09 June 2008
I figure we've got at least a few years before civilization falls apart and leaves us scrambling to survive, so I've been thinking a lot about how I would like to prepare for the big event. I figure, it's best to get started with this stuff before the collapse because then I'll be a step ahead when it happens, and if it doesn't happen in my lifetime, then at least I'll have some cool skills to show off. Here I've come up with a list of ten things I'd like to learn or do while there's still time.
1) Garden - we're going to need a lot of food and we won't be able to rely on the current large scale, processed food infrastructure to supply it, so the more gardens we can get going now the more food we'll have when things hit the fan. Medicinal plant gardens would be nice to have too.
2) Learn to hunt - I seriously doubt that vegetarianism will be a viable option after the fall, and one of the best sources of food will likely be hunted meat. Therefore, it will be important to know how to track, hunt, and kill an animal as well as how to skin and butcher it and preserve the meat.
3) Learn to shoot a gun and a bow - In conjunction with learning to hunt, it's important to know how to handle a gun safely and effectively. However, I'm almost afraid to suggest, it might be useful to know for self defense purposes as well. Hopefully it won't come to that, but it's good to be prepared. As bullets and powder become more and more scarce, the bow will be the next best thing - easily made from simple materials, effective and deadly in a variety of situations.
4) Lean flintknapping, arrow fletching and similar skills - the ability to make your own tools from materials that are easily found in nature (rock, wood, bone, etc.) could be one of the most useful things to have. In this same vein, the ability to fix industrial machines with easily found materials would be useful as well, at least in the early stages.
5) Learn about edible and useful wild plants - another source of food and medicine.
6) Work on team building, strategy and tactics - again, I hope it doesn't come to this, but the ability to organize as a group for the purpose of armed combat might be useful. This could be done with games such as ultimate frisbee, soccer, paintball, etc. Anything that involves several people and requires organized effort.
7) Get in Shape - A lot of us have become very slothful and out of shape with the abundant food and lack of physical activity. People who are physically fit - those who can run or bike long distances, lift heavy objects, climb or jump well - are going to have a great advantage.
8) Learn Self Defense - learning some hand to hand combat techniques may be necessary. This is especially true for women, but men will do well to learn too.
9) Build community networks - As I've said time and again, no one ever survives without a complex network of community support. Even hermits rely on goods produced by the community. We've become atomized and individuated, so we have to build from scratch a lot of those structures that will break down during and after the fall, but rebuild them on a local, sustainable level. The key is to get out into your community and help out the organizations that exist. Also, if you see a need that isn't being filled on the local level then start putting something together to fill that need. Most importantly, get out and make friends, talk to people and build relationships.
10) Enjoy some of the things I'll miss - I don't mean to be glutinous, but just to cherish the small things that won't be around afterward - ice cream and chocolate, for example. Enjoy them - don't consume them.
I'm sure there's a lot more that I could do, but this is what I came up with in a few minutes at work. I'd love to hear what other people think about my list or if you have any suggestions for additions to the list.
Posted by Jeremy Trombley at 2:34 PM