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Updated: 13 hours 33 min ago

An Update on That mRNA Lettuce Research

Sat, 11/26/2022 - 06:27

In September 2021, the OP published an article about putting mRNA vaccines into lettuce. 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) had awarded a research group from UC-San Diego, UC-Riverside, and Carnegie Mellon $500,000 to investigate this potential new technology. This project had three major goals. The first was to determine whether or not DNA containing the mRNA vaccines could be delivered to plant cells. The second was if, once in the plant cells, the mRNA could replicate and produce amounts of mRNA comparable to the mRNA vaccines currently on the market. The third point of the research was, assuming mRNA could replicate in the cells, to determine the correct dosage.

The researchers claim that this project has the potential to produce mRNA vaccines that aren’t as temperature sensitive as the mRNA vaccines currently on the market. They believe that, in the long run, this has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of producing and storing mRNA vaccines because cold storage is so expensive.

At the time, a flurry of news articles about this research project was released, enough that USA Today felt the need to “fact check” the claim that people might be eating vaccines in salads.  

Those of us who were so intrigued and concerned last year may be wondering, have they made any progress? 

Is this coming to a plate near me soon? 

How concerned should I be?

UC and Carnegie Mellon have not posted any updates since last year. In the USA Today fact-checking article above, the head researcher, Dr. Juan Pablo Giraldo, admits that the technology is many years away.

“This research will take a couple of years to show proof of concept of the technology. . . If successful, it will need more studies and several more years for people to use leafy greens as mRNA vaccine factories.”  

As weird and concerning as this particular project may sound, it is important to recognize that this is only one of many kinds of vaccine development out there. And this project isn’t even aimed specifically at producing vaccines for one particular disease. The researchers are just working on a potential template for producing mRNA in general.   

Researchers believe mRNA could be used to prevent malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and cystic fibrosis. 

Human trials are being conducted to see if mRNA can be used to treat HIV, rabies, and influenza. Research is being done to see if it can be used to treat cancer. Using mRNA to treat all kinds of disease is a hot research topic right now, and producing mRNA in plants is only one little part of it.

And think about the delivery. Getting your mRNA in veggies would be a form of oral vaccination. There is one company in Israel, Oramed Pharmaceuticals, working on an oral Covid vaccine, but that has still not been approved. Research is being done on delivering a wide variety of vaccines orally, but oral vaccine delivery is generally difficult because our stomach acids can destroy so many substances.  

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There is a lot of work to be done in making effective vaccines available through food, and I don’t think this will be coming to a plate near me soon. Having said that, will I keep paying attention and growing my own produce? Yes. I see two particular areas of concern, one ecological, one philosophical.

This project has risks reminiscent of the issues surrounding GMOs. The researchers cite concerns about proper dosing. The vaccines on the market may contain 30 mcg (Pfizer’s) of mRNA or 100 mcg (Moderna’s), but none of them contain a gram. Dose matters.

Well, what happens when they start growing mRNA-containing lettuce at field scale, it bolts, and the seeds contaminate nearby farms?

It happens with other crops. GMO corn contaminates traditional corn so frequently, in fact, that the feed producer I buy from doesn’t use corn in his feed. 

Not because corn is bad for animals, but he’s certified organic, and too many of his neighbors grow conventional. 

He doesn’t feel like he could guarantee truly organic corn. Once mRNA-containing produce enters the food supply, would it be possible to get it out? 

How controllable would this really be?

People have been receiving mRNA vaccines for a while now, and they have already wound up in places they weren’t supposed to.

The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics just published a letter in September reporting finding mRNA from vaccinated mothers in their breastmilk. Considering that these vaccines have not been approved for babies under six months, and at the same time many babies under six months are still breastfeeding, I think it is safe to assume that this wasn’t anticipated.

And I need to make it clear: I’m not saying this is necessarily harmful. I’m not saying it’s part of a diabolical plan. I would just like to point out that the mRNA in these medical products has been traveling around more than the manufacturers anticipated. They come up with their recommended doses for a reason, but it’s hard to adhere to a proper dosing regimen when the substance in question becomes ubiquitous in the environment.  

However, this technology is a long way off. I understand why people would get so concerned at the thought of eating mRNA without realizing it, but it looks like the possibility of that is still many years away. And $500,000 is not a huge grant. I think if this was more immediately feasible, they would be throwing more money at it.

(Want to learn how to preserve the GMO-free food you grow? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

My more immediate concern is philosophical.

The researchers claim that the big push behind this is to lower the cost of vaccines. Okay. But they’re also claiming that maybe one day you can “Grow and Eat Your Own Vaccines?” You can’t ignore the fact that they’re trying to make vaccine uptake as easy as possible, and this is where my other concern comes in: the nonstop pushing of medical procedures.

I’m not going to speculate on this other than to say that it’s a colossal money train for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. I’ve mentioned above that $500,000 is not a huge grant. You know what is? $20 million. 

Next to that kind of money, half a million is chump change. It’s peanuts. 

And there is currently more than $20 million available in grant money through the Mercury Project to people finding ways to build vaccine demand.

Situational awareness is vital to prepping.

I’ve been growing my own lettuce for years, not out of fear but because I wanted to save money. It gave me some peace of mind after the E. coli outbreaks in grocery store lettuce. If this technology does become practicable, I’ll have even more peace of mind regarding my personal food choices. Growing your own food is great for your wallet, great for your health, and great for your peace of mind. You know where your food comes from, and over time you gain the well-earned confidence of someone with a useful skill.

However, the real battleground isn’t in our fridge or on our plate. It’s in our minds. That’s where the real money is being spent, on getting us to demand certain things.  

Wanting good health is not unreasonable, but the same advice as always still stands: practice good hygiene, avoid processed food, monitor your weight, and exercise, preferably in a way that also gives you some vitamin D.  

Pursue well-being to the best of your ability, but in the meantime, pay attention to how you are being marketed to. Ask yourself what you really need. If someone is trying to sell you something—anything—find out who benefits. 

I hate to sound so cynical.

I certainly wasn’t raised to be so distrustful. But then again, when I was a kid, you could sue vaccine manufacturers. 

That changed in the 1980s. The world is changing rapidly. We need to pay attention to where financial pressure is being exerted. We need to make sure we aren’t getting mindlessly swept into the next current thing.

It’s obvious that, right now, immense financial pressure is being applied to increase demand for medical interventions. We can see that there is a lot of money to be made. Other than that, we can’t assume negative intent. But we also can’t assume that the rich and powerful are completely altruistic. We need to pay attention to our surroundings, educate ourselves to the best of our abilities, and do our best to be responsible for our own health.    

What are your thoughts? Are you concerned about unknowingly digging into a heaping dish of MRNA? What do you think about the inclusion of these kinds of things in food? Let’s discuss this below.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

The post An Update on That mRNA Lettuce Research appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The 2023 Official USB of the Apocalypse PRE-SALE

Fri, 11/25/2022 - 06:47

Censorship.

It’s not going away. In fact, it’s on the uptick, but slowly, subtly and I’d argue, more insidiously for the false facade.

This website has been defunded and denounced in the past. Somehow, teaching people to prepare and pointing out the dangers in modern society is a point of controversy.

We’ve watched as other websites were banished from social media outlets, delisted by Google, and outright de-platformed. We are undertaking every effort to make sure that if something happens that is outside our control, YOU have access to all of our content, all the way back to 2012, when this website first began.

You can never lose access to The Organic Prepper website, no matter what happens, with your Official USB of the Apocalypse!

That’s why we’re offering The Organic Prepper USB with every single bit of our content from the first day the website began in 2012 through the very last day of 2022. You can pre-order your USB, to be mailed out in February, for just $99 this weekend only. After this weekend, the price will go up to $250 to get more than 3000 preparedness and current events articles on a handy USB drive that fits neatly in your wallet.

Go here to pre-order the new 2023 release of USB of the Apocalpyse today:  https://selfrelianceandsurvival.com/product/the-organic-prepper-usb-archive/

Supplies are extremely limited.

PS: If you got your USB last year, watch your inbox later today for a special offer to get a digital download with this year’s update!

The post The 2023 Official USB of the Apocalypse PRE-SALE appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The Black Friday Digital Supersale

Fri, 11/25/2022 - 06:29

Times are tough and money is tight! We’re revisiting our SuperSale prices for Black Friday. Shop today to get our digital products at ROCK BOTTOM prices!

I know that many of you get paid on the first of the month. If there is a purchase you want to make but you can’t afford it until then, make a note of the product and price. Then, drop us a line on the first at hello@theorganicprepper.com and we’ll give you a coupon so you can still receive the sale price.

Here’s our list of products. Click on what you’d like to be taken to our store at SelfRelianceandSurvival.com. That’s where you’ll find the descriptions and be able to make your purchase. If you have any issues, drop us a line at hello@theorganicprepper.com – please remember we are a small organization and today is a busy one, so be patient. We promise to honor these prices until any problem is resolved.

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If you’re shopping on Amazon today, please consider visiting the site through this link:

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We’ll earn a small commission from your purchase at no additional cost to you. Win-win!

Happy Shopping!

Thank you for supporting The Organic Prepper!

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Comparison, The Thief of Joy

Thu, 11/24/2022 - 07:41
By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices

 

I woke up with a start

Because today, it was the day!

Turkey, corn, taters too

And I’d just like to say

 

My attitude quickly soured

As I walked down the stairs

For as I walked amongst the preps

All stacked deep in layers

 

“I need more cans. This radio’s old.”

“And I’ve got to have more books!”

“Look at this old charcoal.”

“I still hope it cooks!”

 

“This Kelly Kettle has a ding.”

“This battery? Probably dead.”

“And I’ll be too when it’s post-apoc”

“Unless I buy more lead!”

 

“These med supplies, they’re not legit.”

“Just stuff from Dollar Store”

“The fancy stuff is where it’s at”

So I tossed them on the floor.

 

All these preps, all this stuff

But these thoughts were in my mind

Sure, yeah, it was cool.

But my stash was way behind.

 

“My buddy has more. This isn’t enough!”

“And I lost my old bee hive!”

“If I don’t pick up all this slack”

“My family won’t survive!”

 

“Look at these guys on Youtube!”

“Think of my buddy, Bob.”

“They’ve got more ammo, food, and guns.”

“And they make me feel a slob.”

 

“They’ve shelves and bins, a storage room”

“That must’ve cost eight grand.”

“If you cannot match Pinterest”

“If it’s not name brand”

 

“Then are you really prepping?”

“Or just collecting junk?”

My dissatisfaction with it all

Had put me in a funk

 

My new knife wasn’t cool as Bob’s

To his, mine was just a toy

Comparison had snuck on in

It is the thief of joy

 

I hopped into my truck

Just to get out. Clear my head.

Drove through the morning fog

Might pick up a loaf of bread.

 

I wandered through the backroads

The chill air whipping by

Upset with all I didn’t have

Falling for a lie

 

The grocery store was open

The clerks weren’t happy there

I was off and they were not

To them, it wasn’t fair.

 

Then as I drove out the lot

A tent, nestled among trees

An old man was sitting there

Trying not to freeze

 

His beard was grizzled as his face

A weather-beaten man

His clothes were falling all apart

And his skin was leather tan

 

I continued driving on

Somewhat shocked by what I saw

There’d been more homeless

Than there were last fall

 

I stopped to get a little gas

That truck can drink it down

Pulled into an open pump

Beside a car rust brown

 

“Daddy! Daddy! Candy here!”

“We go in? Pretty plee?

The kid beside me asked his dad

He must’ve been ’bout three

 

I watched his dad watch that pump

A grim look on his face

Candy’s just a dollar

But he said, “Not at this pace.”

 

Then he looked down at his son

Got down on one knee

Put a hand upon his shoulder

Said, “Listen now, to me.”

 

“Work’s been pretty rough of late.”

My job may be on the line.”

“Your momma’s doctor bills came in.”

“And then there’s the W-9.”

 

“We’re not getting candy now.”

“Cuz the money’s pretty tight.”

His son had twenty questions

But first he said, “Alright.”

 

My truck was filled up now

The pump gave off a ‘click’

I hopped on in, heading back

Beginning to feel sick.

 

I drove off in the fog

Down the winding, Southern road

The wind blew through the window

Someone’s rooster crowed

 

Lights ahead in the fog

Made me squint and wonder what

Was casting that eerie glow

Off the side, down in the rut.

 

I slowed down to a crawl

Creeping closer when

I noticed it was a car

Upside down and in

 

The bottom of that ditch

Steam came up from the front

No one else was around

And a tree did take the brunt

 

Of the impact of where that car had hit

It was bent around it well

I stopped the truck, jumped on out

I ran hard, but fell

 

Landing face-down in the ditch

Beside that upended car

A mouthful of leaves as I looked up

To see I wasn’t far

 

From a mom hanging upside down

Still strapped to her seat

I don’t know how I missed before

But I could hear the bleat

 

Of a little baby in the back

Strapped into her special chair

“Ma’am! Ma’am! Are you alright!”

I hollered at her blank stare

 

“A…a…a deer.”

Was all that she could say

“I’m here now, don’t you worry!”

As she unbuckled, crawled my way.

 

“My baby,” were the first words said

When she laid upon the leaves

Blood came from her nose.

Blood was on her sleeves.

 

I crawled into the car

Towards the screaming little girl

Tears streamed down her tiny face

Her brown hair liked to curl

 

Unbuckling the car seat

I gently got her out

Gave her to her mama

But then I had a doubt

 

That I could phone for help this far

Cell reception here’s real sad

But a cop car pulled by just right then

Saw the wreck, knew that it was bad

 

He ran on down the hill

Radioed to his dispatch.

I stayed until the ambulance came

And opened the back latch.

 

Mother-daughter disappeared

In the back of the ambulance

Sirens blazing it roared off

As I stood there in a trance.

 

Questions came then from the cop

He needed all the facts

I gave them to him again, again

“Thanks,” said Sheriff Max

 

Climbing back into my truck

Dumbfounded by what I’d seen

Was the momma gonna be alright?

And the baby! You can’t careen

 

Out of the way for one stupid deer

Mom, what were you thinking?

These thoughts filled my head as I drove

My heart, my heart was sinking

 

I pulled into my driveway

Opened up the door

Walked into the living room

Sat down on the floor

 

Turned on the TV

I just needed noise

Drown out all these thoughts

So I can regain poise

 

The news was the first channel

I just left it there

A Chinese defector, pleading,

Don’t make here be there!

 

I couldn’t take it all

The TV was too much

I turned everything off

I didn’t need that crutch

 

Then the irony of that morning

Hit me in the throat

After all that I’d just witnessed

Did I miss the boat?

 

My job was always steady

I sat here in the heat

A holiday for me today

A fridge filled up with meat

 

I arrived home in one piece

My truck was running fine

I’m American, gosh darnit

Weren’t these blessings mine?

 

To get wrapped up in the

“Oh no, this ain’t good enough.”

“This gear is all outdated”

“There’s not nearly enough stuff.”

 

Made me look deeper at my heart

What was wrong with me?

A basement full of preps

The land of the free

 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with prepping

Or bettering your lot

But the lack of contentment

Was what made me feel like snot

 

This Thanksgiving is finally here

A day to not get down

Because if you’re feeling envious

Just take a look around.

 

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

The post Comparison, The Thief of Joy appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Join Us Here for an Online Friendsgiving!

Wed, 11/23/2022 - 16:44

There’s no way around it: this Thanksgiving is different for a lot of us this year. Due to the economic crisis, some far-flung families can’t afford to get together. Others can’t swing the traditional feast and they’re dialing it back.

