What to do before the lights go out!
We get up in the morning with uncertainty as to where the events of each day will take us. Economists tell us that our American economy has been falsely buoyed up for years and could easily collapse. Epidemiologists announce that a major outbreak of the next deadly epidemic is not a matter of IF but WHEN. Scientists worldwide suggest that we are on the verge of or overdue for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and major storms on a grander scale than what we have previously experienced.
Years ago (1998), I felt the strong need to write a book on how to take care of ourselves. I feel even more strongly now that we may be entering into a time where we may have to become increasingly self-sufficient. In 2000, Herbal First Aid and Health Care: Medicine for a New Millennium was released by Lotus Press (available online at Amazon.com). This book can be an excellent resource for you.
In spite of all the fear and angst, life is incredibly wonderful in so many ways. We have endless knowledge at our fingertips. We have brilliant and amazing music and entertainment to enjoy. We have opportunities to learn and grow and share with others. And we have enough affluence that we can devote time everyday to serving and helping others. With so many positive things going on, it is easy to grow complacent because of the relative ease of life. Most of us struggle, not with survival issues (enough food, water, shelter, safety) but with relationships, getting ahead, and the day-to-day busyness we all get caught up in. Perhaps it is time we reassess and begin to make some preparations for potential changes.
We should all work to become more prepared for unexpected changes in our community, country or world that may occur. Being well stocked and prepared can calm much fear and anxiety.
Our First Tier of Preparedness is what the Red Cross and FEMA call a 72-hour kit. This is a small backpack that contains everything you may need to "grab and go" and sustain yourself without any outside help for 3 days. Food, water, change of clothes, medicines (herbal in our case), emergency phone numbers, etc. There are many lists of what to include on the internet. Again 72-hours of survival is the key. You should also consider the needs of your pets and animals. Discuss possible plans or scenarios with your household.
The Second Tier of Preparedness would be for a three-week period that you may need to stay at home. If for some reason, we could not go to the store (caused by anything from a major earth-changing catastrophe to quarantine issues to a trucking/railway strike), we should have enough food, water, and provisions that we could get by for 3 weeks. You should also have a first aid kit that has enough supplies to treat infectious illnesses, cuts, and wounds. Begin to prepare for this when you go to the store next time. Purchase a few extra cans or boxes of non-perishable food and tuck it away. You will be amazed at what you can accumulate in a short time.
The Third Tier of Preparedness is to have enough food and resources that you could get by for three months or longer. Being a part of a community, I believe, is vital to getting by during difficult times. Whether your community is those who live within your neighborhood, within your church or some other close-knit organization, developing relationships and friendships will bless and enrich your life whether you ever need to pull together for a disaster or not. After you are satisfied with your 3-week supply, begin expanding your resources and network. There are lots of good buys when you purchase in bulk.
Here are additional things you should consider during the second and third tiers of preparedness.
- Fuel Source and Cooking We suggest using solar ovens, Dutch ovens with a good supply of charcoal, or build a "rocket stove" (look it up on the internet). Propane stoves are also good to have. I personally like the SOS Sport Solar Oven found at www.solarovens.org. Additionally, consider how you will keep your house warm during the cold of winter - or at least one room warm (it is easier to heat one room and hang out there than heat the whole house.)
- Water Source This is probably one of the most crucial issues. For those of us who live in the West, where we cannot rely on summer rains, water should be stored in barrels or cisterns. Ideally, we should catch the rainfall and store it for later retrieval. This water can be used during the hot summer months to water our gardens and in an emergency for personal use. If you do not have a well or access to one, you should know where you could get water. Many cultures walk miles and carry water back to their homes each day. Do you know where you could walk or ride a bike to find a daily source of water if necessary? Conserve and save water. Water is more critical than food for survival.
- Get Out of Debt During the Great Depression (1929 to 1939), if you owed money to anyone, they were not above collecting on their debt whether it put you out in the cold or not. Mortgages were foreclosed upon and any loan that was secured with property was pursued. We strongly recommend to live "within your means" or in other words, by spend less money than you bring home. Look in to the advice of the radio talkshow host Dave Ramsey for some sound financial advice. Always keep some cash on hand, just in case. Keep your vehicles at least half full with gas.
