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Poverty is the best survival training of all

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posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:13 PM
With all the different kinds of financial pressure facing us all, it has come to my attention that many, many people are dealing with things they never have before, and finding an unexpected benefit to their struggles to keep body and soul together.

Lately, I have had three different instances of personal acquaintances sharing their times of having utilities turned off, sometimes for extended periods of time, having cars that cannot be repaired for lack of a decent paycheck, and other situations, such as divorce or loss of a job altogether, which have caused unexpected hardships and opened some eyes about what survival really is.

Some questions we should consider:

Do you know how much water, in actual containers, it takes to run your life for a week? It pays to find out now, not later, and guestimates are so often vastly wrong. We are separated from a system we can measure, because we do not carry water. Make it your business to know.

Plastic is not our friend when it comes to storing food for long periods. I dug into my supplies recently and found that even though they were packed only 18 months ago, the plastic was already leaching into many of the foods, ruining the taste.

Many grains contain weevils, or other parasites, that only become apparent when left undisturbed. It would be a shame to discover your entire rice supply had sprouted unwelcome guests, when it is too late for a do-over.

Mildew can easily develop when supplies are stored in a basement and left alone. Again, by the time it is discovered, it can be too late.

Have you ever grown any food? Do you have a good mix of single-serving condiments and meals? Crank-charged radio or flashlight? Any way to make fire if your first two methods fail for some reason?

Do you have a way to cook or keep warm if generators are not an option because of fuel shortages, or lack of ventilation?

Mosquito and flea repellents? Cookware that will last if need be? More than one of crucial items like can openers?

While no one can be 100% except the Marines and the Seals, lol, these things can work a lot better if we are poor and have to rough it a bit now. Walking places is something some people never do.

Believe me, it is not an overnight adjustment. Heart attacks often happen when people suddenly start doing strenous activities, and if trouble comes, we will all be needed alive and well.

So grab a bucket of water and see what it is like. Carry it across the yard and try to imagine how it would be to do something like that every single day.

What if your family was counting on you for it?

Camping has been a great trainer for our family, but one bit of advice: avoid the fancy comfort items and really rough it.

Put yourselves to the test, and work out the bugs now. You will be glad you did!

I will be eating a lot better than I would have if I never had to go into my stash, let me tell you. It was a great gut check.

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:17 PM
I agree!

but somehow I don't think dealing drugs in the ghetto will be a good way to make money to buy food to feed yourself....(in a collapsed monetary system)

There is a big difference to Poverty in the City and Rural Poverty

The Latter are far more adept to surviving when SHTF

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:18 PM
Funny...sounds like my childhood. Yeah, you bet I'd know how to survive. Part of the learning was play but most of it was from reality. Just one silly little example that was recent; had a bad thunderstorm roll through and my power went out. Grabbed the flashlights off the top of the fridge and found the emergency candles and lit 'em up. Was actually quite nice and peaceful.

It seems odd to me that people wouldn't know how to survive and even get through say, six hours without power! Don't get that. Survival of the Fittest.

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:22 PM
reply to post by Nick_X

Hey Nick,
Funny you should point out the differences between the inner city and rural areas when things go wrong. I had called my big brother who lives in the cities and it just so happened his power went out in his apartment and he was freaked. He's 50 years old and said, "Yeah, you'd think I'd have a flashlight in here." But he didn't, and we was hoping and a wishin' the local 7-Eleven had batteries and flashlights. Really???? Don't most people have a flashlight in their glove compartment boxes in their vehicles???

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:29 PM
The biggest thing I miss when the power goes out is my internet connection. I can do without electricity, phones, tv, radio, etc. I live on a well and do have a porta potty for emergencies (since we have no running water). I know the struggle it can become when its an extended outage.

For us country folk, we can survive. Growing up a city girl I didn't have half a clue what it was like to have no running water - even in a power outage. That is one of the most important things to think about, water! Realizing how much you actually use in a day between showering, washing, toilet flushing, cooking, and drinking - it really is mind blowing!

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:47 PM
reply to post by Nick_X

Wow, that fast?

This thread is not about dealing drugs, lol.

