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Starving Venezuelans Fed Up: “We Want Food!” Tags: Activism News Preparedness

This is a food line in Venezuela. Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlin

Mac Slavo
SHTFplan.com

Venezuela’s problems are sure to get worse before they get better.

Right now the nation, at the hands of socialist dictator President Nicolas Maduro, is headed for the bottom.

Weeks of rationed food and electricity, a shortage of basic necessities and spiraling inflationis taking its toll, and the regime is quickly descending into all out hell.

Now, people are beyond fed up with the conditions and are moving towards support for Maduro’s ouster… that, and they want to eat… food.

It is no laughing matter. Shortages have already prompted poaching animals and looting has become widespread.

The black matter trade of goods, which stores have struggled for more than a year to keep in stock and which are rationed tightly, is an important stabilizing factor for increasingly desperate people in Venezuela.

Long lines have been the norm. Food has been in short supply. But now a new degree by Maduro is forcing people to take ration delivers at their home, door-to-door, in order to curb black market transactions.

As AFP reports:

It was around noon when a food truck rolled up… But, to the fury of the long line of people waiting out front, the cargo wasn’t unloaded. Instead soldiers took it away.

“We want food!” the crowd roared in protest, to no avail. Some tried to run after the truck.

Under the state of emergency imposed by President Nicolas Maduro, the military, along with government-organized civilian committees, ensures that food packets are delivered door-to-door in order to — as officials say — cut out black market operators.

[…]

“Here in Guarenas there were revolutionary supporters. But now the people no longer want revolution — what they want is food,” she said.

“The people are going hungry. We are tired of lining up, of killing ourselves for just a carton of eggs or some bread,” she said.

As Joshua Krause noted in his recent article, Venezuela, while far from perfect, was nonetheless fairly normal only a couple of years ago. The collapse in oil prices forced the oil rich nation into position where it could no longer sustain its system of total socialism.

Two years ago, Venezuela was a normal functioning nation, relatively speaking of course. It was by no means a free country, but the people still had a standard of living that was higher than most developing nations. Venezuelans could still afford the basic necessities of life, and a few luxuries too.

[…]

If you’re a prepper, pay close attention to what happens next. What’s playing out in Venezuela right now is the kind of worst case scenario that many of us have been preparing for in the US. It should be very informative. It just goes to show that if you live under a corrupt authoritarian government that can’t manage its resources, all it takes is a heavy ripple in the global economy to send the whole system careening over a cliff.

The emperor in Venezuela is naked, no one there is under any illusions any longer, and the empire is falling. America, you could be next.

 

How are your leaders dressed, and vulnerable is society really?

Get your preps together, and don’t let it happen to you if it happens here.

Read more:

Collapsing Venezuela Is Out of Food: “Prepping Became Illegal”, Long Lines Mandatory

Venezuela, Socialist Paradise in Collapse: “Rationing Food, Toiliet Paper… Now Electricity”

Raw Venezuela: Looter Burned Alive, While “Streets Filled With People Killing Animals For Food”

Venezuela: A Prepper’s Nightmare Come to Life: “Pay Close Attention To What Happens Next”

 

Nuclear Emergencies and the Masters of Improvisation Tags: Disasters Nuclear Orwellian World Preparedness

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Sonja Schmid

 

Chernobyl, Fukushima, and preparedness for a “next one”

Over a single April day in 1986, a little-known place called Chernobyl became infamous. Twenty-five years later, a similar fate befell Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. In the end, the Fukushima disaster was better contained than Chernobyl, but if an emergency hits another nuclear power facility, it may well do so in an unanticipated way. Are nations adequately prepared for an unpredictable “next one?” Below, authors from Austria, Cameroon, and India assess improvements over the last 30 years in preparedness for a nuclear power disaster—and debate how preparedness should be further improved.

April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, and those old enough to remember the event can recall the explosion, the evacuation, and the dread. But they rarely remember an immense milestone in the response to the disaster: the completion in November 1986 of a concrete encasement of Chernobyl’s reactor number four. Workers drawn from all across the Soviet Union built this “sarcophagus” under extreme radiological conditions, on the ruins of the destroyed reactor. They used unimaginable amounts of concrete—and a great deal of imagination. This concrete mausoleum has held up, with some assistance, for 30 years now. (A larger containment structure that will fit over the existing sarcophagus is now being built.)

Over the years, as the ranks of those who responded to Chernobyl have thinned, new generations of nuclear professionals have been trained to prevent another disaster. Their training has emphasized “safety culture.” This, along with “inherently safe designs,” was going to guarantee an accident-free nuclear future. For a while, it seemed as if the world was on the verge of forgetting forever what responding to a nuclear emergency really required. Then, in March 2011, multiple reactors at one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants melted down as a consequence of a massive earthquake, a tsunami, and a sustained power outage.

