Thursday, January 14, 2010

Be Prepared for Anything

An Ice Age is an example of a long term survival setting. If you are prepared to survive an ice age, you are prepared for almost anything. But the chances are that you are like the residents of New Orleans during Katrina -- not even prepared for a few days without electrical power, ATMs, and supermarkets. Where do you go to learn to prepare, beyond the silly mainstream media offerings of "survival-lite"?

Preparedness Pro is a website that offers good articles on survival and preparedness, as well as on-site, hands-on preparedness classes. For example: Are you interested in a backup generator for your home or cabin? Backup Power Generators: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 take you through the selection process and tell you where you can obtain them for the best price.

Survival Blog is a well-known and respected personal effort by James Wesley Rawles. Survival Blog offers a wide range of survival advice -- much of it provided in letters and emails relating first-person experiences with different devices and approaches to surviving difficulties.

The Survivalist Blog is another well-known preparedness blog. Here is his "Best of 2009 Survivalist Articles".

The Prepper E-Book site offers practical articles from The Survival Mom on a wide range of "be ready" topics. Example: this posting provides links to 9 articles on the topic of "bugging out / evacuating" in a hurry. By preparing ahead of time, you can have what you need, where and when you need it. There is also a prepper forum where people can compare experiences and recommendations with others with similar concerns.

Tactical Intelligence is a site that deals largely with "gear" -- survival implements that are either ready-made or improvised.

The sites above usually have links to other prepper and survival websites and services. There are at least hundreds of them, but it is generally best to start with those that are well known that serve a wide audience. You can find fairly decent free online survival videos at YouTube and other "how-to" video sharing sites listed on the Al Fin sidebar in the "Reference" section.

So, how would you prepare for an ice age, anyway? Ice sheets have been known to grow miles thick. How does one live, stay warm, grow food, maintain transportation networks, and provide schools, health care, power, sanitation, and other essential services when the land is covered with ice 1 mile thick?

First, you need a large source of combined heat and power -- a nuclear plant is ideal, a coal or bitumen / kerogen plant might also work. You would need plenty of fuel to last hundreds of years. (You should begin to see the advantage of a nuclear plant, thinking of fuel volume for that length of time. Remember that next level humans will live hundreds of years or longer, on average.)

Second, you need a method of distributing heat over a large area, preventing that area from accumulating snow and ice on a year-to-year basis (winters may last 9 or 10 months). Al Fin ice age architects recommend redundant systems of conductive, convective, and radiative transfer of heat. A village-sized geodesic dome incorporating a network of heat-pipes should provide safe shelter for the community itself. Similar structures for croplands should extend the ice-free area well beyond the residential zones. (Crops and living zones will require artificial lighting most of the year -- confirming the wisdom of locating a nuclear power plant close by. Imagine trying to survive an ice age with solar and wind power!)

Third, you need to provide a wide range of human expertise for your community -- and sound means of transferring that expertise to new members. The community will need to provide its own power, water, farming, health care, education, defence, sanitation, entertainment, maintenance, construction, search and rescue, clothing, and a wide range of other services generally overlooked.

Fourth, although the coming ice age is unlikely to progress to "Snowball Earth" -- when the ice reached the equator from both North and South -- it won't hurt to plan for extremes. To achieve a Minimum Viable Population, plan for a village of about a thousand breeding pairs -- or a group of villages whose combined populations provide a thousand breeding pairs. (Most geneticists may recommend a founder population of at least 10,000 breeding pairs, but Al Fin geneticists have discovered that 1,000 breeding pairs should be sufficient for most situations where "time-to-discovery" of other compatible human populations is no longer than 10,000 years.)

Fifth, follow a plan of expanding the "ice-free zone" around your village(s) and agricultural / industrial / power generation zones. Always incorporate your ice-melting infrastructure into any new construction. Nature will never stop trying to defeat your efforts, so you must never stop using your brain and body to assert your own intentions.

Prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally to be a survivor. Then begin prepping for yourself, your family, your closest associates. Learn, teach, experiment. Always think in terms of "what could go wrong, and what could I do about it?" That should teach a bit of humility, and hopefully provide motivation for what you will have to learn to know and to do.

More: The Lifeboat Foundation has several projects dealing with existential risks which might be helpful in the event of a glaciation, including space habitats and "lifeshield bunkers." Josh Hall has devised a "weather machine" concept that would have the power to throw the Earth into an ice age, to bake the planet beyond livability, or anything in between.

Previously posted at Al Fin

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