My stash of emergency/survival supplies.

Let us try to stay focused when we address important issues.

Thanks, and I hope others have insights they will share as well on how to prepare now for the short-term and long-term possibilities.

For example, part of our supplies were in large cafeteria-style cans, suitable for a large meal, but ultimately impractical for transport and leftover storage. Smaller portions can be used quickly with less waste, can be split up more easily for sharing with others in need, as opposed to simply stacking up stuff that seems like it would be useful.

That is the kind of tweaking that can make life a little better if these supplies have to be used, obviously a stressful time when Wally World will not be available.

edit on 13-7-2011 by Copperflower because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:50 PM
I completely agree that rural poverty and inner-city poverty are vastly different, and the ones living in the country and are poor will have the easier time. Not saying that all is lost for the city-dwellers, but it would certainly take a bit more adjusting.

One of the largest problems our world faces in a if SHTF situation is the decreasing lack of knowledge of how to grow your own produce and fend for yourself when it comes to food. So many overlook the fact that the food you're buying from super-markets usually travels thousands of miles before it hits your dinner table. As well as the horrible chains of fast food restaurants so many people live off of because it's more economically feasable, yet it costs very little to grow your own produce, go to your local farmers' market and buy some protein, and learn how to cook a decent meal.
As well, one thing that I grow an excess of now, and will continue to do so when the SHTF (assuming my water supply isn't tainted), is grow garlic. Garlic is an amazing food with fantastic nutrients. I eat two raw cloves of garlic a day and haven't gotten a cold in almost two years.

Take the time to learn how to fend for yourself when it atleast comes to your own food, you'll be thankful when it comes time.

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:53 PM

Originally posted by Nick_X
I agree!

but somehow I don't think dealing drugs in the ghetto will be a good way to make money to buy food to feed yourself....(in a collapsed monetary system)

There is a big difference to Poverty in the City and Rural Poverty

The Latter are far more adept to surviving when SHTF

you'd be surprised. they're more than likely matched(in respect to environments) and not all(or most) in ghettos deal drugs.

1st 10yrs of my life were in the ghetto and the inginuity of watching the parents turn not much into a meal taught me alot. mom always kept a garden, even if it was super small.

then we moved outercity, and the outskirts taught me to kill/dress animals.
edit on 13-7-2011 by ahmonrarh because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2011 @ 11:57 PM
I lived for two years out of the BOTW. Trust me. You dont want things to get bad enough that you do.

It has nothing to do with dollars once your so remote they don't matter. Then it gets real.

posted on Jul, 14 2011 @ 12:22 AM
reply to post by summer5

If you have a laptop with a battery you could go for about an hour and a half in the battery, without electricity. Maybe you don't have a laptop. But we could always drive into the nearest town and hook up to a local businesses' WiFi.

posted on Jul, 14 2011 @ 12:24 AM
This is exactly the kind of commentary that will open up some eyes and probably save some lives in a bad weather event or the unknown that many of us are wary of. Thanks for your posts, and please continue to share your insights and experiences as you see fit.

I also had the benefit of growing up on a farm, and now living in a city, I look around and know it will be bad for many, many people. There is no assumption that I will retreat or depart, however, since it may be impossible for city dwellers to leave anyway. And where would they go?

There is nothing more miserable than folks showing up with no supplies, no knowledge, no skills, and laying their destiny on your doorstep. All the responsibility is on your shoulders. Can you survive and can you train them to?

Do we possess the kind of leadership skills to say yes and make it happen?

With many foods, such as lettuce, and bean sprouts, fresh, healthy food can be grown in days or just a couple of weeks, and planted over time to ensure a continuous harvest. These foods also grow well in cool conditions, but knowing how to water them is key. Sprouts require constant moisture to swell the beans and force the sprouts to grow, while lettuce will become bitter in hot conditions, so a basement window is a great place to grow it if you are stuck there for a while, or having to start from scratch.

These seeds are easy to carry in a worst-case scenario, as well.

But that is getting ahead of ourselves, I think. The posts about the flashlights concern me a lot, since we just had big-time destruction here in the South. Some people had to pitch tents on their property, and a flashlight was only the first of their needs.

