A rewilding community toolbox

by Nikanoru, a 22-year-old, well-informed student of life

Updated 4 December 2013 as a single pdf document

This essay is available as two pdf documents with graphics: A Rewilding Community Toolbox and A Survival Bag Planning Aid

Part I: Introduction & F.A.Q.

A. Why did you make this document?

This document embodies over a year of off-and-on research, effort, and practice, and cobbles together wisdom from my own personal experience, wilderness living enthusiasts, primitive skills practitioners, back-to-the-land types, homesteaders, permaculture people, “appropriate technology” aficionados, frugality fanatics, survival instructors, survivalists, do-it-yourself punks, radical authors, and even a preemptively postapocalyptic daydreamer or two. My motivations have changed somewhat throughout the process, but two threads bind them.

First, we as individuals raised by the dominant culture – and I say “as individuals” because “communities” have become fiction for most of us – have almost completely lost our collective memory of the traditional skillsets that sustained people for generations in reciprocal relations with their landbases. I fear that each day these memories fade. I began re-skilling and rewilding as part of my own individual struggle against a drift into ignorance and dependency. I focus on skills because I find them more empowering than tangible items or abstract ideas.

Second, we live in this world at a unique moment in our species’ history. I can only minimally overview dynamics, trends, and analyses here, saving in depth exploration for elsewhere, but, to summarize, coming from an understanding of evidence from anthropology, ecology, epidemiology, history, sociology, and political economy, I believe the 6000-or-so-year-old social experiment known as “civilization” has proven itself a planet-destroying failure. I define civilization, coming from civitatis (city-state), as a permanent settlement where overcrowded people have denuded a landscape to become urban, overshooting their local carrying capacity and so requiring the routine importation of staple supplies from outside (such as water, food, fiber, timber, minerals, metals, fuel) as well as the routine exportation of hazardous waste (such as excretions, refuse, chemicals). Every city, everywhere, follows this pattern.

Civilization has meant empire, a cultural marriage of dominator consciousness (ever-growing control) to an ethic of extraction (importing fertility, exporting garbage). As soils degrade and metals corrode, as forests vanish and minerals deplete, as elites crave and populations swell, the sabers rattle and the predator drones take flight.

In the last few centuries civilization has become a planetary predicament. My argument comes down to: civilization — global industrial civilization in particular — significantly harms our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness; promotes addiction and delusion; severely abuses our fellow lifeforms and landbases; and has little resilience, no chance of sustainability (much less regeneration), and ultimately no redemption. No invention or reform preserving civilization will make it compatible with an inhabitable planet, especially not the wishful thinking of “alternative energy”, which preserves the types of toxicity and destructive appetite characteristic to the dominant order.

Civilization systematically consumes its own support systems. We live in the Holocene Extinction, the most rapid mass extinction of species the Earth has ever faced, with upwards of 140,000 species gone forever each year. As old growth forests, wetlands, prairies, rivers, seas, and coral reefs become toxic landfills and dead zones, as breadbaskets become dustbowls, as pollinators and phytoplankton die off, as diadromous fish disappear from the oceans, as fish, birds, amphibians and mammals die off en masse, as life becomes pavement, as climate stability implodes, hyperexploitation continues, “economic growth” continues, no matter the cost. The dominant culture calls its graveyards its treasuries. As the fiat currency, fractional reserve banking, and usury-and-debt economics of the modern age evaporate into empty promises, as fossil fuels, radioactive fuels, precious metals, conductive metals, and rare earth minerals grow scarce, all hopes of a bigger, faster, shinier future can remain only through ignorance or denial. Our upkeep will become our downfall.

We have inherited “Central Civilization”, that which arose out of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, which swept to every corner of the world in a tide of genocide, slavery, land destruction, and social disconnection over the last 500 years. As the current global industrial civilization has colonized almost every society and absorbed all of the other civilizations that had not yet collapsed, with all of the evidence for ongoing global ecological disasters, economic declines, social unrest, and limits to growth, and with all of the evidence against any single magic bullet remedy, I believe the dominant system has already begun to collapse under its own weight and that this course will accelerate in the near future. I believe this will soon escalate intensely within my own lifetime into a series of swift, messy, and uneven crashes. I also believe that world economic collapse seems totally preferable to the world ecological collapse that must result from anything resembling business-as-usual, including the “green” technological alternatives presented by many “experts”.

What will the decline of petroleum as both a chemical input and a cheap energy source have in store for industrial economies? What impacts will fossil fuel depletion and climate instability have on industrial agriculture? What does an era of global instability mean for global supply chains? How quickly will this system collapse when energy production, delivery, transportation, or other infrastructures break down and technicians cannot repair them in a timely manner? What happens to economies of faith their believers awaken to the nightmare? My responses to these and other questions lead me to believe our future will proceed from Space Age to Scrap Age to Stone Age.

My predictions have nothing to do with superstitious beliefs in apocalypse, salvation, or damnation, and everything to do with this hyper-massive, ultra fast-paced, highly tenacious society having the highest social and technical complexity of any society ever, and the least sustainability, and the fact that most urban societies have in fact collapsed when left to their own devices. All of our default behaviors draw down our long-term supplies. And most people do not even know their neighbors, or where their own poop goes when they flush it, where their water and food come from, or where things they throw “away” end up. The culture has higher expectations, ignorance, addiction, sunk costs, denial, delusions, pride, and fragility than ever. The activities, attitudes, aptitudes, and appetites all support a swifter process of crashes than previous collapses of civilizations.

The dominant order has already swallowed almost every society, and we have more people, and with bigger footprints than ever, on a dying planet. I don’t see how this civilization’s collapse could go slowly. Imagine a brick building where you keep pulling out bricks: it seems stable for a long time, but at some point, when you pull just one more brick, the whole structure falls.

Any solution must entail reversing the defining traits of city-states: centralized populations and centralized power, class division, forced labor, lifelong labor specialization, mechanized production, standing military, a hyperexploitative nonrenewable economy, monumental architecture, a denuded and artificial landscape, and above all: increasing complexity and growth at all costs. Any solution must entail returning to egalitarian communities in balance with their local landbases. Finding such a transformation necessary and desirable, I present skills relating to what I call “rewilding” and “community”, using a “toolbox” approach.

In the final cataclysm of the Roman Empire, disillusioned urban proletarians let down the city gates so that the barbarian hordes could sack the capital. They broke identification with their own abusive culture, preferring the ruins to the Romans. Today’s empires become tomorrow’s ashes. We have to decide whether or not we will survive the multigenerational breakdown, to what degree we will dismantle the dominant structures, and what seeds to let grow in the ashes. This document will help with all three.

With such calamity on the horizon I see the opportunity for desirable social transformation, for the regeneration of life and purpose to blossom in the now expanding cracks of this declining global monolith. In writing about skills, I scatter seeds of a struggle for dignity and balance, a struggle for the survival and the renewal of lands and communities, hoping that these seeds can take root even in such a deadened environment as this, perhaps, ultimately, to flourish once more.

B. What do you mean by “rewilding”, and why do you support it?

Wildness means “in a natural state; not domesticated, cultivated, or tamed”. It means refusing control, and refusing the role of controller. Most wild animals take what they need and leave the rest. Most wild animals prefer avoidance to conflict. Ecology informs us that wildness has more to do with limiting competition, improving landbases, social bonding, reciprocal relationships, and sharing resources, and less to do with patterns of constant aggression, greed, a “war of each against all”. If not, we could never have reached a world of fertility, diversity, and abundance. Neither passive species nor exterminator species persist. Parasites exist but species live primarily in balance.

I define rewilding as a process of embracing innate evolutionary biorhythms and drawing upon or returning to a wild state; in short, becoming feral. We practice this process by acting as social animals; supporting ourselves in small groups; reclaiming ancestral skills; returning to evolutionary pattens for diet, sleep, and exercise; developing animistic perspectives; practicing attachment parenting; taking holistic approaches to wellness at cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual levels; and in many other ways. Rewilding means remembering the 99% of human existence in nomadic foraging bands with autonomy, egalitarianism and wellness as common features.

As much as people tell us humans exist separate from and superior to this thing they call “nature”, we as a species still act as animals requiring a community of life on an intact planet, and have evolved our own biological needs and expected rhythms to give us life and fulfillment. Ignoring or repressing our fundamental nature leads us to sickness, misery, madness, and death, just as with any other animal. Rewilding allows us to apply this understanding.

C. What do you mean by “community”, and why do you support it?

The following characteristics define community for me: a mutually supportive, multigenerational, face-to-face group living together with overlapping beliefs, values, and culture, where people understand one another within the context of each of their particular lives, and the interests of the individual and the group strongly coincide.

With that as a base we can spice it up by adding modifiers as desired, creating autonomous, egalitarian, intentional, networked, participatory, regenerative, resilient, safe communities. Community resembles an onion in that peeling off a layer gives you less onion, but not necessarily no onion. It also resembles a seed in that it needs a nurturing environment to develop — and will try its damned best to grow — but under hostile conditions it can return to dormancy or even die.

Community contrasts with “mass society”, also called “the society of strangers”. Because we evolved for millions of years in nomadic band societies, we have a cognitive limit of between one or two hundred (called Dunbar’s Number) after which we no longer recognize each individual’s relation to every other individual in a cohesive group. Beyond this threshold we fit people into impersonal roles, reducing our empathy for them. Just as a functional family does not have to count heads to find out if someone didn’t show up at dinner time, a functional community tries to recognize face rather than function, personality rather than position, context rather than category.

Currently most of us live in a mass society of strangers hostile to sharing, mutual aid, and even face-to-face interactions, and in my opinion this suppression of community creates enormous obstacles to responsible and meaningful behavior, and proves disastrous to our wellbeing.

D. What do you mean by a “toolbox” approach, and why do you support it?

I support a toolbox approach to situations. I use the toolbox metaphor to represent the potential of a practical, multi-purpose, adaptable, customizable holder of options. I contrast it with the ruler metaphor, which represents the approach of an abstract, single-purpose, rigid, one-measure-fits-all dictator of options.

A toolbox holds a variety of means and enables a diverse range of responses, whereas a ruler alone can only judge, and brings to mind the old adage, “If you only have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” What I call “a toolbox approach” empowers people, allowing us to become active, creative agents who turn obstacles into opportunities, rather people who just call everyone else crooked and do nothing about it (or worse yet, people who straighten everyone else into their own preconceived designs).

Rather than put in place new institutional policies or one-size-fits-all laws against which to measure our supposed failures, I prefer people to collaborate on new tools for critical thinking and conflict resolution, keep them in mind, and practice with them as appropriate.

E. What do you mean by “green anarchism”, and why do you support it?

Anarchism means to denounce, abandon, diminish, and abolish the machinery of abuse and domination: coercive authority, oppressive relations, dispossession, exploitation, alienation, addiction, extraction, as well as their rationalizations, institutions and formats.

Green anarchists promote, affirm, practice, and defend …
… short version: biodiversity and collaborative self-determination.
… long version: Uniqueness and self-determination. Empowerment and critical thinking. Responsibility guided by empathy. Self-care, self-reliance, and simple living. Voluntary participation. Free expression and association. Consent and consensus. Reciprocal relations. Direct action, truthspeaking, liberation, and accountability. Distributive, restorative and transformative justice. The ability of those with a stake in a decision to determine it. Material access by need, occupancy, and use. Productive play. Gift and barter. Biological and cultural diversity. Ecological and cultural succession. Feral cultures of regeneration and resistance. Autonomous, bioregional, egalitarian, intentional, networked, participatory, regenerative, resilient, safe communities, with nourishing traditions, connected internally and externally by commitment, affinity, intimacy, collaboration, mutual aid, sharing and solidarity. Voluntary cooperation. Relationships between partners and peers, with no higher powers.

