Following on from my recent post about human obsession with the end of the world, I thought I would delve a bit deeper into the Apocalyptic theme. There’s a lot out there, both online and in printed media that instruct on how to survive different varieties of apocalypse (Max Brooks’ the Zombie Survival Guide is just the tip of the decomposing iceberg).
I’m going to skip over all of those because living through it isn’t your biggest problem (chances are you will die horribly, so what’s the point in dwelling?), it’s what comes after that you need to prepare for. If the end comes via war, climatic change or zombies, the odds are stacked against you no matter who you are – you might be a survivalist expert, but it just takes being in the wrong place at the wrong time for that to count for nothing! Survival skills won’t save you from the blast of an unexpected nuclear explosion. Therefore, using the scenarios from my last post, I am going to take a look at what you can start doing now to ensure you are in a good position once the dust settles.
To recap: Biblical sense rather than in the Skynet-becomes-sentient-and-takes-over-the-world sense. Judgement Day is a day when we can expect to receive judgement from God and either be damned or live in the kingdom of heaven. Odds of Survival: 0/5 (God wants us all dead!)
Don’t be fooled by the odds of survival being non-existent, this isn’t about surviving death, it’s about surviving the afterlife! So unless you like things toasty and torturous, then you best start praying now that when the day comes you’ll be on the sky-bus to heaven. Ensuring that happens isn’t all that easy though. Some of us non-Christians might get bewildered by the range of Christian doctrines out there, and they don’t all believe the same thing.
This WikiHow website has some great tips on making it into heaven! Considering the list includes getting baptised and repenting sins (presumably also stop sinning!) you might want to get started on that sooner rather than later! And this site might answer questions you may have. And even then, there is no guarantee – apparently not even all Christians go to heaven!
Further Odds of Survival: 2/5 (Depending on if you repent, whether that makes any difference at all! And of course taking into account those that might actually prefer to go to hell instead)
To recap: Self-aware computers/technology and the revolutionary consequences of enslaving a race of robots! Odds of Survival: 3/5 (based on the premise that we’re more likely to be enslaved in return rather than outright exterminated).
Surviving in a world ruled by robots will depend on their intent. If you’re still alive then the chances are they’ve kept you alive in order to enslave the human race, or possible a more sinister reason (human batteries anyone?). You can either accept this fate or try and avoid it. If you chose acceptance then it’s never too early to start building up muscle tone, endurance and an acquaintance with physical labour that may be of benefit in your new role. If you are planning on resisting then be sure to increase your sneaky skills – time to get tech savvy. Bone up on the modern types of surveillance and assume that the robots will have even better stuff than this! If you manage to remain free of our robot overlords then keep to yourself. Groups of people are likely to draw attention and be more apparent on surveillance. So time to get used to your own company!
This lone existence doesn’t lend itself to human rebellion against the evil robot empire, those forming a resistance are likely to be discovered. With likely better weaponry at the disposal of the robots, joining groups of other humans may be a suicide mission.
Further Odds of Survival: 2/5 (odds might be better if you accept enslavement, but be prepared for a lonely and sleepless life on the run if you decide to resist!)
To Recap: What are the chances of purposeful nuclear war? More likely, as the world grows short on natural and renewable resources, is purposeful invasion. Odds of Survival: 3/5 (based on non-nuclear invasions where we can look forward to being decimated and enslaved by other Nations)
It’s quite likely that surviving after the war could prove tougher than living through it! If you’re in an area with good natural resources then get out pronto. It may be tempting to see if you can live off the land, but those are the exact same lands the wars are being fought over – expect troops to arrive and claim it pretty sharpish! Escaping the new Axis, you are going to find yourself left with the least desirable land, you might even want to surrender in the hopes that you will at least get food, water and shelter in return for your labour. At this point other factors will come into play – it wouldn’t hurt to trying to build up your immune system now, because when the war is over you have lots of disease and sickness to look forward to. If possible stay away from large human populations where disease is likely to hit harder. You might also want to build up your speed and endurance (for running away from armed people) and your hand to hand combat skills (for fighting unarmed people). It would also be a good idea to take a look at where you can relax your morality, because after the war you might have to do things to survive that you wouldn’t do now – steal, mug, murder!!! It’s going to be a harsh world and only the toughest will survive.
Further Odds of Survival: 1/5 (Odds might be higher if you get enslaved, either way you may have to combat disease, other humans and even your own morality!)
To Recap: What happens when already overcrowded cities are struck with a fast moving virus – living conditions in the first and third world alike would act as an incubator for a pandemic, add to that the fact that modern modes of transport are also a nice modern infection delivery system. Odds of Survival: 3/5 (almost even money on this one – given the factors above – only slightly edged in our favour by the possibility that some people might have a natural immunity or outrun the spread of the disease!)
If you’re not one of the few who made it on some mysterious natural immunity, times are about the get really bad for you! Because chances are it’s only a matter of time before the super-disease you’ve managed to outrun the first wave of hits again. And don’t think you’re safe if you were immune to the first wave, the second or third might be crazy mutations of the disease which could knock you right out of the game. Again, building up your immunity is a great start, but in the face of a super-bug a little medical training would also come in handy, as would stocking up on medical supplies. Knowing when antibiotics might be of help and when they would just be wasted is something most people in the general public don’t have a clue on at the best of times. Again, avoid large populations and try to maximise your chances by creating as healthy an environment as possible – knowing how to dig a well for fresh and assuredly untainted water might also be of help!
Further Odds of Survival: 2/5 (based on being immune, but that immunity might not last forever, and you’ll still have to compete with other humans and of course the many other non-super-bug diseases that will take the chance to attack!)
