climate change

Rise Of The Survival Communities

Fast and Furious.

No, not the alleged Obama administation gun-running progam.

Rather, the number and frequency of articles concerning the rich buying “luxury bunkers” these days.

That being said, I spotted a piece over on The Atlantic website (slated for next month’s print edition) which I think might interest readers.

In “A Resort for the Apocaypse,” Ben Rowen wrote:

On July 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke to the American people of a need “new to our shores” for emergency preparedness, including fallout shelters. The bunkers of that era- Brutalist, cement, with foldout beds and stockpiled food- were designed to protect families in the event that the Cold War turned hot.

It never did, but fears of cataclysm- nuclear and otherwise- are back. So are shelters, with a twist. Growing numbers of “preppers” hope to ride out various doomsday scenarios in luxury

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rowen brought up Rising S Company, “one of several companies that specialize in high-end shelters,” and which I just blogged about here. But he also pointed out “a handful of bunker companies are building entire survival communities in remote locations.” From the article:

One project, Vivos XPoint, involves refurbishing 575 munitions-storage bunkers in South Dakota; Vivos Europa One, in Germany, is a Soviet armory turned luxury community with a subterranean swimming pool.

By contrast, Trident Lakes 4, a 700-acre, $330 million development in Ector, Texas, an hour and a half north of Dallas, is being built from scratch…

Seriously, what is it with Texas and bunkers?

Rowen went on to write a good deal about the Trident Lakes project, being billed as a “5-star playground, equipped with DEFCON 1 preparedness.”

He also noted the following about the deep-pocketed clients of luxury underground survival shelters and communities:

Jeff Schlegelmilch, the deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me that the luxury-bunker trend is “not just a couple of fringe groups; there is real money behind it- hundreds of millions of dollars.” But why are wealthy people buying?

Some customers appear to be motivated by old anxieties, recently revived- the threat of nuclear war, or a national-debt default that leads to unrest. Others have newer fears: climate change, pandemics, terrorism, far-left and far-right extremism. The presidential election has brought new faces into the fold, namely liberals (who also contributed to a record number of background checks- an indicator of gun purchases- on Black Friday)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Interesting. But are any of the survival communities mentioned potentially within the budget of the not-so-well-heeled? Well, Vivos xPoint, which is being billed as “the largest survival community on earth,” advertises this on their project web page:

Priced At Just $25,00 Per Bunker
No Per Person Charge

The biggest feature is the extremely low and affordable price. Each bunker is being privately and exclusively provided under:

A Bunker Lease for 99-years, with a one-time, upfront payment of just $25,000 per bunker;

coupled with,

A Ground Lease for 99-years, with an ongoing payment of just $1,000 per year

Your bunker will be your blank canvas to prepare as much, or as little as you like, with no restrictions on how many people will share it with you when the moment of truth (aka SHTF) arrives. So, you may bring as many friends and family as you like to accommodate in your private bunker, at NO EXTRA CHARGE!

If you shelter 10 people in your bunker, the effective cost is just $2,500 each. With 20 people, the cost is just $1,250 per person. Do the math, there is no lower cost shelter solution, anywhere


Vivos xPoint Promo Video

Watching that marketing video, Vivos isn’t kidding about that “blank canvas” bit.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember The Vivos Group from a June 2013 post about the planned construction of “the world’s largest private underground survival shelter”- Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort- in an existing below-ground complex in Atchison, Kansas. Alas, the project was cancelled as “numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events.”

From the looks of things, that setback hasn’t stopped Vivos from charging ahead with new projects.

You can read “A Resort for the Apocalypse” here on The Atlantic website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any product/property offerings is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Chicago Shoots Past 700 Homicides For The Year

After spending the day at the family’s place in Wisconsin getting ready for “Old Man Winter,” I arrived home to learn that homicides in Chicago have shot past 700 for the year. Here’s what HeyJackass.com, “Illustrating Chicago Values,” is showing as I type this Friday evening:

Year to Date
Shot & Killed: 630
Shot & Wounded: 3296
Total Shot: 3926
Total Homicides: 703

ABC 7 Chicago is reporting over on their website:

The city surpassed the 700 homicide total for the first time since 1998.

A total 0f 704 homicides were reported that year, a number likely to be surpassed in 2016 as the city appears on pace for 750 homicidal deaths. That includes 10 people who were shot or otherwise assaulted in prior years, but died in 2016.

Last year the city recorded 473 homicides for the entire year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“704 homicides… a number likely to be surpassed in 2016”

How about “a number likely to be surpassed this weekend“?

A comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop surmised liberals will blame “climate change” for this carnage.

City Hall included among the blamethrowers?

Calls for more gun “control” and outside agency intervention in three, two, one…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Chicago Sees 700 Homicides In A Year For First Time Since 1998.” ABC 7 Chicago. 18 Nov. 2016. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/chicago-sees-700-homicides-in-a-year-for-first-time-since-1998/1614560/). 18 Nov. 2016.

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Friday, November 18th, 2016 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense, Weather Comments Off on Chicago Shoots Past 700 Homicides For The Year

Jeremy Grantham: ‘It May Well Be Necessary To Our Survival That We Become More Realistic’

Continuing yesterday’s discussion on investing, last night I finally got the chance to read the latest quarterly investment letter from “crash prophet” Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (currently oversees $104 billion in client assets). Here’s what December’s installment (covering the third quarter of 2015) consisted of. From “Give Me Only Good News!”:

I have noticed how hard it is to effectively pass on a warning for the same reason: No one wants to hear this bad news. So a while ago I came up with a list of propositions that are widely accepted by an educated business audience. They are widely accepted but totally wrong. It is my attempt to bring home how extreme is our preference for good news over accurate news. When you have run through this list you may be a little more aware of how dangerous our wishful thinking can be in investing and in the much more important fields of resource (especially food) limitations and the potentially life-threatening risks of climate damage. Wishful thinking and denial of unpleasant facts are simply not survival characteristics…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Grantham discussed those “propositions” and went on to conclude:

This is more or less the best I can do to prove the point. We in the U.S. have a broad and heavy bias away from unpleasant data. We are ready to be manipulated by vested interests in finance, economics, and climate change, whose interests might be better served by our believing optimistic stuff “that just ain’t so.” We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species. It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic, more willing to process the unpleasant, and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While an interesting read, I was a little disappointed that Grantham (who’s individual clients have included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry) didn’t talk about the following in his latest letter. From an August 9, 2015, post:

However, Grantham has now offered up a potential timeframe for a “major decline” in equities.

