CME/EMP – 1850's?
- December 21, 2017 at 12:54 am #16147
————This was originally posted by “OC” 12/17/17 but was lost in the server migration————–
It is said that with a catastrophic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) the grid and most or all electronics will be destroyed, sending us back to the 1850’s (when no electronics existed -rudimentary telegraph systems only). And restoring power after such an event could be 10 years or more (step down transformers we get are being made in two countries overseas and they have a two year wait period now; will be a LOT longer if the manufacturers don’t have power either).
But that’s ok because “we lived through the 1850’s before” right? I mean, from cavemen on no one had electricity.
One thing no one ever brings up about SHTF is that in the 1850’s people had skills and technology that basically don’t exist anymore. And please forgive me I’m not a historian and this is off the cuff. But if you think of a town in the 1850’s each town had a blacksmith, a weaver, a spinster, a butcher, etc. And every house had a wood stove and/or a giant open hearth fireplace, cast iron pots, an axe, a well with a hand pump, a cast iron bathtub or big steel tub to bathe in, a garden, a washboard and clothes lines, etc. People knew how to garden, get and store food, raise animals, make candles and soap, and on and on. Hardly anyone can do these things now. In 1850 EVERYONE had a wood stove. EVERYONE knew how to make bread from scratch, now almost no one does.
Most of us preppers are “buying stuff” and learning skills, which is great of course. But eventually your preps will run out. If you have a year’s worth of food saved up, then in a year it’s going to run out. You have to have a sustainable way to continue eating (garden, chickens, etc.). Your boots will wear out along with your jeans. Then what? Animal skin loin cloths? There’s no weaver, no spinster, no boot and saddle maker.
ADMIN here commented on another subject about having bolts of cloth. If you have bolts of cloth and could sew, you could make clothing. If you knew how to make candles, soap, or bread from scratch (as in planting wheat to the finished product) your skills might be valuable to yourself and others (as Viking Preparedness has video’d “what do you bring to the table”).
Anyway, just wanted to bring this up. We can, eventually will, get knocked back to the 1950’s (the odds of a catastrophic CME are 100% – we just don’t know when). But we don’t have the tools or the knowledge of the 1850’s. So working on that seems a good idea. I think having a wood stove you can cook on is a big deal. Even having a book on how to do things the 1850 way is a good resource, even if you don’t have the particular skill now you can at least read up on it when the day comes. Have your 3 day bag and your one year of food but go beyond that for long term lifetime sustainability.
I believe off grid homesteading is the way to go. If you’re already adapted to and living an off grid sustainable lifestyle, the when the CME happens and you’re forced to live an off grid sustainable lifestyle it’s not really a big deal, you are already there.
And yes, Viking Preparedness has influenced me and I recommend you check him out if you’re not already a follower. And I’ll echo PJF on one more thing, GET OUT OF THE CITY. DO IT NOW. If SHTF hits and you’re in the city you are pretty much guaranteed to be toast.
PS: I am “not there” by any stretch of the imagination, but I strive, hope and dream every day to one day “get there”. Hopefully before the clock runs out. Hope this spurs some thoughts and actions. Thanks for reading.December 26, 2017 at 5:22 pm #16196
This is my “pet” subject. When I first started prepping this is the kind of life that I was preparing for so I did just what you suggest. I learned to make candles, soap, clothing, yarn, knit, bake etc. It has been a lot of fun to learn and I still practice many of these skills almost daily.
I enjoy PJF and his views, I’m also a fan of Michael Bunker who is living the “off grid” life in Texas. More and more people are hearing this call and leaving cities and towns to live off grid now, rather than waiting for SHTF. I think that is advisable and ideal. Unfortunately my family doesn’t agree with me so here we are, in Babylon.December 29, 2017 at 8:48 pm #16205
The potential problem that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that so much of the 1850’s level knowledge has been “lost” to the current generation that the technological meltdown might not stop there. It could end up going a whole lot lower. This is especially true if one is looking at a “worst case” scenario with a population loss of up to 90%. You need to have people who can keep various different extraction/mining industries going and also have the trade routes/transportation facilities necessary to move some serious bulk cargo loads from one end of the country to another.
Then there’s the agricultural end of things. Back in the 1850’s we were looking at somewhere around 80% to 90% of the population being employed in agriculture on family farms. That’s because agriculture at that level couldn’t support a “surplus” population more than about 10% to 20% greater than the number of people actually involved in farming/ranching (in other words for every 100 people involved in agriculture you could support 120 people total). And yet again there are transportation issues to be considered. 1850’s era cities were set up such that there were agricultural zones within an easy day’s travel by horse of the city proper. That sort of city planning went by the wayside decades ago, and modern city planning has focused on keeping agriculture as far away from modern cities as they can get it.
Where are you going to get the trained horses that are going to be needed to make all that happen? Where are you going to get the people who know how to handle the horses properly to get the horses to work at reasonable efficiency without accidentally killing them in the process? What about the tack and horse drawn vehicles that will be needed? If you say you’re going to run things on old school diesel engines instead, who’s going to be making them? With what machinery? How is that machinery going to be powered? What exactly are you going to be using for fuel? Various types of plant oils? How is diverting a chunk of your limited agricultural production over to making biodiesel going to impact your ability to provide food for people? Conversely how are you going to get refined diesel fuel to run those engines on?
There are a variety of different interconnected problems which would need to be sorted out in order to get 1850’s era technology/civilization to function properly. While by definition it isn’t “rocket science”, it nevertheless requires a lot of skills that are no longer in the modern tool kit. It also requires a relatively “peaceful” setting where one has a reasonable chance of transporting large quantities of bulk goods over long distances without them getting stolen by marauders.
The thrust of this little mini rant isn’t that everything is hopeless, but that the focus is going to have to be on trying to preserve communities as opposed to individuals/families. That’s the only way you’re going to have a fighting chance of preserving/rediscovering the various different skills and 1850’s tech that you’re going to need to keep things going. Otherwise you will almost literally be looking at a “Captain Caveman” scenario where things collapse down to the level of the Middle Ages if not the paleolithic.
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