Preparing for Prosperity
How I'm Planning for an Uncertain Future
This post was written to start a conversation in the Changing World Community around some of the major shifts happening in the world right now. Let's discuss what is changing and how we can all plan for prosperity in uncertain times.
**Share you thoughts and ideas in the comments!
- Climate Change,
- Increasing extreme weather events,
- Significant shifts in the ecology of our environment,
- Major shifts in the foundations of how our economy and workforce work
- Massive changes in technology that will impact every aspect of our lives and future.
This is the reality of our rapidly changing world!
The article has four sub-topics to get the conversation going:
- 2. Climate & Weather
- 3. Health Care System & Emerging Health Issues
- 4. The New Era of Digital Life & Emerging Cyber Threats
In our busy modern world, with bills to pay and countless things fighting for our attention, it is easy to miss just how fast things are shifting. It can also be challenging to find time to consider these changes when our days are already so full of essential things to do.
BUT... if you get blindsided by one of these changes, such as losing your job to a machine, finding yourself in the middle of a natural disaster, having your identity stolen online, etc., you will have no choice but to consider it and the consequences of not being prepared.
Many people do not fully grasp the scope and scale of how quickly life as we know it is shifting. When I talk about changes, it’s not all bad, unless you don’t see it coming, and it blindsides you.
To be resilient and adaptable we need to play two chess games at once, the short term game and the long term game. These are some of the "chess moves" I am playing in 2019. I'd like to hear and learn from some of yours as well.
Please share your thoughts in the comments so we can all learn from each other. Also please share and invite others into the conversation.
4 Ways The World is
& What I’m Doing to Adapt
1) The Economy
This one I believe is going to blindside and create challenges for a lot of people. The economy and workforce are shifting fast. We are already witnessing MAJOR disruptions in this domain, and many more are coming in the not so distant future.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- Very few jobs come with pensions, benefits or even real job security anymore. We need to re-asses how we save for later life stages and plan for disruptions in the economy and workforce.
- Technology and the rise of Artificial Intelligence is on the verge of disrupting millions of jobs around the world and replacing humans with machines.
- Start-up's like Uber, Air B&B, etc. are disrupting entire industries and millions of jobs and changing the way everyday life looks.
- The world as a whole (countries and people) have acquired an unprecedented amount of dept. There is WAY more money owed than physical dollars that exist in the world.
- We are just on the threshold of the cryptocurrency revolution. Cryptocurrency is likely to change the way the global economy works. At the moment it feels like the wild west so it is hard to anticipate exactly what this will look like.
- The U.S. dollar is loosing global strength, this is creating a massive shift in global politics and control. MANY countries have moved away from a U.S, backed dollar in recent years which is shifting the political dynamics of the entire world. The impact of this will be is felt in many areas of our day to day life.
If we had another major recession like, “The Great Depression” of the 1930s, we now have:
1) a WAY higher average household debt load,
2) Many people do not have the self-reliance skills they had in the ’30s. It is a different time, and very people are prepared for it.
What I'm doing to prepare & adapt:
- Encouraging the youth I mentor to develop entrepreneurial skills. Making sure they are not afraid to fail and that they know how to learn from these failures, get back up, and try again. Teaching the art of strategy and leverage, problem-solving and leadership skills. Taking your destiny into your own hands.
- Increasing my Financial IQ, so I better understand how the economy and rules regulating how my own money works and is manipulated. The economy has become a giant game, a handful of ppl are good at it, most are not (me included). By better understanding the rules, I hope to be better able to leverage the money I do earn and maximize any assets I acquire making me more resilient finically.
- Assessing my existing income streams and being realistic in assessing their vulnerability to some of the changes I mentioned above. For example, my wife and I run https://www.wildmuskoka.com. If we had another major recession, which of our products would be likely to stop selling and which may still be in demand? What about my contract teaching jobs? Which would have funding even in a recession and which would get the ax?
- Trying to create multiple streams of revenue and using the influence of the internet for some of them. By having multiple streams of income, if an event impacts one, hopefully, I do not lose my monthly cash flow and become unable to pay bills and maintain my quality of life. It is kind of like planting a monoculture agriculture crop and having a disease or the weather wipe it out, vs. planting a diverse permaculture food system where something is always ready to eat.
- Always learning and developing new skills, so I have lots of experience and options to fall back on.
- Constantly networks and helping others out, this often pays itself back tenfold!
2) The Climate & Weather
We are coming out of a wild couple of years of extreme droughts, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and more. These events are nothing new, but what is new is we see changes in the frequency and intensity of some of these extreme weather events.
