Permaculture Podcast - An Emergency Preparedness & Pandemic Resource

Thanks for tuning into my guest episode on The Permaculture Podcast, I hope you find it valuable in these challenging times. Also, A BIG THANK YOU to Scott Mann, the shows host, for curating all this great learning for us all. I have been a long-time fan of the show!

If you haven't listened to the full interview yet, you can listen to it HERE.

Welcome to Changing World, a site I created to help people, communities, and businesses be more adaptable and resilient in our quickly changing world and climate.

This page has been created to help you better digest the audio content from the show and as an inspiration and guide for your own planning and preparedness measures in the face of Covid-19. 

** Please note I will do my best to keep this page updated as new information, ideas and resources become available. You may also be interested in checking out our Pandemic Resource Page HERE. 

What You Will Find On This Page

  • A sign-up for our free email series on "Preparing Your Family for Pandemics & Covid-19". Watch for a pop-up and see below.
  • A 25% discount for our Emergency Preparedness online course "Survive the Storms" using the discount code "PERMACULTURE"
  • A review and additional explanations of the topics covered in the podcast including:
  • A Framework for Making Your Personal Pandemic Plans
    • Gratitude & and Your Personal Mission Statement 
    • Using the 5 W's (and an "H") to sort through the overwhelming amount of information
    • Completing a personal risk assessment 
    • Applying the "4 Pillars of Emergency Management" to make YOUR plan
    • The O.O.D.A. Loop - A mental framework to help you cope and make decisions
    • The Left-Side / Right-Side Protocol to reduce exposure risk in public spaces
  • Opinion: What Nature Has to Teach Us in All This...

25% OFF Survive the Storms with code "Permaculture"

In this short 7-day interactive online course we walk you, step-by-step, through:
- Mentally preparing for a disaster & "thinking like a survival expert",
- Building an emergency kit,
- Making an family emergency communications plan if phones and internet go down
- Preparing your home to hunker down
- Storing, collecting & purifying water
- And much more!

Gratitude and Your Personal Mission Statement

I'll keep this one short, but it has been incredibly helpful for me. The weight of our current situation can feel quite heavy, and it comes with waves of emotions and thoughts. Two daily practices that are helping me stay positive, grounded, and focused on my service to the world (and to self) are:

Personal Mission in a Crisis

1) Starting each morning and ending each day with gratitude. Being grateful for all the blessings I do have is a survival skill in hard times. Don't underestimate the power of having a routine around this to keep you going!

2) Reminding myself every morning and throughout the day of what truly matters to me. To be of service as a steward to my family, community and the natural world is a big part of my life purpose. That has required me to make choices that allow me to show up as my best self in challenging times. I remind myself of this frequently to source the motivation and strength I need to find a balance between self-care and service to a greater good.

  • Using the 5 W's (and an "H") to sort through an overwhelming amount of information

  • There is so much information coming at us right now and it's easy to get lost in it. The reality of most crisis situations is that we need to make choices and often do not have all the information we need/want when making them. At the same time, we are overwhelmed with information we don't need and it thus a distraction. 

    Covid-19 Pandemic


    Receive videos, checklists, & survival tips for living in this new reality, going into public spaces, setting up cleaning systems with limited supplies, long-term planning & more.

    ** By signing up you are joining the Changing World Newsletter and  agree to our terms & privacy policy.

    I used the 5W's (and an "H") to help me quickly find the most relevant information for making decisions and an action plan regarding my family and community's safety.

    Here is how I applied them. But first... I you are interested in getting a series of emails to support you and your family in preparing a personal pandemic plan, sign-up below!

    ** Please note that all this information is subject to change as this is a novel virus. There may be other relevant information beyond this. The framework is only a guide and I do not guarantee the effectiveness or outcomes of anything I share. Please do your own research (outside this page) when making any decisions and view the "official recommendations" on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. .

    What (is the threat?)

    An Infectious Virus, Covid-19

    What (are the symptoms?)

    See the CDC website.

    How (is it spread?) 

    The CDC states that they are still learning about how Covid-19 is spread. The current theory suggests it is spread through respiratory droplets between people with-in 6 feet of each other and infected surfaces. Please note this is a theory and could change. BUT... It gives us something to work with for now when it comes to personal planning. 

    How (contagious is it?)

    Very, that's enough to act on!

    Who (does it effect?)

