Preparation and Community

With problems piling up and the government apparently unable to help, many communities across the nation are turning inward for solutions. To disengage from dependency on outside resources and agencies, communities have begun to pool resources, develop local capabilities, and police themselves.

Many people, seeing how unprepared society is for a prolonged crisis, are starting to make life changes to help themselves improve the future. Community networks are bringing together the expertise of their members to share ideas, goods, and skills to lessen the effects of the crisis and keep chaos at bay.

Part 1: Set the Stage

  1. Watch Kal's "Small town Shortage" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP_C_Sn66yM

Part 2: Take Action

Part 3: Lesson Activity
  1. Browse FEMA's "Are You Ready?" web site:
    Answer the following:
    • What makes a good emergency preparedness plan?
    • What level of planning is the responsibility of the individual? Community? Government?
  2. Some areas have developed strategies to address potential problems, but at this time (March 2008) few have addressed in depth the possibility of an oil shortage. Portland, Oregon, stands out as an exception. Have students review this "Portland establishes task force on peak oil" article:
    Could this be a model for the rest of the nation?
  3. Create an outline for a personal and community-based emergency plan. The outline should include:
    • Tasks they as individuals need to take to be ready
    • A list of potential problems that their area might face, and specific issues these problems may cause
    • Basic needs and amenities that would be affected by potential problems
    • A list of responsibilities of local offices and groups
Part 4: Reflect
During a crisis, being properly prepared for an emergency can make all the difference. The same can be said for having a strong network of friends and families that can face a difficult situation together. For this lesson, student reflections should focus on the following questions:

Part 5: Take It Further
Being prepared appears to have made a big difference for individuals during this crisis. For others, working together in small and large communities is opening a way to collectively cope and move forward. For today's challenge try one or more of the following ideas:

As with all of the challenges, post your findings on your blog. If you can, add photographs, drawings, or video!

Additional Resources


Independent Lens Electric Shadows Independent Television Service Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ken Eklund, Writerguy