Running Out of Time
“It comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying” — Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption.
Without stating the obvious, the next 5 to 10 years appear to be filled with challenges. That’s quite the understatement we suppose. Even politicians and world leaders admit that food shortages, supply chain failures, power outages, and weather anomalies will increase in frequency. When creating these types of blogs, our main intent is not to scare people, but rather hopefully bring enough insight to my community to spur you to prepare. We personally see prepping as trying to gather reliable information, making an informed decision, and then pivoting and altering my course. Over the last 15 years we’ve built a couple of businesses from the ground up and one skill that has served us well is trying to look as far as possible to the horizon to see what’s coming and adjust accordingly to put our business and our team in the best position possible. It’s a skill that has served us well. And here’s the thing: it’s not about living in fear when we see challenges coming, but rather acknowledging what we must face. We think that is what separates doomers from preppers. It would be easy to simply discuss how bad things are getting, but rather we want to provide you with actionable solutions that you can implement.
In this blog, we will walk you through a few of the most likely things we will see in our immediate future, here in America and worldwide; but I will also share with you what you can do to mitigate the damaging effects. Again as we stated earlier, having information and also having a plan are the two key components here. The events of the next 5 to 10 years will not affect everyone equally. Parts of the world will remain unscathed. Some parts of the world will be forever changed. You will have to take from this how much the things we will discuss here will impact you and what course of action is best for you in your prepping plans. If there’s ever a time to prepare, it’s now.
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In the last couple of years, we have seen significant catastrophes brewing in our food supply. After the Green Revolution, we realized larger harvests through fertilizers, pesticides, and select varietals. Consolidating smaller farms into large corporate monoculture farms produced more than we could eat. It also puts all our eggs in one basket, as they say. We relied on other countries and growing zones to keep us supplied with what we couldn’t or wouldn’t grow. Receiving those exports depended upon a supply chain that was functioning. This year, the prices for raw materials that constitute the fertilizer market — ammonia, nitrogen, nitrates, phosphates, potash, and sulfates — have tripled. The jet streams that push the weather and distribute the rains have, for the most part, stalled. The Western United States and parts of Europe are entering successive years of the worst drought in their recorded history. The heat and dry weather decimate crops, creating an environment conducive to high winds and wildfires. Farmers have to choose, even while food demand is high and prices are equally high, whether bringing a crop to harvest or a herd to market is economically feasible. Finally, a war in Europe’s bread basket has stopped the flow of 29% of the world’s wheat alone, but also sunflowers, corn, cooking oil, natural gas from which fertilizers are made, and more. Countries have responded by hoarding food and stopping exporting food and other resources.
In the next 5-years, it isn’t looking to improve. Recent winds have actually depleted topsoil in areas of Kansas and other growing regions, reminiscent of the Dust Bowl event. The drought continues into its immediate third year of extreme but has really been steadily going on for over a decade now. The war rages on, and Putin is using blockades and withholding exports to starve other countries into willful compliance with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The supply chain remains strained, and exports remain low, so richer countries can’t just buy their way out of this problem. Expect that the next 5-years will bring food scarcity in some parts of the world and famine in others. This often leads to social instability. Expect that the weather won’t improve, and when it does shift, it will do so in such a powerful way that the water won’t be able to be contained. Five years from now, you will reflect back to today and remember the luxury of variety and selection that was once in your grocery stores.
You will also remember the lower prices. As Kellogg’s CEO recently said, the “Retailers’ job is to protect the consumer. Our job is to protect our margins.” The only problem is that the retailers will tell you their job is also to protect their margins. The producers of products will tell you their job is to be able to turn a profit. If you grow a portion of what you eat in ten years, you will be better off. You might not be getting avocados from Mexico, Guatemalan or Vietnamese coffee, tropical fruits, or citrus year-round. Hearing from your grocer that a product is no longer available, or they’re sold out or can’t get any X, Y, or Z will become routine.
In 10-year’s time, a global food crisis is inevitable. Expect more and more countries to hold on to what they produce. This will have devastating consequences for nations dependent on foreign sources. This will lead to famine and mass migrations.
The individual solution is to turn to a more local source for your food. If it isn’t grown near you or sourced in your region, you might no longer see it on your plate. Expect largescale farming operations to attempt to diversify to hedge their bets against crop failure. These efforts take time, though, years of planning and forethought. Because of that, you can expect some land to be fallowed even as harvests are lower and prices go up. Countries will increasingly hoard food resources and decrease the amount they export. The short answer is that you should enjoy what you eat today. In ten years, your diet will likely be vastly different than it is today.
