Prepping As a Form of Personal Activism

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Prepping As a Form of Personal Activism

There are some days when I feel as though I am out there in the world alone, fighting a battle that can not be seen or heard. The battle is one of preparedness and is one I endure day in and day out in spite of my best effort to step away and live a normal, middle class, mainstream life.

I have given a lot of thought to this and even though I tell strangers that I am a “crazy old prepper lady”, in my heart of hearts I know that I am doing both myself and every other prepper-type a disservice by minimalizing the importance of embracing preparedness and self-reliance.

Prepping As a Form of Personal Activism | Backdoor Survival

If I paid attention to the memos issued by the alphabet soup agencies, I suppose I would be considered a domestic terrorist. As far back as 2011, people that stored lots of food were identified as “potential terrorists” by law enforcement authorities. I would like to think that things have changed since then but to be honest, most people I know look at me glassy eyed when I talk about prepping. That includes my family.

This leads to believe that instead of calling myself a Prepper, I should self-label myself an Activist since in its most basic definition, activism is something that the so-called “normals” understand. With that introduction, today I would like to talk about activism and how being an activist relates to the Prepper Movement. And yes, let us call the emerging national pastime of prepping a “movement” for at no time in my lifetime can I recall such a groundswell of peaceful unrest and positive action among a such a large and varied demographic.

What is an Activist?

According to Wikipedia, Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change.

What is missing from this definition, however, is the personal aspect of activism. By that I mean the conscientious and intentional effort to bring about change at the individual or family level in addition to (or instead of) the global level. I propose that it is this personal activism that heralds the true prepper.

A few years back you might have said “Hold on, not me! I am no activist”. To be honest, many people are actually horrified by the thought of being labeled as such. They think of an activist as someone who marches on Washington (or Wall Street), participates in sit-its, holds wonky signs and shouts obscenities at authority figures and law enforcement.

But times have changed. As uncomfortable as being labeled an activist might be, these days being called a prepper can, in some circles be equally, if not more, disparaging. As recently as last summer I was at a conference – a prepping summit, no less – and there was a call to ban the word “Prepper” from our vocabularies. I kid you not.

Tradition notwithstanding, I believe that the quiet, unassuming prepper is also an activist. I say this because true activism starts close to home. It starts when you decide to live a self-reliant life. It starts when you decide that you will depend on nobody but yourself for your personal safety and survival. And it continues as you begin to pare down the excess in order to live minimally, learning to embrace life for the bounty at hand versus the covetous bounty of your neighbor.

Now perhaps you are now thinking, “ but Gaye, I am just one person doing the right thing for myself and my family. How does that make me an Activist?”

Six Qualities of An Activist

And to that I say, take a look at the qualities that reside under the activist umbrella and what do you see? If you see yourself in the following, you are indeed an activist:

1. Commitment: The Activist gets things done. He does not merely dream, he acts. Tenacity and perseverance are a way of life.

2. Education and Knowledge: The Activist is always learning a new skill. He makes an outward effort to stay informed of issues that may threaten survival and the world and society at hand.

3. Positive Attitude: Activists are upbeat and enthusiastic about their mission. Naysayers do not discourage their efforts one iota. To the contrary, that makes the activist work even harder to accomplish his goals.

4. Communication: An Activist will speak up when sneaky corporations and corrupt or ineffective politicians try to control his destiny. Even when his voice is lost in the wilderness of corruption, it is still a voice that will never give up.

5. Problem Solving: An Activist may not know it all, but he will figure it out for better or for worse. Complacency or inaction because “you don’t know how” does not exist in the activist’s life.

6. Passion: An Activist is charged with the fire and passion to make things happen.

Like I said, if these qualities sound familiar, you are both a Prepper and an Activist. In your own way, you are setting a course to change the world. You may not think so, but in my view, that is exactly what you are doing one day at a time, one bean at a time, and one skill at a time.

The Final Word

Taking steps to effect social change can be lonely and frustrating. Being overwhelmed is not uncommon. And while taking these steps are necessary, the decision to do this publicly or privately is an individual choice. There is no right or wrong.

All I can say is this: those who reverently store food and water, learn to use a firearm for self defense and safety, and develop survival skills such as hunting, fishing, fire building (and more), will prevail. Furthermore, you will be secure in the knowledge that you are taking responsibility for yourself and your family regardless of what the government, the global economy, your fellow man or the planet throws at you.