Robin Wigglesworth reported on the Financial Times (UK) website Thursday:

A well-known fund manager who foresaw the Japanese crash, the dotcom bubble and the global financial crisis has predicted that markets will be “ripe for a major decline” some time in 2016, potentially triggering government bankruptcies.

Jeremy Grantham , founder and chief investment strategist of GMO, a $118bn investment house based in Boston, expects the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016.

The famously bearish and often prescient money manager said this could trigger a “very different” type of crisis, because many governments had become considerably more indebted and much of the liabilities had shifted to the balance sheets of central banks.

Given that central banks were able to create money to recapitalise themselves, this “could be a crisis we could weather”, Mr Grantham said. “If not, then we’re talking the 1930s, where you have a chain-link of government defaults.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from a May 4, 2015, post about his first quarter 2015 letter:

On the Federal Reserve and asset bubbles, Grantham noted:

In the Greenspan/ Bernanke/Yellen Era, the Fed historically did not stop its asset price pushing until fully-fledged bubbles had occurred, as they did in U.S. growth stocks in 2000 and in U.S. housing in 2006. Both of these were in fact stunning three-sigma events, by far the biggest equity bubble and housing bubble in U.S. history. Yellen, like both of her predecessors, has bragged about the Fed’s role in pushing up asset prices in order to get a wealth effect. Thus far, she seems to also share their view on feeling no responsibility to interfere with any asset bubble that may form. For me, recognizing the power of the Fed to move assets (although desperately limited power to boost the economy), it seems logical to assume that absent a major international economic accident, the current Fed is bound and determined to continue stimulating asset prices until we once again have a fully-fledged bubble. And we are not there yet

To remind you, we at GMO still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Two things I’m dying to know from Mr. Grantham right now:

1. Does he still expect “the stock market to continue to march higher in the coming year, eventually sucking in retail investors and setting up a serious decline around the time of the US elections in late 2016”?

2. Does he/GMO “still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250”? The S&P was really marching towards 2,250 for a while before the index went south.

You can read the latest Grantham letter over at the GMO website here (.pdf format).

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 Banking, Bankruptcy, Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Debt Crisis, Defaults, Federal Reserve, Food, Government, Housing, Investing, Stocks Comments Off on Jeremy Grantham: ‘It May Well Be Necessary To Our Survival That We Become More Realistic’

Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30, 2015), just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the second quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on ten “potential threats to our well-being” (echoing a Morningstar piece I blogged about on July 14). These threats are (in his own words):

1. Pressure on GDP growth in the U.S. and the balance of the developed world: count on 1.5% U.S. growth, not the old 3%
2. The age of plentiful, cheap resources is gone forever
3. Oil
4. Climate problems
5. Global food shortages
6. Income inequality
7. Trying to understand deficiencies in democracy and capitalism
8. Deficiencies in the Fed
9. Investment bubbles in a world that is, this time, interestingly different
10. Limitations of homo sapiens

Grantham talked about each threat in detail. I’ll be focusing on those items I think would interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

Regarding pressure on U.S./developed world GDP growth, Grantham wrote:

Factors potentially slowing long-term growth:
a) Slowing growth rate of the working population
b) Aging of the working population
c) Resource constraints, especially the lack of cheap $20/barrel oil
d) Rising income inequality
e) Disappointing and sub-average capital spending, notably in the U.S.
f) Loss of low-hanging fruit: Facebook is not the new steam engine
g) Steadily increasing climate difficulties
h) Partially dysfunctional government, particularly in economic matters that fail to maximize growth opportunities, especially in the E.U. and the U.S…

On “plentiful, cheap resources” being gone:

All in all I am still very confident, unfortunately, that the old regime of irregularly falling commodity prices is gone forever…

On oil:

Oil has been king and still is. For a while longer… Now, as we are running out of oil that is cheap to recover, the economic system is becoming stressed and growth is slowing…

Grantham added:

The good news is that with slower global growth and more emphasis on energy efficiency and a probability of some carbon tax increases, global oil demand may settle down to around 1% a year for the next 10 to 15 years. At that level of increase in demand, even modest continued increases in recovery rates will keep us in oil even if no new oil is found for the next 15 years.

Beyond 15 years, the resource and environmental news gets better because cheaper electric vehicles and changes in environmental policy will enable steady decreases in oil demand…

On global food shortages, Grantham referred to some recent research. He wrote:

I was completely gruntled by a report last month from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. This unit is backed by Lloyds of London, the U.K. Foreign Office, the Institute of Actuaries, and the Development Banks of both Africa and Asia – a grouping with a very serious interest in the topic of food scarcity and societal disruptions to say the least. The team of scientists used system dynamic modeling, which uses feedbacks and delays, to run the business-as-usual world forward 25 years. Without any new and improved responses from us, the results are dismaying: Prices of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice were all predicted to be at least four times the levels of 2000. (They are currently about double.) The team concluded, “The results show that based on plausible climate trends and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.” And you thought my argument on food problems of the last three years was way over the top!

Grantham is still not impressed with the Federal Reserve. He predicted:

And what of the current Fed regime – the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen Regime – that promotes higher asset prices and lower borrowing costs, which facilitate stock buybacks amongst other speculative forces? Well, this regime, too, will change. Regression of regime, if ou will. Painfully, politicians, the public, businessmen, and possibly even some economists will recognize the current regime as a failed experiment.

