How to Get Teens Interested in Prepping and Self Sustainability

Teens these days live in a different world than many of us did growing up. They are surrounded by technology, constantly in contact with friends, and exposed to ideas from all over the world at the click of a button. Though there are many positives associated with the technological advances taking place in the world today, there are also some real negatives. 

Perhaps one of the most troubling of these negatives is that many teenagers these days are completely disconnected from foundational skills that are necessary for survival. Many don’t have a strong grasp on where their food comes from, how to use tools to fix things, or what to do in an emergency. For thoughtful preppers, this lack of skills poses a significant safety risk to the entire group. 

Building interest in prepping skills and self-sustainability is the first step to rectifying the situation. Finding ways to connect with teenagers may take some creativity. They may look at you like you’re crazy if you try to teach them things for “survival purposes.” Instead, try to subtly tie lessons in prepping to things they are interested in and care about. 

Gardening and a More Sustainable Planet

A core component of prepping is related to producing and storing your own food. Gardening and canning are profoundly practical ways to reduce your impact on the planet. Producing your own food has the compounding benefits of

  • Shortening the number of miles food has to travel (by boat, airplane, or truck) from the field it was produced in to reach your plate.
  • Reducing the need to use energy for heavy equipment to harvest and process food produced on large farms.
  • Limiting or eliminating the chemicals used to produce and store food on a mass scale.
  • Building back high-quality soils through composting waste products.
  • Working with nature to capitalize on environmentally friendly strategies to increase yields and reduce pests. 
  • Reducing waste from single-use plastics and tin cans (assuming you preserve food using glass jars).
  • Saving money on high-quality, local, healthy foods.

Gardening and food preservation are also two of the easiest prepping skills to get your children involved in from a young age. Young children can help with harvesting and pulling weeds, while teenagers can take on managing certain aspects of the garden, determining which foods to grow, solving problems with pests or watering, and helping with food preservation. You may even encourage your teen to take this form of environmental activism a step further by introducing it at their school. More people are capable of surviving a disaster because they can grow their own food never hurts. 

Driving and Emergency Response

Another avenue to try is something that most teenagers are deeply invested in: being able to drive. Driving means freedom and less reliance on parents. But it also means taking on greater responsibility and risk. Driving privileges can be a great means of introducing different prepping skills such as emergency response. 

A condition of…

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10 Best Hidden Cameras for Your Home

thief caught on camerathief caught on camera

Hidden cameras are usually something we want to find, not hide. We go to a hotel or public bathroom and wonder if some thief or pervert is watching us. There are reasons to consider hidden cameras for your home, however.

Camera technology has come a long way. Today’s cameras not only take brighter, more detailed images than cameras just a few years ago, but they have become small. Very small.

Hidden cameras are so affordable and easy to install that by the end of this article you might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t I install one in my home?” After all, they can be an important part of a larger home security system.

Hidden Cameras vs Visible Cameras

Hidden cameras are great if you want to catch someone in the act of doing something. This could be a homeowner who wants to see if a nanny is having friends over, a store owner who wants to see which cashier is stealing from the cash register, or a tenant who wants to know if a landlord is entering without asking.

There are, of course, nefarious uses for hidden cameras. AirBnB owners have been known to secretly record guests, for example. In fact, some hidden camera sellers promote the idea that their camera can be used for… questionable purposes. See this marketing photo of a USB port hidden camera on our list:

hidden camera marketing imagehidden camera marketing imageAre you going to use you hidden cameras in your home in an ethical way?

Are we to assume the woman consented to being filmed? If that was the case, why a hidden camera? Maybe the image implies it’s to help catch unfaithful partners… Maybe.

Visible cameras have the advantage of not only filming criminal activity, but discouraging it altogether. Placing security cameras where people can see them helps keep them honest (or encourages them to move on to easier targets).

hidden cameras for your home vs visible camerashidden cameras for your home vs visible camerasThese cameras are visible to discourage would-be thieves. They are placed under a porch roof for weather protection.

External vs Internal Power

There are hidden cameras that require an external power source and those that require battery power. The latter are often rechargeable.

I prefer cameras that function by battery because they are mobile and more versatile. The battery charge on a quality unit will last a long time. I also appreciate that these cameras operate when the grid goes down (and crimes might spike).

There are sacrifices you make with any camera. You’ll see that in the list that follows. If you want a camera that does not function by battery, and you’re concerned about off-grid operation, you can get around that by using a solar…

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How Native Fern Plants Benefit the Environment

Native ferns are plants that produce fresh oxygen, which is vital for a clean environment, removing harmful toxins and also bio-indicators.