This “green” (ecology-focused) anarchist perspective expands on traditional “red” (worker-focused) anarchist critiques of institutions of hierarchical power such as statism, nationalism, capitalism, “organized” religion, racism, sexism, ageism, the society of the spectacle, prescriptive gender and sexual orientation, ideological rigidity, and objective morality, by critically analyzing humanism, scientism, notions of linear time and historical progress, the hegemony of symbolic culture (language, writing, time, math, art, ritual) over sensual experience, permanent settlement, labor specialization, mass society, domestication, urbanization, colonialism, industrialization, technophilia, scientism, drawdown, and overshoot.

Green anarchism turns garbage and control back into aliveness and wildness.

F. Further Resources

For an introduction to green anarchist ideas, check out these brief articles:

Is ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ an Oxymoron? at http://tobyhemenway.com/sustag.html
What is Civilization? at http://inthewake.mcbay.ca/civdef.html
Premises of Endgame at http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/1-Premises.htm
Back to Basics: Green Anarchy Primer at http://www.mediafire.com/?pov8jdsjg22s1dn
Back to Basis: the Origins at http://www.mediafire.com/?jtp6jca9nygx13c
The Consequences of Domestication and Sedentism at http://tinyurl.com/ydybjne
A Lesson in Earth Civics at http://www.eco-action.org/dt/civics.html

Relevant BOOKS, some available online for viewing or downloading:
A New Green History of the World by Clive Ponting
Overshoot by William Catton
The Thirty Theses by Jason Godesky
Origins: A John Zerzan Reader & Future Primitive by John Zerzan
For Wildness and Anarchy & Species Traitor IV by Kevin Tucker
Endgame by Derrick Jensen
What We Leave Behind by Derrick Jensen & Aric McBay
Deep Green Resistance by Aric McBay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen
Anarchy Works & How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos
The Party’s Over & Peak Everything by Richard Heinberg
The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter
Health and the Rise of Civilization by Mark Nathan Cohen

For rewilding-type skills, look for works by the following:

Cody Lundin, John & Geri McPherson, Linda Runyon, Ray Mears, Ron Hood, Society of Primitive Technology, Tamarack Song, Tamara Wilder, Thomas Elpel, Tom Brown Jr., Urban Scout.

Part II: Rewilding Community Survival Skills

The following list should help rewilding-minded, community-oriented, survival-interested folks. Some provisos: I do not order any of this by importance. I completed some more than others. I sometimes take specific ideas from institutions I oppose in hopes that changing their context can lead to beneficial consequences. I also include certain practices for transitional purposes that I would otherwise loathe; in particular I desire a world without animal domestication, yet still I include a section on raising certain small and dwarf animals that I believe if given the space could live largely self-directing lives.

Also, do not assume that the presence of certain industrial items in this list implies that I take industrial production as a given; I intend to use already manufactured items and largely scavenge or improvise the rest. I have tailored this document primarily to my own interests; feel free to make your own. Having said all that…


aquatic life (plants; algae; bugs; amphibians; reptiles; finfish; fowl; crustaceans;
echinoderms; molluscs; marine mammals)
aquaculture basics (stock densities, temperature; nutrient cycling; feeding)
passive & recirculating systems (design; setup)
mitigating mosquitoes (minnows)
wetlands & filter ponds
vertical aquaponics

Bug Foraging & Cultivation

entomology (bugs’ feeding, sleeping, housing & habitat, predators)
edible bugs (which ones; preparation methods)
termite logs & barrel breeders
roach traps
poisonous bugs


heat conservation (layering; breath-trapping)
hide-tanning & leather-working (hair on/hair off; framing & fleshing/scraping; sewing
holes; brain, bark, egg tanning; soaking; finishing/stretching/softening; smoking; making scrapers, frames, smokers)
hide-tanning tools (hide-scrapers; fleshing beams)
hide materials (rawhide; tanned leather; tanned bladders)
hide-storing (freezing; salting; air-drying)
textiles – preparation (scouring; teasing; carding; combing; retting; breaking; scutching; hackling)
textiles – weaving (hand spinning; drafting; weaving; backstrap looms; stick loom shed;
knitting; crocheting; darning)
clothing tools (wooden awl, bone needle)
natural dyeing/coloring
sewing & hemming (methods)
tailoring (sizing; cutting; patching; buttoning; zippers)
mittens & gloves
tumplines, backpacks, pouches
spindle-making (discs; dowels; hooks; glue)
needles & thread (making & using)
earthen shoes (birch bark)
snow shoes (brush; cordage; sledge)
earthen buttons (eucalyptus)
snow goggles & pinhole goggles
earthen hats (cattails)
raincapes (e.g. cattails, phragmites)
rainhoods (e.g. birch bark, elm bark, cedar)

Communications, Signaling & Encryption

signaling basics (light-in-night; gray-by-day)
privacy & encryption
bull-roarers (construction)
radio types (GMRS; FMS; CB; ham)
ink, quills & woven paper (making)
charcoal & bark writing
antenna fabrication & do-it-yourself WiFi networks
fire & smoke signaling
reflector signaling
flag signaling
one-time pads
lantern signaling
recognized distress signals


clay pottery (locating; tempering; shaping; pit-firing v. above-ground firing v. primitive kilns; coating/glazing/water-proofing; patching; pinch v. coil v. slab)
clay pottery tools (sponge; wire; ribbing tools; trimming tools; pedal potter’s wheel)
coiled basketry (spoking; twining; finishing; continuous v. start-stop weave; handles)
gourds (growing; curing; cleaning; sealing)
primitive cookware, buckets, canteens & bladders (bark; stone; wood; plant fiber; horn;
beak; bone; hide & stomach; shell; pods)
packframes & backpacks; modular carrying systems
sleds & travois
carts & trailers
HDPE & PETE food grade plastic containers


media (asphalt v. concrete)
depaving tools (breaker bar; pickaxe/mattock; sledgehammer)
techniques (edging; cornering; fulcrums; leverage)
pavement recycling (urbanite; raised garden beds)
soil rehabilitation (sheet mulching; mycelium; phytoremiating plants)
natural depavers (e.g. black locust; daikon radish)

Emergency Preparedness (see also: Travel; Food & Water Storage)

Survival Rule of Threes (3 seconds without security; 3 minutes without air; 3 hours without shelter; 3 days without water; 3 weeks without food; 3 months without company)
Rule of Three Sources (3 separate & distinct supply sources for all necessities)
civilian kits (financial document copies; identification)
med kits (listed in Health Care)
compact survival kits (fire; light; heat; sewing; fishing; navigation; signaling; trapping; cutting/sawing; sterilizing; recording; affixing; can opening)
Bugout Bags (BOBs) (e.g. in pouches: 550 paracord, P-51 can opener, [artificial] sinew thread, awl, climbing carabiner, edible wild food playing cards, firesteel, folded aluminum foil, handkerchief, hatchet head, honing steel, knife, leather water canteen or condom, maps, marching compass, needle, palm/fist-sized medical kit, pemmican/trail mix, plastic trash bags, pocket chainsaw, rain poncho, safety pins, signal mirror, slingshot, trick candle, ultralight hammock, water filtration straw, wax-lint tuna can stove, whistle)

Empowerment – Psychology, Creativity, Learning, Critical Thinking & Planning

stages of needs (sustenance; security; sociability; self-esteem; self-actualization; self-transcendence)
the power process (participation in decisions; belonging to group & place; purposeful effort; achievement-by-effort; competence in abilities; confidence in role; recognition of contribution; respect from peers; respect for peers; autonomy; engagement [losing oneself in the task]); feedback)
mental state awareness (self-esteem; codependency; cognitive biases; psychological heuristics)
motivation (intrinsic v. extrinsic; dissonance reduction)
psychological stress stages (denial; deliberation; decision)
creativity (imagination; inspiration; intuition)
increasing intelligence (seek novelty; challenge yourself; think creatively; do things the hard way; network)
increasing learning (working memory; attention)
multiple intelligences (spatial; linguistic; logical-mathematical; bodily-kinesthetic; musical; interpersonal; intrapersonal; naturalistic; existential)
reason (logic) v. intuition (instincts, associations)
prejudice (cognitive prejudice; affective prejudice; behavioral prejudice)
empowerment techniques (codependency/victimization-enabling awareness; coyote teaching method; role-playing)
logic (formal v. informal; inductive v. deductive)
logical fallacies (see: Critical Thinking as an Anarchist Weapon)
critical thinking components (skepticism; logic; clarity; credibility; accuracy; precision; relevance; depth; breadth; significance)
recognizing disinformation techniques
argument mapping (contentions, premises, co-premises, objections, rebuttals, lemmas)
problem-solving (techniques & methodologies; brainstorming; collaboration; networking)
lateral thinking (idea-generating tools; altering focus; selection; application)
planning principles (PsyBlog goal hacks: stop fantasizing; start committing; start starting; visualize process not outcome; avoid the what-the-hell-effect; sidestep
procrastination; shifting task-or-goal focus; reject robotic behavior; focus on the
aim not the goal; know when to stop; if-then plans; verbalization & visualization of
processes; contrast positive fantasy /indulging with negative reality / dwelling)
planning methodologies (STOP, OODA loops; SWOT analysis; PDCA cycles; flow charts)
working backwards (goal; strategy; tactics; timeframes; deadlines; review)
systems analysis (complexity; emergence; fragility/resilience; systempunkts; schwerpunkts)
risk management (risks; threats; vulnerability; mitigation)

Fasteners (Cordage & Glue)

cordage methodology (identification; harvest; hand-twist & leg-roll methods; splicing;
anti-fraying; firing; maintenance/repair)
cordage styles (threads, laces, lashes, cords, ropes)
cordage material (plant stalks, leaves, roots, vines, bark; hide, sinew, intestines, hair)
tying (knots; loops; ladders; hitches; securing; binding & fastening; shortening; nets;
lasso; climbing knots)
natural glues (e.g. pine pitch; gum; resin; bark; hide; hoof; horn; cartilage; mixing with fat, charcoal/ashes, veg*n scat)
pitch-sticks (making & using)
earth concrete (bone shavings, sand, pine sap)
primitive vise

Field Dressing Animals

field dressing tools (obsidian flake x-acto knife; stone axe)
field dressing process (bleeding; skinning & de-hairing; gutting; jointing; cutting)
sinew & marrow
meat cutting (against the grain)
meat cuts (e.g. loins, tenderloins, backstrap, etc.)
organ identification & use
transporting carcasses

fire physics (heat rises; heat, oxygen, fuel)
woods (tinder, kindling, hardwood fuel)
fire safety (distance, water/dirt, fire ladder)
firewood foraging (wood identification; breaking on rocks; breaking between poles;
cracking test)
fire construction (tinder; kindling; reflectors)
smoking: snake hole fire & tipi fire
drying: temple fire
cooking: keyhole fire & Dakota fire hole
roasting: trench fire
boiling: Schwedenfackel
lasting heat: rakovalkea & upside-down fire & three logs & cabin fire
minimalist: scout fire
fire-summoning (bow drill; hand drill; pump drill; fire piston; fire plow; fire saw; flint & steel/marcasite; magnesium & ferrocerium; lighter; reflectors & magnifiers;
aluminum can + abrasive/polish; battery fire; fire from ice; fire from water)
fire tools (quartz drills, handaxe, hearth, spindle, socket)
flammable refuse (e.g. lint)
mitigating wind & wetness
fire-tending (keeping wood nearby)
smoke-producing (dampness/punky wood)
putting out fires (“break it, drown it, stir it”)
fire-storing (tinder fungus; coals; hot rocks)
char cloth (making)


fish anatomy
zoology (fish feeding, sleeping, housing & habitat, predators)
population dynamics & seasonal fishing
rods, lines, hooks & points
weighting & baiting
netting & gill netting (making & placing)
fish traps (making & placing)
spearing & free point spearing (making)
blowguns (making)
snaring, trotlines & nightlines (making & placing)
hand-fishing (disturbance –> bottle-necking)

