Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

“A” Plan First, “Plan B” Second

By Cam Mather

It’s a bad thing when the events of the day leave you feeling demoralized. I feel pretty helpless as I watch the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s heartbreaking to watch the reactions of the people who make their living in that environment. The engineers who built this technological wonder – the deep-sea drilling platform – don’t seem to have a clue how to cap it.

And there are lots of reasons to feel demoralized. Mike Ruppert is back in the game. After his struggles with his website “From The Wilderness” he has returned with a movie called “Collapse”. While I have the greatest respect and appreciation for all the work Mike has done over the years, his blog recently suggested that the oil disaster in the Gulf would begin the collapse of the world, as we know it.

It’s something that James Kunstler is prone to as well, making predictions about the eminent demise of society by… July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving…. You fill in the blank. Again, I think Jim’s writing is amazing, but the challenge of making a predication about TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It) is that you usually end of being wrong. In fact you always do as someone pointed out in the comments section of Kunster’s blog I reference.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am deeply indebted to these and other writers. I enjoy reading their websites. The problem comes for the average reader who sees these dire predictions and decides to throw in the towel. “What’s the use? It’s hopeless, I’m going to go watch Dancing With the Stars”. (Speaking of which, what’s with Kate Gosselin’s hair?)

The option for most people is to develop a “Plan B” which is a “Bug Out” bag and some jerry cans of gas, ready to head for the hills. Then what? Do you really think you can survive by snaring rabbits? After a lifetime of eating meat battered and deep-fried by someone else, do you really think you’ll be able kill, dress and cook a rabbit?

While having some plan, even if it’s a Plan B, is better than nothing, it’s the wrong reaction, because the world doesn’t come to an end each time the pundits predict. It keeps ticking along and you’ve still gotta put food on the table and heat your home.

A better idea is to have a Plan “A”, in which you look at ways to make yourself more resilient to the shocks that seem certain and to stay motivated while doing so. This is a plan of independence. It’s about unplugging yourself from the traditional life support systems and making heat and light and hot water and food yourself. It really is the only logical plan. If the system is in crisis, which I believe it is, it’s going to be a slow downward road, it’s not going to end with a bang. Empires can take centuries to end. In the meantime, the technologies exist for you to heat your home without natural gas, to keep your fridge and lights on without a huge centralized power generation plant burning coal on your behalf, and for you to grow and store a good chunk of your diet all by yourself without it being processed and laced with preservatives and shipped 2,000 miles.

Sure, have a “bug out” bag if it makes you feel better, but I think you have to realize that you hopefully will never need it. The world just keeps trucking along, regardless of what the naysayers predict. While I believe the economy is far worse than the mainstream media leads us to believe, and that we are well past peak oil and into uncharted waters in the energy department, humans are a resilient bunch. The powers that be kept the lid on when the system started collapsing during the economic crisis so maybe they’ll keep the game going on a lot longer than we thought. I hope they do. As bad as things are, they are a lot better than they could be.

In the meantime, visit the Database for State Incentives for Renewable Energy and figure out what gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Is it a geothermal heating and cooling system, or a solar domestic hot water heater or photovoltaic panels for electricity? Then get your garden in. Then get your cold storage room in the basement built to store your vegetables. These are the positive actions that worries of doom and gloom should lead to. This is motivating stuff and it makes you really feel empowered. That’s the challenge with the bad news – it makes you feel powerless. But you aren’t. Those potatoes you plant this spring are going to feed you all next year. “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook” is written to emphasize the foods that provide the greatest nutritional punch and which store with the lowest energy inputs. “Thriving During Challenging Times” is the roadmap to develop your strategy for independence. The night that you have your first shower with water heated by the sun, you’ll be celebrating! Woo hoo! Life is good!


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