Financial Collapse will impact your lifestyle
Knowing how to be self-reliant and sustainable empowers us to reduce our dependency on the economy and its idiosyncrasies. This in turn can increase our ability to continue living normally, even when chaos surrounds us.
When the economy fails, our resource lifeline is severed. Financial experts do not often agree on everything, however, there is one thing they do seem to agree on – many believe we are headed for a major financial crisis. “Billionaire investor George Soros is worried that another major financial crisis could be lurking around the corner.” He stated at the annual meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations that the rising anti-European Union sentiment, the disruption to the Iran deal, a soaring dollar, and investors taking money out of emerging markets are adding up to bad news for the global economy.
You may be thinking, “So what? I’m not part of the global economy.” In bygone years, that was true. Today, our economy is globally connected. The World’s economies are so tightly woven together it is nearly impossible to show where one ends, and another begins.
One way to view this inter-dependency is to view the distribution of fruits and vegetables.
Most of the fruits and vegetables on American’s tables are imported from other countries. Mexico is the largest exporter of fruits and vegetables to the United States. A recent Agriculture Department report states that fresh produce imports will rise 45% from 2016 to 2027. This means about three-quarters of our fruits and almost half of our vegetables will be imported by 2027.
These fruits and vegetables are transported by plane or boat from the country where they are grown to the United States.
When the fruits and vegetables arrive in the United States they are then trucked from the point-of-entry to distribution centers. From the distribution centers they are trucked to food processing plants and supermarkets.
The fruits and vegetables at the processing plants are then processed into food packages. Some are frozen, and some are used to make ready-made meals. While other fruits and vegetables are canned. The list goes on and on.
These processed fruits and vegetables are then trucked to supermarkets. You then purchase the fruits and vegetables, both fresh and processed from the supermarket where you bring it home to your family.
This is a long-winded way of explaining a process you probably already know. However, it illustrates the complexity of how just fruits and vegetables make it to our homes. Similar processes apply to every item we purchase at a store (or buy online) and arrives at our homes for our use. The illustration below provides a simplistic view of the distribution network for fruits and vegetables.
If anything happens along this distribution network the whole network breaks down. If a storm destroys a grower’s crops, the best-case scenario is the prices of fruits and vegetables goes up. The worse-case scenario is, there are no fruits and vegetables to ship. Which means there are no fruits or vegetables available for any of us.
Farmers are having a hard time in the United States earning a living by farming. The fewer farmers we have in the United States means the more dependent we will become on import produce. The more dependent we become on produce that is imported, the greater the impact will be to us if/when something happens to the distribution network.
If there is a financial crisis or collapse, there is a complete break down of the distribution network. Shippers cannot buy the fruits and vegetables from the grower. The Distributor cannot buy fruits and vegetables from the shippers. Food processors cannot buy from the Distributors. Stores cannot buy from the food processors or distributors. You cannot buy from the store. Trucks used to haul the fruits and vegetables cannot buy fuel they need to deliver the fruits or vegetables.
The final result – when a financial crisis or collapse occurs you are not able to get food or other goods for your family. In these situations, those who usually suffer most are the sick, elderly, and our children.
Mitigating Financial Impacts
How can we mitigate the impacts of a Financial Crisis or Collapse? We must reduce our dependency on the economic market. However, just reducing our dependency is not enough. We must develop a method that is sustainable and repeatable. In other words, the method we develop must be something we can do repeatedly.
When we develop a system that allows us to reduce our economic dependency when a financial collapse occurs, we can continue our lives uninterrupted. This improves our standard of living and ensures our children will get the nutritional food they need to grow healthy and strong.
How Do We Start?
To start weaning ourselves off the economic dependency we should approach our journey to self-reliance as we would a survival situation, start with the basics.
In the chaos that follows a survival situation our initial requirements are food, water, and shelter. Working to empower ourselves to be self-reliant begins the same way. Our first focus should be on food, water and shelter.
Why Start with Food? Food is an important component in living. For most of us, our families (or those we care about) are very important to us. Therefore, a lot of our energy is directed toward obtaining food for them, so they have enough nutritional food to eat. It is only logical, during our economic weaning process, we focus on food sources first.
Sources of food is one area where it is fairly easy to establish a sustainable and repeatable process to obtain nutritional food. One method of obtaining food is to forage for it in the wild. This method is viable but must be carefully controlled. If foraging is not controlled, then the edible plants available will completely disappear near your location. Selectively collect the edible plants near where you live. Remember to let some of the native plants go to seed so they can continue to replenish themselves.
Native plants should be considered a supplement to a more renewable source of food. This means planting, growing and harvesting your own food source.
