10 Skills Needed to Thrive in a Post-Collapse World

10 Skills Needed to Thrive in a Post-Collapse World

Knowledge is something that no one can take from you. It’s the eternal wealth that will help you thrive in a Post-Collapse world.

Jeffrey Green
Activist Post

Some experts see the perfect storm emerging for a dramatic collapse of Western civilization claiming we’ve reached environmental, economic, and geopolitical tipping points. Clearly, some skills will be far more valuable than others if this societal breakdown occurs.  Sorry bankers, lawyers, and accountants, there won’t be a need for you in a post-collapse world.

Before we quantify the skill sets that will be viable, it is important to define the severity of a “post-collapse” scenario. When taken as a whole, together these tipping points could potentially converge to create a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-type world for the vast majority of humanity.  However, given the advanced technology that we possess today, it is unlikely to ever become quite that primitive ever again. Surely there will be pockets of energy and food independence no matter what possible scenario unfolds, but the vast majority may be left to fend for themselves.

It would take a serious cataclysmic earth event like a super volcano, a meteor impact, major electromagnetic pulse event, or dramatic pole shift to effect the entirety of humanity.  Man-made events like nuclear war, environmental damage, or total economic collapse, no matter how devastating, will be somewhat isolated and contained to specific areas and populations. Incidentally, every nation or territory that has experienced these man-made catastrophes has roared back to life in less than one generation. The only example of nuclear survival was in Japan, while the largest recent big economic collapse was the break-up of the Soviet Union.  In both cases those countries went through a very tough period, but ultimately they persevered.

For sake of this article, let’s assume that some level of devastation is caused by each type of tipping point in the United States.  Our ever escalating wars finally reach our shores by way of long-range nuclear missiles, total economic collapse occurs rendering the dollar worthless, and we would likely have less electricity and water than Iraq did after Bush’s “shock and awe” campaign. Gasoline and oil supplies would likely be down to a trickle, halting all supply lines of food and other goods to big box stores.  Factory farming will be impossible without cheap oil products readily available.  The suffering will be dramatic.

The only question will become, how do the citizens react?  Both the USSR and early 1950s Japan were far more agrarian, and far less dependent on big box stores than America currently is.  American dependence on long supply lines, interconnected yet vulnerable electric grid, and pharmaceutical-based healthcare may lead to a more severe breakdown of society than witnessed in those countries.  Although, innovative technology for alternative energy and agriculture practices will play a part in surviving; but they can only help the few with the knowledge, means, and stability to use them.  And stability will be in low supply for some time, resulting in only small groups with relative comfort — those who planned for the worse. However, as an optimist, I believe that after the initial chaos Americans will rediscover solidarity for one-another, much like they did after 9/11, but this time it will be more sustained out of absolute necessity.

Many articles have been written about how to survive the coming collapse, or what is needed to survive, but not many articles have been written about what skills will have value in a post-collapse world.  Imagine fulfilling human necessity without consistent fuel or electricity, large-scale food production, or fully-stocked pharmacies and hospitals.  The only form of wealth in a collapsed civilization is the knowledge and skills to produce something of human value.

Here are 10 invaluable skills that will likely help you sustain yourself in a hand-made local world:

1. Organic Gardening and Seed Saving: Skills involving food production will be the most valuable in a post-collapse society. Learning to grow your own food is a must.  Obviously, it is necessary to feed your family, but you will also be able to trade your abundance for other items. Additionally, learning to save seeds will also provide another excellent means of trade.

2. Food Processing and Preservation: Learning to process and preserve foods will be another huge skill in a post-collapse world. Taking seasonal abundance and preserving it for future consumption or trade will be vital.  Remember, learning to do this with limited electricity is a must. This can also include learning to brew beer, mead, vinegar, or other alcoholic beverages from meager ingredients.

3. Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering:  Learning to fish and hunt are essential to survival. Having the proper gear and training will be priceless after the collapse of modern civilization.  Having reference guides for edible plants in your region, repairing weaponstrapping wild game, and fishing are great tools to have if you haven’t the time to learn them now. In regards to weapons, your ability to use them also gives you the skill of working security.

4. Animal Husbandry: Notice the first four categories are related to food production.  It’s that important.  Just gaining knowledge of one of these categories will give you an invaluable skill to thrive in a post-apocalyptic world.  Knowledge of animal husbandry can provide endless amounts of sustainable meat, eggs, and milk to you and your tribe.

5. Construction: Construction skills will be very important in a shattered civilization.  These skills, especially without power tools, are not something you learn overnight.  If you have some basic skills it may be worth learning a few techniques for building small structures with crude hand tools.  There are many books teaching anyone how to build basic cabins, sheds, and composting outhouses.

6. Alternative Energy and Fuels: Having the knowledge to implement alternative energy systems will make you a wealthy survivor in a “dark” world. You can learn to build your own alternative energy systems, or you can purchase back up solar generators in preparation for emergencies. There are also small fuel refinery systems available like the biodiesel Fuelmeister, and the new invention from Japan that turns plastic into oil.  Knowledge of how to create energy would be invaluable when oil is scarce.

7. Water Purification: Since it’s difficult to pump well water without electricity and with surface water likely to be contaminated, clean water will be in very limited supply.  Learning to purify water will allow you thrive during this time. You can also purchase water filters for your go-bag that will last weeks, and you can have back-up tablets should you need them.  However, the skill and knowledge to purify water should be the goal as that can never run out.

8. Basic First Aid and Natural Medicine:  This is another skill that can take years to develop and learn, but that will be crucial when supply lines of pharmaceuticals are cut off and hospitals are over-run. Knowledge of growing herbal gardens for making medicine at home will prove to be very important.  Learning basic procedures for stitching wounds, CPR, and more will also be of great assistance.  Being the tribe’s shaman with a natural medicine chest is a prestigious position.

9. Mechanics: Mechanics for cars, motorcycles, tractors and other machinery will likely be in high demand.  In addition, bicycle mechanics will also fair well in world where fuel is very expensive or hard to come by.  These are also skills that are not learned over night, but it will be wise to at least have access to books or how-to videos.

10. Soap and Candle Making: With long supply lines decimated and electricity on the fritz, soap and candle makers will provide a valuable product. Clearly some preparation of storing raw materials may be needed to achieve trade-able levels of these goods.  Even if you just had the knowledge to make soap or candles just for your immediate tribe, you will be much better off for it.

You’ll notice that many of these skills also fall into the category of what you would need to be self-sufficient. Again, learning all of these skills will be virtually impossible, especially if the collapse isn’t that far off as many predict.  Determine which skills that most appeal to you and focus on them by studying and acquiring the tools needed. Since you can’t become an expert in everything it may be wise to recruit tribe members with various survival skills.  It will also be beneficial to build up your library of “how to” books and videos for tasks that you are not proficient in.  You can download any video from Youtube by using Keepvid.com and build your library into an external hard drive.

Remember, knowledge of and skills to produce human necessities will be the only form of wealth creation in a hand-made world. Knowledge is something that no one can take from you. It’s the eternal wealth that will help you thrive in a Post-Collapse world. Get Prepared Now!

Where There Is No Doctor…

Where there is no doctor: a village health care handbook by David Werner was first published in English in 1977. It is a handbook designed primarily for nonphysicians in the Third World, and has become a feature in the resource kit of many aid workers worldwide. Anyone who is interested or involved in improving health and medical care anywhere, independently from the medical industry, will find this a valuable resource. The authors have presented information clearly and in simple language for ordinary persons to use in preventing and treating most common health problems in their own homes.

