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Cost-of-living crisis changes Brits’ shopping habits: Hard-pressed shoppers are bulk buying

Ala Prepping style:)

British shoppers are bulk-buying groceries to save money amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, a new report has suggested.

The Barclaycard consumer survey found that 35 per cent of card users were stocking up on everyday items such as tea and coffee, tinned tuna and hygiene products such as shampoo and hand soap.

Buying in bulk can equal less trips to the supermarket – meaning less money spent on increasingly expensive fuel – while there are often savings to be had in buying products at wholesale. 

According to the report, gathered using data from March, 13 per cent of shoppers are stocking up on canned tomatoes, baked beans, tuna, pasta, flour, rice and grains. 

Meanwhile, 11 per cent are bulk-buying household supplies such as toilet roll, while 10 per cent are stocking up on laundry detergent and shampoo. 

At least 10 per cent are also getting extra supplies of tea and coffee.  

Shoppers also admitted to bulk buying over-the-counter painkillers (8 per cent), pet food (7 per cent), fizzy drinks (6 per cent), alcohol (5 per cent), Easter eggs and chocolate (5 per cent) and baby supplies (3 per cent).      

José Carvalho, Head of Consumer Products at Barclaycard, said: ‘Many sectors saw strong growth in March compared to the same period in 2019, as sunnier weather encouraged Brits to socialise at pubs and bars, book staycations and update their wardrobes for spring and summer.

‘However, rising fuel prices and household bills are clearly starting to influence consumer behaviour, with many Brits changing their travel and shopping habits to save money. 

While this may dampen growth in the months ahead, we shouldn’t overlook the expected heatwave later in April, and the fast-approaching Easter holidays, both of which are likely to boost non-essential spending.’  

The data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed that spending on essential items grew 18.1 per cent in March, the highest uplift since September 2021. 

However this was largely driven by spend on fuel, which soared 26.1 per cent as prices at the pump continued to climb.  

Card spending in general grew 17.7 per cent last month compared to the same period in 2019, as Brits took advantage of the sunnier weather and lifting of all remaining Covid restrictions to visit pubs, dine out, and update their wardrobes in preparation for the months ahead. 

However, the cost of living is causing increasing concern for most UK adults, with travel plans and shopping preferences changing in response to rising fuel and food prices.

Some two fifths of drivers (41 per cent) said they are changing the way they travel. 

Of these, over half (54 per cent) are walking more often, almost two-fifths (38 per cent) are cutting back on long car journeys, and 22 per cent are opting to cycle instead.

Supermarkets saw a 16.9 per cent jump in card spendings – higher than the growth recorded in both January (15.5 per cent) and February (16.0 per cent) this year – but much of this was likely due to inflation and rising food prices. 

Spending on essentials was also boosted by a demand for convenience and the popularity of local shopping, with food and drink specialist stores (butchers, bakeries and online meal-kit providers) up by 76.9 per cent compared with three years ago.  

Barclaycard made comparisons with three years ago because consumer spending was so heavily affected by the lockdowns in March 2020 and March 2021. 

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Another article on UK preppers

In the “prepping goes mainstream” series… 

Everyone should prep’: the Britons stocking up for hard times

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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act News

I migrated this from the news blog discussion because I thought it was a little tangential.

I thought the following news could potentially be of interest to preppers, especially if you take OpSec very seriously and don’t always like saying who you are.

The Department of Justice made revisions to its Computer Fraud and Abuse Act policy (see also here, though I want to clarify that I don’t consider myself a libertarian and I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the Reason Magazine Web site):

The DOJ will not prosecute “good faith security research” or “White Hat hacking.” In most circumstances, companies won’t be able to arbitrarily make it a felony to violate terms of service. In severe cases (maybe “stalking-like” behavior that doesn’t rise to the level of being illegal, like a guy writes about a woman without directly harassing her) the violator must discontinue the behavior after receiving and reading a cease and desist letter.

Of course, social media companies will know who you are if we end up with a left-wing dictatorship, right-wing dictatorship, or some other form of authoritarian government. Prep accordingly.

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What shortages/price hikes are you all anticipating?

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of news about higher fuel prices and an expectation that wheat will be in short supply and higher in price, but I was reading this article and found that Russia is one of the leading exporters of fertilizer. Fertilizer shortages could ultimately really impact agricultural yields globally. What shortages/price hikes are you all anticipating and prepping for?

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Sunflower oil: UK bottler has a few weeks’ supply left

The biggest cooking oil bottler for UK shops has said it only has a few weeks’ supply of sunflower oil left.Ukraine and Russia produce most of the world’s sunflower oil and the war is disrupting exports, said Edible Oils.The company, which packages oil for 75% of the UK retail market, is ramping up supplies of other oils for shoppers.Meanwhile, manufacturers of foods that contain sunflower oil, like crisps, oven chips and cereal bars, are reworking their recipes.The Food Standards Agency has advised people with allergies to look out for extra information from shops and food makers.Kim Matthews, commercial director at Edible Oils said 80% of the global supply of sunflower oil comes out of Russia and Ukraine.”So obviously, with everything going on out there, we physically can’t get sunflower to be coming out of the country,” he said.

