I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted to write this week (I know, I’m shocked too, it’s not like I do that nearly every week). However this idea first struck me whilst I was writing a short story prompt that I’d set in some kind of post apocalyptic future, and then struck me again whilst I was watching The Handmaid’s Tale.
It’s something that I think about on a fairly regular basis actually, often when I get the urge to escape my reality if only for a while, and probably fuelled in part by the sheer volume of post apocalyptic or dystopian future type media I consume. It’s a running theme in the books I read, in the TV shows and movies that I watch. And it’s something that has captured my imagination in a big way.
I often wonder if I’d be able to survive in a post apocalyptic situation, if the world suddenly collapsed. Which sometimes with the fact that America is looking more and more like The Handmaid’s Tale and the fact that the planet is heating at an alarming rate, looks increasingly less like the plot of a science fiction novel and more like something that could actually happen. A lot of it would assume that it would depend on the type of situation that caused whatever dystopian/post apocalyptic scenario in the first place. Civil war, nuclear war, climate change.
In terms of if I could physically survive? If I had the house I live in now and all the resources that come with it, I could probably find a way to survive for at least a little while. I have garden space to grow some food to help me live, though I’d have to supplement it some way, and that’s assuming none of my neighbours decided to help themselves. I could probably find a way to make the rainwater useable, and I have enough firewood and coal to heat the house for probably a couple of week, if not months at least.
If I didn’t have access to the house and land and agriculture? Well, that’s a slightly different story. I know how to make fire, how to build a basic shelter, and how to obtain drinking water, how to build a basic trap and skin a rabbit, and how to identify some edible wild plants. All skills that would help me survive in a pinch. But whether I could last long term with just those skills, I’m not too sure. And that’s working on the assumption that I’m the only person in my area that wants to use the limited resources available.
And that’s one of the biggest issues. Other people. Because any kind of post apocalyptic situation assumes one key fact, that any kind of vaguely democratic governance system no longer exists. That it becomes every person for them-self, at least at first. And honestly I’m not sure if I’m smart enough or sneaky enough to survive that kind of thing. I’d want to find my friends, and they live all over the place, though heading north would probably be my first step. That’s where most of them live. But if I went looking for them would they also be looking for me? Would travel be safe? How would I even travel?
Realistically I may survive a few days, or even a few weeks. But years? A lifetime? That’d be a miracle.