Excerpted from Beyond Collapse: Surviving and Rebuilding Civilization From Scratch:
The idea of this book is simple: Get you up to speed on some basic bits to stay alive and rebuild a working society. We want to get you started in gathering needed provisions (and references) to survive a collapse and its immediate aftermath, but then give you a series of resources that you can refer to, in order to help you along after the dust settles. After all, you probably won’t need or be able to use it all immediately. Things in here may be a bit intellectual or crazy at times, and I apologize in advance if it sounds that way. On the other hand, I want to drive the point home, and I want to be as precise and as factual as I can. Most of all, I want this book to do more than just help the individual survive. It takes a community to rebuild civilization, and that community is going to need help and at least some practical guidance.
Unlike most survival/preparation resources, we’re going to assume that civilization will break down completely, and will likely take at least a century or more to return to the level it is now. In such a situation, that electrical generator which too many experts recommend will end up being a glorified lawn ornament (unless of course you feel like making/storing an ocean of fuel and storing a mountain of spare parts…) The idea of having a small backyard garden is a good start, but it’s not going to feed you and your family all by itself. Expensive water filters are a good convenience while things are all chaotic, but eventually the filter elements are going to wear out, and you’re stuck with having to make your own clean water from then on. Solar panels can work for up to and beyond three decades, but the inverter, batteries, and electronics you plug into it probably won’t. Anything that relies on batteries (even rechargeable ones) are guaranteed to be worthless once the battery chemicals wear out, and there are no more to be had. Guns? A good idea for the more chaotic times, but eventually the bullets will run out, leaving you (and everyone else) with, at best, a bunch of clumsy clubs made from steel and wood. Any advice that relies on buying and storing something should only be counted as either temporary, or the (sometimes literal) seeds of renewable items, be it tools, weapons, or wheat. Some items will be vital in spite of their being temporary, but some will help you make a permanent means of living long-term after it all settles down.
We’re going to break it down into some sections, (loosely) based on…
- Why you should be reading this book (and more importantly, doing something about it)
- things to do beforehand
- things to do and expect when the balloon goes up
- things to do and expect immediately afterward (for up to six months after civilization crashes)
- things to do short-term (for the first two years)
- things to do long-term (everything beyond that second year)
- the distant future (where we get all misty-eyed – or, well, how to really build a new civilization)
- Recipes for critical items (for all the vital bits that you will want to use)
- Appendices (Resources: shopping lists, post-collapse scrounging lists, websites to visit and print off, etc)
The good news is, you don’t have to read the whole book right now (and given its size, who would really want to?) You can safely read and absorb the first three or four ‘Books’, and save the rest for later, when you really need it. Definitely read and put into practice the first one, Things To Do Beforehand. The second two, While The Balloon Goes Up and Immediately Afterward, you will want to be familiar enough with so that when things do go ‘splat’ on a global scale, you’ll at least have some idea of what to do. Also make up the scrounging lists. The others are a bit of far-in-advance ideas and suggestions, which are perfectly suitable for reading by the fireplace, and hammering out with the leadership of whatever new community you build afterwards.
We’re not going to go into ridiculous detail on everything, but I do want to give you at least enough information to have a reasonable chance of survival, and even doing that will be quite a bit in and of itself. I want to give you things to think about, and things to consider, so that you can prepare in advance, and have what you need. More importantly, you won’t have to become an expert in all of these fields, but will be started in the right direction, and when needed will be pointed to resources which will help you stock up your library. The library is going to be rather important because later, when the turmoil has somewhat subsided, you can focus on learning in-depth those things you need to know by then.