We are also starting to see some of these storms take on untraditional behaviors such as:
- How slow Hurricane Harvey traveled (coupled with un-resilient urban design practices i.e., lack of wetlands and green space to absorb excess water) in 2018, allowing for unprecedented flooding in parts of Texas
- The speed that some of the wildfires were traveling in California in 2018, and their ability to sneak up and devastate entire communities with minimal warning. According to Wikipedia, "The 2018 wildfire season is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres (766,439 ha)"
* Two Hurricanes changing direction and traveling the “wrong way” according to historical patterns in the Atlantic Ocean. One of these was Hurricane Ophelia in 2017, which according to Wikipedia was the “easternmost Atlantic Major Hurricane on record.”
What I'm doing to prepare & adapt:
- Making personal emergency preparedness a higher priority for 2019. I am:
- Making more advanced emergency communications (phone & wifi down) plans with my family & community.
- Restocking and upgrading our car emergency kits, grab and go bags & home emergency supplies.
- Filling in all the holes of areas of emergency preparedness where I know I should be better prepared.
- Meeting with neighbors to talk about our communities ability to support each other in the event of a larger or longer-term disaster event.
- Launching “Survive The Storms”, a 7-day interactive eCourse Adventure to help walk people through getting all their plans and kits together & learning essential survival skills in a fun, timely and engaging way.
- Brushing up on “what to do” around particular types of disasters and extreme weather events. Here are a few posts I have written that can help you do the same:
- How to Survive a Tornado - https://www.changingworldproject.com/survive-ontario-tornados-canada-tornado-alley/
- Traveling to Tsunami & Earthquake Zones - https://www.changingworldproject.com/tsunami2/
- Ice Storm Preparedness Checklist - https://www.changingworldproject.com/winter-storm-preparedness-checklist/
- 8 Less Known Tips for Preparing for Winter Storms - https://www.changingworldproject.com/winter2/
- Learning to better read and interpret the weather through more conscious observation of nature and weather patterns.
- Designing our food gardens to be more resilient. This year we will be working on our gardens becoming more adaptable to a host of situations such as:
- Extreme amounts of rain,
- Lack of sunshine for a substantial period of the growing season,
- No power for an extended period
- Something impacting our ability to give it regular attention.
You can follow along with our process of creating a more resilient garden by following our blog category, “Survival Gardening” https://www.changingworldproject.com/category/survival-gardening/
You may also enjoy the post, “6 Tips for Growing Food for Climate Change, Food Security & Disaster Survival”. - https://www.changingworldproject.com/growing-your-own-food-survival-gardening-climate-change/
3) Changes to the Healthcare System and Emerging Bacterias, Diseases & Viruses
This is a BIG topic in the health care community and amongst Emergency Management Professionals. It is one many individuals outside of these professions know little about yet it is starting to affect us all.
Here are a few examples:
- A rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These are strains of bacteria resistant to all know antibiotics. Examples include C Dificile, MRSA, antibiotic resistant eColi and more.
- The spread of emerging diseases such as new strains of Influenza or tick-related diseases and tick population expansion.
- The baby boomer demographic. In North America, we have a historically unprecedented number of people moving into later life stages. They bring a lot of additional needs to a health care system already struggling with long wait times, being understaffed and often aging infrastructure.
- Modern medicine is fantastic and saves lives. It also does NOT have all the answers, especially when it comes to chronic disease. Sometimes modern medicine can make things worse and sometimes the best doctors in the world don’t know what is going on with your body or how to help you.
- In an extreme weather event or disaster it is possible you will not have access to advanced medical care such as hospitals and doctors.
What I'm doing to prepare & adapt:
- Remembering there are no guarantees of a long life. Making sure that I take time to enjoy life now, spend time with the ones I love, and give back to my community and the environment.
- Taking full responsibility for my own health. The doctors are part of the team but I no longer rely on them for all the miracle answers and cures. This includes:
- Making my health a TOP priority. Eating well consistently, not over costume food or alcohol, getting lots of exercises and enough sleep.
- Continuing to learn more about my body and anatomy.
- A big one for me is working on my fear around health issues. Our minds are so powerful. They can make symptoms worse or make us more vulnerable to a disease in the first place. Simultaneously our mind can trigger the healing process. Fear does not help our immune system and it takes concious work to re-pattern our brains around fear.
- Studying herbal medicine to be used in conjunction with the best of modern medicine. I believe this is SO important at this point in history. Three of my favorite books related to some of these emerging health challenges are Stephen Burners:
** The three book links above are Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links a small portion of the revenue get redirected to help maintain this website with no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting our work!
