I find it intriguing that I am writing this series of posts as if I knew what I am talking about with some sort of authority. Looking back I see that I generally do that with all of my writings. I of course am not an expert on the subject but, generally speaking, anything that self-proclaimed experts have to say should be taken with a grain of salt. I can legitimately claim that I am able to bring a lifetime of experience to my writings on most subjects and I have spent a considerable amount of time and research through reading, actively pursuing and thinking about the issues raised here. This must give my writings a certain amount of validity. They certainly make sense to me but you must be the final judge and arbiter of what you take from them.
I suppose I should issue some sort of disclaimer and warning that I am not responsible for any possible outcome arising from any person following advice given in these pages and that all persons who do so, act entirely at their own risk.
Expanding the Envelope
Just a brief word on collapse. If you have been giving serious thought to the future of our society/civilisation whether from what you have read here or elsewhere, you may be asking yourself the question as to why I have only really attributed the primary reasons for collapse so far to mainly the frailty of financial systems. There is a reason for this and it is mainly to do with keeping it simple as the excesses and activities of the banking and finance industries is something that I think most people can recognise as being a problem. There are of course many other potential sources of collapse. Notice that I have not so far mentioned much about catastrophic climate change, food shortage, unavailability of drinking water, shortages of other resources, loss or restriction of basic freedoms and human rights by world government or mega corporations, global pandemics or nuclear war. Note also that this list of potential triggers is by no means exhaustive.
I do not wish to further expand on these things in these pages other than to raise them as and when they affect my own preparations and decisions, so as not to complicate the message too much.
Making it Personal Again
Perhaps the best way that I can make this real is to return to my original theme of working out pathways to solve my own problems with regard to future events and the steps I have taken or am thinking of taking.
I have already made what I consider to be the best first step in gaining some confidence that I have the greatest possible opportunity to enjoy a continued existence should bad things happen in the world. I have relocated my home to the country, almost an hour drive from the metropolis and at least 30 kilometres from any small town.
That most people would not see my actions as a priority for themselves due to being tied to a property through ownership, I can readily see. I would also say that in these cases it is even more imperative for property owners to be aware of trends that would indicate a collapsing society and to be well prepared to exit stage left at a moment's notice when personal judgement indicates the time is right. Delay may well be fatal, life is far more valuable than property and pebbles on a beach get bowled over and generally knocked about by tidal waves.
There is no doubt in my mind that desperate people will be capable of trekking further out from urbania than I currently dwell in search of food but hopefully not in the hoards that will be pouring out from outer metropolitan suburbs towards surrounding areas in order to escape the carnage of inner cities in the worst of cases. Even if the military and police forces are able to retain some form of cohesion within their organisations for a time, and that is unlikely because many of these people also have families of their own, they will be so vastly outnumbered by the hoards of starving populace that any hope of maintaining civil order will quickly be dashed.
I am not saying that such chaos is likely to occur overnight, but it could. At that point it is too late to start preparing. Many home owners or apartment dwellers will initially be reluctant to abandon their homes, preferring to stay to protect their investment or to wait for a government response and a restoring of order which may never come. There may well be cases of disorder from time to time where some sort of normality will be restored by authorities and this may set a dangerous precedent in people's mind that law and order will always prevail.
However, I believe there will come a time of total systemic failure where there will be no possibility of retaining public order or recovering it for periods of months or years afterwards, if ever, and this dramatic situation may arise very suddenly, perhaps even over a single night. The wait and see approach will in such cases most likely prove fatal for many as their homes and gardens are overrun by floods of evacuees desperately searching for food or evading terror and destruction. Even so, there will likely be a delay of a few days, certainly not weeks, where the signs become obvious that remaining in your property, as if your home is your castle, will not be a healthy choice.
Folk who make the right decision to abandon their homes in time will simply add to the migratory spread of pilgrims emanating from the city boundaries to survive. Few of these people will have made any realistic effort to prepare for such eventualities.
Where the cause of a mass migration from a city is due to total destruction (eg. permanent inundation by flooding, nuclear detonation or other WMD), the area will already have been cleared of human activity by the event. In other cases, I can see gang warfare, rape, torture, cannibalism and a very short life expectation among those who elect to remain. This is where those baser animal instincts will come to the fore. Those who come out on top of this orgy of terror, after all other resources have been consumed, will then go looking elsewhere for their pleasures and needs to be met.