From the introduction:

This handbook has been written primarily for those who live far from medical
centers, in places where there is no doctor. But even where there are doctors, people can and should take the lead in their own health care. So this book is for everyone who cares. It has been written in the belief that:

  1. Health care is not only everyone’s right, but everyone’s responsibility.
  2. Informed self-care should be the main goal of any health program or activity.
  3. Ordinary people provided with clear, simple information can prevent and treat most common health problems in their own homes—earlier, cheaper, and often better than can doctors.
  4. Medical knowledge should not be the guarded secret of a select few, but should be freely shared by everyone.
  5. People with little formal education can be trusted as much as those with a lot. And they are just as smart.
  6. Basic health care should not be delivered, but encouraged.

Where There Is No Doctor has been translated into more than 80 languages and is used by village health workers in over 100 countries.

The following is a review of the book. The page also contains a variety of other video productions and links concerned with survival, all of which if taken in in a timely manner could make all the difference in an ‘event scenario’, which from this point on I’ll refer to as when the shit hits the fan (SHTF)

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=HJUfwTd3oCU">http://youtube.com/watch?v=HJUfwTd3oCU</a>

Where There Is No Doctor can be downloaded from here and from the publisher’s website www.hesperian.org

When Disaster Strikes – pre-event preparation

As I said as we exited last year, the Psyclone project is changing tack with the angle of its output. Those of you who know us know that our primary objective has been empowering people by connecting them with what are potentially new concepts, information and ways of thinking. Events of the past year have moved us to seriously reassess what we’re doing. Whilst we still acknowledge the role just described, the overall theme of our output from here on in will take a slightly different tack and focus on information for those already thinking outside the box. We only have so much energy and time, and spending as much time as we have trying to wake those who don’t want to be woken or whose agenda it is to sleep through this part of the show is no longer an option.

In keeping with the Psyclone project ethos, the data will be from a variety of sources and each post will feature at least one link to other data sources to encourage your own research.

To begin with here is a survival overview for which I have no source details. Certain things mentioned place its being written in the States, and so sometimes needs translation into your own geographic  equivalent. That it was written by a christian hand is evident in the last point, which I took the liberty of editing out, regarding god’s judgment of the world for its wickedness and the need to have a bible in your survival kit.

There are potential scenarios in everyone’s environment where some of this information would be useful, very useful.
When Disaster Strikes

Around the world, the weather has gotten worse, and natural disasters have gotten bigger and killed more people. (Hurricane Katrina wiped out New Orleans, a modern day Sin City, and the 2004 Tsunami killed over 300,000 people in South Asia).

Most recently, the California wild fires forced the evacuation of over a million people from their Southern California communities, as thousands watched their homes and the surrounding hills go up in flames.

This winter, over a million people were left without power across the Midwest states, as much of the nation suffered a deep freeze and a large amount of snowfall where temperatures plunged well below zero. Without electricity to power there homes, many of these people had no heat, no light, no way to cook, no hot water, and a few lost their lives.

Luckily, the power came back on a few days later.

But what if the next disaster is so widespread that the power doesn’t come back on?

You Need:

1) Large Supply of Bottled Water, and the knowledge to procure water from contaminated sources. Two of the most common methods for procuring drinking water from contaminated sources are called “distilling” (which involves boiling water and collecting the steam in a “run-off” that then drips clean water into a separate container); the other method is called “filtering”, which involves pouring water through a manufactured or home-made “filter” system, in an effort to remove contaminates.

Before disaster hits, do some research online, and learn “how to distill water” and “how to filter contaminated water”. Then practice these methods at home with your family.

When shopping for bottled water, look specifically for “Food grade” water storage containers. These range in size from 1 gallon to 5 gallon jugs, to 55 gallon barrels and 250 gallon and 500 gallon mega-size containers (see link labeled “Water Storage Containers” at the top of the page).

2) Non-perishable Food – This refers to any food that does not need refrigeration and is packaged, canned, or bottled in a way to provide a long shelf life. Be sure to check expiration dates (see link labeled “Food Supplies” at the top of the page).

