@PracTac4u #SemperParatus


BIG NEWS! The new website is LIVE!

We’ve loved our time here at this slice of the interwebs, but it’s time to grow up. That’s right. We’ve upgraded to a full on, big boy website and we would like to invite you to come along with us. Trust us, there’s a lot of cool stuff to see, so the trip will be worth it. Our goals have not changed. We will continue to bring you news you can use from a different perspective and help you find your way along your road to personal preparedness and individual resilience. So come on over and check us out. We hope to see you very soon!


Semper Paratus!

Joanna Macy: On how to prepare internally for WHATEVER comes next

Yes, it looks bleak. But you are still alive now. You are alive with all the others, in this present moment. And because the truth is speaking in the work, it unlocks the heart. And there’s such a feeling and experience of adventure. It’s like a trumpet call to a great adventure. In all great adventures there comes a time when the little band of heroes feels totally outnumbered and bleak, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings or Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. You learn to say “It looks bleak. Big deal, it looks bleak.”

via Joanna Macy: On how to prepare internally for WHATEVER comes next.

Oil Limits and the Economy: One Story, Not Two

Unless and until you understand the relationship between oil (and fossil fuels) and the economy, you cannot fully understand what is happening today in the world outside your door, neighborhood and nation.

Oil Limits and the Economy: One Story, Not Two.

Semper Paratus!

Walking the Walk


Despite what you see and hear daily in America, there is more to this life than consumerism, keeping up with our neighbors in the race to collect more stuff and economic growth. In fact, if we are being honest with ourselves, we are forced to admit that a life focused on mindless consumption is rather unfulfilling. Coming to terms with this realization can be daunting, but there are alternatives. You could always choose to throw off the yoke of indentured consumerism in favor of personal freedom and liberty in pursuit of a more productive and rewarding future. This is not the easy option, and it will require more of you than your line of credit, but it is there. The choice is yours.

In our personal lives, my wife Alice and I have chosen to pursue a deeper and richer future. Not necessarily in terms of money, but we have found that we are indeed far better off. In recent years we took a hard look at what’s important to us, the people and the things we value in this life, at what the future may hold and decided to take steps towards making sure that our actions and our beliefs lined up. Our journey has been very satisfying. We are very fortunate that we had the ability to see the fork in the road and have taken the opportunity to walk a divergent path.

It is one thing to pay lip service to preparedness and resilience, but it is another thing entirely to be willing to apply the sweat equity required to make it a reality. We looked around our lives, took stock of things and developed a plan to address the areas where we saw vulnerabilities. Whether it was a hole in our hard asset infrastructure or our emotional and spiritual resilience, we addressed them honestly.

The world we live in is a tempest of swirling uncertainty. Step back from the chaos for a moment. Press pause on the dizzying distractions of our society and take a look around. If you see trouble and hard times on the horizon, why not set yourself against it? You still have time to develop a plan for your family and refocus your efforts to live in a purposeful and meaningful way in concordance with reality.

We are dependent on each other as a society, just as Alice and I are dependent on each other in our personal lives. We are all in this together and the choices we make will impact our future. We are living in a period of change that is impacting every level of our society and how we respond to that change will thunder through the years to come. Building resilience into our lives right now to address our basic needs like energy, water and food supply, takes pressure off of each of us individually, as well as society as a whole. As for the Powers household, we chose to focus on our own deal, create our own story and do what we believe in. I guess you could say we’re doing our best to ‘walk the walk’. Pursuing resilience may have started as a mitigation tool against some possible future that we could see, but it has become clear that it’s a lifestyle we would willingly run to now. We have a great quality of life and have discovered, what is for us, a better way to live. Hopefully our efforts will encourage others to believe in themselves and get started on their road to preparedness and resilience as well.

Semper Paratus!


Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you lived without all of the conveniences of modern day life?  Have you ever considered exactly what would be required of you should you be faced with the reality of having to be completely self sufficient?  What if you had to grow all of your own food or build your own house?  It doesn’t take long when you’re talking about preparedness to begin to wonder what it would be like to have to survive in a world that’s been thrown back into the 1800s by some catastrophic event like an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that takes down the power grid, what life might be like after society collapses as a result of the end of the age of cheap oil/energy or following some apocalyptic man-made or natural disaster.  I would argue it’s hard to fully comprehend just how difficult it would be for the average American to adjust to this new way of life simply because most people don’t have any idea of the various skills it would take to even begin to be able to sustain themselves.  Not only do they not have the appropriate skill set, they don’t even realize what they don’t know.  That’s why I wanted to put together this series of educational videos that aired on PBS in 2002, Frontier House, in which modern day families live and survive on an 1883 homestead for five months as they prepare for a Montana winter.  Hopefully after watching this series of videos you will have a much better understanding of what life would be like if all of the advantages of 21st century living were stripped away.  Enjoy.

Semper Paratus!

Our Current Energy Predicament

This information is not easily found and is certainly not easy to hear, but the reality is that we are in a very precarious energy predicament and the future isn’t looking very bright.  However, thanks to the great work of some leading experts on such issues you can become informed.  I would urge you to take advantage of the following media and get up yourself up to speed.  It could be the mean everything to you and your family in the years to come.

You can find this presentation in PDF form here:  Global Oil Market Forecasting: Steven Kopits

And from Gail Tverberg at Our Finite World:  Limits to Growth – At our Doorstep, but not recognized  (A commentary on the Steven Kopits presentation)

Here are a couple more offerings from Tverberg:

Reaching Limits to Growth:  What Should our Response Be?

A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don’t Work

From Dr. Nate Hagens:


And finally, a few words on complexity and the collapse of societies from Dr. Joseph Tainter:



To all of you fantastic members of the PracTac Nation, keep up the good work.


Enduring the next epic disaster

Does the current situation in Japan qualify as an “epic” disaster?

I don’t know, but the unfolding drama at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will cast the final vote.  All eyes are focused on the crisis, but what exactly are most of us seeing…and learning?

As a writer that recently launched a novel centered around an “epic” human disaster…The Jakarta Pandemic, I saw frightening similarities between the research driven scenario I had created for my story, and the media stories spilling out of Japan. I admit, there is a big difference between the instantly devastating impact of an earthquake/tsunami hit, and the slower burn of a gradually worsening pandemic disaster. However, I wasn’t thinking in terms of the immediate blunt physical impact.  I really focused on the after-effects.  Stories of evacuation, refugees, food and supply shortages…and not just for the immediate victims, but everyone ultimately affected, even as…

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Peak Oil and the socio-economic impact of depleting fossil fuel resources


RE-POST FROM Progressive Commentary Hour – 02/10/14

Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist who speaks and writes frequently on peak oil, energy and the environment. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Science Monitor and has written columns for the Paris-based science news site Scitizen.

Kurt’s writings have been featured on Resilience, The Oil Drum, OilPrice.com, Investing.com, Peak Oil Review, Common Dreams, Le Monde Diplomatique, and many other sites. He is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas—USA, and he has served on the board of the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and his novel “Prelude: A Novel About Secrets, Treachery and the Arrival of Peak Oil” is a startling reinterpretation of contemporary events and a window onto our energy future.

Kurt’s website is ResourceInsights.blogspot.com

Dr. Nate Hagens is a well known authority on fossil fuel, peak oil and resource depletion. He is the former lead editor of The Oil Drum, one of the most popular and high-respected websites for analysis and commentary on global energy supplies and the socio-economic impact of declining oil resources. His a board member of the Post Carbon Institute and currently works at the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future, where he is also on the Board. Prior to his journalistic research and reporting, he was the president of Sanctuary Asset Management and a vice president with Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brother’s investment firms.

Nate has a masters in finance from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He has appeared on PBS, NPR and BBC and lectured internationally.

His website and writings can be found at TheMonkeyTrap.us

FROZEN : The 2014 Atlanta Ice Emergency : A Preparedness Tale

No doubt you have heard about a small weather situation that has unfolded across the Deep South over the last 24+ hours or so. What looked like a winter storm that would bring some frozen precipitation to the region as it skirted along the gulf coast and southern third of the eastern seaboard wiggled to the north just a bit and exploded into a nightmare, worst case scenario and the “fun” began. Everything came together in a pure symphony of suck to unleash stress, fear and danger on the South’s hospitable population.