IMO, mentally walking through the process is a good start. Separating ourselves from our tech is a huge prospect, and will surely cause some issues.

NPR did a story on this recently, and people actually experienced withdrawal when they gave up all their social and phone connections for one day. It is something else to deal with in the event of a nasty solar flare, or an EMP.

Do we have things to do in our precious downtime? There is a lot of work in substituting low-tech for high-tech.
It will be crucial to do things to relieve stress, when there may be no internet or phone service.

Buffers are also something to think about. Many of us are used to being alone, or far from extended family, and would have a lot of adjustment to do to live with them again under difficult circumstances.

Back to the flashlight, however. Make it your business to ask questions, provoke thought. It doesn't have to be ATS-based, which turns off a lot of the people we try to wake up, from what I have heard from other ATSers.

Tornadoes and earthquakes are real threats, unfortunately. The message is, with some moves now, lives can be saved.

Some of us will probably save them.

Let's think realistically about what happens after that first six hours. I worry for diabetics, and hope someone will offer an idea for how they can survive, with the need to refrigerate their medication.

Death is not something we deal with either, but not knowing how will make things far, far worse.

Thinking we are "ready" may be a huge mistake. Constant prep may be necessary if people are serious about survival.

I see little in city life that we did on the farm, and many ways to die of simple things.

People under that kind of pressure have to answer to their stomachs, and stomachs don't make deals!

edit on 14-7-2011 by Copperflower because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 14 2011 @ 12:44 AM

Originally posted by queenofsheba
reply to post by summer5

If you have a laptop with a battery you could go for about an hour and a half in the battery, without electricity. Maybe you don't have a laptop. But we could always drive into the nearest town and hook up to a local businesses' WiFi.

I invested in a mobile hotspot with a car charger, who knows how long the internet would be available, but I want it if it is there. As far as going to a business, others will think of the same thing, so if it were the best option, it would make sense to assume there would be time limits, long lines, and maybe worth packing a lunch for.

My goal would be to avoid be caught in these lines if I can. It is just so easy to be held up there, detained by traffic or some other complication, and leave my homefront unguarded for a long time. I don't like that so a power inverter is what I am thinking of, with two marine batteries, which have an advantage of discharging more frequently than regular ones, I think.

This seems much safer than a generator, and is much more portable for me, as well. The best equipment in the world is useless if I need to go and can't take it for use or trade.

I hadn't realized that I should build in redundancy until, as I said, I opened my supplies and started using some.

Learning to make pemmican next.

posted on Jul, 15 2011 @ 01:30 PM
I couldn't agree more...

I've brought up a family of 4 on a very limited income - even though I work full time. I learned from a very early stage that when preparing meals - make full use of oven space. I freeze all extra portions in 1 meal sizes. I never waste bread. Anything that doesn't get used gets frozen, crusts etc., to convert into crumb or bread pudding at a later point.

Food is not wasted - eg, a chicken will feed us for 3+ meals and then I will freeze the carcass for turning into stock.

I'm lucky enough to have an allotment where we grow most of our veg and a polytunnel for toms etc. we clamp potatoes, string onions and salt beans. I've also learned not to rely on the freezer. Electricity is expensive and a potentially luxury item that maybe in the future only a few can afford - if at all available.

I also make my own wine, jams, pickles and chutneys as well as having a partner that goes fishing. I can knit and sew and my other half is a leather worker. All skills we've learned to survive in a money orientated world but stay apart from it - and hopefully saner for it.

In the last few years we took archery lessons and own bows and he has taken his radio ham licence.

I really can't see a world wide disaster happening that wipes us back to the stone age but I can see things getting so expensive and scarce that there will be riots for food and people living in abject poverty. I think that if you can do for yourself and create a reliable network of people you should be okay.

Communication and safety are going to paramount in the coming times as well.