Other families have lost people over the years, whether to Covid or another cause, and there are heart-breakingly empty seats at the dinner table. Still others simply have nobody to share the day with for any of a number of reasons.

Because of this, I thought we could do a little online OP Friendsgiving. We have such a lovely community of people here from so many different backgrounds. The conversations are enlightening and ever-interesting. Why not “get together?” here?

I realize this isn’t a substitute for truly being with the people you love, but I hope it helps the day go by a little more easily, just knowing that someone out here cares about you. We’ll be keeping this post front and center on Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day.

I’m going to post a bit about our Thanksgiving and a couple of recipes to get things started, and the things I’m grateful for this year. Please take a moment in the comments to do the same if you feel so moved. And let other commenters know that they’re not alone.

Here’s what we’re eating.

Prices were high this year, so my family and I decided to do a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. I’m making all sorts of tasty Mexican dishes and a lot of it actually is coming right from my pantry. Here’s the menu:

  • Piccadillo enchiladas
  • Green chile and tomatillo chicken
  • Rice
  • Refried beans
  • Fresh-made salsa
  • Veggies and dip

For dessert we’re going with:

  • Baked apples
  • Bunuelos
  • Churros
  • Vanilla ice cream

It’s not the traditional turkey and stuffing and pie, but it’s sure to be delicious and greatly enjoyed. Also BONUS – nearly everything was made ahead of time and just needed to be popped into the oven.

Update: Here’s our feast:

Picadillo Enchiladas

Please remember I’m terrible at measuring and tend to cook by “feel” more than by recipe. But the instructions below should give you enough to go on. Feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your own likes and dislikes.

When I lived in Mexico, I was kind of surprised that the only canned veggies I could easily find were mixed vegetables and corn. Once I tried picadillo, I completely understood why they liked canned mixed veggies so much. A friend there brought me some picadillo stew when I had Covid and I unlocked the world of picadillo. Leftover stew or a version with just a bit of tomato sauce instead of a giant can of tomatoes and broth is used to stuff burritos, enchiladas and just as a one-dish meal.

Maria never gave me a specific recipe, but this is how she showed me to make it. It seems like a ton of work but it’s really not bad at all.

Picadillo Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 cans of mixed veggies (the kind with potatoes)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • Cumin, chili powder, salt, seasoning salt, and oregano to taste
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, fry up your ground beef, garlic, and onion until the meat is cooked through. I prefer to get it a little bit brown because I like the texture better. When it’s almost done, season it with cumin, chili powder, and salt.
  2. While the meat is cooking, drain two cans of mixed veggies. I usually sit a sieve in a bowl for this.
  3. Remove the cooked meat mixture from your skillet and immediately put in your mixed veggies. Stir them up in the beef drippings. (I never said this was healthy, right?)
  4. Fry the veggies for about 10 minutes until they’re nicely browned. Season them with salt and oregano.
  5. When the veggies are done, stir in your meat mixture and your tomato sauce. Remove it from the heat and let it sit while you work on your enchilada sauce.

Enchilada sauce ingredients:

I always keep canned enchilada sauce in my preps. It’s a tasty and flavorful way to cook up ordinary food and add some zip to it. So, while I do know how to make it from scratch and you’re welcome to do so, this recipe uses a canned sauce.

  • 1 large can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream (if you were cooking this solely from the pantry, you could use some dry milk powder instead, but in good times the sour cream is very worthwhile)

Directions:

  • You can cook this and thicken it and play around with it but I’ve found that merely stirring it up together with a whisk is quite sufficient.
  • The sugar: you may be wondering why there’s sugar in this. Sometimes canned enchilada sauce is a wee bit bitter. The sugar offsets this. You can also use baking soda, apparently, but I’ve never tried that.

Making the enchiladas:

  1. You’ll need 1-2 bags of large flour tortillas for this dish, and I generally use a cake pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375.
  3. Add a splash of your enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of your pan. This will prevent your enchiladas from sticking.
  4. Place a tortilla in the palm of your hand to form sort of a “bowl.” Scoop two serving spoons of filling into your tortilla.
  5. Fold the end of the tortilla up to keep your filling inside, then roll it up as tightly as you can, making it sort of like a burrito. Add it, seam side down, to your baking dish.
  6. Roll up all your enchiladas and stuff ’em into the pan as tightly as you can get them.
  7. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then cover your baking dish with foil. I like to tent the foil so it doesn’t touch the top of my enchiladas.
  8. Put the baking dish on a cookie sheet – it WILL bubble over and this will save you a mess in your oven.
  9. Pop it into the oven for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and put it back in for another 10 until the top is bubbly and slightly browned.

If you want, you can add some cheese to the top at the very end, but I promise, it’s super delicious without it.

Aden contributed a Thanksgiving poem for preppers.

Aden wrote the most beautiful poem that I have to share with you. As a prepper, it will really hit home. It’s called Comparison, The Thief of Joy. He’s so creative.

What I’m grateful for this year

This has been a personally difficult year. We’ve lost a couple of loved ones and that’s always hard. But, eventually, you get back to living and things start looking up.

I’m incredibly grateful for my family. My girls and I have such a beautiful relationship and it’s a priceless treasure. The fact that they are adults (22 and 27) and they still want to talk to their mom nearly every day just brings a glow to my heart every time I hear the phone ring.

My sweet dog Thor is nearing the end of his days, but he is loyal, loving, and a dear friend. I would have been lost without him after our other dog passed away.

I have very few friends. But the ones I do have…holy cow. They’re just incredible. They’re so supportive, so loving, and so encouraging. It seems like no matter what I’m dealing with or how “crazy” my latest idea sounds, they are there with suggestions, love, and cheerleading. They even tolerate my quirky need for solitude with unrelenting affection. They’ve got my back every step of the way. Y’all know who you are!

I have the most amazing readers in the Bloggerdom. My work is such a privilege. I know everybody says this but I really never expected to be a blogger with lots of readers. The fact that I’ve gotten to know such a wonderful, supportive, and caring community through the work that I do is a gift that constantly amazes me. I’m going into my 11th year of blogging on The OP and I feel endless gratitude that you all help me do what I love every single day. I always wanted to write, and your visits to my website make that possible. How could I get any luckier than this? You guys mean the world to me.

I know I should probably have some material things to list here, but honestly, it’s the ones I love who make the list for me.

What about you?

What’s a dish that you make every Thanksgiving without fail? Would you share the recipe with us in the comments? Is there a story behind the recipe? If so please tell us!

What are you grateful for this year? What makes your heart sing? Let’s talk about it.

And if you are struggling, tell us. Hopefully, a burden shared is a lighter burden.

That being said, we here at the OP love our readers and we’re so glad that we can provide information and entertainment to you.

The post Join Us Here for an Online Friendsgiving! appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The US Pledges “Climate Reparations” to Other Countries While Americans Freeze and Become Homeless

Tue, 11/22/2022 - 05:04
Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

More people than ever are facing dire circumstances, and we’re just getting started with this economic disaster. And what is our government doing?

Why, they’re giving our money away.

To other countries, no less.

The U.S. government agreed to pay “climate reparations.”

But the plight of our own countrymen seems to be less important than those in other countries affected by climate change. The United States has just agreed to pay up to a billion dollars to poor countries for “climate reparations.” As per an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal:

The use of climate policy to soak Americans keeps getting worse, and the United Nation’s climate conference in Egypt ended this weekend with agreement on a new fund to pay reparations to poor countries. Welcome to the latest climate shakedown.

The 2015 Paris accord suggested rich countries compensate poor countries for climate damage—the rationale being that industrialization has increased temperatures and led to natural disasters. Poor countries finally forced discussion of a formal mechanism to pay climate reparations onto this year’s U.N. conference agenda.

…on Thursday Europe abandoned the U.S. by proposing a deal, and Mr. Kerry rolled over.

Wealthy countries will now set up a fund to cover climate damage for the least developed countries—i.e., not China or middle-income nations. This will be financed from “a broad donor base” and “mosaic of solutions,” such as international development banks and taxes on aviation, shipping and fossil fuels.

Some reports suggest that the US will be on the hook for up to a billion dollars. In October, it was reported that the total amount due would be $4.3 trillion.

That’s the sum the US and other major carbon polluters will face at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt next month.

Well, other polluters except for China.

China is not contributing jack sh*t. It’s essential to note that out of all the polluters in the world, China is the worst offender, creating 30% of the world’s carbon emissions.

Yet, they’re exempt from this outrageous bill. Not one thin dime shall they pay. I’m not a fan of China’s dystopian policies and government, but at least they aren’t causing shortages and suffering in their own country in order to virtue signal how green they are.

In the end, it’s just the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Says the WSJ:

Countries might also shake down U.S. fossil-fuel producers in their own courts. Climate reparations will merely serve as another form of global income redistribution. The Biden Administration’s surrender shows again that the religion of climate change is progressive penance for the sin of being prosperous.

In doing this, they ignore the plight of everyday Americans who can’t afford to run their heat or keep their homes.

Meanwhile, Americans are truly suffering.

We’ve repeatedly discussed the effects our current economic crisis is having on Americans. We talked about how they’re skipping meals and how they can’t afford medical care. We’ve been warning for years that they are struggling to meet their most basic needs. We live in a nation that destroyed itself during the Covid pandemic and has left its people hanging out to dry, with no jobs, no money, and no hope.

This isn’t some abstract concept about the planet.

This is real. And it’s happening to folks in our own communities.

Read these personal statements about how the economy is crushing Americans.

Here’s how the economy is affecting housing.

Sheba Everett is a single mother living in Durham, North Carolina, an area that is facing massive increases in the cost of living due to new companies coming to the region. Lower-income people are rapidly being displaced. She works full-time as a teacher with multiple side gigs to keep a roof over the heads of herself and her daughters. They were making ends meet until she got an eviction notice. A local newspaper shared her story:

The September eviction letter caught them by surprise, she said, even though all the annual leases were converted in the last two years to month-to-month leases. Everett asked about it in March when her lease changed and said she was told it was to help tenants struggling in the post-pandemic economy. Now, everyone is in dire straits, trying to find affordable housing when the only units available are condemned or too small, she said.

“It will be three years in March (since they moved into their current home), so the prices were still somewhat reasonable (before), and so I tried to find something similar, and it’s just like double the price, so there’s just no way I can survive or stay in Durham or any of that.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, and I tried to get a loan to buy a house. Actually, in my neighborhood that I grew up in, I found a house — a five-bedroom house; it was (roughly) 1,400 square feet — in my old neighborhood that I grew up in; I was ecstatic. It was $300,000 (but) I didn’t get approved for enough to buy that house. We’re basically stuck right now. … I just couldn’t believe I’m a teacher, and I can’t afford to even live in the neighborhood that I grew up in.

I’ve reached out to the housing agencies, but since we’re in a crisis right now — one of the worst that we’ve seen in our lifetime — they’re backed up. I am one of many numbers. I’ve gotten on a couple of waiting lists, and even those things, they definitely will keep a roof over our head, but it’s not anything that actually fits my family’s needs. It’ll keep us from being homeless.

I’ll work five jobs and pay for a super-expensive place where I literally can barely breathe, but I can’t uproot my children from their home without giving it my all, because like I said, it’s way more than just a house.

As a single mom myself, I know exactly how difficult it is to have to uproot your children in the midst of financial problems. It’s heartbreaking to see them suffer because of money. When you don’t have much money, a home is the one thing that you strive to provide, no matter what.  Losing that security is almost unbearable.

(Disaster comes in many forms. Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to better understand the four levels it can reach.)

Here’s how the economy is affecting utilities.

The high cost of energy is causing exorbitant heat bills as we move into winter.

As the first frigid weather of autumn chills the Northeast, many people are faced with a tough decision: deal with the surging costs of heating their homes or live without it.

Home heating prices are skyrocketing yet again this winter, up 18% nationwide on top of last year’s 17% spike, according to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA).

Charmaine Johnson works in the call center at Philadelphia’s Heater Hotline, part of a non-profit that assists low-income families with their heating systems and bills. Johnson, 63, can relate to the concerns she’s hearing all day. She, too, is struggling to afford her heating bills…

…Johnson says she doesn’t qualify for government assistance with her heating bills. As inflation also pushes up her food budget and other expenses, she is bundling up and keeping the heat turned down, hoping to stretch that oil for as long as possible.

“It’s miserable,” she said. “It’s like living in an igloo.”

The elderly and children are the most likely to suffer when folks can’t afford to turn their heat to a reasonable level. Some senior citizens living on fixed incomes are talking about keeping their thermostats at a nippy 50-55 degrees.

It doesn’t matter how you heat, this year, you are going to pay more. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that:

…heating a home with natural gas will cost an extra 25% this winter, and heating with electric will run 11% higher. The steepest hike will be on heating oil, which is expected to be 45% more expensive than last winter, squeezing roughly 5 million households, mostly in the Northeast.

Many of our most vulnerable citizens are facing a long cold winter.

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But by all means, let’s stash a billion dollars or so in a fund for other countries.

Imagine what we could do with a billion dollars here at home. Imagine the people who could be fed, housed, and sheltered. Sure, it wouldn’t solve all of our problems. It wouldn’t undo the damage done to our economy by disastrous lockdown policies.

But wouldn’t it be better to help the folks at home before pledging tons of money to others?

I don’t hate other countries. I don’t hate poor countries. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the world, and I want to see other countries be prosperous too. But it cannot come at the expense of our own people, who have paid tax after tax after tax but still can’t turn their heat above 5o degrees in the winter.

Is it just me? Do you feel that this is a terrible use of American money, or do you think it’s a good call? If you could decide where to distribute a billion dollars as a government official, where would you direct it? And how the heck does China get off scot-free?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post The US Pledges “Climate Reparations” to Other Countries While Americans Freeze and Become Homeless appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

How to Grow Your Own Mushrooms With Sawdust Blocks

Mon, 11/21/2022 - 06:07

If you’re looking to bump up your food production during the winter months, why not consider learning how to grow mushrooms with sawdust blocks? This is a fun and easy means of putting some extra food on the table even when nothing is growing outside. Want to learn more? Read on.

Why sawdust?

Mushrooms are commonly cultivated on a supplemented sawdust substrate that’s been made into blocks. Many, many species can be grown in this way, from oysters to lion’s mane to shiitake and more. Our mushroom course gives one recipe along with instructions for making these blocks, and I’ve learned a few finer points along the way. I’ll discuss those points in this article. 

With respect to recipes, there are quite a few out there. The one given in our course is pretty standard: oak pellets + wheat bran + water = supplemented sawdust block. Stamets adds gypsum to his; one teaspoon per 5-pound block. Gypsum is a metabolism enhancer, much analogous to humans drinking caffeine.

Another recipe tweak is using what’s called Master Mix, aka Fast Fruiting Mix. This is 50% oak pellets and 50% soy hulls, available in bulk from stores such as Mushroom Media Online. Having worked with both, I find the fast fruiting mix worthwhile. Remember, mushroom mycelia don’t compete well with contaminating organisms. Therefore, the more quickly the substrate is colonized, the less chance of mold settling in. Using a fast-fruiting recipe and some food-grade gypsum can give your species the edge. Heavy inoculation of your substrate can also help. 

How we make our bags matters.

In addition to having a good recipe, there’s a matter of technique. Plan ahead: do you intend to inoculate using grain spawn or liquid culture? If the latter, then you can try pre-sealing the bags before sterilizing them. Be aware that the bags can burst during this process, however!