Despite the best efforts of our local leadership to convince everyone they had learned the lessons from the 2011 Snowpocalypse that shut down the city of Atlanta for the better part of a week and that all of the appropriate adjustments had been made, this weather event….a full three years hence….laid bare these very dangerous truths:

*There were government failures at every level to assess the threat and properly deploy assets in advance of the storm
*Poor decisions by Georgia DOT resulted in a failure to sufficiently treat roadways prior to the weather event
*Poor transportation infrastructure that has elevated ramps, bridges and inclines everywhere exacerbate any inclement weather issue

Now, some 36 hours later, it is clear that the hard lessons taught in the 2011 storm were not learned by this local and state government at all. Even with new plans in place and some new equipment at their disposal, the end result was not better in 2014 than it was in 2011. In fact, in many ways, it was worse.

All of the key players were telling us right up until the snow started to fall that there were plans in place and that this time things would be better. “Don’t worry about anything, John Q. We’ve got it covered. Everything will be fine.” More trucks. New plans. And, by the way, everyone just ‘stay off the roads’. Well, it quickly became apparent that the only way any of these extra trucks or new plans were going to make any difference at all was if everyone actually did stay off the roads. And that would be impossible. Wait, did I mention that there were no closures of government offices or metro schools in advance of the storm? No? And what about the fact that businesses certainly were not shuttering for the day? No? Oh, well then. Here’s the best part. The same people that were telling everyone to stay off the roads…remember that’s the underlying key to the entire plan…those same people issued a statement just before the inclement weather began telling everyone to get out of downtown, leave work now and go home. In other words, just as the storm was kicking up it was like they said “Everyone! Get on the roads riiiiiiiiiiiight…NOW!”

And that’s when the apocalypse porn visuals started streaming out of Atlanta.

Unlike the decision makers for the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta, I, my wife, all my friends and virtually everyone with a weather app on their smart phone or an internet connection or a television or radio knew that the city of Atlanta was going to get hit with about two inches of snow with some ice thrown in for good measure. It didn’t take a meteorologist (by the way, my cousin is a meteorologist and works at The Weather Channel) to figure this one out, folks. So, with this info in my back pocket I set out to get a plan to deal with the issues that I believed were sure to arise since I was scheduled to head to work for an evening shift (in the center of downtown Atlanta) Tuesday afternoon right as the storm was getting started.





I have a 45 mile commute to work, so I don’t leave the house without a plan on a perfectly normal day and the gear to fit it. But when there’s a 100% chance of accumulating winter precipitation in a city where that don’t usually happen, you better believe I am coming prepared and loaded for bear. So, I headed into work with everything I would need to spend the night rather than taking the risk of getting back out on what I was quite certain would be a skating rink in the wee hours of the morning. Of course I had my Every Day Carry (EDC) with me and my Get Home Bag (GHB) in the back of my vehicle as I always do, but on this day I also loaded up the sleep gear I take when I go camping, about three times the normal amount of food I would carry on my person and I tossed my BOLT kit in the back of the truck just to cover all the bases.

So I hit the road with the flakes a-flyin’ and sure enough, a ride that usually takes me about 50 minutes took three hours. During my travels, I watched as the major interstates and surface streets were already glazing over with ice. I dodged travelers that were spinning out left and right as I made my way to work finally headed inside to watch the frozen drama unfold.

During the evening, I had several coworkers decide to take their chances with the weather and try for home. Around 7 pm, a friend that travels a route similar to mine decided to strike out for home. Five hours later, he called in to let us know he was sitting on I-85 northbound (only about 15 miles from our building) stuck in traffic and that he hadn’t moved at all in about three hours. He had no food, no water, no blankets or anything to keep warm with him in the vehicle and no hope of moving any time soon. Right about now I was feeling awful for my pal, but pretty good about my preparations and my plan to stay put.

At the end of my shift, I posted the following status update on Facebook to let my family and friends know what was going on with me:

Ah, weekend. Hello again old friend. I can’t wait to get home and….oh, that’s right. I can’t go anywhere. I’m encased in ice and miles from home. Very thankful right now to know that the homestead is safe and secure in all ways even though I can’t be there. ***A thought, a HUGE thanks to Gov. Nathan Deal, Mayor Kasim Reed and GA DOT for doing such a bang up job in shirking responsibility in this situation and making it worse in virtually every way. Claiming they didn’t know or that they were caught flat footed by this weather? Really? I certainly am not naive or gullible enough to swallow that load of horse puckey. Epic failure. You learned nothing from 2011.*** Anyways, tomorrow brings the sun (even with tough temps) and that presents my next opportunity to get home. Take care all.