When Did I start Thinking Like This?
Way back in 1972 when I was introduced to the newly published book 'Limits To Growth', a report of the Club of Rome, as part of a Technology Foundation Course I was taking towards an Open University batchelors degree which I never completed (the degree, not the course or the book), I was made aware that shortly after the turn of the century ie. round about now, as I write this, unless the world's people did something about curtailing usage of Earth resources, economic growth and population growth, civilisation would come up against finite limits to what they were doing and their way of life would enter a serious decline in all three of these parameters. In other words, the world (at least, the world of human society) would enter a period of irreversible collapse.
Over time, with the pressing foci of bringing up families, career changes, divorce, emigration and all of the other vagaries of life, I let the memories of what I had learned lapse to the back of my mind. Around 25 years later, towards the end of the century, these things came back into focus as a result of further reading and study. I realised that during that intervening period, absolutely nothing had been done anywhere around the world to address the issues raised by the authors of this report. That realisation re-ignited my interest in the subject and set me off on a new learning spree that continues to this day.
I have to admit that Limits to Growth was such dreadfully boring stuff that only a research scientist could have taken pleasure in and fully understood and to this day I have not completed reading the 30 year sequel published in 2004, and probably never will.
It is the not the content but the conclusions that are essential to understand.
Even now, more than forty years on from the initial findings, these premises (they were not meant to be predictions) have not proven false or inaccurate in any way. Our way of life is at the crossroads, or cliff edge if you like, because we have stupidly and blindly followed disastrous economic, population and resource usage pathways as if we were living on an infinitely large planet where we could do whatever we liked without any sort of consequences.
I am aware that much of this sounds very dramatic, perhaps even forced. I wish that I could make it sound even more dramatic, and necessary, and urgent, because I see people who have no idea that this sort of event is about to rock their world and are totally unprepared or in any way concerned about the prospect. But if 'Limits to Growth' and the myriad of other warning voices that have been raised over this period have not done the trick, then what hope do I have of altering the outcome. My only wish is that someone somewhere will read this, in time, and experience a light bulb moment.
Read, Research, Plan
Even before I retired in 2010, I had become acutely aware of the imminent possibility of collapse (the 2008/9 GFC had something to do with that) and started to make preparations for survival while living alone and renting a small unit in an outer suburb. I realised that if I had to move anywhere under circumstances that I was anticipating to arise as I have attempted to describe, it was obvious that until I could find some safe long-term shelter and provide for an adequate regular food supply and other basic necessities of life, I was likely going to have to live rough for at least some time and perhaps for lengthy periods. I spent a lot of time considering this, researching around it and planning for it.
The prospect was quite worrying. I had spent most of my waking hours over the last 30 some years in air-conditioned offices, cars or home buildings. I was not, by any definition, an outdoors person. However, I knew that I was capable of hard work as while living in my last owned home in the early '90s I had constructed gardens and retaining walls built from Nullarbor sourced genuine old Jarrah railway sleepers, manhandled by myself alone over a virgin suburban block with a 7.5m fall from back to front of the land. I had become quite fit while doing that but over intervening years my life became more sedentary although I knew I could rebuild myself again if necessary.
I did return to a level of fitness while living alone. From the first day I made the decision to be vegetarian and have not included meat of any kind in my diet for over ten years now. I studied Reiki (Level III practitioner), medical Qi Gong and also Touch for Health Kinesiology. All of which I practised for personal health.
In all of that time I had not needed to consult medical aid of any sort. Even after turning 60 I had full expectation of living in a healthy body for another forty years at least. It was a great disappointment to me therefore when I fell ill for a while as I described in an earlier post, but I haven't let that stop me from pursuing a healthy lifestyle or preparing for whatever type of collapse scenario might lay ahead.
I am now (next post) going provide details, as specifically as I can, or feel that it is safe for me to divulge, about what I have learned, the type of preparations I have made and the benefits and reasons for doing so.
My intention is then to record my thinking on the paths forward that I might reasonably take in my own best interests for a safe future.
So, I expect to still be making quite a few posts in this series. They may not come quite as thick and fast as up to this point.