I really love my wife. We have been on this sustainable living journey together all the way. She gets it, and understands the impacts of what we are now facing with a changing climate. With the arctic ice cap thinning and retreating, it is doing all sorts of damage to the climate in the northern hemisphere, not necessarily warming. More like global weirding, if you like.
TO ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN THE UK
I read this last week and although I have spoken to my mum about it, she did not know that the forecasters are predicting such a bad winter for you all. I thought I would re-post it for you all to have a read. I know that sometimes they get it wrong but I thought that forewarned is forearmed so to say.
Gavin and I are great believers in stockpiling non-perishable food items in case things crop up like bad weather/power cuts or if we cannot get to the shops etc. so we like to at least have a months worth of tin/jars dried food like lentils and pasta and essential items at home in case of emergencies including candles, matches etc. We have a great wind up torch too which does not need batteries. A small camping stove in case there are power cuts (used in a well ventilated room of course). I know this may sound a little extreme but believe we have used our stock pile before in the past and it does work.
I have spoken to my mum and sister and encouraged them to get a few things in, just in case you never know. My Mum had a bit of a laugh and thinks I am a bit mad, but still she agreed it couldn’t hurt. If the weather gets that bad and you are unable to get to the shops for supplies you will be glad that you thought ahead. I also know that some of you do not have transport either so that will make it even harder for you to venture out if the weather turns nasty.
The worst that can happen is that you have a few more tins/jars/dried food in the house it will not go to waste and it will be used. On the other hand if the weather does get really bad and you cannot get to the shops you will hopefully at least have food and supplies to last you a while.
I hate to sound all doom and gloomy guys but please have a read and take care everyone, I want to know that you are all safe this winter. xxxx
Her great words of warning got me thinking. I have written before the we are only nine meals from anarchy if the trucks stop rolling, but what about if you are caught up in a climate emergency stricken area and are waiting for help from the authorities.
Well, I am glad I did a little research, because most city folk may be surprised that if a natural disaster hits Australian cities, the policy is that you are on your own for at least 72 hours. Refer to this link for more information;
I particularly think that this passage from the article hits home loud and clear;
“What people have got to know is that they’re on their own, literally on their own,” he said.
“We can’t have a truck or a car at your door when you ring triple-0 in a disaster situation.”
Experts say people should be prepared to look after themselves for at least three days after any major disaster.
But Mr Winter says most people have no plans in place.
“If we turn off power and water, how long will you be able to survive?” he said.
A great question, in which I answer Yes, quite a while. As Kim mentioned, we are well prepared if they turn off the power, water, and natural gas to our home right now, and could last for well over a month without external inputs. Hopefully the sewage would still work, but I am sure we could figure out something there as well. If we face inclement weather, then we will cope as our supplies are non-perishable.
So my question to you all is;
Marijke VanderVlist says
Since I only do my grocery shopping every 6 weeks, I can wholeheartedly say:” yes!!!”
In case of a disaster we should be fine for 2 to 3 months, a healthy pantry, cooking and baking from scratch sure helps, so do the chooks, veggie garden, woodlot and rainwater tank.
This happened to us in the January floods this year. The valley in which I live with five other homes was cut off from the road by flood waters for 3 days. We also had no power for 3 days which also meant no running water as I have tank water and a pump. I got by ok, but we had no dairy or fruit as I had been planning to buy these the following day. Also, when the rain stopped on the 3rd day I had no drinking water as I have no tap on my tank. I will be better prepared this January. We had fun though. The kids ran amok and I made pizza on the gas stove top for them all. The kids bathed on the 2nd day in the water collected in outside planters.
A mermaid in the attic says
Water would be the biggest thing. I like to think I’d be better at coping than a lot of people, but if you live in a suburban area and rely on scheme water, it would get very difficult very quickly. We do have a bore for our garden, but I don’t know if it’s suitable for drinking. The ABC article is very interesting though, regarding this new phenomenon of ‘learned helplessness’. I was just discussing on FB the other day, that we’ve lost skills (like building a house, digging a well, surviving without power) that our grandparents just took for granted. I think we need to do some re-learning!
Fiona from Arbordale Farm says
We have been tested on this exact question twice in the last 3 years and I blogged about it in January this year http://lifeatarbordalefarm.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/flooded-in.html As we live in the country we are well prepared with food, fully self sufficient on our water and sewage. The biggest thing we would have to deal with for a period longer than 4 days without power is all the meat in our freezers. We were really surprised that some of our neighbors were far less prepared. After a few days stranded they will not make that mistake again.
I think everyone has this on their mind at the moment. For me, I walked in yesterday about 7am after milking 2 litres of goat milk, I had a basket of eggs on the bench and the garden is chocabloc with veges..It was one of those moments where I thought ‘Yep, I am ready for anything!’ I guess our preparation is different to city prep as all our stuff is walking around living but we are still ready.
Roots and Seeds says
Yes, this is something we have experienced. Floods in 2007 cut us off from town for almost three full days. As we are off the electrical grid, we have a generator as back up to our solar system and batteries, and everything was working at our place when most others around us had no power.
It was a real community feel as we had our son and his family visiting when the storm struck and they were stranded here. Neighbours had no cooking facilities or hot water so some spent their days here, and had showers, shared meals from their freezers so they wouldn’t lose it all, and just went home to bed!