As a student of the Soviet nuclear power program and the Chernobyl disaster, it was painful for me to watch the blame game that played out immediately after Fukushima. Almost to the letter, the Chernobyl “script” was followed. First, the plant’s operators were blamed. Then the reactor design was at fault. Finally, it was the turn of the national nuclear regulatory structure. “Culture,” of course, received a great deal of blame as well.

 

But while Chernobyl could ultimately be dismissed as a Soviet-made disaster that “could never happen here”—wherever “here” happened to be—Fukushima has not allowed such steadfast denial. Indeed, Fukushima has proved the death knell for a nuclear safety philosophy that focused exclusively on preventing accidents. Disaster preparedness and response were given scant attention in the years between Chernobyl and Fukushima, but now they have been added to the vocabulary of the world’s nuclear industries. Curiously, however, this shift is only partial. Disaster prevention retains the greatest emphasis; preparedness is sometimes treated adequately; but resources (and imagination) devoted to actual response strategies remain limited.

The “lessons learned” from Fukushima—and new reports on these lessons continue to be published—focus predominantly on technical and legal fixes, organizational reform, and liability concerns. In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission responded to Fukushima by overhauling its rules and guidelines for accident prevention, preparedness, and response. The US nuclear industry, meanwhile, implemented “FLEX,” a program designed to provide nuclear reactors in distress with hardware such as extra pumps and generators, both on site and stored at regional centers. In Europe, power reactors were subjected to “stress tests” after Fukushima, and these tests sparked conversation among nations hosting nuclear power reactors about harmonizing, if only loosely, national regulations concerning natural (and other) hazards to nuclear power plants.

Steps such as these go in the right direction. But emphasizing prevention and preparedness over response ignores a simple fact: Nuclear disasters tend to exceed people’s worst expectations. There is a good reason that the nuclear industry refers to disasters as “beyond design-basis accidents“—only a limited number of scenarios can be anticipated and prepared for. Disasters, therefore, require the development of creative, skill-based, and team-based response strategies (along with strenuous efforts to avoid disasters entirely).

Training for emergency responders in general tends to emphasize flexibility and imagination, with a premium placed on performing quick assessments and triage in unprecedented situations. But in nuclear emergency response training, the situation is different. The nuclear industry seems deeply troubled by using human imagination to address situations that go “beyond the checklist.” In Europe and the United States, at least—I can’t speak for the entire world—the nuclear industry seems hung up on the idea of control. There is a plan for every conceivable situation. Should plans fail, there are more plans. Staff are trained to follow procedures and execute instructions. If they don’t, that’s always bad.

More Here>>

 

How to Get Started with Square Foot Gardening (and Why) Tags: Community Preparedness Solutions

Wellness Mama

A little research on starting a backyard garden will quickly show there are many (maybe too many?) ways to plan your own plot. But don’t let it overwhelm you. Of the many methods I’ve tried in our garden over the years, Square Foot Gardening makes a tidy, productive garden possible even for those with little know-how, time, or space, and the neighbors won’t even mind looking at it!

What Is Square Foot Gardening?

In the early 1980s retired engineer Mel Bartholomew came up with an easily replicated concept to grow more food in less space, coining the term “Square Foot Gardening™.” His method has not lost popularity in the years since and has been improved and modernized. (1)

A Square Foot Garden has several unique characteristics:

  1. Small, uniform raised beds (usually 4 x 4)
  2. Rich amended soil
  3. A physical grid dividing the surface of each bed into 1’ squares
  4. A set number of plants per square foot

Square foot gardens can be a simple wooden frame or can even become more elaborate vertical gardens:

Square foot raised bed gardening-how to get started

 

While I love the idea of a sprawling garden in all its glory, you can see how the tidy, manicured look of a Square Foot Garden might be appreciated in a variety of residential settings.

The Benefits of Square Foot Gardening over Traditional Gardens

In the traditional row garden, between every long row of green goodness there is an equal bare space for an aisle or path. Not only are these paths taking up space in your yard, they are prime territory for weeds and compact nearby roots.

Now imagine a small 4 x 4 foot raised bed capable of growing all the produce a traditional garden can. The uniformly spaced plants crowd out weed growth, the ideal soil mix reduces the need every inch of soil remains aerated and fluffy, all areas of the bed can be reached easily for tending, and the small footprint means water savings.

And it gets better:

With Square Foot Gardening’s easy but precise formula for deciding what to plant in each square foot, simply based on a plant’s general size at maturity, amateur gardeners are spared having to learn every plant’s particular spacing and nutritional needs.