My research showed about half of the posters reported bursting, and half were fine. I use 6-micrometer thick bags and pack them tightly in my canner, so I’ve been fine. Fold your bag such that the filter is on the inside of the fold and won’t be submerged in water.

Those jar rings I use to keep my bags from direct contact with the bottom of my canner have been oxidizing and making an ugly mess! I don’t want any of that in contact with my substrate. Thankfully it scrubs well between uses.

Also, be sure to deflate your bag as much as possible while folding.

You’ll re-inflate at the point of inoculation so the mycelia will have the oxygen they need to grow and make mushrooms. 

A standard food sealer such as a Nesco or Food Saver will work well to seal bags, whether it’s done before sterilization or after. Wipe the inside of the bag so it’s clean of those sawdust crumbs that happen. I use a paper towel sprayed with alcohol. Also, dry plastic seals better than wet. I have my sealer set to Extended Seal. While rubber bands can work to close your bag, I find this works better. 

Self-healing ports can be anything from a piece of micropore tape to a fancy reusable rubber gizmo similar to what’s used in a specialized lid. I prefer the simple route myself. Be aware, however, that the humidity inside of your tent will likely dislodge a lesser glue, giving contamination a way in. Done this, been there. Use tape with a good glue and cover your injection site with the same. Silicone will also work, but you’ll have to wait 24-36 hours for it to set before use. If you’re flush with cash and don’t mind the expense, bags with ports are available from several sources.

If you’re planning to inoculate from spawn, you’ll need to leave the bag open during sterilization. One thing you can try if you’re doing everything right but still having a problem is a Tyvek sleeve. These are available on eBay in several sizes and fairly cheaply. They look and feel like thick coated paper. Put them on top of your block inside of the bag before sterilization. The rationale is that anything entering your bag when you open for inoculation will hit the sleeve, therefore not embedding into your substrate. Be sure to remove the sleeve within your still air box before inoculating your bag. And yes, they’re reusable. I rinse mine off and store them once dry with the rest of my small items. 

(How do you survive a winter storm? Will you know what to do? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to learn more.)

Inoculation is an art form.

Ah, inoculation! The art of introducing the desired species to substrate that’s also a major point where contamination can be introduced. It can happen even while using a still air box. This is why I wipe all of my surfaces with either alcohol or bleach repeatedly, including between bag inoculations. I also leave my bags in the canner until I’m ready to inoculate. Remember: hot substrate will kill your mycelia. I leave my bags to cool inside the sealed canner overnight. A thermogun is also helpful. 

There are two ways to inoculate: liquid culture and grain spawn. If you followed my instructions and made your own master cultures, you’re in a great position to use liquid culture. This is one way to lower the odds of contamination: just inject via the self-healing port, tape it over, and watch the bag colonize. Be aware that it’s still possible for bags inoculated in this way to become contaminated, however. Too high humidity in your Martha tent or mold endemic to that area can and will do it.

Done this, been there. In fact, for a time, every one of the ten bags I made became contaminated. It happened so fast I thought that spontaneous generation wasn’t so debunked after all! It turned out that both too-high humidity and endemic contamination were at fault. I now bleach out my tent regularly, about once per month, and adjust the humidity to 75%. I have four species fruiting as of this writing, and they’re delicious! I tend to inoculate heavily, using 5-10 ml of culture. The culture won’t last forever anyway, so it might as well be used, especially if you can give your desired organism an edge. 

Inoculating from spawn most definitely needs to be done in a still air box. Video instructions for doing that are contained within the course. Stamets also shows this being done in his book. Basically, just shake the spawn into the bag, then seal the bag.

I find it helpful to use a sanitized butter knife to break up the spawn before shaking, as I find the spawn inside of the jar becomes a tight mass during colonization. Have an alcohol wipe or paper towel soaked with alcohol inside of your box. I wipe my blade between uses, even in the same jar, and wipe the spawn jar lid and upper jar area before closing if I haven’t used all of the spawn. Because still air boxes are small, I inoculate one bag at a time and sanitize everything between bags. 

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So that’s it!

A few practical tips for making and inoculating your own supplemented sawdust blocks. Who says gardening can’t happen during a subzero winter!

Do you grow mushrooms yourself? Have you learned a few things along the way? If you’re not growing mushrooms, what’s stopping you? Do you have questions? Please share your tips or ask in the comments below! 

About Amy Allen

Amy Allen is a professional bookworm and student of Life, the Universe, and Everything. She’s also a Master Gardener with a BS in biology, and has been growing food on her small urban lot since 2010.

The post How to Grow Your Own Mushrooms With Sawdust Blocks appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

SELCO: If You’re Broke, Remember, The Most Important Preps Don’t Cost Money

Sat, 11/19/2022 - 06:34
By the author of The Dark Secrets of Survival and  the online courseOne Year in Hell

I read the latest statistics here about inflation, salaries, expenses, and whatnot.

In a bunch of information, I read one of the most interesting statistics for me, and it is info that people here spend around 45 percent of (average) salary on food only. And it is like very essential food, not fancy or dining out.

Statistics are a funny thing, so it makes sense also to mention that majority of folks get much less than the average salary. But there is also a percentage of people (politicians, and others on the government ‘tit’) who receive salaries 5-6 times larger than the common folks. So “average salary“ is a funny number actually.

But, statistics work that way.

You do not have to be a mathematic wizard to realize (based on these numbers) that a huge number of people are struggling every month to cover expenses only for food, and covering anything else is like science fiction for them.

Those are folks who work and got some salary for it.

The unemployment rate goes from 30 to 50 percent, depending on who you ask –  government or nongovernment sources.

So, there are a lot of hungry people here. The government and statistics do not mention them.

I am not sure about the numbers in your region and the place where you live, but I am positive that there are no good numbers anywhere today, only bad numbers and statistics.

Everyone everywhere is struggling.

Where are preppers in all of this?

I see us through the prism of two important things:

1.) What to do (from the physical side of things)

2.) What to do (from the psychological side)

The physical side

This is clearly a time when you need carefully to think about what you are doing with your own money. Actually that time is here for quite a while already.

Also, this is a time when you carefully need to think and re-think something that I mentioned many times, and that is necessity vs. comfort (luxury).

You as a prepper should know what is really necessary and essential and you should aim for that. These are not times to throw money away on not necessary things.

Keep in mind that the survival industry is also a selling industry, so no matter how something in the Preppersphere looks cool for you to buy, you need to think twice about whether you are going to buy it. Because maybe you can find it for free somewhere, and also keep in mind that buying prepper stuff just to get peace of mind usually only lasts for a short amount of time.

Choose carefully.

On the other side, I do not necessarily advocate sitting on your money (if you have some amount).

In times like these holding a certain amount of money for quick solutions when SHTF makes sense, and for regular expenses while there are still regular expenses. BUT if you are sitting on a bigger amount of money maybe it is time to invest it in something that is more “shielded” against troubles.

(How can you get your food preps better squared away? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to learn more.)

Remember that the best preps do not require money.

Since many of us live from paycheck to paycheck if we are lucky enough to have job-we do not have the “troubles” of handling larger amounts of money.

If you are asking yourself, “what can I do these days? I can not afford to invest anything in my prepping?“ then remember that best preps do not require money.

The best preps are skills and plans. Start with those that are free, if you are beyond those steps then go back and again.

  • Recheck your plans and strategies, stashes, and preps…for example go again through your plans about what to do if the SHTF, how and with who. Go through it with your family, and simply do it in the spirit of the latest events worldwide. Maybe you did not plan for something that is happening now. Talk and discuss and work on your plans.
  • Test and retest. There is nothing like bringing it as close as possible to the real stuff, so after you went through the steps mentioned above, and noticed or not changes, do exercises like going through the bug-out route, or testing how fast and when you can meet with your family members if something bad happens. Simply check what works and what does not work with your equipment.
  • Learn… Yes, there is still time to learn stuff, and yes there is lot of stuff that is actually free. Invest time in learning new skills that you find useful for the coming SHTF.
  • Exercise. I know it is easier to say than to do, but it is free. Work on your fitness. You’ll be thankful for it one day.
The psychological side

There is a local saying here from one of the public figures that goes like this (paraphrasing):

“Daily problems about politics, hate. and the nation’s problems are for the people with very low income. People who have a bit better income discuss nice furniture, gardens, and similar. People with average income discuss healthy food, nice living, etc. Folks who have very good income talk only about love and highly spiritual things.”

The message of this is that if you are living normal and wealthy life you do not give s..t about hate, problems, fear and similar or you simply discuss those topics from the point of philosophy.

If you are very poor, or hungry, you live in fear and you can be easily manipulated and driven into hate, rage, and all the bad stuff.
You are dependent and you can easily be manipulated by a lot of things, with promises or fear.

Guess what? There are more and more poor and hungry people, and there is more and more manipulation, hate, promises, and fear. So, as a result, there are a lot of bad things possible to happen, since in my opinion there is a larger mass to be manipulated.

You may be saying it is not true from the point that lot of wealthy people are into hate and wrong things. But the point of the saying is basically, are you dependent and scared?

Now, what you as a prepper could do?

You need to keep that common sense and healthy judgment. Don’t allow yourself to be led in the wrong direction and manipulated.

No matter how times are bad, how low is your salary, or how big are the promises, you, as a prepper in your own core need to be free to judge not based on fear, but on facts and information that you collected alone.

Otherwise, what’s the point of being a prepper or survivalist?

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What are your thoughts?

Do you agree with the saying that Selco mentioned about how the people who are more desperate are the easiest to manipulate with hate and fear?

How are you proceeding with preparedness if money is tight? What can we do when we can’t afford to buy preps?

Let’s talk about this in the comments.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. 

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard, and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

The post SELCO: If You’re Broke, Remember, The Most Important Preps Don’t Cost Money appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Will Russia Attack Germany for Aiding Ukraine with Weapons Maintenance and Training?

Fri, 11/18/2022 - 06:13
By the author of The Complete Ham Radio Technician License Cartoon Study Guide

Germany has just created a maintenance hub within the nation of Slovakia to perform work on weapons coming out of the Ukrainian War. These weapons are predominantly going to be howitzers and anti-aircraft systems that have been supplied to Ukraine via the West.

According to German Defense Minister, Christine Lambrecht, a member of the Social Democratic Party, “We have reached [an] agreement, and work can start immediately so that all the equipment which has been supplied can be repaired after coming out of battle.”

Christine Lambrecht. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

She also added that Germany is planning to train 5000 Ukrainian soldiers within Germany’s borders by the end of June as part of a European Union training exercise.

Back in March 2022, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the world that anybody transporting weapons to Ukraine would be viewed as a legitimate military targetHe stated, “We clearly said that any cargo moving into the Ukrainian territory which we would believe is carrying weapons would be fair game.”

Sergei Lavrov on the right.

Keeping Sergei Lavrov’s threat/warning in mind, this means that Russia could most certainly view an attack against German soil or buildings as being a valid military action. The German weapon maintenance hub would most certainly be viewed as cargo in transit, and there is a very good possibility that a facility that was explicitly training Ukrainian soldiers with the view of returning to fight Russians could be viewed in the same manner.

We do know that Ukrainian infrastructure is currently being targeted.

Power and water supplies throughout the nation are being destroyed via air strikes, and it’s been stated these are suicide drones that are accomplishing this. This leaves Ukrainians without a form of light or heat as winter sets in.

This is relevant in that Germany is already facing a similar problem. If actively targeting civilian infrastructure is now fair play, the same could be used to devastating effect in Germany, a nation that already has a history of heavy reliance on Russia for fuel. Last year, Germany received 55% of its gas from Russia. As of July 2022, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany was strangled to 20% of its capacity due to alleged equipment repairs.

Germany has since mandated that public buildings not exceed 66 degrees Fahrenheit this winter, there’s a severe firewood shortage there, and at the moment, German sources are predicting that 400 Germans will die within 96 hours of a power outage there.

(What would you eat if a power outage hit your area? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide for some great advice.)

If Germany provokes Russia with these weapons and troop training, they could potentially see a further impact on their infrastructure.

They’re already going to be without heat this upcoming winter, having placed themselves on a very narrow precipice. It wouldn’t take much of an action at all to lead to devastating consequences against the Russians. A small push could lead to a large fall.

Perhaps this is what geopolitical forecaster George Friedman had in mind when he said that Germany would play a huge role in the next World War?

Further complicating matters is the fact that there was recently a missile explosion in Przewodow, Poland, right on the Ukrainian border.

Early reports indicated that this was a Russian cruise missile that had caused the damage and deaths. Later, reports stated that it was a stray Ukrainian air defense missile.

As Mike Shelby has pointed out, had this been reported to be a Russian missile, then Article 5 of the NATO charter – the mutual defense clause – would have required every NATO member to have then gone to war against Russia. Immediately upon such a declaration, all military targets throughout NATO would have been deemed to be fair game by Russia. Poland and Germany would have likely been attacked immediately, perhaps via some of the methods discussed below.

Were these report changes the fog of war or avoidance of World War 3?

NATO Secretary General/Norwegian politician/member of the Norwegian Labour party, Jens Stoltenberg, has said that an investigation is ongoing regarding the missile strike, but that whether it was a Russian cruise missile or an errant Ukrainian missile, the blame is Russia’s as they bear what he termed the “ultimate responsibility” for an “illegal” war.

Jens Stoltenberg

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War is always on the verge of spreading further, but as Clausewitz pointed out, the spread of war occurs incrementally.

Given what we are seeing, in addition to the recent movement of Russian MIG-31K fighters and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles to Belarus, it would serve you well to stay abreast of the current global situation so that you are not caught unawares.

Things are continuing to escalate, not de-escalate, and monitoring what happens would be a wise course of action.

What are your thoughts on all of this? Where do you see things going next? Do you feel that Germany will be attacked by Russia? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

The post Will Russia Attack Germany for Aiding Ukraine with Weapons Maintenance and Training? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

No Space? No Money? You Should Consider a Micro-Retreat.

Thu, 11/17/2022 - 07:39

Most of us are not exactly farmers and will have a hard time growing or raising what we intend to eat if we just one day decide to start living off our harvests. It is a fact. Hunters and fishers obviously will have an edge after the collapse, but sadly, I am almost sure that in a tribal environment, my social position would not be too high.

That said, maybe joining a tribe after some age won’t be as romantic as it seems. Maybe a better idea, in order to live longer, is to stay low profile and semi-hidden, with only a few close friends and family nearby. At some age, you need some peace.

For many old-school survivalists of times already gone, the proper approach was a complete farm. The amount of work involved with this path is plenty.

The more land you have to take care of, the more problems!

I’ve seen this a few times. Hard-working people who made a few bucks with three or four crops in a row expanded their business by buying another farm somewhere else, and…bang!

With twice the land, their problems multiplied exponentially, and the need for further investment followed.

However, maybe for many of us, the ideal location is not a full-size homestead or a large compound.

A micro-retreat may be the solution.

The word “micro” suggests that something minimal should come to mind. My technical background immediately clicks when I think about anything related to a production facility, and I imagine a highly productive but compact environment.

I have always been fascinated by those overlanders’ custom-built rigs over a Mercedes Unimog chassis. They are compact and space-efficient but comfortable enough for prolonged stays. This is a remarkable example of a well-done micro-habitat.

Also, think about the tiny house movement. Some of those properties are designed for boondocking – living away from civilization and services. (Want to know how to keep your family fed when you have to use a micro-retreat? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage system.)

