If you search on prepping you’ll get 62 million results, but that hasn’t been my focus. I’m madly in love with my techno-optimist husband, we’re both senior citizens, and so we’re not going anywhere or preparing. Where best to be will keep changing – initially cities might be the best as they have more wealth and buy up food and other goods from the interior. But eventually at some point of oil decline, tractors, harvesters, and food distribution trucks will not be able to supply cities and you’ll wish you were in a farming region, preferably growing whatever food you can in your own yard. So if you’re looking for a place to move to, be sure to check out Day and Hall’s book below.
No matter where you are, you’ll want to stockpile food and water — Germany recently recommended that people should have at least 10 days worth (2016 Reuters). Not just for collapse, but earthquake, hurricane, and other natural disasters, or when the electric grid is down.
And above all, stockpile worthwhile books of how to do stuff, and entertaining books so you have something to do when the electricity is out.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer, Barriers to Making Algal Biofuels, and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report
- Stan Cox. Any way you slice it. The past, present, and future of rationing
- USDOE. June 1980. Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan. U.S. Department of Energy Economic Regulatory Administration, Office of Regulations and Emergency Planning. (search energyskeptic for my review of it).
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.
- John W. Day and Charles Hall. 2016. America’s Most Sustainable Cities and Regions: Surviving the 21st Century Megatrend. Springer (and my review of the article on which this book is based here).
- James H Kunstler. 2005. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century.
- Gene Gerue. 1999. How to find your ideal country home. A comprehensive guide.
Energy Descent & Peak Oil Plans
- Alexander S. 2020. The simpler way: collected writings of Ted Trainer. Simplicity Institute. Many free books: http://simplicityinstitute.org/ted-trainer
- BTC. November 2010. (German) Armed Forces, capabilities and technologies in the 21st century environmental dimensions of security. Sub-study 1. Peak oil security policy implications of scarce resources. Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, Future Analysis Branch
- De Decker, Kris. 2007-present. The Low Tech Magazine website has hundreds of useful articles about how to prepare for the future, energy, and related topics. https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/
- Heinberg R, et al. 2006. The Oil Depletion Protocol. A plan to avert oil wars, terrorism & economic collapse. New Society Publishers.
- Heinberg R. 2011. The end of growth: Adapting to our new economic reality. New Society Publishers.
- Hirsch RL, et al. 2005. Peaking of World Oil Production: impacts, mitigation, & risk management. U.S. Department of Energy.
- Hopkins R. 2008. The transition handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience. UIT Cambridge Ltd.
- Hopkins R. 2016. Transition companion: Making your community more resilient in uncertain times. Green books.
- Kunstler JH. 2007. The Long Emergency: Surviving the end of oil, climate change, and other converging catastrophes of the 21st century. Grove Press.
- Lawrence KS. 2011. Solutions to peak oil vulnerabilities: a response plan. Lawrence Kansas Mayor’s peak oil task force.
- Lerch D. 2007. Post carbon cities: planning for energy and climate uncertainty. Post carbon institute.
- Odum HT, et al. 2008. A prosperous way down. University Press of Colorado.
Richard Heinberg has written several books worth reading:
- The Oil Depletion Protocol. 2006. A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism And Economic Collapse
- Powerdown. 2004. Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World
- The Party’s Over. 2003. Oil, war, and the Fate of Industrial Societies
Howard T. Odum. 2008. The Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies
Ted Trainer. A list of his books is here
I think we’re heading back eventually to 90% 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.
- Jeavons J. 2002. How to grow more vegetables..on less land than you can imagine
- Bender J. 1994. Future Harvest: Pesticide-Free Farming
- Bane P, et al. 2012. The permaculture handbook: garden farming for town and country
- Smil V. 2004. Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production. MIT Press.
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.
Best overview books on energy and the rise and fall of civilizations
I find it comforting to know that the rise and fall of civilizations has happened before many times. It makes me feel better to know that, and if you are trying to figure out where to move to, these may help. Plus they’re fascinating in their own right.
- Ahmed N. 2016. Failing states, collapsing system, biophysical triggers of political violence. Springer.
- Catton W. 1982. Overshoot: the ecological basis of revolutionary change. University of Illinois Press.
- Cline EH. 2014. 1177 B.C. The year civilization collapsed.
- Diamond, J. 2004. Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed.
- Hall CAS, et al. 2012. Energy & the Wealth of Nations: Understanding the Biophysical economy. Springer.
- Harper K. The fate of Rome. Climate, disease, and the end of an empire.
- Hardin G. 1995. Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos. Oxford University Press.
- Heather P. 2009. Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Oxford University Press.
- Meadows D. 2004. The Limits to Growth: The 30-year update. Chelsea Green Publishing.
- Opuls W. Immoderate greatness: why civilizations fail.
- Ponting CA. 2007. New green history of the world: The environment & the collapse of great civilizations. Penguin books.
- Perlin J. 2005, A Forest Journey: The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization. Countryman Press
- Turchin P. “Secular cycles” and “War and Peace and War”
- Vogel S. 2002. Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle. W W Norton & Co Inc.
- Youngquist W. 1997. Geodestinies: The Inevitable Control of Earth Resources over Nations & Individuals
- Bardi U, et al. 2014. Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth Is Plundering the Planet. Chelsea Green Publishing.
- Beiser V. 2018. The world in a grain: the story of sand and how it transformed civilization.
- Courland R. 2011. Concrete Planet.
- Klare M. 2012. The Race for What’s Left: The Global scramble for the world’s last resources. Picador.
- Mann CC. 2012, 1493: Uncovering the new world Columbus created. Vintage.
Best big picture books on other topics
- Bryson B. 2003. A short history of nearly everything. Broadway books.
- Ward PD. 2003. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe. Copernicus.
- Weart SR. 2004. The Discovery of Global Warming
- Wilson EO. 2012. The Social Conquest of Earth. Liveright.
- Wrangham R. 2010. Catching Fire: How cooking made us human. Basic Books.
To preserve knowledge, have something to do when the grid goes down, and find hundreds of other books worth reading, check out my other book lists at: http://energyskeptic.com/category/books/book-list/
Good luck everyone!