A few years ago, National Geographic produced a show called “Doomsday Preppers.” I had never been introduced to the world of “survivalism” prior to this, so naturally I thought it was absurd. Apocalypse? The Book of Revelation isn’t even real! Who will ever really need 300 cans of meat? Aren’t there government safety nets anyway?
I still don’t believe that the Biblical apocalypse is any more likely than I ever have, but I do now realize that “Doomsday” can mean something other than the Seven Seals and ascension into heaven. In fact, it sounds a lot like something that I do believe in: Climate Change.
We’ve known for a long time that Climate Change posed an unprecedented threat to humankind, but this idea was always very far from my own reality. It was an abstraction. However, the older I get and the better I understand the science, and the closer we get to those once-distant cut-off dates, the more real it all becomes.
So, in order to stoke my already well-fed anxieties, I obsessively watched the incoming and outgoing of Hurricane Michael last week. I read articles with titles like, “Desperate Hurricane Michael Survivors Ask: When Is Help Coming?” and started down a rabbit hole of research.
Here’s a not-so-shocking piece of news — hurricanes are getting more frequent and more devastating. The five most expensive (adjusted for inflation) hurricanes to hit the U.S. since 1900 (not counting 2018) were in 2005, 2017, 2017, 2012 and 2017, in that order. Yikes.
And then I started thinking back to “The Great Coastal Gale of 2007.” I was a senior in high school and living in my hometown, Lebam. Highway 6 is the only way in and out of town and there was deep running water over the road on both the West and East side.
We didn’t have access to any water because, without electricity, our well pump didn’t work. Thank God my grandparents had a generator, because Lebam was one of the last places in the state to get power back. We had almost no food stored. And on top of all of that I couldn’t wash my hair which, in my 17-year-old mind, was absolutely agonizing.
Regardless of all this though, I found the situation to be pretty exciting at the time. No school for a week! And we were on the news!
But now — what would I do? What if I had a little baby? What if I had no way of contacting my family or my almost-husband? What about my cats? What about my medicine?
So as of this weekend, I decided to legitimately consider doomsday prepping. It’s a scary and difficult mind exercise that I would much rather avoid, but every natural disaster convinces me a little more that it may be a necessary evil. I mean, I never thought I’d have a house fire either… then I had two. I would rather avoid another “Why didn’t I buy renter’s insurance?” moment. Hindsight etc.
Ideally, I’d like to be a prepper minus the paranoia, if at all possible. I will stockpile the normal things like water, non-perishable food, cat food, medicine, candles, flashlights, and batteries. I will skip chopsticks (for kindling), chewing gum, copy of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and hair clippings (all of which are suggested on prepper websites). And if you’ve got $8,000 extra to spend, you can buy literal buckets of long-term emergency supply foods. No kidding.
I know that the idea of prepping is off-the-wall and seems a little hysterical, but I bet Crazy Uncle Joe in Florida is feasting in his bunker right now, laughing at all his doubters through the years.
All that being said, my pantry is only so big… so please don’t come over at the end of the world.
It’s a scary and difficult mind exercise that I would much rather avoid, but every natural disaster convinces me a little more that it may be a necessary evil.