A micro-retreat doesn’t have to be a micro-producer.

Depending on your family group, or whatever the flavor of “clan” you may have, you could craft a small place quite productive with proper planning, provided you know your climate and your skill level. You could even disguise it as a “vacation” property. The beauty of this is that nobody has to know that your gun safe is in a hidden portion of the basement in your “hunting cabin.” Or, nobody has to know that those PVC DIY empty shelves in your basement will be to grow microgreens to complement your food supply.

Such planning will make your life easier. There will be less investment to make, you will work smarter and not harder (something that will make your senior years more pleasant!), and generally, it will be much easier to keep your place clean and well-maintained.

A “micro-retreat” doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to the bare minimum land for your needs.

A plague could attack your crops. Someone could arrive unexpectedly, and you will need some extra. The ideal setup would be a place secluded enough, but where unexpected visitors will be able to stay, if needed.

As an example, you could think of a small greenhouse. You must think in terms of vertical expansion (upwards and downwards)if you want to keep the initial cost of a micro-retreat low enough and to maximize the space. I like to think the positive part of a small setup is that it will be much easier to keep hidden. Planting thorny bushes around will make it inextricable in a few years and will hide your orchard, gardens, and buildings. You may combine this with earthbag DIY construction that you can cover with dirt and some weed or grass grows over an ingenious layout, and it will be almost undetectable.

You may want it as a semi-permanent, permanent, or temporary residence.

The size will depend on what you want, what you need, and what you can afford. That’s the compromise.

Planning includes thinking thoroughly and drawing a sketch with the layout you believe you’re going to need. By dividing your needs into sections, or compartments, you will make sure it will be easier to make a much more complete analysis of what you need.

You need to know what is next to you!

Neighbors? A cliff?

A mountainside that could generate a mudslide? A lake? A river that could flood your place under several days of heavy rains? Hunting/fishing areas? And, by extension, you need to know what you don’t want nearby!

Try to keep things at a proper size using scaling.

What I like about the concept of a micro-retreat is that you don’t need too much space if you are on your own or have a small family. However, having space outdoors will be a big deal, even if your bedroom is a bunk bed on top of a study or desktop. And, if you build an area to hang out, even better.

You may want to use some advice from those who are professionals at living in small spaces.

Use vertical space.

You may even think on three levels, provided you’re in a place with plenty of sunlight:

  • Level 1: A terrace with a pergola on top. Place solar panels here for Level 3. Have planters all around with spices or flowers. This level could double as a place to drink coffee, have dinner, or hang out. Or work as a watchtower. Make it easy to access with round stairs. Build it pretty, and make sure the water collected by this roof is collected.
  • Level 2: Maybe some tanks for tilapia or more plants that don’t need too much sun? Perhaps you may want to start the microgreens growing at this level?. A secondary walk-in pantry? Materials storage, like plumbing, wiring, and car spare parts? Your woodworking shop? Butcher room? Smoker/dry food storage?
  • Level 3: This is a basement.

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Here are a few final thoughts of mine on micro-retreats…

LED grow lights, a small pump for the water/nutrition solution mixture, and shelves with the greens will improve your capabilities to produce highly nutritive vegetables in a reduced space. You don’t need to dig too much. Just do good research on this topic.

Even better, if you can afford more than one, isn’t it always a good idea to have some redundancy in your survival assets? Why not build yet another micro-retreat in a place further away, just in case, then?

You don’t have to “think big.” Especially if the economy forced you to do with what you have.

Wise use of small spaces can be a challenge but very rewarding in the end as well. Let us know what you think in the comment section below and keep tuned for more!

Have you considered a micro-retreat?

What do you think about going small-scale for survival? Have you thought about downsizing instead of creating bigger and more elaborate plans? What do you see as the pros and cons?

Let’s discuss the concept of micro-retreats.

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations: paypal.me/JoseM151

The post No Space? No Money? You Should Consider a Micro-Retreat. appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Forget the Zombie Apocalypse – Can YOU Survive the Coming Layoff Wave?

Wed, 11/16/2022 - 06:17
By Raymond Mhor

So many people out there talk about the coming zombie apocalypse, EMP event, or even nuclear war. Yes, all of these are possible and something we might experience.

BUT… what is really looming on the horizon are layoffs. 

See, it is cool to talk about how you are prepared to deal with all these “what if” situations sitting out there. But are you truly prepared when you get that pink slip?

The odds of being laid off from your job are far more probable than the walking dead ripping your nose off your face.

Signs of the coming layoff wave are already here.

We have seen that Elon Musk just laid off a huge number of Twitter employees. 

Follow that up with Facebook, aka Meta. 

In fact, Mark Zuckerberg just announced he was letting over 11,000 employees go. This is what he said…

Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history. I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.

I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry for those impacted.

Uhhhh. Yeah, it is easy for him to say this. He has wads of cash in the bank, and who is going to fire him? He owns the company. 

In fact, it is interesting to see a lot of tech companies are laying off. The Kobeissi Letter just posted this list of tech companies that are laying off as well as instituting hiring freezes.

  1. Twitter: 50% 
  2. Cameo: 25% 
  3. Robinhood: 23% 
  4. Intel: 20% 
  5. Snapchat: 20% 
  6. Coinbase: 18% 
  7. Opendoor: 18% 
  8. Stripe: 14% 
  9. Lyft: 13% 
  10. Shopify: 10% 
  11. Meta: “Thousands.” 
  12. Apple: Hiring Freeze 
  13. Amazon: Hiring Freeze

I will share with you later a website that posted probably 20 pages of companies that are going to be downsizing and laying off. 

What’s the probable “apocalypse?”

I share all this because we like to talk about surviving when the SHTF or some Zombie Apocalypse. 

But will these really affect you in the very near future? 

Probably not. 

But what will affect you and your family is if you or you and your spouse lose your jobs. 

The great thing is if you are a prepper and you have prepared for some of these events you see in the movies and read about in books, then you probably are pretty set. 

People in this position have created what I call “Food Insurance.”

See, with the high and continuing-to-rise food prices, one will have to think about how they are going to pay the bills, feed the family, and what will happen if little Johnny or little Jane gets sick. That unemployment check you ‘might’ get won’t go very far. 

But, if you have stocked up food, medicine, and such, then you will not be dipping into the little bit of money you may possibly have come in. What many people do not realize is food is an investment, and when you have prepared, that food will be a God-send, and you will be glad you had the knowledge to stock up your pantry.   

What happens if your pantry is pretty lean? Well, my best advice is to start stocking up now. 

This is how you can take action now…

It is never too late to start building up your pantry. Our parents and grandparents did this in their day because they did not have the big box stores nor had restaurants on every corner where getting a meal was pretty easy like it is today. 

Now, I am not telling you to start panic buying, but to start acquiring food you and your family eat and a steady pace now. 

Good plans are…

The $5 Dollar Rule – every time you go to the store, buy $5 of food specifically for your pantry. 

Buy Double Rule – if your family likes tuna, then instead of buying 2-3 cans, buy 4 – 6 cans and stock away the extra. 

The 5 Can Rule – Like the $5 rule, buy five cans of food. I can’t take credit for this one; I learned this from Patara from ‘Appalachia’s Homestead with Patara’ when I interviewed her for my YouTube channel. 

Buy In Bulk Rule – Instead of buying a lot of different food items, buy a case of pasta one time and then maybe a case of green beans, corn, or pasta sauce. Buying in bulk will help you save over the long run, and you don’t have to go out and repurchase that item for some time. 

Finally, consider getting my book Survive The Coming Storm – The Poor Man’s Guide To Preserving Your Wealth in an Economic Collapse.

(Looking for more information about building up your food stores? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage system.)

Maybe what you can do is mix and match these plans and come up with something that is unique to you and your family.

The key is that you start acquiring food now. Don’t wait for tomorrow; start doing it now because the REALITY and odds of you getting the pink slip are growing better and better daily. As inflation grows, so will the job losses. 

Understand you are nothing but a number to your employer.

Also, do not think you are too valuable to be replaced with someone better, faster or who will work for less pay. As much as I hate to say it, companies are no longer loyal to their employees. You are just a number to help them improve their bottom line and report positive earnings reports to their stockholders. 

Don’t expect them to keep you on when hard times come to pass.  If you do lose your job, be sure to take these steps to put yourself in the best possible position.

I mentioned a website that is tracking all this. It is called intellizence.com. They have assembled a massive list of companies that are going to start the layoff process. It might be wise of you to check this list and see if the company you work for is listed. 

But not only that, if your company has anything to do with any of these companies listed, then take heed because it boils down to supply chain and interoperability.

If Company “A” makes bolts for you and you can not get them anywhere else, and they start laying off, guess what? You are not going to get your bolts. 

So how does that affect the company you work for? It will slow down production and if that happens, guess what your company will do? Yes, start laying off all because they cannot get those bolts from Company “A.”  

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

You need to be prepared for the layoff wave. It’s already here.

I hope that this article has given you some ideas as well as food for thought. Please do not think that this can’t happen to you, it is becoming an economic epidemic, and many are going to lose their jobs. The best thing to do is know it is coming, and you can do something about it now. 

Have you ever been laid off or lost a job? If so, do you have any advice to share with others who may find themselves in that position? Do you feel like your neck might be on the chopping block soon? What are your plans?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Raymond:

Raymond Mhor is The Kilted Prepper. He is an author, blogger, and internet influencer who has been in the survival arena for over 20 years. Ray has eight books, multiple television appearances, and many radio and podcast interviews to his credit. 

Ray’s motto is “Real Prepping for Real People – None of the Hollywood Stuff.” 

He currently lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his wife, Cynthia, his daughter, and their three dogs. The Mhor family enjoys living the homesteading and preparedness lifestyle. He can be found at Facebook, Truth Social, Instagram, Linkedin, and YouTube.

 

The post Forget the Zombie Apocalypse – Can YOU Survive the Coming Layoff Wave? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Questioning the Brazilian Election Results Is a “Coup Plot” with Criminal Consequences

Tue, 11/15/2022 - 06:54
By the author of Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City and The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook

Less than 24 hours after the results of the Brazilian election and presidential runoffs were announced, protests erupted and spread like wildfire in the streets and highways of cities nationwide. Is Brazil on the verge of revolution or mayhem? 

Videos of massive gatherings of people covered in national flags swarming the streets of major cities and unending rows of trucks blocking roadways and avenues went viral this week. Those following news on social or mainstream media might think Brazil went on a tailspin of social unrest.

But no, there’s no revolution, much less civil war on the horizon. 

These have been tense days, with continued protests, calls for general strikes, and frenzied political articulation. Since the rallies have been nonviolent for the most part, I went out into the streets to see, hear, and feel what is happening and where we’re going from here. 

I can attest the sentiments of apprehension, frustration, and revolt are legit, and there are grounds for concern.

Here’s an account of what really happened in the Brazilian election.

After a highly tense, divisive, and contentious campaign, incumbent right-wing Jair Bolsonaro lost the presidential runoffs on Sunday, Oct. 30, to former leftist president Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva by a razor-thin margin (1.8%). 

Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s voting process is entirely electronic, and the results were announced in the afternoon, hours after the election ended. Almost immediately, truck drivers shut down motorways – more than 200 all over the country. On Tuesday, right-wing activists swarmed the streets of all 27 states’ major and minor cities. 

The movement started spontaneously and appeared to have no clear, organized leadership or backing. Though I wouldn’t be shocked if that was the case: there are no power vacuums nor innocents in politics. 

Although there is no official count, estimates talk about hundreds of thousands in larger centers and millions across the entire nation. The images are impressive indeed, showing huge and agitated crowds. Peace prevailed, though, with only isolated incidents of violence and shortages, thankfully nothing serious or long-lasting. 

I’m glad to report that things are normal right now, or as normal as they can be in 2022.

The mayhem and apocalypse are only taking place in the news and on social media. Everything “real” is up and running: supermarkets, parks, stadiums, colleges, offices, gyms, farms, and factories. People are working, studying, dining out, and jogging (and preparing for the World Cup, which begins in a few days. After all, Brazil is the “nation of soccer.”)

In other words, it hasn’t hit the fan.

But the situation is far from normal. Despite attempts by some official sectors with the collaboration of MSM to stifle dissent and keep the general public in the dark about the ongoing demonstrations, tension and discontent are palpable. 

It took Bolsonaro nearly 48 hours after the results were announced to deliver his address, which did little to appease his supporters and the 58 million who voted for him. While not openly conceding, he never put up a fight or even came close to calling a coup, as his critics had predicted he would in case Lula won. 

He was contained and circumspect to avoid fanning the flames of his supporters, deeming the protests “democratic and legit” but calling for the blockades to end at the same time. Bolsonaro reaffirmed his respect for the Constitution, stating many times he would play by the rules. Finally, he kickstarted the transition process.

It wasn’t a resounding victory for Lula.

Far from it, actually, and here’s why: voting is compulsory for eligible citizens living in Brazil or abroad, which means a universe of 156 million voters. Lula’s 60 million mean only 38% of the voting population actually supports him. That’s significant – and there’s no second place in politics – but still uncomfortably low for a newly elected president.

It spells significant opposition and a very short honeymoon for Lula and his allies going into 2023 and beyond, especially if the economy worsens (which has a very high probability of happening, as we all know).

Bolsonaro doesn’t have much going for him, either, having conquered only about 36% of valid ballots by the same calculations. In other words, when taking into account those who either abstained or canceled their vote, it becomes evident that neither candidate had significant support among the electorate and general population.

The logical conclusion? If Bolsonaro had taken the presidency on Sunday, we’d be witnessing the other part of the population protesting in the streets instead. 

That means people are weary, uninspired, and unsatisfied with the feeble, mediocre, dishonest, and inept leadership – from both sides. Which explains in good part the political polarization, extremism, and division. 

Objectively, Bolsonaro has some positive economic statistics and achievements to show for him, but few were paying attention or felt moved by these. He wasn’t able to connect his accomplishments to his controversial figure and conquer support beyond his core constituency, to the point where voters chose to reinstall a known populist ex-convict with hanging charges instead of giving the incumbent a second term.

We can protest in droves against the lack of transparency while shouting at the top of our lungs about fraud and manipulation. Whether A or B wins, whether turnout is 100% or 10% – no outcome will be satisfactory because people no longer have faith in the system or the leadership. And these don’t give two craps for the wants and needs of the population, either. 

This is an institutional as well as a political crisis, and it’s global. I have no crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet on a similar outcome for the US midterm elections (which should be over by the time this post goes live). There will be no massive red or blue wave; rather, a ripple and yet another letdown for radicals on both sides. Nobody will be assured or satisfied with anything. The same is occurring in all democracies. Tough times.

Back to the demonstrations, participants are protesting against censorship and requesting transparency from the bodies in charge of overseeing and administering the elections, more than directly endorsing Bolsonaro. 

Even before the election, there was controversy about the Brazilian electoral system. In a true democracy, asking questions and demanding openness are legitimate demands. Yet, the Electoral Court (or TSE, an offshoot of the Supreme Court) is doing more to repress opposition and stifle open discussion than to offer satisfactory explanations and allow oversight that could placate a sizable portion of society. 

These are precisely those whose responsibility is to uphold and defend the letter of the law and the Constitution to restore peace and foster unity among the population and other institutions whenever a contentious issue is at stake are doing the opposite of that. 

Merely debating or questioning the process is now treated as a “coup plot” by these authorities and can get one criminally charged, persecuted, and censored. Like the voting system is some inviolable, infallible, incorruptible technology. 

