5 min read

Be a Warrior in a Garden, Not a Gardener in a War

Prepare yourself and your loved ones. If we can’t reverse the coming climate catastrophe and biodiversity extinction, then we need to prepare to survive.
Be a Warrior in a Garden, Not a Gardener in a War
Photo by hao qin / Unsplash

Reposted from my Dystopia Substack

I’m freezing my ass off writing this post. It’s 3 degrees Fahrenheit this morning! Our house is struggling to stay heated as I watch the inside temperature drop into the 50s. Why is this happening?

This Christmas weekend, a polar vortex descended across 90% of the United States. Temperatures are in the single digits and winter snowstorms are raging.

Christmas Eve weather map, USA
(c) Darksky.net, December 24, 2022

Yes, I know it’s Winter and it’s supposed to get cold, but not like this. Not this fast. I can hear it now, climate deniers will just say, “See how cold it is! There’s no global warming!” This will lead some elected officials to bring snowballs into Congress to make their point about how the climate emergency is fake and appease their fossil fuel lobbyists.

I’m done arguing about this. The climate emergency is real, the science is real, and it’s happening in front of our cold noses. Why continue arguing about this and elect people that don’t do anything about it?

Yes, I know that the largest climate bill just passed but I can’t help but wonder if it’s too little too late.

Perhaps we need to start preparing to survive the coming collapse.

Warrior in a Garden

My Sensei is fond of saying “It’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” My partner argues that’s a fortune cookie saying, but regardless of where it’s coming from it has a ring of truth to it.

It all started when I got married and our first child was on the way. My partner and I would snuggle in front of the television and watch Survivorman and Dual Survivor. We were never a Bear Grylls/Man vs Wild fan, we liked our survivorship stories to be more real if they ever could be.

One of the usual Dual Survivor guys was Cody Lundin. He’s the hippie-looking guy that doesn’t wear shoes. Despite his “crunchy” look, he makes a lot of sense from a survival basis.

I read his book years ago and the one that resonated with me was how ordinary people, families, and friends could find themselves in precarious survival situations in seconds. You could end up stranded by the side of the road in a blizzard or, like us, deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for more than 10 days.

While Cody’s book is about no-nonsense ways to prepare for survival, it also highlights the biggest threat to your life in collapsing society situations. It’s other people. Other people are your biggest threat to survival because when the shit hits the fan, they’ll kill you for your shoes.

I’m no survivalist doomsday prepper but I do believe in the Boy Scout’s Motto, Be Prepared. That means being prepared in many ways more than just food and water. It means securing good shelter and finding suitable long-term places to live and thrive. It means having the means to travel; sometimes you have to get the hell out of Dodge.

Above all, you’ll need to secure your personal safety by sidestepping danger and fighting when there are no other options.

This is why every man, woman, and child needs to learn self-defense. They need to learn how to shoot a gun, and they need to know how to set traps. They’ll need to learn how to be warriors in their gardens and be prepared for when the collapse comes.

Yes, the collapse will come one day. Maybe not in a year or maybe not for another 100 years, but every society has collapsed at some point.

Our history is littered with archaeological evidence of peoples and civilizations that are long gone, why do we believe we should get a pass?

I’m a peaceful man but I’m realistic. I realized after Hurricane Katrina that anything could happen in the span of three days. Three days after that hurricane hit New Orleans, an American city collapsed.

Not only did the infrastructure collapse spawning massive flooding but the people were assaulted. Fights broke out and there was looting. People were scrambling to survive.

All this happened in the United States, a first-world nation and a superpower.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the tri-state area we didn’t collapse, we can damn near though. We were prepared when superstorm Sandy hit but no one was prepared for the long lines at the gas station.

People miscalculated how long they’d be out of power and all the portable generators they bought at Home Depot just ran dry. I remember reading about the fights that broke out between people waiting on the gas line.

How long were we out of power? 10 days. We survived thanks to having a cast iron stove. We didn’t shower for 10 days but we kept warm in the freezing weather and we could at least cook on the stove.

This will happen again. The violent weather, heat or cold, is warning us that the global climate system has gotten unstable. Nature tries to find balance again and she will, but in the meantime, things are going to get wild.

We’ll see massive droughts and rivers drying up. We’ll see new viruses get released from thawing permafrost. We’ll get slammed with more polar vortexes.

If the weather becomes more unstable and food production systems become unreliable, you’ll see our systems start to collapse. You might say that I’m Chicken Little and the sky is falling but I realized that I might have something called sentinel intelligence.

I came across this term reading Jessica Wildfire’s article You’re Not a Fearmonger. You Have Sentinel Intelligence and it resonated with me because that’s what I’ve been doing for decades at work. I joke that I’m always putting out fires before they begin.

While that makes me a good project manager, it’s also my biggest curse. I’m constantly looking for the end game. I’m like a Monte Carlo simulation looking for the most probable outcome and right now the outcome I see is the need to prepare.

Prepare yourself and your loved ones. If we can’t reverse the coming climate catastrophe and biodiversity extinction, then we need to prepare to survive. We can band together with friends and family but we’ll all need to be practical. We’ll need to weather the storm because it’s going to be a doozy.

Suggested Reading

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition by Jared Diamond (affiliate link)

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes, by Cody Lundin (affiliate link)