While reading the news this morning I came across this: 10,000 striking workers have shut down vital ports in both Los Angeles and Long Beach.
This is not a criticism or endorsement of that action – I believe that in America we should be free to follow our conscience. However reading this made me start thinking about what might be held up in those ports. What vital and everyday goods are not entering the market as a result of these strikes?
I’m hungry. I’ve not had my breakfast yet. It would be easy enough for me to toast some bread and smear some delicious peach preserves over it – a little butter maybe. It would be easy because I have those things in my cupboard. I’ve decided that I will not eat until I finish this piece. Perhaps that will give me greater insight into the needs of my family and the things I should be doing to prepare for a time when the grocery shelves might be empty.
What will happen if dock unions across the country decide to strike in solidarity with those in California?
What if it weren’t dock workers striking? What if the truck drivers of America decided they’d had enough and had to go on strike to get their point across? What if they parked their trucks on our highways and blocked the roads. What if they stopped delivering the goods that keep our “just in time economy” working and stopped traffic physically with their large trucks as a protest.
How long would your pantry hold up if you couldn’t go to the store and stock up every day or two?
There would be a mad run on the grocery stores. I expect that supermarkets across the nation would have bare shelves in hours. They could very well remain so for days, weeks – heaven help us, even months. Everything that you purchase in a grocery store, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, or any other store is delivered by a truck of one kind or another – everything.
Gasoline is delivered to the gas station via tanker truck.
Of course if the truck drivers decided that as a part of their strike they would also shut down America’s roads by parking their trucks on them you wouldn’t be going anywhere fast anyway – still it seems likely that the authorities would work to open the roads as much as possible, where possible. What happens when the gas stations run out of gas and there isn’t anymore coming?
Jet fuel is delivered to airports via truck.
Air travel would come to a halt – including the mail, UPS, Fed Ex, and all other airborne shipping.
Lumber is delivered via truck.
Construction would come to a standstill. Lay offs would ensue. Retail spending would slow dramatically. If the strike lasted very long retail spending would almost cease as there would be no more deliveries to stores. Just a few days or weeks might be long enough to dramatically affect the economy.
Restaurants get their deliveries via truck.
Small businesses all over the country might have to close shop – perhaps permanently. The catastrophic loss of revenue caused by a prolonged, nation wide strike would be difficult to recover from.
Depending on the timing of such a strike much of the nations food crops could be in those trucks or rotting in the field because they cannot be trucked to market – food shortages aka famine could well result.
If that happened would you still have a job? If you lost your job what would you do? Do you have a cushion of savings and resources to act as insurance in the event that you lost your job or that you could not purchase food for your family?
How long to do you think emergency services will continue as we know them if there are no trucks running? Without fuel and supplies, police, fire, and ems will become much less robust – and will likely fail in most areas all together. Life as we know it now might change for the worse in short order. How would you protect your home, yourself, your spouse, or your children? If the police can’t come help, you will have to be prepared to defend your home and family! How are you going to do it? Do you have a plan in place or will you be caught flat footed?
When you run out of groceries and the the supermarket is closed because the trucker’s strike is on going, how will you get more food to fed yourself and your family? Will you go begging to your family, your neighbors, to your church? It is likely that your family and neighbors will be in the same boat that you are in. It is also likely that your church will be over run with requests for aid. May I suggest that your church may well be looking to you to help those who are in even worse circumstances than you are.
When you realize that there is no help coming or that what help there is just isn’t enough – as is the case for those still struggling and suffering in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, will you resort to dumpster diving to feed your family? Will you resort to violence to feed your children?
Spring is coming. Do you know how to garden? If you raise a garden then can and/or dehydrate the product of your labor, your family will have an abundance of food to eat all year long. You will be in a much better set of circumstances if the grocery store can’t stock its shelves. You will be far better positioned to help out when your church or community organization reaches out to you because its resources have been stretched much to far by the innumerable people who didn’t have the foresight or ability to provide for themselves.
I don’t mean to suggest that you would not struggle – even suffer during a nation wide strike, like a trucker’s strike. However if you have food put by despite all the inconveniences – you and your family will still eat!
During uncertain times wisdom dictates that we do not rely on an unsecured “supply on demand” system to feed us.
Grow a garden.
Learn to hunt and fish.
Raise fruit trees in your backyard.
Store water in 2 liter bottles in your home.
Learn to can and dehydrate vegetables, fruits, and meat.
Don’t leave your family to the mercy of a system that is not prepared for crisis.
Develop and pursue a philosophy of self reliance – like your grandparents and great grandparents.
I wonder just what important goods are not getting into the country right now and whether or not I should be stocking up?
Now I will go and toast that bread. It will be delicious with fresh butter and peach preserves or maybe some delicious local honey.
Please share your thoughts on this article, preparedness, or self reliance in the comments section below.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
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