Sorry its a bit war and peace.


posted on Jul, 15 2011 @ 01:46 PM
The night an EF 3 tornado wiped out 150 homes in our community last April and blew over so many trees and power poles that the roads were impassable for 15 hours we lived through our very own mini SHTF scenario. Yes it was awful!! We had no power for 5 days and no running water for 3. Luckily we didn't run out of any thing other than fresh milk. But this thread just made me remember one thing... people were stopping by my house asking for a cup of coffee... I pulled out my Coleman stove and was making fresh coffee. So I have stocked up on that one simple pleasure that brings alot of people comfort.

posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 10:27 AM

Originally posted by lostsock
The night an EF 3 tornado wiped out 150 homes in our community last April and blew over so many trees and power poles that the roads were impassable for 15 hours we lived through our very own mini SHTF scenario. Yes it was awful!! We had no power for 5 days and no running water for 3. Luckily we didn't run out of any thing other than fresh milk. But this thread just made me remember one thing... people were stopping by my house asking for a cup of coffee... I pulled out my Coleman stove and was making fresh coffee. So I have stocked up on that one simple pleasure that brings alot of people comfort.

Bravo! You live here in the South with me, and this is exactly my point. We cannot foresee all the ways that our prep will benefit, but in times of chaos and pain, we need every little bit we can get. It gives positive power in a terrible situation, and in humans, strength begins there. My respect and gratitude to you.

It gave me overwhelming gratitude to serve many, many rescue workers dinner and take care of them after days of misery, filth, and trauma. You did more much than that, being on the scene.

We should all consider that when gathering our supplies. It is a powerful option to be able to make civilization appear in the chaos. Helps to focus and calm, and the coffee was a big deal too, considering one city ended up with a food bill of $970,000 for the emergency workers during the night of and days and nights following the April tornadoes.

Anything extra can always be traded, too.

posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 10:49 AM
reply to post by Shelbee

Shelbee, if possible, I would flag this post!

You are an example to us all, and just perfect to illustrate what is possible, what skills can be acquired, and how very, very valuable they are.

This type of stuff may not impress some people, but it can and will make the difference when implemented over time. My economics professor made the same point in a different way: it's the nickel and dime changes that make the million-dollar difference. We have more opportunities to manipulate things on a smaller scale, therefore those changes, being more frequent and numerous, have a greater impact on our overall situation.

When factors we can easily control are recognized and exploited to the fullest, as Shelbee illustrates, there is a greater effect overall in the direction we are headed.

If I keep the carcass on every chicken, for example, that saves about two boxes of bullion a year. One dollar.

Ditto for bones. Two dollars.

Not much, right? Follow it through. Keeping the carcass saves only a dollar, but it provides a soup base, provoking me to use it. This soup will be made of leftovers which could have been compost or trash. So there is no extra charge for these ingredients, but they provide an extra meal. Now we are talking several dollars saved.

Fifty-two weeks a year, this adds up. Habitually doing things like this actually raises our standard of living, since the money we didn't spend can still be spent. We have much more control over our finances in these small ways.

It can make all the difference if you are on the edge financially, let me say. No way some of us should have made it, and as well as we seemed to!

It is not about being poor, not for everyone, but these kinds of things really help you when you are poor, like many of us are and have been at some point in life.

There should be an award for women like you, and the person with the Coleman stove and coffee.

Inspiring, resourceful, kind. These are attributes that I hoped to see shine here, and so far, so good.

ATS is a better place for you. Please continue to share, and I trust that others will, too. We have a lot of information on the site, which I am very thankful for, so this thread will continue to address things that primarily concern thriftiness, need-based survival, or sudden catastrophes and what we have learned from them.

Educating ourselves is easy right now, and seriously, things like tarps and hammers and nails cannot be easily replicated. I would feel confident in saying that if you don't have them, you are not serious about survival.

Their importance cannot be emphasized enough.

With a tarp you can:

Patch a roof and save your entire household from rain and ruin through a single night or day.

Make a shelter, many different ways. A tent is great, but a tarp is malleable, and can be fitted to any space, or situation. It is waterproof, and getting wet is incredibly dangerous, it turns out. Witness the horrifying killer fungus in Joplin.

Make an otherwise uninhabitable area fit for temporary shelter. Sometimes we could find ourselves in the open weather, but still not rescued or able to dig out for one reason or another. It is easier to stay calm, and not tip the scales against yourself by rushing it, if you happen to have a tarp in your shelter or car.

