Book list: What to do

survive-collapseI am not a survival expert, though I’ve run across a far amount of discussion on this in peak oil forums. I thought about buying a very small farm or house with a large back yard to grow food on as far from large cities as I could get in California, but for many reasons, never did it.

Partly it seemed to me it would be hard to survive even if I prepared, though it sure gives you better odds than nearly everyone else.  Even those who prepare still have to hope that the government at some level prevents mass migrations from cities to rural areas tipping over people’s lifeboats.

But most Americans probably will stay put.  They are far too addicted to comfort, have no survival skills, not even camping equipment, and will stay where they are, especially if the government provides food.

Survival everywhere will be hard because there will be too many people with guns, ex-military, government, vigilantes, and gangs looting or claiming to be “maintaining order” and taking food away from farmers, families, and stores.   Homes are particularly easy to invade.  This is why the wealthy live in buildings in unstable areas, and gated communities.

So the other “survival” method is to find a good cave, stock it well, and hide out until the worst part is over.  That’s actually how some people survived WW II (some dug their own caves in the ground).

We’re only 9 meals away from a revolution.  Some regions of the country will collapse sooner and harder than others.

Whatever you do, stockpile worthwhile books so you have something to do when the electricity is out.

Where to Live

Given the popularity of concentration camps, involuntary conscription into armies, enslavement, civil war and chaos in other collapsing or war-torn nations, not only do you need to have useful skills, but where you live will play the biggest factor.

Richard Heinberg has written several books worth reading:

  1. The Oil Depletion Protocol : A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism And Economic Collapse
  2. Powerdown : Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World
  3. The Party’s Over: Oil, war, and the Fate of Industrial Societies

Other ideas

Howard T. Odum. The Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies
Ted Trainer. The Alternative, Sustainable Society; the Simpler Way


I think we’re heading back to 90 percent farmers as it was before fossil fuels. Given that most of the land in the U.S. is owned by wealthy individuals, corporations, and the government (see Fellmeth 1973 Politics of Land), this probably means the future will be one of brutal feudalism.

And if you do go back to the land, you should understand why this movement failed the last time in my book review of Agnew’s Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s, and Why They Came Back.


Lifespans doubled because of public health measures taken to treat water and sewage as explained in Laurie Garrett’s Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health.

One of the best books I’ve ever read for many reasons  is John Barry’s The Great Influenza. The epic story of the deadliest plague in History. The lesson to be learned is that people with poor / malnutrition were the most vulnerable to flu to dying.  Only two percent of America’s population died because the population was well-fed, but some countries may have lost up to half their population.

Good luck everyone!

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2 Responses to Book list: What to do

  1. yt75 says:

    Rimbaud : “une saison en enfer”
    Everything was already seen, alas