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MANN: Could you survive in the woods without sunglasses, running water and Skip the Dishes?

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May 10, 2018 - 12:04 PM

OPINION


Yesterday, many people across British Columbia received an emergency alert on their cellphones.

The message to my phone was loud, and obnoxious, and I thought maybe I had forgotten to switch off one of my children’s noisy toys.

I am one of many who will be notified in the event of any imminent safety threats — somewhat comforting I suppose. Especially after several communities have declared a state of local emergency over the past few weeks.

On a drive from Kamloops to Vernon, I was shocked at the sight of water creeping up on homes and buildings — half mesmerized by the beautiful wetlands it created, and half concerned for the people’s properties they were affecting. 

Flooding around the Interior and Okanagan is leading to damaged assets and evacuations.

And last summer it was the fires — displacing residents and burning homes.

With the wrath of nature taking place across the province over the past couple of years, it makes you believe that finding yourself in a compromising situation might not be that far off.

Mother Nature is unpredictable.

What can you do to prepare for a ‘state of emergency,’ and could you survive without modern amenities?

Let’s face it, most of us are existing, not surviving. That’s fine — existing is a great life — but surviving is a whole different ball game.

Modern civilization has made living relatively easy — maybe a little too easy.

There is really no need to hunt, fish, garden or build your own house anymore (unelss you want to, as many of us do of course).

For most of us, food comes to us in a bag or box, meat wrapped in plastic and we shop for our homes off a website.

It’s not surprising that most people would never stop to think about what to do if they were displaced from life as they know it.

An interesting experiment would be to take a group of locals into the bush and see how many people succeed the challenges of survival — building shelters, finding water and enduring the elements. 

I’m sure Dag Aabye could show us a few things.

But in all honesty, most people would probably not appreciate the implications of such an experiment. In the back of their minds they know they can go right back to the comfort of takeout and air conditioning. (Okay, maybe not everyone.)

I think about my children growing up in this modernized world and how exciting it will be and how many opportunities will be at their fingertips, but will they lack basic skills of survival?

Could you identify edible plants or berries without the use of Google?

When you see a footprint at a trailhead, do you automatically assume it is a dog’s, and forget the woods are filled with all kinds of wild animals?

We’ve evolved so far technologically, but has that happened at the expense of our survivability?

My children will probably laugh at me when I try to teach them to build a tree fort or tie a knot, but I still feel that basic skills are a necessity in these times of uncertainty.

And maybe there will never be a need to acquire the skills to survive a harrowing night in the woods — but what if — would you make it through the night?

— Becky Mann is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking. She knows there is so much more to come and is looking forward to the continued adventure.


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