Is Collapse Inevitable?
“We are not good at recognizing threats even if their probability is 100% certain. Society ignoring…is like the people of Pompeii ignoring the rumblings below Vesuvius” – James R. Schlesinger
We have to be honest with you. Each week we try to dedicate time to one blog detailing potential threats we want our community to be aware of. And as of late, it’s been a bit overwhelming for my team as we sit down and review what’s happening in our world that will soon impact us all. While we keep trying to steer the site more toward practical “how to” types of blogs (and we’ve got a lot them lined up we’re working on), we can’t ignore the pressing issues that are already impacting us and appear to be growing in their size and scope seemingly daily. We believe we’re at an inflection point if you will. The challenges we currently face are not merely inconveniences but real problems that will require us to rethink our level of dependencies on a failing system. In this blog, we will break down, as briefly as we can, the most prominent threats and problems we are now facing at this moment. There are many issues that are and will have an impact on us shortly, more than we can possibly cover in 1 blog, but this blog will be an analysis of the top issues and concerns that we guarantee will impact you and we want to make sure you have on your radar. If you have been following this site for any length, you will see that we have already covered some of these threats to your survival. In this discussion, we will take it a step further by showing how these singularly unique problems are compounding into a more significant problem and a precarious future. Prepping to face these exact threats will give you an advantage. At the end of the blog, we’ll go over some actionable steps you can take. If there’s ever a time to prepare, it’s now.
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We can just examine the wheat problem to understand the greater agricultural problem we are facing. Wheat is part of the grass family of plants, including all the major cereals, maize, rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, and more. It’s easier to grow than fruits and vegetables. It simply requires about 8 hours of sunlight per day, consistent watering of 12 to 15 inches over a growing season, and nutrient-rich soil. Add to this that you need individual, or corporate farmers growing enough, unfettered supply lines, steady demand, and the known requirements for a good harvest are all established. A good harvest resulting from the successful fulfillment of all those requirements means your country has enough for its people and can then selloff and send wheat to countries deficient in one or more of those requirements but high in demand.
The top wheat producers in order are China, India, Russia, United States, Canada, France, Pakistan, Ukraine, Germany, and Turkey. These ten countries combined account for 536 million tons of wheat per year. Of those countries of the top ten wheat producers, China, India, Pakistan, and Turkey aren’t significant exporters. In fact, China, India, and Turkey could be characterized as hoarders at this point. The remaining 6 of the top 10 who export wheat account for just slightly under 50% of all the wheat exported from the top 10 producers. But now the problem is that too much rain in China has delayed the winter growing season and reduced yields. India, China, and several other countries have completely banned wheat exports. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has banned or halted agricultural schedules and transports, thus removing 29% of the global wheat supply. Russia is also prohibiting fertilizer export, and the conflict is also putting strain on sunflowers, sunflower oil, maize, and barley.
Around the world, many countries have also banned other food exports as global inflation soared due to the Ukraine crisis, and other markets were threatened. Soybeans, pasta, vegetable oil, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, cornflour, sugar, millet, butter, palm oil, and more have been banned from exporting by many countries as they brace for a worsening shortage and brace for the impact of lower export availability and continued problems growing. To that, harvests are smaller, too. Whether it is too much rain in China or not enough rain in Kansas, wheat is just one of many critical harvests with less than stellar harvests. The Green Revolution allowed the world to grow more crops on less land through the use of fertilizers, select varietals, and modern irrigation. Much of the fertilizer used today is a byproduct of natural gas. The problem with that is the costs for natural gas have risen 22% this year. The price for potassium chloride, Potash, the world’s most highly valued and widely used potassium fertilizer, is up 154% this year alone. With high costs and weather extremes, farms have to decide whether struggling to grow a crop is even feasible. Farmers are proceeding cautiously, unable to fully capitalize on soaring futures prices due to concerns they might not be able to fulfill such contracts.
Taken as a whole, inclement weather patterns (high temperatures, drought, excessive rain, even a freak December wind storm that swept away topsoil in parts of the US wheat belt) mean a lower harvest. Countries in conflict and countries hoarding grain or ceasing exporting of grain will mean that some dependent countries will experience a period of famine. Remember, these problems are clearly seen through the wheat, but we really see combinations of these problems throughout most agricultural products. You may be on a gluten-free diet and not even eat wheat, but you would be mistaken not to make the connection between growing wheat and growing corn, sunflowers, rye, soybeans, amaranth, or any other agricultural cereal grain.
