“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin
Editor’s Note: Being prepared for a disaster doesn’t necessarily require you spending thousands of dollars on gear. While it’s certainly a good idea to have reserve food stores, water sources, self defense armaments, and other supplies, it’s also important to keep in mind that all of your best laid plans can very quickly fall apart. Should that situation befall you the only option you’ll have left is to use that which God has given you, and one key gift we’ve all received is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s what makes us human. During a high-stress emergency we’ll quickly realize that random items, perhaps even trash, may mean the difference between life and death. In the following article Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition and author of The Prepper’s Cookbook highlights several mundane items that are easily accessible, but can be fashioned in various ways to help you thrive in the midst of crisis. From broken down washing machine parts that can be used for creating electricity to soda cans that will keep you warm in the middle of winter, necessity will very much be the mother of invention.
In a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.
Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.
As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.
7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive
- Gravity fed water filter – Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
- Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
- Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmillto make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
- Stationary bikes – Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
- Passive solar heater – We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4′s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
- Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
- Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.
If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.