Though more and more people are “living off the grid,” the term itself has come to symbolize this romantic, sort of hipster way of living. It looks really cool in theory, but doesn’t always inspire the serious sort of planning and work that goes into survival prepping.
We’d probably all like to think if we really fell off the grid, we would just grab our trusty axes (which we don’t own yet), don our Grizzly Adams bear-skin coat (read: NorthFace jacket you bought to ski in last year), and start chopping up some firewood to cook up a pot of hot coffee over a fire, or maybe skewer some little furry woodland creature for dinner.
Except… we all know it’s really not going to work that way. There are only two ways to live off the grid — through effort and planning, or by accident. And that last one is not going to do much to increase your chances of surviving more than a week or two.
On Friday, the U.S. Energy Department published their Quadrennial Energy Review. It focused on the power grid in America, and detailed specifically what the threats to the grid are and the likelihood of those threats coming to fruition.
The report says we face “imminent danger” from a cyber attack that could potentially topple our power grid. It says these attacks are becoming “more frequent and more sophisticated” all the time.
Did these findings cause people to rush out and start putting together a Bug Out bag? It’s more likely that most of us will respond to that with statements like, “Oh, they’ve been saying that for years,” “That won’t happen here,” or “They’re always warning us about stuff like that, and they always get it wrong.”
But it has already happened. In 2015, the power grid to 225,000 people in the Ukraine was shut down by a cyberattack that was attributed to Russia. Since we now know that Russia hacked our recent presidential election, this report should bring a new sense of urgency to the situation. How long will it be before Russia causes a complete shutdown of our electrical grid, paralyzing the entire infrastructure of our nation — economically, socially, and politically, threatening the lives of millions of Americans?
The report said that this attack on the Ukrainian grid “should be seen as an indicator of what is possible.” This is a huge red flag, given the existing cyber threats America has already faced. But people tend to dismiss anything that doesn’t land directly on their doorstep. In other words, some Americans aren’t even going to check the batteries in their flashlights until whatever Netflix binge they are on goes dark.
These warnings are very real. So, it’s time to make a choice. Are you going to be prepared for the worst, or are you going to be looking to the neighbor, who suddenly went on lockdown with a Bug Out bag in hand?