Food – Preparation & Cooking

food 101 (”buy it with thought; cook it with care; serve just enough; save what will
keep; eat what would spoil; home-grown is best; don’t waste it”)
preparation of wild plants (greens; shoots & stalks; roots; fruits & berries; seeds &
grains; nuts; flowers)
grinding tools (mano, metate, ðJ mortar, pestle)
traditional food preparation methods (raw; sprout; soak; ferment; stock; cultures)
coal cooking
ovens & stoves (dutch oven; clay oven; earth oven; pit cooker; tandoor cooker; solar cooker; rock oven; bucket stove; bush fungus stove; 16 square brick rocket stove; 6 hex brick rocket stove; dona justa oven; upesi stove; parabolic cooker; zen stove; solar umbrella cooker; solar tire cooker)
thermos bottle cooking
steaming & steam pits
pots (tripod, bipod, monopod)
cast iron (maintenance)
boiling (metal; hot rock)
fry rock cooking
bark wok cooking
spit cooking
board/rock reflectors
improvised utensils (skewers; chopsticks; spoons; forks; knives; tongs; ladles; scrapers; graters; mashers)

Food – Preservation

basics (temperature; moisture; critters)
root cellars (uninsulated north-walled basement partition; in-ground root cellar; hay bale shack; vented mound)
boiling water bath canning
dry-pack canning
pressure canning (meats; veggies; seafood)
curing (salt; brine; smoke)
drying/leathering (air, contact, freeze-drying; jerky & pemmican; leathered fruits)
jellying (jellies; jams; preserves; marmalade; conserves; butters; syrups)
fat/oil potting
alcohol & fermentation
solar dehydrators
stomach & intestinal storage

Food & Water Storage (see also: Heating & Cooling)

food insurance v. food security
water insurance v. water security
storage foods & vitamins (coming soon)
discount/bulk suppliers
accumulation (bulk; doubling-up)
rotation schedules & first-in-first-out (F.I.F.O.) rotation
food spoilage & food-borne illness (e.g. botulism, e. coli, salmonella, cafeteria germ, c. jejuni)
caches & geo-caching
water storage (quantities for drinking, dishwashing, bathing, cleaning, watering)
cisterns & swales
modern storage (100 gallon Water Bob; Siphon Pump)

Foraging Wild Plants

botany (pattern method of identification)
seasonal awareness (observation; foraging calendars)
how to gather (conservation; precision; thinning)
foraging tools (digging sticks, pouch, bag)
edibility tests (isolating parts; inspect, smell, skin contact, lips, mouth corner, tongue tip, tongue bottom, chew, swallow, eat)
survival stage foraging (fruit –> fat –> protein –> greens)
calorie-foraging (tubers)
wild plants essential vitamins & minerals
poisonous plants & look-similars
plant processing methods
famine foods


frugal 101 (”use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”)
self-restraint & avoiding sunk costs
seasonal living


mushroom basics
mushroom identification
mushroom log cultivation (timing; usable logs; log sources; structures/ricks; cutting; usable mushrooms; mushroom sources; plug spawn; flushes; waxing; moisture/soaking)
mushroom cardboard cultivation
indoor cultivation (trays; composting; pasteurization; spawning; casing; pinning; cropping)
bug cultivators (leafcutter ants, termites, ambrosia beetles, marsh periwinkles)

Health Care – Exercise & Fitness

basic yoga & flexibility stretches
(near-)barefoot walking
homeodynamics (variety)
stamina, balance, jumping & lifting basics (form)
paleo exercise (walking; hiking; sprinting; interval training; lifting; dancing)
continual care (e.g. for knees, eyes, shoulders, feet, etc.)
carrying strength (military presses; squats; deadlifts; hip & back exercises)

Health Care – First Aid & Medicine

basic first aid (e.g. ABCDEFG – airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure, fractures, gashes; assess dangers, assess injuries; CPR; bleeding; burns/wounds; fractures; shock; recovery positions; unconsciousness; pressure points; infections; incisions; punctures; specific body wounds e.g. eye; Heimlich maneuver; bandaging/dressing; dislocations; sprains & strains; transporting the injured; emergency childbirth; stitching wounds; nosebleeds; sores; indigestion; heartburn; skin problems)
wilderness first aid (e.g. thorns & splinters; poisonous plants; blisters & abrasions; bites & stings; hypothermia; frostbite; heat cramps; heat exhaustion; heat stroke; burns; pain; shock; diarrhea; dehydration; intestinal parasites; food poisoning; rashes; fungal infections; altitude sickness; snowblindness; regional diseases; waterborne diseases; insect-borne diseases; intestinal worms)
treating shock
inter-species communicable diseases (rabies, hanta virus, lyme disease)
compact med kit (e.g. pain reliever; diarrhea meds; antibiotics; antihistamines; water purification tablets; potassium permanganate; salt tablets; surgical blades; butterfly sutures; bandaids; Israeli trauma bandages; surgical dressings; surgical tape; hydrogen peroxide; betadine/iodine; alcohol swabs; razor; moleskin; gauze;
allopathic v. folk medicine
medicinal plant actions (anodynes/analgestics; astringents; antispasmodics; nervines; soporifics; alteratives; antiseptics; antibiotics; cardiacs; carminatives; demulcents; diaphoretics; diuretics; emollients; expectorants; emmenogogues; rubefacients; stimulants; tonics; vulneraries)
medicinal plant methods (eating; capsule; douche; tincture; poultice; decoction; infusion; juice; ointments/salve; compress/fomentation; smoking; syrup)
herbal remedies (The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook)
DIY health exams (breast, cervix, prostate)
food-borne illnesses (symptoms & treatment)
triage (immediate, delayed, expectant)

Health Care – Hygiene, Sanitation & Dentistry

bodily hygiene basics
combs/brushes (notched wood, teasel seed heads, echinacea seed heads, yucca, splinterbands)
natural soaps (alkali/ash + water + fat/oil + antiseptic; soapwort; clematis; yucca; agave; spanish bayonet; sotol; Joshua tree)
sand & snow bathing
sunning & airing bedding/utensils/containers
DIY laundry (foot agitation method)
DIY cleanses (liver cleanses; kidney cleanses; colon cleanses; fasting; enemas; tonics)
primitive hand washing methods (antiseptic plants)
smudge pots
germ cluster awareness (e.g. doorknobs)
natural sunscreen
handling corpses, carcasses & burials
pit/trench latrines (siting; digging/construction; timing; de-commissioning)
composting toilets (nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, warmth, moisture; Jenkins sawdust toilet; 2 chamber toilet)
greywater systems (filter ponds)
primitive toothcare & gumcare (chewsticks; toothbrushes; toothpicks; gargles;
powders; flosses)
basic dentistry (cavities; abscesses; pyorrhea; canker sores; cold sores; bleeding gums;
gingivitis; trench mouth)
intermediate dentistry (tooth removal)

Health Care – Mental Health

de-stressing techniques
gestalt therapy
grieving processes
survival psychology (rule of threes; natural drift; perseverance; improvisation; transcending: grief, shock, pain & injury, cold & heat, hunger & thirst, fatigue, fear & anxiety, boredom & loneliness, depression & apathy, sleep deprivation)

Health Care – Nutrition (see also: Food – Preparation & Cooking)

bodyworks 101 (sunlight; digestion & metabolism)
basic nutrition (fat- & water-soluble vitamins; essential amino acids; essential fatty
acids; minerals; carbs; enzymes)
traditional nutrition (Weston A. Price Foundation; paleo diet)
advanced nutrition (superfoods; probiotics; rainbow diet: chlorophylls; carotenoids;
anthocyanins; betalains)
malnutrition ailments (scurvy; anemia; pellagra; night blindness & xerophthalmia; goiter
& cretinism; beriberi; rickets; vitamin K deficiency; tetany; osteoporosis; keshan
disease; zinc deficiency)
agricultural food health implications
industrial food health implications

Heating & Cooling

physics (convection, conduction, radiation, respiration, evaporation, insulation,
infiltration, exfiltration)
body temperature danger (conditioning; prevention; treatment)
maintaining body heat equilibrium (ease it, raise it, cover it, reflect it, don’t sweat it)
firebed & headhole (2 hour burn, 4 inches dirt, 8 inches deep)
solar hot water heating (inc. M.D. Creekmore’s solar hot water heater)
solar thermal heating (inc. compost donut heater)
cold hole, cold cellar, root cellar (inc. garbage can root cellar)
ice caves, ice houses, ice boxes
spring houses, stream immersion & cold rooms
two bucket/pot-in-pot evaporative cooler (Xeer pot)
cabinet-style evaporative cooler

Horticulture & Food Foresting

ecology (niche; succession; biodiversity; sustainability; ecotones; synergy; cycles; annual v. perennial; native v. invasive; pollination; nutrient exchange; humus; microclimate)
climate zones (polar; tundra; northern coniferous forest; deciduous forest; temperate
grassland; mediterranean; tropical forest; savannah; desert; sea)
general gardening (digging; planting; hardiness zones; watering; seed collecting; weather; sun & shade; harvesting; nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium; recording) composting/mulching (sources; nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium; sheet mulching; vermicomposting; active v. passive composting; solar composting; biothermal heating; manure; humanure; urine; biochar; bokashi composting; hugelkultur); ecological design process (observation; visioning; planning; development; implementation)
garden plant functions (mulch-makers; nutrient-accumulators; nitrogen-fixers; soilfumigants/pest-repellents; insectaries; fortress-plants; spike roots; wildlifenurturers; shelterbelters; nurse; chaperone; scaffold)
garden plant profiles
permaculture-specific techniques (5 zones; keyhole beds; mandala gardens; herb spirals; net-and-pan; organic water conservation; contouring/swales; companion planting; stacking; edge effects; multiplicity; backyard wetlands; natural “pest control”; spacing; beneficial bugs, birds & mammals; interplanting; creating guilds; habitat mimicry)
arboriculture/food foresting (digging; spacing; coppicing; plucking; pruning; pollarding; grafting; horseshoe forest gardens; seven-story gardens)
grow biointensive (hexagonal planting; double-dug raised beds; carbon farming; calorie
farming; open pollination; companion planting; integrated pest control)
Fukuoka’s method (seedballs; bio-mimicry)
vertical gardening (trellis; fence; cage; wall; pergola; tipi; hanger; barrel; shadehouse; upside-down garden; bucket; tower)
square-foot gardening (location; Mel’s Mix; spacing 1×1 v. 4×4 beds; raised beds;
staggered harvests; 1/2 v. 1 foot depth; boxes; aisles; grids; seed saving; tabletop
gardens; obtaining wood; pinch-seeding; snipping; attaching carry-poles; lazy soil
improvement; potted gardens; sun orientation; back-end trellises; wood ash; tallboxes; caging; covering; frames; tying; gated composters; sprouting; transplanting; seed storage; root trimming; harvesting; watering; extending seasons; tire gardens; earthboxes)
Gardening When It Counts (mounds)
extending seasons (bioshelters; low tunnels; cold frames)
gardening tools (trowel; hoe; spade; machete)

