Preparedness and Survival are two terms used to describe the recent (circa. 2009-2012) movement that focuses on a person becoming self-reliant, self-sufficient, and able to make it through tough times such as natural or man-made disasters, wars, and famine. Basically, it is a modern movement that attempts to regain the knowledge of the past and become ready for anything. It has its detractors, but for the most part prepping (as it is sometimes called) has gone mainstream and has gained tacit acceptance in media and in the general consensus.
Most people will tell you they aren't preppers, but if you press the average person for more of an opinion, they'll admit they'd like to be better prepared. Most people who read the news or have a basic understanding of the world political climate at least know they need a few basic items that they don't currently own - because it's a "good idea". That isn't surprising due to the drastic increase in natural disasters in the last few years (including Hurricane Katrina).
Some of the basic preps people make (when they do prepare) include survival tools, stockpile items, weapons, food, seeds, firearms, survival gear (such as clothing that is meant for camping or things like paracord), and even livestock or animals. Property is another items on most peoples' "prep lists" but due to cost and availability it's not as common of an investment. Precious metals such as silver and gold have a huge demand as well, but - again - due to cost they aren't as common of a prep item.
If you want to read more about actual methods of survival and prepping, you may want to check out some of our articles such as "10 Essential Survival Tools" or some of the other titles below.