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Survivalism & Self-Sufficiency If Western Economies Fail? Community, Frugality, Hunting & Barter

Updated on August 3, 2012

After The Crisis

Wow, this past year or so has been scary, hasn’t it? For UK residents like myself, it pretty much kicked off in October 2009, although at the time none of us knew just how serious it was. It was only later on that we realized, or were kindly put in the picture, that the entire UK banking system might have failed! For those of you in the US or other countries, the troubles started even earlier – so you’ve had longer to be thoroughly freaked out!

A Hunter and his Dog

Creative Commons Licence  Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Creative Commons Licence Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source

What If The Banks Fail?

It’s more than a little unnerving to realize just how precarious our comfortable western lives could be, and how much depends on a couple of percentage points on an interest rate, or the health of demand for housing stock. If the economy really did go down the drain at some point, what would be the concrete day to day consequences? And how would we all cope? What would you do if you went to an ATM one day and the machine blinked up the words ‘NO CURRENT ACCESS TO FUNDS’? What if national and international food supply chains dried up as access to funds and fuel became a problem?

Growing Your Own Food For Your Family

Maybe I’m just a tin-foil hatted survivalist nutjob, but I think about these things a lot, even before last October. And obviously, even more now! My primary desire in these times, as an apartment dweller, is for a garden. How important is it to be able to grow your own food? Massively important, methinks!

But can you really grow enough food to feed your family, without resorting to supermarket shops? Is self-sufficiency viable? Well, books like Square-Foot Gardener are at least convincing me that it’s possible to have a damn good go. I utilize my old mum’s garden currently for my potato-growing efforts – since she has no interest in it herself – and have come to the conclusion that some crops at least repay minimal effort with maximum reward. I have plots and plans for growing potatoes in bins (which apparently produces the heaviest crop), along with sweetcorn and broad beans for complete protein. And a few sunflowers for the fat content of their seeds, perhaps.

Food & Survival After Economic Crisis

What about the alternative source of protein, though, i.e. keeping livestock? Well, I already have a friend who’s keeping chickens (which seems to be the trendy new thing). I guess I can prod her for tips when I get my own garden, and start scoffing a few fresh eggs (and the odd elderly hen when they stop laying). Maybe a few geese and goats by the end of the decade!

Woman cannot live by bread alone, though, nor potatoes. At some point you will have other needs. A chair will break, your child will need maths tutoring or your boiler will break down. Without an effective money system, what do you do? Yes, you barter (or use a local means of exchange such as the LETS system). Offer your own skills, take advantage of other people’s… survive. I’m already a LETS member: time to make greater use of it and play a role in the community, methinks.

Community and Frugality: What Happens When The Energy Runs Out?

How about energy – oil, gas, electricity, etc.? (Can you tell I’m a worrier?) I like to think of strategies for the worst possible scenario, e.g. what if Russia pulled the plug on our supplies and we were really in trouble for energy? Maybe it’s time to explore government grants for solar power panels: and I’ve always wanted a wood-burning stove… Boy, I need a house with a garden and a wood-burning stove! And quick! (A swimming pool wouldn’t hurt either…)

Of course, if times get really rough, then you need more than tangible goods and services exchanged with semi-strangers. You need community: certainly if you don’t want to be divested of what property and goods you do possess. If a ‘The Road’ type scenario plays out, you want to hold friends and family close and ideally all be actually living close together. Maybe with your rabbit-shootin’ shotgun in the coatrack behind the front door.

Hunting & Barter: Food & Clothing In A Post-Money Economy

And speaking of rabbit-shootin’ shotguns, perhaps the imminent threat of the collapse of the current world order means it’s time to join a gun club. No, not for heading off the hordes of unwashed oiks and looters seeking to plunder your goodies (or not only for that). But also for making rabbit stew or pigeon pie, or at least obtaining the raw ingredients for such fare.

How about clothing? What do you do when your bank manager hides behind a locked door and shouts “No-one here but us chickens!” when you try to withdraw money? When you couldn’t find an unlooted shop to buy from anyhow? Well, I guess granny was right: learning to sew and knit really will come in useful one day – or it would have if you’d bothered! Good job you can learn practically anything from a book (since you’d better not rely on internet access in our brave new future). That’s if all the books haven’t been burned for fuel, of course.

And when all your clothes are made out of patches and you kain’t patch no more? That’s when you learn to keep sheep and goats, and all about spinning by hand… (I can’t wait!)

Life After Peak Oil

What about when the petrol runs out? (You know we’ve passed peak oil, right. We’ve passed the peak! Eek!) (Or the government is bankrupt and we can’t pay for any more, which amounts to the same thing). What are we going to do then? My first priority is horse-riding lessons – prioritised over driving lessons, all things considered! (Why not a bike? Well, they say you never forget how to ride a bike – maybe I’m the exception proving the rule. Plus I have no road sense whatsoever, so I figure I’ll need all the horse sense I can get.)

Yes folks, taken all round, it looks like it could be back to the good old bad old days any day now! (Or at least with very little advance warning.) Personally I’d like to get the maximum preparation in, in advance, rather than race myself trying to catch up and work out how to do stuff after the fact.) Excuse me while I try to adjust my tinfoil hat: see you on the other side of the new world order!


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    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Trouble with the living by shooting rabbits scenario is that there are 60 million of us and how many of them? It is unlikely that the UK could support us all in a hunter/gatherer lifestyle unless the population significantly dropped. It is, unfortunately, more likely that we would use those rifles against each other