Last Updated on August 14, 2014
There are a lot of articles geared toward preppers that have been written suggesting that in order to survive TEOTWAWKI (The End of The World as We Know It) you should have skills that would be in short supply and more importantly valuable if society is trying to rebuild itself that you could conceivably make a living with. I have heard examples of glass-making, blacksmith, electronics repair, sewing and leather-work to name a few. These are great skills to have, but I wonder how applicable they would be in a grid down society to preppers. I guess more to the point, should you waste your time building and collecting prepper supplies that will enable you to open up your own Blacksmith shop out of your back yard? Are these the best job opportunities for preppers?
Perhaps it helps to give these suggestions context. I assume that the people who are writing these articles are thinking long-term. For these skills to be valuable, we as a society would need to go back to the 1800s. I think that is very possible if some form of EMP device was exploded over our country and all electronic devices were completely destroyed. I don’t think that is necessarily going to be the case though. I don’t doubt an EMP is real and could one day be used, but I don’t see us going all Revolution and no devices work at all in the world. Maybe I am wrong.
Even without an EMP, we could have a massive blackout like they showed on National Geographic. Assuming I am wrong and an event that is so cataclysmic occurs that we are essentially reverted back to Little House on the Prairie days – are these skills the best to have? Would you be able to make a living in this world as a blacksmith? Could you provide for your family with a lucrative leather goods store? Could you feed your family with beautiful glass you make in your shop at the end of the main street? Maybe, but how long would you have to get by waiting for this to happen?
In my mind, if we do have some catastrophic event that renders society unable to lean on the mechanical and technical inventions for the last 150 years or so, there will be so much more that you will need to worry about. It isn’t like if the grid goes down, you will just need to find a new job or you will be bored all day with nothing to do. Your job will be living! Each day you will be tested and there won’t be any vacation or benefits anymore. Your job will be survival and making sure everyone in your family is surviving too.
Job #1 – Feeding Yourself
OK, the big one hit, whatever that is and you and your family are just fine. You have plenty of food stocked up in your pantry, or at least 6 months’ worth and as you crack open another can of soup you are thankful that you got your prepping supplies in order well before the collapse. The only problem is that your food will run out and you can’t punch up the freeze dried store on the internet anymore. You won’t be able to head on down to the local Piggly Wiggly either. You are going to need to spend some of every day focused on the food that your family needs to live.
But you already have a garden you say? That’s great but how many tomatoes do you think it would take to fill you up? Have you considered how much food your garden is going to need to produce to feed your family as well as extra for canning? Oh, you forgot about the winter months where nothing grows?
I sometimes complain about the work needed to keep a garden weed free and producing, but I am sandwiching my time in the garden between two other jobs and the usual social engagements. If my garden doesn’t produce, I can go to the store. If the grid goes down, I won’t have a traditional job, my job will be tending that garden and hunting for whatever game I can find. I will also be working on tending bees and raising chicken or rabbits. To do this right and by right I mean in a way that can feed your family when the grid goes down, you will be busy.
2 – Collecting Water for Yourself
In a grid down world, you won’t have water coming out of the tap anymore. Those solar panels and the pump, unless you stored them away in a faraday cage will be useless in an EMP event. How will you get water for drinking, preparing food and hygiene? The luckiest of us would have a fresh supply of water right on our property like a fast moving creek. You will still need to get to the creek, collect the water and get it back home. This is easier with a wagon and large buckets, but you might be surprised at how much water you would go through in one day. What if the water source is frozen?
Once you have the water, you will either need to boil it, which means building or tending a fire or filtering it. I prefer the filter method so I purchased a Big Berkey water filter to assist me in this department. I will still need to get the water though. I have rain barrels attached to the gutters on my house, but I would still need to make trips out to collect the water in buckets and bring those in for filtering. Some water I would most likely boil as opposed to filtering. Better to use a fire for shower water and cleaning dishes than reduce the life of my filters on those needs.
3 – Protecting Yourself
The world has gone to hell in a hand basket and you think it will be simple to set out your shingle and have everyone come visit you so you can fashion some metal into various useful things? I don’t see that happening until a lot of people are dead unfortunately. Just look at the events in Ferguson, MO over the last week. You have a tragedy of a young man who was killed and almost immediately shops were looted and burned down. Can you imagine what people will do if the electricity doesn’t work? When their EBT cards are worthless, when the grocery store in town is empty and eventually burned down too? These people don’t have gardens or water or chickens, but you do.
I think for a very long time after a SHTF type of event, life isn’t going to be nice. People are going to inflict and have inflicted on them violence of the type we haven’t seen in our lifetimes; most of us anyway. If society devolves that badly, you will need to defend your home, your family and anything you have. If you haven’t already, I would consider purchasing firearms to keep your family safe. It could be your most important job.
Now, there will be those who say I am crazy. The world would never end like that. People will never riot and our country will go on and on forever. OK, that may be true. Worst case scenario, I am wrong and you are right. What does that mean? It means I have food stored up and the means to make more as long as needed. It also means I can collect and filter my own drinking water regardless of what happens to my cities municipal supply. It also means I have a really nice piece of metal that never gets used.
But, if I am right and you are wrong… You are dead. Which odds do you like better?
I don’t want anyone to think I am knocking the abilities of someone who can work with metal or turn leather into useable goods. I wish I could do that and can appreciate their own usefulness when the grid goes down. I just think we have years to go after any collapse for those trades to be marketable. Could you use them to survive? Sure but I don’t think they will be your jobs on main street in Little Home on the Prairie town.
What do you think?