Friday, February 1, 2013

"Prepping" and Fear

Posted by Caitlin Endyke

Last weekend, the New York Times featured a piece on New York City’s “Doomsday Prepper” culture, a small but growing group of people convinced that they need to prepare for a time that society as a whole will become unsustainable and they’ll have to “bug out” of town with just their own supplies and knowledge to rely on.  It’s an interesting glimpse into a somewhat underground group; particularly intriguing are the looks inside each person’s “Bug out Bag”, or the backpack of stuff that they have prepared and ready-to-go so in the event of a disaster or societal breakdown they can escape the city quickly and with key items necessary for survival. 

But what struck me was how anti-commons the entire ideology around Prepping was.  Not only does the premise that you would even have to “prep” hinge on the idea that society is crumbling around us and we have only ourselves to rely on, but that in the event of such a disaster the idea is not to gather with your fellow citizens to help rebuild, but instead to “get out of dodge” quickly and only with enough supplies to guarantee your own individual well-being.  The article centers on the idea that more people are prepping than you would think- your neighbors, your school teachers, your colleagues. But rather than imply that this means you are surrounded by a community of people who would be prepared to keep you safe, the piece instead seems to stress that you will be left behind if you don’t follow suit.

Head here to read the full piece, and let us know what you think about “Prepping” in the comments. What could a commons response to this growing movement be? How can we provide an alternative to this culture of fear?


Caroline McAndrews said...

Recently I saw an episode of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel and I was so struck by the fact that not only was this particular family preparing food and supplies for themselves, they had also built and were living in a bunker with access to fresh water on the inside. Furthermore, they had armed themselves heavily as if when the moment of catastrophe arrives, they would be plunged into war with every "former" neighbor.

Such a sad, scary way to think about the future - especially if you like your neighbors better than your family! ;)

solaroof said...

Richard Nelson the prepper/survivalist will rely on weaponry to come "out on top" when the "system crumbles", while the non-violent options for families/communities to not only survive eco/economic/social crisis, but to thrive, they don't look to be realistic. What is missing is "livingry" (proposed by Bucky Fuller) that locally and regeneratively will secure food/water/energy - all essential needs, so that WE are not dependent (as consumers) on the "system". At this Livingry is our mission. Join our live streaming #SolaRoof Hangout on Monday 4th, at 3pm EST on the topic "Livingry or Weaponry".