Survival Lessons From the Great Depression

Survival Lessons From the Great Depression

(SurvivalDaily.com) – In 1929, the stock market crashed, leading to a decade of hardships in the world known as “The Great Depression.” The economic downturn caused massive unemployment, declines in output, and a spike in organized crime.

To make matters worse, from 1930 to 1936, the Dust Bowl crippled much of the American prairie lands. Crops and livestock alike were devastated, along with the finances of those who worked them. In short, the world was in chaos.

Lucky for us, those who lived through this turbulent time have left behind a legacy of grit and determination — and plenty of examples we can learn from.

Waste Not…

In the modern world, we tend to take our everyday abundances and conveniences for granted. We use things, then throw them away without a second thought. During the Depression, however, most items had to be handcrafted, and were used in a variety of ways until they were literally unusable anymore.

Many of us can remember our grandparents being hoarders: old newspapers, milk cartons, bottles, jars, just about anything that they thought could be useful someday. For us, this can be hard for us to understand — we really have no point of reference to it. But for those who lived through the Depression, the constant fear of ever facing it again was enough to take drastic measures, such as taking sugar packets and napkins from restaurants.

Recycling may be an “environmental responsibility” now, but back then it was a matter of daily survival. That tasty chicken you had for dinner? The bones would be boiled to make broth, and the remains used for compost. Your shoes are worn through? An old rubber tire could fix that.

Flour sacks were repurposed into dresses when cloth was unavailable or too expensive to buy. Even aluminum foil was cleaned and reused.

No, we aren’t saying that you should become a packrat, or that you should start taking ketchup packets from your local diner. But, learning how to repurpose items to attain maximum usefulness is a skill that will serve us well in any survival situation, and bring some relief to environmental concerns.

Start a Garden

In The Great Depression, industrial production in the country was halved. The Dust Bowl crushed agriculture, and food became scarce and expensive. To combat this, many people resorted to personal gardens to survive.

This may seem like common sense to many of us, as seed storage is a regular practice amongst survivalists. If you haven’t tried to grow a garden before, though, you may want to consider it before SHTF. It isn’t as easy as putting seeds in the ground and walking away.

Do some research, learn about growing, using and protecting plants in your region, and practice. You don’t want to find out your green thumb is actually the touch of death when your family is depending on your garden to survive.

Become a Jack-Of-All-Trades

During the Depression, money was incredibly tight and jobs were hard to come by. Being a jack-of-all-trades was a boon in this time, as it enabled you to be useful in many different job types — when work was available, you were more likely to get it.

Let’s face it, this is a dying art in the modern age. Handymen are hard to find. Investing in a wide variety of skill sets will make you far better prepared for a survival situation, and save you money in the meantime. Knowing how to fix your plumbing, repair your home, make tools, work on a car, brew alcohol or sew clothes will make you a valuable asset to your family and survival group.

The resourcefulness and grit of “The Greatest Generation” should be an inspiration to all survivalists. They embodied the very principles we strive to achieve. By learning how they endured some of the worst times in American history, we can become better prepared to face any adversity that comes our way.

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