It’s been a crazy past few years. We’ve seen gas prices hit all-time highs, been hit by major and catastrophic weather disasters, and watched as banks and major financial institutions disappear overnight in the midst of what appears to be an actual, real-life economic depression. Our stable, comfortable lives suddenly don’t seem so stable any more.
Here are 10 things you can do to improve your chances of riding out a major disaster without looking like a total lunatic. If you get all 10 of these items checked off, let me know so I can come crash at your place when aliens attack.
10. Get solar power
Having solar panels on your roof not only reduces your utility bill, but also puts you in the enviable position of having power when nature strikes down the energy grid. They’ll eventually pay for themselves and they’re also a great hedge against future spikes in energy costs. In the event of a disaster, you’ll have power to fend off the zombies, nuclear mutants and ninja biker gangs that will inevitably rise up from the ashes of polite society.
9. Collect and filter your rain water for home use
A lot of water gushes down your gutter pipes during a rain storm. A typical suburban roof has about 1,000 square feet of rain-catching surface that could be put to good use with the strategic placement of a barrel or two. If a meteor strikes the nation’s capital and we’re cast into anarchy, it’s a good bet your city water will stop flowing after the food riots subside. Assuming it rains where you live, you could provide drinking water for a small family with a couple of good rain barrels.
8. Grow a backyard garden
Growing a garden in your back yard will save you money on your shopping bill now, but will literally save your life when aliens invade and the world destroys itself fighting off the invasion. People are doing miraculous things with very small spaces, turning typical suburban back yards into teeming microfarms that produce a wide and tasty array of fruits and vegetables. It might not be a bad idea to invest in a few robot machine-gun nests to protect the crop after the invasion.
7. Build a greenhouse
This ties in nicely with growing a garden. A greenhouse allows you to get a jump on spring and start seedlings ahead of the last frost, assuming the nuclear winters don’t freeze us all to death first. Greenhouses can be built with simple supplies and designs or constructed as master-built houses incorporated into $20 million estates. A greenhouse gives you more control over the environment your plants are grown in, and it’s a nice backup if resurrected dinosaurs take out your outside garden. Greenhouses are also easier to defend, which is good when you have to repel the sun-hating, virus-carrying monster-human hybrids.
6. Make your own biodiesel
What would the post-apocalypse be without badass armored vehicles? Let the bikers and scavengers fight over the dwindling stock of gasoline and brew your own biodiesel. For as little as a few hundred bucks you can be set up with a home-brew biodiesel kit. Spend a few hours on a Sunday every month and forget about filling up at the local gas station. And when the ants rise up and take over all forms of government, you’ll be able to stay ahead of our new teeming mass of overlords in your pimped-out, biodiesel-powered 4Runner.
5. Get handy!
It’s a sad but true fact that bloggers won’t have many job prospects in the time after the great sickness. Those of us who survive the government-created superflu will find a new world that suddenly sees no value in reality TV stars, stock brokers, accountants and eco bloggers. The carpenters, engineers (the useful kind like civil engineers, not those soon-to-be-worthless software engineers) and farmers will be the ones who have the status.
4. Learn to hunt
Having a garden and greenhouse is one of two requirements in the event of disaster food planning. Having a gun and the ability to shoot and eat animals is the other. Get a gun, take a hunter’s safety course and go shoot something. Learn how to gut it, skin it, and process and preserve its tasty, bloody flesh. Being able to procure your own protein will be vital in the months and years after a disaster. You’ll most likely have to gun down dozens of attackers in the few years of living you’ll be able to scratch out after Manbearpig’s victory.
3. Build a 15-foot-high electrified fence
Hopefully the zombies that pop up after the uprising will be the slow and shuffling kind, not the fast and jumpy ones. A 15-foot-high electrified fence should just about do the trick for the slower undead, but you still might want to add a few spikes to be safe. You might have some issues with your zoning board getting a 15-foot-high electrified fence installed. As with any home improvement project, just check with your local building inspector’s office on that one and don’t be afraid to make compromises.
2. Get to know your neighbors
Seriously, good neighbors make good fences. One of the first things that will go when the Bad Times come is regional civility and trust. Battle lines will be drawn between towns and communities in a fight over the last pockets of supplies, industry and production. People protect their family and their friends. Make friends with people in your neighborhood. When unknown terrorists attack our major cities with nuclear bombs, having a strong local network of friends will put you in a better position to ride out the few decades of chaos sure to follow.
1. Build a stockpile of food
Having a stockpile of food is a great first step to take to protect your food security (in addition to planting a garden, learning to hunt and building a greenhouse). Stocking up on your favorites also means you’ll be eating Klondike bars and Skittles years after the factories shut down for sheer lack of ingredients and energy. You should have enough food on hand to feed you and your family for at least three months. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have more, too, since food will be a great asset in bartering.