Native plants are so easy to maintain! They not only clean the environment, are low-maintenance plants, return every spring, are perfect for shade, and no fertilizer is needed, and are excellent for usage in shade gardens with ample moisture. They also are very resilient and disease resistant, making them very popular with amateur gardeners.

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Ferns are beneficial because they are one of the few plants that can cope with shade and moisture. These qualities make Fern Benefits in Nature the perfect choice for creating native plant forests, use as a shade border plant, or just growing indoors.

They’re not only beautiful, but they’re also actually unique. They naturally remove arsenic and formaldehyde from the soil. Plus, they endure shade, moisture, and a wide range of temperatures.

Native ferns are an exotic type of plant and have many significant uses in the environment. They are used in restoration, streambank, woody, and wetland projects across America. One reason is that they can remove toxins from the land and air.

Two potentially fatal and toxic poisons in the soil and air are arsenic and formaldehyde. Ferns are one of the best plants for removing these poisons as they are bio indicators and remove these poisons. The toxins are absorbed in the fronds of native ferns to successfully clean the environment, unlike any other plant on the planet.

Want to fight smog & get the freshest air imaginable? “Ferns are living air filters. These highly efficient plants are on track to removing tons of pollution from the air every year”, states Dennis Sons of TN Nursery. A leading native fern nursery grower.

5 Best Native Ferns to Use in Landscaping

Christmas Ferns

It’s all in the name: Christmas Ferns. There’s nothing more festive than this native evergreen from Eastern North America. It has emerald green and subtle fronds that are evergreen.

These ferns will brighten any home with their fresh light and emerald hue. They thrive in the shade and need very little water, so they’re perfect for anyone looking for an exotic touch to their living space. They’re an excellent choice for gardeners looking to make the most of their space, as they can thrive in little light and small spaces.

Hay Scented Ferns

Give your space a natural and inviting look with the help of Hay-Scented Ferns. These easy-to-grow ferns are beautifully arranged in a set of three. Their lacy green fronds will wave fronds upright plants that thrive in the shade or part of the day and even sun if the soil is moist. They will grow from 18-24″ tall and spread quickly to fill up any space with added beauty.

Hay-Scented Ferns are perfect for small spaces. They offer lush and beautiful foliage that’s perfect for your garden. They’re easy to maintain, too. This plant will grow anywhere from 18-24 inches…

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DIY SHTF Toilet – Ask a Prepper

As a prepper or survivor, you probably understand the importance of SHTF supplies. A compost toilet is, fortunately, one of the supplies you should always consider.

As you know, your septic system could be failing during an emergency situation. Hence, figure out a quick but efficient emergency bathroom solution.

Compost toilets are effective waste management solutions that turn human waste naturally into environmentally clean and reusable compost material – with the help of aerobic bacteria.

In an SHFT scenario, waste disposal is critical. So, if you build a compost toilet in a grid-down, bug-out, or SHTF scenario, it will help you and the environment. You can even build an eco-friendly compost toilet using a few readily available materials.

Note that there are different materials and designs you can use to build an SHTF portable toilet. However, I will focus on building a compost toilet with a cheap, straightforward, and versatile method.

Human waste is harmful if left untreated. Note that human waste contains viruses and harmful pathogens that are dangerous to your body.

If you build a compost toilet, the waste can be integrated into the soil as fertilizer when treated correctly. The fertilizer from a compost toilet is chemical-free and safe for the soil.

Composting toilets, on the other hand, do not use water, compared to modern toilets.

Click Here For The Awesome DIY Device That Turns Air Into Fresh Water

Hence, you can use the water at home for other functions other than draining it into the sewer line.

How Do Composting Toilets Work?

All composting toilets are safe, no matter the design. Composting toilets also utilize a simple principle to decompose human waste.

These handy accessories use natural evaporation and decomposition processes to produce nutrient-rich end products or fertilizers.

The first step of a composting toilet is to break down human waste (feces and urine) rapidly and naturally without producing any odor. The waste is transformed into fertilizer. This step is also known as the cleaning process. Evaporation is the final step before getting reusable fertilizer.

Getting Rid Of The Composting Waste

Finally, it comes down to hygienically dealing with the compost waste. You have three options here.