Yeah, maybe in some advanced alien civilization from another galaxy. Certainly not on a planet that imperfect humans inhabit. In a country like Brazil, then, that assumption is a joke. 

“Something smells rotten in the state of Brazil.”

The protesters are also objecting to being once again governed by Lula and his clique. The charismatic and populist politician is still seen by a large percentage of the population, and even by many who voted for him, as a corrupt, cynical, and inept leader. 

Lula governed Brazil between 2003 and 2011. In 2018, he was convicted of taking bribes from big contractors and sent to jail. He spent 580 days behind bars before the Supreme Court decided he may appeal his case without spending any time. He wasn’t acquitted, as he boasted during the campaign. His convictions were annulled based on a technicality. Many of the charges still stand. 

Lula da Silva on the right.

But the fact is that Lula – the man who Obama referred to as “the guy” during a G20 conference in 2009 – was literally taken from prison and had his political rights reinstated just last year by the same Supreme Court justices who now preside over the TSE and were responsible for overseeing the electoral process.

Straight-up banana republic stuff. So yes, Horatio, if you see some suspicious connections in this muddle, you’re starting to understand what’s driving the protests. 

A test for democracy. 

The Supreme and Electoral Court justices label the protests as “anti-democratic.” They view certain actions taken by right-wing organizations and those who support them (politicians, businesses, and public figures) as an “attack on authorities” and a “danger to democracy.” 

The magistrates have overreacted by harshly cracking down on resistance and dispersing the manifestations. The Brazilian MSM – not exactly a bastion of impartial journalistic integrity – is discrediting Bolsonaro and his conservative allies and keeping the general public in the dark and gaslighted. That has been the establishment’s treatment even before the campaign and throughout the election. 

Just days before the runoffs, the TSE justices passed a resolution giving them “special powers” to “combat fake news” in the name of “saving democracy.” No wonder a sizeable portion of the populace is now skeptical of the status quo and doubts the ability of the officials to uphold fairness, equality, and transparency. As for democracy, it must be really at risk these days, judging from how this nonsense is being repeated everywhere.

Of course, that’s BS, an inversion. Censorship, oppression, and lack of transparency are the real threats to democracy. 

(Want to know how you can starve the beast? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to find out more.)

Latin America Spring: is there a wave forming?

Brazil did its homework and had some positive numbers and achievements in the economy and social markers to show. Things aren’t perfect (they never are), but my country is holding its own even with the issues caused by the plandemic countermeasures and the Ukraine war

Now, much of that is up in the air again. There’s reason for concern.

Less than a year after electing left-leaning governments. Chile and Colombia are already struggling economically and socially. In Peru, thousands are taking to the streets of Lima to demand the resignation of president Pedro Castillo, another leftist accused of corruption. 

Pedro Castillo

“I come for my children, for my grandchildren, because this government is becoming hell,” said Maria del Pilar Blancas. “They want us to become one more Venezuela,” she said. [SOURCE

“They want us to become another Venezuela. It’s no coincidence I heard that exact same phrase uttered a thousand times during the protests here. Comparing Brazil to Colombia or Peru may not be accurate or conclusive for various reasons. But the sentiment is unmistakable, and the fear is genuine. 

“They want us to become another Venezuela.” The underlying issues and the feelings of discontent won’t go away, that’s for sure.

More (and serious) red flags.

In a country that just thirty years ago was putting up a fight to regain democracy, the fact that several protests occurred in front of regional commands with large crowds of protesters demanding the military to intervene and interfere is alarming, to say the least. 

But it has an explanation: every communist and socialist dictatorship in Latin America is a close ally of Lula and his Labor Party. That includes Nicarágua’s Daniel Ortega, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Miguel Diáz-Canel of Cuba, and Argentina’s Alberto Fernández, who were the first to call and congratulate him on his victory (Joe Biden also hurried to call Lula. So, my fellow Americans, make of that what you will). 

Daniel Ortega on the right.

These countries, despite being at various phases and different levels, are all experiencing social unrest, soaring inflation, and growing poverty as a result of disastrous (i.e., unconventional and populist) economic and social policies. 

So is Brazil – and that’s precisely why these kinds of policies that Lula and his cohorts are currently mulling raise so much concern, even among some of his supporters. Proposals like creating ten additional ministry cabinets, raising the debt and budget ceilings, printing more money, and many others which have been tried in the past and have failed spectacularly.

And lastly, it’s not exactly good advertising for anyone, much less a president over whom a number of suspicions and legal accusations hang like a heavy sword, to see ample footage of criminals and inmates celebrating Lula’s victory in penitentiaries and drug dens across the nation. 

Not that a cynical sociopath like him gives a damn about any of that, particularly now that he’s back in charge. But to most other honest citizens and me, this is just another worrying indication. 

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Conclusion.

I’ve never been into doomsday porn or negativism, not even at the height of my obsession with preparation. Who knows, maybe it’s my temperament – or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was born during a military dictatorship, lived in a developing country, and am still alive. I’ve been consciously attempting to steer clear of apocalyptic discourse. I strongly encourage you to do, too. 

I mean, no doubt profound changes are coming, and things will get much harder. But I choose to remain positive. This isn’t the end of times, just another crisis. 

Even pivotal occurrences like elections and government changes are not always only negative or positive. The majority of the time, real life continues to be fairly normal outside the echo chambers of social and mainstream media. Depending on where you are, it can be harder or easier, but there won’t be mayhem. Not yet. It is as it is. 

However, I won’t quit being realistic. The authoritarian forces that control politics and the mood/mentality of the populace in every other western country are also at work in Brazil. While I have no influence over that, I can continue to prepare, but I choose to do so without giving in to anxiety, fear, or political sway. 

If something happens, I’ll let you all know. In the meantime, stay safe everyone.

What are your thoughts?

There seems to be a trend in elections lately. The situation in Brazil seems to mirror the situation in the United States. The “sides” are so diametrically opposite that it’s difficult to imagine them being able to come together.

Is there something brewing in Brazil? Is there something greater than simply an election in America and Brazil that both seemed questionable? Is there some kind of global change happening? Are people finally waking up to the blatant corruption?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City , is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. He’s also the author of The Ultimate Survival Gear Handbook.

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

 

The post Questioning the Brazilian Election Results Is a “Coup Plot” with Criminal Consequences appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The Science of Survival: Wool Blankets

Mon, 11/14/2022 - 07:24
By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices

Hikers have long been familiar with the benefits of avoiding cotton clothing and material at all costs when it comes to maneuvering out in the backcountry. It’s because of this that many exclusively use wool socks and other synthetic materials for their clothing. But what about wool blankets?

Is there still room for wool when it comes to a survival situation? Let’s take a deep dive into the subject to see if wool blankets still have a place in the world of emergency preparedness.

Why wool blankets? 

As you likely already know, the chief problem with cotton is that once it gets wet, it loses 100% of its ability to keep you warm. In contrast, wool can still keep you warm even if it does get soaked. This in itself is a huge reason why so many people within the outdoor, search-and-rescue, and military world rely so heavily on these types of blankets.

For example, at least until 2010, it appears that the chief means by which the Norwegian military would keep casualties warm as they were being evacuated was with wool blankets. EMS responders in Norway used wool blankets combined with hot IV fluids until 2002, as well. They’ve largely resorted to “bubble wrap” since then, whatever the heck that means.

Why is it so important to keep casualties warm?

Because if you don’t, they end up with an increased risk of all kinds of problems.

Picture in your mind that you have found yourself dealing with the aftermath of a tornado. You crawl out of your devastated home to find that there is someone across the street that’s been extensively lacerated by glass shards that were blown through the air.

Tornadoes bring rain (sideways), so their denim jeans are soaked, and they are starting to shiver. They are in an austere environment, you have zero idea how long it will be until they can get proper medical care, and now they are growing hypothermic as well.

Studies have shown that hypothermia with trauma victims is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. One of the ways this plays out is with an increase in the probability that they will come down with some type of wound infection.

This is why researchers have studied the benefits of wool blankets for these cases.

The US Army has spent a bit of time studying this in the past.

In “Assessment of Hypothermia Blankets Using an Advanced Thermal Manikin” by K. Barazanji of the US Army Aeromedical Research Lab and JP Rugh of the National Renewable Energy Lab, it was found that placing a wool blanket between a casualty and the stretcher that they are on decreases their heat loss by 30%. If, in addition to this wool blanket, a reflective blanket is wrapped around them as well (on the outside of the wool blanket), then an additional 30% decrease in the loss of heat takes place.

Another study also found that using a wool blanket combined with a reflective blanket seems to be the magic combination for casualty evacuation.

Wool blankets with casualty evacuations save lives.

Even more interesting, I think, is the fact that this Barazanji study found that wool blankets worked better than electric blankets. That’s good news when you’re working in an austere environment (aka, virtually all disaster scenes).

(How do you survive a winter storm? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to find out.)

There are some factors about wool blankets you should know about.

Before you rush out and buy every wool blanket you can find, I will point out that I’ve personally found it incredibly difficult to find a wool blanket that hasn’t been inundated with fire-retardant chemicals.

This has always been something that concerned me. Your skin does absorb things through the environment around it, and having a chemical-laced blanket wrapped around me has never settled well with me. It seems that the research supports my gut feeling here as well. Are these chemicals safe for regular, daily contact with? Decide for yourself, but I say no.

I understand that virtually every item of clothing and blanket you use has chemicals in it that could be deemed harmful and that you can’t eliminate 100% of the risk from daily life, but I do try to be choosy about what I am willing to encounter.

Seeing a wool blanket that proudly advertises “Flame-resistant!” to me is a reason to go and shop elsewhere. Especially considering that wool is naturally flame resistant as it is, I don’t see the reason to act as if everybody with a wool blanket is juggling lit campfire logs or has a family history of spontaneous human combustion.

If you go out and shop for a wool blanket, I would keep all that in mind.

I did some warmth testing with some different blankets around the house.

To get some hard data on how different types of blankets retain body heat, I gathered a number of similar-sized blankets from around the house and used a ThermoPro TP50 thermometer to track the temperature underneath them. What I did was wrap myself completely in the blanket while sitting in a chair with the thermometer in my lap.

I recorded the ambient room temperature right before testing, sat for ten minutes wrapped in the blanket, and then immediately recorded the temperature underneath the blanket wrap.

Here is what I found:

Fleece Blanket

The fleece blanket was the typical “fluffy” blanket that looks like a Snuggy. A lot of people turn to these types of blankets because they’re cheap, they aren’t cotton (“Cotton kills”), and they’re comfortable.

The room temperature immediately preceding this test was 68.7 degrees Fahrenheit. After ten minutes under the blanket wrap, the thermometer read the temperature as being 72.5 degrees. The temperature was only raised 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

This was somewhat surprising to me as I thought that with all of the little air pockets that are inherently a part of fleece blankets, there would be a lot of trapped heat here. At least within the time span of ten minutes, that wasn’t the case.

My thoughts here are that perhaps fleece can trap extraordinary amounts of heat, provided it is part of a layering system. When I wear a fleece jacket, if it’s windy outside, the cold rips right through it. If I’m wearing something that blocks the wind as well, fleece jackets can quickly become almost too hot. Admittedly, there’s another variable there because there’s a second layering, but that’s what leads me to wonder if that’s how fleece blankets work.

“Mexican” Blanket

I’m not really sure of the proper term to call these, but they always look like a poncho, so the term seems fitting. These are typically a polyester blend, and you can typically find these at novelty beach stores for around $20. That’s where I got mine.

The ambient room temperature before the test was 68.2 degrees Fahrenheit. After ten minutes under the wrap, the thermometer read 72.9 degrees, making for a temperature difference of 4.7 degrees.

Wool Blanket

For this, I used an Arcturus Military Wool Blanket from Ready Made Resources. The room temperature here was 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit. After ten minutes wrapped in the wool blanket, the thermometer read 77.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was raised 11.0 degrees.

 

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Here’s what my experiment showed…

There really wasn’t even a contest between any of the other blankets compared to the wool blanket. Nobody other than the wool blanket reached double digits in the temperature, which, to me, is a very good inkling as to why search-and-rescue and other organizations regularly include wool blankets in part of their preparedness measures.

At the very least, with winter approaching, I would highly recommend you consider stashing away a few wool blankets in the trunk of your car. If you end up trapped on an interstate for hours on end in the dead of winter, this simple, inexpensive step could easily save a life.

As far as flame retardant chemicals go, I’ll also point out that the Arcturus blanket I used wasn’t sprayed with anything, meaning that being wrapped with the guts of a fire extinguisher wasn’t something that I had to worry about.

So whether you live in Tornado-Ville, Hurricane Land, or just somewhere where you regularly find yourself driving through heavy snow and ice, may I suggest considering the idea of picking up a wool blanket. Professionals throughout the world like them, sheep like them, and, for what it’s worth, I like them too.

But what are your thoughts? Do you have wool blankets as part of your survival kit? Or do you use something else? Let us know in the comments section.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

The post The Science of Survival: Wool Blankets appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

If Americans Have Lost Faith in the Election Process, Does the Outcome Really Mean Anything?

Sat, 11/12/2022 - 07:37
By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Build a Better Pantry on a Budget

Over the past six years, in particular, confidence in our election process has plummeted. Half the country said that they expected voter fraud in the midterm elections. Only 20% of those polled said they were “very confident” about our elections.

Much of this has to do with our politicians and our media, who cast doubt on close elections before they even happen. They cry foul before the fouls occur. They scream at the top of their lungs that if they lose, somebody cheated.

And despite popular mainstream opinion, it can’t all be blamed on right-wing voters.

Remember 2016?

Remember during the 2020 election when Mrs. Clinton refused to concede to Mr. Trump on election night? To this day, she still swears that the election wasn’t fair, repeatedly calling Trump an “illegitimate president” and saying, “There was a widespread understanding that this election [in 2016] was not on the level. We still don’t know what really happened.”

Despite the fact that the mainstream media blames Republicans and  Trump supporters for the lack of faith Americans feel about the process, going so far as to paint them as a “threat to democracy,” there are other factors at play.

Clinton has also planted that seed and continues to fertilize it with suggestions like the one that Biden should not concede the election under any circumstances in 2020 had the election been called for Trump, and this doozy:

Right wing extremists already have a plan to steal the next presidential election. And they’re not making a secret of it. The right wing-controlled Supreme Court may be poised to rule on giving state legislatures the power to overturn presidential elections.

Clinton did nothing to show her leadership and try and calm things down when riots erupted after she lost the election. Instead, she stood silent, and in that silence is complicity.

This isn’t just a Clinton problem, however. It’s a Democrat problem. In the history of the 2000s, they’ve disputed every single loss.

Then there was the 2020 election.

In the build-up of Trump vs. Biden, the fears of voter suppression, dead people voting, voting machines going haywire, and ballot dumps ran rampant. This was fueled by both sides of the aisle.

After Biden was announced as the winner, it was like an instant replay of the 2016 decision, except for two primary differences: Trump was the one who said that the election was rigged, and supporters didn’t riot throughout the cities of America on Election Night.

This election was so strongly contested that extreme protests did break out on January 6, 2022, when Biden’s election was to be certified by Congress.

Again, there was a major difference. People who participated in that event were called “insurrectionists” and are still, to this day, standing trial. To my knowledge, nobody was prosecuted for the property damage and violence that took part after the 2016 election.

A documentary was made.