3) Candles / Wooden Matches / Lighters – (Candles, such as Sterno’s 60 Hour Emergency Candle) are specifically made to burn for longer amounts of time than traditional decorative candles. Like bottled water, it’s good to have a large supply of emergency candles, wooden matches, and lighters. A few weeks down the road, candles are likely to become your only light source, especially if firewood runs low and those wind-up emergency flashlights stop working.

4) Light weight Axe – Firewood is the most obvious source to provide heat during cold temperatures, and as long as you have a good axe, you can turn just about anything into firewood. Even if you don’t have a fireplace, you can still build a makeshift fireplace or wood stove in your backyard out of rocks and mud (usable once the mud dries). You can also use a patio fire pit, as commonly sold at home improvement stores, such as Lowes and Home Depot. (If you build an outdoor fireplace, remove the grill from the oven in the kitchen of your house, and use it for outside cooking, in conjunction with your firepit.)

Choose an axe that is both heavy duty, and light weight, because you may end up carrying it in a backpack over long distances, and the less it weighs, the better.

5) Propane for Cooking – There is something even more useful than firewood (in the early weeks of disaster), and that is propane.

Propane is the most obvious fuel source to keep on your property, and most people who own a bar-b-cue usually have one multi gallon propane tank tucked underneath or to the side. In preparing your home for disaster, if you have the money to spend, consider buying and filling five to ten of these. Or better yet, just as RV owners do, you can buy propane tanks that are extra large in capacity, and hold a lot more propane than typical 13 gallon bar-b-cue tanks.

Propane is a great survival tool in emergencies because it can be used for both cooking and heating (but I suggest it only be used for cooking, and that you get your heat from other sources, such as warm clothing and warm blankets; this way you use as little propane as possible, making it last longer).

Be sure to store any propane in your garage, or in a shed, or outside under a tarp – don’t store it in your home, as it can have a slow leak and poison the air.

Rather than use propane to fuel a full size bar-b-cue, I suggest you buy a much smaller compact propane stove, as commonly used for camping, as the right stove will be much more efficient, and use the least amount of propane.

6) Propane Camp Stove – As propane is the most common fuel used in outdoor bar-b-cues, a smaller two burner camp stove is best, for emergency purposes. When selecting a camp stove, choose one that can handle repeat long term use.

Warning about Lawlessness – In the event of a catastrophe, looters may be out scavenging for propane tanks, so keep yours well hidden, as much as possible. If you’re doing any outside cooking, keep in mind that the smell of your food can drift for a far distance, catching the attention of scavengers, who (in the wake up lawlessness) may be willing to kill or seriously injure you, to take any and all water, food, and other supplies you have on your property.

7) First Aid Kit – Make sure you have a well stocked first aid kit, which are commonly sold at drugstores and back country stores. With your kit, be sure to include a generous supply of Ibuprofen (pain reliever and fever reducer), and antiseptic spray for burns, stings, and cuts. Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are also recommended by some, for washing out wounds, in preparation for bandaging. Anti-diarrhea medication is also recommended, as there is a chance you may eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water at some point, and suffer from it.

8 ) Radio and batteries – A small emergency radio is good to have around; if news is still broadcasting you can pick up reports to find out how the rest of the nation is faring during this time of devastation. A radio is only as good as the amount of batteries you have to power it, so keep a generous supply. Nowadays, there are emergency radios for under $50 that do not need batteries, but have a wind up dial that you crank, to generate power for up to 30 minutes or more. It might be smart to have both, this way if the wind up dial ever breaks, you still have a back up radio with batteries.

9) Flashlight / Lantern – it’s good to have 2 – 3 flashlights on hand, that are heavy duty and can withstand moisture and being dropped. Headlamps are even better, as you can wear them around your head, which frees up your hands for other use.