The first step in obtaining a reliable source of food is to have the key components necessary to grow food. The components needed to grow food include:
• A place to grow plants
Optimally, the location to grow plants would be an outdoor garden or greenhouse. Typically, these should be in the country or a plot of land near a house, if in town, suburbs, etc.
If you live in an apartment or townhouse a garden plot or greenhouse may not be feasible. At best it will present a special challenge in order to grow the amount of food you would need to you’re your family. It would be best to find an alternate location where growing food is possible.
Additionally, there may be items (plants) you will not be able to grow. Items you are not able to grow on your own would have to be bartered for, find a replacement item, or do without.
[Note: This is true of any item (clothing, footwear, utensils, tools, etc.) that you cannot create for yourself.]
Empowering yourself to become self-reliant you must be able to grow and harvest your own food. Fruits and vegetable are one part of a sustainable food supply. Some of you may live solely on a plant-based diet now. Others of you desire protein obtained from animals. One method of obtaining this protein is to hunt. As with locating edible plants, caution and care must be exercised to maintain a steady diet of protein from hunting. Careful selection of which animals and the number of animals to harvest needs to be logically and rationally controlled.
[Note: This is only possible if you have enough land to support the animals that you hunt and can protect them from outside intruders.]
To truly be self-reliant you will need to raise your own livestock. The choice of what livestock you decide to raise is up to you. A couple of items you may want to consider. In addition to the protein their meat provides, goats and cows are good sources of milk, cream and butter. All of which are excellent sources of vitamins and food. Additionally, goats can help keep areas clear of unwanted weeds in areas that are hard to mow or cut.
Again, in an apartment or townhouse environment this is likely not feasible. At best it will present a set of challenged that will be difficult to overcome easily.
A source of potable (drinkable) water is necessary for self-reliant living. Ideally, your source of water would be from a well or spring that is periodically tested for containments. During a financial collapse it will be a good idea to always treat the water as contaminated and boil or treat the water before using.
[Note: During a Financial Collapse water test kits will likely be unavailable. However, the risk of contamination will still be high, perhaps even higher. There are several links from the link here. Discussing how to build your own water test kits. To become self-reliant, we must learn how to do any task that we need to do on our own.]
Alternative sources of water may be creeks, streams or rivers. If you live near the coast, perhaps the ocean as well. However, water from these sources should be treated before use for human consumption. Unless you are absolutely positive the water contains no contaminants, all water should be treated.
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Water from municipalities (aka city water) cannot be depended on during a financial collapse. At the best of times water from your tap is marginally safe. While the water is treated it may not be safe to consume. Reservoirs and rivers are constantly being bombarded by external contaminants. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products make their way into our water supply. In addition to the accidental contaminants, fluoride is intentionally injected into our water supply.
During a financial collapse it is highly unlikely water would be available from your tap. If by some miracle water is available, it is unlikely it would be treated as properly as it should. Additionally, it is unlikely any workers would be present at the water treatment plants to monitor or treat the water.
An additional concern would be protection of the water systems and networks. The absence of workers would allow undesirable personnel access to the water supply which could be contaminated with viruses, disease, or other toxic substances. During a financial collapse, if water is available from your tap, it should be boiled before consumption to ensure it is safe to use.
What water that might be available would be rationed even worse than is currently in place in California. Rationing could result in an inadequate supply of water to meet your needs. To become self-reliant an adequate and sustainable source of water is a must.
[Note: Keep in mind water is a precious resource and should be treated as such, never intentionally waste water.]
During a financial crisis it is assumed your primary residence will provide you and those you care about the shelter you require. Achieving self-reliance assumes your location is suitable for and always meets your needs, during day-to-day living or during a crisis. If your primary residence will not be your main source of shelter, then an alternate site needs to be identified. This shelter must always meet your needs. To locate an alternative site and shelter you should do a Site Selection report.
Consideration should be given to how well your site and shelter will meet your requirements day-to-day and especially during a crisis. When a crisis occurs, chaos is likely to follow if not precede the crisis. To become self-reliant, your site and shelter must be able to support you and those you care about for your day-to-day needs and be defendable to protect those you care about from those who would attempt to take what you have.
The chaos that follows a crisis will likely set people against each other. Immediately following a financial collapse, looting and riots will begin. This will likely continue until there is nothing left in the stores or businesses and likely even homes. Looting and riots will occur no matter how hard law enforcement and governmental agencies try to prevent it.
With rampant looting and rioting martial law will likely be in force. Curfews and travel restrictions will be put in place. Martial law has been imposed in the United States and will assuredly be imposed during a financial collapse. While most folks will obey these restrictions, there will be others who do not. Those who choose to disobey the restrictions will likely be well armed.
