Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Apocalypse World

Post apocalypse... I've been working on a story, a post apocalypse-after the plague story. It's hard to decide what will be around after the apocalypse. Or rather, it's hard to convey that without spending a lot of time saying, "That's not available anymore." Well...not actually using those words.

But if there's no one to run the factories, no one to keep the water, power, refineries running, and no one to drive the food/supplies to the stores... Then, what will the world be like? I figure it will pretty much resemble early colonial America except we no longer have the necessary skills to survive.

Seriously. How many people know how to successfully garden--without running down to the Lowes or Home Depot? And how many people know they need to use heritage seeds because the other kind (which is almost the only kind sold in the stores) won't yield plants you can save the seeds for the next year? We've moved so far from producing our own food most people would starve.

I read an entry on a comment line about hunting..."These people should get their food at the store like everyone else instead of killing animals for food." Um, where do you suppose this individual thinks the meat at the grocery store comes from? Factories? Hmmmm. Maybe they aren't far wrong.

When I was growing up, my mother sewed all my clothes. Now there are far fewer women skilled at sewing--especially with needle and thread. Many people throw clothing out, rather than repair it.

And food preservation was another skill my mother and grandmother had. Every summer and fall, our kitchen was redolent with the scents from canning the fruits and veggies from the garden. Does anyone can anymore? I bet the percentage is very, very small.

So many skills have been lost. I suspect the most popular post-apocalypse people will be hunters and historical re-enactors, with a dash of geeks tossed in there. The geeks that know something about solar power might be especially popular.

What will that post-apocalyptic world be like? I don't know. Here are a few ways for even the least survival minded individual to prepare.

1) Visit your bookstore. Buy a couple well-rounded books on survival, hunting, edible plants, and old-timey crafts such as canning, sewing, etc. Read the books. Heck, even spend some time trying out stuff. Acquire some skills. Remember, the internet would likely not be around.

2) Take a first aid course. Know how to take care of yourself and others around you.

3) Observe the world around you. Look at your space. What could you use in a post-apocalyptic world? What would be mere trash? How important will that microwave or television or computer be when there's no power?

4) Look at your personal space from a self-defense perspective. What would you need to do to make it safe? I read one article that speculated it would only take a loss of one quarter of the population to bring everything to a halt...government, police, fire, economy. Think about what you would do.

I don't advocate packing up and going to the woods in case a disaster might come along. I do advocate spending a little time considering the possibility. And maybe, just maybe thinking about how to survive.

After all...who knows what tomorrow will bring?



  1. Lost skills...bring them back in your world, Anny.

  2. Yay for bringing back the basics! Go Anny.

  3. Whole villages and towns disappeared during The Black Death in Europe - and that was about thirty percent of the population died (more in some areas but zero in others). Yet that changed the entire course of European history,
    Fascinating topic Anny.

  4. My parents never taught us any of those kinds of skills even though they had them. I think they wanted to get away from their childhoods. Very middle class. I've always said I'd probably be lost in the first wave of an appocalypse. If I survived I'd definitely want to be next to one of those "back to basics" folks. They have mad skills.

  5. Sometimes it is good to be a geek. :-) I can do the edible plants thing--taught that at camps & Nature Center. Know how to fish, purify water & build fires & shelter. Canning? Not so good. Sewing? Passable. Tanning? Only in theory. The rule is the brain of the animal usually provides enough chemicals to tan the hide. Sigh. Some things I know, I really HOPE I never have to use.

  6. I believe if you are strong in mind and independant of what others think you will survive anything

  7. Have you ever read THE STAND by King? It's wonderful and set in the immediate aftermath of a killer virus. Addresses many of the issues you are talking about, but at that point there are still things to be looted and some other more pressing problems to deal with ;)

    I have done some canning - of jam at least- and I can sew and I have a basic knowledge of growing things. I'd need a survivalist type for the heavy lifting though!