Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some Thoughts On Stockpiling

With all of the weather-related events that have unfolded across the country since the New Year, there is much discussion occurring in Blogland around 'preparedness'. Gavin from 'The Greening of Gavin' has put together a four week challenge around this topic that is informative, both in its rationale for preparedness and its tips for becoming 'prepared'. You can read it here.

Preparedness is the act of ensuring that in an event that would limit our access to goods and services outside our home, we are able to provide for ourselves and our families, stay safe and see that our basic needs are met. A family that is prepared has the survival skills they need to exist without reliance on outside sources. They also have a stockpile of food, water and first aid supplies, among other things, to see them through an extended period of self-reliability. Julie from Towards Sustainability has a great article on stockpiling - you can read it here.

There are many reasons people decide to engage in preparing for such a time. Some are concerned about natural disasters, such as storms, floods and fires. Others are concerned about long term climatic changes and the unknown conditions that they will bring. Still others worry about events that have a more 'man-made' origin - a period of unemployment, war, or a peak oil event. (If you are not sure what this is, google 'peak oil'... and be prepared to read through some intense debate, polarised views and sobering opinions)

While the nation watches with great concern as Cyclone Yasi approaches the Queensland coast, residents in the path of this enormous system are engaging in their own last-minute preparations. The Queensland floods a few weeks ago reminded us that the days after these ravaging events can be just as dangerous as the events themselves. Whole regions left with no power or fresh water see rapid spread of disease, dehydration and hunger. Today, Queenslanders are being urged to seek shelter, but not before gathering enough food, water and first aid supplies to see them through the aftermath.

It has started me thinking. I'm not about to dig myself a shelter in my backyard, but having been through a cyclone some years ago that took us by surprise (only us... we hadn't been watching television that week!) and having no supplies in the days following when shops remained closed and power remained shut off, I know how inconvenient, at best, being unprepared can be. I have done some reading on Peak Oil, as well, and to me it seems logical that as we use oil and petroleum based resources faster than we can find (and fund, thankyou world governments) alternative power sources, we will reach a point where our consumption dwarfs our supply. This will have significant, if not catastrophic, impact on the way we live our lives.

I have the skills to be prepared. It is really an extension of the way we already live. I can stockpile, I have multitudes of bottles and jars, and it would not be a strain to put aside one or two jars from every batch of preserving I do. I can store water, tinned foods, first aid supplies, long life milk. I can buy bulk lots of dry goods to securely stockpile. I can box up blankets, old clothes, candles, batteries, personal hygiene necessities, chook feed, personal documentation, windup radio and the like.

This may seem extreme, and maybe it will never be necessary for me to have gone to all of this effort. But what if it is? Will it kill me (or you) to think along the worst case scenario lines... if only to ensure that if ever the need arised I (or you) would have the means to ensure our families' safety and wellbeing in difficult times?

Hell, in this, I'm willing to be made a fool of.

I wish the residents of the parts of Queensland bracing for Cyclone Yasi all the very best. The whole of Australia has our eyes, and our hearts, on you.

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