Roughly 10% of the e-mails that I receive from SurvivalBlog readers come from people that mention they have a relative that refuses to get prepared. This is usually because they refuse to believe that anything could ever go wrong beyond a localized and short-term natural disaster. (“Order and commerce will certainly be restored within a week!”) This is what I call the Pollyanna syndrome. How someone could have witnessed the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina so well-documented on television, yet still maintain a “Polly” attitude astounds me.
Convincing Pollys to to get prepared can be frustrating, especially when they stop listening to logic and descend into sheer stubbornness. But I have found a couple of approaches that have proven successful at convince loved ones to get prepared:
First, if they are Christians or Jews, try to convince them of the Biblical responsibility to provide for their families. The verses that I cite at my Prayer static page are quite clear on this subject.
Second, hand them a book. Most people will not take the time to read a survival manual, but they are often willing to read a novel. In addition to humbly recommending my own novel (“Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”), I recommend all of the following:
Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (Classic nuke scenario)
Pulling Through by Dean Ing (a more modern nuke scenario + a mini nuke survival manual) Not to be confused with my screenplay that has the same title.
Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys (Plague total wipe out scenario)
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher (Massive crop disease/social breakdown scenario, from the British perspective.)
Vandenberg by Oliver Lange (Invasion scenario) later republished under the title “Defiance”.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Last of the Breed by Louis L’amour
And for those that refuse to even take the time to read a novel, there is always “Plan B”–movies and television series. For my movie recommendations, scroll down near the bottom of the SurvivalBlog Bookshelf page. For television, in the US, I recommend the short-lived series “Jericho“, which is now available on DVD. The show portrays some horribly bad Hollywoodesque tactics and is not particularly instructive of specific self-sufficiency techniques, but overall it is still worth watching, just for the sake of “atmosphere” and instilling a survival mindset.
In the UK, the new BBC television series “Survivors”, debuted last month. It is a remake of the British series of the same name from the 1970s, that was produced by Terry Nation. I’ve seen only the first two episodes, but the story thusfar seems fairly plausible. UK residents can watch full episodes online but outside of the UK the only thing available at the BBC web site are short clips. The series will be available on DVD in UK format in January, but I’m not certain if there are plans to make it available in the North America DVD format. Beware that the “Bit Torrent” streams of this show that are now being circulated at sites like Mininova.com are not licensed copies.