Sound too good to be true? How about this claim:

Square Foot Gardening yields 100% of the harvest of a traditional garden in 80% less space, and with a mere 2% of the work. (2)

Here’s how to get started on your own Square Foot Garden bed in a few easy steps:

How to Start Square Foot Gardening

Before you get started creating your new garden, there’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Size it up

No clever garden design can make up for lack of sun or poor drainage. Track sun and shade patterns to find a location with 6-8 hours of sun in a level part of the yard, with no trees or other obstacles blocking the rays from the southeast.

If possible, keep the garden close to the house for ease of watering and harvesting.

Consider how much food you want to grow. One 4 x 4 foot raised Square Foot Garden bed can produce enough food for a small family, but you may want more if you plan to can or freeze some of your harvest. Leave 3 foot aisles between garden beds and mulch them well for weed control.

Garden boxes can also be raised off the ground in areas without green space and set at any height, easy on the knees and back.

Now it’s time to get to work!

2. Make Your Bed

While you can buy ready-made Square Foot Garden boxes in a variety of forms, with a few simple supplies you can construct your own for about $20 a box:

  • (4) 2 x 6 in. boards, 4 ft. long, untreated (Cedar is a good choice)
  • (12) 4 in. wood screws
  • (6) 4 ft. lattice strips
  • (9) machine bolts
  • Weed barrier
  • Power drill
  • Staple gun
  • Screws/nails

This helpful video tutorial shows the process of building your garden bed step-by-step, and even gives cost estimates for building materials and soil.

The boxes can be as decorative or as simple as you want them to be, depending on budget, time, and the surrounding landscape. Once you build your box you may also want to add a vertical trellis for climbing plants like cucumbers or beans (again, more produce in less space!).

The lattice strips go on top of the finished planter box forming a grid or tic-tac-toe-style box of 16 (one-foot) squares. While this may seem strange at first, you’ll see why in Step 4.

3. Mix the Perfect Soil Cocktail

For filling your new boxes, Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening creator, recommends his “Mel’s Mix” soil blend:

1/3 compost + 1/3 coarse vermiculite + 1/3 peat moss (by volume)

While paying for dirt may seem counterintuitive, genuine top-quality garden soil is the key to garden growth as well as to cutting down on fertilizers and pesticides. You’ll be glad you invested now to save time and produce down the road.

To achieve a balanced nutrient mix, use a variety of compost sources such as chicken and cow manure, mushroom compost, and worm castings. If you don’t find vermiculite at your local garden center, check a farm supply store. (Note: Vermiculite is a somewhat hard-to-find and controversial ingredient. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, some sources recommend substituting sand or extra compost in its place.)

For one 4 x 4 foot garden box with 6 inch sides, you will need 8 cubic feet of soil mix. Since you will be measuring by volume and not weight as marked on the bag, use a 5 gallon bucket to measure your ratios. Mix in a wheelbarrow or right in the garden bed.

Lay your weed block right over the grass inside the box in your desired location and fill with the soil mix, trying not to compact it.

On to my favorite part of Square Foot Gardening: the planting grid.

4. Choose Your Plants (with Confidence!)

Think about your family’s likes and dislikes before you choose what to plant. Do you eat a lot of salads? Do you want to be able make fresh salsa? If you have young children, go for fruits and veggies that are naturally sweet and easy to snack on like snap peas, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and carrots. Fresh herbs are useful, easy to grow, smell amazing, and even help deter pests.

Here’s where the Square Foot grid comes into play. Look at the plant spacing (not the row spacing) on the back of your seed packet. From there you’ll think about the plants in terms of small, medium, large, and extra large:

  • Small: 3” apart (or smaller) = 16 per square (radishes, beets, etc)
  • Medium: 4” apart = 9 per square (carrots, onions, et)
  • Large: 6” apart = 4 per square (lettuces, etc)
  • Extra Large: 12” apart = 1 per square (cabbage, broccoli, peppers, tomato, etc)

Melons, squash, and other very large growers can be placed in the middle of four squares in the grid. Save space by training cucumbers and other climbing vines up a trellis attached to your garden box.

A quick search will turn up many visual “cheat sheets” to take any guesswork out of the process.

A time-saving tip for the ambitious: make your grid double as an irrigation system!

5. Maintain with Ease

Since the right nutrients are already present in your amended soil mix, Square Foot Gardening should reduce your need for additional fertilizers and pesticides. Add a scoop of compost to each hole before planting, keep evenly watered until plant growth begins, and then let the greenery create its own living mulch.

Weed around plants as needed, catching them when they’re small.

Raised bed gardens have another bonus: Cold frames or pest-deterring frames can easily be designed and fit to the 4 x 4 box. A box made from 4-foot 2 x 2 boards and chicken wire makes a tidy and not too unattractive floating cover to prevent garden pests from stealing your precious fruits and veggies–a lifesaver for strawberry patches and tender greens.

Sources:
1. Illinois University Extension, “Square Foot Gardening Still Popular in 2016
2. Square Foot Gardening Foundation

 

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