There's been a bit of discussion in an online group I belong to over the op-ed in the Washington Post, A climate-change activist prepares for the worst, by Mike Tidwell. The gist of the op-ed is that the author has done much over the years to reduce his carbon footprint but has recently gone further to try to live a more self-sufficient and off-the-grid lifestyle.
He argues that, with the weather and power interruptions they've experienced in the D.C. area, it's prudent to be prepared. But, he goes further than that and has been dead-bolting the doors, buying supplies for indoor raised bed gardening and visiting a shooting range to learn how to use a shotgun. Just in case the impending zombies decide to steal his lettuce. Or something like that.
Now, I didn't blink an eye at this because it's not too uncommon for people who are foreward thinking on the issues of food security, climate change, peak oil or, really, just emergency preparedness to go to these extremes. And, I know many of the readers of this blog and others related to climate change and peak oil have taken these steps and, in some cases, have gone much further complete with months worth of stockpiled supplies, food, MREs and a personal artillery to protect it all.
However, the reaction among my online group was mostly one of disbelief ranging from "this is sick beyond words" to "the guy's a whack" to the admission that neighbors were afraid to let their kids over the author's house after this. I think I may have been the only one non-plussed by the article.
My experience has been that people respond differently to perceived disasters and some may hunker down and prepare as a method of controlling fear as well as give themselves a sense of stability and safety. While I won't argue that the dual issues of climate change and peak oil won't hit us hard, I don't think we're going to wake up overnight and it's going to be Armageddon. I believe it's going to be a slower decline than that, one that we can adjust to over time.
The end result won't be something out of Cormac McCarthy's The Road or Jim Kunstler's male-oriented fantasy vision of the über-prepared man shooting big guns and licking miles of pussy.
In either case, it is ridiculous to think that something like Mr. Tidwell's locks and novice gun skills will provide much in the way of protection against the truly hungry. However, I can't agree with the reaction of the others in my group. I think Tidwell's actions are common and understandable. He isn't some nutjob holing up in some bunker in the woods, but a man concerned for the long-term safety and welfare of his family.
What about you? Are you preparing for the zombie hoards, just stocking up for emergencies and/or doing nothing to protect your homestead? Do you think Mr. Tidwell's preparations are wise or unwarranted?
Ladies totin' guns