Guest Post: Matthew Stein Asks "How Prepared Are You?"
Submitted by Adam Taggart of Peak Prosperity,
During the height of the 'Goldilocks economy' of the mid-1990s, Mat Stein wrote When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency , a master compendium of do-it-yourself preparation skills.
Fast-forward to today's Great Recession, drought-stricken, $100+ oil, post-Katrina, post-Fukushima world -- many are realizing the prudence of taking basic precautionary steps to reduce their vulnerability to whatever the future may bring. Whether you're concerned about the fallout from a breakdown of today's weakened global economy, or simply want to be better able to deal with the aftermath of a natural disaster if you live in an earthquake/hurricane/flood/wildfire/tornado-prone part of the world, the personal resiliency measures Mat recommends make sense for almost everyone to consider.
In this interview, Mat begins with his universal advice for developing basic preparedness -- a 72-hour kit covering the basics needs for living, an emergency plan for your family, lining up local and out-of-town contacts, etc. -- and discusses specifics on what gear to procure and steps to take in unexpected emergencies. For more protracted periods without access to central services, many more situations are covered in his books  and at his website .
It's important to note that Mat isn't a doomer bent on fanning fears of a zombie apocalypse (though those concerned about social collapse will find much utility in his work). Like Chris, he believes that our current fossil fuel-driven, hyper-consumptive, and over-leveraged way of life is not sustainable. So before the unsustainable, by definition, stops - it's best to invest now in developing the skills and habits that will serve us in this new future; one sure to place a higher premium on self-reliance.
On the Rule of Threes
The Rule of Threes give you an indication of, in a crisis time, where your energies really should lie.
The Rule of Threes basically says:
- If you've got 3 seconds without blood flow, meaning a heart attack or critical injury, then without blood flow to the brain in 3 seconds you pass out.
- If you have 3 minutes without oxygen flow -- either you aren't breathing or you don't have access to oxygen -- you're out.
- If you have 3 hours without proper shelter or clothing in extreme weather - extreme heat or extreme cold, you get hypothermic or hyperthermic -- you start to die or lose your ability to think and function.
- If you have 3 days without water and you have to be physically active and it is fairly hot outside, then people start to die. Water is extremely critical.
- Most people in America could live at least 3 weeks -- and many of us far longer than that -- without food. You may not be happy. You may not feel good. You might not have a lot of energy. You could do it.
On the scale of things, that gives you an immediate priority list of what things you must address and deal with. Obviously the life-threatening things have to be dealt with first.
On the Approach to Developing Resilience
There are three big buckets of preparedness. There is stuff you have. There is stuff you know. There are the skills and things you can do. This is also including your mindset.
The most important is the skill set, including the mindset. You take that with you wherever you go.
A lot of people have plenty of money. By all means, gather stuff. Gather supplies. Store food. Have some beans, Band-Aids and bullets -- the three B's. Beans means your food and supplies. Band-Aids means medical skills and medical knowledge, medical supplies. Bullets means the ability to protect yourself. Again, that is not really my bag, but it's a necessary evil.
Get the stuff. Even if you are not really great at using some of these things, you can trade. You can barter and you can share. You can team up with people. The lone wolf in a collapse situation will probably not do very well, unless he is super-MacGyver. Someone who is meaner, tougher and better organized will come along and take all his cool stuff away from him. It is really in groups that people will do better. Think medieval times, castles, villages and groups. There was safety in numbers. People have skills and talents. It really takes a village to pull through.
Think about your strengths. Naturally if you can develop all three areas, great. If not, if you are stronger in one, focus on that. If you do not have money, focus on your skill set. If you are likeable and get along well, if you have great skills and talents, then you will probably manage pretty well. Maybe you are older and you are not very strong you cannot do much. If you have good financial reserves, then you can stock up on things. You will be able to team up with a whole bunch of people. They will be thankful and grateful for you, if and when that day comes when that stuff is needed.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Mat Stein (59m:45s):
Click here to read the full transcript