Why do we need to be prepared?

Just why did I come to write a book centered on this topic of self-sufficiency and survival?

This information on Self Sufficiency is provided free from Isabell Shipard's Self Sufficiency book.
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Self Sufficiency Book Commendations

For many years I taught Herb Courses, covering many edible plants, and included a segment on the importance of self- sufficiency and survival for possible hard times. During one class, when I asked, If shops closed tomorrow, how much food do you have to feed your family? 

Hayden and Broad Beans
Hayden and Broad Beans

One woman replied, Maybe enough for one week.  This made me think how dependent the majority of people are on farmers, trucking companies and shops to provide their daily food. People often expressed that I should put information on self-sufficiency into a book. Then, in 2007, my son Ricky rang from Adelaide, while doing a course on ‘Alternative Energies’.

Ricky said, “Mum, when are you going to write that book on self-sufficiency and survival? There will be a big demand for it.”

His words gave me the nudge to get writing! During the last few months and (as I write, in June 2008) I have sensed a real urgency to put this information together. This is not only my perception of what is happening in Australia and world-wide, but everyone is feeling and experiencing the pressure, as everything they purchase has risen in price, dramatically.

Sunshine Coast Daily Newspaper, 23rd May 2008, Special Report headlines said, ‘Get used to it, rising oil charges mean that for petrol prices … the only way is up and up.’ The same newspaper, a few weeks before, indicated, ‘Price of veggies could go bananas’ and said that Australia could run out of food. This newspaper, soon after, flashed headlines: ‘Survival depends on big changes’.

The Independent, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, 4th May 2008, highlighted that rising prices obviously meant a boom for some, with the headlines, ‘Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis. Giant agribusinesses are seeing the opportunity of soaring profits by pushing the price of basic foodstuffs so high, to drive the world’s poor into hunger and destitution, with over one billion living in poverty and over 100 million people facing starvation.’ With the economic squeeze in Australia, and severe drought experienced over large areas of farmland, just what will the future hold for average Australian families? No one wishes to speculate how long a depression could go on. Do government emergency services have enough strategies in place to ensure a food supply for critical times or major catastrophes? This book offers encouragement and an action plan to help you ‘ride the storms’.

What are some of the storms? Yes, wayward weather patterns world-wide, are causing some of the wildest storms. These have resulted in destruction of homes, crops, trees and the deaths of thousands of people. Are climatic changes also the cause of droughts, bush fires and floods? We know that cutting down trees (and the massive destruction of forests in many countries of the world) has a marked effect on climate. Statistics show that a reduction in rainfall occurs in areas where forests have been felled. Basically, the water table is diminished when trees are cut down; and lost, too, is the carbon dioxide consumption capacity that these trees absorbed. Added to this, are the green house gases that we have all contributed to: by driving a car, using electricity, working in factories giving off fumes, over-consumption and the resultant rubbish we produce, and by eating food grown on farms using machinery, pesticides and herbicides.


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We all have a moral obligation to help solve this problem. By making small changes in our daily routine, we can all make a big difference in this precious world that we depend on for everything. We are caretakers of the earth, and have a responsibility to leave the smallest footprints possible, behind us. NOW IS THE TIME to rethink the use of our natural resources and renewable energies. It is time to take action to reduce, recycle, repair, and reuse items, over again.


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there are many other hazards that may threaten our health, security and sanity in the 21st century: – Scarcity of water for the essentials of life, for drinking, hygiene, and food production. Every drop of water is precious, to be used with care.

– A legacy of 100 years of man-made chemicals, used in food manufacturing, farming, and in buildings. Man has created over 100,000 chemicals; some of these are quite toxic to humans, animals and the environment, having an accumulative, persistent and subtle effect (see p 83). Many pesticides have been linked in countless studies with at least one adverse effect, including: epilepsy, hypoglycaemia, asthma, infertility, allergies, skin conditions, headaches, nausea, joint pain, arrhythmia, chronic fatigue, cancer, autism, and disruption to endocrine and immune systems. The Sunday Mail reported, January 12th 1997, that chemical tests done on fruit and vegetables showed 75% contained chemical residues, with some being well above acceptable levels of pesticides.

The list of additives in processed foods is very long, each having a name and number. Many can cause more than one adverse or allergic reaction. Food processors use additives to increase the shelf life of the product or to make it look, taste and smell better or to disguise another ingredient. Not only do we have a cocktail of toxic chemicals in our food and environment, but also many cosmetics and health care products that we use daily have many additives: preservatives, poisonous dyes, emulsifiers and heavy metals. Researchers point out that some of these additives can have an effect like xenoestrogens, which work in a similar fashion to endocrine disruptors. Even many of the plastics used as containers for food, cosmetics and other household products, have synthetic compounds and dioxins. These are known to be hormone-disrupting chemicals that are permeating our bodies and the environment, posing potential hazards, even jeopardising the fertility of our unborn.