A documentary called 2000 Mules was made by Dinesh D’Souza. Here’s the description of the film:

2000 Mules exposes a massive network of coordinated fraud across all five of the states that decided the election. This fraud was more than sufficient to change the outcome. The film uses two types of evidence. The first is geotracking which monitors the cell phone movements of mules or paid criminal traffickers delivering illegal ballots to mail in drop boxes. It’s a new technology used for the first time to bust a very old type of fraud. The second is video evidence, obtained from the official surveillance cameras installed by the states themselves. The film takes you to the scene of the crime, again and again and again. You can actually watch the criminals at work. Finally, the film decisively answers the most important question is who really won the 2020 election? This is a movie that documents the biggest heist in American history. Its goals are to reveal how it happened, who did it, and how to make sure that this never happens again.

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media quickly began calling it “the debunked conspiracy film” and saying that it, too, was a threat to democracy. Watchdog groups suggested that the documentary might be a “pretext” for more “restrictive voting laws” in the future.

Before the 2022 midterms, polticians and pundits warmed of election tampering.

The most recent midterm election was one of the most hotly contested elections I’ve ever watched. And in the midst of all that were more warnings about election fraud.

Hillary Clinton wrote:

We are witnessing a concerted attempt to destabilize the democratic process and delegitimize our multi-racial democracy, carried out in full view of the American people. As Democrats, it’s not enough to push back one law, one court case or even one election at a time. We need to fundamentally change the way we think about and fight back against this blatant, sweeping effort.

She also concluded (ironically, given her response to her 2016 loss):

“When the people make their voices heard in an election, we should respect the results. These aren’t partisan statements; they’re attributes of a functioning democracy.

Donald Trump said on his Truth Social platform:

Same thing is happening with Voter Fraud as happened in 2020???

Clark County, Nevada, has a corrupt voting system (be careful Adam!), as do many places in our soon to be Third World Country. Arizona even said “by the end of the week!” – They want more time to cheat! Kari Lake MUST win!

They are now saying that about 20% of the so-called Voting Machines in Maricopa County are not counting the Votes that have been placed in the Machine. Only Republican areas? WOW! Kari Lake, Blake Masters, and all others are being greatly harmed by this disaster. Can’t let this happen, AGAIN!!! I believe Attorney General Mark Brnovich is on the case, big time. He has a chance to be the biggest hero of them all, and at the same time save our Country from this Cancer from within!!!

The Democrats that run Pennsylvania have just stated that Pennsylvania may not have a final Vote Count for MANY days, and yet they use these very expensive “machines,” for SPEED. Go to PAPER BALLOTS, SAME DAY VOTING, MUST HAVE VOTER I.D., PROBLEM SOLVED. Also, big money saved!!!

Stacy Abrams of Georgia went so far as to go to court to have her last failed gubernatorial race overturned. She lost her suit, and then she lost again in her rematch against Governor Kemp in 2022.

(Regardless of elections, it’s important to make sure you can feed your family. Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage supply to help with this.)

Everyone seems convinced the election system is flawed.

The lack of trust in the election process is not just a right-wing thing, a left-wing thing, or a crazy conspiracy theorist thing. It’s the whole damned bird.

Regardless of where you stand, it appears that almost everyone believes that our election system is flawed. Both sides agree on this, but the sticking point is that both are accusing the “others” of doing the rigging.

The lack of strong confidence in the country’s ability to conduct an honest election crosses partisan lines. Among Democrats, whose party leaders have been struggling to legislatively protect what they believe to be deteriorating voting rights across the country, 30% say they are very confident in the U.S. election systems overall. Regarding independents, only 1 in 5 consider themselves “very confident” in the nation’s elections.

Even fewer Republicans (13%) are very confident, with a considerable majority (59%) having little faith in the system, responding that they either are “not so confident” or “not confident at all,” a snapshot of growing skepticism…

So here’s my question:

If nobody believes that the results are valid, does it even matter who is said to have won?

Sure, the person who is sworn into whatever office it happens to be will have the temporary power that comes with their new post, but if nobody except their supporters believes that they are there legitimately, how will they ever get things done? Remember “not my president?” That’s escalated to a whole new level because nobody, anywhere, really trusts the system now.

We have many reasons not to feel confident in our election process, our government, and our media. When we don’t trust our elections, we don’t trust each other. The Washington Post reported:

Twenty-eight percent of all voters, including 41 percent of Republicans, said they had little to no faith in the accuracy of this year’s midterm elections.

Political disagreements appear to be seeping into the fabric of everyday life. Fourteen percent of voters said political views revealed a lot about whether someone is a good person, while 34 percent said it revealed a little. Nearly one in five said political disagreements had hurt relationships with friends or family.

“I do agree that the biggest threat is survival of our democracy, but it’s the divisiveness that is creating this threat,” said Ben Johnson, 33, a filmmaker from New Orleans and a Democrat. “It feels like on both sides, people aren’t agreeing on facts anymore. We can’t meet in the middle if we can’t agree on simple facts. You’re not going to be able to move forward and continue as a country if you can’t agree on facts.”

… A majority of voters in both parties identified the opposing party as a “major threat to democracy.”

If we can’t figure out a way to work together, our very existence as a nation is at risk. If we feel like our voices don’t count, what’s to keep us continuing to try? It doesn’t even matter if there are actually shenanigans afoot. If nobody accepts the outcome when their chosen candidate loses, our election process has failed. What’s the point?

I don’t have the answers. I just know that the United States of America we once knew is gone.

What will take its place?

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

What do you think?

Do you trust the results of the midterms? What evidence makes you trust or mistrust these results? Do you feel represented? How do we move forward as a country?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post If Americans Have Lost Faith in the Election Process, Does the Outcome Really Mean Anything? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

How to Deal with the Stress of Inflation

Fri, 11/11/2022 - 06:55

Originally Published on TheFrugalite.com

If the stress of inflation is getting you down, you’re definitely not alone. A survey about stress in 2022 found that the vast majority of adults were worried about money this year.

Inflation was reported as a source of stress for the vast majority of adults (83%), and the majority of all adults also said the economy (69%) and money (66%) are a significant source of stress. Of those who said money is a source of stress, most said that stress is about having enough money to pay for basic needs. Slightly more than half of adults who reported money is a significant source of stress (55%) said money is a cause of fights or tension in their family compared with 41% of the general population who said the same. This may be partially due to having to make different choices due to lack of money.

Nearly three in five adults (57%) who indicated money was a source of stress said that having enough money to pay for things in the present—like food or rent/mortgage—is their main source of stress regarding money, while more than two in five adults (43%) reported feeling that saving enough money for things in the future is their main source of stress.

Dang. I feel that on a personal level.

If you aren’t feeling the heat, this article isn’t for you. Statistically, though, more than 8 out of 10 of us are worried.

When you are worried and stressed out, it’s hard to be effective. You may feel the urge to work non-stop or to eschew all things fun and pleasant. Alternatively, you might feel paralyzed by what seems like an insurmountable situation.

If you can manage your feelings of anxiety, you’ll be in a much better position to get through this. Here are some tips for managing the stress of inflation.

Avoid the urge to be constantly productive.

Going into hyper-productivity mode works for a while to combat the effects of inflation, but nobody can keep up the pace forever. You can set yourself up for a terrible cycle of stress by taking on too much. You’ll find that you quickly move into a state in which you simply can’t “shut it off.”

I get it. When things go sideways, all I want to do is fix it as fast as possible. But working yourself into the ground isn’t the way to do that unless your issue is strictly short-term and finite. If you are dealing with a big-picture, long-term financial crisis, going non-stop isn’t the way through it, no matter how much you want to fix it, fix it, fix it.

There are several risks when you try to be constantly productive:

  • Poor sleep – I don’t know about you, but when I work from the time I get up til the time I go to bed, sleep is elusive at best and absent at worst. Insomnia is not your friend, and while you might be able to get by short-term with a sleep deficit, eventually, it will catch up with you. You need some downtime before bed so that you can wind down enough to get your rest.
  • Weakened immune system – When you are constantly busy, chances are you aren’t eating well or sleeping well. This affects your immune system. Lack of sleep will also make you more susceptible to illness. When you’re in a weakened state, you are more likely to get sick, and that means a) you have to spend money on a doctor and medicine or b) you miss work, or c) both of the above.
  • Difficulty managing emotions – When I’m stressed, I get moody fast. I am more prone to snapping at the people I love, more likely to be upset over something trivial, and find it difficult to be cheerful. This stuff all conspires against me – my bad mood then makes everything feel more hopeless, and that makes my situation even worse.
  • Burnout – Finally, pushing yourself too hard for too long will lead to burnout. It’s not pretty – Colette wrote about it here. Burnout can affect every aspect of your life, from your professional skills to your personal relationships to your health. Once it happens, it can take months, if not years, to recover.

Take my advice – you have to pace yourself.

Know what you can control and what you can’t.

There are a lot of things you can control – the meals you plan, the money you spend on discretionary things, and choosing activities that don’t cost money for entertainment.

But there’s a lot going on right now that you can’t do a darn thing about. No matter how angry you get, how much you feel like you know the right answer, or how desperately you want to, there is absolutely nothing you can do about the overall economy. You can’t singlehandedly reduce inflation, control government policies, influence corporate decisions, or affect national decision-making. While I believe it’s important to stay informed, immersing yourself in all this day in and day out will just make you feel angry, helpless, and frustrated. (I wrote more about what you can and cannot control here.)

Focus your energy on the things that you can control and limit the attention you give to things you cannot. You can’t control the economy, but you can definitely mitigate the stress of inflation.

Let things go.

This is really hard, but sometimes you have to let things go. We’re in an economic situation right now in which our old way of life may no longer be sustainable.

Are there expenses you can cut even though it feels like a sacrifice? (Colette wrote about that here.) Perhaps it’s lessons or a hobby. Maybe you need to switch to being a one-car family. It could be that you need to change your entire living situation to be able to keep your head above water.

While the decision to let things go may be difficult, the relief you will feel afterward is immense. (Although I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s mixed with sadness.)

Make time for pleasant activities.

This is the place a lot of folks find to be a sticking point. When they’re feeling the stress of inflation, they feel guilty for enjoying themselves when their financial life is in shambles. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to try and get past that. You might be struggling to make ends meet, but you still deserve to be happy. Punishing yourself by living a spartan life with no joy will not help you through this situation any faster.

This website is absolutely loaded with ideas for entertaining yourself and your loved ones without spending much – if any- money. We have all sorts of suggestions for delicious yet frugal food, for family activities and special occasions, and for having a good mental attitude. Life is too short, and this economic situation will last too long for you to eschew all things pleasant until the situation resolves. Being miserable will not get you through this any faster.

I’ve noticed that after I give myself a little break, when I come back to the problem, I’m often able to attack it with a fresh perspective and more positivity. That is far more effective than sullenly trudging through my days due to the stress of inflation.

Is the stress of inflation getting to you?

If the stress of inflation is getting to you, you’re definitely in good company.

How are you managing it mentally? What concrete steps are you able to take? Let’s discuss how we’re handling the stress of inflation in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post How to Deal with the Stress of Inflation appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

What I Learned From This Year’s Annual Garden Review

Thu, 11/10/2022 - 05:29

So you’ve taken our Home Agriculture Comprehensive course, and you’ve done well, growing some of your own food. In these days of inflation and shortages, this is a viable option that many are taking advantage of. As I see it, anything I put in my mouth that I grew myself is a plus!

Granted, food from the garden isn’t free, but the benefits more than make up for the work. But where do we go from here? Now that the garden is done, what can we do to improve it?

I like to do an annual review of my garden. I document what I did right, what didn’t work, and what I plan to do differently next year. In this article, I’ll show my review so you can learn how to do yours. I had three areas in production this year, so I’ll take them one at a time, but the three questions are always the same.

Overall, I count my first year at the community garden plot as a success. Things I did right at the community garden plot:

Laying down the weed barrier cloth. That saved so much time & effort on the care and maintenance front!

Vegetable selection. Stuff grew well, and I only had two-legged varmints once!

Overall care & maintenance. Getting up at 6 am didn’t kill me, and I had a good harvest. Exercise and fresh air are priceless, plus they put a really positive spin on my day.

That old bucket & milk jug for watering worked very well and didn’t cost me a dime.

Adding mycorrhiza at planting seemed to work very well. I used these granules.

-The soil test from Soil Savvy was also an excellent investment. The cost was comparable to my local extension office offering, and the test was much more comprehensive.

Things I could improve upon/will do differently next year at the community garden plot:

Vegetable selection. Twenty squashes and ten bell peppers were simply too many. Keeping in mind my seed-starting fiasco and the fact that I had to take what I could get from the garden center, I did OK, but I could improve in this area. I was able to find some of my old, tried & true seed starting mix, so I will use that next year. The stuff that included mycorrhiza was obviously unsterilized and produced seedlings that were runted and diseased.

Snow fence. Most of the others didn’t use fencing, perhaps for good reason. It was a pain to pull, and critters still got in.

Cucumbers. Both the powdery mildew and the two-legged varmints liked those, and I got very few. So nix those. I like zucchini pickles better, anyway.

How did I do with my yard and deck gardens? Things I did right:

Moving the pepper plants away from the tomatoes. I don’t care what the companion planting charts say. When I grew them together, my peppers were always thin and spindly, and I was lucky if I got two per plant. By moving them, the peppers produced heavily.

Tomatillos. This was a chance purchase and my first year growing them. They produced wonderfully! That’s a keeper for next year’s garden. I saved seeds but couldn’t resist buying a few more.

I cleaned out one of my strawberry beds. The Alpine White Soul just never returned well for the work it was. It was easily choked out by weeds, the berries were tiny, and never enough at once to even enjoy a bowl full. As I was cleaning out the new bed, I found myself accumulating a decent pile of rooted & viable runners. So here I sit, with a nice pile of viable plants, thinking that success is often the recognition & proper exploitation of opportunity. So I made use of my opportunity, and we’ll see! As a bonus, I have room to plant some of my garlic bulbs there.

Growing carrots in the spaces made by those cinder block bricks worked very well. I’d made a new bed from bricks I had from an old project, so they didn’t cost me anything. The new space was most helpful. Radishes also grew well in those spaces. I think the beets would have been happier if the rabbits had left them alone. Oh well.

(What do you do with all this food? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

Things I could improve upon with my yard and deck gardens:

I purchased new garden soil since I couldn’t find my usual potting soil for any price I was willing to pay. This worked well in the garden, but was simply too heavy for the containers, and thus, the deck containers were largely a wash this year. It was full of weed seeds too.

I didn’t get anything from the deck other than one pot of wine cap mushrooms, in fact. Although the potatoes doubled (I got two pounds for one pound of seed), they’ve grown much better in these pots. Also, the varieties I chose rotted while being cured and rotted while being stored. Therefore, essentially I didn’t get anything.

I worked very hard for nothing, and that isn’t acceptable. The few greens, herbs, and beans I got from the other pots were much less than in previous years, and I believe the soil was the problem. It was just too heavy. If I can’t find potting soil at a decent price, I doubt I’ll even set up the deck next year. In fact, one of my tomato plants in the raised died so quickly that I suspect early blight, and this might have come with the soil. None of my tomatoes produced well this year, though the tomatillos and squashes in that bed produced well. The problem might have come from the nursery plant as well.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

Here are the things I can do differently in all areas:

As I said above, if I can’t get decent potting soil to mix with the garden soil, I won’t even set the deck up next year. I can use that space for flowers, supporting the high school botany club, and good for the pollinators. I do have several pots overwintering in the house that will go out there but forget hauling the VegTrug and all of that soil for such a lousy return! And definitely no Adirondack Blue or Magic Molly potatoes. Bah! My Elfes and Red Norlands produce well, and I’ve saved seed for the past few years. The Red Adirondacks weren’t bad, either. Saved seed is free since seed potato online is also outrageously priced.