Agriculture worldwide is not experiencing the bumper crops of years gone by. Maybe those heydays will return one day, but right now, expect food scarcity, even hunger, higher prices, and an outright lack of inventory, and expect it in most of the food aisles of your grocery store.
WATER & WEATHER
Being able to secure water must be a top prep in your inventory. It is also one of the biggest global problems right now. As one of my earlier videos pointed out, shifting weather patterns and severe droughts in the western United States and parts of Europe are beginning to result in severe problems. Not only is agriculture impacted, but the hydroelectric industry is having to throttle back or cease the operation of some power generating plants. At the same time, higher temperatures increase electrical cooling demands. Higher winds because of the higher temperatures result in downed powerlines, and the cost of energy goes up, brownouts, rolling blackouts, and blackouts become a reality for many. Here too, there isn’t good news on the horizon. We are are in for a potentially challenging summer as high heat and drought remain the norm.
While the world is suffering through higher heat, not all of the world is suffering from a megadrought. Parts of central Europe, Canada, the Northwest United States, China, and Australia are just a few locations receiving record-breaking precipitation levels. By the end of the first week in March, parts of Australia had received more than a year’s worth of rainfall in a week. Last year, torrential rain and flooding collapsed roads in Manitoba, Canada, and halted all supply-chain rail services out of the Port of Vancouver. One could argue that we see these events in various places in any given year throughout our historical record. This is true. The difference between then and now is duration, geographical spread, and frequency. We see extreme drought and flooding happening in more places, more often, and for more extended periods. When wind storms in Kansas are damaging the topsoil, how can you not reflect back on the history of the Dust Bowl? Conditions are aligning to be similar to that historical, nation-altering event. Another factor in this faulty comparison is assuming that the past will look precisely like the present day. In the 1930s, we neither had the same population, the same dependence on global supply chains, nor the consolidated practices of farming specific crops lacking genetic diversity on heavily fertilized land with enhanced irrigation techniques. Then and now are two entirely different worlds.
While we already covered the impact of weather and water on your agriculture, realize that these affect your environmental zone, how hot, dry, wet, or humid it is, and your ability to regulate these zones. Do you have enough water flowing and electricity to regulate your environment? While some in the world would best be served by ensuring water runoff and containment measures are in place, others should brace for no electricity and maybe even no water. At the very least, higher prices and rationing are definitely in the future for many.
GLOBAL & DOMESTIC CONFLICT
Russia was still managing to sell some of its grain, despite added costs and risks for shippers, but in March, with the war continuing to escalate on physical and economic fronts, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation signed decree 362 providing for the temporary ban of exports of wheat, meslin, rye, barley and maize to the countries within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), notably exempting Belarus. Ukrainian silos, undamaged by the fighting, are full of corn and barley that isn’t getting to markets. Farmers have nowhere to store their next harvest, due in late June, which might then rot. They also lack the fuel and labor to plant successive crops. Russia is blocking exports from Ukraine out of the port of Odessa, and Russia is likely feeling the lack of some supplies it requires, like seeds and pesticides that it usually purchases from the EU. As this war drags on into its fourth month, hundreds of millions of people globally will fall into poverty, food scarcity, and famine. The political ramifications, societal upheaval, and discord will create further global instability and complicate the supply chain problems everyone is feeling.
The lack of food and water, higher prices for everything, global energy crisis, and supply lines that continue to stutter step and fail will result in regime change for some countries. This contributes to global instability. It also results in, as we see with the export ban and the hoarding activities of some nations, a focus for many countries to move away from a global stage and focus solely on their own people. The problem with this is twofold. First, many countries worldwide don’t produce enough to match their consumption. Turning entirely within will leave them lacking. Not to mention that many farmers can’t simply pivot from one month to the next. Irregular weather patterns, soaring prices, and a planting schedule make swift pivots impossible, so we would be asking for instant decisions from growers who have to longterm plan their crops with significant uncertainty.