If you buy any cooking oil on the supermarket shelves, chances are it has come from the Edible Oils plant in Erith, on the outskirts of south-east London. It bottles oil for brands and retailers own label products.”From a UK consumer perspective, sunflower oil is the biggest oil. It’s used more than anything else,” said Mr Matthews.”It’s a fast moving situation. We’re still trying to see if we can get some more but it’s looking very tight.”Edible Oils Ltd has upped production to 24/7 to try to make sure it has plenty of rapeseed and other oils to put on the shelves when the sunflower oil goes.”Sunflower is great because you can cook at high temperatures. Rapeseed is very similar. You can do exactly the same with it,” he said.But it was far from clear when sunflower oil supplies will be back to normal, he said.”At the moment, Ukrainian farmers should be sowing the seeds now for the harvest in October and November.”Clearly that’s not going to happen… we’re probably going to miss the season so we could be impacted for 12-18 months.”

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The Guardian profiles international go-bags

“Your life is under threat. You might have to run any second. What do you take?” – The Guardian

I thought folks here might find this to be of interest. The piece highlights the diverse and rational needs for personal preparedness that are not at all the apocalyptic or paranoid variety.

While only a few of these kits would be The Prepared-approved for their thoroughness, most of the bags reflect some preparedness staples: important documents, communications, medicine, hygiene, and family care. I think it shows some interesting perspectives and that a go-bag is not a one-size-all solution: people do have distinctly different needs, priorities, and scenarios depending on their circumstances and personal values. A complete 30-50lb kit is not going to be achievable or useful in a lot of circumstances, especially for those living in high density urban environments for whom mobility is most important.

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Surging energy prices leave British glasshouses empty

This may sound trivial on the face of it, however, it shows how difficult life could get very soon. The crisis in the Ukraine has the potential to affect much larger swathes in life. With energy price rises affecting us directly through heating and fuel costs, it’s also coming indirectly through food and transport. 

I’ve cherry picked a few points from the article.

High Energy Costs Means Crops Not Planted.

ROYDON, England, March 31 (Reuters) – In a small corner of south-east England, vast glasshouses stand empty, the soaring cost of energy preventing their owner from using heat to grow cucumbers for the British market.

Elsewhere in the country growers have also failed to plant peppers, aubergines and tomatoes after a surge in natural gas prices late last year was exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making the crops economically unviable.

 The hit to UK farms, which need gas to counter the country’s inclement weather, is one of the myriad ways the energy crisis and invasion have hit food supplies around the world, with global grain production and edible oils also under threat.”

Montalbano, whose grandfather emigrated from Sicily in 1968 and started a nursery to provide local stores with fresh cucumbers, decided not to plant the first of the year’s three cycles in January.


Last year he paid 40-50 pence a therm for natural gas. Last week it was 2.25 pounds a therm, having briefly hit a record 8 pounds in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

Fertiliser prices have tripled versus last year, while the cost of carbon dioxide – used both to aid growing and in packaging – and hard-to-attain labour have also shot up.

“We are now in an unprecedented situation where the cost increases have far outstripped a grower’s ability to do anything about them,” said Jack Ward, head of British Growers.

It means a massive contraction for the industry, threatening Britain’s future food security, and further price rises for UK consumers already facing a bigger inflation hit than other countries in Europe following Brexit.

UK inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.2% in February and is forecast to approach 9% in late 2022, contributing to the biggest fall in living standards since at least the 1950s.

Bill mentioned in another thread that there could well be a petrol/diesel shortage further down the line as fuel is diverted to the expeditionary forces lining up at the Russian borders. I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment. 🙁

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Finland and national preparedness (Financial Times)

In light of the Ukrainian invasion, FT has posted a story describing Finland’s national preparedness strategy/culture that I thought some here might find interesting.

“But what Finland calls its strategy of ‘comprehensive security’ offers an example of how countries can create rigorous, society-wide systems to protect themselves ahead of time — planning not just for a potential invasion, but also for natural disasters or cyber attacks or a pandemic. 

This is not only about military readiness. It also extends to what Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a security expert at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, describes as the ‘boring, unsexy work’ of ensuring that laws and rules work in times of crisis.”

I think it’s well known that some European states, like Finland and Switzerland, have very deeply engrained military or civil defense infrastructure, but there’s some thoughts here about working with the private sector, etc. that might be of interest. While it’s not a perfect system, there are some things here that other countries should consider, such as dual use infrastructure in case of emergency, etc. From a North American perspective, it would be prudent if Canada and the US investigated some of these measures, given that extreme weather, wildfire risk, etc., etc. is only going to increase.

