Aton Edwards is an expert in the fields of self-reliance, emergency preparedness, and sustainable living. He is an author, inventor, environmental and social activist, design scientist, television and radio commentator and the current Executive Director of the International Preparedness Network (I.P.N.) . The organization (formerly known as P.R.I.S.M., the NYC Preparedness Network, and the International Self-Reliance and Preparedness Network) was co-founded in 1989 by Edwards along with a group of his friends and associates. The I.P.N. was created to train civilians
in the greater New York and tri-state area to mitigate against, respond to and recover from natural, technological, environmental, civil, cyber disasters, global geophysical events, pandemics similar to the 1918 "Spanish Flu" and other pending crises such as nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism.
International Preparedness Network
The International Preparedness Network grew in 1999 to operate as a non-traditional, non-governmental organization to accommodate the rapidly growing body of members. Its mission also expanded to include the development of a new program he called LIFE-O.N.E. (now called Ikhaya-Eco) is a project Edwards was inspired to create after the birth of his son Amen Shepsu Adio, the purpose of Ikhaya-Eco is to design and create disaster-resistant emergency shelters and homes for impoverished communities, along with other emergency
preparedness/response equipment. Most of the homes used in the Ikhaya-Eco program are designed by Edwards, such as his "Ikhayatat" (formerly Gaiatat)
a portable, disaster-resistant, floating structure constructed from scrap metal and plastic. In late 2005, after witnessing the hurricane Katrina disaster, Edwards began to design another program that would provide civilians with a community controlled disaster preparedness/response/self-reliance mechanism and infrastructure. He called it the National Urban Self-Reliance and Preparedness Program. (N.U.S.R.P) In the late fall of the same year, Edwards and a friend R.J. Cote created the Global Meltdown Survival Clinic, a special free public preparedness/self-reliance sustainable living workshop that utilized some of the ideas and techniques Edwards developed for the N.U.S.R.P. program. After a successful run, Edwards added improvements and new ideas that helped him to complete the program and begin to apply it.
In 1997, Edwards began to speak publicly about commercial aircraft being used as missiles to attack skyscrapers. He often referred to the World Trade Center site as "Ground Zero." One year later at a John Jay College of Criminal Justice F.E.M.A. meeting, he suggested that surface-to-air missiles be set up around the World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and other landmarks to protect them from attacks. . In 1999, Edwards began to conduct special emergency preparedness & survival classes specially created to prepare New Yorkers for terrorist attacks. He also made frequent appearances on the WRKS-FM program "The Open Line" and, appeared with guests such as Crisis in the Hot Zone author Richard Preston, New York Times Reporter Judith Miller, The Coming Plague Author Laurie Garrett to discuss disaster preparedness strategies for bio & nuclear terrorism, natural disasters and other related threats to the New York City area and, nation. In February 2001, on the WRKS-FM radio program The Open Line in answer to a question presented to him by a listener about his comments regarding potential terrorist attacks against the city, Edwards accurately predicted the month, time, location and, method used to destroy the World Trade Center on 9/11.
One week after the event, he returned to the program to strongly rebuke Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the EPA, for her statements regarding the air quality around the disaster site. He made a heartfelt plea to firefighters, iron-workers and police working on or near the area to wear respirators and personal protective equipment. Edwards continued to appear on the WRKS-FM The Open Line radio program to inform listeners about how to prepare for future disasters, and the location, date and time of I.P.N. preparedness training classes. In 2004, Aton & Dr. Kamau Kokayi MD. traveled to George Mason University to meet with Dr. Ken Alibek, Former Executive Director, Education & Science National Center For Biodefense at George Mason University and former Director of the Soviet Union's Vektor Laboratory and biopreperat biological weapons program. During their meeting, Dr. Alibek suggested to Edwards & Kokayi that the USA develop special bio-terror emergency anti-biotic public dispensaries. Edwards was one of the first experts to suggest publicly that the September 18, 2001 anthrax attacks were of domestic origin.
Edwards is also the creator of a unique preparedness/self-reliance/survival system called IA-DO (pronounced Eye-Aay-Dough) The name is drawn from his "Improvisational Adaptation" a preparedness/survival & self-reliance protocol Edwards created in the mid 90's to function as a highly comprehensive "life-defense" program that combines the full range of self-reliance, preparedness, outdoor survival, sustainable living, personal health, fitness, and self-defense disciplines. IA-DO's form is based on a cellular level of control, where practitioners become self-contained units who use specific preparedness related tools, skills and information to stabilize and maintain their lives and environments during disasters. This process is designed to function as the internal workings of organelles within an animal cell. The IA-DO operational protocol places the individual at the center of their own self-reliance, personal preparedness, sustainable living, and disaster response program . Edwards refers to his IA-DO system as the "21st century science of life-defense."
