Sunday, May 04, 2008

Prepare for the worst but then hope for the best

My quest to live a frugal, simple life has been fuelled partly by wanting to live a slower life, partly to afford our life on one income, and partly because it feels right to take care of the resources we have. I have to admit though that the consequences of how we've been squandering the earth's resources hadn't really hit home to me. I guess I've always just felt that we haven't gone too far yet and that we can turn it around without it affecting me personally. I've read about Peak Oil, rising prices, looming food shortages but it hasn't really sunk in.

Until this week.

I have no idea what changed. There must've been some trigger but I can't pinpoint it. It must've started by Monday because I bought a few extra things in the grocery shop and stashed them away. I started reading a long series of posts on the Simple Savings site about the subject that I've been avoiding since December. I've been reading stuff that has shaken me out of my naivety and shouted in my face "this could happen - wake up!". We could have food rationing, we could have regular power outages. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? I have no idea, and I think very few people could put their hand up and say for certain one way or the other.

I'm sure by now I have 2 distinct groups of readers - those that are nodding their heads and saying "Finally! What took you so long?!" and those that are looking at me like I've just stepped out of the loony bin. (Actually maybe 3 - the ones that have just stopped reading, but I'm not sure you can class them as readers anymore!!)

So my mind has been in a spin for the last few days taking it all in. I've felt rather disconnected from what else is going on in the world, but strangely enough it hasn't frightened or depressed me. Maybe I'm basically an optimistic realist - I'm going to prepare for the worst but hope like hell for the best. I'm going to start actively working on building a stockpile - just building it up slowly. I'm not panicking, but I *am* thinking about alternatives far more carefully. At the moment, we'd have enough food to last for a couple of weeks - providing we didn't lose power. Cooking would be a real issue if we didn't have power - everything in our house is electric. We have a gas BBQ but not much gas left at this current moment in time. We grow so used to just flicking a switch and having power, or turning on the tap to have water.

I also found out that Governments are warning people that they should have a 10 week stockpile at home in case of a pandemic. To me, that's like saying "Run for the hills, we're scared but we can't tell you why! Consider this your warning."

This article - The Waking up Syndrome - talks about the stages of realisation. I've been at Stage 2 (Semi-consciousness) for quite a while and have just hit Stage 3 (The moment of realization) and Stage 4 (The Point of No Return).

And let's face it - even if the worst never happens, as long as the stockpile is rotated properly, the stuff isn't wasted - it's there if a job loss occurs, in case power is lost for a couple of days after a big storm (not so far fetched!), in case of illness or even if unexpected people drop around for dinner!

I'd be interested in your thoughts - as long as they're politely put. But whatever you do - please do not bring up the fact that people prepared for Y2K and it "never" happened. I was one of the huge number of IT workers who slaved away testing, replacing and fixing to make sure Y2K "didn't happen"!! (Yes, it's a sore point lol!)

Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed - it's how my mind feels atm.


Lightening said...

I've not heard about Governments saying a 10 week stockpile is a good thing. Is that Australia or other governments?

I think my view is similar to yours, although we are working toward self sufficiency in various areas as a precaution and because they are skills and assets that are valuable, no matter what the future brings.

I tend to worry too much so can't focus too much on what "might" happen. It upsets me too much.

Then again, I prefer not to be a complete "ostrich" either.

It is hard to know who to believe with all the "peak oil" hype.

molly said...

Hi Kez

I have posted a few times on this very subject, like you I am going to hope for th best but prepare for the worst.

I am aiming for a years pantry, just the stuff we always use anyway so it gets constantly rotated.

If you want s site that will caluculate your basic needs for you over a year, visit here:


Miserly Mum said...

This is something that I should aim for also - a few more cans "just in case" in the weekly shopping wont hurt us.

The Tin House said...

Kez, I'm still stuck at stage 2 of semi-consciousness. I think what lifted me out of the doldrums in the first place was a discussion we had either last year or the year before about what we would have to do if avian influenza became a pandemic. We decided at some point it would be wise to create a stockpile of canned goods and non-perishable items. I never did anything about it mind you....but it had crossed our minds. The stockpile I've got here wouldn't go close to lasting 10 weeks. This is food for thought indeed. Lisa x

Kez said...

Lightening - I may be confused on the 10 week stockpile - I can't find the link now. This site - - from a Uni of Sydney report talks about having a 10 week stockpile in case of pandemic.
This one - - talks about a 14 day stockpile.

This is the official govt response - it says to have enough to stay at home for a week.

Take your pick :)

It is hard to know what's right - but I figure better safe than sorry.

Molly - your blog is one of the ones that's been chipping away at my sub-conscious!

MM & Lisa - yes, even a small stockpile can't hurt!

Kez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kez said...

Link is chopping off so have made a tiny Url -

Joy said...

Very interesting and challenging post, Kez. I have enough stockpiled for a month in the way of food, but water is more an issue. I'm going to have to think about this and write a post about the subject too :) Thanks for sharing.