5: The Public Problem of PPE Waste and Being Prepared

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This chapter focuses on prepping as a particular response to the uncertainty of our species’ survival. Far from the experiences of millions of people who are forced into relentless adaptation due to unremitting poverty, inequality and global changes in climate, preppers largely plan for an imagined future by accumulating survivalist skills and things. That is, what most characterizes preppers is their mass consumption: preppers spend many thousands of dollars stockpiling resources like food, water and weaponry. Not only, then, do they eschew initiatives that seek to prevent an imagined future apocalypse but as we will show, preppers influence the very conditions that they then say they are forced to respond to as they intensify the hegemony of over-consumption. As such, this chapter demonstrates that the increasingly popular phenomenon of prepping is a contemporary reiteration of western consumer/trashing culture, which feeds the global capitalist system responsible for the very apocalyptic conditions to which preppers believe they are responding.

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