Today there are lanterns and flashlights that don’t need batteries; like the emergency radios mentioned above, these usually generate power by a wind up dial, and some smaller flashlights you activate by “shaking” for a short period of time. As it’s not known how reliable these devices are with repeat use, I suggest that you have both battery operated flashlights / headlamps, in addition to the wind up flashlights and wind up lanterns.

10) Heavy Duty Tarp – Tarp is sold in most home improvement stores; choose a dark color that doesn’t stand out (in case you ever have to hide out in the forest), and have 3 – 5 tarps of various sizes. Tarp can be used for a number of things – from building shelters in the forest, to building shelters underground.

Rain Catch -Tarp can also be used as a “rain catch” for catching rain water, for drinking. Lay the tarp out flat, and then hoist it into the air from all four corners, so it sags in the middle; this is where water from any rain will collect.

Warm Room – Tarp can also be used to help insulate a “warm room”, which is a room that is set aside in your house where all family members can meet together at night, to conserve body heat. Just as children like to build “forts”, choose one room in your house that you can seal off at night, and build a “fort” inside.

Stuff a bath towel or blanket under the door crack to keep the cold from coming in and to keep body heat from escaping. Also, hang up towels and blankets over the window, and even seal off with tarp and duct tape to help keep warmth from escaping at night through the window pane.

Now that you have a “warm room” sealed off in your house, build a “children’s fort” inside (out of tarp and blankets) that is big enough for your family to then crawl inside and sleep in. This is almost like the “igloo” such as Eskimos build in the freezing snow of Alaska. You’ll find that your body heat from you / your group will help keep this space at a warmer temperature than the rest of the house.

11) Bowie Knife – A good knife is an essential, and is going to cost some money. When choosing a knife, look for one where the blade runs to the bottom of the handle; and make sure that the store that you’re buying it from understands that you intend to do a lot of wood carving with it, so you absolutely need a knife with a handle that won’t fall apart with repeat use. (If by chance you have to flee your home and community at some point, a good Bowie knife – also called a “Survival knife” – can be used to carve a long bow, for bow and arrow hunting like the Indians of early America. For this reason, as well as for cutting up and carving game that you’ve killed (such as deer or elk), it is very important that the handle of your knife be exceptionally durable.)

12) Hiking Boots – Like your bowie knife, expect to spend some money on hiking boots. You want a pair that are going to last you, and not fall apart if by chance you end up wearing them for two years or more straight. When selecting a boot, let the store know that you need a pair that is built to withstand heavy hiking, and that is the least likely to need any repairs on the trail. You want a boot where the bottom sole is “stitched” to the rest of the boot, instead of simply glued to it, which is how most cheaper boots come.

13) Compass – If you have to flee your community, or if you’ve simply taken to nearby forests to hunt and fish for food, a good compass and knowing how to use it is an important tool to have. Some compasses even come with a built in thermometer and signaling mirror, which can help you out in a survival situation.

14) Bear Pepper Spray – Whether it’s wild dogs that have gotten loose, or cougars or bears that have strayed down into your community – pepper spray that’s strong enough to ward off Grizzly bears – called “Bear Pepper Spray” for it’s strength – can prove to be a life saver. Consider buying 3 – 5 large bottles, or one for each member of your family. You can also use it to fend off looters (as long as they’re not pointing a gun at you).

15) Cold Weather Sleeping Bag – To make sure that you’re protected by any exceptional drop in temperature, you should consider buying a sleeping bag that can hold up with repeat use, and will keep you warm to twenty degrees below zero. Depending on where you live in America – you’ll probably want to go even colder than that.

16) Cold Weather Parka and Snow Pants – Since you might find yourself out in cold weather during the day time, as you collect firewood, help out neighbors, and hunt and fish for food, it’s important to have the right coat and pants that can withstand the elements, especially snow and slush. As an added bonus, if you have to flee your community, you can even sleep in your coat and pants, if they’re layered right and / or rated to keep you warm enough.

