In a Disaster, Your Sense of Smell Is One of Your First Lines of Defense
Just as the title suggests, you should follow your nose! The nose is a highly-sophisticated “sensor” that we take for granted. How? We don’t put it to use! Or, we allow enough time to pass in our lives where we do not use it as it was intended. “What does this have to do with survival and happy prepping?” you may well ask. A lot. It has a lot to do with your survival and your betterment. If you had a million dollars in cash, would you put it to use? Either buy a few things you needed and save the rest or use some (or maybe even most of it) to make more?
Your nose is a “gift” that you have used but not learned how to maximize. There’s a great book on the subject by a guy named Avery Gilbert, a PhD-holding scientist, and author who has conducted a lot of research on the nose. The book is entitled, “What the Nose Knows,” will give you some amazing facts and statistics based on studies conducted over a long period of time.
Basically, humans do have smell/scenting capabilities almost as good as a dog! Is that not revelatory? See, regarding tracking, it is “inconvenient” or “undesirable” for a man to crawl around on all fours and track prey using his nose. But it can be done! Studies in the book show that the key to man improving his use of already existing tracking capabilities via aroma is to develop those capabilities through constant practice.
There are some obstacles that get in the way throughout our existence. Society is conditioned to not utilize the nose (except when it suits marketing purposes in the name of the almighty sales dollar). Freud’s studies categorized the use of the sense of smell “primitive” and “undesirable,” as he viewed it as an obstacle to becoming a civilized member of society.
Yeah. We’re “civilized” enough as a society to bomb whole populations out of existence, and to release toxins and chemicals into our environment under the guises of “progress” and “manufacturing,” that how dare we try to reconnect with a skill or sense given to us at birth? How dare we utilize such a sense! The outrage! The nonconformity of it all!
It is a very necessary sense, the sense of smell. In the survival reality TV show, “The Colony” (I highly recommend picking this up), an episode of the second season finds the principals involved in trying to take rotten meat and make it into fuel. The people gagged and were sickened by the stench of the rotting meat when they first came upon it. The show went into detail and explained that the very choking/vomiting/gagging reflex was the result of the olfactory processes causing the body to react to a smell that could be (and in this case, was) dangerously toxic to eat.
That sense of smell was crucial to keep someone from ingesting something that may cause death or serious illness. Now the book’s author wrote that women have a better ability to differentiate smells than men…perhaps stemming back from the time that mankind was comprised of hunter-gatherers. Women were primarily concerned with gathering roots, vegetables, and fruits, and their senses of smell had to be able to differentiate between what may or may not have been safe to eat.
Other obstacles include disease and illness over the course of a lifetime, as well as things such as smoking tobacco, exposure to fumes and vapors of chemicals, and generally polluted environments. All of these factors have negative effects on the ability to smell and perceive odors and aromas. How does this relate to you, as a prepper, survivalist, and “bearer of the torch of civilization” after the collapse? Simple. Why limit yourself by discounting or disparaging such an effective sense? Develop it. Practice going out into the forest, and identifying as many of the smells and aromas that you can. Study your pets at home, and even the clothing of family members. Each person has an aroma. See if you can test yourself by telling what shirt belongs to what family member with your eyes closed.
How about this for you. When I was in the service (and I did not smoke cigarettes), I could smell someone smoking from a distance of more than 100 meters from my position. That’s about 300 feet. You pick that kind of thing up. You can also pick up the smells of human beings moving in a group…everything from smells of sweat and food to when they halt and relieve themselves. Throw the abilities of doing this in with a grid-down, SHTF situation, or an invasion from a foreign power. Do you get the drift? You have the sense. All you need to do is take some time to practice and develop it further. Fight that good fight, and follow your nose as well as your instincts! JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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