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An Atlas of Collapse: Going Forward

An Atlas of Collapse: Going Forward

During the publication of this series, ocean temperatures continued to break daily records. Unusually strong storms have swept through the Midwest, with multiple lethal tornadoes. Houston suffered a widespread power outage during a heatwave. Dallas was hit with severe weather that likewise caused havoc and loss of power. Florida suffered a powerful heatwave. Much of India is blisteringly hot–nearly breaking records and easily exceeding human survivability. Swaths of South America have flooded, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

The Genocide in Gaza has continued unabated, despite worldwide protest and truly soul-crushing footage from out of Rafah. Biden has stated that there is no genocide, and White House spokespeople have stated that what is happening in Rafah is in accordance with Israel's stated military intentions. That this can occur, and continue, is an indictment of the morality of world leaders and an indicator of just what the United States and its allies can get away with. This may seem like it's not related to preparedness–and I genuinely think it sullies the subject of Gaza to treat it this way, but–but you should sit down with this idea for a while. Truly. Israel is ethnically cleansing Gaza. This is a genocide. It is happening today, right now, under my watch. Your watch. And this is where we all should stop and go out into the streets. But I will say this as well, as a dirty, self-serving addendum: if this can happen in Palestine, I promise you it can happen elsewhere. It can happen here.

There is no way for me to reach through this letter and grab you by the lapels, should you be wearing them, and shake you. Often I wish I could do that. Because that is the level of alertness I want from you when you read this. When I say something like AMOC is on the verge of collapsing, what I mean is that our world is a decade, hopefully more, from drastically, drastically changing for the worse. People are going to go hungry. Millions are going to flee, or try to flee, their home countries. Europe will get wildly colder while the rest of the world heats further. Some of Europe, at the same time, will dry out. There will be no Ukrainian breadbasket, if one exists by then. Food exports worldwide will start to dry up, and nations will struggle to feed their own.

This is the beginning of the end, in short. If that sounds alarmist, good. This is an alarm.

My advice for the future has not changed from previous recommendations. We need to learn to do the same things as always. If you are just starting out in your preparedness journey, and just becoming familiar with the impacts of climate change, collapse, and fascism, you start with yourself. Stock food and water to carry yourself through an acute disaster, then begin increasing your supplies until you can carry yourself and your neighbors through one, or through a longer crisis such as might occur by an H5N1 pandemic. From there, you build out your skills, you make friends with neighbors, you band together through mutual aid and dual power to supplant existing faulty power structures. It sounds easy just writing it out, but of course it's not. And of course it's not that hard, either–reaching out to people, participating in your community; these are worthwhile, often enjoyable things to do. It just so happens that these things stopped serving the powers that be, so we stopped doing them.

Updates to Preps

I'm not going to waste my time, or yours, rehashing the specifics of what you should be doing to prepare for this. Leaf back through old letters and you'll find the same lessons. I do have a little bit of personal experience to share, however.

I have recently all but maxed out my storage capacity for food and water. Up to this point, I've been buying Augason Farms freeze-dried cans(not a sponsor, nor have I cooked from them yet), which are a bit bulky but last, when stored properly, for 25 years. They are not terribly expensive, and provided you have access to water, that's a good option for food in virtual perpetuity.

I started going camping recently, and have dipped my toe into MREs. I bring them with me for an easy meal the day I'm setting up camp (in case I don't have a good fire going and get a hunger on). While getting a bulk order of actual MREs is difficult, you can get civilian rations from distributors that are high quality and calorically loaded. These MREs, by the time they get to you, are likely to only be guaranteed for a few years, but if stored properly, like all other food, they will most likely keep for several more years to come. Buying the MREs in bulk may seem like a steep price point up front, but calorically they're actually a great deal.

I find this sort of diversity of supply useful. I can pull from my stock of regular canned food to cook meals at home, I can pull from my stock of MREs when I go camping. I have cans of freeze-dried food that are supposed to last 25 years, and the rest gets rotated. It's also good to have this sort of variety in a crisis–an MRE is good to go quickly, while freeze dried food or canned goods are better suited to having some kind of a kitchen or cooking setup.

I've also switched my preferred method of storing water. I have a dozen or so of those big, bulky, thin-walled 7 gallon containers which work fine, but I bought a military-style container that holds 6 gallons and takes up much less space. They're a little more expensive, but worth it for the ergonomics alone. And while you want to have as much water as possible–which may make you lean toward a 7 gallon container over 6–that extra eight pounds is strangely unwieldy, especially when packaged like those inevitably bulbous containers.

I want to make mention, as well, of the increasing difficulties of growing food in a post-1.5C world. We had a heat dome over much of the eastern half of the US recently, and everything in my yard–garden included, did fine, did fine, did fine, then all of a sudden started withering. Trees, grass, corn, tomatoes–all of it. Everything is going to pull through, but it's worth paying keen attention.

I'll probably take a little break for a week or two, then we will come back and get at it. We've missed out on talking about the heat 5 billion of us are currently facing, Midwestern floods, and the potential for expanded Israeli aggression dragging us into open war. Brace yourselves.