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Doomsday Prepper’s believe in Survivalism; a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.
Anticipated disruptions may include:
- Clusters of natural disasters, patterns of apocalyptic planetary crises, or “Earth Changes” (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, solar storms, severe thunderstorms, floods,tsunamis).
- Anthropogenic disasters (chemical spills, release of radioactive materials, nuclear or conventional war, oppressive governments).
- The general collapse of society caused by the shortage or unavailability of resources such as electricity, fuel, food, or water.
- Financial disruption or economic collapse (caused by monetary manipulation, hyperinflation, deflation, or depression).
- A global pandemic.
- Widespread chaos or some other unexplained apocalyptic event.
The third wave of survivalism or now referred to as Doomsday Preppers began after the September 11, 2001 attacks and subsequent bombings in Bali, Madrid, and London. This resurgence of interest in survivalism appears to be as strong as the first wave in the 1970’s. The fear of war, avian influenza, energy shortages, environmental disasters and global climate change, coupled with economic uncertainty, and the apparent vulnerability of humanity after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, has once again made survivalism popular. Preparedness is once more a paramount concern to many people who seek to stockpile supplies, gain useful skills, and develop contacts with like-minded people to learn as much as possible.
Many books have been published in the past few years [2008-2012] offering survival advice for various potential disasters, ranging from an energy shortage and crash to nuclear or biological terrorism. In addition to the 1970s-era books, blogs and Internet forums are popular ways of disseminating survivalism information. Online survival websites and blogs discuss survival vehicles, survival retreats, emerging threats, and list survivalist groups.
Economic troubles emerging from the credit collapse triggered by the 2007 US sub-prime mortgage lending crisis and global grain shortages have prompted a wider cross-section of the populace to prepare. James Wesley Rawles, the editor of SurvivalBlog and author of the survivalist novel Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse was quoted by the New York Times in April 2008, stating: “interest in the survivalist movement ‘is experiencing its largest growth since the late 1970’s”. In 2009, he was quoted by the Associated Press as stating: “There’s so many people who are concerned about the economy that there’s a huge interest in preparedness, and it pretty much crosses all lines, social, economic, political and religious. There’s a steep learning curve going on right now.”
The advent of H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009 piqued interest in survivalism, significantly boosting sales of preparedness books and making survivalism more mainstream Events such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2010 deep water Horizon oil spill, and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have revitalized the survivalist community.
These developments led Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute, to identify a trend that he calls “neo-survivalism”. He explained this phenomenon in a radio interview with Jim Puplava on December 18, 2009.