WEATHER & ENERGY
We have already touched upon the megadrought, but the weather really needs its own category. When the water levels drop too low, hydroelectric dams have to reduce capacity or go offline altogether. This strains the national grid as loads are balanced to compensate for the reduced generation. Demand rises with the extreme heatwaves and extreme freezing during winter. We saw what these weather extremes can do with California’s rolling blackouts and the power outage in Winter in Texas. Expect to see community cooling and heating centers as people struggle to maintain a livable environment despite the extreme highs or lows of the mercury. Expect to see deserts in the middle of cities and towns where the water no longer flows but is trucked in and distributed. As in the late 1970s, expect states to ban the use of landscape irrigation systems. People will be asked to let their lawns die off as water is channeled to corporations for bottling, manufacturing, and critical agricultural needs.
When the rain does come, it will probably be in torrents. The dry and compacted ground will not experience the gentle saturation it requires, but there will be flash floods as the water races off the land. The forecast for the next 5 to 10 years is equally as bad. One can’t simply take estimates of Earth’s temperature and rainfall all over the globe and the sun’s irradiance and know with certainty a forecast that far out. We know the El Nino and La Nina cycles are getting longer and more robust. We know that though volcanic activity with its climate-impacting emissions is low, we are overdue for something more significant. We know that the sun’s solar cycle is at a low for flares and sun spots, but what is low will be high over the eleven-year solar process where the sun shifts its polarity. We are overdue for another Carrington Event of solar cycle 10, the most intense geomagnetic storm in recorded history. This event was notable in the technology lacking year 1859. Imagine its impact on our technology-driven society today in solar cycle 25. We do know that temperatures and greenhouse gasses continue to rise. We know that more water molecules are in the air, so when the rain comes, it is more intense.
Expect that we will experience weather intensifying to have global impacts over the next ten years. The first noticeable sign will be your own body’s thermostat. The term “wet bulb effect” will become part of our daily speech. If you don’t know what that is, you should study this more as it is beginning to impact parts of the world like India. The next will be your power system failing again and again. You will also notice more and more crop failures as monoculture farming lacks the strain diversity to literally weather the storms. Especially pay attention to the time of the next solar maximum, sometime around July 2025. If this plays out as forecasted, it will be too late if you haven’t started prepping for it, but most of the world will still not prepare.
The super-rich have been buying up water rights for the last several years. We warned about this in many videos. What do they know that you will soon discover? Water is a commodity. On a blue planet, just a tiny fraction of the water is drinkable. Just a small fraction of the water can be used to grow food. Megadroughts have revealed how precarious access to water is. While some areas of the world are experiencing multi-year mega-droughts, other parts of the world are experiencing deluges of rain and flooding. The jetstreams are slowing, and weather patterns are slowing. So to, the distribution of water is slowed and unequal. Access to water in the next 5-years will become a crisis. Rationing and water theft are just the beginning. As this megadrought extends further into the next five years, expect a significant shift in population density away from dry regions to wetter climates. Also, expect once fertile farming areas to become too dry for agricultural endeavors. There is a real possibility that we will see another Dust Bowl in the next 5 to 10 years.
Some areas will need to find alternative means to distribute water. The Earth will do what it will do, but once stable climates with abundant water resources will find themselves parched or without any water. This will result in mass migrations for some, soaring prices for all, and rationing and fines for others. Even if you have enough water for drinking, your area may not have enough for hydroelectric uses. In that case, expect the lack of water to impact your electrical grid.
In fairness, one region’s drought is another region’s storm. Higher temperatures lead to more evaporation. Since 1901, global precipitation has increased at an average rate of 0.10 inches per decade, while rainfall in the contiguous 48 states has grown at 0.20 inches per decade. The same flooding that shutdown potash mining operations in Canada and coal operations in China can be expected in the coming years. Tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, floods, and typhoons will be on the larger side, more frequent, and more destructive. That water may not be coming down in drought regions, but we assure you it will come down. Expect weather and water inequities to intensify over the next decade.