To Recap: Chances of surviving an alien invasion are pretty good – they likely plan to reap our natural resources, or use us as some sort of human battery, so we’d be an asset to keep alive – even if it is a terrible enslaved, post-apocalyptic hell hole where you wish they’d just get on an kill you! More likely still is being hit by an asteroid – speculation is we are in for a possible collision in 2032! Odds of Survival: 4/5 (based on the likelihood that aliens would rather enslave than destroy and most asteroids will miss us… most!)
Our chances of surviving after the initial invasion may depend largely on what the aliens want with us, so best advice here is to make yourself of use! Take classes in a few different topics and hopefully one of them will be enough to keep you off disposable list. The tough part is guessing what the aliens might need – natural resource management? Farming? An expert on something purely earth – zoology, botany?
If we get an asteroid rather than aliens, things are a little different. One of the theories put forward for the extinction of the dinosaurs is a such a catastrophe. If the asteroid is big enough and moving fast enough it could wipe out most life on earth! If you survive impact then life is going to be harsh – if (and it’s a big if) the sun and sky have not be blotted out by impact dust, you’re back again with the disease and squabbling over what’s left of the natural resources (which is not likely to be an awful lot), in fact chances look slim for the human race holding out for too long after impact. But there is hope! Not for us, but perhaps for whatever species survives and is waiting to evolve into the next dominant creature on earth, lizards and apes have had their shot, who’s next? Again, those zoology and botany classes could come in handy.
Further Odds of Survival: 1/5 (quite low in consideration of the asteroid, it would have been 0/5 if not for the chance that it might be aliens instead, but even then our future is looking far from secure!)
Global Natural Catastrophe
To Recap: Excluding asteroids as being extraterrestrial, this covers everything else – climate change, floods, tsunami, earthquakes, volcanoes, decline of natural resources through overfishing, deforestation, colony collapse, etc. Odds of Survival: 1/5 (if we make it through the catastrophe we then have to try and survive the subsequent wars over resources; disease, famine, potentially loss of technological and medical advancement – it’s not going to be pretty!)
We can definitely expect some major natural catastrophe or severe decline of an “essential” resource to be the fuel that ignites a global war *cough*GulfWar*cough*, especially if that catastrophe has created a lack of habitable land (where are the survivors to go?), and lack of resources and fuels such as water and oil, and generally famine and disease. Add to this the fact that the catastrophe could forever alter the climate that we are accustom to, perhaps plunging us into eternal winter, or slowly scorching the earth dry. This future is pretty grim, because every day is going to be a survival challenge, and that goes double for the days you run into someone who wants to kill you for what little you have! To prepare, focus on social skills – living in a group could be to your advantage in this scenario – working a not too crap piece of land together and protecting it from those who might take it from you. Only go for a leadership position in that group if you really think you can handle it – decisions may include, knowing when to move on due to lack of resources or threat from others, how to deal with people getting sick (if it looks like something contagious you might have to kill them for the greater good), and you’ll need patience – people constantly moan about life at the best of times! Again, knowing how to build a well and some botany classes might come in handy!
Further Odds of Survival: 2/5 (stick together and know when to move on and just hope you don’t get sick!)
To Recap: Though the dead rising might not be likely, chances of people infected with a some kind of virus or deadly disease might be! Odds of Survival: 1/5 (going here with the PIS rather than zombies – if you manage to escape infection you have to spend your life fighting off those who didn’t and may or may not want your brains!)
Having watched many of the plethora of PIS/Z movies, shows and books out there, you might consider yourself something of an expert on surviving the PIS/Z apocalypse, but think again! Knowing that the way to kill them is removing the head or destroying the brain doesn’t make it any easier to do. Your best chance is with a projectile weapon that allows the kill shot from a safe distance – guns and bows are best, but the problem with these is that ammunition is not in endless supply (if available at all). Most of us are going to have to make do with hand to hand combat weapons such as axes, pics, or possibly some bladed weapons.
The best preparation for this scenario is to get weaponised but be sensible – an interest in light weight but lethal swords like a nice katana, would be good for this. If you do have access to a gun or bow, great, but try not to depend on it and use it sparingly unless you have ready access to munitions. Practice your stealth and tracking skills – you may avoid the massive herds of them, but the fact is it only takes one of them to kill or possibly infect you, so vigilance is key. Live in a small group if you can – enough to rotate watch duties but not so many as draws undue attention from the infected or the remaining non-infected that might want that pretty sword you’ve got. Consider your options in regards to staying put – if you can make your area safe and especially if you can enclose with that a piece of land with good natural resources, that’s awesome, but otherwise time to start roaming, for which a whole bunch of hunting, stalking and tracking skills could come in handy.
Lastly, try to be as mentally strong as possible. Of all the scenarios this is the one most likely to effect your psyche – the dead walking around and having to kill them to survive, some of whom you may have known and loved; the constant threat by an irrational menace; the inability to settle and take long term advantage of good resources. It is a life you can’t really prepare for and no one will blame you if its all just too much to handle and you decide it’s time to bite that bullet, literally.
Further Odds of Survival: 1/5 (There’s a lot against you here – surviving the immediate apocalypse, surviving the infected, finding and keeping safe food and shelter, and resisting the urge to blow your own brains out)
Last Words of Advice
Pick one or two scenarios and concentrate on them, go with what you feel is most likely, because not all this advice applies across the board. For example how to survive judgement day is opposite how to survive pretty much everything else so you need to decide what is right for you, prepare and hope for the best. I’ve not even covered here the impact of government and infrastructure collapse that will inevitably come about in most scenarios – anarchy sounds cool, but seriously, it isn’t.
Also consider that scenarios can run into each other, which will potentially deplete the odds further – for example: Natural Catastrophe causes a War, which brings on the spread of a deadly Disease, at which point the main light on the horizon is that hopefully this will put Aliens off invading!! Best of luck to you!