Survivalism is the New Black


Survivalism used to be the preserve of wingnuts who believed in black helicopters and the New World Order; now it has gone positively mainstream. John wrote previously about Survivalist Green; Now the New York Times picks up the story. Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Will Smith in I am Legend have described it, while climate change, peak oil and Katrina are making a much broader spectrum of society prepare for it.

Writing in the Times, Alex Williams quotes Barton M. Biggs, the former chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley: People should "assume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure.Your safe haven must be self-sufficient and capable of growing some kind of food," It should be well-stocked with seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc. Think Swiss Family Robinson. Even in America and Europe there could be moments of riot and rebellion when law and order temporarily completely breaks down."


Alex Steffen and family

Most surprising survivalist in the article: Alex Steffen of Worldchanging:

One left-of-center environmentalist who is taking action is Alex Steffen, the executive editor of, a Web site devoted to sustainability. With only slight irony, Mr. Steffen, 40, said he and his girlfriend could serve as "poster children for the well-adjusted, urban liberal survivalist," given that they keep a six-week cache of food and supplies in his basement in Seattle (although they polished off their bottle of doomsday whiskey at a party).

He said the chaos following Hurricane Katrina served as a wake-up call for him and others that the government might not be able to protect them in an emergency or environmental crisis.

"The 'where do we land when climate change gets crazy?' question seems to be an increasingly common one," said Mr. Steffen in an e-mail message, adding that such questions have "really gone mainstream." ::New York Times

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