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One woman’s 18-point survival checklist for fleeing Ukraine as Russia invades : NPR

Found this on NPR two days ago.   Thought it was fascinating and wanted to share with y’all since there are several threads about Ukraine on the forum.

One woman’s survival checklist fleeing Ukraine

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European energy prices going through the roof

Gas price rockets leaving billpayers facing £5,000 price capThe price of gas has gone through the roof to record levels today as the West prepares to boycott Russia’s fossil fuels, which raises $1billion-a-day for Vladimir Putin’s war chest.

With global markets in turmoil, UK wholesale gas hit 800 pence per therm today – up from 39p a year ago – amid claims that the monthly price cap planned for October 1 could have to be raised to £5,000-a-year. 

To clarify before the Covid Pandemic and the Ukranian conflict the average Brit was paying £1250 ($1645) a year of electricity and gas.  A month or so ago that rose to over £1900 ($ 2500) a year, and is definately going to hit £3000 ($ 3900) a year at the end of October 22.   The way these issues are affecting energy prices it is now forecast to rise to between  £4000 and £5000 ( $ 5260 –  $ 6500) a year up from £1250.

Millions are going to have a choice soon, HEAT or EAT but not both.

I cannot possibly emphasize enough that if you can go OFF GRID on heat and Light, even partially (like getting a wood stove)  you REALLY should.

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Crude Oil

Supply line news – Impacts of pandemic, war, inflation, and whatever comes next

A thread for news about possible and observed supply impacts of pandemic, war, inflation, and whatever comes next. I’m US-based so please chime in with reports from other regions.

Grain. Although the US doesn’t import much grain, we do bring in about 100 million tons a year, and we are big exporters. That means we are exposed to the world grain price. RU and Ukraine (UA) export about 12% of global calories traded. About 30% of wheat, 20% of corn and 80% of sunflower oil. voted to ban exports and RU sanctions will have a big effect.

Chips. (not potato) In addition to the existing supply bottlenecks and huge demand for microchips, it turns out Ukraine produces 50% of the neon in the world and has shut down both factories. So what? Neon is vital to the lasers that make microchip production possible. I have a PV charger on backorder—ostensibly due to the already existing chip shortages.

Fertilizer. In addition to food price increase, RU is a huge exporter of fertiliser and banned export of N back in February and banned other exports thursday. Prices of N increased 22% and K went up 34% on friday alone.  Not to put too fine a point on this, but fertilizer is the thing the Green Revolution was made of and what reset the timer on Ehrlich’s Population Bomb. So in addition to basic staples like grains, those of us who can grow some food should think about our fertiliser needs for the near term… and pesticides as well.

Lumber. Really building materials in general. Lumber price is nearly as high as it was at the height of the shutdowns. But in my experience going to the big box every week, the racks of about everything are better supplied now. If you can possibly put off a lumber purchase I think you will be able to save some money. But that’s just a guess and as I’m remodeling an old house, I can’t really postpone, so there is that.

Nickel, Copper, etc. Maybe getting into the weeds here but copper set an all-time high price this month and nickel was up 30%. China uses around half the supply and is driving consumption—because they make electronics for the rest of the world. I personally feel that the reason putin is going into UA now is that they past their peak in oil production on 2019, that is according to the RU oil ministry last year. So he’s gotta get to putting the USSR back together quick while he can. Having said all that, high oil price is going to drive up the price of lots of metals because they are needed for BEVs and renewable energy.  Energy Skeptic talks about these things a lot, she has an article up now talking about the huge amount of raw materials needed to transition away from fossils.

We live in a complicated and interconnected world where everything comes from somewhere else. Stuff is unfolding surprisingly fast at the moment, normality bias makes my cognition slow to respond. Most of the time there is enough slack, at least in my rich world, just in time supply line, that critical shortages don’t appear. But to me prepping is primarily about keeping ahead of whatever supply glitches and shortages.

What do you see coming down the pike?

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Interesting article from 2020 about US Homesteaders

Homesteaders, catastrophists run for the hills to flee U.S. uncertaintyBy Reuters

 Published:  10:01, 27 January 2020 

By Carey. L. Biron

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Cheap housing, deep unease and intense resilience – all forces that are driving a clutch of Americans to swap city life for a fresh start off grid and far from civilisation.

Some are survivalists, among them high fliers who fear a looming, urban catastrophe and the mayhem that might follow.

Others want a greener, gentler life untainted by the malign forces of capitalism and uncertainty of mainstream politics.

Whichever camp, realtors say the new dropouts are not “crackpots” and often include affluent professionals whose run for the hills has boosted rural land values and started to change their property market. “I’ve had hedge-fund managers and billionaires that have made purchases, and they all have concerns about the direction of the economy and social stability,” said John E. Haynes, president of Retreat Realty in North Carolina.

