Ed­i­tor’s Let­ter

Ex­tinc­tion Pre­cur­sors

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By John Schwartze, Net­work Man­ager & Act­ing Ed­i­tor // RE­COIL OFFGRID

Since I’m old-school, I like to sup­port lo­cal mer­chants in­stead of re­ly­ing solely on the In­ter­net for shop­ping. I re­cently had to re­place my bar­be­cue, so I ven­tured to a nearby mall to check out the se­lec­tion. I can re­mem­ber 20 years ago when this mall was still the lo­cal epi­cen­ter of re­tail ac­tiv­ity and so­cial in­ter­ac­tion. Now, like many oth­ers, it ap­peared to be cir­cling the drain.

Rows of shut­tered store­fronts with “for lease” signs in the win­dow, oth­ers walled over to make them look like part of the ar­chi­tec­ture, and sales as­so­ci­ates with el­bows propped up on coun­ter­tops, thumb­ing through their mo­bile de­vices in­stead of try­ing to en­tice the few re­main­ing pa­trons into a po­ten­tial sale. I can see why some of the ma­jor chains that are still an­chor ten­ants in these shop­ping cen­ters are now an en­dan­gered species.

So what hap­pened? Two things, it seems. The first is that e-com­merce has brought the brick-and-mor­tar world to its knees. The other is largely due to lack of pre­pared­ness. The power bro­kers who ran ma­jor chains into the ground clung to the hope that their ob­sti­nacy would pay off in the long run, spent money they didn’t have, and re­fused to adapt to or couldn’t fore­see chang­ing con­sumer tastes and tech­nol­ogy. The busi­nesses that were proac­tive, didn’t al­low the body to out­grow the brain, and re­al­ized that pride wouldn’t pay the bills are largely still with us.

The re­tail world is a mi­cro­cosm of how some pre­pare and ul­ti­mately sur­vive, and how oth­ers equate in­flex­i­bil­ity with sur­viv­abil­ity. Change isn’t easy and hap­pens much to the con­ster­na­tion of those in its path. Just like mov­ing to a new home, it’s stress­ful and the for­mal­i­ties are frus­trat­ing, but if you re­al­ize that change is a con­stant force, ex­pect­ing it, pre­par­ing for it, and adapt­ing to it be­come eas­ier.

You were prob­a­bly af­fected in some way by the bank­ing cri­sis that hap­pened about a decade ago. Greed of­ten leads to man­made dis­as­ter, and rec­og­niz­ing this should mo­ti­vate you to pre­pare while things are sta­ble. Thanks to peo­ple who are short on mem­ory and big on op­por­tunism, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore an­other fi­nan­cial cri­sis hits us. Who knows how long the next one will last and how far reach­ing its im­pli­ca­tions will be. Don’t pro­cras­ti­nate — start buck­ling down now.

That be­ing said, I’d like to in­tro­duce you to Den­nis

San­ti­ago, who wrote this month’s piece on pre­par­ing for a fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Den­nis has been im­mersed in this world for many years, and I think his over­view will in­spire you to avoid pros­e­cu­tion. And if you ever saw the film The Big Short, you may re­mem­ber what com­mod­ity Chris­tian Bale’s char­ac­ter fo­cused on af­ter the re­ces­sion — wa­ter. Pol­lu­tion, de­for­esta­tion, cli­mate change, and a host of other rea­sons are caus­ing world­wide short­ages, so we lined up some con­tent on long-term stor­age op­tions we think you’ll find in­ter­est­ing.

And speak­ing of op­por­tunism and greed, when un­nat­u­ral forces af­fect our ecosys­tem, it has cat­a­strophic ef­fects on the rest of us. In this is­sue’s Sur­vival­ist Spot­light, we in­ter­viewed Daniel Lom­bard, a Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer who has also spent time on the front lines of anti-poach­ing ef­forts. It’s ev­ery­one’s duty to glean some lessons from the stew­ards of this planet like Daniel, lest we be­come en­dan­gered species our­selves. The bal­ance of our planet and con­ser­va­tion of our re­sources largely de­pends on us. If we don’t wisely man­age what we have, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore we start say­ing things like, “Re­mem­ber when there used to be rhi­nos?” or “Re­mem­ber when we used to have free drink­ing foun­tains?” With­out a group ef­fort to push for sur­vival and sus­tain­abil­ity, it’s our kids who will ut­ter those dread­ful sen­ti­ments.

The re­tail world is a mi­cro­cosm of

how some pre­pare and

ul­ti­mately sur­vive, and how oth­ers equate

in­flex­i­bil­ity with sur­viv­abil­ity.


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