4) The New Era of the “Internet of Things,” Digital life, and New & Emerging Cyber Threats
This topic feels a little like being the frog in the soup pot as it is being brought to a boil.
I think we are close to boiling point and many of us never got to vote (or were informed of what this means for our privacy, rights, health, security, future) on whether we want this new digital era we are now embarking on.
Like many, I have become desensitized a bit to how quickly technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives, how quickly privacy is creeping away and some of the unforseen impacts of a digital world.
In the few years since I got my iPhone, I can feel the way it, combined with social media, is changing the way I think. I feel a difference in my awareness, my attention span, and my body.
Some of the significant challenges I foresee here are:
- The continued rise of mental health issues and social anxiety in youth (and adults) that is being shown to have a direct link to screen time, social media, etc.
- Social Media and Search Engine Algorithms that are designed to support and strengthen our world views without objectivity. If all my friends are liberals, then I am inundated with liberal arguments for why I am correct. If all my friends are conservative, it does the same. If I’m depressed for a year and spend a lot of time looking at depressing things, social media will begin to show me more depressing things and help my brain hardwire this as truth. The impact of this on society is already showing itself, and it is not pretty.
- Digital propaganda and “big data” being used to help influence elections, popular opinion on issues, etc., without us even realizing we have been influenced to believe something without all the facts.
- Literally EVERYTHING we say and do on and around modern computers and phones is recordable and trackable. I am not saying every moment of your life is being watched. I am saying we are in a world where that is possible without you even knowing. Big Data collection is way beyond what most of us can even comprehend.
- There have been multiple websites shut down that were streaming peoples random webcams from around the world without them knowing. Imagine you are being live streamed and do not even know? Or your Alexa device is transmitting your conversation to someone who is planning on stealing your identity or wants revenge against you?
- The impacts of being able to “Google” things in an instant or scrolling a social media feed and being fed more random information and stimulus than our brains are designed to handle. What are the impacts of this on our brains? Our ability to think objectively? On our attention spans? Our mental health and more?
- So much of our infrastructure is now tied together by the web and “Internet of Things.” A significant security breach, cyber attack or even a massive solar flare such as the one of 1859, could bring a major city to stand still and impact critical infrastructure or the infrastructure of our own home and even our identity and bank records.
- Identity theft and manipulation is becoming much more common.
* A new era of cyberbullying
What I'm doing to prepare & adapt:
- Not being complacent when it comes to cyber security. I have no interest in being an expert in the domain but I believe we are in an area where everyone should know the basics for their own safety.
- Assuming that NOTHING I do online or on my phone is truly private. For example, if I am going traveling and leaving my home empty for a month, I won’t share this over social media even though “theoretically" only my friends are supposed to see it. I also assume my webcam is ALWAYS on and my phone is ALWAYS recording.
- Putting emergency preparedness measures in place that would allow me to live comfortably for days to weeks if a surge or cyber attack impacted critical infrastructure.
- Being conscious that my newsfeed and search engine results are being tailored to fit my (and my friends) existing world view. Doing my best always to ask, “what is my bias in this opinion I have?”, and "what information or perspective am I missing?” Being open-minded in general an assuming the information I consume is biased and not complete.
- Committing to 3 - 4 screen free nights a week, no phones, no internet, no movies. Reclaiming my brain patterning!
- Continuing to read paper books and doing research on topics via books to maintain these skills sets and counteract the brain patterning caused by my computer. Reading paper books is very good for developing attention span.
- Not looking at my phone when socializing or eating meals. The text can wait till after dinner for a response. Not checking social media first thing in the morning or before I go to bed. Allowing my brain to be deprogrammed from these mind and life-altering habits .
- Spending time out in nature daily. No phones, no taking pictures, just observing, being in the moment, getting exercise, using all of my senses to experience the magic of the world. Letting nature program my brain instead of a digital device being manipulated by... a million different interests.
While in nature I like to:
- Tune into all my senses and clear my thoughts of everything but the stimulus of that moment and place.
- Look for patterns or things that stand out in the trees, plants, mammals, birds, etc
- Notice which way the wind is blowing from, what the clouds are doing, and make predictions about the weather.
- Look for signs of animal tracks and listen to what the birds have to say.
- Ask questions about the ecology of the place I'm in.
- Allow nature, the original teacher, to pattern my brain!
Please invite your friends & family to this important conversation!
What challenges do you foresee in our Changing World?
What are YOU doing to adapt?