With all the troubling news about the state of the economy, Darren and I talk a lot about learning survival skills. At the risk of sounding like crackpots, we want to be prepared in case something crazy goes down. Today he sent me 10 Skills to Have in the Post-Financial Apocalypse from The Consumerist. The list includes learning to cook, keep a simple budget, and fix things, and I would add:
1. Learn basic survival skills.
Know how to find and purify water, start a fire, build a shelter, and grow or hunt your own food. My friends Chris and Wes learned these things through a survival course offered by The Tracker School, and they’re the guys I’m running to when the looting begins.
2. Learn how to make stuff instead of buying it.
My friend Elena knows how to make clothes; Jonah can build an oven out of found materials; Blair made his own shoes out of old tires. I’m not saying you have to trade in your Manolos for Goodyears just yet, but it’s good knowledge to have on the back burner. Make Magazine, and its Maker Faire (San Mateo, CA in May; Austin, TX in October), is a great resource for do-it-yourself ideas. It’s a good idea to make your own food, too — I make my own yogurt, and I have friends who make jam, sausage, soy and almond milk, wine, beer, or cheese.
3. Pool your resources.
To minimize costs and live in community, various friends and I hope to settle on the same property one day, in separate houses but with shared spaces. From a music room to a costume closet to a wine cellar, the possibilities are endless. We could also share cars, childcare, and basic services like internet. If you can collaborate with certain people without going nuts, it’s in your economic interest. Check out the Cohousing Association of the United States for ideas.
If you want any other ideas, you’ll have to track me down in my secret underground bunker. All I can say is that it’s fully stocked with water, blankets, and 100 pounds of dark Belgian chocolate (like dual-purpose sandbags), and if something goes down, I will be hard pressed to share.