Philosophy of modern survivalism

When the term “survival” and “survivalism” found it’s way to Poland in the beginning of 1990s, it referred to what I like to call “green survival” — surviving in a remote location, on your own, after a plane crash of some sort. Using what is available to build a shelter, find water, hunt animals, field dress your catch, and start a fire using two sticks.

The idea of being stuck in the wilderness is pretty interesting for young guys who want to prove their masculinity is very romantic. In reality most of average bread eaters will never have to use such knowledge. In Poland there are no woods you could be easily lost in (in almost every case a couple of hours walk will get you to the nearest settlement, or a asphalt road, power line, etc.). So why bother about learning how to improvise a shelter, when you can simply go and get help?

When I was 15 I read my first book on “green survival”, The Survival Handbook by Peter Darman. I created my first survival kit, kept it in my pocket for 2 or 3 years (the time I wore my favorite M65 military jacket, 24/7), but never used it. For example, to this day I only used a ferro rod to light up a burner on a gas stove in my camper van. I really don’t feel like this kind of stuff and knowledge is really necessary in Polish environment.

But the modern survivalism, in which one prepares himself and his family for worse times?

In Poland from 1944 to 1989 we had communist government and a pretty poor economy. We joke today that one could only easily buy vinegar, and there were periods of food rationing when a person was issued some stamps to get food (meat, butter, milk, flour, sugar, gasoline, etc.). So whenever people could get their hands on luxuries as a toilet paper, they bought as much as they can.

But since 1989 much has changed here. The shelves are full, people make significantly more money, and they are happy they left behind the dark period when you had to wait 5 hours in a queue just to buy meat or toilet paper.

But is it really behind?

I believe that this period of prosperity will come to an end. That people will not be able to waste money on driving gas-guzzling cars, heating inefficient houses, and buying stuff they don’t really need.

This is why we preach modern survivalism — to prepare for the worst, but at the sime time make your life easier and improve its quality.

It is preparedness if you have a root cellar, that can be retrofitted to be used as nuclear fallout shelter.

It is preparedness if you have 100 liters (26 gallons) of fuel you need every day to commute to work, or when you leave your car and go to work by bike every other day.

It is preparedness when you use your summer cottage in the country to plant perennial plants, like an orchard of apple trees, surrounded by a fedge (food hedge) of Siberian peashrub.

It is preparedness if you have an insurance for your house, in case it’s burnt down, but also to have a fire extinguisher. And everybody has such an insurance, right? In Poland we also have to keep fire extinguishers in our cars, and people are accustomed to the idea (but very few people have those at their homes, I don’t know why).

So if it doesn’t cost much, improves the quality of your life, and might save your life one day, why hesitate?

Krzysztof Lis

M.Sc. in mechanical engineering. Interested in alternative energy sources, biofuels, and preparedness.

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