    Everyone. Highest complication and mortality rate appears to be in the elderly and people with underlying health complications. BUT... there are plenty of stories now of young healthy people become severely sick and needing advanced medical care. 

    Where (am I likely to be exposed?)

    Any public spaces or anywhere some who has contracted it has been is a potential risk. See the next section on "personal risk assessment"

    When (do I need to act?) 

    Now, it is here and spreading in communities. 

    Why (did it happen?)

    Now, it is here and spreading in communities. 

    How (long is this risk going to last?)

    Likely months, possibly even years.

    What  (do I do with this information?)

    Step 1 - look at what local governments and health authorities are telling the public.

    Step 2 - See below for additional measures as discussed on the podcast.

    So now what? What can you do with this information?

    Completing a Personal Risk Assessment

    ** Again, I am sharing how I approach a challenge like this as a professional in emergency preparedness and as a survival instructor. I again encourage you to do your own research and take responsibility for your actions. This system does not guarantee that you will not become infected. It is my personal approach for doing my best to reduce risk and make an action plan with the information I have, using frameworks to help guide the process.  

    Pandemic Risk Management
    Mapping My Average Day

    Once I established the way the virus is spread using the 5W's framework, then I mapped out an average day (before before and during lockdown and social distancing measures).

    Then I made a list of all the times and places I may face a higher risk of infection throughout the day, based on my knowledge of how it spreads.

    For me this included:

    • Exchanging money
    • Using gas pumps
    • Walking down busy streets 
    • Entering public buildings
    • Using public washrooms

    The next step in my emergency framework is to now apply the "4 Pillars of Emergency Management" to these higher-risk situations. 

  • Applying the "4 Pillars of Emergency Management"

    Make YOUR plan!

  • The "4 Pillars" is a framework for approaching all types and scales of emergencies. It is used as a model for planning by governments, NGOs and emergency management agencies around the world. 

    Here is quick introduction to each pillar and how to apply it to your personal and family preparedness plans and actions.

    4 Pillars of Emergency Management in a Pandemic
    Pandemic Example
    Prevent & Mitigate

    How can you prevent a hazard from impacting you or mitigate the impact?

    - Stop exchanging money & only use a card

    - Implement Right-Side / Left-Side Protocol (see below)


    How can you be better prepare for the hazard occurring?

    - Creating a portable hand wash station to go in my car and or back back

    - Placing a bulk order of sprouting seeds


    What will you do to respond when the hazard occurs?

    - Researching and stocking up on herbs that may be useful in alleviating symptoms and supporting healing. 


    How will you recover after the hazard has gone?

    - Take notes on all the lessons I am learning so I am better prepared for future disasters and pandemics. 

  • The O.O.D.A. Loop - A mental framework to help you cope and make decisions

  • The OODA Loop is another framework that I have personally found to be very valuable in helping me make decisions under stress.

    You can find examples of it being applied to all different areas of life and strategy with a quick internet search. 

    OODA stands for Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act.

    How to Implement the OODA Loop Framework.

    Whenever I catch myself feeling overwhelmed and tempted to act when I’m emotional or stressed out, I take a breath and remember the OODA Loop

    Fight Flight or Freeze Response

    Observe: What just happened? (REMEMBER TO BREATHe)

    Orientate: What are the true risks?, What resources are available? What is distracting me? What am I missing right now? What are my options? How might this play out over time?

    Decide: Make a plan A and plan B.

    Act - Carry out your plan and take the needed steps to protect yourself while carrying it out. 


    OODA Loop in Pandemics

  • The Left-Side / Right-Side Protocol to reduce exposure risk in public spaces

  • This process came about in the early days of the Covid-19, before it was declared a pandemic. While out in public I kind of felt like a juggler, who didn't know how to juggle, when it came to how to act and stay safe.

    I spoke with a doctor friend of mine and asked, "What do you do in the hospital to protect yourself from infectious diseases when seeing patients?"

    I learned that doctors and medical professionals have very clear procedures for how they do the following:

    1) Prepare to enter a higher-risk area

    2) Act inside that area

    3) Clean-up and decontaminate after leaving the area. 

    Preparing for Covid-19

    My questions became, what is the citizen's version of this?

    I realized I needed a clear system to address how I interacted with all the higher-risk areas I identified during my personal risk assessment. I did not want to randomly wash my hands more and try not to touch my face. It was time to get specific.

