I really wanted my book and my blog to have something for everyone. I believe all people need to be prepared at whatever level is possible for them depending on their circumstances. But I realize I have a bias. I am middle-aged and married with children. I live in small, rural town surrounded by some like-minded friends and neighbors. I have some acreage and my husband is handy. My location in the Northeast gives me a bias as well as I don’t need to worry about water in the same way a person living in downtown Phoenix needs to. Being retired and able to earn a subsistence level of income at home gives me another bias. Having children with special needs means that I worry more about medication supply lines than I otherwise would. All of this means that I probably miss some important topics that I should be addressing and spend more time than necessary talking about food and gardening and community because those are the places I’m comfortable.
Today is Earth Day. A lot of people are put off by days devoted to causes and I happen to be one of them. It is all to easy to turn a cause into a marketing ploy. I have seen Earth Day T-shirts made with industrial raised cotton, printed with toxic dyes, produced in China by small children in filthy factories and shipped to the US to be purchased by someone who wants to promote saving the planet. Forgive me for not buying it. I would be tempted to give the whole thing a pass except for some remarkable people who have made real change with Earth Day as a jumping off place.
I have seen friends devote weeks to producing reusable bags from old material to replace the plastic ones that clog our water ways and paper bags that are made from carbon sequestering old trees. Their efforts have kept hundred of thousands of bags out of the landfills-not bad for a couple of folks with a mission. Earth Day spawned a movement to rid our community of inefficient light bulbs, promote local food systems and rethink our buying habits. It has resulted in educating me about some things I really had not given much thought to. While I’m not much for wallowing in guilt, I look back on past choices with real sadness and a committment to do better in the future.
So this is connected to preparedness how? Well, I believe we are approaching a time when we will be forced to live with less because of energy constraints. Consider doing without, making do, reusing, recycling and, using up as a dry run for the f future. Every night that you turn off the television and spend some family time on an energy-saving project or growing some food or cooking from scratch from local produce, you are preparing while you are also reducing your load on the planet. Every time you walk rather than drive, turn down the heat and pass those gently used items on to someone who can use them, you are doing your part. Every time you refuse the styrofoam cup, the plastic fork, the water bottle, you are fighting the good fight.
I am far from perfect. I would probably be even less perfect if I didn’t have friends and neighbors who lead me along by example and make me be a better person. I think we are headed for a different world and I suspect it will come along sooner rather than later. The change will happen whether or not I reuse that bag, whether I eat the strawberries in January of make do with the apples, whether I drive to town or wait to combine a trip. But I need to do the right thing anyway.
The fragile state of our planet needs to matter to everybody. City people, country people, old people, young people, tree hugging hippies and marketing executives. Well, it may be a bit tought to get the executive on board but we really need to try. Earth day is every day. As you prepare for the future, try to impact it. It’s not enough to store water. You need to conserve it and protect it as well. My Earth Day goal is to rid my home of plastic bottles. This is hard. It means no more seltzer (my no calorie summer treat). It means no more big bottles of juice (a preparedness staple). It means no more milk in jugs ( a problem if I run out of milk in bottles before the next delivery). I am feeling a bit guilty because Bruce and I gave Karen a very hard time for bringing home a water bottle yesterday. Come to find out, she had salvaged it from school, brough it home and washed it, then reused it to bring water on a walk. What do you know? She has been listening all along.