Hunting & Tracking

animal anatomy
zoology (animals’ feeding, watering, sleeping, housing & habitat, predators)
population dynamics & seasonal hunting
rabbit stick (selection; hardening; throwing)
atlatl & spear throwing (safety; composition; staff selection; carving; heating; straightening; spearhead knapping; hafting spearheads; gluing, binding, tying; sanding; slings)
fire-hardening spears
bowmaking & archery (standard v. quickie v. bunch; composition; staff selection; curing;
carving; heating; straightening; flexing; backing; stringing; marksmanship)
VietCong crossbow (carving; stringing; marksmanship; arrows; quivers)
arrows (sight it, roll it, bind it; arrowhead knapping; hafting arrowheads; gluing,
binding, fletching, tying; sanding; quivermaking; foreshaft-tailshaft arrows)
bowmaking tools (adze, standing vise)
firearms or crossbows (safety; purchasing; composition; dis/assembling; cleaning;
ammunition; maintaining, repairing; replacing parts; storing; marksmanship)
blowguns (safety; composition; barrel making; dart making; shooting)
tick & flea identification
viruses & disease (e.g. hantavirus, lyme disease)
camouflage philosophy (shape; shadow; shine; sillhouette; surface; sound; smell;
hunting camouflage (ghillie suits, wind walking, fox walking, scent hiding)
lures & calls
tracking & counter-tracking media (patterning, scat, leftovers, rubbings, tracks, hair,
stains, displacement, transfers, compressions, depressions)
tracking & counter-tracking objectives (stride; straddle; speed; direction; aging; ball & heel width; length; crispness; initial & terminal contact points; pitch; mass; depth)
tracking & counter-tracking techniques (quick scan, linear search, round search;
tracking pits; tracking stick; sighting stick; silhouetting; shadowing; sideheading)
track identification (toe number; toe placement; toe pad shape; nails; fur; palm pad;
heel pad; negative space)
track patterns (direct register walks; overstep walks; direct register trots; overstep
trots; hops; bounds; lopes; gallops; 2×2 lopes; bipedal hops; bipedal skips)
dwellings (beds; lays; wallows; baths; nests; burrows; dens; cavities)
trails (runs; ridges; tunnels; eskers)
sign cutting (natural lines of drift . downward, linear; orientation toward lights;
plotting charts)


physics (cone; platform; bi-polar)
techniques (direct percussion; indirect percussion; pressure flaking)
safety (eyes, mouth & fingers)
polishing tools (sand-glued rock, abrasive horsetail patches)
knapping tools (pads, percussion “whackers”; pressure flakers, grinding stones)
knapping materials (flint-likes; shell; bone; antler; glass)
rock identification
discoidal blade-making
flake knife-making
knapped endpoints (arrowheads, spearheads, drillheads)
axehead-making (celt; hafting)
tool crafting (adze, scraper)
knife crafting & cutting (stone, glass, bone, wood, metal; sharpening; stropping; cutting techniques)


oil lamp in jar
plant wicks (e.g. mullein pith, cattail seed fluff, rose campion leaf, sedge, burdock,
giant ragweed)
candles (e.g. bush pine, tallow; braided wicks)
torches (e.g. cattail head in fat/oil in bamboo; bark torches)


micro-livestock (Indian runner & muscovy ducks; pheasant; chickens w/ paddock shift
method; rabbits; guinea pigs; pygmy/dwarf goats; Icelandic sheep…)
livestock basics (breeds, health/sanitation, feeding, shelter, water, space, slaughter)
beekeeping (symbiosis with plants)

Self-Defense & Security

situational awareness
security awareness (wolf’s mind vulnerability assessment)
buddy systems (presence; signals)
deterrence (posture; tone)
camouflage philosophy (shape; shadow; shine; silhouette; surface; sound; smell; movement)
initiative (STOP; OODA loops)
risk assessment (vulnerability; threats; likelihood; response)
CARVER matrix (Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect,
evasion & de-escalation techniques (doubt; diversion; stalling; redirection)
protective clothing
physiological effects of imminent danger (loss of fine motor skill; fight, flight, freeze, posture, submit)
fighting fundamentals (finding instincts; blocking angles; body positioning & distancing; closing distance; body rotation; proper turning radius; recognizing center of gravity; eye-hand coordination; target perception & recognition; attackrecognition; ambidexterity; muscular development; breathing; absorbing & shrugging blows; winning mindset; explosive power; applying body weight; safe practice with partners)
fighting philosophy (surprise; leverage; momentum; conservation; refusal; mass; S.A.F.E. — Simple, Adaptable, Fast, Effective)
unarmed fighting (pressure points; Larry Jordan’s gdirty dozenh; striking knees, neck,
face; pronating wristlock; escaping common grabs; footwork; punching; kicking;
stances; disarming; finger jab/rake; hammerfist; face smash; ax hand; knees;
elbows; low kicks)
improvising shields & weapons (e.g. belts, coats, chains, bags)
defense fundamentals (hands up & open; the fence & invisible fence; fending; chin tucked; checking; blocking; disarming; tripping)
knife-fighting (footwork; angles; blade seeks flesh; constant movement; parallel to
ground; slicing in & out; disarming; stances)
stick-fighting (footwork; angles; stick seeks bone; constant movement; Eskrima
sinawali; disarming; stances)
gun-fighting (breathing; instinctive aiming; reloading; stances; disarming)
advanced fighting (third-party defense; fighting multiple attackers; group tactics)


location (sustainability; security; convenience)
design (site, floor/bed, walls, roof/waterproofing, smoke hole, entrance, racks, doors,
fire siting; passive solar heating; insulation; vapor barriers; thermal mass; mold
primitive shelters (lean-to; thatched wickiup/wigwam; debris shelter/hut; tipi;
brush/grass shelter; quinzee; igloo; yurt; snow shelter; scout pit; log cabins)
load-bearing natural materials (cob; adobe; straw bale; rammed earth; stone; wood)
modern shelters (sleeping bags; bivouac bags; tents)
furniture & bedding (rush beds; hammocks; stools; antiseptic plant bedding)
shelter tools (wood/stone hammer, bone/antler chisel, stone knife; stone axe)
visions of defensibility (Fujian Tulou; motte-palisade-bailey-keep)
natural weatherproofing (pine sap, shredded rope bark or grass, finely ground charcoal)

Social Skills — Sociability, Consensus, Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
check-ins (feelings; wellness; activities)
body language (posture; tone; gesture; pacing; breathing; facial expressions; phrasing;
the unmentioned)
consent (affective communication)
expressing stress (I statements; journaling; art; group therapy)
effective assemblies (inclusivity; continuity; list  commits to by ;
communicating to the absent; clear process; clear roles; appropriate priorities,
timing, pace; clear, detailed records & agreements; feedback)
agenda prioritizing (order by necessity; urgency; resources; effort; scale; uniqueness)
agenda organizing methods (group tallies; committee-by-lot; delegated committee; facilitator decides; raised hands)
consensus — traits (collaboration; absence of principled objections, not total
unanimity; dialogue; less efficient process, more efficient implementation; conflict
as an asset; collective ratification; sharing information, materials, opportunity;
qualitative; universal relevance & authenticity; egalitarian; inclusive; participatory
consensus — requirements (common goal(s); collectively desirable outcomes; Good Faith;
clear process & transparency; good facilitation; commitment to process; sufficient
time; accessibility, transparency & accountability; stakeholder participation;
practice; self-esteem & safety; appropriate group size; all principled concerns
addressed; critical thinking; patience & listening; evaluating ideas rather than
insulting or bullying)
consensus — speaking tips (open, direct & concise; step up & step back; I statements
& proposal language; separate identities from ideas; test assumptions &
inferences; use criticism & disagreement constructively; avoid repeating; respond
to conflict with inquiry; think before you speak, listen before you object)
consensus — hand signals (add to stack; clarifying question; process issue; correction;
support; oppose; block; abstain; re-focus; irrelevant point; get to the point)
consensus — roles (facilitator; stack-keeper; note-taker; vibes-watcher; devil’s
advocate; time-keeper; agenda-writer)
consensus — tools (brainstorms; fishbowls; tabling; committee formation; extension; goaround;
divide topics; straw poll; spectogram; stack speakers; request proposals;
request amendments; presentations)
consensus — potential pitfalls (groupthink; Abilene Paradox; conservatism; too slow)
consensus evaluations (procedure; behavior; facilitation; energy; logistics; tone)
negotiation principles (cordiality; grace; charity; reception & integration; suggestion;
analysis; non-confrontation; opportunity; patterns before details; watchfulness;
strategy; attentiveness to body language)
dissent (separation by time (“taking turns”); separation by space (“voting with the feet”); decision by game of luck; withdrawing participation; withholding support; ad hoc discussion; formal debate; arbitration by mutually-agreed upon third parties; arbitration by community assembly; arbitration by ad hoc peer council; immediate recall of delegated roles or tasks; disruption/heckling; ridicule/mockery; attacking reputation; disruption/obstruction; shunning; consensual duels; feuding & pranks; banishment; property destruction; combat)
de-escalation techniques (doubt; diversion; stalling; redirection)
conflict resolution theories (distributive, restorative & transformative justice)
conflict resolution practices (intervention/mediation; communication for prevention;

trapping basics (placement: hiding scent, camouflage, attraction)
trapping methods (mangle, strangle, dangle, tangle)
camouflage philosophy (shape; shadow; shine; silhouette; surface; sound; smell; movement)
zoology (animals’ feeding, watering, sleeping, housing & habitat, predators)
population dynamics & seasonal trapping
merciful killing
small, medium, large game traps (construction, baiting & placement)
bird traps (construction, baiting & placement)
amphibian/reptile traps (construction, baiting & placement)
bug traps (construction, baiting & placement)
“coffee can” & x-cut tin traps (construction, baiting & placement)
snares & spring snares (foothold & neck)
deadfalls (Paiute; figure-4; McPherson; 1 stick)
tick & flea identification
viruses & disease (e.g. hantavirus, lyme disease)

