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Thursday, May 12, 2016

When technology fails



A lot of people are prepared for disasters. Some even have plans for long term disruptions in infrastructure. Man made and natural disasters can suddenly strip hundreds of years of technological progress out of our lives.

Some of us, recognizing our reliance on modern marvels have backups like rain catchment and solar electricity. That's great. I'm a big proponent of having backup systems in place. However, there are disasters that could take those down. For example, a storm that took the grid down almost dropped a huge hemlock tree on my solar panels. It was a near miss.

An earthquake that destroys a city's water system could also destroy a home owner's water catchment system. An EMP that fries the phone system could also destroy ham radio equipment.

It's only prudent to be able to function at a much more primitive level. Our needs for shelter, food, water and safety do not end just because the modern means of providing those things does. With that in mind it's good to have a plan to survive at a low tech level, at least for days if not months.

I'm fortunate in that I've a well that overflows year round. All I need is some sort of container to haul water back to my house. My home has woodstoves and the hand tools needed to process wood, crosscut saws, axes, mauls, wedges, and sledge hammers. Decent hunting and fishing is within walking distance from my house. We've a small garden plus there's a lot of native edible plants nearby.

There are ways to provide for our basic needs. Looks good on paper. The problem is that all those things take a lot more time and work doing it the old fashioned way. While it's possible to do any of those things, there just aren't enough hours in the day to do them all. Then there's the problem of having to be in two places at the same time. If I'm out hunting I'm not home defending the homestead.

Our ancestors lived in extended family groups for a reason. It was the only way to get everything done. Plenty of jobs go better with two or more people. Take something as simple as chopping wood. One guy handles the actual chopping with an ax. A second person moves the chopped wood aside and readies the next log to be chopped. Add a third or fourth person and then the wood can be piled up. When someone gets tired or bored with their job, they can switch tasks.

If we are lucky we won't be reduced to that level, but it's good to have a plan -and a group willing to work together.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. The ones that aren't prepared will die off waiting for their government to save them.

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    1. Even the government admits they take a while to get their act together. They don't quite put it that way, but that's how it is.

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  2. I could survive for a while but would have to rely on neighbors for some help.

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    Replies
    1. And they would rely on you too. That's how it works.

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  3. I have a good supply of wood on my property. If things go down, I hope it is in the winter time. My AC unit will not run on wood.

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    1. Wood fired AC units are hard to come by. :) The south wasn't that popular a place to live until AC was invented.

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  4. I've never regretted having low tech back-ups.

    Candles and kerosene lanterns make pretty decorations.

    I prefer wood heat over central air.

    Rain water is naturally soft and nice for bathing.

    Growing a garden is like having a grocery store in my front yard.

    The lower the tech, the less that can go wrong.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Exactly. That doesn't mean we suffer either.

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  5. I always plan for different levels of degradation to the "normal" life style. In general, for me at least, the longer some sort of disruption lasts, the more of my equipment will start going off line. That will lead to a more primitive level of living. It would be a downward spiral, since obtaining manufactured items over a long period would probably not be possible here.

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    Replies
    1. Most people have no idea how interconnected our technological society is. A major disruption in supply lines could eventually shut everything down.

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  6. read about earthquakes in unexpected places.
    can interrupt well flow and water tables.
    always something.
    i think how major problem may leave all those nuclear plants unmanned. no turning back from that scenario.

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    Replies
    1. Failing nuclear power plants could be a civilization ending event. There are over 400 of them and they would poison the world for thousands of years.

      We have earthquakes here in NH, some strong enough to do damage. One cracked my chimney about 20 years ago.

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