Hi all. Just recently found the site and have came across some great info. I am from Pensacola, Florida, born and raised. I have just very recently began to seriously think about becoming a more self sufficient person. As far as being prepared, for a disaster or for when the SHTF as some of you say, I am approaching that more in the sense of getting to be where we should all be anyway in the way we live our day to day life. I feel like those area where a real community actually exist will do so much better than other places. One guy on here, and i cant remember his name, was talking about helping his neighbors when they need it, and not to expect help from anyone else. People say that this is a dog eat dog world when things are normal, and why should we expect it to be any different in the event of a disaster? The govt wont be there. corporations wont be there. the media wont be there. All you can count on is yourself, your family, and your community (if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that can actually be called a community). My new goal is to be like a quote I stole from another members signature: The oil in the gulf of Mexico has been a huge wake up call for me. Having lived my entire life here, I cannot put into words what my fears are for everything I have ever known (although I still maintain hope, because I have to). That body of water is what makes the world right to me. I would sit out on that beach for hours, fishing for pompano, waiting for the moment when all the tourists pack up to go back to the hotel and I am virtually alone out there, and really feel the perfection of paradise. I would argue that there could be no greater form of meditation. I realized so many things over the past 6 weeks since the spill. things that I have already known, but never actually took the time to really think about. I am part of the problem. From my modest way of life that involves driving everyday miles to and from everywhere, to using disposable everything instead of reusable goods, to not focusing on buying local whenever possible, to not growing most of my own food. There are so many things that people like me can do to live a better, more meaningful, more self reliant, and more prepared lifestyle than most of America currently lives. And I may not have been the ******* who signed off on or conceived the plan to drill a hole a mile below the surface of the gulf without any type of real contingency plan in the process, but they might not have been there drillng if me, and others like me, would just learn to be a little more self sufficient. That has been hard for me to swallow, but now that I have, I plan to do something about it. So I am here to learn from all of you who have so much more knowledge and experience than I , and to share what little I do know with you. If we take care of ourselves and others, we take care of this world. I believe it is that simple....at least to say it on an internet forum. Applying it to the real world is the difficult part. A lot more goes on than what is right in front of us.