And on the “limitations of homo sapiens”? Grantham observed:

Not only does our species have a strong predisposition to be optimistic (or bullish) – it is probably a useful survival characteristic – but we are particularly good at listening to agreeable data and avoiding unpleasant data that does not jibe with our beliefs or philosophies. Facts, whether backed by 97% of scientists as is the case with man-made climate change, or 99.9% as is the case with evolution, do not count for nearly as much as we used to believe. For that matter, we do a terrible job of planning for the long term, particularly in postponing gratification, and we are wickedly bad at dealing with the implications of compound math. All of this makes it easy for us to forget about the previously painful market busts; facilitates our pushing stocks and markets on occasion to levels that make no mathematical sense; and allows us, regrettably, to ignore the logic of finite resources and a deteriorating climate until the consequences are pushed up our short-term noses.

The take-away from all of the above?

• Grantham forecasts U.S./developed world GDP growth to slow to 1.5 percent
• Investment opportunities may exist in commodities, agriculture, and other things food-related
• The outcome of the Fed’s current monetary policies will be painful
• Human nature- in particular, our unbridled optimism and focus on short-term gratification- will continue to result in asset bubbles and longer-term problems outside of the financial markets/economy/larger financial system

You can read Grantham’s latest investment newsletter on the GMO site here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 Agriculture, Bubbles, Capitalism, Civil Strife, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Energy, Environment, Federal Reserve, Food, GDP, Government, Income, Investing, Monetary Policy, Natural Resources, Population, Stocks, Vehicles Comments Off on Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Thoughts So Far About Doomsday Preppers

Regular viewers of the National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers TV series might have been disappointed that only reruns were shown last night.

I was actually kind of happy to have a week off from writing-up episodes since they can be time-consuming. Not that I don’t like doing reviews of each installment, but it takes some time to put together something that I think might have value for Survival And Prosperity readers.

Seven episodes down. There more to go this season. Plus I see that they’re casting for a second season of the show. Good for Nat Geo Channel and all those associated with the production.

So far, I’m enjoying season 1 of Doomsday Preppers. The preppers featured on the weekly TV series seem not much different than the typical person I myself would run into on a Chicago street, they seem genuinely-concerned by the myriad of man-made and natural threats around them, and unlike many Americans, are actively doing something to mitigate these potential hazards.

Just what are those threats influencing the direction of their prepping?

Economic Crisis/Collapse- 8 “doomsday preppers” identified as primary concern
True Polar Wander (Polar Shift)- 3
EMP/Solar Superstorm- 2
Black Swan Event- 1
Climate Change- 1
Energy Crunch- 1
Food Shortage- 1
Major Earthquake- 1
Multi-Hazard- 1
Overpopulation- 1
Pandemic- 1
Radioactive Fallout- 1
Supervolcano- 1

Some time ago I came across a post on a survivalist board where some guy said something along the lines of he looked forward to TEOTWAWKI so that when he emerged from his bunker well-armed and well-supplied, the remaining women he encountered would not only adore him but “nay, beg me to father their children.” You’ve got to be kidding me (I think he was). Thankfully, none of the preppers featured on the Nat Geo Channel show to-date have come out and said they were looking forward to society’s collapse. Even though certain aspects of modern living might easily get under our skin, who in their right mind would really want such an event to happen? The amount of pain, death, and destruction that would likely accompany such a horrific scenario is beyond the comprehension of most Americans, and is something no sane human being would certainly wish for.

One more thing. A number of “doomsday preppers” indicated on the show that they put a lot of time into prepping. It’s one thing if you’re a beginning prepper and want to get things “up to speed.” However, if you’ve been doing it for a while and have a significant amount of gear and supplies socked away already, I’m wondering if it ain’t “Miller Time” already. At least for a bit. The last thing you probably want is your prepping turning into an obsession. Otherwise, you might just be short-changing yourself when it comes to other aspects of your life. And think about it. If TEOTWAWKI is really coming, wouldn’t you want to experience some things that would likely disappear when society grinds to a halt? I, personally, would like to do some more overseas travel before it gets much more difficult to do.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on Doomsday Preppers to-date.

What do you think about the show?

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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 Commodities, Energy, Environment, Food, Gear, Health, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Natural Resources, On TV, Population, Preparedness, Space, Supplies, TEOTWAWKI Comments Off on Thoughts So Far About Doomsday Preppers

On TV: Doomsday Bunkers, Episode 2

Last night I watched episode number 2 of the new Discovery Channel TV series Doomsday Bunkers. In “Pyramid Pod/Booby-Trapped Bunker,” Scott Bales, owner of Dallas, Texas-based Deep Earth Bunker, worked with two sets of clients in getting them the underground shelters they want, as well as a new project.

At the beginning of the episode, which aired last Wednesday, March 14, Scott announced:

We are starting to offer all of our clients concealed handgun license classes… With the proper training, our clients will be able to protect their food, their water, their families when they’re inside that bunker.

From the show:

But Scott’s clients believe it will take more than guns to protect them. So they’re relying on his bunkers to keep them alive when the world collapses.

Scott remarked:

They tell us in detail what they’re worried about and our job is to find a way to protect them from that.

Steve Willis

Steve Willis is a general contractor and prepper. Willis explained why he wanted an underground bunker:

My worst fear is that people come here, they rape my wife, they kill my kids. I don’t know what I would do if any harm was to befall my family. That is my main concern as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather. I need to know that those kids are going to be okay.

One of the biggest concerns I have is a solar flare eruption. The result is going to be an electromagnetic pulse and a widespread grid outage. You’re going to have chaos and mayhem in the streets. The stores in the cities will be looted in a matter of days. I don’t think it’s going to be long before people start coming into the outskirts to do anything they can to survive. And that includes robbing or hurting or even killing other people. They’ll eat each other if they have to.

Willis came to Deep Earth Bunker where he met with Scott. The engineer-by-trade told his prospective client:

Give me an idea exactly what you want so that we can get it.

Steve replied:

Well, this thing has to be an underground fortress. My biggest concerns are the electromagnetic pulse threat. You’ve got the solar flares. All that stuff is going to happen at some point.