Most, if not all, of those who disobey the restrictions will be gangs, thugs, criminals or those who had criminal tendencies before martial law was imposed but were too afraid to act on them. Now that the civilized veneer has been pulled back, they will feel they are able to do whatever they want and take whatever they want with impunity. Some of these folks could be the ones who are supposed to protect the public (e.g. police officers, military, etc.). This is not meant to scare you, but to make you aware of the possible dangers you and those you care about may face during times of crisis.
The location of your shelter is a critical piece toward empowering yourself to be self-reliant. If you have not done so, you should do a Site Evaluation or let us do it for you. Your evaluation needs to include an evaluation of what your shelter’s location offers, and actions that need to be taken to improve the shelter’s ability to keep you and those you care about safe. Once you have evaluated your shelter’s location and you know what actions you need to take to ensure the safety of you and those you care about begin working on the improvements identified during the evaluation. Continue working, evaluating, and improving your shelter’s location.
During a financial collapse our usual methods of cooking are not likely going to be available; natural gas and electric.
Even if there was natural gas or electricity the cost would be more than most folks could afford. Therefore, alternative methods of cooking and preserving our food must be identified and used.
In line with our self-sustainment objectives, we want to identify methods of cooking and preserving that do not rely on resources we cannot obtain ourselves.
There are several viable options from which we might select as an alternative cooking source. Additionally, we are not limited to only one of the following options.
• Wood cook stove (inside the shelter)
• Fireplace (inside or outside of the shelter)
• Outside rock over or stove
Methods of preserving food include Smoking (meat, fish, etc.) and canning (almost everything to include meats).
Each of these cooking sources use a combustible source (in most cases this source is wood). In an emergency alternate sources could be paper, cardboard, cow/horse droppings, etc.
As stated previously, these methods of cooking work best in a country setting or in a single-family dwelling. Apartments and townhouses are usually not designed to support cookstoves or fireplaces that use wood as a heat source. Additionally, cooking outside apartments or townhouses is usually not a good alternative due to the presence of other people. That is not to say it is not possible, but it will be extremely challenging.
To develop a sustainable, self-reliant lifestyle it is advised to find a location in a rural or country setting.
Almost every American home and business is dependent on electricity. Additionally, this dependency has become an addiction. Here is a partial list of ways we depend on electricity in our current day-to-day lives.
• Our Homes
o Air Conditioning
• Cell Phones
• Security Systems
• Gas Stations
• Traffic Lights
• News Channels
o Life Support
• Sick/Injured/Medically Challenged
o Pace Makers
• Nursing Homes
o Growing food
Dependency on electricity has increased tremendously in the last few years. Cell phone usage alone has increased 39% from 2004 – 2009. By 2020 it is expected there will be a 67% usage increase. Over two-thirds of adults shop online at least monthly.
How dependent we are on electricity only makes itself known when it is no longer available. Such as a severe snowstorm, thunderstorm, or other phenomenon in which our electricity is terminated.
These outages usually only last a few hours to a few days, depending on the severity of the damage. What would you do if the electricity was to never come back on?
In the event of a financial collapse the electricity will likely be off for months, if it ever comes back on. The impacts of a total loss of electricity will impact everyone. There are some folks that may even go through physical withdrawals. Much like the withdrawal symptoms experienced with drug addiction.
Electricity powers our cell phones, games, televisions, and other entertainment. Electricity powers our homes – heat/AC, cooking, and other devices used to cook, or make our lives easier. The water in our homes (especially those homes with a well pump) is powered by electricity.
Imagine the impact of never having electricity again. Or only having electricity a few hours a day. I have been in countries were the local people only have electricity about 4 hours of electricity a day. Even then it was sporadic.
During a financial collapse there would not be any one available to ensure power was generated. If power was generated, there would not be personnel to maintain the lines and other equipment necessary to get electricity from the power plant to your home.
Most power lines are made of copper wire. Even now, copper wires are being removed from power poles to sell. It is highly probably people would salvage these lines for the copper to barter/sell for items they need or want.
To reduce our dependency on external power we must find ways of doing those activities we would normally use electricity. Alternately, we must find other methods to generate our own power.
Back-up generators can provide a temporary source of power. However, most generators require some source of fuel. This fuel is normally gasoline, diesel, natural gas/propane. As long as the fuel necessary to run the generator is available you will be able to generate electricity. In a financial collapse that resource will eventually run out.
If you plan to use a generator for power, to remain self-reliant and sustainable, an alternative and renewable fuel resource must be identified and used. Some possible alternatives could be alcohol (e.g. moonshine). Most engines manufactured after 2000 can run on “E85”. E85 gasoline is 85% alcohol. To use alcohol as a fuel source you would want to learn the skill to distill alcohol to make fuel. This fuel would also work in lanterns for light. Caution needs to be exercised when using this fuel as it is extremely flammable.