    Here's what I came up with:

    ** I'll say it one more time : This is NOT a perfect system. It does not guarantee that you won't get infected. You need to create your own systems based on your knowledge and life. It is a more thought-out approach to help me manage my own actions with the hope of mitigating my risks if I have to be in public spaces. If you choose to do something similar, I encourage you to adapt it to suit your unique situation, risks, and research. 

    How it Works...

    Step 1 - I draw an imaginary line down the centre of my body and label one side "clean" and one side "dircty".

    Left-Side of Body
    Right-Side of Body

    Left-side is the "CLEAN" Side

    Right-side is the "DIRTY" Side

    Step 2 - Organize what daily gear I keep on each side of my body

    Left-Side Pockets =  "CLEAN" Side
    Right-Side Pocket = "DIRTY" Side

    Hand Sanitizer

    One payment card (debit or credit) that I will make all purchases with. (No more cash purchases)

    Wallet (excluding main card for all purchasing. 

    Car Keys

    All other items that do not require regular use in public

    My left hand

    Step 3 - When I am entering any "higher risk" space, I tell myself, "You are entering a high-risk zone, start your Left-Side / Right-Side Protocol". This pushes me to pay very close attention to my actions the entire time I am in this space.

    Two examples of higher-risk spaces for me include gas stations and grocery stores. 

    Step 4 - Once in the higher-risk area, I do my best to perform all actions using only my right hand. Thus, it is the only one touching any surfaces. This takes a bit of practice, planning and adapting. 

    For example, if I am buying groceries, I will hold the shopping basket with my left hand. I will now assume my left hand is "dirty" too, but I still don't touch anything other than the basket handle with this hand (and I disinfect the handle first, anyways). All items I pick up, I grab with my right hand. I also pay using my right hand. 

    Step 5 - After purchase, I put my now "dirty" payment card back in my "dirty" right pocket to be cleaned later

    Step 6 - When I leave the higher-risk zone, I take my sanitizer out of my "clean" left pocket with my "clean" left hand and squirt some into my "dirty" right hand. 

    ADAPTION - If you do not have any sanitizer, consider creating a portable hand wash station in your car or back pack and wash with soap and water instead.

    Step 6 - When I Get Home

    When I get home, before going inside, I:

    1) Remove the "dirty" payment card and place it into a plastic container to sanitize/wash it

    2) Wash my hands

    3) Put the items from my "clean" left-side into another container. I will wash/sanitize these for good measure as well.

    4) Take my clothes off and put them in a laundry hamper I've already placed outside

    5) Wash my hands again

    6) Bring laundry directly to the washing machine and wash with soap

    7) Have a shower and change into clean clothes

    8) Sanitize the items from my pockets

    9) Wash My Hands

    10) Chill Out!

    What Nature Has to Teach Us in All This...

    This is my personal opinion, but maybe it will help you find some peace and feel empowered in our current situation.

    I believe humans were designed to live in risk-filled landscapes.

    Many of us (depending on where we live and possibly even our gender or the colour of our skin) have had the privilege of living with a certain degree of comfort and perceived safety for years. 

    But consider a deer, a rabbit, a fox, a bear...

    risks in nature

    They live outside 24/7 in a world without hospitals, grocery stores, phones and emails. 

    ... in a landscape full of immense beauty, but also full of risks, disease, the potential for starvation, and more.

    For most of human history, this was the landscape humans lived in, too. And to survive, there we became incredibly aware, alert, competent beings. 

    I would argue that in a VERY short period of time we have become very dependant on modern infrastructure and systems - which we are now see are quite fragile. This gave many of us a false sense of security and contributed to a growing complacency and lack of self-reliance skills.

    In nature, there is no room for complacency. All beings are called to be the best version of themselves every single day, for the survival of themselves and their species.

    In nature, our senses are alert, our instincts are honed. We consider food, water and life itself everyday, because some days they are not there. 

    Today, we find ourselves back in an ecosystem that is a little wilder than it has been for the past while. There are real risks and real consequences. 

    I do not wish suffering on anyone, but maybe there are deep lessons for us all in being back in the wilds again?

    And today, I am grateful for all nature has to teach me and remind me of, I am grateful every day I am alive and for the many gifts and blessings I have. And I step up to my best self, use all my tools, to face each day fully, with good perspective, and with compassion and love for life. 

    Thank you for reading!