Ever since Christmas, life has changed around our place. Through a combination of vehicle breakdowns and police harassment, I now find myself living without a car. This is a challenge, as we live on a small farm located twenty kilometers from the nearest town. What this means is that any simple expedition has now become an organizational nightmare. Our misfortune is a direct result of an impending financial collapse, which is affecting those of us in the “real world” in many ways. Around here, this has meant that we, as a family, are living in a “post-collapse” world. Fortunately, I knew that all of this was coming, so I became a “prepper.”
Preppers are a part of the survivalist movement. We actively prepare for emergencies, including social and political order changes, from the local to the international. The goal of a prepper is to become self-sufficient, which is accomplished by learning emergency medicine skills and acquiring training in self defense. Survivalists also prepare by building structures equipped with stockpiles of food and water sufficient to help them survive a catastrophe.
We live in a semi-arid landscape, so I figured out years ago the main skills I needed to help me become a prepper, such as how to grow vegetable gardens with a minimal amount of water. We have a system of dams and rainwater tanks to see us through dry summers in which there is sometimes no rain for seven months. We have solar panels to generate electricity, wood-fired heaters to supply warmth, hot water and cooked food – not to mention 60 acres of woodlot to supply the fuel. All of this means that we are not suffering as deeply as we might. Even so, despite living as a prepper, life is hard without a car. Going anywhere at all means hitching up the horse and gig. Feed has to be delivered; everything has to be delivered. Due to financial collapse in our own, real world, no longer are trips made on a whim.
Coincidentally, three of my friends have also lost their cars; one because of an accident caused by a poorly-maintained road, and the other two through similar circumstances to my own. People are facing hard economic times, and governments are struggling to pay for road maintenance, which can cause sometimes fatal accidents. My friend is blessed to be alive, and the damage to his car was so great that his insurance company decided it was unrepairable.
Ordinary people cannot afford to properly maintain their vehicles or to pay for their licenses and registrations, and it is these drivers who are singled out and struck with heavy fines for driving unregistered, unlicensed or unroadworthy vehicles during random police checks. Of course, this suits the government just fine, because it increases their revenue, but maybe what they do not see is that what they are doing is really damaging this country. Regular folks, such as my friend, are financially stressed, which leads to domestic disputes and family breakdown. Crime, alcohol and drug use increases and people do not know how to cope.
As for myself and my family, the lack of transport has caused hardship, but we own our own farm, and it was at least partly self-sufficient even before the impending financial collapse made me a prepper. We are not in danger of homelessness, starvation or the disconnection of our utilities, and I am not an alcohol or drug abuser. My family and I will survive this crisis and be stronger for it. However, a lot of people, including my friends, are not as fortunate as I am, and through their lives, I can see that economic collapse is going to hit a lot of people in the real world really hard.
Written by Guineith Isaacs
Interview with a resident of Lockwood, Victoria
Author’s anecdotal experience
Image by Robert Benner cropped for size – Flickr License