Second, just because the crop is grown in your country does not dictate that the agricultural product will be used for your country’s people and not be sold to a higher bidder overseas or across borders. When the ordinary person finds out that one of the reasons for the price of natural gas and the scarcity of wheat on the shelves is because those commodities in abundance in their country are being exported to global customers willing to pay higher prices, equating to higher profits, they will likely blame the politicians or the growers who actually have very little say in a free market global economy. Riots in the streets, looting of stores, sieges of capitals, and so much more becomes possible when anger runs higher than a truly global understanding of the problems.
For his part, Putin is banking on stoking these potential conflicts by willfully suspending fertilizer, grains, and natural gas exports, even to countries not directly wrapped up or vested in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. He astutely understands that instability in any country removes scrutiny of his own. Both political parties in the United States understand this, and we see it played out in many bicameral and two-party systems worldwide. Governments have abandoned addressing the more significant problems of society in favor of stoking fires of animosity and playing a finger-pointing blame game. Expect the rhetoric of blame, hate, and divisiveness to flame out of control as we head to November 8th of this midterm election year. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested. The possibility of domestic conflict coming to a town, city, or state near you is genuine. Are you prepped for political and social change? Are you secure against the conflicts that will come later this year, as food and energy scarcity come to the forefront and the blame game stokes the fires of sharply divided countries?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You don’t have to agree with your neighbor’s opinion of who is to blame to recognize the problem exists. You don’t have to agree with any expert opinion, pundit, politician, or scientist to acknowledge that we are seeing several issues converge into an even more enormous singular challenge to our survival and way of life. History is filled with examples of people who accurately heeded the signs and prepared when those around them did not do the same. The parallels to what is happening in the world right now and the extreme impact it will have on your way of life are pretty obvious once you remove the obfuscations of rhetoric and the blame game. Not seeing these imminent threats at this point borders on willful omission and extreme denial. In fairness, though, it is hard for many to see the danger of a multi-year megadrought when your area has plenty of water. It is difficult to see how conflicts and shortages around the world could possibly impact us in our small community far removed from the global stage. Yet, these disasters are stacking right up next to each other. They will compound any natural disasters we continue to face annually. The need for greater preparedness is very, very real.
Even with that warning, though, most will fail to prepare. This puts an awkward and perhaps dangerous situation if you prepare when the thousands around you don’t. Your security needs become more significant. Having a complete view of your preps and not just a little extra food and water becomes paramount to your ultimate survival and your ability to weather any storm in the hopes of a future calm and stable time of prosperity returning. You don’t have to prepare with a complete plan, but you would be foolish not to prepare at all. As I cover in the complete prepping course, the Prepper’s Roadmap, you need to prep with a comprehensive plan and attainable goals. Make sure your core preps are in place of water, food, energy, and security. Make sure you stretch the reasonable goals of 3-days, 3-weeks, 3-months, and then a year or more.
From your singular vantage point on the planet, you will not be able to change one iota of the perfect storm growing around you, but you can increase your odds of surviving it. If you only feel the effects slightly, it will be because you are using and rotating your supplies, managing your consumption, and securing the long-term resources you need for long-term sustenance. Whether you learn what you need to know to prep from this channel or another, the time is right now to either get prepping, double down on your preps, and make them whole and not piecemeal, or face the genuine consequences of an uncertain and unstable future. We really are at the point where the clouds have gathered, the wind is beginning to whip, and the rain is starting to fall. Folks can keep denying the storm or pushing the narrative that it’s just like every other storm, or they can systematically bring the animals in and batten down the hatches. I guess I am trying to say that, at this point, you can either seek the shelter of your preps, or you will be left out in the storm.
With so many of the problems we have brought to your attention over the last several months and years coming to fruition, you can likely expect increasing problems throughout this year and in the coming years. As we have been pointing out these problems for several years, everything from the possibility of pandemics to the possibility of power outages, we have witnessed these massive problems move from theoretical possibilities to real-time calamities. Our goal has been and will continue to be to direct you to actual solutions you can plugin for your own security in some of the other blogs here and the Prepper’s Roadmap course. We want you to be prepared for the future we are fated to experience, but we sincerely believe the window of opportunity to get prepared is closing fast.
Still, you are not entirely out in the storm. There is still time to incrementally improve your preps or even to start prepping from nothing. The direction you take and the choices you make today will determine your course.
As always, stay safe out there.