“We’re on that upward trend,” he said. “Inventory of that land on the market is tighter.”

Haynes has worked in real estate for decades.

About four years ago, he rebranded his company to pitch property to a new and growing breed of buyer – those motivated by “concerns about social stability”.

He had a record year in 2019, and was busy in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Donald Trump came to power.

“I’m sensing that again,” he said. “People get uncertain, and they start making decisions on the political environment and what they anticipate.

“So I think 2020 will be a good year for my business.”


Bruce – who values his privacy so would not let his full name be used – is buying 20 acres in remote North Carolina, where trees will become fuel and water springs from the land.

He has lived most of his life in cities, New York included.

But now the plan is to escape the urban jungle – a place of traffic, noise, poverty, crime and much else Bruce dislikes.

“It reached the point where we were tired of being on the defensive,” Bruce, in his mid-50s, said of city life and the hazardous technical setup on which it relies.

“Amazon can deliver groceries in two hours, but will the grocery store have food three days after a large disaster?” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, noting the cataclysmic potential of a major disruption in electrical generation.

“Our hope is nothing like this happens,” he said.

“But should it, we’ll be better prepared to survive in a rural setting, where more food is grown locally, where we have land on which to raise food or livestock, or hunt.”


Often called survivalists or “preppers”, many escapees twin an expectation of impending doom – or outright social collapse – with a deep disbelief in the government’s ability to cope.

Buying land – or “bugout” property, derived from military slang for a retreat – is a priority, with real estate networks compiling national lists of “prepper lands”.

Most survivalist land purchases are in the mountains of the U.S. northwest, primarily Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

In 2011, a blogger and former U.S. Army intelligence officer named James Wesley, Rawles – he includes the comma in his name – wrote a widely circulated post urging “freedom-loving Christians” to move to the region as a safe haven.

He dubbed the area the American Redoubt and urged followers to “buy land that will maximise your self-sufficiency.”

It is unclear how many heeded his call, but the Economist magazine estimated they numbered in the “thousands of families”.

Idaho in particular recorded a big influx.

The state had one of the top U.S. growth rates in 2015-16, driven in part by escapees from California and neighbouring Washington state, according to Boise State assistant professor Jeffrey Lyons.

Disaffected Californians make up a substantial number of clients for Black Rifle Real Estate, which says online that it helps people “Flee the City to the freedom and safety of Rural America and the famed American Redoubt.”

Broker Todd Savage said his business is at an all-time high, driven by frustration with how many U.S. cities are governed.

“Most of our clients are now looking to sell their postage-stamp size properties … and make what we call a ‘Strategic Relocation’ to a free state,” Savage said in an email.

Driven by new demand, the company is expanding outside of the so-called Redoubt – to Arizona, which Savage said enjoys lower taxes and far looser gun controls than liberal California.

“Arizona is the new Idaho for many seeking relief from the tyranny in California,” he said.


Conservatives are not alone in the new land rush.

Haynes said his clients in North Carolina are evenly split between survivalists and “homesteaders” – young, liberal, less affluent families seeking peace, quiet and a sustainable life.

“When I started out in 1973, the big thing then was the ‘back to the land’ movement,” said Neil Shelton with the Ozark Land Company, a developer active in Missouri and Arkansas.

What he is seeing now is a “new iteration” of that movement,” he said, and one driven by innovation: the pre-built ‘tiny home’, typically 400-600 square feet.

Small structures have made home ownership more affordable, he said, for some accelerating the new mood of escapism.

“This tiny-house movement is the biggest thing I’ve seen since” the 1970s, Shelton said.

Kim Moore, 63, said she and her husband had bought nearly 60 acres in North Carolina after enjoying a holiday there.

“I’m not a survivalist, but as much as possible, I’d like to live on the land,” she said.

Moore and her husband plan to build a series of small homes and create a “co-housing” community of family, friends and others with similar values.

“I want it to be sustainable, something that isn’t going to ruin the land, and something that’s big enough that all of my friends can join in,” she said.

“It’s something that feeds my soul.”

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Article, couple who built self-sufficient home out of clay and straw

Couple who built self-sufficient home out of CLAY and straw, and now live off the grid with their two kids, reveal they haven’t had to pay bills in over a DECADE – saving them $70K A YEAR

Misty Murph’Ariens, 36, and her husband Bryce 46, met as chefs in Hamilton, Ontario and loved visiting his grandmother’s rural cottageIn 2009, they bought a piece of farmland for $37,500 and spent $10,000 building a house out of clay, sand, and strawThey get food from farm animals and their garden, electricity from solar panels, and water from a well on the propertyThey earn some money from a small local catering business but get around by cycling, walking, or on horseback because they have no carMisty homeschools their five- and seven-year-old daughters.

A family that lives in an impressive off-grid self-built ‘clay’ home have paid no bills for over a decade — saving them $70,000 a year.