17) Personal Hygiene Items – In preparation for a widespread disaster, and the possible collapse of government and our entire economy, you should be aware that the next time you go shopping at a supermarket, it could be your last. If the economy falls, stores are going to fast run out of food and supplies, and without new shipments coming, there will be no more stores to buy from. Not only is your money likely to be useless, but the items that you do need are going to be in high demand, which probably means very hard to come by.

Stock up now on toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss (the last thing you want to have happen is a dental emergency, when there are no more dentists available), bar soap for bathing, shampoo, bleach, bleach wipes (very handy), and laundry detergent. If you minimize your use of these items, you can make them last many months.

18) Outdoor Clothing – If disaster strikes, there’s a good chance you won’t be reporting to work in an office downtown, but you may find yourself helping out neighbors and others in your community by building shelters and repairing houses that may have been damaged. With this in mind, be sure to have clothing that can handle being outside in the elements.

Consider stocking up on clothing that’s geared for heavy use, such as that sold by outdoor clothing stores. Have an assortment of pants, sweat pants, sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts, thermal underwear, and a few pairs of wool socks. If you can afford to buy more than the average person, don’t hesitate to do so.

When preparing for a natural disaster or large scale terrorist attack (such as a nuclear detonation in a nearby city), there’s no such thing as being over-prepared.

Buying More than You Need – Helping out other people in need – especially in an emergency, such as a widespread natural disaster – is the right thing to do. Be generous with what you have, and generous with what you know. Be prepared to teach your neighbors some of the methods you should start teaching yourself, such as how to distill water from contaminated sources, as well as how to make home-made water filters for procuring water that’s safe to drink.

While you’re taking steps toward preparing for disaster, most people aren’t, and when disaster strikes, they are simply not going to be prepared. Many are going to be without food and water and other items essential to survival.

Helping Friends, Family, and Neighbors – Please keep that in mind, and as much as possible, consider buying more than your family needs, so you can help out your neighbors (in addition to friends and family that may live nearby) when disaster finally strikes. They’re going to need food and water also.

Consider sharing this article with them, and talking about some of the basic steps every person should take in preparing their home for an extended emergency, where the electricity is down indefinitely, and there is no tap water, grocery store, or gasoline available for transportation.

19) Hiking Backpack – Things might get bad. Really bad. You and your family might have to flee the area; in fact you might have to flee the entire state.

If you still have a vehicle, and you have a full tank of gas, and there’s still a road to drive on – great, you’re in luck. Start driving and get out of dodge.

But at some point you’re going to run out of gas, and any gas station you come to is likely to be closed and out of operation.

When that happens, strap on your hiking backpack, and start walking. Have a detailed map of the state, and a detailed map of the U.S. and Canada.

No More Road? Just Follow the Railroad Tracks – If for some reason it’s not safe to travel by road, you can always travel by walking alongside railroad tracks. Make sure you have a specific map that includes railroad track routes, and then consider following one or more (make sure you have a good compass, and know how to use it before hand).

Railroad tracks criss-cross the continent (many in North-South and East-West directions), and may provide a safe passage should roads ever be un-safe to travel by.

No matter where you are in the United States, the smartest destination for fleeing the nation is to go NORTH, and into Canada, and head for the foot hills of the Canadian Rockies; you may even make it to Alaska.

In a worst case scenario, that’s why it’s important to have a full size backpack, as commonly used by hikers and the military for multi-day hikes. If in a disaster situation you ever have to flee your community – and have to leave your car behind – having a hiking backpack means you and your family can strap essential survival gear onto your backs, and make your way to safety.

21) Potassium Iodine – In case of any radioactive fallout, people must use Potassium Iodine to fill the Thyroid and prevent penetration by radioactivity.  This simple and effective treatment can literally be the difference between massive radiation poisoning and making it through a tough nuclear, dirty bomb or well from hell radioactive disaster.

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Contrary to what seems to be popular perception, access to the Internet is not a given. There are several ways in which access to the Internet could become blocked. This article in PDF can be downloaded from here

…just in case.