The recent California Blackouts have brought a new reality to the forefront: Millions of people are rethinking how they want to live, what it is they really need to live a good life and how much they want to rely on large corporations and bureaucracies to provide for those needs.
California recently provided a stunning example of what over-dependence on a huge corporation or utility company (in this case, PG&E) can inflict on large populations. During last week’s blackouts businesses were shuttered, hospitals and other emergency services scrambled to use their own generated power, streets and public places were in darkness, and millions of residents were forced to live by candlelight and whatever they had that could run on store bought batteries. Though there was some forewarning, many found this to be a very difficult time to cope with.
But even before this most recent round corporate utility failures (and the very angry backlash it has generated – pun intended) many people have begun exploring movements that emphasize greater independence and self-reliance, such as the Homesteading, Do-It-Yourself, and the “Grid Down” movements. All of these ideologies confront the very real possibility that any of us, in any place we might live, could have to face corporate or government failures that could result in blackouts, shortages, unequal distributions, undrinkable water and even longer term austerity programs.
This shouldn’t be a source of paranoia and none of this is really new. California’s blackouts are far from new. Most adults should be able to remember back in the early 2000’s when Enron’s “smartest guys in the room” willfully caused the rolling black outs that left millions on the west coast in darkness and danger. Since then there have been a number of spectacular grid failures in other parts of the U.S. that clearly resulted much more from corporate greed and incompetence than any natural cause.
Nowdays people have a greater sense of being “woke” rather than paranoid about the dangers of relying too much on corporate utilities and distributions systems of food and other necessities. Many are actively seeking alternative sources, methods and lifestyles. YouTube is now full of survivalist videos showing how to build your own solar panel system, make your own tools, grow your own food, and live off the land in very literal ways.
Certainly one of the biggest problems to contend with when the ’grid is down’ or there is a blackout for any length of time is food. This is especially true when there is no warning and no time to plan. And this is where veganism comes in and can save the health and well being of yourself and your family.
The first principle of veganism is to eat and use nothing derived from an animal. Although vegetarians generally eat no meats, vegans also eat no ‘typical’ dairy products that are made from any kind of animal. But vegans do most certainly consume plant-based cheeses, milks, yogurts and the like and also plant-based meats and protein sources such as seitan, tempeh and tofu. But since vegan protein sources are made from plants, vegans will much less likely have to do without than meat/dairy eaters.
Why it’s Better to be Vegan During a Blackout or Loss of Power:
- First of all, animal meats and dairy products are A. expensive and B. generally require to be frozen or refrigerated. During any kind of extended loss of power much of this stuff has to be thrown out.
- Fruits and vegetables and plant-based products are A. usually less expensive than meat and dairy and B. can always be kept on hand in ways that do not require freezing or refrigeration. Moreover, most fruits and vegetables or any products made from them do not have to be cooked and are safe to eat even when they are un- or undercooked – no threat of salmonella or other dangerous aspects like undercooked meat and dairy.
- Fruits and vegetables can be stored, processed and consumed in an amazing variety of ways. They can be cooked, boiled, baked, grilled, juiced, dried, freeze-dried, powdered, jellied, jammed, candied, or just eaten fresh straight from nature (this is something meat and dairy can never claim).
- Like some meat and dairy products, veggies can be bought and stored as canned, boxed, frozen or refrigerated, but unlike meat and dairy, they can also simply be stored whole and unprocessed, in the packaging that nature gave them. This means a lot when you’ve gone ‘back to nature’ on short notice.
Vegan advice for handling power outages:
Always keep 3 different types of fruits and vegetables (including nuts, seeds, spices and herbs):
- Fresh and ready to eat, (pace yourself some on these because even fresh foods may become scarce during a widespread, prolonged outage.)
- Some frozen, (these may have to be eaten soon but they can also come in handy during different kinds of outages and shortages when nothing else is available.)
- And by all means, canned and dried. (Some canned and dried foods can stay good for years and most require minimal prep to make edible).
Veganism is Environmentally Friendly!
And lastly, veganism is much easier on the environment than meat and dairy and is not linked to the environmental problems that are causing the shortages and outages. Case in point: it is universally acknowledged that the rain forests are being mowed down mainly to accommodate cattle and single source crops that feed them.
Meat and dairy cows, pigs, chickens and other “food source” animals use up and damage far more resources than any sustenance they are supposed to provide can justify. And most dangerously, they are calculated to be the single largest source of methane gases that are causing climate change. And climate change, through droughts, fires, floods, sea level rise, and increased pollution is contributing heavily to blackouts, shortages and all the other crises.
So, especially during a blackout or power loss, why eat what helped to create the crises in the first place? (And the stuff is full of saturated fats, cholesterol, lactose and other things human beings just don’t need.)
On your path to greater self-reliance and independence, go Vegan. You’ll be glad you did.