Now that I have a better feel of how much I can fit in my plot, I can start my veggies accordingly. I also observed what my neighbors did. I can move tomatoes over there, try corn, and grow my beans and peas there. I’ll definitely cut back on the squashes, even though I am sitting on a nice pile of winter varieties that I feel grateful to have.

The food bank was also grateful for the 210 pounds I donated, and helping gives me a good feeling in my heart and a good way to express my gratitude for all that I have. But I can do well with less than ten plants. I’ll skip the golden and buttercup varieties since they didn’t produce well and stick with zucchini, butternut, spaghetti, and perhaps a patty pan. I can also produce what I need from 3-4 pepper plants. No need for 10.

I did set up a wine cap mushroom bed outside since those grew well in a pot on my deck. That’s a “we’ll see” thing. I harvested a few lion’s mane fruits from the experimental inoculation I did last year. They were very small but each enough for one meal. So I have hope for the wine caps.

I have garlic planted in the brick spaces now. Since seed garlic was outrageously expensive this year, I used what I had from previous years. Between there and the strawberry bed, I’ve made a good-sized planting, more than 30 cloves. What I get remains to be seen.

Do you do an end-of-year review of your garden?

Do you keep a gardening journal? How about a year-end review? What worked well for you, and what can you improve upon over this past year? Tell us in the comments below!

About Amy Allen

Amy Allen is a professional bookworm and student of Life, the Universe, and Everything. She’s also a Master Gardener with a BS in biology, and has been growing food on her small urban lot since 2010.

The post What I Learned From This Year’s Annual Garden Review appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

WaPo & Bloomberg Peevishly Admit “The Preppers Were Right”

Wed, 11/09/2022 - 07:20
By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Build a Better Pantry on a Budget

When I saw in my feed a headline reading “The Preppers Were Right All Along,” I foolishly got excited. “Vindication,” I thought. “They’ve finally realized we aren’t so crazy after all!”

My optimism began to wane when I clicked it and saw the Washington Post load on my browser. I cringed when I saw that the byline showed the author as a part of Bloomberg Opinion. My hopes were dashed entirely when I read the description of preppers as a group:

Preppers, as the community of bunker builders and food hoarders is known, emerged during the Cold War as fears of nuclear holocaust drove some people to go to great lengths to prepare for survival in a burned-out world. But as the movement persisted over the decades, it has been mostly ignored by mainstream society, myself included, which came to view preppers mainly as paranoid radicals.

So it’s more than a little uncomfortable to confront the reality that this fringe industry is increasingly mainstream.

Imagine being so peevishly married to your ideology that even when admitting you were wrong and someone else was right that you cannot help but insult them.

Why the author thinks we’re right

The article repeatedly quotes executives from survival food companies such as Readywise, MyPatriotSupply, and Mountain House, who explained how the long-term food market has boomed in recent years. The author, Amanda Little, muses how the demographic has changed from “people preparing their bunkers for Armageddon or resisting a government they feared would take away their guns” to people she actually knows. (I’m sure they’re delighted that she outted them publicly on The Washington Post website.)

I know a growing number of people buying into the survival food trend. I’d first heard about ReadyWise from my cousin-in-law, a former cop in Zionsville, Indiana, who had stashed a supply of the startup’s products in his basement that could sustain his family for six months. My stepbrother, a business executive who lives in downtown Washington, has invested in a one-year supply of drinking water and long-storage food. And my brother, a leading climate scientist, has also begun building a supply in the basement of his West Virginia cabin.

As well, people with academic and business intelligentsia she admires are getting involved in the industry.

Indeed, as the market for survival food becomes more regionally and politically diverse, there appears to be a shifting culture within the industry itself — especially among corporate leadership, which is increasingly pedigreed. Wark of Mountain House brought to the company a history of management roles at Post and General Mills. Last year Augason, who dropped out of high school to work in his family’s business, brought in Moir Donelson, a graduate of West Point and Harvard Business School, as CEO to guide the company’s growth.

The author links impending doom to climate change.

In an effort to put a politically correct spin on the entire thing, the author links the uptick in catastrophes to climate change.  To her credit, she also mentioned the supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, rising fuel costs, and inflation.

The good thing about this is that perhaps other people of a similar political bent will get on board and get stocked up. Regardless of your feelings about folks who look at the world differently, the more people who get prepared, the fewer people we have to worry about causing problems when things go truly sideways. I personally don’t care what someone’s background or belief system is – I don’t want to see anybody going hungry.

(To better ensure you don’t go hungry, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

She’s still not going to prep, though.

Despite her rather petulant admission that “preppers were right all along,” Amanda is still above preparing for the future.

I have yet to invest in survival food products myself, in part because I’m optimistic enough to believe that we won’t need them.

It’s like when your child is too sleepy to be pleasant but refuses to nap.

Literal representation of me every time I read an MSM opinion piece.

She has other solutions in mind that are so much better than the old-as-time concept of preparing for hard times.

There are any number of good and practical (and very sobering) reasons to be adding long-storage food supplies to your pantry. But we should be putting far more energy into supporting regenerative farming and the next-level technologies that can help us build a climate-resilient food supply, while also voting in politicians who take climate change seriously. Let’s be sure we’re not fiddling with freeze-dried fettuccini while the planet burns.

As for me, I’d prefer to focus on learning skills, producing and preserving my own food, and becoming independent of a system that has shown it cannot be depended upon when times are tough. Sure, I’ll stock up on long-term food too, but the keys to survival are independence and resilience. It always has been, and it always will be.

We can’t vote or mandate our way to food security. Pinning our nation’s hopes on centralization, legislation, politicians, and societal answers is how we got to this place.

Preppers know this. And that’s really why we’ve been right all along.

(Want uninterrupted access to The Organic Prepper? Check out our paid-subscription newsletter.)

What do you think?

What are your thoughts about the MSM getting on board with prepping? Will it happen? How about that opinion piece? What do you feel are the answers for future food security?

Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post WaPo & Bloomberg Peevishly Admit “The Preppers Were Right” appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

The Importance of Silence After the SHTF

Tue, 11/08/2022 - 06:53

Imagine the following scenario: an economic collapse has forced thousands of people outside of the cities throughout most of the world. Thousands of people without survival or tradable skills plague the countryside, and the number of gunfights one can hear about from their front porch is increasing. Those farms closer to the cities and main roads are forced to institute a 24/7 watch. Special taxes and ammunition scarcity add fuel to the fire.

Where you live is isolated, however, and there is nothing to be afraid of.

At least, so you think.

Getting in your diesel pickup, you drive a few minutes up to the place where the recent storm knocked down some old trees. They will be a good firewood source.

You start to cut the trees with the gasoline chainsaw. The chainsaw can get pretty loud, and to protect your ears, you’re wearing hearing protection. You don’t realize that three creepy-looking guys have surrounded you. One of them is halfway between you and your truck, where the shotgun is. The lookouts in the compound spotted them from a distance and tried to warn you some guys were roaming around, but the mobile radio was inside the truck, too, and the chainsaw noise masked the call.

It’s a nightmarish scenario. Don’t get caught in one of these.

You have to control your noise.

I know it’s almost impossible to be 100% silent in a compound. It’s just not going to happen, and we need to be realistic about our expectations. Tractors, generators, car engines, bike engines, ATV engines, snowmobile engines…everything with engines will make noise to a degree.

The last few days, we had severe power blackouts as many people were hit by the Caribbean storms. Heavy rain made some towers collapse. My family spent over 48 hours without power, other than my old car battery with two 13W solar charger.

The town was silent. The neighbor’s generator 300 meters (maybe more) away only lasted for one night. When I woke up the next day, there was not any noise. At all.

The silence in a world without electricity is impressive. 

On a quiet night, in our mountain home, we can even listen to our closest neighbors, who live 150 meters away uphill. We could hear someone walking down the road, or even better, the dogs would catch it and start barking. Once the power goes out, something that happens fairly often during these windy, stormy months down here, the only entertainment we have is talking to each other.

Being simple countryside people, families here only light a couple of candles and keep on with their business as usual. They don’t care too much about the risks of being spotted. Not these days. Things are not as dangerous here as they once were, after all.

It’s funny, how even in the worst of the Argentinian crisis, we were actually fortunate that our garden was not producing as we had hoped it would. We mainly grew some coffee and limes. That was about it. I wonder what would have happened if our plants were productive amidst a famine. If we had chickens running everywhere, plenty of fruits on the trees, or some other valuable edibles, these may have been easily spotted.

Concealing your activities as much as you can when your nation collapses is the best idea. But when it involves noise, it’s hard.

I’ve been in some places where the level of productivity behind closed doors and high walls was outstanding. It’s almost a tradition nowadays in Venezuela to conceal businesses like workshops, car repair shops, and other businesses. Other countries would have these same shops out in the open. We’ve learned we can’t do that here.

Well, maybe this isn’t only something that Venezuela struggles with. I’ve noticed it’s standard practice in many other countries with a high crime rate.

Sound is associated with machines, and for a criminal, machines mean money these days.

Criminals like machines. These are things they can steal, disassemble, transport to some other place, reassemble, and sell to someone without too many questions. Sound means working people, maybe with cash in their pockets. Sound means a patron in charge, a great target for express kidnapping. The old style robbery of a mugging is not “in” these days. We now face the “new school” of crime.

Thieves now will take the family patron hostage and will “escort” him to empty his accounts, or, best case scenario, they will loot his entire business and home, leaving him and his family well tied up and alive for the next “harvesting” season.

Imagine what would happen in a world without the rule of law.

Eventually, people will learn the lesson and shoot an arrow, a stone, or whatever they can at someone trespassing. I know that many thugs send “scouts,” bold teenagers, to check who is there, what is on the property, and how many people, and will collect all the needed intel in ways that any military would do. And they will do it quietly.

If they get an attention call from the landowner, the theatrical play starts. With their best innocent, childish face, they will say, “Oh, we were just looking for some fallen fruit/vegetables…or were looking for our lost dog/cat/chicken/pig.”

They will then take all the information they have collected to the gang. Once the older ones have their guns cleaned, cocked and locked, they will also know how many people they will have to take care of at the target building. This happened in many haciendas here. It still happens. Owners, of anything, are vulnerable every day.

You have to understand the relationship between noise and distance.

Depending on the “pitch,” or how deep a sound is, the sound waves will travel further. This is why a bass drum’s noise will travel further than a triangle’s shrill note. Scientists have discovered that elephants generate infrasonic waves which are too “deep” of a sound for humans to hear, but they travel huge distances, allowing elephants to “talk” to other elephants. The features and traits of these extra-long sound waves allow them to reach such distances.

High-tone sounds do not travel as far, depending on ambient factors like humidity and others. You can read a good explanation of all this here, which I recommend so you can measure your “noise comfort zone” in your compound (Check the links at the bottom of the article, too).

I know my place is secluded enough that you need to know where it is to find it, but with the (still-to-be-rebuilt) generator or the machinery in the still-to-be-installed-workshop running, it should not be hard to realize where it is once the world goes silent. That is the reason I am using cellular concrete as a soundproofing material to get a noise reduction of up to 45 dB. It is not so hard to DIY it, and I highly suggest some prior testing so you can prepare your own “recipe.”

How do you make your weapons silent?

I am going to avoid giving any advice on the use of silent weapons other than the obvious. I am not qualified for this. I’m sorry if this is disappointing, but OPSEC is paramount down here. Even regular thugs have some degree of military training, and this is a globally increasing trend. Use this to your favor; a few cracked skulls without noticeable noise should make wonders to keep the marauders away if they are smart enough. If they are not, and they come back for revenge…Oh, well…

“A silent workshop? Yeah, right…”

An angle grinder or a disc cutter will make enough noise to be evident from many meters away if they are in the open. Usually, in a workshop, the noise will bounce around and will be more audible in some directions than in others. Always use ear protection: inner plugs and sound-dampening earphones. They’re a system that works together…and your hearing will be a crucial survival tool once SHTF!

The better advice would be to use some common sense. If you can soundproof your workshop on the cheap, do it without hesitation. Use some free time now before you have to do it in a rush after your nation is in the toilet. Cardboard egg trays covering the walls will dampen the sound a lot. They’re not pretty to look at, but they are very effective. Just paint it to make it look a bit better.

Air tools may be quieter, but there are some other considerations for long-term use, like the shelf life of the hoses. Modern air hoses, albeit rugged and durable, use chemicals to keep them flexible and airtight. However, I like to plan for the next 50/60 years. In my mind, my concern for future generations is the horizon I would like to cover. I would like that my grandson(s) and granddaughter(s) can say, “Jee. Grampa thought about a lot of things”.

(Want to know more about emergency evacuations? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide.)

How do you silence a generator?

Let us elaborate a little bit on this. I am talking about liquid-fuel generators here. There are great electric ones out there, but I want to focus on what you likely have in your garage. One piece of advice from this link is to install the generator far away from the dwelling quarters. No bueno.

You may need to get there in a rush for an emergency and check what is happening there without leaving your home. I already have the place for our generator. It’s not that far away (my cabin surroundings are not too extensive, maybe you saw it in my channel already). It will be in a housing dug out in the hillside, with the exhaust pointing straight up and enough space around for maintenance. I will have a direct view from my second floor. A good steel door will keep it safe.

Earth is an excellent sound dampener, also.

(Dirt is free, that is why it is my favorite!)

Remember that if you build a shelter for your generator, the sound will bounce into the walls and look for an exit. Usually, this sound escapes through the roof and/or the openings. If you build a cinder block shelter for your generator close to the main housing, fill the hollow space inside the cinder blocks with dirt. If you want to make it rocket-proof, use cement then, or cellular cement, which has even better soundproofing properties. This is kind of a waste unless you are waiting for a foreign power invasion but to each one their own. After 2020 and the way geopolitics is going…

Remember your generator housing will need ventilation to keep the generator running cool and allow venting of the fumes.

You may want to try before applying the cement, only stacking the cinder blocks and checking the gaps between each block to see what seems to work better to dampen the sound.

Not everything is a disadvantage. After a few months, your hearing will be so accustomed to silence that you will listen to the lowest of noises.

Use proper isolators for the skid of your generator!

Read the manual: every manufacturer will direct the owner to use rubber or wood as a platform for your generator. And if yours is portable, getting it on a frame and rubber wheels will make for a dual purpose.

If you are a DIY kind of guy, this will help: How To Soundproof A Portable Generator – Workshopedia.

And PLEASE! be very careful with where you place your portable generator.

The fumes must be conducted away from your location. In my home, the most suitable place would be the front porch. However, my house is in a position where the air comes from this direction. Thus, I cannot drop the thing in there and start it. My backyard is enclosed, too, and airflow is somehow restricted. It’s all just a couple of meters wide, 7 meters long inside, like 2.5 meters high. I will have to run a pipe high enough so the fumes go over the wall and catch the winds coming from the front of the house. However, I have been working on this already and found a couple of solutions that you will see once it is in place.

If you are not a builder, then you may want to check the market for products like this: Generator Enclosures, a company I do not have any commercial relationship with.

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Bonus tip:

If there is plenty of silence around your compound, you could set up some noise/movement detectorsThese types of electronics should work for decades, be easy to repair, and are affordable. Again, for DIY people, check this link.