Travel — Movement, Navigation, Time-Telling, Measuring, Weather Forecasting

conservation of energy (foxwalking; plainsman’s stride / lockstep)
resting (3-5 v. 20 min breaks)
mobile decision-making
planning (routes; rally points; contingency plans; evacuation)
group movement
difficult terrain (slopes; dark/low-light; waterways; swamps; snow; briar)
bicycles (safety; maintenance; repair; trailers)
primitive vehicles (coracles, rafts, canoes; safety; making; steering; maintenance)
footcare (rubbing; powders; absorbing friction)
blousing pants
wind direction (dropping dirt)
snowshoes (making & using)
dominant eye & foot tests
navigation 101 (looking back; predominant object marking; reverse clearing; horizon rule of thumb; horizon rule of fists)
maps (making & reading)
compasses (making & using)
natural navigation (e.g., moss, birds, winds, trees, snowmelt)
sun (phases; shadow-tip compass; shadowless-tip compass; watch compass; Ottomani hanging sun compass)
moon (phases; crescent moon line to horizon south)
stars (polaris; southern cross; celestial north accurizing shadow tip for latitude, finding magnetic deviation; two-stick at night method up=east, left=north)
telestick measuring
weather forecasting (clouds; waterbodies; winds; barometric pressure; humidity; plant/animal behavior)
cloud forecasting (cirrocumulus; altocumulus; cumulonimbus; cumulus; cirrus; cirrostratus; altostratus; nimbostratus; stratocumulus; stratus)


hydrological cycle
water use basics (drink high, wash low, pee away)
chemical & biological contaminants & turbidity
fluid retention (cool; shade; contact; digestion; nasal breathing; sipping)
rainwater catching (sizing; timing; roofing; downspouts; delivery systems; foul flushes)
rainwater storing (sizing; cisterns; barrels; bungholes; bulkheads; freeze mitigation)
solar disinfection
distillation & solar stills (cloche solar still; panel solar still)
dew catching & fog netting
swales & ponds
particle filtration (slow & rapid sand filters; cloth filtration in lashed tripods)
(activated) charcoal filters
earth filter (sand – grass – charcoal – rock – corded birch bark funnel)
portable filter use (e.g. Katadyn portable filter, Aquamira Frontier Emergency Filter)
stationary filter use (e.g. Big Berkey water filter)
chemical treatment (chlorine; bleach; iodine; potassium permanganate)
boiling (hot rock v. flame)
transpiration bags
water-possessing plants
water witching (rural & wild)
primitive well digging
wastewater recycling (greywater; blackwater; wetlands)

Part III: How to Use the List

Print and fold the list to keep it easily accessible. Take stock of what you already know, and any relevant skill-sharing or supplies you can access. Mark in at least 2 different ways: one for things you know conceptually or through witnessing, and one for things you know through your own practice. Classify skills for personal relevance, accessibility of locations or materials, and effort required, highlighting or underlining the easiest-with-the-highest-impact. Start with Empowerment, then prioritize by immediacy to survival.

If you have a small group (or even a pair) of like-minded folks, divide the skills into “things everyone should know” and “things at least one should know for now”, and from there divvy it up and practice. Once people become competent they should teach others, as specialization breeds dependency and fragility. You don’t need to know every little thing, but everyone should know the basics. Start with the minimum in each area, make a routine, and practice diligently. Practicing in pairs or small groups will help make the learning more fun and more reliable. Start a local skill-sharing group if possible. It takes time, support, and humbly learning from failures before one becomes competent.

Part IV: A Survival Bag Planning Aid

A: Kit-Building 101

Constructing a survival bag can become an overwhelming task, but it does not have to. Take stock of what you already have. Prioritize additions. Find compact, durable, lightweight necessities with diverse, repeatable uses. Find what works best for you. Plan redundancy for core functions (e.g. fire, water purification, signaling). Test & modify contents. Simple enough?

Every item has benefits and burdens (no magic carpets, sadly), so learn to strike a balance and plan where to make sacrifices with your gear. Do you need more than 1 full set of spare clothes in your pack? How long can you go with little food? Ounces make pounds, and pounds make pain. How do you balance mobility on the one hand, and functionality on the other? Practice.

Individual preference will differ: some will want to rough it using an ultralight pack with a shelter of just a hammock or tube tent covered by a rain poncho—grudgingly deploying a space blanket exoskeleton if needed—while others will want the full suite of a camping pack with a groundsheet, tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, liner, and rain fly. Take care to pare down the weight of the heaviest items where possible: the pack, shelter method, sleeping system, and food.

A decent pack layers gear sensibly in compartments or modules, e.g. one for pocket survival kit, first aid kit, medical kit, cookware, fire kit, shelter, clothing pack in vacuum-sealed zip-lock bags (just suck the air out with a straw), etc. Pre-made kits exist for most of those, but focus on meeting required actions rather than adding shiny objects. And remember: relevant skills reduce gear-dependency.

The following sub-sections will help you tailor your survival bag to your specific needs.

B: Expectations Checklist

Situation: [ ] Everyday [ ] TSHTF [ ] TEOTWAWKI
Duration: [ ] Short-term [ ] Long-term
Lifespan: [ ] 12 hr [ ] 24 hr [ ] 48 hr [ ] 72 hr [ ] 72 hr+
Setting(s): [ ] Urban [ ] Rural [ ] Wild
Population density: [ ] Too low [ ] Just right [ ] Too high
Season(s): [ ] Hot [ ] Warm [ ] Cold [ ] Wet [ ] Windy
Terrain (describe features, obstacles, hazards, slope, footing):

C: Intentions Checklist

Personal Goal: [ ] Survival [ ] Networking [ ] Mobilization
Pack Goal: [ ] Everyday Carry [ ] Get Home [ ] Bug Out [ ] Bug In [ ] Cache [ ] Never Returning
Style: [ ] Primitive [ ] Pioneer [ ] Modern: Bargain [ ] Modern: Premium [ ] Scavenged
Capabilities: [ ] Minimalist [ ] Moderate [ ] Comprehensive
Time Investment: [ ] Low [ ] Med [ ] High
Financial Investment: [ ] Low [ ] Med [ ] High

D: Preparations Checklist

Pack Style: [ ] Solitary [ ] Modular
Total Weight: ________
Total Volume: ________3
Dimensions: _____x_____x_____
Loaded Sprint: _____ seconds

E: Pocket Survival Kit Example

All of the following items fit into a hand-sized used altoids tin: quarters (4); $10 bill (1); fishing hooks, unadorned (2); fishing weights, steel (2); fishing hooks, with lures, weights (2); fresnel lens (1); signal mirror (1); p-51 can opener (1); x-acto knife blade (1); whistle (1); alcohol cleansing pads (1); bandaids (3); straw, mini (1); needle (1); awl (1); fishing line; artificial sinew; lighter (1); safety pin, large (1); safety pin, small (1); compass, 20 mm (1); firesteel (1); birthday candle (1); match (1); lint.

I’ve folded the straw, placed the awl in one side and the needle in the other, wrapped fishing line around one side, and artificial sinew around the other to save space inside the kit.

On the outside of the tin, on the top, I’ve rubber banded a pair of food-grade plastic produce bags (rolled flat and pressed for air) along with several lengths of gorilla tape rolled around a used gift card. On the outside bottom I have a space blanket. This all easily fits into a pocket, weighs very little, and covers most of the essentials.

F: 72-Hour (or more) Generic Gear Suggestions

Note: I do not suggest you put every single item into your bag. Pick which make sense.


-head cover: boonie hat, beanie, balaclava
-rain/snow gear: jacket, poncho
-base layer: short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt
-legwear: cargo pants, convertible pants, shorts
-footwear: wool socks, running shoes, moccasins
-accessories: gloves, bandana, scarf, belt

Communications & Signaling

-signaling: whistle, signal mirror, candle, flashlight
-phone: cell phone
-radio: 2-way radio


-bags: ultralight backpack, tactical backpack, trash bags, produce storage bags, zip-lock bags, food grade plastic bags, 9-mm film canister


-melee: knife, hatchet
-ranged: slingshot, AR-7 (takedown .22 rifle), M6 Scout (folding .22 rifle/shotgun)

Fasteners & Repair

-cordage: 550 paracord, bankline, dental floss, artificial sinew, bungie cords
-tape: gorilla/duct tape wrapped on flat card
-glue: superglue
-pins: safety pins
-needle: needle, awl
-thread: thread, artificial sinew, dental floss, paracord inner cord, fishing line


-igniter: firesteel, lighter, matches, bow drill kit
-tinder: lint, charcloth

First Aid & Medicine

-oral re-hydration mix
-emergency hand warmer, emergency cold pack
-wound care: bandages, moleskin, butterfly sutures, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol swabs, medical tape, gauze roll, cotton balls, wound disinfecting ointment
-rashes/bites: glucocorticoid, itch cream
-sprain/bruise/abscess: magnesium sulfate
-medicine: topical decongestant; mentholated cough drops; anti-inflammatory, antipyretic analgesic; antipyretic analgesic; expectorant
-poison care: charcoal
-anti-diarrheal: antidiarrheal antacid, antidiarrheal anti-laxative
-antibiotics: garlic tincture, amoxicillin
-surgical: topical local anesthetic, x-acto knife blade, fresnel magnifying lens, cayenne for bleeding, dressing pads
-misc: burn cream, lip balm, oral care fluid/powder, tweezers, needle, soap tabs


-stove: lint-wax stove, buddy burner, mini alcohol stove
-cookware: 775ml metal pot wti lid, metal can cookpot
-utensils: metal spork, metal knife
-food: 3 days (minimum): e.g. dehydrated meals, instant mashed potatoes, instant beans & rice, instant pancake mix, olive oil, energy bars, peanut butter, crackers, top ramen, GORP, pemmican, fish in pouches, salami, ghee
-fishing: hooks, safety pins, fishing line, lures, weights, cork
-trapping: rat traps, snare wire
-hunting: slingshot, .22 rifle, shotgun
-misc: multivitamins, caffeine pills, seed packets


-notepad with pen
-survival skills: SAS Survival Guide, Edible Wild Food playing cards
-misc. papers: bagged contact info notebook, picture ID, family face pictures, social security card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, health insurance record, medical records or special needs papers, current prescriptions, insurance records, property deeds, tax records, wills


-candle: birthday candles, tea light candles
-flashlight: Micro-LED squeeze flashlight, crank flashlight


-map: topographical map
-compass: marching compass, 20-mm button compass
-optics: binoculars, monocular


-sponge, half-toothbrush, handkerchief, baking soda (toothpaste), handkerchief, plastic trowel


-cover & groundsheet: 2 mil 9’x12′ plastic drop cloth, silnylon tarp, rain poncho
-bedding: 3/4 sleeping pad, lightweight sleeping bag
-blanket: fleece liner, (sportsman’s) space blanket, wool blanket, quilt
-shelter: ultralight hammock, tube tent, bivy bag, tent


-hatchet, Swiss Army knife / multi-tool, climbing carabiner, crafts knife, pocket chainsaw, measuring ribbon, P-51 mini can opener, bobby pin, honing steel/sharpener, n95 respirator mask, solar dynamo radio phone charger flashlight, earplugs, ammunition


-vessels: water bottle, CamelBak, canteen, condom, plastic bags, tin foil
-debris filter: coffee filter, handkerchief
-purification: cookpot, iodine tablets, emergency filter straw, portable microfilter
-re-hydration: salt, sugar
-water: 3-4 liters (minimum)

G: First Aid and Medicine, Elaborated

Western medicines of note to the prepper:
-antibiotic: amoxicillin (e.g., Augmentin) for bacterial infections
-expectorant: guaifenesin (e.g., Mucinex) for respiratory tract infection, cough, asthma, gout, fibromyalgia
-oral rehydration mix (proper ratio of sodium, glucose, potassium, chloride, citrate, zinc)
-antidiarrheal antacid: bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol) for diarrhea, heartburn, nausea
-antidiarrheal anti-laxative: loperamide (e.g., Imodium) for gastroenteritis or
inflammatory bowel disease
-wound disinfection: triple antibiotic ointment (e.g., Neosporin) for infection
-antihistamine: diphenhydramine (e.g., Benadryl) for seasonal allergies, nausea, insomnia, sedation
-topical local anesthetic (e.g., Lidocaine 1%) for itching, burning, skin inflammation, dental anesthetic, local anesthetic for minor surgery
-anti-inflammatory, analgesic antipyretic: ibuprofen (e.g., Advil or Motrin) for swelling, arthritis, fever, pain
-antipyretic analgesic: paracetamol (e.g., Tylenol) for pain, fever, allergies, cold, cough, flu
-anti-inflammatory: acetylsalicylic acid (e.g., Aspirin) for pain, fever, heart attack
-oral care: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda (also antifungal for athlete’s foot, ringworm, candidiasis [thrush], and serious systemic infections such as cryptococcal meningities), clove oil, benzocaine (e.g., Orajel) for infection or pain
-glucocorticoid: hydrocortisone for rashes, bites, eczema, dermatits, allergies
-magnesium sulfate (e.g., Epsom salt) for sprains, bruises, abscesses
-topical decongestant (e.g., Vicks Vaporub) for congestion & cough
-mentholated cough drops (e.g., Halls) for cough or sore throat
-lip balm (e.g., Carmex) for chapped lips, cold sores

*** Supplemental: Why Prepare? ***

Natural and not-so-natural disasters can happen any place and at any time. Additionally, we have recently entered an era of global instability and austerity. Creating a survival bag, as a part of a larger process of prepping, allows us to manage risk like responsible adults rather than rely on those in power to save us.

