Most of this can be done five or ten minutes at a time!
Many people don’t enjoy advocacy, but we aim to make it as painless as possible! The key to feeling optimistic about this is to realize that each person’s small effort adds up. Most of the time, it will just take 5-10 minutes: you search online for an email or a phone number for your representative in government, and then make a short phone or write a quick email.
In addition to these brief contacts, sometimes people may need to do a local action, such as meet with a mayor, a member of Congress, or someone from the state level. Without an occasional show of force, it’s unlikely that swift action will take place.
We encourage those interested in meeting or organizing locally to post or search on their local Craigslist.Org page in the ACTIVITIES section of the COMMUNITY section. This is usually the very first section in the upper left corner of your local Craislist page. If you are posting, use “Grid Emergency” in the title. Once a group forms, they should consider infrequent meetings with the appropriate members of government. They should also collect the names of people locally who support these efforts but who cannot attend. Thus, even five or six people meeting with someone in local government will make an impression, especially when they have the names of 30-100 others who are also calling for “emergency pacing,” in other words, swift action!
Why we expect swift government action
We realize that most people will be pessimistic about getting the government to act quickly.But this issue differs from most all other issues in two ways. First, everyone is affected, not just a minority of people. Second, the issue is extremely urgent.For these two reasons, we believe we can eventually create tremendous pressure that will force government to act.
But early efforts will probably be ignored. We love the saying “Raindrops make rivers, and you can’t argue with a river” because it describes the situation perfectly. Early “raindrop” actions will be ignored, brushed away.But the more that the chain reactions spreads, the more the raindrops build quickly into a river or tidal wave that cannot be ignored.
So the key is to have faith that your small raindrop actions will add up.But this is essentially having faith in arithmetic! It’s a sure bet, since we’re all in the same boat.
What we need government to do as soon as possible
There are four goals:
1. The federal government needs to allocate emergency funding so that critical supplies and equipment will be stockpiled locally, with local governments. The President could authorize some of this, and Congress could be pressured to authorize the rest. A ballpark estimate is 45 billion dollars for the essentials: water, food, a way to cook food for the roughly one-third who cannot afford to insure themselves with supplies. Having these things stockpiled will prevent mass panic and desperation.
2. Homeland Security needs to create a ready-to-go rescue plan in stages, based on natural priorities. For instance, in colder climates people might first die of exposure; next run out of water; then be threatened by gangs; then run out of food; then run out of critical medicines, etc. One priority in the plan is to make sure nuclear power plants can keep the spent fuel rods cool so they don’t catch fire and emit radiation. This means both enough fuel for back-up generators, and generators and pumps that are hardened so they won’t burn out in the event of an EMP.
3. Local governments must also be pressured to develop similar ready-to-go plans. People and businesses should consider contributing to a special fund so that funding for emergency supplies need not wait until the next fiscal year. There should also be a ready civil defense plan that protects citizens from gangs and other criminal activity. It will probably require some citizen volunteers. Since emergency management departments frequently refuse to disclose details of the current state of preparation, citing security. Therefore, people must push for third-party expert verification that stockpiles exist and that critical equipment has been purchased. [For emergency management people to say that “planning is in progress” or vaguely that “we are ready” is absolutely unacceptable. If most members of the public do not know what to do, where to go, and what to expect if the grid collapses, then the planning is not adequate… because the public will panic if they are not educated in advance, and if they aren’t assured that the supplies are already stockpiled.
4. States and or the federal government need to step up regulatory efforts on electric utilities to force them to upgrade the grid, especially putting in the equivalent of surge protectors for key transformers, and shielding other critical equipment. The utilities will complain about costs, but the most essential upgrades are only a few dollars per electricity consumer per year. There needs to be third-party expert verification to make sure the utilities have made the upgrades.
General strategies to achieve the goals
Our primary strategy is the person-to-person chain reaction that will give us the critical mass to spur rapid change.
A second key strategy is to proclaim this an urgent situation. There’s no time for the slow, gridlocked funding channels to work. Emergency funding should be sought, just as when there is an international catastrophe. This requires emergency pacing.
A third strategy is called escalating assertion. This means gradually turning up the pressure if emergency management people and government representatives do not begin to treat this as an urgent priority, and if they fail to issue detailed progress reports. Be considerate because these are busy people with many responsibilities. But if they fail to treat this as urgent, increase the pressure. Many of these people are used to placating people with vague assurances. But people who fail to act after being warned may lose their jobs, or destroy their political careers. Failure to treat this as urgent and failure to make concrete progress puts everyone’s lives in jeopardy.
While everyone is at risk, special appeals can be made to the following groups:
Most businesses and corporations would lose profits and experience major disruption. Even those industries that gain from crises, such as the building industries, would still suffer because of the great loss of life and overall economic depression.
People in the health professions such as doctors and nurses can see this as a potential public health crisis.
People tasked with security (police, firefighters, and EMS) could see the benefits to themselves of doing everything they could to prepare the population in advance. This is protecting the population, something that’s part of their job descriptions. They will also be the ones dealing with hysteria if people are not prepared in advance.
Do at least five of the following, one at a time:
- Contact your mayor or city council, or department of public safety. Ask if they have a plan for a long-term grid outage. Ask what would happen if the grid went down long-term: When would food, water and other essentials be provided? Be brief. Ask them to regularly post progress reports to their website, so that the public is informed. Refer them to this website for more information. [NOTE: In some cases, when you contact a branch of government, you will be quickly “shut down.” Don’t feel bad about this. The more people who make these contacts, the more government will pay attention. This is a case where “raindrops make rivers” and where individual efforts add up.]
- Talk to the appropriate person at your place of work, school or place of worship. Inform them of the problem and ask them to consider making some preparations. Refer them to this website for more information.
- Contact your two Senators in Washington DC to ask for legislation that protects the American people. Ask them to get a Senate version of H.R.3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act onto the Senate floor for voting. Currently (3/13/16) it’s in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The original text of the bill can be found here, in PDF form. Essentially the bill forces Homeland Security to come up with a plan to rescue and stabilize the country after an EMP attack, and to proactively minimize the damage that would be caused.
- Contact your state representative and state senator, urging them to support legislation that shields the grid. (You can find the name and contact information for your officials at VoteSmart.Org, a nonpartisan website. Just put your zipcode in the search box and scroll down to ‘State House Member’ or ‘State Senator.’ Click on the person’s name for contact information. Then click ‘Bio’ and look on the left for their contact email and phone number.) If you can organize a group of people to visit your representatives, that’s even better!
- Email or write to President Obama, asking him to use his remaining time in office to fully protect the United States against either natural or manmade EMP (either a large solar flare or nuclear detonation.) Thank him for signing PPD-8, a good step in the right direction. [Write: President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20500. Or submit a comment at Comment.]
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about this issue. (Usually they accept email “letters.”) Write about our great vulnerability. Encourage people to contact state and national representatives and also their electricity suppliers, demanding that shielding of the grid occur as rapidly as possible. Urge people to also prepare themselves, maybe by stating how much preparation you have done.
- Ask your local TV station or newspaper to produce a series on the threat and how to prepare.
- Contact your city or town’s emergency services departments (Firefighters, Police, Paramedics). Ask them if they understand the EMP threat and explain how a super-EMP would fry radio equipment. Ask them if they have back-up communication equipment and back-up power generators that are shielded from EMP. Some people will be genuinely interested in the problem; others may know about it and wish to downplay it; and others may not be interested. You can refer interested first-responders to this website for more information.
NOTE: Those interested in advocacy updates regarding grid legislation, as well as more detailed information can visit SecureTheGrid.Com’s What you can do page.
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