So call me a prepper or call me an activist. I really don’t care; I just want to be ready.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin: The article I wrote on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased you missed it, here is a link to the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies and to some of the products that I use to make my own cleaners.

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleanser: I know that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soaps have a cult-like following but I prefer the Sal Suds. I call my DIY cleaner “Sudsy Sal”.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap: Of all of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps, peppermint is my favorite. I use it to make “Peppermint Magic”, an all purposed cleaner.

Soft ‘n Style 8 oz. Spray Bottles: I happen to like these smaller bottles and you can not beat the price for a set of 3. Likewise for these Pump Dispensers.

NOW Solutions Vegetable Glycerin: You will need this for your Dirt Cheap Soft Soap. I paid almost as much for only 4 ounces locally. This is a great price and 16 ounces will last forever.

Peppermint Essential Oil: I favor peppermint and tea tree (Melaleuca) essential oil in my cleaning supplies. But there are many types of essential oils to choose from. Take your pick. One thing you will find is that a little goes a long way. The nice thing about essential oils from Spark Naturals is that they are also excellent for therapeutic and healing use and well as for use in DIY cleaning supplies. Just remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout to get 10% off your order.

Budget Essential Oils: For the budget minded – and especially for use in cleaning supplies – consider NOW Foods Essential Oils.

Mobile Washer

Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub.

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22 Responses to “Prepping As a Form of Personal Activism”

  1. A “practivist”? 🙂
    In actuality, it don’t matter what we are called. As long as we are prepared, to the best of our ability, for whatever the future may bring our way.

    • I LOVE it! A Practivist! You heard it here first on Backdoor Survival haha! I am adding that to my vocabulary.

  2. Excellent article. You wrote what I have been thinking. I have been an “activist” since ’94. Now I have joined the prepping life, politics to survival in 20 years! Does that mean our politics failed? Good question, the truths are still true, sheeple have been dumbed down, sadly, to a place of entitlement and apathy. You’re correct, it is a lonely endeavor. My whole life style has changed, I have become a peasant by choice so I can “put back” food and supplies. My husband doesn’t discourage me, but he doesn’t encourage me either. Maybe you have some advice there! LOL! Anyway, I move forward. Thanks for the encouraging article, it’s nice to know there really are like minded people!

  3. “…intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change.”
    An individual alone making changes in his/her own life is a change in all of these categories. Even if it is on the micro level. They may not be large or even measurable at some levels. But they are real.
    Some examples.
    Social: your worldview has been altered; your spending habits changed; What you value and discard change; who you hang out with. Etc. (Just like one person making a decision to not buy a puppy mill dog and adopts one from death row.)
    Political: Who you vote for, who you support with $ or yard signs, letters to reps or the editor, etc.
    Economic: Overlaps with social; where you travel (prepper conference vs NY) and how (fly with TSA vs driving); What you will purchase or not (ammo vs i-stuff), etc.
    Environmental: gardening, composting and animals are the clearest examples; Going non GMO; Getting off-grid will have an economic on you and companies you do or don’t do business with; The “global environmental impact” will be infinitesimal. “Man made climate change” is human arrogance and ignorance at their highest)

  4. I could not resist:
    if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say “Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant.”. And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
    they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

  5. A hundred years ago MOST people did what preppers do today. People who didn’t were called slackers. Now that irresponsibility is the norm, what used to be normal is called activism.
    As my Dad used to say, “You can call me anything you want. Just don’t call me late for dinner.”

  6. “people that stored lots of food were identified as “potential terrorists” by law enforcement authorities.”

    The schizophrenia of our government officials would be more amusing if it weren’t threatening. Our state government (Hawaii) officially urges us to keep a seven day supply of all essentials on hand. At the same time a variety of officials think of those who follow the state’s advice as gun-toting right wing wackos.

    There is an article in today’s paper about the approach of Tropical Storm Wali, which should impact us this weekend. In it, the Director of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management is quoted as saying “In general, in the Pacific, we are always subject to some kind of natural disaster and we should always be prepared, especially because we’re an island community and remotely isolated by comparison to the mainland.”

    In other words: No one will be trucking in relief supplies from the next state the day after the hurricane.

    Official advice: Have seven days of food, supplies, and medications. Also a crank or battery powered radio. Decent advice, even though seven days is way too short for anyone contemplating the aftermath of a Category 2 or higher hurricane, especially since it does not emphasize the deadly effects of lack of drinking water.

