I am finding this topic intriguing these days. Today's Msn.com headline offers the context of the current economic crisis for the reason all sorts of people are looking for ways to squirrel away necessities for the coming...troubles. But obviously some people have gone well beyond flirtation to courtship and flat-out marriage proposals.
What we pagans like to call "homesteading" is starting to become one aspect of survivalism. The notion that survivalists are all gun-crazy bullet hoarders who are stockpiling antibiotics, freeze-dried eggs and bottled water has given way to the idea that some of us who find that kind of stereotype disturbing are actually engaged in the same kind of preparations, albeit with less emphasis on guns and more on food storage. The antibiotics might translate as a colloidal silver making machine (built from an inexpensive kit), the freeze-dried eggs become canned tomato sauce from our gardens and dried beans and lentils, and the bottled water replaced by a water filtration system.
Nowadays it's not about waiting for Armageddon; it's wondering if the looming shortages of everything from petroleum to coal to food, not to mention the possible freezing of the banking system, may start to directly affect our ability to procure food, medical care and other basic needs. So liberals as well as conservatives are united in wanting to make sure there is enough food on hand for their families and maybe some neighbors in need. I like how the article acknowledges the different approaches to survivalism that people with differing socio-political attitudes might embrace. It also mentions something which I had suspected was happening but that other articles on survivalism had not mentioned: people are starting to hoard gold and silver as eagerly as canned beans and propane.
Those of us who live in the Northeast have been told for many years we need to keep a few days (if not weeks) worth of food in our homes in case of severe winter weather. Of course the majority of people don't bother, due to lack of space or money, or simply not thinking it's necessary. I for one don't really buy that worldwide food shortages are imminent, but there is no denying that more and more people are interested in growing and storing their own food. I have not seen this level of home-based agriculture and canning since I was a kid. People used to do it to save money, and of course there is that impetus now, too. But it's also about preparedness, the notion that there may come a day, and not too far off, where, for one reason or another, we won't be able to just head to the grocery store or phone for a pizza, and having some non-perishable food on hand will be not just comforting but mandatory.
Ever seen the wonderful and hilarious French film "Delicatessen"? It's based on a "Soylent Green" principle but with the addition of an underground (literally) band of seed hoarding vegetarian mercenaries. The notion of a food shortage in food-obsessed France was, at that time, nasty futuristic fun. But now?