1. Burying – This is the most common method preppers use in a grid-down situation.

2. Disposing of it in a trash receptacle for collection by your particular council’s garden waste collection department.

3. Disposing of it in a compost pile.

How To Make A Compost Toilet

Gather all necessary tools and utilities. You require approximately 10 utilities to get the job done.

Related: 10 Survival DIY Projects You Can Start On Your Property Right Now

I would recommend the following, but remember that you can substitute a few utilities with other similar utilities at home.DIY SHTF Toilet

  1. A 5-gallon bucket
  2. Standard toilet seat. If you do not have a 5-gallon tote-able toilet or a bucket toilet seat.
  3. Combination pliers, but not always necessary
  4. Sawdust
  5. Organic toilet…

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Washington Post: Seeking an abortion? Here’s how to avoid leaving a digital trail.

If you decide to delete your period-tracking app, consider sending a data-deletion request as well, said Alan Butler, executive director and president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Some companies only honor these requests from people in California because of the state’s privacy law, but others accept requests from anywhere.

“The state and federal government’s power to get data right now is incredibly broad,” Butler said. “We haven’t seen new limits on access to data from government in decades, which means laws … have gotten weaker as tech has evolved.”

Read the full article here.

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The Markup: Meet SmartLINK, the App Tracking Nearly a Quarter Million Immigrants

“There is a concern over what privacy protections BI is implementing for that data, and there’s not a lot of transparency over any conditions ICE has placed onto BI Inc. regarding the storage of that data, how that data gets used,” said Dana Khabbaz, a law fellow focusing on surveillance and immigration issues at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Experts are also apprehensive about the consumer data industry capitalizing on SmartLINK’s information, Khabbaz said, including location data. “There is a growing trend of law enforcement agencies purchasing that data from data brokers for surveillance purposes,” Khabbaz said. And she wonders who else might be getting access to SmartLINK data.

She’s particularly worried about how the photos immigrants sent are being used, given the lack of regulation around facial recognition technology. “It’s concerning that ICE is adopting the use of this technology in an immigration enforcement context,” she said, “including a context where people involved in this program don’t have an option to opt out of it.”

Read the full article here.

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Why we can’t let soils be messed up, it’s essential for life on Earth!

Healthy soil is the foundation of life. Period. This blog should stop here. That should be enough to ensure we protect and heal soils, but let me share a few of my thoughts on why soil matters!

Soil is the earth’s skin that covers the planet and supports all life on Earth. Soil is teeming with billions of organisms that provide innumerable ecosystem services. Healthy soils are vital for sustainable food production, clean water, and carbon sequestration.

Soils also support human health by filtering our water, producing our food, and providing a home for beneficial microbes that strengthen our immune system. Sadly, human activities have degraded nearly one-third of the world’s soils. To ensure a liveable planet for future generations, it is essential that we protect and restore our soils. 

Thankfully, we can all do our part to protect this precious resource. Farmers can add organic matter back into the soil and help improve its health by applying a myriad of organic fertilizers such as seaweed, fish, rock phosphate, compost and compost teas and gardeners by composting kitchen scraps and yard waste.  And by choosing to farm and garden organically, we can avoid using harmful chemicals that can degrade soil quality. So let’s do our part to keep the foundation of life strong!

If you don’t have access to a garden then you can make better choices with your dollars and support farmers and growers who are using regenerative and organic practices, you may think you are paying more, but think about alternatives when no food will grow…

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KXAN News: Texas touts suspicious activity reports but critics warn of consequences

Jake Wiener, an attorney and fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, said he’s found suspicious activity reporting systems and fusion centers are not solving pressing problems. EPIC is a nonprofit research and advocacy group that focuses on privacy and civil liberty issues.

“Fusion Centers, more broadly, are something that between the states and the federal government, we spend $400 million a year on, and have never proven their value,” Wiener said. “But what they do very well is they do a lot of surveillance of political dissidents, of protesters, of ordinary folks going about their lives, which does not prevent crime.”

“We’ve had about 20 years to kind of get this right, which means for fusion centers to show their work, to show what they’re doing and the impact of it, and they’ve never been able to do so,” Wiener told KXAN. “In my experience, police departments generally do not shy away from showing that they’ve been successful. So, if in the last 20 years, we have almost no accounts of fusion centers successfully preventing a mass violence event, terrorism, something like that, that suggests to me that they haven’t done it.”

Read more here: https://www.kxan.com/stop-mass-shootings/texas-touts-suspicious-activity-reports-but-critics-warn-of-consequences/.