Scott explained the premise behind an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, threat:

An electromagnetic pulse is caused by a high-altitude nuclear blast or a solar flare coming through our atmosphere. When an EMP hits, it can take out the electrical grid for an extended period of time.

Willis added:

Another concern I have is being able to see outside from inside the bunker. The element of surprise is what I’m looking for.

DEB’s owner envisioned an EMP-resistant video periscope for Steve’s bunker.

The show revealed that the Willis family has a tactical plan already in place. They have supply caches on their sprawling property that have food, water, and firearms. But Steve thinks his house is the weakest part of this plan. He admitted:

I don’t want to necessarily be in my house if this area is under attack. Anything can happen in the house. It could catch fire, someone could lob a grenade in there.

He continued:

I want to be able to confront them, I want to be able to engage in a firefight if necessary before they even know I’m there…

I’m not really planning on being in there too long. This is mainly just for sort of a tactical use. I just want to be able to get everyone in, keep them safe, come out when everything’s done.

Having a good idea of the project requirements, Scott said to Steve:

So we need to make sure that nobody on this planet can even get near this thing.

Steve responded with:

That’s exactly what I’m looking for.

Enter the Willis tactical bunker. A first for DEB.

Scott explained what made this shelter “tactical”:

What makes a bunker a tactical bunker is a bunker that can actually defend itself against predators. Keep people out, that shouldn’t be in.

From the episode:

Most of Scott’s bunkers are huge underground condos meant for long-term living. Since Steve plans on using his bunker only while his property is under attack, he doesn’t need luxuries. So they’re keeping it basic. Retractable bunk beds, storage space for food and water, 100 amp electric service, and a generator hookup for emergencies. Build time, 3 weeks. Total cost, $50,000.

At the conclusion of their meeting, Steve Willis explained:

This is the refuge that my family is going to retreat to in times of violence, mayhem, weather, anything. It’s going to be the heart of my defense system.

Scott assigned Jesse Saul, Floor Manager, and Charlie Christie, Quality Assurance/Carpenter, to the project, and asked them to come up with defensive measures, or “booby traps.” Jesse declared:

Once we’re done with this thing, nobody is going to get in here. It’s almost going to be like a tank.

While the Willis family waited for their bunker to be completed, preps continued at their residence. From the episode:

Steve plans to use his bunker for short term attacks, but until it’s ready, he’s come up for a defensive plan for his home. His second-story windows give him 360-degrees of sniping positions.

Steve pointed out:

I have four window positions. And if you have a gunshot coming at you, you’re not going to stand in the open and engage an unknown enemy. You’re going to run like hell.

Once the new bunker is in place, the Willis family will have an additional tactical position.

While their shelter was being fabricated, Scott and his engineer Kenneth designed the EMP-resistant video periscope. Why not use an old-fashioned periscope? Scott explained:

With a regular periscope, it’s very old technology. You push it up, you’re looking through a mirror. Mirror, mirror, mirror all the way to the top. They can fog, they can crack, and you can’t see at night. That’s why we’re doing a video periscope.

The show talked about how this feature was constructed to combat the EMP threat:

To protect Steve’s periscope from an EMP, Scott’s creating a Faraday Cage which deflects radiation- similar to what’s found inside a microwave oven. The wires are wrapped in metal mesh, which placed inside a steel conduit, and insulated with a combination of foam, tar, and metal shavings. All contained within a PVC pipe. With the battery’s solar panel safely inside the bunker, this periscope is EMP resistant.

In the meantime, Jesse and Charlie came up with two defensive features for the Willis bunker. One is a bed of metal spikes that swings down from the bunker roof into unsuspecting bad guys. The other is a handrail with a flamethrower built into it. Dastardly evil stuff.

The Willis family’s 141 square foot “tactical fortress” was finally completed and installed on the property. Scott Bales showed Steve Willis the two defensive features, the entry door- which is bullet-resistant up to a .50 caliber round, and the EMP-resistant video periscope. The client seemed overjoyed with his new bunker.

Jason and Tanya

According to the episode, 50 percent of Deep Earth Bunker’s business is fiberglass storm shelters. Owner Scott Bales was notified that one of these below-ground shelters, belonging to preppers Jason and Tanya, had been submerged in a hurricane. From the show:

Jason and Tanya live on the edge of the nation’s capital. And they’re preparing for environmental devastation.

Jason explained:

For crying out loud, this is the only planet in the entire universe that supports life as we know it, and we’re screwing it up.

Tanya chimed in:

One of the reasons why we invested in a storm shelter is for the environmental catastrophic events. You can look at global warming. The ocean currents are slowing, which means the northern hemisphere could freeze. There are so many things that are coming to a head at the same time. There would be earthquakes, floods, fires- all sorts of things we will have to negotiate to survive.

According to the show, prepping became a reality for Tanya when she started having premonitions in her sleep 10 years ago. She explained:

I started having dreams after my son was born. They’re so real. You know, I’ve had dreams where I’ve seen the stars falling and literally collapsing on the Earth.

As a result, the couple is preparing to live “off the grid.” Tanya added:

We’d like to be able to homestead, so that involves growing our own food from seed. It involves having farm animals, making our own soap, making our own vinegar.

The couple’s son, 12-year-old son Patrick, collects seeds to help out with the family’s preps.

And as part of their preparations, they acquired and buried a fiberglass storm shelter at a remote site which they intend to be the future location of their homestead. This was the same shelter that got flooded. Scott took a look at it and said that the contractor who did the install screwed up, and water and mud were able to seep in through the air vents.

The prepper family came out to Deep Earth Bunker in Texas to look at steel shelters. Scott showed Jason and Tanya his product line and revealed that the price of steel shelters is about 20 percent higher than fiberglass ones. The family really liked the steel bunkers and thought they might opt for one of those.

In the episode, Jason, Tanya, and Patrick are shown getting firearms instruction from Johnny Price of Big Iron Concealed Handgun Training. Remember DEB’s new concealed handgun license classes I mentioned at the beginning of this post?

