I want to entertain a more basic look at both and propose that the idea of resilience is the ‘third way’. I don’t intend to create a debate about “prepping vs survivalism” so please don’t segway into that.
At the core prepping is about withstanding shocks and overcoming them. Having enough fuel and food to outlast that winter storm in comfort and safety, for example.
With prepping you rely on the return to normalcy. Survivalists are slightly more end of times orientated (and there is nothing wrong with that) - perhaps they fear nuclear strike, or economic meltdown that produces that Mad Max scenario that so many in WWYD dream of. Regardless they are more focused on the long term, but it is a long term ruled by the gun and a total collapse.
Both these viewpoints stress stockpiling and the BOB or INCH. And for many situations evacuation is likely (flooding, tornado damage) so these aren’t bad suggestions. However what preppers AND survivalists should be doing is striving for resiliency which is, I believe more holistic than simply prepping.
What is Resiliency?
I’m going to loosely define it as the ability of systems, individuals and objects to avoid permanent damage from serious shocks.
How can something be resilient?
Example 1) Your personal file system
A file system can be made resilient using data backup options. For example one can back up their files using free programs such as Sugar Sync or Dropbox - this adds a layer of resiliency to your personal file protection. Of course such a solution is contingent on internet backups so an additional failsafe could be manual backup to an external hard drive.
When building resiliency complexity needs to be considered - the simpler a solution and the less dependencies it has the better. In this case a backup solution that can function independently of the internet is a good idea.
Example 2) The global transportation network
Does anyone remember the icelandic volcano no one could pronounce? That was a classic systems disruption that showed how lacking in resiliency modern transport is. Something stops us flying across the Atlantic and it is virtually impossible. Ocean crossing have not existed for quite some time - in this example if you were stranded how could you be resilient?
Consider the object is to avoid permanent damage - this could be loss of life to loss of a business deal. Luckily the interconnected world allows many of us to work remotely and at the very least get by remotely. Having your information in the cloud is a definite advantage here.
Of course if you wanted to get somewhere a few things would have been helpful:
- Advance knowledge - this bleeds into everything else. If you know your flight is cancelled why turn up to the airport.
Cash - ability to use leverage power to rent a car, buy suddenly inflated train tickets.
A network - if you are hotel less then knowing someone local can be invaluable.
I hope those two examples have you thinking about the broader idea of resiliency.
I now want to borrow from my friend and use his 7 patterns of resilience.
- Avoidance and deflection
Protection and isolation
Lets apply them to traditional prepping and survivalism
1: Avoidance and deflection
One can avoid a dangerous area by applying knowledge. Or as we like to call it Bugging Out!
If you know a riot is going on it is better to avoid that area. Interested in this aspect? You need to look carefully at threats you can avoid - through moving or evacuating. You also need a realistic time scale - getting stuck in traffic is not a successful avoidance.
2: Protection and isolation
An isolated person or object has a degree of safety that a non isolated does not. Protection of your house is a good one, defensive landscaping, use of firearms for effective defense etc. How do you protect yourself, how do you protect your supplies?
How strong is your gear? How strong is your immune system? What can you do to increase toughness. Do not forget mental toughness! Are you mentally tough enough to shrug off setbacks and overcome challenges? The tougher a system, object or person the more resilience it has.
Backups and replacements. We all know 1 is none, 2 is 1. How do you use redundancy as part of your preps? Are you redundant down to a skill level? How can you increase your redundancy when prepping - caches etc? Do you have two streams of income?
Are you able to fix and repair damage? Can you rebuild your income loss? The ability to regenerate what you have lost is VITALLY important for resilience. Self sufficient practices suddenly are a lot more important if you think about being resilient. Food production is a really important area to consider.
Specialisation is for insects! That being said there is always going to be a trade off. Humans are omnivores - being an omnivore is a prudent choice for someone interested in resilience. Narrow diets can be a hindrance (though of course this is a very personal choice I’m not judging as someone trying to eat paleo!). Other examples of this would be picking gear to fill multiple roles.
A system or a person that can adapt successfully to a massive change to its environment is going to survive. Changing of routines in a disaster, ability to adjust to a new more stressed way of living. We as humans are VERY good at adaptation - but not everyone is equipped for this.
Whew - still with me?
Great so now look at yourself - this is just an example.
How can I be resilient:
Create a second income stream.
Work on savings and investments that build on resilience. Invest in strong banks - ones that can weather a storm.
Make myself tougher - work on fitness, diet and lifestyle.
Grow my own food! Or at least try to supplement it.
Build a community and network with other people.
Identify systems disruptions.
We do that a lot here but really breaking down how systems are likely to be disrupted and the outcomes will help you prep more efficiently. Trying to use more resilient systems is always going to be better. Transport networks are a good one to look at - can they suffer partial shut down? Electricity companies are also worth looking at, what are their redundancies?
So on and so forth.
Engage in community projects, how can you lessen your reliance on systems that can be disrupted.
My point of this post is to encourage you to think about resiliency in what you are doing as a prepper or survivalist. And that it is a useful analytic tool you can use to look at the world around you.