Monday, 6 February 2012

Do not -I repeat - do not get ill

When I decided on a  post climate change world for my first novel, Ellen’s Tale, I blithely thought petrol, oil.  Then I began to think electricity.  The whole of modern civilization crashed around my ears!

Think about it, think about what vanishes. The list is endless and I still probably haven’t thought of it all.

Phone your insurance company when its computers are down – you don’t exist.  Phone the bank to check your hard earned money and its computers are down, the money might as well not be there.  Are they keeping the written records in a vault somewhere?  I do hope so.

Come the demise of fossil fuel, will you rush to the bank?  They don’t keep the cash there.  File an insurance claim? Forget it.

Phone for help? Phones are down. Get news of the apocalypse? Only if you have a wind up radio.

Do the weekly shop- there will be so little food there. Refridgerated containers? Gone. Intensively farmed goods? Gone.

Do not- I repeat- do not get ill.  Hospitals and all their wonderful complicated machines and research centres? Down. I mean even the lifts won't be working?

Trains? Planes? Ships? No. No. No.

Well those of us who can garden or farm will be okay?  Garden? Yes - until an unseasonable local drought hits – there will be no running tap water to help, so those veggies will die if you don’t have collected rainwater or a well. Know how to farm? Fine but are you going to plough the fields by hand, kill each fresh bug or blight individually because the chemicals needed to spray are all fossil fuel based.  Where the fertilizer? 

Can hunt but then so can anyone else with a gun – and despite our gun laws quite a few people in UK possess guns (other countries I cannot comment on!) anyone else with a gun can be shooting, maybe not to kill the odd rabbit, but to have your garden sprouts!  And when the bullets run out? When the guns break?

No worse, you say, than before the industrial revolution.  We did then, we can do now.  Yes-well - apart from the fact that we are mostly an urban animal now with barely a touching knowledge of nature, the population in the UK stands at 60+ million whereas before the industrial revolution it hovered around the 6-7 million mark.  Where’s the food coming from?

A quick resume of what we need electrics for would include

Transport – even gas and diesel need electrics to start an engine
In the home – heating- cooling – washing -lighting – communication – entertainment
Industry - driving almost every moving part as well as all above mentioned
Medicine /research as mentioned
I am sure you could come up with more

I fondly imagined that as I had grown up post Second World War, I and other baby boomers would cope quite well. Hah!

We have been mechanized too long.  Mechanized too well. Spoilt!

There is more!


  1. Your analysis of post-apcalyptic existence is scary yet so close to the truth of what life would be like.

  2. Of course climate changes won't happen suddenly, over night. It will be slow devolution from what we have now to something else. It's the something else that's worth investigating. Will it be agrarian? Feudal? Will there be small kingdoms like Italy used have, that fight among themselves? Will there be some places that have some kind of technology (like solar or wind) and others that do not? Lots of possibilities.

  3. It's scary when you think about how much this modern world relies on electricity.

  4. No internet is the worst for me :) At my day job, when the power goes out, we all may as well go home. I save vacation time for that purpose.


  5. Indeed what would come next - peaceful decline? I have to confess, from my view backwards through the last 6+decades I'm not optimistic of our ability to change easily, following Queensbury Rules or even Geneva Convention Rules of engagement. I hope -but do not expect- to be surprised!

  6. We're so spoiled, aren't we? I suppose there'd be despots wanting to take over the world, such as it was. I'd really hate to be without a computer, though. I wonder if I'd write? It's scary. We get a lot of power cuts here in Portugal, but the one thing that is really annoying when they cut it is water.

  7. My best friend is a forager, meaning she knows which wild plants are safe to eat. She also lives on a farm with wood stoves, a functional well, and horses. That's food, heat, water, and transportation. If the apocalypse comes, I'm going to her place!

    (Here via the Campaign.)

  8. I suspect you're miles away but I'll ask anyway - can I come too please:) I can weave a little- preserve food - knit,crochet and sew - can offer useful skills - oh and a dab hand at compost heaps:)

  9. It's really rather troubling how spoiled we are. Especially as we move towards an age where we, as a race, are getting more technologically advanced and everything is going on-line. It will all come down if someone or something turns off the lights.

    This kind of realization has a strange fascination for me. It's one of the many things I want to tackle in a trilogy I want to write.

    Good post! And hello from a fellow campaigner! Hope we get to keep in touch and have a good time. :D

  10. We are spoilt. The electricity explosion here in Cyprus taught me a lesson on how much depends upon electricity in our home. I think I would survive better than DH as he is a TV addict.

  11. It's the pulling of the plug that worries me - I cannot bring myself to go paperless - althougth having records of everthing will prevail me not as I am reduced to burn them all to keep warm!:( I think it is a mistake in many different ways we have become so dependent on something which could fail but I do like my car and comouter and the old mobile phone is so useful! I cannot wean myself of those despite my seeking after green credentials

  12. Alberta, I'm sure you'd be welcome with those skills! Plus we'll need storytellers, right?

    If you've got time, I've tagged you to answer 11 random questions. The questions are at the bottom of this post. Whee!

    1. oh yes we need storytellers:) I will get to the randomness someime this weekend with luck - thanks

  13. We are very spoiled, indeed. My grandmother was so certain everything was going to go to hell in 2000 that she paid off all her debit and bought barrels and bags of rice and beans. She even had her own garden in the back. She invested in everything she needed to be self-sufficient. Thankfully, none of it was needed then. But it’s people like that everyone will turn to when and if the day comes.

    1. when and if indeed I hope it doesn't I scare myself enough writing the Chronicles! I do not think I am the stuff of survivors really - although do any of us know before the event?

  14. My first encounter with this idea was while reading "Solar Flare" where a massive solar flare knocks out all electricity and electronic devices. It focused not just on coping without devices but also the devolution of order in cities. You might find it interesting. :)

    And, tag! You're it! Head over to to grab your questions. ;)

  15. We certainly have been. Hardly anyone is self-sufficient the way people used to be; most of us expect to be able to get things at the touch of a button or a short drive. It would wreak total havoc if everything mechanical shut down.

  16. as the chronicles progress I have realised more and more how much of our lives are tied up to eletronics in some form or other - machinary could be put under wind and water power but not on the scale to match the population!:(