Then, consider the many chemicals used in cleaning and purifying water that we drink and bathe in. Chlorine, used to purify water, creates trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs activate free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. Chlorine vapour is a strong irritant to the respiratory and nervous systems. It was used in warfare in World War II. The highly regarded researcher, Dr Robert Carlson, at the University of Minnesota, who works together with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, sums it up by saying, “The chlorine problem is similar to that of air pollution” and adds that “Chlorine is the greatest crippler and killer of modern times!” A study carried out in Hartford, Connecticut found that, ‘Women with breast cancer have 50-60% higher levels of organochlorines in their breast tissue than those without breast cancer’. According to the US Council of Environmental Quality, ‘Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those who use non-chlorinated water’. http://www. waterwise.co.za/Chlorine.html

Chlorine also reduces levels of vitamin B12, E and K. Deficiencies in these vitamins may cause significant impacts upon our health and wellbeing: a reduced level of vitamin E is associated with increased risk of heart attack; a deficiency of vitamin B12 results in anaemia; and vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting, essential to healing. Chlorine also causes allergies and skin conditions and it destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that helps in the digestion of food and which protects the body from harmful pathogens.

Another risk to health is drinking fluoridated water. Fluoride, as an additive to tap water, is compulsory in many areas of Australia. Fluoride has been found to be adverse to health: it is a carcinogenic toxin that impacts upon immunity, the normal mental development of children and the nervous system. Absorption of iodine and calcium are inhibited, thereby increasing risks of osteoporosis and hip fractures. Fluoride inhibits enzyme activity; it weakens the immune system; it is harmful to normal childhood development of the immune system, and it may disrupt DNA function. A shortage of iodine can seriously affect the thyroid. Since absorption of iodine is essential for normal mental development in children, this can also compromise the IQ and potentially cause cretinism. These serious concerns, regarding fluoride, pose the question: Why take such risks when we should, instead, ensure good dental hygiene and sound nutrition for children? Note, too, that Dean Burk, Chief Chemist Emeritus, US National Cancer Institute said, “Fluoride causes more human cancer deaths and causes cancer [to progress] faster than any other chemical.” Fluoride accumulates in the body like lead, inflicting its damage over long periods of time. Fluoride is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic (from Clinical Toxicology 1984). Scientific evidence has shown that even the smallest amount of poison is cumulative in the body and damaging to health.


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– Another, major problem ‘modern man’ has created is E-smog, radiation from all electrical ‘mod-cons’ in our modern way of life. It has been shown by many researchers that electromagnetic radiation can have very subtle and long-term effects on the brain and human health. While most people associate harmful radiation with nuclear bomb testing and explosions, or nuclear power stations and their emissions, we must realise that we are continually bombarded by many harmful frequencies in our daily lives, in our home and work places (p 85).

– Heavy metal toxicity is around us, continually: Aluminium is in bleached flour, regional water supplies, antacids, foil, cookware and anti-perspirants (past studies have implicated memory loss and senility); Cadmium is in food, toys, batteries, carpets, cigarettes, and water (poisoning may lead to confusion and aggression); Lead is in water, cosmetics, paints, industrial pollution (may cause hyperactivity and aggression); Mercury derived from pesticides, fish, some vaccines and mercury amalgam dental fillings (damage to the memory and nervous system have been noted).

– Another major threat is the doling out of drugs. As the number of pharmaceutical drugs taken by the population increases, so the risk of adverse effects increases exponentially. So common are drug side effects that doctors now recognise ‘iatrogenic disease’ as a doctor-induced disease from prescribed drugs, and a leading cause of illness and death, reports the magazine ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’. Many people swallow prescription drugs daily, particularly senior citizens, with many seniors averaging 4 to 6 drugs a day. It is known that many of these drugs are inappropriately prescribed, and have side effects. A cartoon I saw accentuated this concern: an old lady approaches a chemist and says she would like a prescription filled … the chemist looks at the script and says he can’t do it. The old lady asks, “Why not?” The chemist replies, “This drug has so many side effects, you re better off with the disease!” We have to ask, “Is this good medicine or bad medicine?” In Australia, during the period of one year, over 50,000 patients are injured from medical mishaps. According to the Medical Journal of Australia, 2006, 16% of hospitalised patients suffered an adverse event, and 50% of these could have been prevented. And, here, we can also add adverse reactions (particularly autism) experienced by some infants and children from vaccinations. Many parents are now seeking homeopathic vaccinations as a safer choice. Consumers need to take a more active part in their own health care, to help avoid medical mistakes and misadventure, Choice magazine said.


