I'm Marie from the UK. I've been lurking on this site for a couple of months or so, reading the articles and reading through the forums trying to absorb as much as I can.
To be honest there’s a hell of a lot of information to get my head round, part of me has been scared stupid and trying to cram in as much info as possible (which has lead to me forgetting where I read stuff) and another part of me doesn't ''get'' all the facts and figures. What I do understand is that we do not live in a world that has enough space for populations to keep increasing and at the same time we only have a limited supply of resources. Basically I can see we are heading for trouble and although I've known this for a long time, I just thought that my family and I would be gone before anything backfires on us too badly, after all we seem to have it so good and nobody questions when it will deteriorate. If they do question it they get the whole, 'not in your lifetime but its a good idea to use low energy bulbs, don't put things on standby etc etc for the future generations'.
This site and my college course is opening my eyes to a whole range of possibilities- like global warming could have a devastating effect on the way we live sooner rather than later, we will probably be unable to access oil in the not too distant future, the economy could possibly completely collapse at any point in time, food may become unavailable in the shops for a period of time etc. Yes it's opened my eyes, scared me senseless and left me wondering what I can actually do to help my family.
There is of course a lot of ideas on here, stockpile water, food, medical supplies, learn new skills, buy a house in a low population area but I don't really know what I can actually do. My parents are of the opinion the country has 40 years oil stockpiled (I'm not convinced and I asked them how they knew that- no response). My boyfriend says that it could happen but is unwilling to act. I broached the idea with my best friend but didn't tell her I was planning on prepping, she was open to the idea but just said she would live off the land and travel about, I'm not sure how she plans on that because she has neither skill nor equipment.
So what can I do to protect my family? To be honest I want to do everything others have done but I can't. I see very little I can do. I'm even wondering if it's even worth trying given how little I can do. I was wondering if anyone could help me plan around my situation. I will gratefully accept all help but if there is anyone from the UK then that would be best to help with finding supplies from good sources/reliable brands etc, a lot of the advice and suppliers already listed on here are American. I will try to keep it short and just mention my biggest worries to start with. I'm hoping to be here a while so I can learn more and hopefully in turn help others too.
SITUATION- My boyfriend and I live in a small rented council owned flat, in the middle of a town with a population of between 100,000 and 150,000. Money is really tight, there is no option of moving at the moment and I can't see that changing. Neither of us have any savings or any useful skills we can take with us into a new way of living. We have no balcony or windows which are suitable for plant window boxes.
PREP SO FAR- All I have managed to do so far is start buying a few tins of food and a couple of small bags of rice and pasta in our weekly shop, it's a start but it would probably only keep us for an extra few days- 1 week at the moment, I've also bought a bike, it’s only a cheap one but I'm hoping it will save me money on my petrol so I can start putting money into other things. It’s rather pitiful; I have a very long way to go.
So from this point where would you go if you was in my situation? I already have some ideas and loads more questions but I will add them to the appropriate threads or start new ones if needed as this is turning into an essay.
There is a group of people in the UK on this site: click on 'Discuss' and then page down to Groups. Or you can use this link the first time: http://www.peakprosperity.com/groups/all?title=u
I suggest you look at "Prepping on a Shoestring" by Amanda Witman, which is part of the "What Should I Do?" series (WSID). Hit 'Prepare'--to the right of 'Discuss' at the top of the page and you'll see 'WSID Guide' on the upper right side of the screen.
You're going about things in exactly the right way: one small step at a time, one bag of rice or other pantry item at a time. Being aware of the situation and even prepping a little is light-years ahead of doing nothing at all. The bicycle was a great idea!
Welcome Marie. Your post is well written and informative, so that helps people respond in a productive way.
You mentioned reading the articles and forums here, but it is not clear if you have delved into the What Should I Do? guide. http://www.peakprosperity.com/page/what-should-i-do
You will find more detailed information in the ResilientLife section of this web site. http://www.peakprosperity.com/prepare
It also helps if you can share a little more generic information. Are you in your early or late 20s, 30s, 40s? What jobs or training have you had? Does your close family live near by, including siblings? They should be your foundation for mutual support. Do you have any children? Think about how committed you are in your relationship with your boyfriend.
It sounds like your assets are limited, but if you are young and without children you also have a lot of vitality, flexibility, and not a lot to lose. That would give you important advantages. Best of all you can think clearly and make your own decisions.
It sounds like you are off to a good start. The time frame for the disruptions of the 3Es is the Economy now, followed by Energy over the next few years, and the Environment as a distant third.
Focus on the economy and how you would deal with problems with the banking system and supply disruptions. Your first steps are very good. Keep adding to your food supply and ride that bike where ever you can to see exactly how useful it can be.
Save money and keep some cash out of the bank. Build your essential supplies as you can. You should be able to get what you really need from the stores in your city. After you have your basic supplies in hand, then pay down any debts.
Small steps can feel very rewarding. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you’d like to do. Stay focused on plugging away steadily. It all adds up. With experience you’ll realize that you still have time. Things aren’t all going to fall apart tomorrow. It just feels like that to you now. Making connections with like minded people always helps. There is at least one group here for the UK. http://www.peakprosperity.com/group/uk-peak-prosperity
Best of luck to you.
