(NaturalNews) A movement of people calling themselves the "preppers" is becoming increasingly visible on the Internet as fears over food and energy insecurity and other forms of social instability feed a growing desire to prepare for the worst.
"No one can predict the future, but our economy sure isn't what it used to be," said Stephen Bedford, whose wife runs the web site The Survival Mom. "We can't afford to live like it's still 2005."
Other prepper web sites include blogs, podcasts such as DoctorPrepper and PrepperPodcast, and even a web television portal called Prepper TV. YouTube videos abound claiming to teach viewers how to build their own fallout shelters or earthquake-proof their food stores, or instructing them which firearms to purchase to prepare for catastrophe. Forums discussing these and other topics have also popped up across the Web.
Some preppers focus on purchasing all the supplies they could possibly need to survive any foreseeable calamity, such as a one-year supply of freeze-dried food from Costco for $999.
"Some things like food, we use all the time and then replace them, because it is the lifestyle we choose," said Gary Hartley of the U.S. Prepper Networks. "I would be extremely happy if some of my preps never got used. I'd pass them on to my son and be even happier if he never had to use them."
"Remember this," he said. "It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Not prepping is an unwise decision."
Other preppers, like Tom Martin of the American Preppers Network, focus on learning survival skills instead.
"I spend more time learning skills, tips and ideas than I do money on equipment," he said. "Survival is an instinct; preparedness is not. Preparedness has to be learned."
Whatever the approach, preppers are united in the belief that the system cannot be relied upon to keep them safe.
"In my opinion, it is more about taking personal responsibility for yourself and your family and being more self-reliant and less dependent on outside sources in an emergency," Hartley said.