What will it take to survive a global disaster?

In our facilitated discussion group on Thursday, February 18th, we discussed the potential outcomes of a catastrophic, mass extinction event with few survivors. Some of the questions that came up were: Who would survive such an event? Would society rebuild? If so, how would the new society be different from current times? I have some pretty strong feelings about these topics, and the necessity of basic survival skills. That being said, my goal with this blog isn’t to bring about feelings of doom and gloom. More so, I would like to contribute my own opinions about what it will take for people to survive a global disaster.

There are many different events that could bring about a collapse in society. If one such event was to occur, and the majority of the global population was eliminated, the only people who would stand a chance would be those who have invested time and interest into survival skills. The survival skills I speak of include, but are not limited to, the basics: fire and shelter building, hunting, gathering, fishing, medical skills, communication, mental and physical capacity, etc. The other skills that are critical to survival include understanding of resilience, (vulnerable flexibility, bounceback, adaptive transformation, renewal, persistence, and self-organization)(Week 6-“Everglades”powerpoint), as well as a thorough understanding of how a functioning socio-ecological system operates. This means that the current societal model of “optimizing for maximum efficiency,” (Walker & Salt) will no longer be the way of the world. Instead, the new society will have to be able to adapt to changes and shocks to the system. They will need to possess basic survival skills to get through the initial post-disaster period, but in the interest of long-term renewal and flourishment of civilization, people will have to completely change their ways.

So what will it take to prepare people for such an event? By the time such an event occurs, will society have adapted a resiliency-based way of thinking? As we have been discussing the numerous issues humanity is facing around the world and how we are impacting the environment, I’ve been thinking a lot about future generations. I look at my nieces and nephews, and worry about the kind of world they are going to grow up in. I am deeply disturbed by the fact that most kids today would rather gaze for hours at a cell phone screen rather than go outside and interact with nature. Young people today seem to have a very strong dependence on technology. It makes me wonder how these generations will cope with the potential environmental disasters they are facing in their lifetimes. This is why I feel very strongly about the idea of placing a stronger emphasis on environmental science and sustainability in elementary education. I believe that if we instill positive environmental values in young children, it will become engrained in them and shed a light of hope in a dark future.


5 thoughts on “What will it take to survive a global disaster?”

  1. I completely agree that sustainability should be taught to young children. Kids are often more impressionable and open to new ideas than adults are. Children will benefit more from learning about the natural environment than they will from playing video games.

    1. Yes! In my opinion, the reason adolescents today are so obsessed with social media, video games, etc. is because we allow it! I see parents handing I-pads over to their 2 year olds all the time. I’m not a parent, and I don’t want to speak out of line, but I feel like it’s more beneficial for a child to spend time outside exploring and learning about the natural world around them than it is for them to read about it on a computer screen. I’m sure it’s all about balance, and again, I don’t want to offend any parents out there. All I can say is that from my own experience, I’m very grateful to have grown up in one of the last generations before social media took and high-tech personal devices took over. We didn’t even have a computer in the house until I was 14! And I would not change a single thing about my childhood. I spent a LOT of time outside, and experienced the wonders of nature first hand from a very young age. I guess you could say that in terms of environmental consciousness and awareness, the “seed was planted” early for me. I wish the same for young kids today!

  2. I completely agree with you! It is incredibly disheartening to see the change in the habits of children in this new “Technology Era.” If school systems developed an environmental science standard of learning, it would help educate our youths about the problems the world is facing in order to better prepare them for the problems they will probably have to face in their later years. We probably won’t be alive when the Earth is facing extreme conditions, so it is crucial that those who will be alive are equipped to handle them.

  3. With the technologies we have today i don’t think you would need to be very skilled to hunt with a gun or fish with a pole. i believe the ones that would survive would be the ones with weapons such as guns to make hunting and self defense easier.

  4. Perhaps technology itself, or lack thereof will be the downfall. People do not know how to function without it. I find it fascinating yet disturbing that we get so much enjoyment from something that we must plug into the wall every night to be powered by electricity from a coal-burning power plant. This doesn’t seem too resilient to me.

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