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  • The world has ended.

  • The sky has fallen.

  • Doomsday has come and gone.

  • So now what?

  • Well, let’s start rebuilding civilization,

  • of course.

  • While you may be wondering

  • how exactly the world ended,

  • well, that’s not so important.

  • It could have been a deadly virus,

  • a massive asteroid collision

  • or a nuclear war.

  • Or it could even have been

  • all of the above.

  • What’s more important

  • is that you are among the lucky survivors

  • of this doomsday scenario.

  • But you would have lost a few things

  • that were essential to the life you led before.

  • The internet and computers no longer work.

  • Libraries and databases have been destroyed.

  • And many of our world’s knowledge keepers

  • like scientists, engineers and doctors

  • have tragically perished.

  • But you wouldn’t have much time to mourn.

  • If you wanted to keep the torch of humanity lit

  • through these terrible times,

  • you’d need to focus on what you could do

  • with all the other survivors to,

  • well, survive.

  • And to start rebuilding society

  • you’d really only need three essential things.

  • In his book, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch,

  • astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell says that

  • even though there have been many things

  • vital to our society’s development,

  • there are three essentials that stand out above all else.

  • Food, fire and knowledge.

  • You’d need to figure out how to ensure

  • everyone gets the food and nutrients they need to survive.

  • You’d have to harness sources of power

  • to make tools and fuel transportation.

  • And lastly, you’d want to share and record that knowledge,

  • so that your society’s future could continue to thrive.

  • And while you might consider yourself a smart cookie

  • with a sense of rugged individualism,

  • you wouldn’t be knowledgeable enough to rebuild things on your own.

  • You’d need the collective wisdom

  • and strength of everyone around you.

  • And be ready to ask questions and explore outcomes.

  • Step one to rebuilding society

  • would involve the most important thing,

  • staying alive.

  • In the beginning, you’d have to get by with no power,

  • no antibiotics and none of the comforts of our modern world.

  • During this period of time,

  • people would need clean water,

  • shelter and fire for warmth.

  • If you don’t already know how to take care of these things,

  • you’d better find people who do ASAP.

  • Step two would rely on scavenging what remains of societies

  • to find things that could be useful to you and others.

  • First and foremost,

  • that would mean going through supermarkets

  • for anything with a long shelf life.

  • Of course this wouldn’t be a long-term solution.

  • But it would at least tide you over

  • and keep your stomach growling to a minimum.

  • Growing a wide variety of foods would be an essential next step.

  • And then, of course,

  • you’d want a way of preserving them.

  • Grains like wheat, rice and corn

  • have been some of the most important crops in human history.

  • They grow fast and fill us up.

  • Put the focus on them first.

  • You’d need to develop technologies to grind grain into flour.

  • Similar to the ancient Roman water wheel

  • or medieval windmill.

  • Otherwise, you’d be stuck doing it all by hand.

  • Hopefully, it wouldn’t take you and your community too long

  • to figure out something that works.

  • Then you’d finally be able to concentrate

  • on more complex things.

  • Like power sources other than fire.

  • After years of rebuilding the basics,

  • it may be tempting to think

  • you could pick up exactly where modern society left off.

  • By burning fossil fuels.

  • But you’d find that weve already used

  • so much of these resources up,

  • they would no longer be so easily accessible.

  • You’d need to build extremely complex drilling systems in very remote areas.

  • And that wouldn’t be so realistic after an apocalypse.

  • You’d likely be limited to burning things.

  • And if you want to start any large-scale industrial projects,

  • such as making steel, bricks or glass,

  • you’d need to burn a lot of fuel.

  • Charcoal would probably be the best available option.

  • Charcoal burns hot. Hotter than coal.

  • It’s practically carbon neutral too,

  • so this would be a relatively sustainable model

  • to rebuild your society with.

  • You could take a few lessons from Brazil,

  • which is currently the largest charcoal producer in the world.

  • Just take your timber, air-dry it,

  • pile it into a soil-covered mound and let it smolder.

  • If that’s not sustainable enough for you,

  • Well, I’m sorry to say that

  • you wouldn’t be able to jump right into using renewable energy.

  • While it would seem nice to throw up a bunch of solar panels and call it a day,

  • these are made from pure silicon.

  • And silicon is sand

  • processed in a complicated manner you wouldn't be able to replicate just yet.

  • And then there'd be possibly the most important step of all,

  • communication.

  • Connection is vital for human beings.

  • You’d need to find and talk to other survivors

  • in order to save the human race as a whole.

  • Now, on a small scale, you could communicate with your local community

  • by teaching people and inspiring them.

  • Stories are a great way to retain information.

  • A well-told story

  • could make it 20 times easier to remember important facts.

  • But to find survivors beyond your immediate surroundings,

  • basic technology, like a radio, would be vital.

  • This could seem simple,

  • but it would be even more complex than

  • building a toaster from scratch.

  • If you managed to figure that out,

  • the next challenge would be communicating messages.

  • This is where something like Morse code would come into play.

  • But there’s a good chance

  • you’d have to learn that from scratch.

  • The upside is that even if the people receiving the message

  • can't understand it right away,

  • they at least know there are others out there.

  • Once you established contact with other communities,

  • you could start trading with them.

  • You could share resources and information.

  • And that would improve both communities' ability to survive.

  • Piece by piece,

  • you’d be on the road to rebuilding society.

  • And who knows,

  • maybe you’d be off to a better start

  • since you’d be using the power of your collective intelligence

  • and will to survive.

  • Or maybe you’d like to see how well you’d fare

  • if you were the only person left on Earth.

  • But that’s a story

  • for another WHAT IF.

The world has ended.

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What If We Had To Rebuild Human Society From Scratch?

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    Yui posted on 2022/08/01
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