikely you will be able to afford or even get cable at this point.  A simple solar powered radio may become your entertainment center. A small portable TV that operates on 12 volts can be operated from your solar battery bank.
k) You may not be able to afford medical care. Keep a good supply of  broad spectrum antibiotics such
 as Cipro and pain killers. You may want to consider stocking up on essential prescription medicines that you need but do so with caution and always store medicines in a cool dry place sealed in airtight containers.

Communications Gear For Survival
It is unlikely that you will be able to afford cell phone service in a severe depression if it is even available. Instead you can utilize long range handheld radios to keep in touch with  family around your neighborhood. There is a new type, that blows away the previous GRMS/FRS radios and gives about the same range. It is called  a 900MHz FHSS 2-Way Radio and it uses a new type of frequency hopping to provide up to a billion privacy codes so your transmissions are just between you and the other party.

High power SSB CB and ham radios can reach out for thirty miles under the right conditions and using “skip” or bouncing the signal off the atmosphere can talk around the world. Unlike some peak oil “doomers” I don’t see high tech going away in the near term.
There are enough garage inventors out there to scavenge and come up with all kinds of technology to fill in the gaps when the grid goes down as we have seen in third world countries.

In Thailand  entrepreneurs pedal around neighborhoods with solar powered Wi-Fi.  As in India, neighbors may also agree to set up and share a single secure wireless connection across several  city blocks with long range wi-fi antennas. Internet telephony services like Skype may replace traditional phones as land based networks become increasingly unreliable. There are now handheld phones that allow you to talk on the Skype network for free with any open WiFi connection in the world. Read more about how to set up a free internet connection with super long range WiFi antennas and boosters:

Someday you may have to decide to either hit the road or stand your ground.

Should you start buying guns? Should you start a neighborhood watch organization or patrol? Should you put in a garden for extra food or buy emergency rations? What about the infrastructure? Will power keep flowing down the lines with no money to fix our upgrade our electrical grid? Should you put in an auxiliary power supply such as solar panels or a generator? Maybe you should just pack up and hit the road.

Strategy #2: Going Mobile, Mad Max Style
For each of us our personal survival strategy may be different. For some it may mean leaving the home behind and taking to the road to find a less violent place to take shelter or an area where work can still be found. An RV, travel trailer or even a large tent  might become your new residence as they have become for so many evicted homeowners recently. For those who choose the mobile path traveling smart and light are essential.

You’ll want a good supply of freeze dried food or MRE’s, tools, a  multi – fuel generator for power and some communications gear such as a ham radio or CB in your vehicle for emergencies. You’ll also want a number of water storage containers and a pump system for filling from streams. You will need a good water purifier to deal with contaminated sources.   You will need a means of buying food so you will want a hiding place in your vehicle or RV for cash and small denominations of silver and gold coins in case the dollar becomes worthless.  A versatile gun that can also be used for hunting, such as a shotgun is a must . You’ll want a good supply of ammunition. Just remember to keep that gun in a safe place, both from thieves and your kids.

“Here’s your burger sir, that’ll be two twelve gauge shells and five 22 calibers please”. It is very possible that ammunition will become a currency itself so carry a large supply of the most commonly used sizes including 12 gauge shotgun shells and 22 caliber bullets.  The barter system may replace currency for most transactions. Items such as disposable razors, cigarettes and hand tools will be good for trading for gas and food. Sticking with a group of like minded people will be good insurance against trouble. This means finding safe RV parks and campgrounds where law and order still prevails. You’ll need good neighbors to watch your things while you leave to find work, if there is any.

For those without a car you’ll need a good frame backpack and everything you need to survive in miniature. Weight is your enemy so choose lightweight tents, sleeping bags, water purifiers and take along freeze dried food and MRE’s to live on. Carry your cash, silver and gold in a money belt or shoe hiding place. You’ll want to avoid crime ridden cities and find shelter and camping in safe campgrounds or on farms where you can find work. Setting up camp near a body of water has advantages for bathing and catching fish.  Since you may be crossing many jurisdictions carrying a pistol may not be wise. Consider large pepper spray – dye spray containers instead. You’ll need a lightweight crank or solar powered radio for news and if traveling with family a couple of GMRS radios to keep in touch with each other plus a solar battery charger. Consider a high power SSB CB radio for long range communication.

