One thing (among others) that COVID-19 has brought to light is the need to be more self-reliant. This is a topic that is discussed in the Preparedness Community, but now, it is coming more and more to light for everyone, as we deal with supply chain disruptions and the economic impact of just being consumers and not producers. We need to understand our need to be more self-reliant and we need to make a conscious effort to put systems in place that allow us to take care of ourselves and families.
How Did We Get Here?
It was slow. Over time, we moved from an agricultural society to a consumer society. As families moved away from land to the concrete jungle, people stopped growing gardens, taking care of chickens and just plain knowing how to do “stuff.” With advances in technology and transportation, society was introduced to a grocery store in every neighborhood and then 24-hour Walmart and then Amazon. You can get whatever you want, whenever you want. This is all good as long as the “system” is working.
As we experience disruptions in the “system,” we see how vulnerable we are. Thanks to the Coronavirus, we know that life-saving medicines that have their start in China and then get shipped to other countries that make the finished pharmaceuticals are going to be delayed. To make matters worse, China has said that they will restock their own shelves before they send out to other countries. Apparently, they didn’t get the globalism memo.
But it is not just China. So many other countries supply the United States with goods. We closed the factories long ago for cheap labor and cheaper “things.” And when we did, we lost our ability to be more self-reliant.
Webster.com defines Self-Reliance as “reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities.” Notice that this differs greatly from being self-sufficient which means, “able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid: capable of providing for one’s own needs.”
The problem today is that many people have turned the responsibility of being reliant on “one’s own efforts and abilities” to someone or something else. It is easier to let some organization or the government handle the big responsibilities. When something bad happens, the “unreliant” take out their cellphones, take pics or start a petition to make the government adhere to their needs. Responsibility is thrown out the window and society becomes weaker for it.
But what happens when big government doesn’t have the answers or resources to ride in on a white horse? What happens when society is rocked and the irresponsible are shaken out of their laissez-faire coma? The shaking leads to a panic.
The panic brings the irresponsible to riot and rail against the powers that be. Even if that means their thinking is off and does not truly represent those who made the effort of taking responsibility. “How dare the rich live like that while we are here suffering!” The rich here could be anyone in better shape than they are! But, not everyone panics!
Some will go from the shaking to the awakening! They will realize that no one is coming, not even the government! The kick in the pants they receive is enough to jolt them to action. The newly awakened will need to get schooled in the ways of the self-reliant and fast!
And how does someone looking to become more self-reliant do it in a way that truly makes a difference? They build in layers!
Think of layers of support as contingency plans. Plan A goes down, so plan B goes into effect. Plan B goes down, so plan C goes into effect and so on. The responsible, the self-reliant, think about this. They think about what THEY need to do to prepare their families in an adverse situation.
So what does this look like in real life? Let’s use something that is important to all of our survival, food!
Food Layers for Survival
The first layer of food that many self-reliant people might consider is basically going to the grocery store and purchasing food for their families. Some people do this daily (which isn’t responsible), but most do this on a weekly basis. They create a menu, go to the grocery store and plan to prepare meals every day at home.
Someone who is more responsible will add another layer on top of this. This would include groceries for the whole month. This isn’t hard to do. I explain it in the video below and in my ebook, Getting Started in Long Term Food Storage, which includes worksheets that will make this even easier.
Building on top of these two layers, the next would be building your own food storage buckets. Again, this isn’t hard to do, just time consuming. But if you make the buckets with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, and keep the food buckets in a cool, dry place, food buckets of rice and beans can last up to 25 years!
Lastly, another layer that can be added to your food supply would be commercially purchased dehydrated or freeze-dried food like Legacy Premium Foods. Commercially purchased long term food storage offers a variety of selections with the piece of mind that you can “set-it and forget-it” in a closet in your home. It is always recommended that you try the brand you are going to invest before you make a big purchase.
Other Self-Reliant Layers
There are other layers that you need to consider and plan for too! Every family is a little different, but most everyone need the basic layers. Do you have a plan for these:
- Shelter (Warmth/ Ways to Stay Cool)
- Hygiene/ Medical/ First-Aid
A Strategy to Consider
One of the easiest ways to figure out what is important enough to build layers for is to document one of your regular days. Let’s look just look at the morning.
- Wake up from a warm bed (Shelter)
- Turn on the light and go to the restroom (Energy, Hygiene & Water)
- Go to the kitchen and turn on the coffee pot (Energy & Cooking)
- Take a shower, brush teeth, get ready for work (Hygiene & Water)
- Eat breakfast, drink your coffee and make a lunch (Energy, Water & Cooking)
- Grab your bag, lunch and leave for work/ lock the door (Cooking, Finances & Self-Defense)
When you start to document every little thing you do, you start to realize how you take things, like being able to flush the toilet or reaching for the light switch for granted. We don’t normally consider those things as needs and something we need to plan for, but when you don’t have them, you miss them! Imagine not having power and having to go to the restroom in the middle of the night when you don’t have water to flush the toilet. Having some back-ups for these things then would be really worthwhile!
What is Keeping You From Being More Self-Reliant?
The heavy lift when we talk about becoming more self-reliant is that it is time consuming. It takes time to plan and think through the various layers that we need to put in place. Most people (the irresponsible) don’t want to take the time necessary. They rather sit in front of the TV and watch the newest show!
The other thing that keeps people from preparing and becoming more self-reliant is money. There is an idea that being prepared costs a lot of money. That is not necessarily true! You can get prepared with little money. The key is to plan well and take into account what you already have. You don’t need to go purchase the $100 tactical flashlight when the flashlight you have in your kitchen drawer will work just fine.
The Next Emergency
Hopefully, the Coronavirus has encouraged more people to become more self-reliant. Every move, every layer someone makes towards being more prepared is a step in the right direction. And this is important! Because the next emergency is around the corner. It might be a pandemic, or a hurricane, a financial collapse or a job loss. But rest assured, it will come! Will you be ready?
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