Put it under the seat in case you can't get out of the car, or need to grab it and go to some place to be rescued.

It can be used for a floor in a basement shelter, or a tent on your vehicle.

We all realize it could be used for a shroud, to provide decency and reduce the horror. Most of us are not used to seeing death, and it can unhinge a person rather quickly, and at a time when emotional resources will be stretched thin, it is important not to force people to deal with it any more than necessary.

Tornado victim's body parts were being found weeks and weeks after the storms, and is why locals were not allowed in to clear a lot of the debris. Can you imagine? And yet, it is real.

This is the kind of strength I am talking about. Poverty helps it get a good workout, since it is humiliating in every culture. But there is an upside, and it is the power you gain by controlling the small economies in life.

Shelbee, you are the Home Economics teacher now. And honestly, stuff like this is why my husband married me, I think. He loves saving money, and clever people can do it in all these "little" ways to make a big difference.

posted on Jul, 16 2011 @ 05:19 PM
reply to post by Copperflower

You made me blush.
Anyone can learn the skills and do what we do. And you certainly don't need to live in the country/rural area either. We're townies.

I was shocked by a report a couple of years ago that said that UK households were throwing away 3.6 million tonnes of food a year. A totally unacceptable state of affairs especially with global food shortages.

One of the key things we've learned over the years is that you can't do absolutely everything yourself. We are incredibly fortunate to have a network of good friends with skills that compliment ours.

I've taken on board the tip about the tarp and think its a good idea. Will be commandeering one of our tarps to store in the van. As you say - you just never know.


posted on Jul, 17 2011 @ 08:17 AM
I hated being poor. I hated spaghetti, rice, beans, Spam. I vowed my children would never have to eat crushed up crackers and milk for dessert. I refused to feed my kids powered milk. Now look at me. I am searching my brain to remember all that my Mother fed me. Those foods were cheap and stored well. As I accumulate what I need to provide for my family, I am all over the board. I need supplies, knowledge and skills. It shames me to admit that in the past when the power went out, we would pack up and go to a hotel (preferably with a pool) till things were restored. Well, never again. When the power and heat go out, we will be staying put, surviving and learning. One of the best ways to learn is first hand experience.

posted on Jul, 19 2011 @ 12:25 AM
reply to post by AuntB

Heard that!

I think that we will lose these ways of thinking and doing things if we don't make a concerted effort.

There was a great website up a while back. It let you choose what ingredients you have on hand, and would supply several different recipes for those ingredients.

Macgyver cooking!

But doesn't it make all the difference to know some tricks?

Please keep sharing, and also feel free to discuss that great "common sense" we learned from our moms or grandmothers, which is becoming less and less so.

I was like you, AuntB, and never wanted to live a poverty-based mentality, as I saw it.

Now, I realize that was I was really seeing were my mother's survival skills in action. We find our own as well, but there is no need nor the time to reinvent the wheel, right? The classic and traditional are still around for a reason.

There are a lot of great YouTube videos about how to build an outdoor oven, and I have gleaned many kinds of knowledge from ATS contributors, as well.

Who knew butter could be made by shaking milk in a jar? I did not! But now I do.

Our families will certainly benefit from all the wisdom we can get. Proverbs 31 also praises the industrious woman, and that makes me want to learn even more, to be of more use, more service, than I otherwise might.

edit on 19-7-2011 by Copperflower because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2011 @ 10:15 PM
I grew up in a shack in the woods with no running water. We had to find water sources and bring it in to use.

We did have electricity usually. We had a wood stove in the winter time for our heat, so we never had to worry about going cold so long as we could make a fire.

I remember sometimes we ran out of water and I'd either get some from melting snow when it had snowed or from the swamp to bathe in.

I went to school with normal people who had houses. I was regularly ridiculed for my poverty.

It was my grandparents' shack. They let us stay there for free. My mom worked at McDonalds. She often brought home leftovers for us to eat, especially after my dad abandoned all of us when he met his 3rd wife in another state.

I learned a lot about survival from those years that most people see in judgmental ways.

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