There are two things essential for life, air and water. When those two things are compromised, humanity is dead. While preppers normally enjoy the freedom to go about their business, living today and preparing for tomorrow and beyond, what can they do about preserving clean air and water?
You see, that’s where being a prepper intersects with being green and responsible, and with the community. Survivalists might be loners. Preppers can’t go it alone, and they know it.
The Clean Air Act of 2013 will likely prevent 230,000 premature deaths when passed, for example.
The Clean Water Act has been in existence since 1948 and the result is that you can’t eat fish from most rivers and streams in America today. Why? Because the law doesn’t prohibit pollution and discharge, it only regulates how much.
“The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.”
As preppers, you have to be activists for clean air and water because once that is gone, there truly is no point to the rest of it. Look what China is doing today to the people of its own national capital.
“NASA releases images of Beijing air pollution
An image taken by NASA's Terra satellite on January 14 shows Beijing and the surrounding area smothered by a layer of extreme air pollution. / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY
China's capital city of Beijing has been swamped by off-the-charts levels of air pollution in January. New images from NASA's Earth Observatory satellite Terra shows the choking layer of smog that has descended over the city.
The first image, from January 14, shows China smothered by a layer of haze. The grey and yellow-tinged clouds visible on the map are areas heavily affected by air pollution. At the time the image was taken, ground sensors at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing recorded PM2.5 measurements of 291. According to the World Health Organization, PM2.5 levels above 25 are considered unsafe.
An image taken by NASA's Terra satellite of Beijing and the surrounding area on January 3. / NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY
The second image, taken on January 3, presents a stark contrast to the cloudy soup in the previous picture. The country is clearly visible and tinged white from recent snowfall.
Beijing and the surrounding area have been grappling with record-breaking levels of air pollution in recent days. PM2.5 measurements are taken on a scale from 0 to 500. Over the weekend of Jan 12-13, Beijing saw levels over 700.
By Monday, levels had declined to about 350 micrograms on the Beijing government scale -- down from its peak but still way above the level of 25 considered safe by the World Health Organization.
PM2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size, or about 1/30th the average width of a human hair. They can penetrate deep into the lungs, and measuring them is considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other methods.
The Beijing Shijitan Hospital received 20 percent more patients than usual at its respiratory health department, Dr. Huang Aiben said. Most patients were coughing and sought treatment for chronic bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, Huang said.
"Because these dust particles are relatively fine, they can be directly absorbed by the lung's tiny air sacs. The airway's ability to block the fine dust is relatively weak and so bacteria and viruses carried by the dust can directly enter the airway," Huang said.
Air pollution is a major problem in China due to the country's rapid pace of industrialization, reliance on coal power, explosive growth in car ownership and disregard for environmental laws. It typically gets worse in the winter because of weather conditions and an increase in coal burning for heating needs.
© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report."
[Note: Prepper Examiner corrected misspelling "visibility" in this story that was in the original NASA and CBS report.]