Misty Murph’Ariens, 36, and her husband Bryce 46, have become homesteaders — self sufficiency experts — since moving into a remote Canadian forest 15 years ago.

Now with their seven-year-old daughter Sage and five-year-old daughter Aurora, the Murph’Ariens is almost entirely self-sufficient, getting their food from a vegetable farm and a collection of animals, their electricity from solar panels, and their water from a well.

The couple met while working as chefs in Hamilton, Ontario but quickly realized they weren’t suited to living in the big city.  

‘From the moment we met we instantly knew we wanted to live an alternative lifestyle,’ Misty said.

They went for a visit to Bryce’s grandmother’s cob cottage in rural Durham for 54 weekends in a row, falling in love with the far-out location.

‘Bryce’s grandmother’s cottage was so peaceful and we were constantly disappointed when we had to leave and go back to the city,’ Misty said.

In 2006, they moved there permanently and immediately saw a change in their wellbeing. 

‘I’ve always suffered with intense migraines but when we moved to the countryside they started to become less and less frequent,’ Misty said.

‘Six-months after moving they’d stopped completely, and I’m convinced it was the noise and the city environment which had been the cause of my discomfort.

‘Rural living immediately made sense to us, and the idea of being completely self sufficient was really appealing.’

They spent three years learning how to lead the homestead lifestyle before going out on their own and buying a piece of farmland in the local area for $37,500 in 2009.

It was covered in trash and abandoned materials, which they spent weeks clearing. They then spent four months building a cob house — a natural material made of clay, sand, and straw — for just $10,000.

Every summer since the move, they have expanded and improved their home. 

Their daughters are homeschooled by Misty and taught a traditional syllabus with the addition of key primal skills, animal care, and building techniques.

To earn money, Misty and Bryce run a small catering business in the local community, but with no car, they get around by cycling, walking, or traveling on horseback.

Bryce claims the reason their family is financially stable despite their lack of consistent income is their low cost, self-sufficient lifestyle.

‘We’ve worked out over the years that our annual living costs amount to approximately $15,000 — and that’s with raising two kids,’ he said.

‘We try to be as self sufficient as possible, farming and harvesting all the food we eat.

‘We do get the occasional shopping delivery to the nearest road, but that’s only for a very select range of essential items,’ he said.

Most of their food comes from their own cows, chickens, and ducks, as well as a vegetable patch.

The garden grows all the traditional orchard fruits and produces a variety of nuts and vegetables, which they harvest on a weekly basis. 

They cook their meals on a wooden stove, use solar panels for electricity, and collect water from a well. 

The pair estimate that their lives cost just $15,000 a year to fund — a whopping $70,000 CAD less than the average four person household in their province.

‘I think the difference with our lifestyle is not so much what we do, but why we do it,’ Bryce said.

‘Of course we do have to acquire money, but the focus of our day is finding the most sustainable and fulfilling way to live.

‘Whereas most people are spending the majority of their time working to afford the necessities of life, we spend our time working to acquire these necessities directly.

‘Granted, it’s not a life for everyone, but it works for us and, as a family, we’ve never been happier.’

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Article, Not exactly gloating, stockpiling ‘preppers’ have a moment

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – Curt La Haise has put up with plenty of razzing from friends over the years who have called him paranoid for stockpiling an eight-month supply of food in his basement and having enough fuel to power his generator for almost an entire winter.

They’re not laughing anymore amid panic buying that has cleared store shelves across the U.S. and growing fears that the new coronavirus will force many Americans to self-quarantine for weeks in their homes.

“Now my friends are like, `What should I do, what should I get?´” said La Haise, who operates a firearms and safety training business near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. “Prepping doesn´t look so bad now.”

For those in the often-mocked “prepper” community, this is quickly becoming their “I told you so” moment. But many are resisting saying that, even if it’s in the back of their minds. What they hope is that they’ll finally be taken seriously and that more people will follow their lead.

“We’re not laughing. We’re not saying,`I told you so,’ when people are out there fighting over toilet paper and hand sanitizers,” said Paul Buescher, of Northfield Center Township, Ohio.

Buescher is one of 32 members of a group in northeastern Ohio that shares a farm packed with enough canned and dehydrated food and water to last for years. He said he is now getting calls all day long asking for advice.

Survival supply stores can’t keep up with the demand for food kits and medical supplies.

“Every single business that has to do with emergency preparedness is overloaded,” said John Ramey, founder of a Colorado-based prepper website called The Prepared.

Most preppers say they are about self-reliance and common sense and are quick to distance themselves from the “doomsday preppers” who are depicted on television shows awaiting the day most of the world’s population is wiped off the map.

“The vast majority of this is beans and Band-Aids, not bullets and bunkers,” Ramey said.

Jim Cobb, a disaster readiness consultant and editor-in-chief of Prepper Survival Guide magazine, said he has seen a few fellow preppers gloating on social media about people who are crowding stores in search of disinfectants.

