History and hindsight allow us the opportunity of learning and improving. But we must decide whether or not we will learn from the past — from our mistakes and those of others — to plan for a better future.
We saw disaster strike in Katrina, and saw the hordes of people suffering, starving, and sleeping in the stadium. Looters went after such unsustainable items as beer and potato chips, rushing in a frenzy to find whatever they could to “survive” until things blew over.
As one example of many, consider the following news report of the massive looting that took place after the hurricane had hit:
Everyone knows times are not good and although we’re told they’re getting better – they clearly seem to be getting worse. I’ve recently had an experience that has severely highlighted financial preparedness for me, I’d like to share the lessons I’ve learned in the hope that others can avoid my current situation – allow me to give you some background:
The company I’ve been working for was financially stable – strong even – several months ago. We weren’t worried about the economic crunch and were certain we’d move through it. My wife and I had a financial reserve that we were actively growing, but not aggressively. Certainly not as aggressively as we could have been. In fact, we had become fairly complacent in adding to it. While our long term food storage was fully stocked, we live off our 3 month supply and rotate through it – replenishing monthly or so.
In 1624, the English poet John Donne wrote in one of his Meditations that “no man is an island.” His poem explains how our common humanity ties us together in one common thread, and that as individuals we cannot thrive in isolation. Christians have been taught likewise, their common identity as followers of Jesus binding them together into a body focused on one purpose. Whatever the commonality that brings us together, the simple fact is that our spiritual and physical survival depends on our willingness and ability to help one another along our shared path.
This principle is especially important in terms of preparedness. When a catastrophe comes our way, each family will quickly discover a need for things they didn’t think to keep in supply, and only through bartering and buying from others will they be able to obtain those things. Isolated individuals will be easy prey for roving gangs and other desperate groups. Lack of communication will increase frustration, loneliness, and ignorance. Only by becoming part of a trusted network beforehand will we be able to more easily deal with whatever disasters may strike.
In case you aren’t familiar with the show, here is a brief description of this reality show. Michele and Jim Bob Duggar are the parents of a traditional Christian family. After 20 years of marriage, they have had 18 children with only one set of twins. They manage to afford this large family by being frugal, wisely investing the money they do have in money making properties and businesses and always paying cash for all their purchases. If they don’t have enough money to buy something, they save and buy it later or do without. All of their children are also home schooled.
I’m not a big TV fan myself, as I expect many of the readers of this blog. But last year I did stumble on a show I really liked, called “The Alaska Experiment“. The show took a couple small groups (2-4 people) of “regular people”, and dropped them in backcountry Alaska, to survive into the winter. Now, not only was this TV, but it was reality-tv, which by nature I detest. And yet it drew me in like no other. Why? Because it showed just how little people knew, and just how difficult it was to survive, even with the large amount of help these people received. They had minimal food supplies given, they had shelter, and constant checkups to make sure they weren’t in real harm. And yet it was still *very* difficult. Sure, at many points I would scream at people for what I saw as dumb decisions, but I have a better camping background than they. I was also sitting in my nice chair at home, instead of in the middle of Winter in Alaska.
Well, season 2 is coming, albeit with a slightly different name. “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment”. Go check out the preview on the Discovery Channel page. This season changes things a bit by dropping folks off in the wild, and letting themselves find their way out. I’m sure we’ll all see the dangers in that.
As most everyone should be aware, the last week has provided a harrowing survival experience for Kentucky and surrounding states with a major Ice Storm cutting off power to over 1.5 million homes and killing 55 people.
For those of us here in Utah, we’re more likely to see catastrophic events from a major snowstorm than an icestorm (in searching, I cannot find records of an icestorm like this hitting Utah). Our winter storms, especially in heavy snowfall years, can leave many icey problems. While we may not be likely to have an ice storm, there are still many lessons we can learn from those who have just experienced it. Let’s look at some reports from the Mid-South Ice Storm of 2009.