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.