Low Tech Living — Class Notes
As we begin the new week, let’s build on the most recent Weekend Homework and last week’s Class Notes, continue our conversation, and our preparedness planning, with a focus on the importance of low tech solutions as key components of our critical infrastructure.
In the modern age, it’s difficult for most to imagine life and the world without the aid, support, and convenience of technology. For many, it may seem impossible. As people committed to a life of preparedness, we have learned to imagine the world, and its future, much differently. We know that the world in which we live depends, in almost every way, on interdependent systems – and that this kind of network dependency subjects every link in the network chain to points of weakness among the others. With this in mind, the critical infrastructure of our households, communities, and country, should be as operationally independent as possible. Think in terms of working order, maintenance, and repair.
Disentangling our dependence on external systems and support is a great challenge from the standpoint of our practical day-to-day activities and experiences. Take heart. Do not despair. It may seem to be a hurdle too high, but that’s an illusion – and one that separates us from solution focused thinking.
Instead, we’ll try a radical thought experiment. Such an experiment may appear on the surface to be rather extreme, and may even be stressful. It can also be quite liberating. Try not to resist the idea. Work through it instead. Radical thought experiments can help us break through the constraints of our current thinking, and lead us to new ideas and options.
Let’s get started. Consider every aspect of your life with a view to primitive conditions. Imagine a day without access to any modern convenience, and then consider this over a week, a month, a season, a year. If you can survive under these conditions, any convenience that can be added back is a luxury. Make this a fundamentally honest assessment. Your survival, and that of your family and friends, may ultimately rely on the truth and fullness of such an examination.
Recall from the prior Class Notes: “Critical infrastructure is any feature of a system or site that is vital, and the loss of which (partial or complete) would have serious (even severe) adverse affects on health and well-being, safety and security.”
The big elephant in the room is electricity. Just about everything we do depends on it. Without electricity, the activities of modern society come to a screeching halt. Gas pumps require electricity. Registers at the grocery store require electricity. Washers and dryers require electricity. Heating and air systems require electricity. The computers that manage the supply chain here and everywhere rely on electricity. If you haven’t yet read our posts on the threat of an EMP (act of nature or act of war), see the links below. It’s a huge topic, and one that can easily become overwhelming. We’ll begin with an example that will help us think about alternatives so that we can build these into our preparedness plans.
The electric stove is an excellent example of an appliance used across America and around the world every day. Since we must prepare food and may have to boil water to sustain ourselves, the capacity to cook is an important part of critical infrastructure. We’ll use this example to think about broad based alternatives.
What are the alternatives in the absence of electricity?
- Propane stove
- Wood fired stove
- Charcoal grill
- Solar oven
- Rocket stove
- Fire pit
Preppers should have the capacity to cook with every option from the list above. If one fails for any reason, the others provide a safety net. Running out of fuel, or lacking sun as clouds roll in can significantly affect your ability to cook. Having alternatives is protective and reassuring.
Water supply is another outstanding example, and key to survival. Anyone without access to safe, drinkable water will become a refugee within 48 to 72 hours.
Where is your water coming from? A public utility, or a well dependent on an electric pump? What are the alternatives?
- A store of water bottles or “Water Bricks”
- Rain catchment
- A well with a hand pump feature
- Access to a spring head, creek, or river
…and always remember ways to make it safely drinkable.
Once the first part of the assessment is completed, consider next how you might “add back” the most important and useful tools that are least reliant on technology. If your systems and strategies can support and sustain life independently, any additions may improve quality of life for as long as they remain in good working order. Should these fail at any point, your safety net remains as does your ability to survive without the added benefit of the “extras” that add relative luxury to life.
Remember the categories listed under “Form” as part of “Form and Function”. These will help you organize your thinking. You’ll find that some of these are relatively easy to address, and others are much more difficult. Take them in order or choose an area into which you want to delve deeply.
- Safe, Breathable Air
- Safe, Drinkable Water
- Shelter from the Elements
- Nutritious Food
- First Aid and Medicines
- Security and Personal Defense
- Sanitation and Hygiene
Remain solution oriented. Be encouraged. Breathe through the process. Make this an opportunity to take your commitment to preparedness to the next level. You can do it!
A Thoughtful Quote to Share:
“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”