No matter what kind of apocalypse we have, there are some lifestyle changes that I believe will be strategically beneficial. Most of them are based on returning to a more anthropologically natural way of existing. I try to imagine how early man would have lived, I look at the social structures of primates and I consider how ecosystems exist and function when man is not interfering. If human beings used only the “tools” and skills that they are born with, how would they survive? If we did not build dwellings or make weapons to catch our food with, where would we live and what would we eat? All other creatures live their lives using what they have. How different would the world be if humans did the same? These are some of my conclusions:
1. Small groups of nomads will do best. Human beings are not meant to stay put in large colonies. When our numbers become too large and we establish towns or cities, hygiene becomes an issue. We have to artificially construct ways to eliminate our waste or disease runs rampant. Man is a primate and most primates live in extended family units. They have territories of varying sizes but tend to move in a set pattern within that territory. Smaller groups and rotating within a territory, rather than staying put, cuts down on depletion of resources and provides for group safety. Many early tribes of man had seasonal territories, living where resources were richest depending on the weather. Moving to, say, a spring territory would allow the winter territory to recover. It also makes survivors less prone to attacks by looters. In my Happy Apocalypse, though, anybody who would be prone to looting and murdering would not survive in the first place so that’s not a huge worry for me.
2. Humans have very little body hair so living in a temperate climate would be the most natural place to live. No need to build shelters or wear clothing. I have my sights set on Tahiti but just about any tropical locale is where I am heading when the end comes. I hope to get there before the end since travel is going to be difficult and roller skates won’t get me across the ocean.
3. No other creature requires tools or weapons to catch their food and no other creature has to cook its food to make it even remotely digestible. I know about all the arguments for us being meat eaters or omnivores and how we’ve adapted but the bottom line is we are not meant to eat meat, unless it’s frogs, snakes and other animals we can catch without tools and digest without altering. Felines and canines have claws and teeth, speed and strength which allow them to run down, catch and kill their prey. Their digestive systems function in such a way that raw meat, fur and bones are processed and distributed to maintain their bodies. If we can’t kill a cow with our bare hands and can’t eat the flesh without fire and forks, we shouldn’t be eating it. Doing so takes us outside of our role within the ecosystem. Almost all fruit and many vegetables are things we can harvest naturally, without tools or weapons. We can digest them without altering their chemical composition. Eating them provides our bodies with what we need to function and flourish. Post apocalypse, I will be eating from trees and plants I find within my territory. Until then I confess I will continue to consume bean burritos from Taco Bell and just about any (mostly dark) chocolate I can get my hands on. No need to sacrifice before the end arrives.
4. Trees and caves seem to be the most natural choices for shelter. Many primates “build” nests on the ground or in trees from loose vegetation and sticks. It doesn’t involve altering the earth to make them comfortable or protected. Humans seem to have lost their natural balance, agility and equilibrium so I’m not sure living in a tree without a prehensile tail is feasible but maybe on the ground beneath trees. Caves are unappealing to me but do offer some advantages. I think shelter is going to be a play it by ear kind of thing for me. Making use of already existing structures might be the best solution when available.
There’s probably more that I can’t think of right now. My brain has suddenly gone mushy. Might be time to hit Taco Bell. Anybody out there have some ideas for surviving the apocalypse without repeating humankinds’ past mistakes?