Tanya shared more of her insights about prepping with viewers. She said:

I think that the people who have not thought about prepping are the people that are going to be caught up in the chaos.

Price told the family:

They’re willing to knife you, shoot you, assault you, beat you because you have something they want.

To which Tanya pointed out:

These are the people that are going to make the world a really dangerous place to live in.

Their instructor added:

I hope Jason and Tanya never have to use their gun. But if the predator or threat arises, I want them to be able to defend themselves.

Tanya admitted:

I don’t like the violent aspect of it, but I would kill someone to defend my son.

She has strong feelings when it comes to prepping. From the show:

Prepping has become a way of life for this family, and in their eyes, those who don’t are negligent.

The prepper explained:

They are harming their children. And I feel like they are not adequately taking care of them if they don’t have plans in place.

It looked as if the family’s visit to Deep Earth Bunker was a success. Scott remarked:

Now, Jason and Tanya will be able to protect their food, their water, their family when they’re inside that bunker.

Pyramid Pod

Scott Bales introduced a new project in episode 2 of Doomsday Bunkers called the “Pyramid Pod.” He’s aiming for the pyramid-shaped above-ground shelter to be extremely strong and fireproof. Bales said:

The Pyramid Pod is going to be one of the best above-ground shelters ever built. People can take themselves and their supplies inside and nothing will get them. Nothing.

The Pyramid Pod project was assigned to Scott Free, Special Projects Manager.

After constructing a cardboard mock-up of the shelter and eventually a scaled-down prototype of it fabricated in steel, the DEB crew took it out to a field for a structural strength test where a crane dropped a car on it. Scotty Free thought it would measure around 32,000 lbs. of force when it hit the top of the shelter. Scott Bales said:

Everyone knows in this day and age that a tornado is not going to pick up a car and throw it 45 feet straight up in the air. But preppers believe that that weather is right around the corner.

The Pyramid Pod prototype supposedly passed the structural strength test with flying colors.

Since this new product was meant to be fireproof as well, 4 impenetrable layers of fire defense and insulation were added to the steel structure:

1. Fire-resistant studs
2. Fire-resistant insulation between the studs
3. Fire-resistant 1/2 inch plywood sheets
4. On top of all this, concrete plywood

To see how effective the fireproofed prototype was, Scott Bales sat inside of the shelter while donning safety gear and with firefighters on-hand. The Pyramid Pod was set ablaze, and the test was almost 100 percent successful. Bales admitted:

Smoke got through the—because we don’t have a seal around the door. It came in through the door. It wouldn’t have got in on the full-sized model, but the steel never got hot.

Bales talked to wife Renee (who appeared on the show for the first time as Scott’s “boss”) and Scotty Free, and they agreed that after taking care “of a couple little things” they would mass produce the Pyramid Pod.

Overall, I thought episode number 2, “Pyramid Pod/Booby-Trapped Bunker,” was pretty good. As I said in my review of the first episode, I’m not a big fan of “reality” TV, and even though elements of that genre appeared in the show again, including:

• Tension between Scott Bales and wife Renee. “Renee has been dead set against this thing from day one. I can read her like a book. She is absolutely pissed.”
• Events leading up to the hiring of a new welder, where Alex Bales was turned into a human rubberband by Jesse Saul and Scotty Free.
• Fast turn-around times required of Deep Earth Bunker staff

It was all still palatable.

It’d be nice if production staff could keep it that way.

Some other thoughts:

• It looked like Steve Willis was using smaller caliber rifles at his home’s four sniping positions. I’m guessing this was just for “show.” If not, depending on the particular circumstances involved he might want to look at utilizing long guns chambered in .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester, for example, to increase range and knock-down capability.
• The Willis family needs to camouflage that bed of spikes hanging from the roof of their new bunker. From the looks of it, it should be relatively easy to do.
• They also have to prepare themselves should a bad guy ever get fried to a crisp from their bunker’s hand-rail flamethrower and possibly tumble down the stairs in front of their entry door. I’m guessing the screams and smell would be awful. But enough of that, as I’m still eating lunch as I type this.
• I wonder if preppers Jason and Tanya weren’t able to salvage that submerged underground storm shelter of theirs. I’ve seen flooded basements in worse condition. Pump out the muck, clean it out, sanitize it, dig a new hole in a more ideal location on the site, pull it out of the old hole and drop it into the new one, cover it up, and you’re done. I know- there’s probably a lot more to it. Here’s hoping it wasn’t a complete loss for the family though.
• After that car was dropped onto the Pyramid Pod prototype, Deep Earth Bunker was ecstatic and declared the structural strength test a success. However, it would have been nice for viewers to be able to see the top of the shelter right after the vehicle was dropped on it. This was never shown.
• I don’t know who does the accompanying music to Doomsday Bunkers, but I found myself rocking out a few times while reviewing the episode.

According to the Discovery Channel TV schedule, episode 3 of Doomsday Bunkers airs tomorrow, Wednesday, March 21, at 10 PM Eastern/Pacific.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 7

This past weekend I finally got the chance to watch episode number 7 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three prepper groups last Tuesday. In order of appearance:

Doug Huffman, Northern California
“I’m preparing for the Second Worldwide Great Depression”

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers, Alberta, Canada
“I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted.”

Ed (and Dianna) Peden, west of Topeka, Kansas
“I am preparing to survive and thrive underground.”

Here are my thoughts about episode 7 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Doug Huffman

Doug is a retired defense contractor who has a 240-acre ranch in Northern California. He thinks another economic depression is fast-approaching:

We’re $15.2 trillion in debt. No one’s doing anything to address the problems. We cannot continue to keep spending money in this country. At some point, this is all going to collapse. And there’s going to be a massive, massive reset in the United States. You’re going to have a shortage of food. There’s going to be food lines again, gas lines again…

In the first 9 months of this type of economic collapse- no food, no water, and amazingly simple sanitation. Without soap and water- boom, disease everywhere, unstoppable. Simulations have been done- up to an 80 percent loss of our population. The government’s not going to be able to help you. You are going to be on your own, and that is the reality.