There are other options. A small sailboat is one of them. A self contained sailboat can provide shelter and mobility without the use of fuel. It can allow for movement to areas where there is work and safety along the vast Intercoastal Highway and navigable rivers as well as a way to leave the U.S. if necessary. There are many books that have been written about self-sufficient living aboard sailboats. In a post peak oil world sailboats may be one of the only affordable means of covering long distances. A fuel efficient motorcycle is another. The same packing strategy for backpacking applies to traveling by bike. Carry spare motorcycle parts, tire tubes, a good toolkit and extra gas.

Strategy #3: Rural Survival
If you are lucky enough to own your own farm you will be in the best position of all for survival in a post peak or post economic meltdown world. You will be able to produce not only enough food to supply yourself but also for trade. Since the supply chain will be disrupted and parts hard to find you will want to have spares of everything and the means to can and store your own food. Farmers will undoubtedly form closer alliances with other nearby farmers and cooperative groups  for tasks like  firefighting and crop harvesting. Home canning and self sufficiency skills as described in the aforementioned books apply both to urban dwellers and rural residents.   It will be essential for small farmers to re-learn the  ways and the wisdom of the old timers  before they pass on, such as growing crops without expensive chemical fertilizers.

Take The Middle Path, Be Prepared In The Early Stages Of The Crisis
I have met quite a few other individuals who call themselves “survivalists” in the hurricane ravaged areas where I have volunteered with the American Red Cross.  Although it is never a good idea to try to ride out a hurricane, the ones that made it had electricity, water, food and medicine plus communication gear such as CB or Ham Radio. Unlike the common image of survivalists as gun toting hoarders, these individuals often became excellent volunteers, helping their less prepared neighbors and beginning the rebuilding of their community.

A total economic meltdown caused either by peak oil or something else will bring out both the best and the worse in people. I’d like to think that most will choose to work to keep their community intact but those who are inclined to take advantage by looting and stealing instead of cooperating will do so.  I believe, cynically perhaps, that many of our citizens would react differently than they did in the Great Depression of the 1930’s because now many of us see having certain possessions and lifestyles as a right and therefore any means of getting them is justified.

I think that we would seem like a spoiled nation to those people of the 1930’s if they could have looked into the future and seen us now and the excessive energy wasting lifestyle that we take for granted. Once this is ripped away from us how will Americans react and who will they blame? Surely not ourselves. When the full blown crash comes there will be calls for more government bailouts or even wars to punish whoever caused us such hardship. Few will realize that it was living beyond our means and failing to have a plan of energy self sufficiency behind it all.

The current economic situation could go either way. There are many signs that point to it getting worse and all it will take is some type of unpredicted event to send the economy spiraling downward toward total collapse. The best thing to do right now is to prepare for the worst case scenario that could happen. Tailor your personal survival plan to either one of staying put or going mobile, based on your home ownership situation. You may want to prepare on both fronts, by having a ready pack of supplies in case you are forced to leave and at the same time preparing your home for a long term crisis.

Start by preparing your home to be a safe place when outside support systems fail. If you can afford to add things like solar backup power and rainwater collection now is the time to do it, not when it is too late. Invest in things that make your home more energy efficient and vehicles that use less fuel.  Stock up on freeze dried food and MRE’s now before they become unavailable or extremely expensive and have things like home medical kits and supplies already in place. In case paper money becomes worthless you should keep a savings of small denomination gold and silver coins in a good hiding place to buy food with.

Whether our nation turns a corner and is able to establish a renewable energy future and avoid a severe peak oil crash remains to be seen. Yet investing in home energy efficiency and more efficient vehicles is a win-win way of preparing. Having a stockpile of food and supplies is a cheap peace of mind insurance policy, regardless of how things turn out.
Ultimately it all comes down to preparedness and keeping one step ahead of the tide. Those who make fun of your survivalist ways will be the ones coming to you for help when the poop hits the fan.

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