Think quick — the power
just went out in your house, and the smoke alarm is going crazy! What’s the next
thing you’re going to do? What about your wife or kids? Do they know where to
go? Have you practiced this drill before?
I sure hope so, because
when an emergency strikes — whether it’s a house fire, a power outage, or
something even worse — you don’t have time to sit and plot your next move. You
have to act and act fast ... based on a predetermined plan.
Unfortunately, it’s easy
to bump emergency planning far down your to-do list.
After all, many people go
through life believing that earthquakes, landslides and floods only happen in
distant places. That their faucets will always deliver potable water. And that
thieves only break into other people’s houses.
For a while, I was one of
them. But then I watched as Hurricane Katrina caused New Orleans to drown.
The local, state and
Federal governments couldn’t handle the crisis. And that’s when I knew I
couldn’t count on the government to save my sorry butt. I had to take care of
myself and my family.
So, I started researching
crisis preparedness. And I came to an awful realization: Our economy, our
country and our civilization are skating on thin ice. And I did what any human
being would do — I started to get scared.
The fact is, there are at
least a dozen things that could end life as we know it. Oh, you could probably
survive — but in a radically changed world that would shatter the bubble that
most Americans live in.
We think we are an
exceptional country. And we are. But all empires end, and the biggest giants
fall the hardest.
Let me give you three
examples of what I mean ...
Crisis #1: America’s Empire of Debt. Do you think
the lifestyle you live is normal? Not by global or historical standards. And yet
this is in a country that has hollowed out its manufacturing base and shipped it
overseas. The lifestyle we live is only made possible by an enormous empire of
debt. The outstanding public debt is $12.3 TRILLION. The U.S. has a little over
307 million people, so that means every single man, woman and child in this
country owes more than $40,000. It’s increasing at a rate of $3.5 billion per
day. And that’s just the public debt — consumer and corporate debt add
The Good-Time Charlies in
Washington would have you think this party can continue forever. But that bill
is coming due, and the longer we put it off, the worse it will be.
How will it
end? Potentially, in an economic depression that is worse than the
Great Depression. Perhaps even a currency crisis, where the dollars in your
pocket lose value day by day and hour by hour.
Crisis #2: Peak Oil Is Rushing Toward Us Like a Runaway
Train. The only reason oil prices aren’t higher is economic
weakness around the world. But countries including India and China are adding to
their fuel demand at a rip-roaring pace. Meanwhile, oil companies are now
putting drills down 4,000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico to then drill through
35,000 feet of rock. These wells are deeper than Mount Everest is tall! They
aren’t doing this because it’s fun. They’re doing it because it’s the only oil
they can find! And one thing you can count on — it won’t be cheap oil. And as
the unfolding drama in the Gulf of Mexico shows, even when we find oil there, it
can blow up in our faces! Meanwhile, America is a nation built around the
automobile — no one is more vulnerable to an energy crisis than we
How will it
end? Potentially in an oil crisis that sends the U.S. deeper into an
economic tailspin while dramatically changing the way you live. In more extreme
cases, an oil crisis can lead to a food crisis. Food travels between 1,500 and
2,500 miles to get to your dinner table, and supermarkets are going to run out
of food fast if the delivery trucks run out of gas.
Crisis #3: Water Is the Quiet Emergency That Could Shape the 21st
Century. For most Americans, water is less expensive each month
than cable television or having a cell phone. And yet the World Bank reports
that 80 countries now have water shortages that threaten health and economies
while 40% of the world — more than 2 billion people — have no access to clean
water or sanitation. Local water systems around the U.S. are old and in
desperate need of upgrades, and legal battles are heating up over water rights
across the country. While you can substitute various alternate fuels for fossil
fuels like crude oil, there is no substitute for water. This is a crisis that is
spinning out of control around the world.
How will it
end? Most people would not be able to handle a water emergency. If
droughts worsen, we could see people forcibly relocated from cities and areas
that just can’t support their populations.
There’s a lot more that
can go wrong — potential shutdowns of large portions of the U.S. power grid,
civil unrest, pandemics and more. This all used to keep me awake at night, until
I learned the Three P’s of Preparedness ...
PLAN: Be aware of and plan for the dangers you
face — not only the “common” emergencies like fire and flood, but earthquakes
and other natural disasters that may threaten your locality, as well as
financial crises that lurk under the surface of our economy.
PREPARE: People who get scared can panic, and
people who panic can spend too much money. Once you identify what you need to
do, find solutions that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. A big part of my book
is about how to save money in your everyday life, and how to spend that money
wisely to prepare for the worst.
PROACTIVE: If civil unrest breaks out in your
town, what are you going to do? What about if the lights go out and don’t come
back on ... or the water stops coming out of your faucets? You have to be ready
to act and act decisively no matter what comes your way.
I write to you with a
sense of urgency — there is a tsunami of trouble headed our way, and though it’s
hard to predict exactly what or how things will go wrong, our country and our
very civilization would really be beating the odds and history if we are able to
continue on the way things are.
But don’t panic! You have
time to prepare. You probably have money, at least more money than the poor
folks in Haiti who saw their world shattered in an instant. And if you have the
will to take action, you can be much, much better prepared to ride out the
worst. But you must start now! The sooner you start, the better off you’ll
Easier Than You Think to
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