    The Wikipedia entry on hurricane Iniki, which hit Kauai in 1992, says “Electric companies restored only 20% of the island’s power service within four weeks of Iniki, while other areas were without power for up to three months.” On Oahu, lack of municipal power means no water: I checked with the Board of Water Supply last year. That is if the 200 pumps which drive the system survive: according to the Board, none are in hurricane resistant buildings.

    Seven days is not nearly enough, but those of us who accept the government’s advice to be prepared all the time are wackos. Potentially dangerous wackos.

    Go figure.

    • Even though the island where I live is only 30 miles off shore, as you say “No one will be trucking in relief supplies from the next state the day after a …..”. Personally, my guess is that there would be no assistance of any type for days or weeks. Just sayin’.

    • Hi Gaye, I went to a government emergency preparation expo last fall and talked with a couple firemen staffing a booth there. They were adamant that NO ONE would be coming to help after a major hurricane or other disaster, at least for over a week.

      They were quite definite that we would be entirely on our own because they would be too busy doing their primary emergency jobs, which apparently do not include providing fire fighting, not the police providing police response. That would be in the remote possibility that the phone system was functioning so one could even call them.

      They were very, very explicit that we as individuals and families will be 100% responsible for our own water, food, and protection— and they were equally adamant that everyone had better have a shotgun or lose their water and food, because they would not be there to help us. Period.

      Their clarity and vehemence were really kind of refreshing. Sobering to any who didn’t already know it, but refreshing.

      The people at the Board of Water Supply were also clear that when the municipal power grid goes down, there will be no municipal water, either. The Navy has ships which can desalinate lots of water, but the problem will be distribution: How do you get the trucks to 930,000 people every day when the streets are clogged with debris?

      Answer: You don’t.

      It doesn’t matter if there is lots of potable water available at Pearl Harbor or Marine Corps Base Kaneohe if it can’t be distributed. We store water, and filters to clean 6000 gallons of the neighbors’ swimming pool water. Given how few people prep for hurricanes, and given that many who do may have their supplies destroyed by a storm, those filters and pools may save a lot of people if we get hit with a big one while we still live here.

      As the first responders told me: The people responsible for our safety after a disaster are us. Not them. Us.

    • I don’t know why the gov. wants to give people a false sense of security by telling them they only need 3 days of stuff. In many situations 1 month is barely enough. Glad that you will not only be able to help yourself but help your neighbors as well. Use the time to educate too.

    • Hi Pogo, “Glad that you will not only be able to help yourself but help your neighbors as well.”

      We can at least help with water, the most important thing. Food…not so much unless it is clearly a very short term problem, and then only with some beans and rice.

      Water though…well, one can look at the water issue as altruistically helping the neighbors because helping them feels good, or as totally selfishly preventing the neighbors from running amok and taking one’s supplies after some violence against us. Doesn’t really matter what one’s motivation might be as the results of helping the neighbors will be similar.

      I tend to think of the issue of helping out the neighbors from a bit of both perspectives. I want to help them, and it is in our self interest to help them. In either case or both, it is a win/win. We do not ascribe to the belief that people who don’t prepare for emergencies deserve to die as punishment. We may not be able to help them, but if we can, we will.

      I’d really, really, really not want to shoot the neighbors to protect our stuff. I’d much rather have enough to give some to them. It would be a lot easier to live with myself afterwards. Water and filters, beans, and rice are cheaper than a gun fight no matter how one scores them.

  7. This does not have to do with today’s topic, but I just found another reason to be prepared – at all times.

    They are doing street cleaning Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and our cars have to be off the street.

    So, I took the car to the garage to see if it fits in. (It normally would but my landlord – my brother-in-law — is doing some work on the fences and has some equipment and plywood and 2×4’s in there.)

    I drove in fine and got out of the car. And immediately tripped over the plywood and went down on my left knee. Not a good thing, especially as I have had replacement surgery on both knees.

    And, wouldn’t you know it, I had left my cell phone in the house. Hey, who needs their cell phone to just move the car half a block? We all do.

    Thankfully my neighbors were home and came over. They are both young and strong and were able to get me on my feet. After thanking them profusely I left the car in the garage (it fit) and went inside to nurse my knee.

    I took some heavy duty meds (Tylenol 3 yeah heavy for me) and put ice on the knee. Now my body is very sore.

    So what has this to do with being prepared?