As a result, Huffman has transformed his ranch into a self-reliant village. He explained:

Well the whole purpose of me “building” my self-reliant village is, if something should happen, you are only going to survive in a communal group.

Availability of food during an economic collapse is a major concern for the California resident, and the show revealed that Huffman has implemented a 4-stage post-apocalyptic food plan to deal with such a disruption:

1. Hunt local game
2. Breed fish in his lake
3. Grow food in 2,500-square-foot greenhouse
4. Raise a variety of farm animals

In perhaps the funniest/disturbing (depends on the person) scene of episode 7, Doug showed how he’s raising rabbits for food and introduced a couple of his baby bunnies to viewers- “Stir Fry,” “Crock Pot,” “Blackened,” and “Cajun.” He tells the incredibly-cute Stir Fry:

Yeah, you’re going to be surrounded in vegetables.

Awww.

The episode also revealed that the rest of the California prepper’s food is preserved and hidden in 3 secret locations, including a root cellar. According to the show:

Root cellars are controlled storage environments, buried under earth or in a basement. They were widely-used to store fruit and vegetables during the winter months before refrigerators became available.

With his “self-reliant village” containing all this food, Huffman knows the ranch would be a likely target in a SHTF event. How does he plan on defending the place? From the show:

And while civil unrest is a common prepper concern, Doug has no intention in investing in prepping staples like high fences, security cameras, and motion detectors designed to keep marauders out. His plan is to draw them in.

He explained:

My plan for self-defense might be a little bit different. I’m not so concerned about holding the ranch. I’m perfectly willing to give it up. The most effective survival system is to disappear during the chaos, and reappear to just take back what you’ve lost.

Huffman plans on achieving this through the use of camouflage and hidden foxholes. It’s revealed that Doug is a master in the art of camouflage:

Doug has 30 home-made camo suits designed for every possible environment and season.

Huffman pointed out:

You have to have the different colors to fit your environment in fall, winter, spring, summer. The grasses change, the snow- everything changes. Appropriate camouflage is the difference between life and death.

Helpful advice. In addition, Doug has several hidden shelters around the ranch where he can live in temporarily. He showed off what’s called a “spider hole” to his friend and fellow prepper Brian. From the episode:

A spider hole is a combat term widely-used in the Vietnam War. It’s a camouflaged one-man foxhole, about 3 feet deep and 7 feet long. Doug plans to use them to hide in plain sight for 3 to 7 days at a time.

The show revealed that Huffman has a half-dozen spider holes over two hundred miles up to 9,000 feet. Doug told viewers:

My plan is to retreat, ride it out, and live to fight another day. That’s what the spider hole is for.

And at night, he plans to return to the ranch and “reclaim” his property. Huffman explained:

I own the night. It’s been a way of life for me for 25 years. I would return back at night- doing my recon, looking through the windows, getting my numbers. And it’s very, very important psychologically that I just start dropping people within 24 hours. I’ll just start taking you out day, after day, after day.

Huffman wouldn’t be alone at the self-reliant village if things go south. He is training a team of 32 young preppers between the ages of 10 and 19 to rebuild a safe post-apocalyptic community on his ranch. Huffman said:

Twice a week, I got teach a youth group called the “Junior Rangers.” My whole goal is to train people in an apocalyptic event. And that’s what it’s going to take- groups of people that build communities and can defend and protect that community.

The Rangers are trained in survival, foraging, camouflaging techniques, weapons and defense tactics.

Dang. Where was this type of instruction when I was growing up?

Huffman said something earlier in the show that really stuck in my mind:

You had better be prepared. Because it is coming. And the fact that so many people put their head in the sand- that’s a huge mistake. Based upon my law of natural selection, they’re the first ones to die.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment- conducted by Practical Preppers LLC- the following was said on the show:

In addition, when you retreat underground, it is likely that your supplies will be looted while unattended.

Huffman replied:

I look at that as a foolish answer. Alright? I am your worst nightmare. Maybe he doesn’t understand that.

I don’t think for a second Practical Preppers underestimates Huffman’s capabilities for “reclaiming” his ranch. But I wonder if the company founded by “original doomsday preppers” Scott Hunt and David Kobler recognizes the possibility that the “marauders” may not choose to stick around at the ranch once they take it. If they have the means (adequate transportation), the ability (traversable terrain), and the desire to remove Doug’s supplies from the ranch and continue on as soon as possible- rather than kick back and enjoy the spoils- they might try and do so. Huffman said it’s important for him to start “dropping people” within 24 hours. He might have to start and possibly finish doing that should the marauders intend to push on.

One other thought about this segment. Huffman mentioned that he thought the Second Great Depression would take place in 2012. It’s certainly possible. But recent activity in Washington and at the Federal Reserve have primed the pump, so to speak, and economic news looks to be on track for being rather good all the way until the November election- with the next major bout of economic pain not felt until 2013-2014- according to the same smart people who saw the 2008 global financial crisis coming.

Dianne (and Greg) Rogers

Greg and Dianne Rogers reside in Alberta, Canada, with their 7-year-old daughter Sara(h?). Dianne is a stay-at-home mom, and is prepping because of some reoccurring nightmare:

I’m passionate about prepping because I’m haunted. When I was in college, I had this dream- a disaster dream of some kind in that it was something that happened environmentally. It continues to this day. I’m trying to escape. Greg is getting our bags ready. I’m putting things away- trying to get to a colder place because it’s going to get hot. The temperature is rising. The dream happens all the time. For 20 years I haven’t been able to get away from it.

From the show:

Dianne is convinced her dream has a connection to the real world. A warning from the future that cannot be ignored.

She explained:

My greatest fear is that something catastrophic does happen environmentally and it sets off a chain reaction.

As a result, Greg and Dianne are prepping for all potential disasters (very smart).