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– Many have lost their ‘moral compass’ and we see an increase in crimes of violence and murder, and the family unit eroded. A strong family unit is essential to the wellbeing of each individual person and the welfare of the nation. We can all have a positive impact. For a website and magazine to encourage the family unit visit: www.aboverubies.org

How significant is your life? Possibly, far more than you realise; but, perhaps, less than it could be. Significance does not need to be something big, but small things that we do to benefit people and the world around us. Bring more significance into your life. Right now, what is your deepest desire for yourself & your family & the world?

– Food irradiation of produce could be a major threat, to informed choice of many foods that we purchase in supermarkets. Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to high doses of ionising radiation to sterilise and destroy bacteria, giving produce a longer shelf life. However, irradiation changes the molecular structure of food to form toxins and the process destroys beneficial, health promoting phyto-nutrients in fresh foods. Irradiation damages vitamins, proteins, and essential fatty acids; eg irradiation has been found to destroy 80% of vitamin A in eggs (see p 72). www. citizen.org/documents/questioningirradiation.pdf

– Hazards of creating a radioactive planet by mining uranium, building nuclear power plants, and from the storage of nuclear wastes. Can we be sure that these wastes are stored safely in barrels, underground, or at the bottom of the sea? Across the world, millions of tonnes of waste at uranium mines emit radon (a colourless radioactive decay product of radium), which is said to last for hundreds of thousands of years. Turning Depleted Uranium, DU (by-product of nuclear power plants and bomb production) into weapons certainly solves the problem of storing it out at sea, but ask anyone involved in the war in Iraq if it is safe. DU used in warfare has caused spontaneous fires and horrific burns, burning people alive. A report printed by The Age newspaper on the Iraq conflict, ‘Desert Storm’ (1991), as told by Dr Rokke of the US Army (who led an assignment to clean up uranium contamination) should shock us all.

Dr Rokke said, when visiting Australia in June 2003: “What we saw in Iraq can be described in only 3 words: ‘Oh my God!’ The wounds were horrible, the contamination extensive. Although our team wore respirators and skin protection, that protection, we know today, does not provide any adequate protection against the inhalation, the ingestion, and the absorption of uranium compounds. Depleted uranium weapons are a crime against humanity, creating a toxicological nightmare. What I have learned from my work is that uranium munitions must be banned.”

Doctors in Iraq have estimated that cancers have increased at an alarming rate, thousands of babies miscarried, babies born with defects to limbs or without limbs, even without eyes or heads. Health and Healing magazine, Vol. 25 No. 1, gave accounts of some horrors of DU. Doctors reported that many women, when giving birth, no longer ask: “Is it a girl or a boy?” But simply, “Is it normal, Doctor?”

Moreover, this terrible legacy will not end. The genes of their parents may have been damaged, forever, and the perilous DU dust is ever-present … and, take note, contamination is not restricted to the Middle East, but these radioactive particles can be whipped up in sandstorms and carried by trade winds to every corner of the Earth, our home, where we desire to live life in fulfilment, happiness and peace.


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We must learn from blunders of the past and start to realise that many of the problems we face today are of our own making. Photochemical smog, acid rain and depletion of the ozone layer are caused by air pollution from vehicle exhausts and many other man-made toxins, generated by our modern way of living in the 21st century.

The climate is changing, becoming erratic and unpredictable, perilous, and causing environmental hazards. Every week brings news of climatic disasters in one part of the world or another. Trees and forests are dying, due to acid rain, and this also contributes to the greenhouse effect.


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There are so many things that could threaten our survival in the 21st century:

– from a small thing like an insect, the mosquito, which can cause malaria, encephalitis, dengue and yellow fever, Barmah Forest and Ross River virus, with an estimated 1,000,000 people dying annually due to mosquito-borne diseases;

– to the largest expanse around us, the atmosphere with depleted oxygen levels. Oxygen is a fundamental requisite for our existence.

With environmental uncertainties, the sky-rocketing price of fuel which will affect every item we buy, and the dilemma of the global economy, we are faced with monstrous challenges. We all need to act now and take responsibility. Our nation is under threat, but it is capable of dramatic change to make it stronger. We can look at what happened to Cuba, when the country lost its oil supply and the economy went into ‘free-fall’. Times were tough. It was during this famine of fuel and food that the people learnt to grow their own food wherever they could  public parks, streets, gardens, vacant land, and even on rooftops. Ten years later, the people of Cuba have transformed the country into a low-carbon economy, and shown the rest of the world that it can be done.

In every century, man has had challenges … plaques, war, droughts and food scarcity. Let us take to heart the words of Roman Philosopher, Epictetus (55-135 AD) who said, “What ought one to say, then, as each hardship comes? I was practicing for this, I was training for this.”

In the 21st century, we too need to be prepared, no matter what. Every country is faced with change, bringing massive challenges; we can all play a part in the present and future survival, of all that lives on Earth.


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