[Note: We are not saying you should become a “moonshiner”, only that this is a potential alternative to become self-reliant.]
Wood or other combustible fuel could be another alternative. This method would require significant modifications to a modern generator to operate properly.
Other Electricity Generation
Other possible alternatives to generate electricity are solar, wind, and water. Due to the “green initiative” movement solar and wind have become more vogue and less costly than they were previously.
Even solar, wind and water methods of power generation have limits. Some locations do not possess the appropriate conditions to generate sufficient quantities of electricity. Solar panels are one option that is inexpensive that can generate electricity. The amount of electricity produced is dependent on types and numbers of panels, and the amount of sunlight available.
Wind is an option, but most wind mills used to produce electricity are expensive and require sustain wind speeds of about 22 mph. An initiative by a French company uses a wind turbine that looks like a tree. The “leaves” of the tree are small turbines. The current design is about 30 feet tall and 23 feet wide and is capable of producing about 5,400 watts (An article from the Business Insider states the average is about 1,000 to 2,000 watts.) While this is not a significant amount, it is one way of reducing the external dependency for electricity. Another significant limitation or these alternative energy sources is the batteries used to store the electricity generated.
At some point these batteries will reach a condition in which they will no longer hold a charge. Therefore, the wisest choice may be to eliminate or greatly reduce the necessity of electricity. Find alternatives for typical items that require electricity. For example, candles or lanterns instead of light bulbs. Wood stove for cooking instead of electricity (or gas).
To be self-reliant and sustainable identify and implement alternatives for everything in which electricity is required.
Being self-reliant includes being able to protect what is yours. This is a topic some do not like to address, but we feel it needs to be.
Part of the Site Evaluation should include the shelter and site’s security posture. That is, how safe is the shelter and the site? Items that should be addressed include: How can it be approached? By what types of vehicles? What dangers are there from natural or human-influenced disasters? Every aspect of the property and the shelter should be scrutinized to locate any potential dangers.
After the evaluation is complete you need to identify actions that can help protect the shelter and/or site from the risks you identified. At the very least you want to give you and those you care about the advantage over anyone attempting to infiltrate your shelter/site.
During a financial collapse undesirable folks are likely to be out attempting to find food or other items they can steal. Depending on their level of desperation the confrontation could be quite ugly.
Many of us (myself included) have a desire to help those who are not as fortunate as we are. While this is an admirable trait, during a financial collapse it is a trait that could be fatal to you and those you care about. Therefore, it is a trait that needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of commonsense.
Not everyone is willing to work to secure what they need to survive. Folks looking to steal what you have are likely to take everything you and those care about have stored. Leaving you without the resources you need to live.
The fact that these folks are out attempting to steal from others indicates their manner of thinking. The do not care what happens to you. Attempting to help these types of folks could lead to a deadly confrontation.
We are not saying you should not help others. We are saying be cautious when dealing with others. Protect yourself and those you care about. If need be, set traps or snares around your shelter and your site to keep the undesirable folks (e.g. gangs, thugs, etc.) off your property.
As the saying goes, “It is better to be safe, than sorry.” Not everyone has the same morales you have. Their goals are not likely the same as yours either. If you decide to help someone, ensure you will not regret your actions later.
The best way to continue your day-to-day living without interruptions is to develop a self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle. Only by reducing or eliminating our dependency on external sources of food, water, shelter, cooking, electricity, security and the multitude of other external requirements we have can we live our lives in the manner we wish to live. Only by reducing or eliminating our dependencies on external sources can we ensure no matter what happens our lives will not be altered.
Whether it is a Financial Collapse, a natural disaster, or an end of the world as we know it scenario, we must be willing and able to take care of ourselves and those we care about. Only by finding our own self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle can we truly ensure our independence.
Please send us any questions or comments you may have. We will do our best to answer your questions. If we do not know the answer, we will do our best to find the answer for you.
[Note: A comment was made about the scenario in this blog post stating the scenario could be considered a bit extreme. However, the author believes it is a likely outcome in the event a financial collapse was to occur. The bottom-line; if we are living a self-reliant and sustainable lifestyle it will not matter what happens. A lifestyle that encourages independence gives us the freedom to be what we want – joyful and fulfilled with abundance.]
References used in this article:
Farmers are Killing themselves in staggering numbers
City Water versus Well Water
Fluoride in Drinking Water – FYI
What is “Martial Law”
Martial Law in the United States
Technological Development and Dependencies
Online Shopping Statistics
Economic Collapse – Washington Post Article by Michelle Singletary