    I don’t think I will be going anywhere for a few days while I heal. But — since I started slowly prepping last month I have a good 10 days of canned and packaged food in the house. So I don’t have to go out to buy anything.

    I’m thinking this might be a good idea to check out the propane stove I bought ages ago and the Esbit solid fuel stove I purchased last month to see how they work.

    Plus I can use this time to read my prepping books on my Kindle — can do that lying in bed with ice pack on the knee — and to look over the Archives here on Backyard Survival.

    So this is a good lesson for us all. Keep that cell phone with you even though you are just moving the lawn or moving the car. Never know when you will have a tumble, especially if you are a MAJOR KLUTZ like me. 🙂

    And remember that old Dr Pepper song? I found myself singing it to my with a twist —

    I’m a prepper
    You’re a prepper
    and he’s a prepper too.

    Good luck everyone with your prepping.


    • Nothing like a real life situation to bring absolute clarity is it? Peggy I pray your knee heals properly. Thank God for the little “wake up call”. glad you have joined the folks who are taking control over their own future. since you are new, you may feel overwhelmed. Here is a link to a list to get you started in the right direction. I am a part of this pack and they are a good group of people. check it out. //

  8. They had our water off last week for a couple of days then boil order for three. This past week it was off for one day. I am in a HOA & we have one well for all. Only had power off one time so far this year, so yeah, prepping is VERY important for me. I only know of one other person that is prepping some tho, so hate to think what will happen if everything goes kaboom! Especially in the summer and on weekends because that is when the city people all come down. One hundred thirty eight houses & only two single women prepping? Not a pretty thought!!

    • Rosemary: Be VERY careful who you tell (no one) that you have any supplies at all. Learn the term OPSEC. loose lips sink ships. Lay low. Especially with all the weekenders!

  9. Forgot to say I am 12 miles from town in either of two directions so in the winter I stock up for sure! Car problems can be an issue to.

  10. To Pogo reference both his replies. Yes, at 69 I am a new prepper. I’m starting late and with bad health, but at least I’m starting. I’m taking it slow and easy.

    I’ve heard the term OPSEC before. What do the letters stand for?

    From what I’ve read, most advice is how to prepare both physically (gathering food and water, exercise, etc.) and mentally. I would like to add “spiritually” as being either a stand alone attribute or part of “mentally”. Our faith in ourselves, our neighbors, our country, and our God goes a long way towards being calm and collected while working towards our goals.

    Good luck everyone.


    • Peggy OPSEC – Operations Security
      Basically, there are bad people all around. They may be nice neighbors at present, but when the chips are down they care nothing for anyone but themselves. If you have what they want they will either come and take all of it, or kill you and take it. So, it is generally recommended that you tell no one that you have preps. Except, possibly, someone who you trust your life with, and if they are also prepping. Or someone you are willing to accept into your home to share your preps with.
      Maybe watch the movies “American Blackout” and (if you can understand the strong British accent) “Britain Blackout” – both can be found on youtube.

    • Sorry to hear you have such a bad opinion of everyone (except yourself). There are SOME bad people, but most will be more scared than you. In any scary situation, most people will take no action on their own. That’s why most people aren’t prepared.
      What is needed at times like that are leaders. People will follow anyone who takes charge. Some will follow bad people unless good people step up and lead.
      Instead of fearing your neighbors, lead them!
      Instead of watching scary movies that show everyone as bad, read my novel – After the Blackout – and become part of the good the world needs.

    • No, not every one is bad. But after they put a bullet into you, it’s too late to realise that there are some bad ones out there. I have always tried to help my fellow man out. At work I have shown them how to do things that takes a while to learn on their own, and I get stabbed in the back… I loan money to a fellow worker who “will pay you back on payday” and never see that person again…. I’ve explained to my boss what was wrong with a piece of equipment, he fixes it then takes all the credit. That’s only a few of the experiences I’ve had by trusting people. Like the saying used to be – “Trust but verify” –
      I’m sure your book is good. But, how much is a reflection of you and how much a reflection of society? Remember the EBT scandal? I’m sure there were a few people who didn’t try to load up on groceries while the system was not working properly, but what percentage? If there where that many honest people those store shelves would not have been stripped so quickly! (IMO) So, no – I’m far from perfect, but I do not steal!

    • Also, Peggy was asking what OPSEC stood for. Do you think that there should be no OPSEC for preppers? In an ideal world, perhaps, but this one isn’t it.

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