As a middle school kid, I spent one of the scariest hours of my life lost in the woods. I wandered away from our family’s campsite and didn’t see another human being for the next 60 minutes. The only people more terrified than me were my parents, who split up and went in different directions calling my name until I heard them.
As my friend, Orrin M. Knutson, points out in his book, Survival 101: How to Bug Out and Survive the First 72 Hours, 150,000 people on average get lost in the woods and wilds overnight or longer annually in America. Even more are stranded or caught in natural disasters. Few are prepared and some of them don’t make it out alive.
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Ever since I started working my first full-time job, there’s something I’ve been looking forward to: retirement.
It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed some of my jobs through the years, because I have. And it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed many of the people I’ve worked with, because I have. It’s just that my ultimate goal in working has always been to earn enough money so that I could retire comfortably and spend my retirement years doing things that I never had time to do before.
But for many American adults, the concept of retirement is scary. Some of us don’t know when or if we’ll ever be able to retire, thanks to a struggling economy, an iffy Social Security situation and a new healthcare system that is being called an accident waiting to happen by many people. Those of us who are nearing retirement age or who have already retired are facing some serious challenges.
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One of the reasons that some people don’t bother thinking about or preparing for a disaster is because they believe they have enough money to get through it, no matter how bad it becomes. They’re used to drawing upon their wealth to take care of problems, so they assume that their finances will come to the rescue again if necessary.
But if we ever experience a total financial collapse — and some people believe the signs are pointing in that direction — no amount of money in the world will help. Any number of events could thrust North America into that horrific situation, including an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could keep funds locked inside banks for weeks, months or, possibly, years.
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Many people are looking for ways to slash their power bills, especially after this past winter, which in certain areas of the country was the coldest on record. The amount of money that many of us shelled out to our local utilities last winter in order to keep the heat going was enough to sabotage any budget.
One of the best ways to cut utility bills is by getting off the vulnerable electrical grid as much as possible. Four ways to do that are by installing solar panels, a wind turbine, a solar water heater and a solar cooker at your home. Regardless of whether you are able to do that, there are many additional steps you can take in order to reduce your power costs. Following are 35 of them:
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- Use natural lighting as often as possible by keeping shades, curtains and window treatments above the windows open during the day.
Gaining food independence is a big step in our overall effort to become self-reliant. Maintaining a good food supply is crucial to being able to both survive and thrive in a post-disaster society.
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to reach your goal in this area, but sometimes little critters can pose a big problem. A standard fence may keep rabbits, deer and other animals out of your garden; but an electric fence will probably be much more effective.
Of course, an electric fence is going to be more expensive than a standard fence, but there’s a way to solve that issue. An easy fix that uses that great big power plant in the sky — the sun — is a low-maintenance solar electric fence. And it’s even less expensive if you build it yourself.
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Before the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that resulted in the deaths of more than 230,000 people in 14 bordering countries, many people didn’t know much about this phenomenon, especially in the Western Hemisphere. But tsunamis have been around for a long time and can cause a huge amount of damage.
A tsunami is a series of waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of water. The impact is usually limited to coastal areas, but the resulting flooding can have enormous destructive power. Although they have nothing to do with tides, tsunamis are more likely to look like a rising tide than a typical wave as they roll toward shore. Scientists still have much to learn about tsunamis, including why some smaller ocean earthquakes can cause larger tsunamis than some larger ocean earthquakes.
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Have you ever seen the television commercials in which lines at a store’s checkout counters move briskly when customers are using the sponsor’s credit and debit cards, but slow down considerably when someone has the audacity to use cash? The implication is that if you don’t use the sponsor’s cards for your purchases, you’re an out-of-touch dweeb who inconveniences all those around you.
Those advertisements always rub me the wrong way because there are a number of reasons why cash can be preferable — including for budgeting purposes. But I’m guessing those commercials are even more offensive to victims of disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina and the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., last year.
Storms such as those have caused long-lasting power outages and left millions of people in the dark and the cold (or the heat), and they’ve also rendered many ATMs temporarily useless. Even some of the machines that were still working following the disasters saw lengthy lines before they ran out of cash.
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