PS – Safewrite writes faster then me. She beat me to the post with her usual good advice while I was still writing, but I’ll leave in the parts that overlap. I’m sure you’ll get more responses too.
It's always worth taking even the smallest of steps to prepare. Yes, it's a lonely road at times because so many people around us are unaware or remain trapped in their normalcy bias. I found the "WSID" section very helpful and have spent a good part of the time reading forums and following what others are doing.
CM has written that the collapse is a process not an event and it will be a step wise decline that happens over time. There might be periods of time when many things are happening at once and others when it is quiet and 'collapse fatigue' sets in.
Most of all believe in yourself. You are here because you have good instincts and a strong sense of wanting to survive what is coming and are not afraid to face it. That in itself is leaps and bounds ahead of the masses that are blind to the changes that are happening around us.
Let me just tell you that I was in the same place when I first saw the Crash Course in 2008. I similarly felt as you do ... I was in a situation where I had little opportunity to "prepare" and I felt afraid and vulnerable. I spent many hours exploring possible solutions but in the meantime, the best I could do was stock up on non-perishable foods. I am still eating through that stock. It's been just about four years now and my world has not changed at all. (I could tell you so much more regarding the advice I got from those ahead of me in their "awareness." I am so glad I didn't listen to their advice; I would be in a much worse position now.)
It is not as though I think it's all going to be alright and I do agree that the next 20 years will not be like the last 20 years (now it's more like the next 15 years as the CC is five years old, I believe). But my thoughts are that the changes in our lives will be what we are already seeing - the erosion of purchasing power and the pernicious effects of financial repression. However, barring a major black swan event such as the collapse of fiat currency or a world war, I don't believe I will face prolonged periods without access to food etc. (I do believe any number of black swan events are quite possible and for that reason, I think a store of food and water is advisable.) Otherwise, what I think we are seeing is a return to a simpler life - our homes will not be as large, we won't be shopping 'til we drop, and so on. Not necessarily a bad thing.
I guess my bottom line is - don't freak out. I went through periods of major worry in 2008 and 2009 and finally decided that I, not having the wherewithal to do much about it, would just stop worrying. It has worked just fine for years now. I keep my eyes open and I am aware enough to watch for any major signs that something bad is headed our way, but my life goes on.
I know many on this site will not appreciate this but I think all my "unaware" friends and family, those I tried to warn and share my fears with a few years back ... who thought I was just a little bit kooky, were correct. In my carefully considered opinion, it is just a little bit "kooky" to completely uproot your life without the means to do so and go "prepper" on the speculation that without doing so, you face a possible future of living at a starvation level or fighting off roving criminal gangs or whatever the speculation may be. (There is also a hint of religion in the prepper movement, or whatever you want to call it.) If you have the means and desire - moving to the land and becoming somewhat self-sustaining is great. If you don't have the means and/or the desire, the best thing you can do for yourself right now is to stop worrying and go on with your life as you planned it, but now with your eyes open.
(Edited by author for a spelling error.)
I think we all get depressed at times with all of the news and information. I first started my readings through some other content providers discussing the 3 E's. Most of this I found to be either very depressing and/or also trying to change the world. I kept investigating books in this area and always keep coming away with: I get the content but what should I do?! I have found this site to be very balanced on presentation of the information but also providing me with some challenging thoughts on what should I do.
So, don't get bummed out. My wife and I are looking at a major relocation, to get back to our roots, closer to family, downsize and to get our finances balanced. I still find that at times I get itchy that I'm not doing enough fast enough, but I still have to live life.
One thought on your current situation is to look for co-op's. My wife and I lived in Bennington, VT many years ago and were a member of a co-op that was afilitated with a local college. The co-op required a certain number of hours labor a month, some dollars but provided us with a box of veg's every so often. I believe the co-op utilized some of the college land for the growing and may have been connected in some way with the curriculum. Take a look to see if this exists or if you can start one, you never know.
Thank you for all the welcomes and advice.
Safewrite- I had already found the prepping on a shoestring article but I read so many articles in such a short space of time it became overwhelming. I'm going to step back, slow down and start again. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of the UK group, I have joined it.
Travlin- In answer to your questions I am in my late twenties. My boyfriend (I am commited but not sure how commited he is, his words and actions give different messages) has 3 children who do not live with him but visit at weekends, there are no children of my own. You are correct in that I don't have any assets. I have worked looking after other peoples dogs at a kennels in the past but now work in a small grocery store and off licence. The course I started a year ago will hopefully bring me back into the animal industry, I was thinking of becoming a petsitter but am now questioning that choice. My parents and siblings live about 3 miles away. The only people I trust are not interested in this subject, I gave some examples of their reactions above but I shall continue drip feeding in the hope the penny drops.
I certainly don't expect life as we know it to disappear overnight or even over a year or more but I think things will significantly change at some point in my life. Regardless of whether it happens or not I would still like some security, if I lose my job for example, I don't wish to rely on the government for support as I believe the benefits system will change. I can see the sense in keeping a small amount of money at home for emergancies so will follow that advice to a degree.
A resource for planning for & reacting to the unexpected (storms, natural disasters and other shocks)
Members to support one another in investing endeavors
Preparing those people on Ise Lodge (Kettering) Northants, interested in the future post fossil fuel.
A meeting place for all who are interested in building or sharing a resilient lifestyle up here in the North.
A group to form alliances for survival