I was watching Doomsday Preppers a while back and found it interesting how many different apocalyptic themes people prepare for. I think I’ve always been motivated by a breakdown of the current system and the resulting complete anarchy; self-preservation, self-support, and self-sufficiency. Surprisingly some government organizations actually encourage trends like preparing for the zombie apocalypse; because in the end all preparations are good preparations, regardless of how likely a scenario is. If you haven’t gotten into prepping, or just need a good customized theme to drive you then here are some interesting ideas. You will find that many of these bleed over into one another or trigger other events; so do not regard these as hard divisions between terrifying situations, nor should preparation reasoning be limited to these scenarios.
Most preppers don’t prep for the end of the world or great military conflicts. Most simply enjoy the simpler life and knowing that they can take care of themselves; whether that be financial hardship, drought, or a localized temporary emergency like flooding and power outages. These are all short term emergencies and typically localized. In my youth we had little money, but we had a massive garden and did a lot of drying, canning and freezing. When months were financially rough we had food storage to live off of. And the large garden and farm animals supplemented our thin grocery budget.
This takes on a wide range and is usually adjusted to fit local geology, region, and environmental conditions. Examples of natural disasters might be: volcanoes, if you live near Yellowstone or the Ring of Fire; or tidal waves like those that hit Indonesia and Japan if you live near the coast regardless of your proximity to fault lines and undersea earth quakes. Global flooding might also be a threat along the coast if you support the science of global warming. The flip side of global warming might be a fear of moving into another ice age similar to, or greater than, the mini ice age that happens historically about ever one to two hundred years; most notably the one following the medieval warm period. My wife is from Southern California and has told me interesting stories about earth quakes, despite their still waiting for “the big one.” Natural disaster might also include things unpredicted such as items from space like meteors, rogue planetoids, solar flares, and comets. Some points of study might be any of the great extinction periods in Mesozoic Era, the solar flare referred to as the Carrington Event in 1859, and the comet or asteroid that broke apart over Siberia in 1908 and referred to as the Tunguska Event.
Whether it be natural or human created, the results are often the same; mass suffering and death. Global pandemics and runaway diseases are nothing new. Some fears lately have included mad cow disease, Ebola, and swine and avian flu, to name a few. Here are some stats that you might find interesting. The first spread of the Black Death in the 14th century reduced the population of the world from an estimated 450 million to 350 million; that’s 30-60 percent of the European population alone. In the more recent 1918 Spanish Influenza inflicted 500 million and killed 50 to 100 million; or up to 5 percent of the world’s population. Are we prepared for the next super bug and how much trust do you put in the CDC?
This typically occurs in response to an EMP, NEMP (nuclear caused), Solar Flares, or a general failure of the power grid. It can be caused by destructive human intentions or events beyond our planetary control. The result is the same; the lights go out, vehicles go down, and generally everything electronic and not protected by some sort of faraday cage is fried. Even a 24 hour solar flare could result in years of work to bring us back to where we technologically are now. A prolonged event like this plunges humanity into a state somewhere between the Wild West and the Stone Age; and surprisingly enough, the underdeveloped countries will probably fair the best. Again, take a look at the Carrington Event of 1859 and what the modern applications are.
This can tie in very heavily with natural disasters such as climate change. We know that as long as the world has existed it has been subject to extreme climate change so this is nothing new. This can also be brought on by slow steady economic, political, or societal decline. Fuel sources being used up, surplus of garbage and a damaged environment, or water and food slowly being depleted globally can also be linked to a slow decline scenario. What happens to our oxygen levels is the major rain forests are cut down, or the oceans become contaminated killing off scores of complex organisms? In some countries we currently observe the lower birth rates and a slow population depletion, or as we also see in some other countries over population, or the progressive take over by extreme religious belief. Unlike other events we watch these things unfold before us, and generally have the inability to stop events set in motion. The world, like the frog in the pot, slowly boils. Oddly enough, the infection of political correctness could also be lumped into this category as we, and the instigators of PC, watch our freedoms being removed in fear of offending others as described in Fahrenheit 457.
