Wednesday, October 31, 2012
:: Future Proofing ::
The future. It is uncertain, and has always been that way. Sometimes I wonder though, how did my parents feel when they were raising us? Did they have similiar concerns to those I have for my children? I grew up in a lower to middle-class family, in a time where there was a recession, and my Dad had to work two jobs to pay the mortgage. Yet, I still had this (naive) idea in my head, that you get educated, you get a job or career and you work hard, you have a family and you enjoy life, you grow old and you enjoy retirement. Even in young adulthood, even when I was first married and working as a nurse, I still thought life panned out that way. There was no climate change, there was no global financial crisis, there were no zombies. OK, so yes, there have always been issues, though, and I am sure my parents had plenty of worries, even if they are different to those I have. Perhaps I now see it differently, because my awareness of potential issues is increased, and also, now that I have grown up, I am the parent with the responsibilities. I am the one worrying about finances, about employment, about education, our food security and nutrition, about health and safety. I am the one trying to give my kids a magical childhood, aware of reality and the world around them, yes, but also free of the stress that comes from worrying about potential issues that should be the parents domain. Do I spend a lot of my time worrying? No. I spend a lot of my time doing.
What are the main concerns I have about 'the future' that we are working on? Well, you know, the future is 5 minutes from now, 5 months from now, 5 years from now, or 50 years. There is no complete 'future-proofing' option, because anything could happen, at any time. Although I joke about the zombie apocolypse, and TEOTWAWKI, in reality, the following are the issues we base our preparations on. Doing what we do, aiming for what we want to achieve, doesn't mean we will ever be fully prepared, we know that. It also doesn't mean we spend our lives being serious and thinking up terrible scenarios of what could happen to us! It's that whole Survironmentalism thing I keep banging on about... doing what we can to 'be prepared', and enjoying what we are doing. We live in the now, but are aware of the possible. By giving ourselves a sense of preparedness, we can try to live happy and satisfying lives. If nothing dramatic ever happens, then we will be doing something good for ourselves and our children (and their families), the planet and our community anyways!
Financial Crisis/ Depression Scenarios
Both my husband and I work hard. We studied to be able to have the jobs we do, our work ethic is strong, and we value the opportunity to be employed. We also value financial security, so we make sacrifices, we spend wisely, we try to live frugally, and we save as much as we can. Having some savings in the bank is important, but investing in qood quality equipment and being able to set up our 'urban homestead' is also important. This is the perfect way to justify a little spending spree on seeds, gardening tools, a greenhouse, camping or bowhunting gear, don't you think! We are also aware that the economy we live in may not always be based about money, and we are adding to our skills and resources, to be able to survive in a world based on barter, to be able to provide for ourselves as best we can. I don't believe there will be pensions or superannuation by the time we get to 'retiring' age... there will be a reliance on family, yes, but also on providing for ourselves, and being fit and healthy enough to do so (or the 'doing so' will improve our fitness and health!) So, amongst other things, we are learning to hunt and butcher, to keep bees, to grow and preserve, to forage, to process smallgoods, to design urban homesteads, to make and use natural remedies, to propagate plants, and my husband wants to learn to tan hides. Does our vision of the future see us wearing furs, trading with pots of honey, chewing on wild goat jerky, being bum-up in the local park picking edible weeds, and having people come to me as the local 'healer'? Not necessarily, but that might very well that be our childrens future!
Food Security Issues
I am often banging on about 'food security', because, well, I like to eat. I also like to feed my family. Who doesn't? But I tell you what, there are plenty of people out there who cannot, for a variety of reasons, feed their family nutritious food on a regular basis. That saddens me, and scares the hell out of me. Whilst we are setting up this great urban homestead, having this abundance of food at our backdoor, what we are really doing is teaching ourselves skills, and passing the skills AND the attitude on to our kids. The attitude is, you want to eat? Grow or hunt it yourself. Growing or hunting the food is only the first step, because you've got to know how to cook it, store it, preserve it, and dagnammit, for every species you grow, there is a pest or disease or issue you have to tackle. Those freaking apple codling moth are worse than any zombies I know. So while I am in the back yard (or front yard, or side yard) sweating, and often swearing, as I haul river pebble or bricks or soil around, as I am pushing myself to go and get the pumpkins and sunflowers planted, as I am researching when to put the apple pouches on the apples to stop those darn moths, when I would rather be hanging out, or reading, or even writing a blog post, I am determined because I want to learn and provide for my family. Because, well, they like to eat too.
Other Emergency Plans
Where I live, our most likely emergency scenario is bushfire. I do live in the nation's capital, so you could throw in terrorist attack too. Add in pandemic for good measure. With climate change throwing its weight around, we could also be looking at severe storms or floods, or food shortages (due to bad weather and/ or supply issues). This all sounds suckful, doesn't it. Not suckful enough to make us actually get all our short-term emergency plans done yet. Which is embarrassing because I was the one who held the darn Be Prepared Challenge! OK, so we have lots done, and I always say, one more thing you get done, is a step in the right direction. Our best bet would be a situation where we had to stay put, even without power or water. As in, we have access to food & water in our stockpile and backyard, we have shelter, security, healthcare, hygiene, communication, blankets, alternate cooking and lighting, and even entertainment. Our Grab Bags and evacuation plans are still lacking. We have stuff (see 'spending spree' & 'investment' above), it just needs fine tuning.
To me, the best option for the future might very well to be nomadic (I have plans for a fully decked out camper-van, will draw illustrations for you one day!) Moving from place to place, wherever the food, water and security are. Foraging, hunting and eating fresh. Bartering and working on the go. Sounds good to me! For now, we continue to adapt in place and make home, and keep an eye out for zombies (or aliens). Are you future-proofing, or has it always been part of your life? What scenarios or plans do you think about? What have you achieved so far?