SURVIVAL

It's neither the strongest nor the smartest who survive but those who best manage change. [Charles Darwin]

Every natural or man-made disaster foreshadows the possibility that The End Of The World As We Know It could be just around the corner. An asteroid collides with the earth, a nuclear power plant melts down or a world-wide exchange of atomic weapons brings death, destruction and nuclear winter. Even small-scale emergencies can temporarily bring the end of the world as we know it. Most of us have enough food, water and supplies in our homes to survive a short-term emergency without water and power, our televisions or the Internet. If you and your family have to evacuate your home, however, would you shrivel up and die without gas, groceries and gadgets? Survival matters. So acquire the Supplies, the Skills and the Mindset of a survivor before disaster strikes. Then Get Home, Stay Put and Network when it does.

The survival kit you keep in your car won't sustain you for more than a few days, and life as a hunter-gatherer, a refugee in a camp, or hitch hiking along a highway is a grim way to survive. That's why most cultures replaced the nomadic lifestyle for one centered on agriculture and cooperation. And when disaster strikes, people in the city won't be the only ones suffering traffic jams, looting and violence. The veneer of civilized behavior is only three days deep. As more and more people die, the competition for food, water and shelter will get stiffer because those you encounter are likely to be very good at surviving. So unless you're Jeremiah Johnson or Euell Gibbons, or armed militants are threatening to end your life like Bonnie & Clyde... get home!

Fear and stress are born of fatigue and loneliness. So get home and stay home so you can conserve your energy, avoid conflicts, and not worry yourself with dark imaginings. Keep your scrapbook of things that matter nearby so you can read the words and see the pictures that reflect your values and beliefs. Most of all, get in touch with your determination and courage to survive, your willingness to protect and defend your family, your reasons for surviving: the people you love. Just keep in mind that you can't buy groceries or call a plumber, and your water and electricity are off. So develop a Do-It-Yourself approach. Survival is the ability to do things as well as have things. So learn how to make fire and fix things. Don't barter things that could be used against you (bullets), promote bad behavior (alcohol) or make you a target when they become critically short in supply (water). And get in shape—hard times favor fit people who think and behave at their best.

Staying home makes it easier to join a group of like-minded survivors. And networking makes it more likely you'll be able to keep you and your family out of harm's way when you have to deal with moochers and militants roaming the streets with an attitude and an appetite for violence. Or a man coming up your driveway to take your stuff so he can feed his family at the expense of yours. So be prepared to move away from the independence of escaping the disaster itself toward the interdependence of a small group of like-minded people. But trust takes time, so start building friendships with people in your neighborhood now, before a disaster occurs, so that after a disaster strikes, you'll be prepared to pool your resources and survival skills with people likely to behave like survivors, not victims, when disaster strikes. People likely to take a pro-active attitude toward getting prepared. People likely to share things that matter. People likely to cooperate when agreement is essential to the group's survival. People likely to roll up their sleeves and rebuild America from the bottom up rather than wait for the government to bail them out from the top down. People likely to face the end of the world they knew as the beginning of a world they must rebuild.

Everyone dies. Survival is saying not today.