Apocalypse Survival 101: Know Your Apocalypse (Part 1 of 2)

We can talk about how to survive an apocalypse on and on, but it doesn’t matter a jot if you don’t know what kind of apocalypse you’re going to have to survive. I was watching a feature on some self-proclaimed survivalists, and while their approaches to planning for an apocalypse were quite different, I think it was also because their notions of what the apocalypse would be were likewise different.

There are, of course, apocalyptic visions including Planet X, the unknown meteorite on a collision course, of possibly a collision with the sun which are not survivable scenarios (at least, not if you’re still on the planet when it’s destroyed). Instead, let’s think of a “happier” apocalyptic scenario where it’s possible human life can survive, despite difficulty. And those are the possible types of apocalypse I’ll discuss below. In the following blogs, we’ll address specifics for surviving each one.

  1. Devoured and dessimated by creatures. This possibility covers anything from aliens (à la Independence Day), to dragons burning and eating the ash of our world (à la Reign

    Cole Thomas, "The Course of Empire Destruction 1836" from acobox.com

    of Fire).  Survival here will depend on your ability to hunker down, survive on what you can forage and produce, and how long it takes to get rid the threat (ie: before someone destroys the threat so life can start to resume some normality).

  2. World War Three. Here something sets the whole world off into battle – and I mean everyone, everywhere, no playing neutral, no hedging bets since everyone will be affected by this one. Once the war finally ends, if you manage to survive that depending on what weapons get pulled out, pretty much everything will be destroyed, so again foraging will do for a time, but knowing how to produce what you need out of less than nothing will be a must. And, if peace is to be sustained, everyone is going to have to start working together and cooperating, or old resentments will flare up, resulting in further endless war until pretty much everyone is dead.
  3. Destruction of technology. Whatever history brings us, whether it occurs in the thick of war or a time of peace, technology is suddenly and completely irradicated. Sure, the devices and contraptions we come to depend more and more every day still exist, but they don’t work. I’ve seen a few theories to how this could work, but basically I’m talking end of tech à la Escape from L.A. Can you survive and thrive without the help of electronics and gadgets? You’ll have to.
  4. Unknown cause of loss of electricity, combustion, and whatever else might make our lives easier. I know, a bit vague, but I’m getting at the world created by S. M. Stirling, where something unknown knocks out technology, as well as the combustive properties of gunpowder, ability for pressure tanks to work, etc. (Read the book, starting with the first: Dies the Fire – very thought provoking.) Basically, guns and everything else doesn’t work, throwing the world back into a medieval-like fight for survival. Survival is dependent on the ability to do everything by hand, create what you need, and fight without the aid of guns or similar weapons. Maybe you should get on that hand-to-hand combat class, hmm?
  5. Disease. Fairly self-explanatory, but basically one of the diseases they warn us about (or more likely, one they haven’t) gets around the world with the ease of hopping on a plane, and very soon massive portions of the population will be wiped out. Survival may be dependent on a few different things, including where you live (dense city, or country?), what you do (work from home, or in crowded office), and some genetic luck (like some plague victims who survived and outlived their families, despite exposure). After that, avoiding the death and disease-filled cities will be a must, meaning you have to make do with your own abilities and skills.

So, there’s half of the possibilities – any guesses which ones will top out the list for next week?

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