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How to Prepare for Nuclear Winter

If you take a look at the news on any given day, you could find some justification for confidently stating that we’re approaching the end times. Our global political landscape has become fraught with uncertainty. Tensions between India and Pakistan have brought the possibility of nuclear conflict back into the public consciousness.  

There was a time in which every school throughout the U.S. led children in drills for the seeming inevitability of a nuclear attack. For a few decades, it felt as though we were able to relax a little, that the possibility of apocalyptic events were the sole domain of the movies. However, we’ve recently come to recognize that there are still a variety of threats for which we must take responsible steps to prepare ourselves and our loved ones.  

Whether challenges are caused by the aftermath of a nuclear strike or devastating irreversible damage due to climate change, there are consistent preparatory measures. Either instance could create similar atmospheric and environmental conditions. As we move into the cold months of the year, this is an apt moment to take a look at how we can best get ready for the onset of nuclear winter.

Long-Distance Migration

There could be global atmospheric implications beyond the initial destruction of nuclear attack. Just as with the effect of climate change, nuclear winter has the potential to cause a serious shift in global temperatures. While you may currently be living in a warm, comfortable area, you could find yourself confronted by unlivable conditions.

This means that there is a chance you’ll need to undertake migration to a climate that is more hospitable. Therefore, it’s certainly in your best interest to understand how to successfully embrace a mobile lifestyle. The popularity of the #VanLife and “digital nomad” lifestyles means you have more access to first-hand advice than at any other time. You can learn a lot about migratory preparation from those who live on the road, or who take the snowbird approach to moving south for the winter months.

Access to an RV helps to solve both the long-distance comfort and accommodation aspects of your migration, but most budgets won’t stretch to this. Therefore it behooves you to ensure your vehicle is in the best condition for travelling — regularly inspect all your fluids, and keep jumper cables and a battery charger at hand. Invest in good quality camping equipment designed for colder weather, such as specialist tents and closed-cell foam sleeping pads. You can even take additional DIY measures, such as creating a radiant barrier in your tent using duct tape and a mylar blanket.

Food Self Reliance

Food will always be a priority in the aftermath of a global catastrophe. Events that significantly change the climate can in turn affect the public’s access to vital sources of nutrition. Whether this is general scarcity, or a rise in the cost of food, it’s in your best interest to learn how to become self-reliant.     

Your best preparation in this instance begins with food and nutrition education — it’s not enough to simply plant a few vegetables in the ground. You need to understand which food products hold the best nutritional value. You must learn what plants can grow in a potentially colder climate, and how to preserve the resulting produce for later use. It’s also worth investing equipment to help you grow food indoors, such as culture trays, LED lamps, or full hydroponic kits.

Food education doesn’t begin and end with home farming. Depending on how close you are living to the epicenter of the explosion, the natural world may provide sources of vital nutrition. Learn to fish and how to effectively clean your catches before cooking. It’s also important to note that foraging in the wild requires expert guidance in order to avoid poisoning yourself and your family. Many places around the country offer courses in foraging, and it can be worth that investment to confidently take advantage of natural resources.  

Emergency Situations

The very fact of nuclear winter is an emergency situation in itself. Putting aside the grand-scale disaster, there are a variety of personal emergencies that could befall your family. There’s a chance that catastrophic events could find you out of easy reach of emergency services (if they’re still running at all). It’s pertinent that you take certain steps to ensure you can personally handle challenging circumstances.

One of the essential emergency items for all preppers is a solid first aid kit. This should include the basics: bandages, antiseptic cream or ointment, pain relievers, hemostatic agent, etc. However, you should also undertake some education in dispensing first aid, including CPR training — there are options for this across the country, including online learning platforms.  

Don’t underestimate the importance of effective communication. We can’t assume that telephone networks will be running during nuclear winter, and it’s wise to own emergency radio equipment in the event of any disaster. Stocking up on power sources — batteries, solar chargers, etc. — is also a vital step in preparing for the worst.

Whether the climate is catastrophically affected by our overreliance on fossil fuels, or it’s the aftermath of a devastating nuclear attack, we must all take preparatory steps. While there are equipment and supplies that can help soften the blow, education is a key element in your survival. By learning how to feed yourselves, migrate safely, and administer medical care, you make great strides in your ability to take on the end of the world as you know it.


About the Author: Frankie Wallace is a recent graduate from the University of Montana. She now resides in Boise, Idaho where she spends her days gardening and reading. 

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