“I hate the thought of alienating any of them because they think were a bunch of elitist goofballs.” he said. “We’re trying to take advantage of the opportunity that for once they’re not laughing and pointing fingers at us.”

While most people who have tested positive for the virus experience only mild or moderate symptoms, there’s a greater danger and longer recovery period for older adults and people with existing health problems.

Experts say it’s most important to practice safe hygiene: Wash hands frequently, cover sneezes and coughs, and stay home if fever or other symptoms arise.

As for the preppers, they have their own recommendations for anyone who is unsure of what to do next:

– Be ready to stay at home for at least two weeks. Have plenty of food and water. Don’t forget about your pets and medicines. That includes over-the-counter products for fevers and coughs.

– Yes, toilet paper is important, but so are hand sanitizers, disinfectants, sanitation wipes, eye protection and gloves.

– Get your finances in order. Make sure you can pay your bills and have cash on hand.

– Maybe most important, relax and don´t panic. And pay attention to the news and what’s happening around you.

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Millions in ‘zero-Covid’ China are in lockdown as virus cases TRIPLE

Millions of people across China have been plunged into a lockdown on Sunday as cases of Covid-19 tripled after a surge in infections in the north east cause the worst outbreak the country has seen in two years. 

A total of 1,938 new cases of coronavirus have been reported by authorities in China on Sunday, which is three times the Saturday figures. 

Tighter controls have been put in place for those looking to access Shanghai, with services in the eastern port city, of over 24 million people, have been suspended after their cases rose by 15 to 432.

Anyone wanting to enter Shanghai requires a Covid-19 test to enter.  

The nationwide surge in cases has seen authorities close schools in Shanghai and lock down central neighbourhoods in the southern city of Shenzhen. 

Neighbouring mainland cities Jilin and Changchun, in the north east, contributed to around three quarters of the total, reporting 1,412 total cases.

Entry to Changchun, which neighbours Jilin city and is within the Chinese province of Jilin, has been suspended, with families also told to stay at home.  

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Good news for US Type one insulin dependent diabetics

New partnership provides affordable insulin for all in the USA

its all free in the UK but our american cousins pay a fortune for their insulin, so this should hopefully help many.


An historic deal has been agreed between JDRF International and partners, to deliver lower-cost insulin across the USA from 2024 to everyone – regardless of insurance status.

The cost of a vial of insulin has tripled in the USA over the last ten years, with prices currently ranging from between $175 (£130) and $300 (£224) per vial, which could cost a person up to $1,000 (£750) a month. 

An estimated one in four people who are insulin dependent say they skip or ration their insulin because they cannot afford to pay this inflated price, potentially leading to severe consequences for their health, medical emergencies, or even death. 

This groundbreaking partnership between JDRF International – who are based in the USA – and other funders, means that Civica, a nonprofit generic drug manufacturing company, can manufacture and distribute biosimilar insulin for no more than $30 (£23) a vial, or $55 (£40) for a box of five pen cartridges. This is as much as 90% lower than existing costs. 

To make this happen, JDRF International has agreed to underwrite the initial development costs, meaning that Civica is able to provide this low-cost option to people who need it. 

Civica will develop biosimilars to three of the most commonly used insulins in the USA, to reach the most people possible: glargine (Lantus®), lispro (Humalog®), and aspart (Novolog®). Biosimilar insulin is highly similar to existing insulins that are already licensed for use and are just as effective. 

These affordable insulins will be available from 2024 to allow time for development, clinical trials and FDA approval, amongst other logistical factors. Everyone – regardless of their health insurance status – will be able to access this affordable insulin at this cost. This distinguishes this programme from many other existing routes of access for affordable insulin. 

JDRF UK’s Chief Executive, Karen Addington, said: “We are today proud of the impact that JDRF achieves: this partnership will help resolve some of the systemic health inequality for people living with type 1 diabetes in the USA. 

“It is our hope that this initiative then has the potential to go on and save lives across the world. We know that this news today will resonate with so many of our supporters and stakeholders who live with type 1 or work to prevent, treat and cure type 1 diabetes.”

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Governments starting to ban/control/curtail exports…

No link to sources, you can search and find numerous articles.  Many countries are taking steps to curtail (not always outright ban) exports of certain raw materials including food products.  A few observations based on my extremely limited knowlegdge of all these things, but coupled with some other bits of things read/heard over the past few months…

1. the items included in the export bans range from basic resources (e.g. grain) to other more perishable good (e.g. eggs, butter, vegetable oil, onions).  So… this doesn’t seem to be just a freeze on basic commodities but on value added products as well.

2. the export bans seem to be from smaller countries (e.g. Syria, Bulgaria, Romania); I don’t know if they are net importers of basic necessities but it would seem logical for such places to secure their food security.