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8 Signs We’re Headed for a Global Famine

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Estimated reading time: 21 minutes

8 Signs We're Headed for a Global Famine

It’s hard to believe that something as dire as “famine” could occur in places like the United States or Europe. However, the evidence is mounting, and Ertharin Cousin, former executive director of the World Food Program, calls it “a perfect storm in global agriculture.”

Famine is not uncommon. It continues to occur in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and parts of Central and South America and the Middle-East.

Article continues below.

As a confluence of untimely events continue to merge, conditions in those regions will get worse and the threat of famine will spread, especially in the midst of an intensifying agricultural disaster.

Food Insecurity Hotspots

What’s the Difference Between Food Insecurity and Famine?

Food security encompasses the many factors that enable someone to eat food and live a happy, healthy life. Being food secure means having sufficient nutritious food that is accessible and affordable and can be utilized by the body.

Famine is basically the extreme, darkest form of food insecurity. While food insecurity is relatively common — experienced by about 795 million people around the world — famine is rare.

In order to be classified as famine, an area must exhibit some very specific metrics, notably that 30 percent of the local population is acutely malnourished and that there is a high mortality rate attributed to lack of food.

According to National Geographic, “Famine is a widespread condition in which many people in a country or region are unable to access adequate food supplies resulting in malnutrition, starvation, disease, and high death rates.”

And it doesn’t always present itself as rail thin children with bloated bellies. The first threat from malnutrition is a compromised immune system.

That’s why disease is often the cause of death, and that’s where things get complicated. People can still find some food among the limited choices, but their overall nutrition is so poor that they become susceptible to a range of diseases due to their weakened immune system.

The U.S. is No Stranger to Food Insecurity

While famine is not a common event in the United States, food insecurity is a persistent challenge to millions of Americans. The big question is whether these ordinary challenges can grow into something official defined as famine.

U.S. Food Insecurity Chart

The Famine Factors

Right now, 8 events are occurring that are threatening all aspects of food supplies globally. Any one of these events could affect food security, but when combined they create a real and growing threat for famine. These 8 threats include:

  1. The Global Fertilizer Shortage
  2. Increasing Droughts and Floods
  3. War in Ukraine Restricting Trade
  4. Spiking Fuel Prices
  5. Supply Chain Issues
  6. Dwindling Insect Populations
  7. The Erosion of Our Topsoil
  8. Soaring Inflation

All of these events are what define the “perfect storm” and they are affecting many…

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Recipe of the Week: Homemade Haifa Hummus from Yair L.

The following recipe for Homemade Haifa Hummus is from SurvivalBlog reader Yair L.

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas — Canned, preferably skinless, or home softened and cooked (or you may substitute garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 cup Tahini (ground sesame seeds) Storebought or homemade – Optional
  • 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup  Fresh-squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
  • Water (or liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 clove of pressed fresh garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • Chopped olives (optional)
  • Pine nuts (optional)
  • Chopped red pepeprs (optional)
  • Garnish of your choice
Directions (With Tahini)
  1. Place the chickpeas in a medium saucepan. Cover the chickpeas by several inches of water
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overflow, for about 20 minutes, or until the chickpeas look puffy, their skins are falling off, and they’re quite soft.
  3. In a fine-mesh strainer, drain the chickpeas and then pour cold water over them for about 30 seconds. Set them aside.
  4. Meanwhile, start with tahini and lemon juice, in a blender or food processor. Blend for at least a minute until it fluffs up and lightens in color.
  5. Add a sprinkle of water (or liquid from the can of chickpeas) and blend it some more, until super fluffy and pale. (To the consistency of dip.)
  6. If desired, also add salt and/or already finely-chopped garlic. Process until the garlic is very finely chopped.
  7. Add the chickpeas and cumin (if desired) to the tahini. Run the blender or food processor until the mixture is again smooth and fluffy.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender, add the oilve oil, and blend again.
  9. Do a taste test. Add salt or more olive oil, if desired.
  10. Blend again.
  11. If desired, add pine nuts, or red peppers, or chopped olives, and then mix them in by hand, or very briefly blend again.
Directions (Without Tahini)

Same as above except omit the Tahini, but add more olive oil.

SERVING

Serve chilled. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, and either finely-chopped fresh parsley or ground paprika.

STORAGE

Keeps well in a refrigerator for up to five days.

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column, we place emphasis on recipes that use long term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven and slow cooker recipes, and any that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!

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