by Gerard Donnelly Smith
(Swans - October 23, 2006) With the "inevitable" world-wide environmental disasters predicted by scientists due to global warming, with the "sooner or later" nuclear winter forecast by Rapture artists and military pragmatists, and with the start of the Age of Purification on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar (whether or not the catastrophe will be caused by a electromagnetic shift or by an asteroid named Nemesis), one should be prepared!
Not that I'm a "survivalist" or have decided to compete on television for transitory material possession and fame; however, with so many alignments in our astrological and astronomical future, the Boy Scouts' motto might come in handy.
Indeed, I am seriously considering enrolling my sons in the Boy Scouts. Their representative assured me that we can all worship Buddha. I smiled compassionately at her misunderstanding which I will tolerate until all badges are earned. Sadly, more religious tolerance would have been helpful in lessening the probability that Armageddon will occur. Instead, Pope Benedict XVI insults Islam, Danish cartoonists denigrate Mohammad, and Bush carries on his Crusade against Jihad. The Boy Scouts and the Wahabbists don't see eye-to-eye; in fact, an-eye-for-an-eye still trumps other religious teachings. I see no other choice than to prepare for the inevitable world conflagration that will be fueled, in part, by religious intolerance and xenophobia.
When the conflagration arrives, either by conflict or climate, we must all be prepared for the collapse of social order. Will food still be available, one might wonder? Will panic set in when the food begins to disappear because the shipments have stopped or because crops fail? Forgetting how quickly people begin to riot when the lights go out, "Never in the United States" we boast, smug and snug in our creature comforts.
The hubris of this belief can be evidenced by refugees who flee famine, refugees who flee wars, refugees who flee violence caused by scarce resources, by the exodus caused by dust bowls (e.g., The Grapes of Wrath) and tsunamis. The IACC predicts that global warming will cause crop failures, will cause ocean levels to rise, and will eventually cause a new ice age. In that case, vast regions of agricultural land in the Northern Hemisphere will be under ice. In other words, millions of hungry Europeans and North Americans will be heading south looking for food. People get ugly when they're hypoglycemic.
When the climate changes, should we become refugees from the chaos and panic that will grip the cities, my family will be prepared. We have joined the Mycological Society to learn the benefits of harvesting and propagating fungus. Everyone will learn to identify the edible varieties, and memorize their spore signatures for safety.
I've signed up for the survival class "Cat-tails: Sticky Pulp to Pancakes" and "Edible Plants of the Native Americans." Trapping, skinning, and dressing game, I learned on the farm back in Ohio. Everyone should learn how to make fire. Keep your flint clean and your starter dry.
Our equipment stockpile grows: water filtration devices, iodine tablets, and each of us owns a Camelback. Fishing hooks, lines, and knifes will be carried by each family member. We have debated whether to carry hunting rifles due to the extra weight, and since the ammunition will eventually run out. Instead we will hone our archery skills and watch "Survivor Man." We will carry one tent to use until we reach shelter.
Since we can't depend on the government in times of natural disasters -- just ask the citizens of New Orleans -- we will need to make our own shelters, find our own food, and procure water. Of course the wealthy and the political elite will head to the underground bases where stockpiles of food, water, and ammunitions are already waiting, where thermal energy has been harnessed and generators wait to power electronic devices for both entertainment and surveillance.
We will not go near these places, since scarce resources produce the worst behavior in Homo sapiens.
Our destination has already been determined. I will not share that with you.
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