- Develop a Reservoir of Necessary Medical Supplies This includes necessary prescriptions as well as natural or herbal medicines. If for some reason, you were not able to pick up a drug prescription, what would you do? You may want to work on your health and eliminate as many medications as you can by reclaiming your health. At the same time, build your own herbal pharmacy with long-lasting herbal tinctures. A properly made herbal formula (a tinctured extract) can last for many years (10-20 years if stored properly.) We recommend building a good supply to keep on hand. We have (and we use from our supply) many bottles of the following:
- two - 16 oz bottles per person
Complete Tissue Repair
- one - 5 oz jar per person
- two jars per person
one jar per person
- one - 240 capsule size jar per person
- one jar of capsules and one jar of powder per family
- one - 4 oz bottle per person
- one - 2 oz bottle per family
- one - 2 oz bottle per family
- one - 4 oz powdered bulk herb per family
- one - 2 oz bottle per person
Herbal First Aid & Health Care
- one copy per household. (Even though I wrote this book,
I still refer to it - you don't need to remember everything - just know where to find it).
I urge each of you to consider storing those things that you may need. If you are comfortable in preparing your own herbal formulas, I have recipes for many of these in my book Herbal First Aid and Health Care. Purchase the dry bulk herbs from Western Botanicals Inc. and you can save a bundle. You can even keep the herbs in a safe, dry, cool place for 3 to 5 years and they will be ready when you are.
- Grow a Garden We have beautiful colorful lettuces growing in the planter outside our front door as well as many other fruits and vegetables hidden or strategically planted throughout our landscape. We also grow medicinal herbs, which can give us medicine as well as beautiful flowers to enjoy. Grow plants that can address all of the typical medical needs, such as immune system, pain, etc. One key to success I have found is to put everything on drip irrigation and a timer. It will save you time as well as money and you will not lose plants when you go away for a few days.
- Manage Your Resources Use less energy. Walk or ride your bike when you are able. When purchasing something new, get it energy efficient whether it's an appliance or a car. Turn down your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Eat locally - shop at local growers markets, farms and dairies. Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Replace your hot water heater with an on-demand tankless model. And turn off the lights or electrically powered things when not in use. Reduce, recycle, and reuse. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
- Develop Marketable Skills It is not beyond imagination that we could fall into a bartering economy if our society were to experience some sort of upheaval. I would encourage each of us to have or develop some marketable skills. Often we find that a hobby or interest can be a valuable commodity or service to someone else. If you have an interest outside of your normal job, pursue it by taking classes and working on it. Our skills and interests are often the best vehicles to serve and help others. So whether your are good at fixing things or making things or have an interest in learning something new, throw your passion into it. Begin by sharing and trading with others. This can range from making jam, bread or pies to offering professional services. Follow your passion and "don't die with your music still in you."
- Cultivate an Attitude of Service We are not in anything alone, unless we choose to be. Be moderate in everything, except devotion and love. The great mystery of a happy life is blessing the lives of others. In essence, we serve God by serving others.
- Bloom Where You Are Planted My wife often says this. This means that you should not go looking for that greener pasture. Unless you feel like you are being divinely directed to be living in another place, chances are you are right where you should be. Bloom where you are planted. The flower will make the best of wherever it is and bloom. It does not take the attitude of not trying because there may be a little too much shade or too much sand or clay in the soil. There will always seem like there is a better place, but bloom, grow, develop and prosper right where you have been planted. If the time comes for you to uproot and move, you will know, but until then get to work on blooming.
Few will disagree that we are living in a time of transition. It is not a time for fear or worry. I often tell people that we are right on schedule and everything is as it should be. It is a time for work and preparation. A time to foster friendships, hone our skills and cultivate a sense of community. So sit down with those you love and review these suggestions and decide how you should act upon them.
With Blessings of Love and Gratitude,
Kyle D. Christensen, DC, ND, MH