I am about halfway through my second read of Max Brooks’s World War Z. In the book a big deal is made about how there are so very few people in the U.S. that can support themselves. Once the zombie apocalypse occurs, the emergency government has a hard time establishing a safe zone because no one knows how to farm, fix things, or do anything other than be “consultants”. When I read this I kind of had to stop for a moment and really consider what would happen if a real society breakdown occurred. How many of us would be able to take care of ourselves. No many.
Do you think just because you hunt in deer season that you are somehow prepared to be self-sustaining? How hard is it to bag a single deer during the season? Now imagine having to do that every few days all year long. I know plenty of hunters that will finish the season today without bringing home a single kill. Kind of hard to feed a family of four with those results right?
How about farming? OH! You have a vegetable garden in your back yard? How nice. Do you have the skills to grow enough food for your family to feed on for a year? What happens when you can’t go down and buy seeds? Do you know how to store next years starter seeds and crops? Do you know how to can vegetables for long term storage? Remember, there will be no freezers. Do you have any idea how much land you have to clear to grow enough food for a year? How about the things you have to do to keep animals and pests out of your crops. There won’t be any more seven dust available. Kind of scary right?
Let’s say, just for a second, you do have the skills to provide for yourself. Can you defend your home, land, and food from the thousands, perhaps millions that will be roaming the land looking to take, by force, whatever they can find? Of course you don’t! Whatever you have will be taken from you at some point or another. It doesn’t matter how many guns and bullets you have, you will not be able to withstand the constant onslaught of the hungry and desperate.
After the first year and first winter, the pockets of survivors may be spread out enough to start building back to an agrarian society but it will be a struggle. We have lost much of the knowledge needed to be self-sustaining and that is troublesome. The Zombie Apocalypse is fun to talk about but the ideas that have come out of the fiction actually have some value. A societal breakdown could occur for many reasons (attack on the power grid seems like a good one) and we would have no clue what to do.
Are you prepared?