The surprising benefits of a subsistence lifestyle
Over the last several months I've watched Nat Geo's reality series Life Below Zero, about people who live in the Alaska outback near or above the Arctic Circle. Some of these are native Inupiat or Athabascan Indians; others are plain white people who hanker to live close to nature. And close to nature it is. Even the natives use modern gear, but it's a subsistence lifestyle patterned on life one and two centuries ago. Self-reliance is essential, but families rely on each other in ways not seen in the Lower 48 in close to a hundred years.
The thing that instantly struck me was that every single day is packed with things to do. No one is altogether cut off from civilization. They use cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and airplanes for long distances. But people don't have time to sit around and grouse and do dope and booze it up. Getting food by hunting or fishing or picking it wild or growing a garden — all this focuses effort and gives life spark and purpose. Many even have to fetch drinking water from a mountain stream.
People basically live the way they want to live, some with more modernity and others with less, some in populated areas and some by themselves. Conspicuously absent is government meddling in their doings. Natives consciously teach their culture to the next generation so they know how to survive in the wilderness and so that the culture does not die out.
The technical excellence of the camera work and its presentation are unsurpassed. Nat Geo is famous for photos, but this series deserves recognition for outstanding video work sustained over years. And the setting is beyond compare — the stunning beauty of the Alaskan countryside, northern lights included.
Watching these interesting stories brings two thoughts to my mind. First, how much plain hard work is involved in living this way. A few years ago I wrote an item on the spiritual regeneration of native Americans on the rez, where isolation, solitude, drugs, and booze have taken a huge toll in wasted lives. Seems to me now that what's needed on the rez may be more subsistence living and less modernity. Having to work hard just to keep food on the table would leave little time for the self-destructive behaviors that typify the rez today.
The second thing is that, given the obvious Biden administration goal of beggaring us by killing the economy and destroying the dollar with inflation, the subsistence lifestyle offers a way out. Many of us have read about or seen videos of FEMA camps where we will supposedly be herded when it suits the top dogs, who are said to be actively pursuing ways to reduce world population. If such events do come to pass, the subsistence lifestyle in wilderness areas offers a real chance of survival.
Nat Geo has long subscribed to the global warming scam, so it ought not surprise anyone if corporate Nat Geo is part of the putative conspiracy to wreck world commerce in the name of saving the planet. If that seems sinister (it does), keep in mind that these stories merit being told anyway. The Life Below Zero series relates the lives of some smart, independent, resilient, strong-willed, able people. Their chosen way of life appeals to the adventurous American spirit. That lifestyle is still possible. It's a hard way to live, but the people living it love it. Perhaps it's something you could do and learn to cherish.
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