My husband, a Welsh immigrant (now a US citizen), recites this mantra daily. It’s his equivalent turn of phrase to “be prepared.” As such, we live pretty normally when inclement weather arrives. We heat with wood harvested from fallen trees and have recently installed a propane generator to power our laptops, LED lights and broadband modem. Pre-genny, we happily ran the household on a car battery (which we recharged every couple of days during the outage). Our hillside location means water runs downhill, providing us with tasty home brewed beer and cider. Yet, we’re within reasonable commuting distance to New York City – the best of both worlds, in my opinion.

And, they are, two worlds, post-Sandy. Every morning, we listen to the BBC news bulletin and consider the best direction to skip our stones in the pond for the optimal ripple effect, that is, what do we both have to share with the globe from our location. Some times, it’s nothing more than not using/over-using/abusing our utilities; other times, it’s quelling the gripes of our electricity-deprived neighbors by sharing the information of how other country’s citizens work-around the same situation as a daily routine. I recently gave a musician from Burkina Faso a flash drive of mp3s, along with a wind-up flashlight/USB charger so he could more easily learn to teach himself jazz whilst charging his iPhone.

Our neighbors don’t realize the utilities they use have only 3-4 days back up power, so if those generators run out of fuel, it’s time to use bow saws as currency. However, if you don’t use utilities,you can more easily communicate with the rest of the world by doing so smartly. Another Hogg mantra, “When the supermarket lorries stop running. . .” needn’t be construed as a post-apocalyptic warning, but rather, “learn to be self-sustaining.” And, the first step is to ask questions and learn from others. So, we do as an example to others. As a result, we learn how to do it better every day. Hopefully, we all will a better insight into how a large portion of the world lives each day without a regular source of power and help others as a result, regardless of how small the gesture may seem.