Survivalism isn't something that most people really know or think about. It is simply a movement of a group of people or a few individuals who are actively prepared for emergencies. People who practice survivalism prepare themselves for natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), man-made disasters (chemical spills, nuclear explosions, etc.), social disasters (civil unrest due to shortage of available resources), financial disasters (economic collapse), as well as global pandemics.
The survivalism movement arose in the United Kingdom during the Cold War, when threats of nuclear warfare threatened the fabric of the English life style. This movement has risen and fallen in popularity over the years, with peaks showing around global or national distress. The most recent occurrence that has caused a spike in the survivalism movement is the disasters faced by America on September 11, 2011.
Though the heart of survivalism still thrives in that core concept it has drastically changed from its original meaning. Survivalists today choose to challenge themselves both physically and mentally in various environments. They test their ability to survive in the wild that many cannot survive in. These people often find themselves in peak physical conditions either as a result of or in preparation to survive in these difficult conditions.
Survivalism still has preparedness at its core and survivalist will train themselves to be prepared for both harsh wilderness conditions and urban survival situations. This means having the ability to both survive the wilderness and survive a crisis in a city, such as nuclear war or food shortages
The average survivalist's survival kit will include:
- a water purifier
- some sort of shelter
- fire starters
- medical supplies
- signaling gear
- a high quality survival knife
Even so, some more skillful survivalists will limit these items to solely a fire starter and a knife. Those with even more experience will go without a single bit of assisting gear. These methods are not recommended for beginners and are certainly not recommended for those who have not had basic survival training in some reliable way (boy scouts etc.). It is always best to start where you are most comfortable and have an emergency contact if you are going into the wilderness on your own.
Survivalism is a useful and beneficial movement regardless of how you view it. On one hand you prepare yourself for many different kinds of emergencies and disasters and on the other hand you learn how to survive in the wilderness with only yourself to rely on. One thing is clear though, to be a survivalist it is always best to keep your mind and body in good condition, and always be prepared for the worst.
If you want to learn more about Survivalism, you can check out this great Squidoo lens on survivalism which contains more information on who survivalists are and what they do. This author also has other cool lenses about wilderness Survival, especially on surviving in the desert. You can learn a lot here. You can also check out the survivalism movement on Facebook where you can find regular updates with survival information and news, as well as a cool community of survival enthusiasts.