Aton Edwards is the Executive Director of the International Preparation Network, which was founded in the early 1990s. He has devoted his life to teaching people the skills they need to survive a changing world. Aton wrote Preparedness Now! for our Process Self-Reliance imprint. He is currently working on Afroprep NOW! 7 Steps to Surviving Climate Change, Disasters, and Racists in a World that’s Trying to Kill You, which is slated for publication in Fall of 2020.
Aton and I discuss the coronavirus and covid-19 and the reality of what we can to protect ourselves and our families.
If you're part of the Feral Family—and if you're reading/listening to this, then we consider you consider you part of the Family—you are familiar with both Adam's interest in historic back-to-land movements as well as modern preparedness skills. And by now, you've heard that I'm both a Stoic and the Master Food Preserver for my region; this means I'm well-versed in how to both preserve food and prevent pathogenic infestation. That being said, a few additional items I want to share with you.
Our Self-Reliance Series is rooted in the idea that experts share their practical and useable skills. They are not "prepper-porn" books filled with deluxe bomb shelters and wasted resources. Preparedness Now! by Aton and Preservation—The Art and Science of Canning, Fermentation, and Dehydration by me are about a mindset and skillset that can be used to add value to your life every day as well as build resilience in tough situations. Preparing for the future is something that should be done all the time and not when the "bad thing" happens.
The second item I want to stress, and I know that Feral folks aren't indulging in the weak-minded panic thinking that has currently taken hold in the United States, is that things like new pathogens and weather-related disasters are increasing. And will continue to grow. This is not the time to isolate yourself mentally. Build your intellectual and psychological strength. Nurture the relationships that are important to you. Build your tribe. The great myth of preparedness and survival is that it is a singular endeavor; it is not. I'll say it again—build your tribe.
You can purchase Aton's book, Preparedness NOW! here: https://bookshop.org/books/7010890/9781934170090
and my book, Preservation here: https://bookshop.org/books/7010907/9781934170694
Ryan Holiday is a Stoic enthusiast and has written many popular books interpreting Stoic philosophy. Here is a list of excellent (Stoic-influenced) suggestions for thriving during the current crisis.
- Practice social distancing: as much as possible, stay away from people outside of your family. Avoid social events and public gatherings, work from home if possible. If you have employees, do what you can so they can do the same. And implement common-sense measures so that your employees and customers are safe: reduce face-to-face interactions as much as possible, grant generous sick leave, and limit the number of customers at a single time.
- Cancel or postpone events if you have them. Make them remote-access, if possible. Do not prioritize your convenience or entertainment over the potential spread of the virus.
- Practice safety measures: wash your hands as much as possible, especially before you eat. Don’t touch your face, and cough into a tissue or your elbow. Don’t shake hands with people, press buttons with knuckles or elbows, and avoid uncooked food.
- Help others who are in more precarious situations. If you know your neighbor is elderly and planning to make a grocery run, see if you can help them get what they need without leaving their house.
- Hold off on visiting elderly friends or family members. Yes, you’re worried about them. Yes, you miss them. But you put them and their community at risk by stopping at their old folks home or visiting their house. Even if you feel healthy, even if the person you’re visiting seems to be in good health, the safest option is to wait to see them.
- Don’t hoard: hoarding essential goods hurts other members of the community who lack resources to prepare. Slowly stock up with non-perishable foods and goods so that others can do the same. Long lines at stores only make things worse.
- Along those lines, don’t tie up medical resources that you don’t need. Save masks for doctors, nurses, first responders, and others who need them in the course of their jobs. And don’t forget that for now, our testing supply is sorely limited; do your best not to tie up the critical resource of COVID-19 tests, and avoid being a hypochondriac.
- Self-quarantine and self-isolate: if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, stay in your home for two weeks to keep others safe.
- Use your time wisely: don’t let the possible weeks or months of isolation be for nothing. You can’t control how long you’ll need to engage in social distancing, but you can control if you spend that time productively. The version of you who steps out of quarantine at some future date can be better than the version that entered it if you try.
- Batch your online orders if you’re stocking up to reduce the need for inefficient shipments and stress on already stressed supply chains.
- Educate: don’t spread misinformation about the virus. Instead, make sure others know how to best handle the spread of the virus. If you’re someone with a platform, your number one obligation right now is not to spread bullshit or breaking information. You’re not helping; you’re hurting.
- If you get sick, isolate yourself at home as long as symptoms remain moderate. If you have trouble breathing, are an older adult (70+), have pre-existing lung conditions, or are immunocompromised, be ready to call your doctor or visit an ER.
- Remember that panic doesn’t help. Rushing to sell your stocks, ignoring the needs of others, freaking out, being cross with, or cruel to others. You know what this does? It takes a bad situation and makes it worse.
- Cherish the people you love and the present moment, as scary as it is. It is all we have for certain.