We recently wrote a book called “The Sensible Prepper – Practical Tips for Emergency Preparedness and Building Resilience.” We thought it would do well, especially with what seems to be happening with our weather as a result of climate change. Storms seem to be getting stronger and adversely affecting people more often. This isn’t a ‘guns and ammo’ prepper book, but more of a book for everyone who should start taking some basic steps to be more independent, or at least less dependent on infrastructure like the power grid, that seems to be more and more prone to failure during catastrophic events.

This is a follow up to our book “Thriving During Challenging Times” and I updated the later part of this book which took a big picture look at challenges like climate change, the economic collapse and peak oil and recommended some steps people may want to take in anticipation of these trends. Then I added new sections more based on the ‘clear and present’ dangers we seem to face with recommendations for personal basic emergency preparation.

We thought the new book would do well but pre-sales orders to our distributor didn’t live up to our expectations. People are buying fewer books since the economic collapse of 2008. Some people are switching to eBooks, which are less profitable for publishers. And with the ‘noise’ or ‘clutter’ of modern technology there is just so much competition for people’s attention it is difficult to get your message heard and products promoted. While pre-sales were good they didn’t justify investing in a print run that might have just covered our costs. This is part of capitalism and after being self-employed for 30 years, I understand and accept it. In the words of Led Zeppelin … “Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share…”

So I’m in the process of converting “The Sensible Prepper” to an eBook and we hope to have it available in this format soon.

We are extremely grateful to Heidi and Ellen who were so generous with their time and helped to proof and edit the book. And for everyone who has asked where it is so they could purchase it, thank you, we’re sorry but it’s still in the works and we still may print it at some point.

One of the things I did while researching the first part of the book, the emergency preparation component, was to talk to some manufacturers of good products that I thought would be relevant for readers to consider. So over the next few blogs I’m going to talk about them. There are no shortage of government websites set up to tell you what you should have in your home in order to be prepared for an emergency event. In fact I’m finding this sort of information becoming more common as governments are starting to realize that people are in these crisis situations more and more often and many are ill-prepared. The average citizen seems to expect that the lights will stay on, the heat will keep working and stores will be overflowing with food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As I watched the floods this summer, and the ice and snowstorms this winter I think it would be handy for people to have a portable toilet. I know, I know, who wants to have to think about this! But water and sewers can be disrupted by weather events and you know, a toilet is a convenient thing. It’s one of those items that you don’t fully appreciate until you don’t have one. Heck, even people on luxury cruise ships can’t take toilets that flush for granted. That cruise ship last summer that had the fire in the engine room and then went without power for 4 days didn’t have flushing toilets. The passengers were told to just drop their stuff outside their door in a plastic bag. I know the thought of all of those bags of human waste sure makes me want to take a cruise! http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/11/travel/cruise-ship-fire/

Now I’m not suggesting that you take one of these with you on a cruise (regardless of how “luggable” they might be), but I think they are pretty handy to have around the house, just in case. It’s called a ‘luggable loo’ and I think it’s a pretty nifty idea. And sure, you can make your own with a toilet seat on a bucket, but then you get into that whole dilemma of how to fasten the seat to the bucket. The idea of falling off such a device because of poorly designed seat is not a desirable situation, on soooo many levels.

Lug-Loo-col-sml

This company has some great products for emergency preparedness.   www.relianceproducts.com

And here is the one I’d recommend if you live in an urban area (i.e. you can’t head out to the ‘back 40’ to dig a latrine during a time of dislocation).   https://www.relianceproducts.com/products/sanitation/96.html

You can use a ‘luggable loo’ by lining it with a plastic bag, but then you would have to dispose of the bag (just like on the cruise ships!) or you can use it with water and one of their additives. This can be ‘bio-blue’which essentially is just a toilet deodorant so you can use the same for water for a longer period of time. It’s blue and has a strong odour, but who doesn’t want their toilet water to be a brilliant vibrant blue during an emergency?

They also have a ‘bio-gel’ which turns ‘blackwater’ into a gel. That’s right kids! During the power outage we’re going to be doing some really cool science experiments with our ‘luggable loo!’ Check this out!

Perhaps all of this toilet talk will offend some of our readers and there may be a rush to “unsubscribe” to our blog after reading this one, but I’m down with that. Our blog focuses on sustainable independence. That includes all of the systems in a house that you have come to accept as part of everyday life. In my house I control these systems. My water. My heat. My ability to flush a toilet, and the septic system where it goes. Heck, I even have an outhouse for extreme backup, or just for a moment of quiet contemplation when we have a gang here.

I believe that the new reality of climate change is that the jet stream is screwed up because the arctic is warming so much faster than everywhere else. This means that when we get storms they may last longer and be stronger than we are used to. This overwhelms systems like water and sewers that were never designed for these ‘100 year’ or ‘1,000 year’ storms that occur somewhat regularly these days. I hope such a power outage and disruption never impacts your life, but if does, I think you’ll regret it if you haven’t given some thought as to how to deal with these challenges. “Where will we get water?” “How will we keep the lights on?” “What will we do with our waste?” These things are fun to talk about in the abstract, but can be nasty to deal with in real life. And you don’t have to be living in Tornado Alley to experience such a disruption. You can be living in downtown Calgary when the floods arrive or New York City when a Superstorm Sandy comes ashore.

We had our own experience of disruption and dislocation last summer when a lightning strike heavily damaged our electrical system. I was able to jerry-rig workarounds but these events are frustrating and disorienting and a royal pain in the butt. They can even become dangerous. My advice is to follow the Boy Scout’s motto and Be Prepared.

More suggestions to come in following blog posts.

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In the meantime, don’t forget our upcoming all-day workshop here at Sunflower Farm on Sat. May 3.

Click here for all of the details and to register!