It’s very important to prepare and this incident really brought that fact home to me. As with fires, this happened very quickly. A lot of water fell in a short space of time and cut the road in several places.
The freezer problem is interesting. You can buy a generator or you can buy an inverter to run off the car battery. Those two things are expensive but keep the freezer and fridge going indefinitely. And you only need to run them briefly on each unit to bring the temperature down. But then the cheapest solution to give you a few more days is to wrap the freezer in blankets to keep it cold and the heat out. After that eat the ice cream first and invite the neighbours over for a BBQ to get rid of the meat.
Gavin Webber says
Great comments everyone! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences so far. If you want to learn more about how to prepare, I wrote a great series called the Be Prepared Challenge, which provides a step by step method of getting ready for this sort of event. It is worth a read.
I have 18,000 litres of water in tanks, a composting toilet (so no need to flush), gas hot plates with bottled gas (the last bottle lasted 15 months!) and a full pantry. Freezer would be a problem if the power goes off for too long, but I suppose I’d cook all the meat and and eat it cold. And of course, plenty of veggies from the garden. Oh and eggs from 3 chooks. Shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Congrats to Kim for what she wrote. I’m sure most people wouldn’t even think of preparing unless they’d been through a previous situation that made them think about it.
Eggs from the chooks, 2 lambs being fattened if things went on long enough, chooks the same way. We have 3000L tank now although I’m not sure how full it is. We have a benchtop water filter too. We have some candles, several solar powered LED torches, wood stove with oven, quite a few kgs of beans and co, plenty f bottled produce. And we’ve got the gardens too although little enough that’s a staple at the moment. Some broad beans, plenty of garlic (so no problems if the vampires come calling), potato onions and co. If things went wrong in January or later we’d be able to add much more from the gardens but as others have said, our biggest issue would be the fridge and freezer going off. If they looked like being off for too long I’d probably crank up the wood stove and use the pressure canner to preserve any meat and vegs by pressure canning them. Then we’d be set for months. 🙂 Still and all, I’m content that we’d be fine, just a little tired of going to sleep with the sun. 🙂
Very good food for thought. We live in a rural town in South Australia, our house is on a hill so there is no fear of flooding but at worst, a fire could threaten us. If it ever snows here, I know we have Global Weirding!
We have 2 huge rain water tanks that see us through the summer months and artesian bore water for lawns/toilets and we have a generator as our house does become crippled if the power goes out. Electric pumps pump water to the house (rainwater to the kitchen and bathroom showers, bore water to the toilets and laundry).
Should we be without power for days, we have the generator for some back up and it could run our bore for sprinklers in case of fire. We have lots of candles and many torches and batteries. We could cook on our gas barbecue and heat other foods/water with it. Lighting, well there is always candles and it might be fun – remember Earth hour? We played Monopoly for 5 hours by candlelight!
I have a reasonable amount of canned food/dry pastas but could stock up a bit more and there’s usually a bit of meat in the freezer and or pasta sauces left over and if the power goes out that would be first to be eaten. I can make my own bread/rolls in the covered barbecue if neccessary.
Perhaps we should all try just doing it – no shops for 3 days, no power at night – I wonder how we would go. Stir crazy probably!
Tania @ Out Back says
Although it is unlikely for disaster to strike here, I think we would be okay if it did. I often go longer than three days without going to the shops.
I have a big pantry that is full of food, and so are the freezers. We have solar panels that charge batteries to run our lights, and possibly the fridge and freezers. We use gas (bottles)for cooking. Always have plenty of dunny paper, soap and a fully stocked first aid kit. We have fresh eggs daily to eat, a veggie garden, plenty of rainwater in storage and a generator should we need it. Most important is to remember to have fuel for cars and generators. We also have a self sufficient caravan that could be put to good use.
ohh I think blogger ate my comment….
We are ready too! Once in the late 70’s, we had a flood that damaged the only bridge into town. The power went out and the natural gas line was ruptured. We went a week on our own. It made me realize early on that we need to be prepared for these thing.
This past week it was -20C with snow. We live in a different city now, but are just as prepared for any problems. I also have be prodding my adult children to be just as ready for any issues, just in case. Great post, Gavin.
Kirsten McCulloch says
The only thing we would have difficulties with would be water. And possibly animal food, since we don’t tend to stock pile for them, so it would depend what time of month it hit. We should probably do better with that.
We do have water tanks, but they are not potable water. So in a pinch I suppose we could boil that water and probably be okay, but it’s not ideal. If an emergency situation looked to be developing I would be filling lots of large containers with tap water.
am trying again. The weather here in the south of England is cold. it is not the normal weather for this time of year, we mostly get rain. The skies are blue with a few skudding white cloud. but that is it. I am hoping the weather man is playing with us.
I am prepared though. I have a very good stockpile and we have 2 chords of wood. it isn’t so much the snow it is the compacted ice that comes after as we don’t have the equipment they do in northern America and other places that are used to snow. we just don’t fair well and we grind to a halt…
I need an extra water carrier, and I think we are ready.
No snow yet. They said it would come last Thursday…
Sunny G says
We have been thinking about this a lot since we are in North QLD and went through Yasi, which was pretty bad. We have a generator and food stockpiled and always prepare with water.
Funnily enough, when Yasi came through, our street was the only one with power for kilometres – which meant we had MANY visitors coming to charge phones, batteries etc because they hadn’t prepared.
Sunnygirl @ thesesmallchanges.blogspot.com.au