So Survivor and I were talking about this blog (which is DOUBLE PINKY SWEAR TONGUE-IN-CHEEK) and got a little stuck on what we meant by apocalypse.
Survivor asked me “So, like, we gonna talk about preparing food in a fallout shelter?”
Which got me to go on and on about how fallout shelters were for nuclear wars and if that happened, I’d be at ground zero with a catcher’s mitt as it’s not something I’d want to survive. No offense, but flash burns, radiation sickness or cancer (with no real medical care) is not appealing.
First, I have to say I was wrong. I thought ‘apocalypse’ meant turning point but Survivor Googled it and as it turns out, it means an uncovering or revealing. Which, IN MY DEFENSE, in a movie or play it’s kind of a turning point. But I digress.
I started going on and on about how history saw different apocalypses and to her great credit Survivor didn’t murder me. The Great Bronze Age Collapse saw the destruction of the civilizations of the Agean Region, Eastern Mediterranean, and Southwestern Asia. When I talk about these civilizations collapsing, I’m not being hyperbolic. Mycenaean Greece (1600-1100 BCE) lost their knowledge–including their writing system. No one knows for sure what made it happen, but it’s likely a combination of factors. (1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Professor Eric H. Cline is a good read, by the way.) Who knows? I agree it was probably a whole host of things such as a change in climate, maybe, and/or a volcano eruption, possibly wars, corruption, food insecurity or sickness, and maybe throw in some hell raining down from the Sea Peoples (the seafearing raiders of the ancient world).
Or when Rome fell. Think of it. You’re a Briton, living in what is now known as England, a loyal subject of Rome. And one day you hear that Rome, that big and awesome imperial power, has told you to see to your own defenses. When the Romans left, they took a lot of knowledge with them. They took a lot of infrastructure. When Rome fell, Europe fell into the Dark Ages. And seriously, the wealthier of the Britons enjoyed things like homes with central heating, windows with glass, plumbing, and public baths. The Romans built and maintained a road system between towns, and there were large towns developing in an otherwise rural and agrarian society. (Another good book to read: Britain After Rome by Robin Fleming.)
So when they left, even if there were Britons who knew how to build or maintain these things, they didn’t have the resources or infrastructure to do so. (You might be a plumber now in 2018 but if everything went to hell and you needed to build a pipe, you’d need to know who to oh, mine and smelt the correct type of metal, for example. Or you may be the best doctor in the world but if you can’t make a syringe and effectively make vaccines, we’re going to have problems with things like measles again.)
So this is my very long-winded way of saying: I think if it happens (I hope it doesn’t, by the way), it would be a confluence of factors. Not like the thing in Revelations or something. If it’s a sudden cataclysm we’re not going to have much of a chance.
We’re assuming that if we have to live in a post apocalyptic society, we’ll be aboveground. We’ll be able to say, breathe the air and drink the water (as long as it’s boiled). We’ll be able to grow some things. We will not be in a bunker and we will not be on the move like the people in every Mad Max movie (I assume they were on the move to find more hair product and studded leather, I mean who knew that these things would be in such plentiful supply in a world without gas and without water?).
This is going to be a challenge for me because I am fond of things like preserved lemons (easy to make by the way), and Darjeeling tea, and chocolate and avocado and mangoes. But alas, we live up north and unless climate change goes really off the hook, there will be no avocados or mangoes here. No cacao beans or tea plants.
If you have ideas, throw them in the comments. If you want to insist that you’ll know what the apocalypse is like, the only thing I’ll tell you is that I’d rather we never find out. But it will be damn tasty all the same.