But I will not simply repeat the standard survivalist thesis. Our crisis runs deeper.

Complex societies have routinely disintegrated throughout history; the greater the complexity, the greater the ruin. Every urban society before this one has either collapsed or metabolized into the current global one. Critical supply chains and infrastructures can easily fail. And the authorities often worry more about saving face, or saving themselves, than saving YOU. A survival bag helps you make the first step away from feebleness and toward self-empowerment.

But will prepping for inevitable catastrophes suffice?

As old growth forests, wetlands, prairies, rivers, seas, and coral reefs become toxic landfills and dead zones, as breadbaskets become dustbowls, as pollinators and phytoplankton die off, as diadromous fish disappear from the oceans, as fish, birds, amphibians and mammals die off en masse, as life becomes pavement, as climate stability implodes, the GDP goes up. The dominant culture calls its graveyards its treasuries.

As the fiat currency, fractional reserve banking, and usury-and-debt economics of the modern age evaporate into empty promises, as fossil fuels, radioactive fuels, precious metals, conductive metals, and rare earth minerals grow scarce, all hopes of a bigger, faster, shinier future can remain only through ignorance or denial. When you see eating your seed corn as planting, your upkeep becomes your downfall.

We need to admit the truth about this system: by any measure, this shit has got to go. And we have no one else but us to make it so. Every day we wait, the shadow of mass extinction grows to swallow us.

Will you scatter the seeds of change?

Enjoy! And feel free to contact me for help: autumnleavescascade@gmail.com


1. Anti-copyright. Reproduce, adapt and distribute at will; no permission required. Please mark any adaptations under independent authorship. Please notify me of derivative works by emailing an electronic copy or web link to autumnleavescascade@gmail.com if possible. Feel free to also send relevant questions, concerns, comments, compliments, and critiques. All graphics pirated. Document made with open source software.

2. This document contains information notable to me, remains a work in progress intended primarily for my own private use, and will evolve over time in subsequent versions from a “what to” into a much longer “how to” (thus the currently long introduction). I take no responsibility for actions arising from others’ use of the contents herein. Use what you like and compost the rest.

For green anarchism,

Comments 60

  • Good stuff, well presented. Thanks for the anti-copyright.

  • This is a thorough, well thought-out presentation. You have your shit together. Impressive. Many thanks for sharing it.

  • A whole lot of wisdom to have at 22. I have often thought that for me it seems quite good to be old as the world begins to collapse – less living to loose. But for the young who have the foresight to begin to plan as you have, being young is surely a gift. Whether or not you succeed (whatever that means) you will certainly be heading into the ultimate challenge – being bored will never be your problem.

    Best to you and thanks for sharing not only philosophy but also practical knowledge for those who are inclined to see the other side of civilization. Almost makes me wish I was young again 🙂 But one role of the elderly is to leave their place at the table for the young to fill…

  • Superb. Thanks. One of those who seems likely to be the guides that lead “humanity” through the bottleneck (if that proves possible).

  • Nikanoru, very well prepared. I agree with the other commenters here that you are a good candidate for surviving what the world is liable to throw at you. I will keep it and file for future reference. However, I must admit that the idea of leaving this little place I’ve carved out for myself seems unlikely, no matter what may come. Still, one never knows . . .

  • very very very impressive writing/ideas, nikanoru, and i’ve only read a small fraction so far. just wanted to get that out first, with hopefully more elaboration later. i would have liked to have read more about your background, perhaps some other time.

    ‘We have to decide whether or not we will survive’

    correction. we have to decide if we want to survive, how much we wish to, maybe need to find a surreally good reason to want to. we may also choose how and when we wish to die, with luck. but as far as survival goes, we can only try to improve our chances to survive longer. ultimately no one survives, and few get to choose the circumstances or timing of their demise.

    ‘With such calamity on the horizon I see the opportunity for desirable social transformation’

    ah, getting through the bottleneck’s the rub here. not going to be easy, smooth, or quick, if at all possible. your hypothetical land of opportunity is not on the horizon, and no one can say when it may come to fruition, whether it will come in your lifetime, if ever.

    perhaps it’s necessary to think such positive thoughts to have the motivation to survive and a chance to experience such an opportunity for a return to freedom/wildness. certainly as civilization dies, any survivors will be returning to such a state.

    ‘Ignoring or repressing our fundamental nature leads us to sickness, misery, madness’

    this has certainly been the case for me, particularly re, misery and madness. i doubt it does much for the mental health of others, but many do seem pretty well adjusted to domestication. the key point made however is subtle/implied, that being civilization imposes domestication on all by force. as i said in a recent comment, repression is in the dna of civilization.

    i’m only part way through the main essay. gotta go now. more later. for what it’s worth, i wish u live to see a better, if not easier world in which to live.

  • Nikanoru,

    Well done. Your view of industrial civilisation and its pitfalls is pretty much spot on. That and your approach to addressing survival belies your age. Your list is quite complete and comprehensive – a useful tool for those who wish to get started on the road to the future.

    There are several unanswered questions that arise in my mind about not so much the article, as instead the author. Your article reflects a deep study of the issues involved, both on the philosophical level and the more practical survival side of things – a remarkable achievement for a 22 year-old, and a story that I am sure will benefit others seeking a way out of this prison.

    I am left wondering how long you have been involved in this pursuit?

    You mentioned the need for pairing up with a community of some size. Could you share with us your community experience thus far and how you were able to find others of similar outlook as yourself? How many are in your community and work with you on a consistent basis?

    You also mentioned that a useful exercise would be to take the list you have devised and check all those items that you already have mastered (or have practical experience with). It would be very interesting for me to see how your list came out when you first did this exercise, and how it now looks after you have spent time developing new skills. It must at first have seemed a daunting task – I know that’s the way I see it when I look at it. Certainly the skills detailed are many and some require, I feel certain, years of experience to master to the point where one would feel comfortable with them. It must have been a massive challenge to you and your community. There was a time when most people had many of these skills. They were taught them almost from birth, so by the time they were your age, they were already mature and respected members of their tribe.

    In other words, I almost feel that your need to provide a sequel detailing your experiences and giving folks who are young enough to follow your steps a helpful and inspiring hand.

    Thanks for the contribution, and the best of luck to you.

  • Meanwhile Fukushima may be heating up again per WashingtonsBlog
    And that is with lots of ingenuity and civilization still largely functional – perhaps part of the toolkit should be a map of where all the reactors are…..

  • ultimately no one survives, and few get to choose the circumstances or timing of their demise

    For those who choose to see it that way, the “circumstances and timing” are a matter of the “Divine Will”. When one’s actions become consistently non-volitional, from the point of view of an external observer, it may be said that that person’s will has been subsumed into the “Divine Will”. From the point of view of that (“enlightened”) person, it is the person’s own will. Hence the tradition that the “enlightened” ones always choose their own “circumstances and timing”. 

  • I was mildly surprised – Australia and NZ don’t have any. But of course, they have other problems…. 😉

  • Nice link Victor, the lowered rate of construction in the last 20 years compared to the previous 20 is of interest.
    Here is an actual map
    Siberia looks good

  • Kathy

    Good map – yes, Siberia looks very good – my wife’s family lives there. But you better speak the language or you are in big trouble… 😉 You also have to understand that much of the northern portions of Siberia are actually frozen peat bogs, and after they melt, you won’t be able to build much on top of them. Nor will they be especially good for agriculture. But if you live a nomadic life, not a bad bet.

    Of course, you also have to consider one other little detail. See all those little multi-coloured dots on your map? When they melt down, they will send all their shit straight to Siberia as one last parting gift from mankind…… 🙂

  • Nikanoru.

    To even think about all the matters in your list puts you way ahead of the vast majority of people on this planet.

    I offer a word of caution. There is a big difference between identifying what items or processes would be useful in passing through the bottleneck and actually having access to them.

    For instance, leather was traditionally make by soaking hides in pits of lime (calcium hydroxide), enzymatic opening up of the interfibrillary matter, followed by treatment with tannins extracted from trees over a period of many months. The entire process took up to a year for heavy leathers. Some kinds of leather (particularly chamois) were made through the use of fish oils, particularly cod oil using techniiques that had been prefected over centuries. The chances of finding any of the substances required for making leather declines by the day in most western nations. The tools necessary for carrying out the processes have largely disappeared. And most of the people in western nations who have the basic skills are over 50 years old.

    Producing useful items from wool or cotton is not as daunting but is nevertheless arduous, particularly if the right equipment is not available.

    Stable communities with all the skills and equipment necessary for traditional living now only exist as tiny pockets in faraway places.

    Once industrial scale manufacture of chemicals goes into decline shortages of everything we currently take for granted are likely to occur very quickly. One could shock up on say baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate), vinegar, salt etc. but knowing no more would be available in the future, how and when would one use them? I occasionally think of the last remanant of the Viking colony in Greenland, who were dependent on imports from the east. When the supplies stopped coming an item like a knife was sharpened until almost nothing was left.


    You are correct. There are no nuclear reactors in NZ. Australia, on the other hand, has a been contaminated via uranium mining and the testing of DU weapons. It’s a big place, of course, so not everywhere is contaminated. I believe one of the biggest problems for Australia in the future will be the generally low fertility of the soils and climate chaos….. many parts are alternately fiercely hot and dry and then inundated.

    Yesterday I spent ten minutes talking to my local council about all the stuff they do not want to hear about and do not want to deal with. More details later.


    ‘But one role of the elderly is to leave their place at the table for the young to fill…’.

    Unfortunately, the way the system works, the elderly have their snouts in the trough and are gobbling up everything as quickly as possible, leaving the table almost bare, and leaving almost nothing in the larder. What is more, they are leaving the mess they have created for the next generation to attempt to clean up.

  • Kevin, yes I understand how the present system works, but I was speaking of myself only and my own willingness to let go of life post crash when I would become a burden to others.

    At least some Hunter-gatherer tribes had traditions of leaving behind the elderly that all seemed to accept. One story of the !kung in the Kalahari tells of building a thorn bush hut as the tribe tearfully says goodbye to an elderly couple that can no longer keep up. They know it won’t hold out the predators for long.

