Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Survival? Get to Know Your Neighbors

[Nyerges is the author to “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Foraging California,” and other books. His schedule of classes is available at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.]

Real Survival is not a sport. It is not a computer game. Survival is not a “reality” TV show.  Survival is not a concept that intellectuals discuss over latte. Nor is it a topic for science fiction novels.

Real Survival is that live-or-die feeling that emanates from our deepest desire to continue our life.  It is the deepest instinct of human kind and the entire animal kingdom. 

We joke about “the apocalypse” and zombies and “the end of the world,” and yet, due to our ability to adapt and to condition ourselves, we live all the time with factors that threaten our very survival.  But we continually address those factors, and we modify and change, and we survive.  

Human society stands as a testament to human ingenuity, adaptability, and the desire to survive. Our growth, and our ability to harness and utilize nature, all arose from our desire to survive.  Now, the main threat to our survival as a species seems to be – ourselves.

We know the natural threats to our survival: earthquakes, mudslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and maybe even occasional millennia where a comet hits the earth. 

The so-called “acts of God” will be contended with when they happen, and it seems they will always be with us.

But as our urban centers grow ever-larger, we wonder if we will ever turn into a Bladerunner-type world, where we’re all cramped into ever-tighter quarters. 

We have to be concerned about the “acts of man” that continue to threaten our survival:  terrorism, war, bombs that nations point at nations, crazy leaders, economic chaos that drives our lives into the dirt, rampant plague and disease from poor hygiene, and so many other preventable crises.

Some of these “acts of men” we can do something about, and most we cannot.  But we can inform ourselves, and we can organize with like-minded individuals.  This is perhaps the most important step we can take, since as our society has grown ever larger, and vastly more technologically-oriented, and “leaders” that seem ever-distant, we realize that it’s important to try to take control of whatever we can of our individual lives. We realize that knowledge is power, and my increasing our personal sense of responsibility, and awareness, we can at least move our lives in the right direction.

Self-sufficiency and neighborhood cooperativeness is the path to sustainability and survival.

An associate of mine who told me he hates his neighbors, said that his ace in the hole in the event of a major disaster is his uncle in Minnesota who has a self-sufficient farm and home, and produces his own power.

“Really?” I mocked. “And how do you expect to get to Minnesota after some major catastrophe?” (My friend lives in urban California). 

Like it or not, we’re all in this same boat. In an emergency, your neighbors are your family. Get to know them, now, not later. Get back to our roots of neighbors helping neighbors, and learn to share and support among yourselves.  That is our tradition, and that is what made this country great.

There is no threat that stout-hearted people working together cannot overcome.

There are no simple answers to life’s many problems, but it’s a step in the right direction to always learn new things, and get to know your diverse community. 

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