Dianne’s husband is just as committed to prepping as she is. From the show:

Greg’s day job is as a granite fabricator. But at night, and on the weekends, he’s training as a security tech, a thief, and even an amateur chemist- all in the service of being prepared.

Greg explained:

In an unpredictable situation you never know what skills you’re going to need to pull yourself out of that situation and ensure your own safety and the safety of the family. I’m learning how to steal a car, for the same reason I’m learning how to pick a lock. I’m learning make gunpowder. Information is easy to carry.

In a SHTF event, the Rogers family plans on bugging-in. It’s revealed they have 12 months of supplies socked away.

Dianne and Greg share information about prepping with their daughter. Every night before bed, they have a “family prepping talk.” And in the show, Sara(h) goes with Mom and Dad to a gun store where the couple looks to purchase handguns. Greg revealed:

I’m not a big gun enthusiast myself, but I realize the importance, and it’s another tool in the tool chest.

Dianne said:

Sara(h) knows there might come a time when Mom and Dad need to use those weapons for things. She’s okay with that. And I would prefer that she’s comfortable around them.”

To successfully bug-in, the Rogers family transformed a portion of their basement into a makeshift bunker. They have food, water supplies, a propane stove, a medical/surgical kit, and a port-a-potty, among other things.

Dianne Rogers left viewers with this thought:

I think prepping has become such a big movement because there is so much more uncertainty in the world than there ever used to be. We know so much more now than we ever used to. Maybe it was easier when we didn’t know.

In the “Expert Assessment” portion of this segment, Practical Preppers LLC said:

You live in close proximity to others- which could be a disadvantage in a disaster. However, you could turn this to your advantage by establishing a network within your community for survival and disaster planning.

Dianne responded with:

There seems to be a bit of hesitation among other people. They just don’t want to think about it.

I’ve noticed on the Internet that websites exist where preppers can go to link up with other preppers. PrepperGroups.com is perhaps the most well-known one. In addition, there’s Meetup.com, which bills itself as the world’s largest network of local groups. For example, doing a search on this site for preppers around Chicago brought up two preparedness groups in nearby Oak Brook and Wilmette. Even though Dianne and Greg live in Canada, I saw some Canadian-based preppers on PrepperGroups.com. If the family is serious about establishing a network within their community for survival and disaster planning, they might want to explore this route.

Going back to that part of the show where the Rogers family visited the gun store, it was noted how Glock handguns are used by many law enforcement agencies across the country, and as such, the availability of ammunition might be better during TEOTWAWKI. I’ve heard this claim before and the one that says firearms chambered for “common” caliber cartridges like 9mm Luger, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, etcetera might also be easier finding ammo for when TSHTF. However, I suspect that beyond the initial stage of the crisis, pretty much all rimfire and centerfire ammunition will disappear off the shelves- to be used as barter by enterprising individuals if anything. Furthermore, in most instances I doubt the police/military will be sharing ammunition with John Q. Public should things go to hell. In fact, some argue they’ll be replenishing their depleted ammo supply from you if needed. Gun owners are probably better off acquiring all the ammo they’ll need before the brown stuff hits the fan.

Ed (and Dianna) Peden

Ed and Dianna Peden live in a decommissioned Atlas missile site west of Topeka, Kansas. Ed, a retired teacher, first became interested in the complex back in the eighties when the specter of nuclear war hovered over the world. He explained:

The economy is certainly in trouble. In some ways the economy has already collapsed. And everybody thought the economy was going to bounce back- it was just a little recession. Well, that hasn’t happened. It’s not happening. There’s going to be desperation and there’s going to be potential violence. And those that can make adjustments to the changes in optimal ways will thrive, while many others are going to suffer.

Ed believes there’s no time to lose in his prepping, as he feels an economic doomsday is already underway. He claimed:

We are at a critical moment. The banking institutions are troubled. The stock market is reflecting these things. The politicians have no answers. And we’re not finished with these trends.

According to the show, the missile base cost $4 million to build in 1960. Ed bought it in the eighties for $40,000. Like the Rogers family, Dianna and Ed plan on bugging-in, closing their 20-inch-thick blast-proof front door to the outside. Stocked with 12 months of food and supplies, the Peden’s renovated 20,000 square-foot bunker is very secure with its 18-inch-thick walls, an 8-foot tall steel and barbed-wire perimeter fence, a recently-installed automatic gate, and a new 360-degree security camera system.

When it comes to using firearms for self-defense, the show revealed that Dianna is committed to non-violence. But Ed is not. He warned viewers:

I don’t show them, but I’m well-trained in them, and that’s all I would care to discuss about it.

Dianna and Ed don’t plan on going at it alone during TEOTWAWKI. From the show:

If Ed and Dianna Peden’s predictions come to pass, and economic catastrophe and societal breakdown occur, they are aware that the two of them do not possess all the skills they will need to survive. So they have selected a group of people to allow into their fortified bunker.

When preppers assemble survival teams, commonly sought after professions are emergency-room doctors, mechanics, and professional soldiers. But for their team, the Peden’s have selected a “living food chef,” an intuitive healer, and a spiritualist.

Ed left viewers with this thought:

If difficult times do come, and I think that’s most likely, it’s going to be so important who you are around, who you have on the bus with you, so to speak.

During the “Expert Assessment” portion of the segment, Practical Preppers advised:

We recommend you train consistently with whatever firearms you store inside the silo. And consider investing in bulletproof vests in case your home comes under siege.

The Kansas prepper replied with:

I’ll choose my own way with that. His consciousness is at a different place than ours.

Perhaps that’s what the intuitive healer is for? I thought the recommendation about “bulletproof” vests was a good one. To tweak something actor John Wayne allegedly once said:

Life during societal collapse is hard. It’s even harder when you’re perforated.

I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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Report: Rising Sea Levels Threaten U.S. Coastal Population

There is strong evidence that global sea level is now rising at an increased rate and will continue to rise during this century.