This can be a slow decline and loss of personal liberties and power or it can be rapidly achieved through revolution driven by ambitious people. In the slow method people typically give up their rights for security and safety in the face of the political climate around them, and the events can often be driven or even staged by those seeking greater power. A rapid loss of power usually requires an economic, military, or political catalyst. Some examples are Nazi Germany following the WWI driven economic crisis, or the Russian revolution following catastrophe along the front against Germany. This is the scenario many American readers of novels like Patriot or Going Home fear; a staged event for a political and military power grab.
While quite impractical, this is by far one of my favorite themes. The return of the living dead is an old theme that has roots in all cultures and peoples and possibly into prehistory as observed by skeletal grave digs revealing people buried bound, face down, or with rocks wedged in their mouths. In our modern culture they got new life through movies by George Romero and later authors such as Max Brooks. As the stories have evolved they’ve gone from the classic slow shuffling zombies, to the disease infected living humans in 28 Days Later and Zombie Land, to fast zombies that act like ants as in World War Z, and then full circle back to the Romero style in shows like The Walking Dead. Whatever your taste in zombies this is a good excuse to collect food storage, riot control gear, and weapons. And if you don’t have The Zombie Survival Guide, you must add it to your library.
Most of us became familiar with this topic the first time we watched Terminator; however the theme goes back much farther in sci fi, most notably to the author Isaac Asimov. As technology continues to surpass our wildest imagination some people grow more fearful of a self-aware computer program or robot. Will Google become the Skynet of the future? And what happens if the artificial intelligence determines the best future for the earth and its own progenies is the complete destruction or enslavement of humanity? Looking at smart technology, maybe humanity is already being enslaved by the technological drive.
This was a massive and real fear for those that lived under the threat of the Cold War and watched events play out like the Cuban Missile Crisis. In our modern world we fear rogue countries with nuclear capabilities; especially with ICBM capabilities and overzealous motivations. Results can vary from an airburst causing an NEMP and spreading radioactive particles over vast areas of land, to a ground detonation leveling whole cities, to dirty bombs brought in by terrorists for maximum lethality. And if one country goes after another what prevents a return of fire. To this end we develop missile defense systems and hope our technology and the world leaders don’t fail the common man. A quick internet search can give you valuable maps of likely nuclear targets in the US and the effects of air currents and streams on the spread of radioactive fallout. If you love backyard bunkers with air filtration systems and want a Geiger counter, this might be your kind of apocalypse to prepare for.
This apocalypse follows closely the writings of Revelations in the New Testament, and the plethora of end day scriptures scattered throughout the Old Testament. The theme is complicated and left highly to personal interpretations and those opinions of influential religious leaders. This is an enjoyable and rewarding approach as you study the end day signs and symbolisms and apply them to real world events. I have personally found Endtime Ministries quite eye opening on the theme and I generally agree with their interpretation of scripture.
Monsters and Aliens
I think this has been a real fear ever since the 1938 The War of the Worlds radio drama, based off of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898). As unidentified anomalies continue, the world is ever fearful of an invasion by an alien race from space, or possibly from the depths of our own planet. Whether aliens invade or huge monsters rise up we find out selves out matched by our merciless foe. Huge monsters aside, if an alien species has the technology to navigate the stars, then their weaponry likely out classes ours significantly. And why might they be visiting us at this time in in humanities history? Are the greys we read about in obscure media an advanced party for planetary invasion? We might find ourselves destroyed for the recourses under our feet, or maybe we are the recourse for these foreign beings like cattle and swine, just waiting on the maximum growth of population for harvest. There are limitless possibilities to these theories and many have been proposed in books, articles, and hypothesized theories. Like zombies, neither large creatures nor extraterrestrial beings are that likely. If there are massive monsters on this planet we probably would have discovered evidence of them by now. But it is also unlikely, in a limitless universe, that we are the only cognoscente beings in existence, let alone the most evolved and advanced.
These are some of my thoughts, what are some of yours? Is there an event that you are preparing for or a nagging fear in the back of your mind? Just like any other hobby, prepping is most enjoyable when it is not done arbitrarily. If you were to ask me what I prep for, it would likely be a combination of anarchy from a collapsed nation, or a totalitarian take over; but I’ve still got my fingers crossed for zombies.