OTHER NOTABLE PROBLEMS
Mass migrations result from terrible weather, energy and food instability, lack of water or too much water, and war. When there is no food or water or means to regulate your environment, moving to a better location is essential to survival. This exposes people to more potential zoonotic illnesses as ecosystems crash into each other. As more and more wild animals are driven into exposure to domestic animals and people, the potential for another fatal zoonotic disease increases exponentially. Expect governments to try and contain mass migrations at their borders. Tempers will flare. In some countries, governments will collapse completely. Geo-political instability will be a reality for many.
This, of course, decimates trade agreements and supply lines. This stokes the base protective instincts of nationals. This encourages fear of others and hoarding activities. Buckle up if you thought the last several years have been politically divisive. The following 5 to 10 years will be even worse. There may even be clashes between state and federal forces, as states exert their rights and people abandon hope of the federal government bringing them any assistance. Civil unrest coming to your quiet city or state is highly likely, as there isn’t anyone calming the public. The opposite is happening as domestic and foreign adversaries dump fuel on the fire and stoke divisiveness and distrust.
Whether it’s Russia invading more countries or China invading Taiwan; whether it’s diseases or natural disasters; whether it’s the greed of some or the financial collapse of fiat currencies; I assure you that the next 5 to 10 years will change the world more than the previous half-century did. Your rights will likely be challenged more dramatically in the next 5 to 10 years than they have been in the rest of your life before. Economic volatility will affect all sorts of big-ticket items: cars, houses, college loans. The world is already in a global recession and period of retraction. Inevitable distribution breakdowns of vital services like water and power will further deepen the problems. Crime, suicide, homelessness, and poverty rates will increase as people become more desperate and filled with despair. Income doesn’t have an excellent track record of rising to help people with the challenges of getting by, but things will get more expensive. Basics like food, rent, fuel, water, and electricity will continue to rise in price. Moral retrenchment and authoritarian tendencies will increase on both liberal and conservative sides.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Again, we are not here to simply point out the doom and gloom we forecast in our collective future. While there isn’t a way for you or me to prevent another Carrington Event, flood, megadrought, power outage, war, financial collapse, or whatever, prepping in the right way provides us with a means to dampen the effects of these events. Prepping provides us with some insurance against the worst that life can throw at us. You can work from a plan by taking the FREE Risk Assessment we will make available in the comments below to understand your most pressing threats and how to protect yourself against them. Or, you can sign up for our free Prepper’s Starter Guide which we’ll provide below.
All that aside, a few solutions should pop out to you when you look at these threats over the next 5 to 10 years. First, you must ensure you go beyond a 72-hour emergency supply of food and water. You should start with focusing on building a 3 day’s supply of food and water. Once you’ve got that, pivot to 2 to 3 weeks and from there, focus on 3 months. You should have water stored wherever you are, plus a means to filter and treat water, and collect precipitation. You should be growing and preserving your food and not entirely reliant upon a just in time delivery system that continuing to fail. You should have the means to power what you need to survive if the grid goes down for a week, a month, or even longer. You should prepare to lock yourself in for your own safety, and you should have a bugout plan and bag for when staying at home is no longer possible.
Before we hit the ground, the lowest point of any disaster, there is always a long, drawn-out stutter-stepping. Even before wildfires destroy whole communities in mere seconds, there is a long-drawn-out period of dryness and high winds. Before the water runs out entirely somewhere, there is a long drought, and people like us warn you how bad things are getting. Not everybody listens, and we all certainly don’t react to the news in the same ways. Our point here is there is still time to prep and insulate yourself from even the worst of what the next 5 or 10 years can throw at us, but it will get increasingly more difficult. We’re just being honest with you. We think we’re in a unique moment, an inflection point if you will, the calm before the storm. It will be harder for you to prep your food security after everyone else realizes they should be doing the same. It will be hard for you to get a generator or even batteries after the power goes out the second or third time in the same month in your area.
Watch this Risk Assessment blog which we’ll link below to get your FREE copy of the spreadsheet and determine the most significant threats you face. Work backward from that point of knowing to understand what you need to build up and put in place to survive, even thrive, through any disaster.
We wish we could tell you things are looking up, that it will all be better with the next election or the next season, but we think you already know that’s not the case. Honestly, we are personally preparing for things to get a whole lot worse. Admittedly it’s difficult seeing these issues on the horizon, but we’re doing all we can to prepare and only you can make your piece of the world better by the preps you put in place today. You have 86,400 seconds each day, and it’s your choice what you do with them. We hope you choose to prep to survive an uncertain and turbulent future.
As always, stay safe out there.