While studies show that sea levels changed little from AD 0 until 1900, sea levels began to climb in the 20th century…

Records and research show that sea level has been steadily rising at a rate of 1 to 2.5 millimeters (0.04 to 0.1 inches) per year since 1900.

This rate may be increasing. Since 1992, new methods of satellite altimetry (the measurement of elevation or altitude) indicate a rate of rise of 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) per year.

-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website under “Ocean Facts”

March 1992. I remember driving north on Florida State Road A1A after spending spring break in Daytona Beach. While the magnificent views of the Atlantic come to the mind, it’s those homes built on stilts that really stand out when I recall that small part of the journey. And if what a recently-released report claims comes true, taller stilts may not cut it for a number of these coastal Florida residences. From Princeton, New Jersey-based Climate Central, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank the focuses on climate and energy issues, in a press release earlier today:

Sea level rise due to global warming has already doubled the annual risk of coastal flooding of historic proportions across widespread areas of the United States, according to a new report from Climate Central. By 2030, many locations are likely to see storm surges combining with sea level rise to raise waters at least 4 feet above the local high-tide line. Nearly 5 million U.S. residents live in 2.6 million homes on land below this level. More than 6 million people live on land below 5 feet; by 2050, the study projects that widespread areas will experience coastal floods exceeding this higher level…

In 285 municipalities, more than half the population lives below the 4-foot mark. One hundred and six of these places are in Florida, 65 are in Louisiana, and ten or more are in New York (13), New Jersey (22), Maryland (14), Virginia (10) and North Carolina (22). In 676 towns and cities spread across every coastal state in the lower 48 except Maine and Pennsylvania, more than 10% of the population lives below the 4-foot mark.

Tidal gauge records show that the sea has already risen 8 inches globally during the last century, and projections point to a steep acceleration…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Whether one believes in global warming or not, sea levels look like they’re rising. Something to consider if you currently live on the coast or plan to move there someday.

You can read the entire report, entitled “Surging Seas,” on the Climate Central website here.

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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Weather Comments Off on Report: Rising Sea Levels Threaten U.S. Coastal Population

Record Economic Losses From 2011 Natural Disasters

2011 was a record-breaking year for worldwide natural disasters. From the UN News Centre webpage yesterday:

Ms. Wahlström [Margareta Wahlström, the head of the secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)] told a news conference at UN Headquarters that economic losses caused by natural disasters last year amounted to an estimated minimum of $380 billion, two thirds higher than the previous record in 2005. She attributed the heavy losses to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the New Zealand quake, and severe floods in Asia and others parts of the world.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

There was actually some good news tucked away in Wahlström’s report. From the piece:

“The main message is that this is a very rapidly increasing trend with increasing economic losses. Globally, disaster mortality is in fact proportionally decreasing, but the economics of disasters is becoming a major threat to a number of countries,” she added, pointing out that 50 per cent of the world’s population is exposed to disaster risk.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to the Associated Press’ Edith Lederer, preparedness had something to do with increased survival rates. From the Yahoo! News website this morning:

Despite the rising costs, she [Margareta Wahlström] said, deaths from disasters are proportionally declining because countries are getting much better at instituting early warning systems and preparedness measures.

That’s fantastic. However, something else the UN official said puts the kibosh on any celebrating. Lederer added:

Wahlstrom said the risk of disasters is increasing globally because of climate change, the depletion of natural resources, poor land use, and worsening environmental problems.

For example, she said, by 2050 the world will need 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water for a growing population — and these resources are already under threat and are triggers of disaster.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As painful as it can be sometimes, it’s good to be able to see the big picture- especially concerning resource availability down the road.

Sources:

“UN kicks off talks on new blueprint for disaster risk reduction.” UN News Centre. 5 Mar. 2012. (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41459&Cr=disaster+risk&Cr1=). 6 Mar. 2012.

Lederer, Edith M. “UN says 2011 disasters were costliest ever.” Yahoo! News. 6 Mar. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/un-says-2011-disasters-were-costliest-ever-181836152.html). 6 Mar. 2012.

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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 Energy, Food, Health, Natural Resources, Population, Preparedness, Public Safety, Water, Weather Comments Off on Record Economic Losses From 2011 Natural Disasters

Oxfam Warns Food Prices Could Rise 70 To 90 Percent By 2030

Oxfam, the well-known international confederation of fifteen organizations working together in 98 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice, has released a report entitled “Growing a Better Future: Food Justice in a Resource-Constrained World.” Oxfam warns that the global food system is broken and that food prices could increase 70 to 90 percent by 2030. From the 76-page report:

The food system is buckling under intense pressure from climate change, ecological degradation, population growth, rising energy prices, rising demand for meat and dairy products, and competition for land from biofuels, industry, and urbanization.

The warning signs are clear. Surging and unstable international food prices, growing conflicts over water, the increased exposure of vulnerable populations to drought and floods are all symptoms of a crisis that may soon become permanent: food prices are forecast to increase by something in the range of 70 to 90 per cent by 2030 before the effects of climate change, which will roughly the double price rises again.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Regarding agriculture, Oxfam said:

Agriculture faces a daunting challenge. It must dramatically increase food production while completely transforming the way in which food is produced. On current trends, demand for food may increase by 70 per cent by 2050 due to population growth and economic development. The Earth’s population is expected to grow from around 6.9 billion today to 9.1 billion in 2050 – an increase of one-third – by which time an estimated seven out of ten people worldwide will live in Low-Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs).

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Such a task will be difficult if water shortages persist. From the publication:

Water, the lifeblood of agriculture, is already scarcer than land. Nearly three billion people live in areas where demand outstrips supply. In 2000, half a billion people lived in countries chronically short of water; by 2050 the number will have risen to more than four billion. By 2030, demand for water is expected to have increased by 30 per cent.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Oxfam admitted in the report that the margin of error for these forecasts could be significant. However, it’s probably a good idea to start working towards securing undisrupted access to food and water sources if you haven’t done so already.

You can read the entire Oxfam report here (.pdf file).

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Survival And Prosperity
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