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Don’t Let the World Make Its Problems Your Problems

07/18/2011

Like I discussed in my Friday post, humans themselves are generalists, and able to survive in virtually any earthly climate. Human civilization, on the other hand, is highly specialized. The survival of today’s global civilization depends on a system of agriculture that is also global.

In turn, that system is dependent on several things. For one, it requires enormous amounts of arable land–something we may lose if we continue making only half-hearted attempts to reduce our carbon emissions.

It also requires enough fuel to constantly transport food by land, sea and air. And we may not have quite as much fuel as we thought we did.

A function of our highly specialized civilization is that it makes little economic sense for grocery stores to stockpile food. As a result, they ship in only as much as they will sell.

That works fine as long as the global system remains intact, but if a disaster were to disrupt the supply chain, millions–perhaps billions–could go hungry.

This thought could easily make a person feel powerless, but it doesn’t have to. There are ways to distance yourself from this disaster-prone culture. You don’t have to be at its mercy. All you need to do is stop subscribing to it. Who cares if that makes you look a little batshite?

Becoming a more frugal person doesn’t only mean having more money–it also means the ability to survive with less. If you develop frugal habits, you’ll experience less of a shock if all this material wealth is ever taken away.

Starting a vegetable garden doesn’t only mean reducing your carbon footprint (by eating less food transported from away)–it also means security in the event of a crisis.

Commuting by foot or by bike doesn’t just conserve oil–it also prepares you for a future in which there might not be any oil available.

Learning to reuse things instead of throwing them out isn’t just green–it also means knowing how to effectively use your resources when resources are scarce.

Finally, one of the best ways to bolster yourself against a potential failure of the current system is to start a food storage. This is something I’ve been researching lately, and which I’ve begun doing myself. In my next post I’ll share some of the things I’ve learned.

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