    Also suicide was practiced by the Inuit “In Antoon A. Leenaar’s book Suicide in Canada he states that “Rasmussen found that the death of elders by suicide was a commonplace among the Iglulik Inuit.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit#Suicide.2C_murder.2C_and_death

    Such traditions will no doubt surface again if any survive the coming age. The tribe becomes the unit that survives not the individuals because individuals have to exit sometime anyway.

  • it seems that ‘authorities’ everywhere are monstrous:


    ‘I believe the dominant system has already begun to collapse under its own weight and that this course will accelerate in the near future. I believe this will soon escalate intensely within my own lifetime’

    ‘escalate intensely’- i love this choice of words. exactly what i suspect.

    sheople here on nbl differ on the timetable for collapse. i see u like myself prefer to err on the side of conservatism when it comes to apocalyptic predictions. however, when u speak of your lifetime, lets be clear. the shitstorm that shall accompany the great collapse is going to shorten many lives, including probably yours, nikanoru. so when u speak of ‘in your lifetime’ at 22 years old, conventionally prior to collapse this would have meant another 60 years or so assuming u live in the ‘developed’ world. it’s hard to say what your life ‘expectancy’ is at this point, but it’s surely less than that.

    your essay led me to this website of interest:


    still marveling over the beginning of this great essay. more later.

  • This is an amazing article & list. Thank you Nikanoru!

  • Kathy.

    I followed up on your point simply to emphasise the difference in thinking between your and those who pretend to lead. Wheareas you are willing to leave the table, being psychotic or deranged (or whatever it is…. wetiko disease) they continue to gorge.

    I addressed NPDC on 14th Febuary and discussed their total failure to address any of the issues of the times over the past 5 years. I pointed out that planning was on the basis of fabrications, and that the council was driving the community off the cliff. I pointed out that the councillors and staff were promoting policies that destroyed their own children’s futures.

    Most of them are not interested, of course. It’s all about a tiny gang of elites making short term gains at the expense of everyone else.

    Greed, ignorance and stupidity continue to reign supreme for the moment. But, as I pointed out to them, the system is collapsing worldwide because it is founded on scams and an oil supply that has peaked.


  • Oil back up to ~$120 Brent/$102 NYMEX and still climbing. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? We’ll see. We’ll see.

  • From the Guardian today:

    Here’s a summary of today’s data:

    Germany – GDP fell by 0.2% in Q4
    France – GDP grew by 0.2% in Q4
    Italy – GDP fell by 0.7% in Q4.
    The Netherlands – GDP fell by 0.7% in Q4.
    Portugal – GDP fell by 1.3% in Q4

  • Greek party leaders have sent written commitments to Brussels saying they will stick to the agreed austerity measures even after the general elections in April. There are still EU demands Athens failed to fulfill, which led to the cancellation of a key meeting of Eurozone finance ministers. Greece is still struggling to secure the second bailout from its international creditors, without which it’s due to default next month.

    For more on that RT talks to MEP and leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage.

  • Kevin, Oh my dog, what a bunch of stupid farts (we have their cousins here) – well you know you tried…..

  • For those of you with an activist bent:

    ‘Global Square’: Wikileaks-Backed Activist Platform Launching in March


    More info here:


    The Global Square will be built upon the Tribler platform, a fully distributed P-2-P platform that can only be stopped by (1) killing the Internet, or (2) identifying and killing all the users…. 🙂

    Neither is likely.

  • more fiddling with ideas as civilization sputters into collapse:

    spent a few hours looking over some of the links nikanoru provided, including interesting assertions from lierre keith re. not the unsustainability of industrial civilization, but civilization itself, based on the fact that agriculture destroys topsoil:

    the more one knows and understands, the more absurd conventional beliefs, perceptions, and ideas are, and the less surrealistic hope there is for anything but a complete termination of civ.

    kevin, thanks for your ongoing efforts to publically bring sanity/awareness, against enormous odds.

  • 20 Times More Japanese Earthquakes in the 6 Months Following March 2011 than in the Previous 9 YEARS … Quake May Have “Awakened” Fukushima Fault
    Posted on February 15, 2012 by WashingtonsBlog
    Pandora’s Box?

    We have extensively documented the fact that engineers knew that Fukushima was built in an area which was highly-susceptible to giant earthquakes, and that it would fail in a large earthquake.

    Unfortunately, Pandora’s Box may now have been opened.

    Specifically, Japanese scientists have published a scientific paper in European Geosciences Union’s journal Solid Earth saying that the 9.0 earthquake last March has apparently “awakened” the Fukushima earthquake fault, making it likely that a large earthquake will occur this year right near the stricken nuclear complex.
    rest at http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/02/20-times-more-japanese-earthquakes-in-the-6-months-following-march-2011-than-in-the-previous-9-years-march-quake-may-have-awakened-fukushima-fault.html

  • A major nest of climate change denier vipers has at last been uncovered:


    I suspect that the anonymous donor who has contributed some $14M over the last three years is one or both of the billionaire Koch brothers.

  • America in decline:


    The vid shows what we all know is only the beginnings of troubles, not only for America, but for the world.

  • Not sure if this has been posted here before – who knows perhaps even by me. Deals a lot with feed back mechanisms and why things keep getting worse faster than predicted. 27 mins
    David Wasdell, Director of the Meridian Programme, is a world-renowned expert in the dynamics of climate change. He is also a reviewer of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports and the author of numerous papers and presentations on climate change and related topics.

    Thanks for the links Victor. Lets see if Climatedenialgate gets the same play that Climategate did. Somehow I doubt it.

  • Only 307 Days — or — 43 Weeks and 6 Days – until December 21, 2012!

  • Lets see if Climatedenialgate gets the same play that Climategate did. Somehow I doubt it.


    I visited the Alex Jones site, as I commonly do for other types of info, and unless I missed, he never mentioned a word of it! For those of you who do not know, AJ is a big-time climate change denier who takes every opportunity to cast doubt on global warming and climate change.

  • More on ClimateDenialGate:

    Heartland Institute faces fresh scrutiny over tax status

    Whistleblower made complaint to IRS over climate science attack machine’s tax-exempt status, Guardian learns


  • Fasting can help protect against brain diseases, scientists sayClaim that giving up almost all food for one or two days a week can counteract impact of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

    Robin McKie, science editor
    guardian.co.uk, Saturday 18 February 2012 20.36 GMT Article history
    A vertical slice through the brain of a patient with Alzheimer’s, left, compared with a normal brain, right. Photograph: Alfred Pasieka/Science Photo Library
    Fasting for regular periods could help protect the brain against degenerative illnesses, according to US scientists.

    Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore said they had found evidence which shows that periods of stopping virtually all food intake for one or two days a week could protect the brain against some of the worst effects of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other ailments.

    “Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want,” said Professor Mark Mattson, head of the institute’s laboratory of neurosciences.

    “In other words, timing appears to be a crucial element to this process,” Mattson told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver.

    Cutting daily food intake to around 500 calories – which amounts to little more than a few vegetables and some tea – for two days out of seven had clear beneficial effects in their studies, claimed Mattson, who is also professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

    Scientists have known for some time that a low-calorie diet is a recipe for longer life. Rats and mice reared on restricted amounts of food increase their lifespan by up to 40%. A similar effect has been noted in humans. But Mattson and his team have taken this notion further. They argue that starving yourself occasionally can stave off not just ill-health and early death but delay the onset of conditions affecting the brain, including strokes. “Our animal experiments clearly suggest this,” said Mattson.

    He and his colleagues have also worked out a specific mechanism by which the growth of neurones in the brain could be affected by reduced energy intakes. Amounts of two cellular messaging chemicals are boosted when calorie intake is sharply reduced, said Mattson. These chemical messengers play an important role in boosting the growth of neurones in the brain, a process that would counteract the impact of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    “The cells of the brain are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effects of exercise on muscle cells,” said Mattson. “The overall effect is beneficial.”

    The link between reductions in energy intake and the boosting of cell growth in the brain might seem an unlikely one, but Mattson insisted that there were sound evolutionary reasons for believing it to be the case. “When resources became scarce, our ancestors would have had to scrounge for food,” said Mattson. “Those whose brains responded best – who remembered where promising sources could be found or recalled how to avoid predators — would have been the ones who got the food. Thus a mechanism linking periods of starvation to neural growth would have evolved.”

    This model has been worked out using studies of fasting on humans and the resulting impact on their general health – even sufferers from asthma have shown benefits, said Mattson – and from experiments on the impact on the brains of animals affected by the rodent equivalent of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Now Mattson’s team is preparing to study the impact of fasting on the brain by using MRI scans and other techniques.

    If this final link can be established, Mattson said that a person could optimise his or her brain function by subjecting themselves to bouts of “intermittent energy restriction”. In other words, they could cut their food intake to a bare minimum for two days a week, while indulging for the other five. “We have found that from a psychological point of view that works quite well. You can put up with having hardly any food for a day if you know that for the next five you can eat what you want.”

  • Excellent Greek film on the ‘odious debt’ incurred by governments all over the world and how these debts should be audited and subsequently cancelled. Such debts were incurred by corrupt governments receiving paybacks and other benefits whilst hoisting the debt onto the backs of their citizens:

    A film well worth watching in my opinion.

  • Kevin, pretty interesting article and study. All of us may get the chance pretty soon to test that theory first hand. 🙂

  • Is it just me, or have others noticed also that there have been multiple references over the last few days comparing the “positive” economic news of late to 2008?

    I know that I’ve heard at least 4 or 5 reports on the news similar to “the housing data is the best since 2008” or “the unemployment figure is the best since 2008”. These are being said in a way that seems to say “2008 was such a good year! And now we’re going back there!” How quickly they forget was really happened to the global economy in late 2007/2008.

    I suspect that it’s no coincidence that oil also is heading back up to 2007/8 levels. If you aren’t getting ready for collapse, now may just be your last opportunity.

  • TRDH, the barrage of “positive” economic news propaganda of late seems to me more frantic (or desperate) than usual. I get the feeling TPTB are trying to convince themselves things are going great, more than anything else. Their disconnect from reality is greater now than ever.

    I agree that now may be a last window of opportunity, though it is probably too late for many things. Those who did not take advantage of the window of opportunity of the last four years will be hard put to it if there is a mad scramble for resources. Wait, let me rephrase that: they’re fucked. The rest of us will be the ones “hard put to it,” in varying degrees depending on level of preparedness.

    ZerHedge is reporting that Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies. I’ll be watching the oil market open this evening to see the effect of that.

  • An advantage of rewilding: A Country For Old Men.

    Once understood in principle and practice, I can now vouch for personal experience as well.

  • Robin, it has it counterpart for old ladies too. 🙂

  • Kevin Moore: Just watched your presentation section of the video. Not sure what you are trying to do, or if indeed you had any objectives. You might have found better companionship talking to an assorted pack of barnyard animals. If you do feel the urge to try tot communicate, the first item should be triage. Those who are dead or nearly so should be passed over; those who are fully alert and up and about should be offered only the very specific and focused assistance that they may need or ask for; the bulk of the effort should be concentrated on the ones who are partly there and could become functional with some assistance. And it is a serious waste of effort to try to re-mold the hierarchy. Embalming the corpse is too wasteful of your precious resources.

  • Juvenile male red-tailed hawk: 2

    My chicken flock: -2.

    Now I see the value of a big, ornery rooster. We lost ours (along with 7 hens) a couple of weeks ago to a fox.

