Emergency Preparedness for Worldwide Crises

Whether or not you are worried about the potential consequences of climate change, global deforestation or peak oil, getting yourself and your loved ones ready to handle a crisis is a prudent decision. Emergency preparedness begins with an awareness of the current state of the world’s affairs, such as the growing issues associated with overpopulation, so that you can be properly equipped when disaster strikes.

| September 12, 2012

When Disaster Strikes by Matthew Stein

If you’re worried about global crises such as peak oil, the book “When Disaster Strikes,” by Matthew Stein, will help you map out a plan for emergency preparedness. Learn what you need to have on hand and what skills you should acquire to be ready for the worst. 

Cover: Chelsea Green

In his book When Disaster Strikes (Chelsea Green, 2011), author Matthew Stein outlines emergency preparedness strategies for a number of potential global catastrophes. Even if you don’t worry about the potential effects of climate change or peak oil, having more knowledge about how to protect your loved ones in the case of an emergency will be useful information. 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: When Disaster Strikes.

I suggest that you consider the following six trends that appear to be combining to form the perfect storm for global catastrophe, each of which is a potential civilization buster in its own right, if left unchecked. You may not agree with the scientific foundation for all of these trends, and it may turn out that scientists’ concerns about one or more of these trends are unfounded, but is it not prudent to plan for the potential that one or more of these trends might significantly damage or disrupt the complex global systems that we rely upon to keep ourselves comfortably fed, clothed, and sheltered? This is the ultimate in emergency preparedness.

1. Peak Oil

Our global economy and culture are built largely upon a reliance on cheap oil. From the cars we drive, to the jets we fly, to the buildings we live in, to the food we eat, to the clothes we wear—almost everything that encompasses the fabric of our modern life is either powered by oil, built from oil, or made/grown via machines powered by oil. When the price of oil rose above $140 a barrel in 2008, the world’s economy went into a tailspin — collapsing local economies, reducing consumption, and bringing the price of oil back down to a fraction of what it had been just a few months earlier. Global output of traditional crude oil peaked around 2005 to 2006 and is currently declining. Expensive alternative oil and oil-equivalent sources, like tar sands, deep ocean oil wells, and biofuels have taken up the slack for the time being, but these are limited resources and their utilization is not growing as quickly as necessary to fill in the gap caused by the shrinking output from the world’s mature oil fields. In 2008 the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated the decline of output from the world’s mature oil fields at a rate of 9.1 percent annually, with a drop to “only” 6.4 percent if huge capital investments are made to implement “enhanced oil recovery” technologies on a massive scale.  

Without developing energy alternatives at warp speed, or discovering and developing an entire Saudi Arabia’s worth of oil every few years from now until eternity (an impossible fantasy), our world will be in a heap of trouble if and when the economy starts to pop back and supply once again falls short of demand, resulting in more oil price spikes followed by another round of financial declines (as of the fall of 2011, there are distinct signs that this is starting to occur). Even if the global economy never returns to its pre-2008 levels, we will still be in trouble as declining supplies are projected to fall short of the current demand in this rather depressed economy.

In the mid 1960s, when discoveries of new oil reserves reached their historical peak, we were discovering oil at a rate four times faster than we were consuming it. In recent years, the tables have turned. With technology that is miles beyond what was available in the 1960s, we are discovering about one-tenth as much oil each year as we did then, and consuming it at a rate five times faster than we discover it. That’s like charging $100,000 dollars on our credit cards each year, and only paying off $20,000! How long can we keep that up before we bankrupt the system? For years, governments have been official naysayers about the “Peak Oil theory.” However, in April of 2010 the U.S. military issued a report saying, “By 2012 surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach 10 million barrels per day”. Over the next few months, this report was followed by similar ones issued by both the British and German militaries.

10/5/2012 10:51:28 PM


alfred green
10/5/2012 1:50:57 AM

***The problem with emergency preparedness that includes stockpiling food and water is that when the crisis hits you'll be under siege from those who did not prepare but are hungry and want your food. I suggest buying a few guns and stockpiling ammo, too.

thomas fafard
10/4/2012 12:41:04 AM

I listened to Mr. Stein at the Mother Fair in Seattle. It was not at all what was advertised. Instead all he did was fill the room with his politics. A lot of the room left. I would have myself but was locked in. I would NEVER buy his book or investigate his ideas at all. There are many better sources than this. I am sorry Mother, but you are wrong for backing this guy.

candy deberry
10/3/2012 4:03:36 PM

I have not yet read this article, but I did hear this man speak at the MEN Fair. Some of the advice he gave re: a disaster preparedness "kit" is downright dangerous. The "Miracle Mineral Supplement" [MMS] that he touts as a cure for everything from the common cold to cancer is nothing more than concentrated bleach. There is NO documented medical or scientific research supporting any of the claims for MMS, but there are MANY documented research papers and reports of DAMAGE caused by MMS - everything from respiratory system irritation, nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure, impaired thyroid function, suppressed immune systems, and even death of people who took MMS.

10/3/2012 1:37:18 PM

I agree....heard all these issues before....just wanted someone else's perspective on preparedness and got not a word about it...that's why I don't subscribe to this mag anymore.

abbey bend
10/3/2012 1:32:57 PM

What a misleading, cherry picked article! Peak Oil, has been passed several times since it was first claimed to be happening. Both proven and known reserves are larger than the oil amounts claimed under the Peak Oil scenario. Discovered reserves are even larger, and the work the Russians are doing is ground breaking, no pun intended. I thought this article might have something to do with Preparedness, nothing is farther from the truth! If I wanted to read the latest in scare tactics, there are a number of fringe sources to read. I have much more interest in other's idea about being prepared, not some lame brains misinformation, with nothing about actual Preparedness! What a trash piece this is! Expect better from Mother Earth News!!

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