I walked out to my vehicle and grabbed my gear for the evening. Even from street level, I could see the city was absolutely crystallized in ice. I paired up with a couple of my coworkers that had also decided to say and we settled in for the night, watching television in astonishment as thousands of people were sitting in vehicles on seemingly every major roadway surrounding the city with zero chance of going anywhere any time soon. Not to mention all of the children around the city and across the region that were stuck in schools where they would have to spend the night or on the roads in buses that would not be heading home on this bitter night. That part was unimaginable.

Upon waking we learned, that the roads were still locked up with some people now approaching 25+ hours stranded in their vehicles. Parents with young children, stuck on the road with no food and no water. How does that happen? I can’t imagine being in that scenario on a perfect day, much less one that everyone should have known was going to turn out like this one had. People running out of gas, ditching vehicles and being forced to walk to safe havens just to escape the brutal weather only to end up sleeping in the aisles of a grocery or convenience store. On the bright side, we did learn that our friend that had been stuck on I-85 had finally made it home safely around 5 am that morning. When I checked my phone for the first time I saw that my wife had posted this status update on Facebook:

Anyone that was stranded in Atlanta’s epic fail of 2014, I hope you will be able to make it home soon. If you aren’t prepared to take care of yourself you are s.o.l. because no one is coming to help you. That seems to be the lesson learned by Atlanta on this day. Don’t laugh at people who prep, they plan for the worst & hope for the best. The worst happened in Atlanta yesterday. Be prepared people!

What can I say? That’s awesome.

Even in this awful situation there were some bright spots that make me very proud of the people that live and work in the great state of Georgia and of humanity in general. Stories of people walking right down the middle of six lane interstates that were eerily at a standstill handing out water and food to those people that had been stranded for hours, travelers helping one another to get vehicles unstuck and moving once again and even the glorious news of a child named Grace being born in a stranded vehicle that was stuck in traffic on the perimeter.

After packing all my gear and checking to see if I could help any of my coworkers, I headed for home. Because I’m fortunate enough to have people near and far that care about me and pray for my safety that knew I was getting underway, I shared the following status update when I arrived home:

So, this January’s weather experience has come to a gratifying end for me. I left work at 11:30 this morning and rolled into the house about 12:30 pm, which is really pretty good. Upon arrival I found the homestead warm and welcoming with my loving wife and two adoring pups thrilled to see me, a roaring fire and a pot of hot coffee beckoning. Last night was as good as it could be given the situation and the company certainly didn’t hurt. The best part of this story is that I didn’t spend one moment in fret or worry, either for myself or Alice because we had taken the time to plan for the worst eventualities and made the appropriate preparations ahead of the emergency. Although the weather forced us to be apart, she knew I would be okay and I knew that she would be safe, warm and happy. All of this thanks to a little foresight and taking the action steps necessary to insure such an outcome. Thanks to everyone that offered thoughts or voiced support and wishes of well being. I appreciate each and every one those actions and each and every one of you.

For the second time in a handful of years the city of Atlanta and my beloved home state of Georgia have been in the nation’s spotlight thanks to paralysis due to a winter weather emergency. So much danger, human distress and property damage on display for the world to see, and it really saddens me. It makes me sad because I know that so much of it can be avoided altogether with just a little planning and forethought, both on an individual and a governmental scale. These people don’t have to suffer like they have. All of these lives don’t have to be put at risk. These situations could be mostly prevented if only there were better overall planning put in place by those that are supposed to lead and each individual made their personal security during the situations their top priority. On the other side of the coin, my experience was safe, warm and as comfortable as it could have possibly been.

There were those behind the power curve with no plan and no preparations that found themselves caught up in the chaos because they were waiting on someone else to tell them what to do, and then you have the example I try to live out where you get a plan, build a kit to fit and execute a plan of action to the best of your ability based on sound information you have gleaned ahead of time. Which one would you choose?

It really is so easy to take the necessary steps and get this done so that you and your family won’t be caught in the whirlwind the next time it blows. Here’s hoping you will choose to do so.

Semper Paratus!