Edwards has had numerous TV appearances over the past decade. Among the most notable are his 2002 piece on the Greg Giraldo show on Comedy central. It was the first comedic TV skit about preparedness. Humor is a subject Edwards knew well. In the mid to late 80's he was a former popular and highly controversial political stand-up comedian called "Badd Guy." at the time, he was called "the most dangerous man in comedy" by Dixie Whatley of Entertainment Tonight, The "Strongman of Comedy" by Flo Anthony of the NY Post, and a cross between George Carlin & Richard Pryor by Andy Warhol. Edwards has performed on Showtime Cable with Chris Rock and other peers such as John Leguizamo, Tommy Davidson, Adam Sandler, and many others. Upon the re-opening of the Apollo theatre in 1985, Aton was selected by Ralph Cooper Sr. as the first house comic after winning the infamous amateur night three times in a row. The first win was during an NBC special called Motown's 50th anniversary salute to the Apollo theater starring Bill Cosby. Aton beat out Tisha Campbell (My Wife & Kids) & T'china Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris, Martin) & was selected by audience member David Geffen to star as the Dentist in the feature Film Little Shop of Horrors until a bad management deal ended that opportunity.
At the time, Edwards used stand-up as a vehicle to present his views about the importance of preparedness and likened himself to a "stand-up Omega-Man" Edwards & the late Greg Giraldo believed that a comedic treatment of preparedness would help to take off the rough edges and make it more palatable to the masses. Edwards agreed and they worked together to create the piece for his program.
In 2007, Edwards appeared on a Current TV short called Aton's Top Ten.| in 2009, he appeared in the National Geographic Special "6-Degrees.", Fox News " In 2010, Edwards hosted the Discovery Channel/documentary special "Track Me If You Can." He has also been featured on MSNBC news as a commentator on disaster preparedness self-reliance & security. On September 18, 2011, Edwards was featured in the Discovery Channel special How Will The World End, starring Samuel L. Jackson.
Ready UP! America Preparedness/Self-Reliance/Sustainable Living National Tour
In 2011, he developed Ready Up! America, a TV program/preparedness/self-reliance/sustainable living tour that begins in mid June 2011 in New York City. For the project, Edwards has teamed up with several of America's top preparedness/self-reliance/sustainable living experts, scientists, activists and celebrities to increase public participation, awareness and develop new and innovative preparedness/self-reliance/sustainable living related techniques & technology. Edwards created the tour & program as a reaction to the March 11 Japan earthquake & tsunami. He feared that if a disaster of this magnitude were to occur in the USA, that the nation would not be prepared to respond and the public would suffer another tragedy that could eclipse the Hurricane Katrina disaster six years earlier.
Edwards believes the tour will help to motivate Americans to practice preparedness/self-reliance/sustainable living by making it more mainstream, accessible and fun. The tour will be recorded to be broadcast as a reality show of the same title. The first Ready UP! event was held in NYC on July 8 at St. Francis University. It featured Edwards, the hosts of the 98.7 WRKS-FM show Open Line, Bob Slade, James M'tume, Former Federal Judge Bill Pickett, Executive Producer Fatiyn Muhammad, Journalist Nida Khan, I.P.N. Geodesic Dome & Alternative Home Building specialist Margaret Ling, the Bedford Stuyvesant Ambulance Corp. Founder James "Rocky" Robinson, Rudolph Muhammad, Martial Artist Tawfik Aziz, fitness expert Herman Smalls and Bro. Barry Crumbley, Disaster Preparedness Expert & Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association Representative Also in attendance were representatives from the environmental group Riverkeeper, The Salvation Army & The Red Cross.
During the tour, Edwards will work to secure one million LifeStraw water filters to be distributed in Haiti to help combat the cholera epidemic. He is a co-founder of LifeStraw NOW! an organization created for the specific purpose of purchasing and distributing LifeStraws highly effective portable & inexpensive water filters. LifeStraw NOW! is currently preparing to re-format its operation to include larger high volume water filters.
International Preparedness Network Members
The International Preparedness Network has roughly 30,000 members across the United States and 16 other countries including Nigeria, Japan, Canada, India, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana, Jamaica, Germany and Mexico.
- International Preparedness Network
- "Science/Nature | Nature 'mankind's gravest threat'". BBC News. 9 August 2004. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "1918 Influenza Pandemic | CDC EID". Cdc.gov. Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "New York Metro: Terror". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "» Duck and Cover | Los Angeles Alternative". Laalternative.com. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "Nuclear Threat Initiative: Home Page". Nti.org. Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "The International Preparedness Network". Readyforanything.org accessdate=2010-01-07.
- Kolker, Robert (1 November 1999). "Terror, Inc". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "The Best Variety of Old School and Today's R&B - Open Line". 98.7 KISS fm. 3 December 2009. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
- "Top 10 Disaster Needs // Current". Current.com. 23 October 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-07.