Preparing for a Post-Apocalyptic World (Or, Should I Start Burying Appliances in the Backyard?)

Let’s say the apocalypse is coming … hmm, the third Tuesday of July, 2012. (My random guess seems as good as any.) The point is not the specific date, but rather that it gives us a bit longer than a year to get prepared. What do you do?

I’ve been reading a lot more apocalypse preparedness-type material, and one of the ideas I’ve seen is, since there probably won’t be electricity to power our appliances any more, burying appliances like old fridges or freezers in the backyard would provide a potentially viable root cellar to keep things cold even for those in warmer climates.  To me, I suddenly start picturing some bizarre appliance graveyard, markers like: “Here lies Maytag the Fridge, cool to the end.” Besides which, I also have a cold room in the basement, and know the principles of making an icebox out the backyard using slabs of frozen lake or river water which, since it’s cold here, would probably work.

However, I think there are a few more steps between burying out appliances, building fallout shelters, or that sort of thing. Nor am I convinced that stocking up and hoarding massive supplies of food are the answer (though there are plenty out there who disagree, and all the power to them).

What can we do? What about:

  1. Reducing wastage now. There is so much – like food and other consumables – which are purchased, briefly enjoyed, and then tossed. When there are legitimate shortages (i.e.: you can’t go to the store and buy another one), we need to learn to conserve and use what we have. Let’s consider the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra – it could become especially important someday.
  2. Appreciate what we have. Yep, be grateful for traffic rush-hour – it means you can drive around in a gas-powered vehicle now, drive great distances to your preferred grocery

    by Barnes,Dr. Thomas G. source FWS license Public Domain, from acobox.com

    store, etc; things won’t always be that way.

  3. Start to supply and produce your own food. This, of course, can take many forms, whether you want to go so far as raising and butchering livestock, keeping chickens, or just planting things you can later harvest and eat. However, no matter how small or large your plot of land, there’s probably some way you can produce some food, even if it’s just a tomato bush on your patio; I think it makes sense to first start thinking of it as a supplement, and work up from there.
  4. Start to truly live in your environment. I’m talking about nibbling on what’s around you, really taking note of what resources you live around. Are there berry trees native to your area? Probably, or at least trees or bushes that provide some sort of sustenance. Is there a source of fresh water nearby? In the event of a zombie attack or creation of more dangerous environs, you won’t the luxury of sampling what’s around you and discovering what’s edible, and what’s not, so it’s probably best to do it now. Borrow from the library or invest in a wildflower or native plant book for your area, so if things turn bad, you’ll know what bushes are worth the quick dash outdoors for – and when such a dash will get you the most food for the risk.
  5. Learn to satisfy your own needs. I’m not talking anything suspicious, but rather, suggesting you learn to produce items you need or want for yourself, rather than depending on someone else (or a mass merchandiser) to supply them. Are great clothes important to you? Well, in the apocalypse being fashionable probably won’t be as important as staying properly clothed, so what about learning how to repurpose old clothing items to make new ones, or how to sew and produce your own fashion?
  6. Pick up or invest in “hobbies” now that eventually could save your skin. This is related to point five, whereby learning how to do new things – especially doing things “the old-fashioned way” could come in handy. Can you sew by hand? Do you like tinkering with and fixing things? Have you ever contemplated blacksmithing or pottery? The abilities to produce new items or fix old ones will become even more important when items aren’t a dime-a-dozen at the corner store.
  7. Learn the value of DIY – Do It Yourself. Or perhaps, DFY – Do For Yourself. I mean, we both know you and I are surviving the apocalypse since we’ll be prepared, of course, but who else will? What services and human resources will be available, and what won’t be? Instead of depending on someone else to do things for you, learn how to do those things yourself since someday, you’ll probably have to anyway.
  8. Invest in your shelter. I live in a colder climate, so surviving and staying warm in winter continues to remain foremost in my mind, but even in milder ones humans need shelter from the elements. So those shingles that are rotting away and leaving your roof vulnerable? Get on that. Considering more efficient windows or re-insulating to save on the heating bill? If you do it now, if could keep you and yours warm on long winter nights. It could mean your survival (which, incidentally, could help justify the expense now, right?)
  9. Consider alternate transportation. It may not be the apocalypse per say, but experts seem to suspect the planet will run out of fossil fuels in the relatively near future. And if it is the apocalypse, the gas stations are unlikely to be open either if the tanks on low, so how else can you get around? Do you have a horse? A bike? Roller-skates? Perhaps just a good pair of walking shoes or boots? Even if one does spend most time hunkered down in a secure shelter, sometimes it won’t be an option, so best to consider now how you plan to get around.
  10. Start formulating your own “plan” now. Nope, I don’t expect you to have it completely planned out, since after all, one can’t know when or if the apocalypse will happen. But, I was always a Girl Guide, so I suppose that’s why I believe in the old “Be Prepared” motto. Can’t hurt to have a little what-if guidebook in the back of your head, now can it?

Well, those are my ten ideas. Any necessary ones I missed? Have I seriously underestimated the value of appliance burying? Let me know. J

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