For many of us, we live in a world of luxury, of plenty, of comfort. We have everything we could possibly need. We live in a world where we walk into a store filled with all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and sweets. With hardly a thought at all, we go to the store and just know that there will be copious amounts of supplies for all of us to have. And we know, with a small measure of faith, that if the supplies runs out today, it will—as if by magic—be there tomorrow.

But, what if there is no tomorrow?

What if we can’t go to the store and get the food and water and supplies we need to properly take care of our bodies? What if, after a long day spent in the heat, you turn the sink on at home, hoping for a cool glass of water, and nothing comes out? The sink hisses and gurgles, trying to work, but it’s dry. What if you go to the kitchen early in the morning, bleary-eyed and sleepy to make breakfast, attempt to turn on the light and…nothing. Confused, you flick the switch on and off five or six times, hoping it will somehow magically turn on. And when it doesn’t, you become annoyed, frustrated even, and you look at the stove to notice there are no small blue numbers to show you the time. The power is out. “Ah, it’ll turn on in a bit,” you voice to no one. You then walk slowly to the pantry, feeling your way through the dark to grab the house’s only flashlight. But what if the light’s never turn back on? Does your flashlight even work? Do you have spare batteries for it?

As a child, and even now at times, whenever the power would go out, I would find it exciting, comical even. We now had to figure out a way to “survive” without it for a time, but we knew that it would be back on in a while, and we could go back to flushing the toilet without a 2-liter container of old water and stop drinking the bottled Arrowhead water we kept in the cool, dry basement. It was fun, for a bit—figuring out a way to live without the daily necessities. But after about three or four hours, it grew tiresome.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who do not have access to fresh water daily, who do not have food readily available to them, or who go without proper sanitation and hygiene. “More than a quarter of the world’s population—about 2.1 billion people—lack access to clean water, according to a report released…by the World Health Organization and UNICEF” (Hubbard Radio Washington D.C., 2017). Additionally, about “2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines, and of these, 892 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes, or into open bodies of water.” It is estimated that at least “10% of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by wastewater” (World Health Organization).

Those numbers are terrifying.

Some of us are so blessed to live in a world where we have all these things and more. And as you’re reading this article, you might be thinking, “Goodness, those numbers are terrifying; I want to do something,” or “I’m glad I don’t have that problem where I live.”

You’re wrong.

Yes, you may not have those problems, and it’s true, you may never be faced with them. But what if you are? In my opinion, it is a huge blessing, but it can also be a curse—in a sort of way—to live in a country where we don’t have to worry about those things. Why? Because it makes us complacent. It makes us forget those back-to-basic skills. It makes it so that, if there is a huge disaster that strikes and there is no clean water, many people will go into crisis mode because they don’t know what to do. They haven’t been equipped with the proper tools, if you will, of survival.

Now, calling it a “curse” might be a bit extreme to some (and yes, I would rather have access to clean water and sanitation any day of the week), but technology practically renders survival skills moot. They are a thing of the past. Unnecessary. Forgotten. But really, survival skills are just as important today as they were 100 years ago. As we’ve seen in the past, history repeats itself time and time again. The skills that some would say are irrelevant will most certainly become necessary one day. And really, if you think about it, it’s only been the last few hundred years in which these skills have slowly started to deteriorate and fade. Technology, as great as it is, has made us slightly useless when it comes to taking care of ourselves and the basics: food, shelter, water.

Now, when you think of survival skills, I’m sure one of the first people that comes to your mind is Bear Grylls, E.J. “Skullcrusher” Snyder, Mykel Hawke, or Dave Canterbury to name a few. There are many doomsdayers out there who are prepping for the zombie apocalypse. These are the people that go off the grid and have their own little sanctuary out in the middle of nowhere that is completely self-sustainable. They have a huge garden, an arsenal, livestock perhaps, years worth of food storage, and other supplies. While there are some people who have more merit than others when it comes to survival skills and emergency preparedness, some of these people can seem like extremist examples. You may be thinking, “How could I ever become like them?” or “Why would I want to be that extreme? I don’t need those skills.” I know, because I’ve thought those same things before.

But what if you’re someone like me?

I mean sure, I probably have a bit more knowledge than some of our city neighbors (maybe), but I really didn’t start learning about survival and emergency preparedness skills till I got to college. I’d always had a deep love for the outdoors, and I spent every moment I could outside. My last semester, I took one survival skills class and was hooked ever since. I learned that survival skills wasn’t just for the doomsdayers or the professionals. The everyday person can learn survival skills too and be good at it. Furthermore, I learned that knowing these skills is extremely valuable for our day and age too.

There will come a day when your sink will not run, that your lights won’t turn on, and the grocery aisles will not be filled with food. Water even, our most precious and valuable resource, will be fought over tooth and nail. Indeed, only 2.5% of the Earth’s total water is drinkable. With all the billions of people and animals, that’s not very much water when you think about it really. And as humans, we can only go three to four days without freshwater. That’s not very long. And in an emergency situation where you suddenly realize you need water, you can bet that everyone else surrounding you is thinking the exact same thing. It’s like when you’ve gone to the movies, thinking it’s a good time and that no one else will be there, when you show up, and about 500 other people thought the exact same thing you did. That’s merely an entertainment example.

Now, put that analogy into a survival situation. When it comes to survival, people’s brains are suddenly rewired or some innate button is pressed within them. The instinct to survive in all of us is strong, and it brings people out in different ways. You can bet, 110% that if you are faced without running water for weeks on end that the majority of water from the stores will be gone before you’ve had time to put your shoes on.

I share these statistics not to scare you, but to prepare you—to open your eyes, even if it’s just a little, to the absolute necessity of learning survival skills in the 21st century. You won’t be afraid of the future if you are prepared. And really, what better time than to start now? Anyone, anywhere, at any age, can learn these skills. And you don’t have to have some sort of military background or outdoor love for that matter to learn how.

You can become a survival expert. You can do this. I use the word “expert” not in jest either. It literally means “a person who has a comprehensive knowledge of or skill in a particular area.” If you prepare well, and do all you can to know what is out there, you’ll be labeled an expert. Yes, you. The everyday, seemingly ordinary person. Why? Because you’re doing this to prepare so the people you love will be safe. That’s what it is all about. That’s what we’re going to help you learn how to do here at Here, emergency preparedness and survival skills are made simple.

Comment, like, and share this article! Anything else you would add? Share your thoughts on why you think survival skills and emergency preparedness are important skills to learn in today’s world.

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