Some companies in the field are these:

Solar Sound & Light Alarm Motion Sensor

Perimeter Shield | Terra Sound Technology

Silence after SHTF is quite an extensive topic.

When the rest of the world is in silence, a compound with illumination, food, and noise, will be a target. Even worse, it is very likely that your neighbors will be the attackers. I have seen it happen. Building a soundproof basement with all the modern comforts, even a good sound system to listen to music or movies without the meth-heads ten blocks away finding out about it will surely pay for itself.

Keep safe, stay tuned, and tell us your tips in the comment section below. Is keeping the noise down something you have considered? Are there other purveyors of noise not mentioned in this article? Let’s discuss it.

About Jose

Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t  go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.

 Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on PatreonDonations: paypal.me/JoseM151

The post The Importance of Silence After the SHTF appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

A Knowledge Pantry Gives You a Library on the Move

Mon, 11/07/2022 - 06:06
By Zachary Mentz

Having a diverse set of skills is perhaps one of the most important ways to prepare for an unpredictable future. But which skills are the most useful to learn? How can you predict what you’ll need to know?

These were the questions that haunted me when I started taking prepping seriously.

I love learning how to do new things and picking up new skills.

And the internet has been my best teacher. Whenever I need to learn how to do something specific, like changing an electrical outlet or canning leftovers from my garden, I immediately open my phone and either turn to Youtube or some online guide that can walk me through it. It seems like I’m far from alone, too, if you consider about a quarter of Youtube’s 800+ million hosted videos are dedicated to DIYers like me.

However, with all the supply-chain disruptions in our country, outages, and threats to infrastructure encountered since the pandemic, I’ve personally become a little fearful that I might not be able to get online to teach myself those specific things when it might matter most.

How-to books have been a great resource, but they aren’t all that portable if I need to have access to knowledge on the move. Instead, my solution has been to stock up on how-to resources in a “knowledge pantry” that I could access offline.

My “pantry” is just a low-cost tablet with a solar charger (solar chargers go for around $20 online) that I can fit in a bug-out bag and take with me. The tablet makes it portable, and the solar charger makes it usable without grid-powered electricity. I also keep my tablet in a low-cost (also around $20 online) Faraday sleeve, which protects it from EMPs and moisture—maybe a bit overkill, but who knows what disaster I may encounter?

The tablet is loaded with hundreds of downloaded DIY videos, how-to guides, maps, and eBooks that can be referenced without access to the internet – everything I’d need to teach myself a new skill at the time I’d need it. What’s extra nice about having it on a tablet is that it’s affordable (something I’ve been given out as gifts to my family), has a long battery life, and is something I can use as a visual aid right next to whatever project I’m working on.

(A good item to add to your knowledge pantry is our free QUICKSTART Guide to home canning.)

The knowledge stored on the tablet covers a slew of topics, too, including:
  • How to treat a medical condition (e.g., performing CPR, treating hypothermia, stabilizing fractures, etc.)
  • What to do in a natural disaster (I’ve stored all the FEMA disaster guides on mine).
  • How to find/collect drinkable water.
  • How to forage for food.
  • How to build emergency shelters.
  • How to find/signal for help.

I’ve also personalized my knowledge pantry with favorite recipes, music, contact info of my friends/family, owner’s manuals for my (and my extended family’s) vehicles, and WebMD information on the prescriptions my family takes (just in case there are ever side effects I’d want to research while unable to reach a doctor).

In addition to files, though, I’ve also loaded up my tablet with apps that are designed to work offline. For instance, https://osmand.net/ has a free app that will give you near google-maps-like detail of your state offline. “Seek” by iNaturalist will identify any plant/animal/mushroom that you point the tablet’s camera at (completely offline), which can be useful for a number of scenarios, such as identifying edible plants or even identifying threatening animals like venomous snakes. And kiwix.com allows you to download and browse all of Wikipedia and Wikihow’s articles in a searchable format.

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Here’s a demo of my rig.

At first, I stored all my information on a thumb drive. I thought that would be good because it works on most devices, is easy to copy, and it’s portable. However, a thumb drive would always need another device to read it, and I thought I’d be better off with some kind of “all in one” solution so things couldn’t get lost or separated. What I ultimately did instead was put all my information on a small SD card and load the card into a tablet. It won’t get lost that way, and even if something happens to damage the tablet, I can pop out the SD card and reuse it elsewhere.

Should you decide to build your own knowledge pantry of your own, a good idea is to keep it all together and keep it portable. My tablet and accessories (the faraday bag and solar charger) are stored in a durable bright-orange case. I know I’ll be able to quickly identify it and grab it along with my bug-out bag in an emergency.

Even though I don’t know what kind of crisis I might encounter, having a pantry of knowledge that’s not vulnerable to outages and can teach me some quick skills in a pinch is reassuring and something I wanted to share. Whether you are just printing out a few articles or going whole-hog digital like me, it’s important to ask yourself what information you want to keep accessible offline so you, too, can be better prepared for a SHTF situation.

It’s best to go broad when you don’t know what you might need, so tips for creating your own pantry—including links to downloads—are available on TheKnowledgePantry.com.

What do you think about prepping with information?

What do you think about this idea of prepping for a long-term disaster with digital information? Is it something you’re already doing or something you’d consider? Let’s discuss the concept of a knowledge pantry in the comments.

About Zachary Mentz

Zachary is the creator of TheKnowledgePantry.com, a site dedicated to helping people to build a compact form of survival/preparedness knowledge that they can easily grab and take with them should they have to evacuate in a hurry.

The post A Knowledge Pantry Gives You a Library on the Move appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

In Defense of “Crazy” Conspiracy Theories

Sat, 11/05/2022 - 07:31
By the editor of The Conspiracy Files: “Crazy” Theories That Turned Out to Be True

Conspiracy theories. What to some is a sign of critical thinking is, to others, a sign of dangerous insubordination.

I was taught by my father that a good argument can stand up to criticism and that finding someone who disagreed was a fine way to test your theory. I’ve never been too bothered when folks disagree with me. In fact, I’m eager to know why. I want to learn whether or not I’m missing something.

But these days, it seems that I’m in the minority.

The “danger” of conspiracy theories

The term has long been used in a derogatory fashion to belittle the ideas of a person who doesn’t necessarily accept that everything can be taken at face value.  These days, it’s used to denote a train of thought that is downright dangerous, even an existential threat to civil society.

What’s everyone so afraid of?

Normies – folks who aren’t big questions of the status quo – used to just shake their heads and smile at the “quirky” conspiracy theorist in their life. They considered it a harmless past-time, an eccentricity.

However, now we have the media breathlessly warning people of the innate deadly danger of conspiracy theories and the people who espouse them. Outright FEAR is being stoked. Let’s take a closer look.

The FBI warning

Back in 2019, the FBI said that conspiracy theories posed a domestic terrorism threat:

“The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent activity,” the document said. “The FBI further assesses in some cases these conspiracy theories very likely encourage the targeting of specific people, places, and organizations, thereby increasing the likelihood of violence against these targets.”

The document continued to say that the bureau reached its conclusion “with high confidence” and based on information it obtained from other federal agencies, open source information, court documents, FBI investigations, and human sources.

Yep, this is the same FBI whose own documents concluded that they had investigated the Trump campaign without justification. The one whose director was caught violating DOJ policies and breaking protocol in a lackluster investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Pardon me if I’m not too worried about what the FBI thinks.

The academic warning

Then we have the people who consider themselves smarter than the rest of us: the academics. The website “The Conversation” boasts that their content “is written by university scholars and researchers with deep expertise in their subjects, sharing their knowledge in their own words.”

So it must be true, right?

Anyway, a postdoctoral research fellow in philosophy warns us of the “dangers” of conspiracy theories. He kindly dumbs it down for the peons by comparing it to “the floor is lava.”

When a child declares that “the floor is lava,” few if any believe the declaration. But that child, and others, begin to act as if the declaration were true. Those who do may clamber onto furniture, and repeat the declaration to others who enter the space. Some children play just for fun, some play to show off their climbing and jumping skills, and some play to appease the child who initiated the game.

Some kids quickly tire of the game and wish to stop playing, but like or respect the child who initiated the game, and don’t want to upset that person by stopping. As the game progresses, some take it too seriously. Furniture is damaged, and some get injured while attempting to leap from one raised surface to another. The lava is fake, but real things get broken.

More seriously, when Donald Trump claimed that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged,” some officials and ordinary citizens acted accordingly. Whether out of sincere belief, partisanship, loyalty to Trump or financial opportunism, many Americans behaved as if the 2020 election was unfairly decided.

Some people acting as if the election conspiracy theory were true assembled in Washington, D.C., some stormed the Capitol building and, behind the scenes, some developed a scheme to submit fake slates of electors supporting Trump’s reelection despite his loss at the ballot box. The people involved in these activities could count on the support of others who endorsed the rigged election claim, even if these endorsements were largely insincere.

The costs of acting as if the 2020 election were rigged are no doubt greater than those for acting as if the floor is lava. The costs of acting as if the 2020 election were rigged led to millions of dollars worth of damage to the Capitol building, led to hundreds of arrests for Capitol rioters, led to multiple deaths and imperiled American democracy.

My goodness, that’s a lot of rhetoric, isn’t it?

I guess he missed that documentary 2000 Mules, huh? Of course, a journalist on NPR said that 2000 Mules is a “wild tale” and a “conspiracy theory” with “absolutely no evidence.” Heck, it’s downright “extremism.”

But the film is the latest in a long line of movies that use the tropes and signifiers of documentaries to gain credibility. In recent years, documentary style films about the 2020 election, the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines have spread conspiracy theories and recycled debunked lies.

“Documentaries have been used for decades to try to make bad actors and folks who are trying to push conspiracies or push disinformation or push a specific political agenda look more professional, look glamorous, look like something that you can believe,” said Jiore Craig, head of elections and digital integrity at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which tracks online extremism.

My question is: what makes their conspiracy theory more valid than the original conspiracy theory?

The “assault on democracy” warning

The Economist interviewed Nancy Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead about the “dangers” of conspiracy theories. They are the co-authors of the book, A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy. Nancy and Russell call it “conspiracy without the theory,” claiming it’s all nothing more than baseless accusations and somebody ought to do something about it. (Emphasis mine.)

The new media—social media, of course, but even basic things like internet message boards—challenge the traditional gatekeeping function of editors and producers. Today anyone can say anything to everyone in the world instantly and for free. And because validation of conspiracy claims takes the form of repetition and assent, even the most casual “likes” and “retweets” give authority to senseless, destructive charges (“a lot of people are saying”). We are seeing the political effects of this change and one of the first things we’re seeing is the spread of a politically malignant form of conspiracy without the theory.

Can the same technology that disseminates charges like “fake news” or the “deep state” also disempower it? Can political representatives and citizens who grasp the effects of conspiracism, the way it delegitimises democratic institutions, exile it again to the fringes of political life? No one has figured out how to do this yet, short of some form of public- or corporate-censorship of egregious conspiracy-entrepreneurs like Alex Jones or, what is now unthinkable, censoring irresponsible political officials who endorse conspiracist claims.

Nancy and Russell believe we need to defer to the scholars.

The counter-force comes from the authority of knowledge-producing institutions (that is, courts, expert-staffed agencies, research universities) on one side, and democratic common sense on the other. Wherever conspiracism is reshaping public life, two preventatives are vital: to defend the integrity of knowledge-producing institutions and bolster confidence in the ballast of common sense.

After all, it’s only “rational.”

Interestingly, painting women as irrational and hysterical was a tool that was used to oppress them for centuries. But I guess it’s A-OK to do that to political opponents.

(How do you starve the beast? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to learn more.)

The thing is, conspiracy theories are often more valid than the “news.”

When you read those arguments in a bubble, they sound perfectly reasonable. It’s only when you look at them through the lens of the things going on in the United States, and heck, the world, that you see how stifling it is.

For a decade, I’ve written about “conspiracy theories.” I’ve shared information and suggested that while it might seem innocent at first, it’s a slippery slope. Then people call me crazy, and then the next thing you know, we’ve slid down that slippery slope, and when we’re in a pile at the bottom, nobody steps up and says, “Whoops, I guess you were right.

Instead, they memory-hole (thanks, Orwell) their initial (incorrect) arguments and gaslight us, acting as though they never disagreed with us in the first place.

That’s why I put together a PDF book this week with many of the “conspiracy theories” I’ve written about over the past ten years. The Conspiracy Files: “Crazy “Theories That Turned Out to Be TRUE is a limited run – the book will only be available this week. It discusses propaganda, censorship, Covid-19, the Ukraine war, the election, the Great Reset, dangerous technology, and much more. It’s 543 pages, and I think, if you are a conspiracy theorist like me, you’ll find it very interesting how many of these “crazy conspiracy theories” turned out to be true. You can get your copy here, and it’s name-your-price.

Repeatedly, we’ve seen our theories and opinions publicly mocked, the purveyors of those opinions defunded and shunned, and the people who believe them belittled and degraded. Sure, some conspiracy theories are truly nuts – but the beauty of free speech means that we can decide for ourselves through research and reason what we believe to be the most accurate portrayal of the facts.

If you think about the scientific method, it all starts with a theory. Then the person tests it and holds it up for examination to see whether or not it’s true. Why are conversations looked at differently? I should be able to provide my evidence and converse with someone who provides evidence to the contrary. Nobody should be cast as a villain for that, but it seems rather villainous to silence people for daring to believe something other than what the media tells us is true, without question.

Of course, I guess us thinking for ourselves instead of believing what we’re spoon fed is what makes conspiracy theories so darned dangerous.

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What about left-wing conspiracy theories?

The argument that conspiracy theories are dangerous often overlooks left-wing conspiracy theories. All of the things below have been proven objectively WRONG but nobody seems to think these are dangerous.

  • That conservative kid from Covington was disrespectful to the Native American guy
  • Donald Trump colluded with the Russians
  • The Covid pandemic started in a wet market because someone ate a bad bat
  • Hunter Biden’s laptop didn’t exist
  • Covid vaccines will keep you from getting Covid

There are a whole bunch more and most of them are about President Trump. Whether you love him or hate him, he didn’t say that neo-Nazis were very fine people and he did not tell folks to drink bleach to cure Covid.

Nobody in the mainstream media is running around calling these attacks on the former President a threat to democracy. Nobody in academia is calling the nonsense about Covid that destroyed our very economy dangerous. In fact, you have to really dig to find out anything about those subjects online and a lot of folks still believe them.

I’d say that there was a coverup of left-wing conspiracy theories but then I’d sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist.

What are your thoughts on conspiracy theories?

I’ll proudly wear the tin foil. I refuse to just “absorb” the opinions of the mainstream media. Conspiracy theories give me another perspective, another way of looking at the world. And it’s a way I’m free to take or leave. Just like I should also be free to take or leave what passes for “news” these days.

I’m not saying you need to be delusional, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with questioning things, coming up with a theory, and having a conversation about it. Obviously, you shouldn’t use those questions to harm others. Folks who act in violence based on a conspiracy actually are crazy, regardless of whether that is a left-wing or right-wing conspiracy theory. There will always be crazy people out there. But most people don’t do that. They just discuss it and ask questions.

Long live the conspiracy theory and the freedom to discuss things.

Do you believe in conspiracy theories? Are you “dangerous?” Do you think those conspiracy theories are something that should be silenced? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

The post In Defense of “Crazy” Conspiracy Theories appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

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