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TEDx Talks Preparedness

You’re visiting Total Prepare, so there’s a pretty good chance that you are already prepared, or are thinking about preparedness seriously. But do you ever look around at your family and friends and wonder why no one else seems to be ready? Steven Eberlein did, and lucky for us he’s written and performed a TEDx talk on the subject!



Having spent a year working with relief efforts in Sri Lanka after the third largest subduction zone earthquake in history claimed 250,000 lives, Steven came home to Oregon. Returning to a state that sits on an active and tense subduction fault line didn’t frighten Steven. What worried him was a general lack of preparedness in all the people sharing the straining fault (that’s us too BC!)

Steven points out that most people know we should get/be prepared, but no one really expects anyone else to take those first steps. We see examples of this in our store all the time; people will stockpile extra food and water because they know the neighbours, tenants, or land-people are not prepared, and won’t be any time soon.

In this Tedx talk, Steven deconstructs the ‘why’ of the phenomenon he calls the common sense gap, and how to close it. He delves into the cultural stigmas that keep us in place, and explains the permission structures we need established to fix the problem. Imagine, a future of readiness where everyone not only knows what to do in an emergency, but are also prepared to do it.

In Canada, we often share Oregon’s love of camping. We’ll happily go into the great outdoors and voluntarily survive (and even thrive!) without our usual services. We’re just not ready for camping to come to us.

In his video, Steven talks at length about permission structures. These are the social constructs that stop us from eating from a pot luck until someone else has led the way, or leaves us sitting at four-way stops in a Canadian-stand-off with the car across from us. It’s that desire to stick with the pack, and conform to expectations. It’s the resistance against being strange, or different, or (heaven forbid) rude.

This resistance must be overcome any time there is a cultural shift. Trend-setters, mavericks, and those who draw outside the lines are experts at setting new permission structures and changing the world around them a little at a time. We can be those mavericks.

Start by setting up a small kit, or getting one component together (food and water for example). Then tell your circle about it. Teach your family your emergency plan, then share what you’ve done with others. Keep chipping away at preparedness and including others on your journey. This will normalize preparedness a little at a time, and soon they’ll be doing it too. If we keep it up, an expectation will be built and having a kit and a plan will become the normal, natural thing.

We hope you enjoy Steven’s video as much as we did, and we’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments and on social media!

Thank you for reading.

Written by Zenia Platten – Writer and emergency preparedness professional.

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