I woke up that morning somehow still in my own bed, wearing my own clothes, but nothing else around me was the same. The streets outside were ruins, destruction everywhere, cars were abandoned and there was nobody else around. While we still don’t know what caused the destruction, it was obvious that something catastrophic happened. It took thousands of years to create the world we use to live in but that all came crumbling down in the year 2200. Five years later only a few people have survived and the process to rebuild society is our main goal.
But the big question is: What now? How do you survive, and how do you rebuild society?
“One of your first problems if society were to collapse, ...view middle of the document...
Based on genetic studies, he explains, “the seed that you would need to re-populate the whole world” is a few hundred people living together. Of this there needs to be around 70 fertile women.
Repopulation is just one of the many challenges Dartnell addresses in his book, which takes a scientific and technological look at where we are in the world, and how we got here. While not intended as a completely practical guide to survival, it covers everything from how to make soap to the basic chemistry behind taking photographs.
“At the end of the day the book isn’t about the apocalypse at all; it is about holding up a mirror to our own society and asking some fundamental questions about our modern world works,” he says.
MORE THAN SURVIVAL
To be able to rebuild society, we have to know where we came from and what the key enablers of our progress are. For survivalists the key is about preservation – staying alive in the immediate aftermath of an apocalypse.
A scientist working on tech for future Mars missions, Dartnell himself doesn’t believe there is going to be an apocalypse that we need to prepare for. However, he is interested in the long-term implications that need to be considered if we were to rebuild civilisation from scratch.
“If the world is about to end, what do you do ten years down the line, when your food has run out? How would you start doing things for yourself? That’s the niche I tried to approach,” he explains.
In his book Dartnell travels through a “grace period”, where the main priority is survival, all the way to showing how we would recreate the tolls needed for a long-term rebuild. These include everything from food, clothing and...