  • Christopher, we stopped having dog and fox predation on our flock after putting up an electric netting fence – costly but could work for a while post oil with a solar fence charger (until the battery fails). Our hawk attacks went way down when we got our rat terrier (raised with chickens). I guess they see her running around and think maybe something outside the fence is a safer bet. She does come running when the chickens start squawking – don’t know if she would actually attack a hawk tho. They still get an occasional chick, but that is hit and fly.

    A number of companies carry the fencing – this is the one we got ours from http://www.kencove.com/fence/Electric+Net+Fencing_products.php It allows us to free range them on 1 acre. Makes our eggs costly but we don’t do it just for the eggs.

    Also we have crossed some game blood into our flock and banty blood. Gamey smaller chickens seem to avoid capture better and gamey roosters are more pugnacious. But we don’t want full game as they are too pugnacious and not good layers. Banty hens lay small eggs but it is said that the feed to egg ratio is better – ie more egg for less feed.

    I haven’t updated our webshots in an age so these pics are some years old but give you an idea of our flock http://community.webshots.com/user/rustyjewell1

  • Christopher, sorry to hear about your trials and tribulations of the poultry sort. I haven’t lost any yet, but then I covered the entire area with chicken wire. Obviously, that limits their space and so can’t be free range. Trade-offs.

    I am planning to incorporate a “chicken moat” in my garden this year. The idea is that the coop is attached to a 6 foot wide chicken run that surrounds the entire garden. The chickens eat a wide variety of pests migrating to the garden, and their fertilizer/waste is right there close by. The 6 foot wide space between the two fences of the “moat” isn’t wide enough for most deer to feel comfortable with, so should keep them out of the garden, and is supposed to keep out many other common furry garden predators as well. I wonder if the narrow space may be enough to discourage hawks? Probably not.

    I saw the idea for it on Mother Earth News website, I believe, and I’m anxious to try it out.

  • kevin, thanks for the interesting/useful info. re. intermittent fasting. considering our circumstances, life longevity has limited appeal, but life quality is always worth striving for.

    kathy, u don’t look much like the vague picture of u i’d imagined/formed in my mind. it would be odd if u did. thanks for the pics.

    victor, i’m looking forward to checking out more of that greek debt film when i have more time. good comments by all today.

  • Here’s a real-live example of what many of us here have talked about as being the weakness of nuclear power plants . . .

    “Wolf Creek Nuclear Station still shutdown over 1 month after loss of off-site power”


  • Kathy & TRDH, thanks for your words. I am looking into getting an English Game rooster, and moving from the Polish to larger breeds like the Dominique, whose feather pattern may also help to camouflage them somewhat.

    Meantime, the remnants of my flock are confined to quarters.

    The hawk actually tried to hide under the coop today after I confronted him after the second attack. It was a juvenile male red-tail, probably hungry after its first winter.

    Several friends and family have suggested various methods for killing both the hawk and the foxes. I choose none of them, and will instead try to live with them, and give them their due from time to time.

    I fear that as more people take up small-scale livestock raising, confrontations with local natural predators will increase, and the latter’s numbers will suffer. People are too quick to shoot or poison, I’m afraid.

  • Nymex $105, Brent $122.

    Saudi Arabia’s production and exports are both down, at a time when Iran’s oil is becoming more difficult for the West to purchase. Looks like $5/gal gas will be here (in the U.S.) before we know it even though our gas usage is way down from a year ago. The question is, what price pushes us past the breaking point?

    Maybe the more important question: did somebody bring popcorn?

  • Dr House. I have popcorn. Lets watch the show since the show will go on regardless 🙂

    Christopher – Dominiques are IMO good meat birds but not good layers. How about Brown Leghorns – better camouflage I would think than the barring on the Dominiques, skittish (not so great for owners but more alert re prey), good foragers, excellent layers. Our best layers all have white or brown leghorn blood in them. Not as much meat tho.


  • Christopher: After years of loosing chickens and ducks to predators and trying to keep everyone happy, we did start trapping primarily the minks that kill the birds, primarily during the winter. If you think you are going to decimate their population consider this. In the immediate area around our farm (about 1-2 miles in each direction) a trapper recently trapped 37 coyotes in a 2 week period. Unless we are totally overrun by new farmers all intent on getting rid of all the predators, then I don’t think you need to worry. Once the ladies move into their tractors during the warmer months we never have to worry except for domestic dogs.
    If you want you can encourage crows and red wing blackbirds. They raise such a level of noise when they see any hawk, that the ducks would always run for cover. In most cases the crows will drive them off.

  • I watched this vid today – a encounter with mountain gorillas. The man in the vid was incredibly moved as I was watching him. We are animals and somewhere inside we miss being in the natural world.


    If any make it through the bottleneck I hope they never become civilized again.

  • Robin

    When I commenced talking to my local council (in Manukau, a division of Auckland) in 2003, my initial objective was to have some policies based on reality and sanity implemented, and a permaculture education centre established.

    By 2005 it was clear to me that neither would happen: I fled the district in 2006. Financial constraints stopped me from getting to an ideal location, so I opted for what I could get

    When I commenced talking to NPDC in 2007 my initial objective was to have some policies based on reality and sanity implenmented, and a permaculture education centre established.

    By 2008 it was clear to me that neither would happen. Since 2008 my prime objective has been to get the incompetence and criminality of the council on public record, so they will not be able to say; “We could never have knowm it would turn out like this,” when it all goes down the drain.

    Adjunct to that, many of my activities have been reported by the local media, so the community at large cannot say: “We could never have knwon it would turn out like this” when it all goes down the drain.

    I am not particulalry hopeful of waking up the masses. As discussed on numerous occasions on NBL and elsewhere, the masses do not want to be woken up. As Derrick Jensen said (and I have emphasised in ‘The Easy Way’) most people in industrial societies are unreachable.

    However, a small percentage (maybe 5%) of the populace are reachable, so I reach them when I can.

    The other interesting aspect in speaking to the council is that many of them know perfectly well that I am right. As time goes on I have witnessed scoffing and mocking morph into supressed fear. Give it another year or two and I suspect there will be perceptible fear amongst the council staff and the elected members. I’m waiting for the flurry of resignations that will inevitably come.

    The biggest problem facing truth-tellers in NZ is that most other parts of the world are going down faster than NZ, so the increasing value of the NZ dollar (now 83 cents US, compared to a long-term average of about 50 cents)cushions the fall by keeping the price of imports (especially motor fuel) lowish. Petrol costs %2.12 a litre now compared to about $1.60 a litre 6 years ago, despite three or four tax increases. The relative stability of NZ climate, especially in this district, leads to great complacency, as does income from petrochemicals and dairying. In that sense, it’s the wrong palce to be, because the worse global conditions get, the more demand there will be for what Taranaki has to offer.

    Nevertheless, to anyone who has their eyes open it is clear that things are going down the drain in NZ, even in Taranaki. That’s another intersting aspect worth discussing because many people around here have latched onto the ‘we’re different’, ‘we’re special’, ‘like no other’ mantra that has been heavily promoted in the district over recent years. Sure, Taranaki is arguably one of the best places in NZ to live, and it does have an exceptionally high profile when it comes to international music festivals etc. but I want to get through to people that Taranki is part of the world economy and is part of the global environment, so it will be badly affected by the collapse of both.

    I jokingly said a number of years ago that blockading or blowing up the bridges on the major routes to the north and to the south would need to be considered at some stage, to stem the stampede into the province.

  • Thanks for the gorilla video, Kathy C! Delightful to see the interaction between us and our second cousins. Ten or so million years ago, we had a common ancestor: “we” were the same. Starting with the control of fire, less than a million years ago, we have gone down a non-sustainable path that traded physical for mental comfort.

  • Ed, good points there. I just really value natural predators to the point that they are sacred to me. Hopefully we can work out some kind of arrangement.

    Kathy, I had not considered brown leghorns, but I will now. I’ve had pretty good luck with Dominiques as layers, and appreciated their gentleness. BTW, the images you provided were marvelous. I will have to check out the Talledega NF next time I’m in that area. And Gorn is (was?) spectacular!

  • Chris, Gorn was spectacular and the best rooster we ever had. None since have lived up to him.

    How good a relation you can work out with the predators will depend on how hungry they are – and you are….we don’t treat anything as sacred, not even sure what that means. In nature everything is out there eating something else with no concern. They have no sense of anything being sacred. We consider wild animals as important to the environment and thus the expenditure for the electric fence was worthwhile to us, we have have our chickens and foxes both so we don’t have to kill foxes. But when the crash makes us all hungry I expect the luxury of sacredness will be sacrificed on the altar of our own survival.

  • Katy C: When the time comes, even the foxes may end up in the stew pot.

    Kevin Moore: when the time comes for an attempt at denial of foreknowledge, the survival benefits of preventing such denial may be rather limited?

  • Wow, reminds me of the Whole Earth Catalogue idea!

  • ‘Petrol costs %2.12 a litre now’ -kevin, new zealand

    i’m not sure if any ‘developed’ nation dependent on imported oil taxes it as little as ‘my’ usa. i was under the impression that australia, perhaps the only nation to accompany the usa in giving the international community a great big middle finger and refuse to sign the kyoto climate accord, was/is similar to the usa in it’s cavalier ignorance, doing little if anything to discourage fossil fuel consumption, and that new zealand would be somewhat in accod with it’s nearest large neighbor.

    criminal ecocidal mania characterizes usa policy foreign and domestic. it’s all about money, the holy grail of which is achieving economic ‘growth’. what stupid bastards are sheople in general in not knowing how rapidly gaia is being depleted, degraded, destabilized, or that civilization has caused an immense overshoot of global human population and desecration of gaia.

    last time i checked (a few weeks ago) in my part of the usa gas is sold for around $3.60 a gallon. i’m sure it’s gone up as oil has recently. i just figured that the price of a litre of gas in nz is about $1.75 in usa dollars. that translates to somewhere in the neighborhood of $6/gal, or about 150% what ‘americans’ pay. i’m surprised it isn’t closer to the american price. in fact, u’re closer to the relatively progressive e.u. here’s a short article with graph of e.u. prices:


    note from the article how absurdly chavez subsidizes consumption in venezuala. if he was smart he’d be going green and preaching doom along with us. instead he’s part of the problem. so much for this ‘progressive socialist’ ‘leader’. it’s been said many times but perhaps bears daily repeating: sheople all over and from all classes and political orientations are either too insane, stupid, or pre-occupied with money or survival to know that catastrophic collapse and climate destabilization have only just begun, requiring immediate radical difficult/traumatic change in priorities/policy.

    usa government has set a horrible example as a post ww2 ‘superpower’, choosing aggressive militarization and the most myopic greedy ecocidal policies imaginable. with saner smarter governance in the usa over that period…. perhaps the warnings from eminent scientists like king hubbert, the ‘club of rome’, william catton, etc. would have been heeded, and we might now be in the midst of a relatively gentle and volitional contraction to a relatively soft landing to roughly pre-industrial global population and co2 levels. taking into account also that chronic agriculture depletes/degrades topsoil we’d also be going to permaculture and h/g. that is, if pigs flew.

    thanks for the interesting/insightful analysis of your local situation, kevin. it figures that some locales will hang on to ‘growth’ or some semblence thereof a bit longer than others. if that’s the case in n.z., it will be interesting to see how sheople there, particularly the ‘elite’ react to collapse elsewhere. interesting if u hang in long enough with your efforts to see the day u can say to the effect ‘i told u so’, and maybe begin to be respected. almost certainly will be too late to do much, but any hasty last minute preps are better than none.