3. News from Dec 2021 — the supply chain problems were predicted to remain until late 2022, and that was only when things were anticipated to START getting better.  That was obviously before Ru/Uk conflict so…

4. Other commodities (timber, bauxite, palm oil) appear in searches on export adjustments… these could be related to normal trade fluctuations, supply chain issues, Ru/Uk conflict, or just the advancement of the country’s economy such that they want to reserve those things for their own industries.  However, have seen multiple reports on timber exports from Ru being impacted now.  point being, all of these things can lead to higher prices for lots of things…on top of what was already occuring due to COVID/supply chain issues.

5. Uk is a top 10 world producer of a lot of things — mostly raw materials (e.g. wheat, titanium).  

Walking through the grocery at the start of COVID, I was sort of surprised to see empty shelves.  Even as I understood why it was so, it simply had never happened in my lifetime here — the only thing stores ran out of were toys during the holiday rush (e.g. Cabbage Patch dolls?).   I don’t think anyone will starve, but I’m preparing for some shortages now too. 

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Massive far side sun explosion Tuesday

interesting article and more encouragement for digital preparedness and a backup communication plan.  a local article and interviews a scientist from the Oregon Museum of Science Industry. This sunspot activity is from the same area that took out the satellites last week.

OMSI: Massive far side sun explosion could have been catastrophic

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UK media saying war by Wednesday

Many UK media sources believe its going to kick off this week between Ukraine, Russia and Nato, the Daily Mail is saying WAR on wednesday.   They report the costs of grain, animal feeds,natural gas, petrolium and diesel will go through the roof.

Internet may get jammed by military level hacking


GPS systems may be disrupted.

I would also redirect you to the thread about products made from oil and gas to see the likely impact on most of our daily essentials.

I’m filling all my fuel containers and treating it with Sta-bil,  increased food stocks to the tune of £300 worth, stocked up on firewood, medical supplies and stored water.

I’m an old dude so I can opinion on this but this reminds me of the darkest days of the Cold War.

If it goes off who knows how it could spiral.

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NYT article on PNW tsunami threat

Hi all,

Just wanted to share this article from yesterday’s New York Times re: the tsunami aspect of the seismic hazard in the PNW and how communities are trying to prepare:

The article actually does a good job of explaining why a tsunami triggered by a Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake would be so destructive, touching not only on the oft-mentioned aspects of the hazard (e.g., the height of the wave; the arrival time) but also the fact that 12-20 minutes of lead time for evacuation does not get you as far (literally) on buckled, undriveable roads, and the fact that the coasts of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington have a lot of huge bays fronted by multi-mile-long, extremely low-lying sand spits that have been heavily developed and will literally be overtopped by the wave. (The article has tons of maps that illustrate this effectively.)

We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the votes on the various evacuation-tower-financing bond measures are cast, but it seems like there are some real signs that people in the affected communities are taking the threat seriously. It’s one thing when geologists at DOGAMI and the major research universities in the region offer journalists quotes about the number of thousands of people who will die; it’s another thing when a school superintendent says, “The fact of the matter is that if a tsunami occurs tomorrow, we are going to lose all of our children.” At least we’re (maybe) past the point where nobody in these communities is willing to confront the reality that they will not be able to evacuate.

I also read (too many of) the comments. It was interesting to see what wasn’t getting across/what people were confused about. For example, a lot of folks seemed to have a “these towers will never work!” reaction, but the Japanese have been building them for a while and there are engineering design guidelines for this type of structure. I’d really prefer a managed retreat strategy for a place like Ocean Shores than a bunch of expensive, ugly evacuation towers (especially since sea level rise will come for that town even if the tsunami holds off for a couple more centuries), but the former is so legally fraught and so much more costly that I just don’t see Washington, let alone Oregon, getting to it in a timely fashion. I suspect they’re going to let California figure it out first (with respect to climate change, i.e., not tsunamis), since California has money. That’s moving really slowly, though, so I feel like Oregon and Washington should maybe just invest in some towers in the meantime, you know?

Also, a lot of people were getting in “people shouldn’t live there!” arguments, and many of the people on Team People Shouldn’t Live There seemed to have the impression “there” consists of super wealthy communities where people with options have chosen to live because they “want an ocean view.” But a lot of the PNW coast is pretty economically depressed, and it’s less that people have chosen to live there than that they’re from there and it would be super challenging for them to relocate. Also, scientists didn’t really understand that these tsunami-generating mega-quakes could happen here until the 1990s, so of course people settled and built in dangerous places— they didn’t know they were dangerous!

The other interesting thing in the comments is just seeing the range of reactions. Some people were like, “So much for visiting Oregon and Washington ever in my life!” While some PNW commenters’ reactions were more along the lines of, “I’m figuring I’ll probably just die when it hits and I’m okay with that.” Personally, I visit the coast all the time, but don’t like being out on those spits. My husband has wanted to explore a couple of them (at Tillamook Bay and the mouth of the Columbia) and I was totally jittery the whole time. I also haven’t spent a night in the tsunami inundation zone since 1996 and have no intention of ever doing so again. 

