Monday, December 13, 2010

Survival Resources 2: When Technology Fails

Most people don't stop to think about how reliant we are upon technology; the computer that I'm writing this on and the internet you are reading this on are only a fraction of what we depend on day to day. In New England, whether our houses are heated by gas, oil, or electricity, there is technology behind it. Unless you organically grow all your own food, you are dependent on technology to eat. There is technology behind the water that comes out of our faucets and the toilets that get rid of our waste products. Not to mention how technological our health care system has become.

And what happens if any of that technology stops working? What happens if a disaster occurs? Are we ready to deal with any of it?

The book, When Technology Fails, by Matthew Stein, deals directly with these issues. This is a big, comprehensive (and a bit expensive) overview of what's behind technological uncertainty and ways to cope. It includes checklists, information on 'survival kits', survival strategies and survivor personalities, emergency measures, and lots of information on water, food, shelter, first aid, low-tech medicine, clothing, energy, and much, much more. Stein also talks about 'Making the Shift to Sustainability'--proactive ways of living more sustainably and thoughts of how to help our society shift in that direction. (There is a lot more about this book on its website which has some of the main points of the book, plus ideas and interviews with Matthew Stein.)

When I first skimmed this book, I thought it was a pretty superficial overview--that all the information in here could be found in more detail in other places. Now that I am actually reading it, I am amazed by the detail and careful consideration in it. Of course, there are limits to what can be fit in one book, but the author includes annotated references and resources at the end of each chapter to encourage exploration in more depth.

If you are interested, I'd suggest first checking it out of a library so you can look over it yourself. I know several libraries in my area have the book (although a few have the first addition which, I suspect, is not as comprehensive). If your local library doesn't have this book, you could suggest that they get it. After you've looked through it, you may well decide this is a book you should have--and I would recommend it because I think it would be good to have this on hand as you prepare for possible emergencies.

Quote of the Day: "Disaster prep is like car insurance. Everyone hopes that they will never get into an accident, and will never use their insurance, but they thank God they have insurance if the day comes when they get into a wreck." - Matthew Stein

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