So, I’m curious: Any PNWers out there have thoughts on any of this? (Or people from BC or Japan?) For those who aren’t PNWers, do you think we’re nuts to live here? 😀

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Bloomberg and other media reporting China massively stockpiling food essential, War fears muted

ByAdam Minter5 January 2022, 01:00 GMT

In recent months, food prices have hit 10-year highs, causing concern worldwide. Supply-chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, bad weather and a surge in consumer demand are among the factors responsible for the spike. So, too, is a lesser-known phenomenon: China is hoarding key commodities.

By mid-2022, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China will hold 69% of the world’s corn reserves, 60% of its rice and 51% of its wheat. By China’s own estimation, these reserves are at a “historically high level” and are contributing to higher global food prices. For China, such stockpiles are necessary to ensure it won’t be at the mercy of major food exporters such as the U.S. But other countries, especially in the developing world, might ask why less than 20% of the world’s population is hoarding so much of its food.

China has operated granaries for thousands of years. In imperial times, they served as a source of tax revenue and a means of managing bad harvests, natural disasters, and war. Their importance grew as China’s population soared, yet the state’s ability to manage them faltered. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, natural and political disasters brought hunger and starvation to millions. Outsiders referred to China as “the land of famine.” Political instability and revolution soon followed.

Mao Zedong and China’s Communist Party staked much of their credibility on “solving” hunger, but midcentury famines took the lives of tens of millions. President Xi Jinping, never one to criticize his own country, once remarked that many members of his generation still recall hunger. Those memories have informed Xi’s policies since the start of his regime. In 2013, just weeks after taking office, Xi endorsed a nationwide campaign to discourage people from wasting food. In 2020, the “clean-plate campaign” was resurrected as he called on Chinese to “maintain a sense of crisis about food security.”

That crisis isn’t just about having enough to eat. It’s about having enough food produced domestically to minimize reliance on anyone else. Two weeks ago, Xi told a high-level Communist Party meeting that “the food of the Chinese people must be made by and remain in the hands of the Chinese people.”

That won’t be easy. China’s inventory of arable land has been in decline for decades, nibbled away by urban development and soil contamination, and its farms are far less productive than counterparts in other countries. Efforts to boost productivity with policy incentives and technology investments are promising but unlikely to pan out for years.

So China is stockpiling. At home, the government is offering farmers a minimum price for their crops (which are then often stockpiled). In March, it raised the minimum price for wheat for the first time since 2014. Meanwhile, traders have taken advantage of a  strengthening yuan to snap up grains at a feverish pace. China’s wheat imports surged 50% between January and July, compared to the same period of 2020.

The size and content of China’s commodity stockpiles is a jealously guarded state secret. But officials have been unusually open about the matter lately. In November, after a vaguely worded government missive about potential shortfalls this winter caused nationwide panic, agricultural officials announced that China had enough wheat stockpiled to last 18 months.

Other countries have been building up food reserves too, of course, especially as Covid-related disruptions persist. In June, the UN’s food agency warned that some low-income countries were likely to see food import costs jump as much as 20% for the year. Though the report didn’t single out any country for responsibility, China — as the world’s largest agricultural importer — certainly plays a crucial role.

Right or wrong, China has no intention of unwinding its stockpiles for the benefit of others. Nonetheless, there are steps it could take to help mitigate inflation. Most important, it should begin unwinding crop supports that raise domestic food prices beyond global ones. Meanwhile, a more open acknowledgement of China’s inevitable role in driving food inflation might encourage its leaders to work with others on food assistance to low-income regions.

China’s evolution from famine to feast delivered hundreds of millions of people from hunger. As its economy and clout grows, it should seek to ensure that others can enjoy the bounty.

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Is anyone else seeing a meat shortage?

This is my first time posting on the forum where I’m still a newbie at prepping and feel like I should listen more than talk at this point.

However, I haven’t seen anyone else mention about meat or grocery shortages, and I wanted to report what I saw at Kroger tonight in middle Georgia. There was literally no chicken left of any description – even the organic section was wiped out.

The beef and pork sections had some cuts available, but there were definite gaps where certain items had been cleared.

I didn’t think to check the rest of the store to see what else might be missing. Is anyone else witnessing these types of shortages? Or seeing any panic buying?

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Diet of meat needed for hunter-gather societies

Good morning,

This link proved interesting, at least to me.

It says hunter gatherer societies were smaller than the others.

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Insulin for type 1 diabetics that does not need refridgeration created in India

I honestly cannot remember if I posted this piece before so mods please delete if i have.

Scientists have developed an Insulin for type 1 diabetics that does NOT need refridgeration. Great news for Type 1 Preppers.

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