1. A community of fans, aspiring writers, and published novelists, we are the world's largest - and friendliest! - science fiction and fantasy forums.

    Registration is free, and we regularly give away free books and DVDs.

    So why not join now and meet people with similar interests and tastes in books, movies, and TV?

    Log in with Facebook

    Log in with Twitter

    Dismiss Notice

End of the world

Discussion in 'World affairs' started by Brian Turner, Dec 24, 2002.

  1.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    16,344
    Location:
    Nairn, Highland
    Anyone else here got a doomsayer survival mentality?

    Got something of it here - had it in my head for ages that if I had the money I'd take the family to some fairly remote place and grow our own food and learn self-sufficency. Keep modern trappings, of course - simply not reliant on them for survival.

    Thing is - what is this mentality, and why do so many people have it?

    My pet theory is that my own comes from growing under the bomb - during the "Cold War". Who couldn't take an interest in the fact that entire cities could be wiped out with the relevant magatonnage?

    Local paper once published an item that showed the radius of damage if an "average" bomb were dropped on the middle of our town. Not encouraging reading.

    But now, although the threat of global nuclear destruction appears over, we now have mutiple local nuclear destruction threats - seems that MAD no longer has teeth - especially when countries such as India and Pakistan cannot annihilate each other with nuclear weapons - merely cause extreme but localised destruction.

    Maybe also there's the notion of the human biological drive to adapt to threats - nowadays we are aware of a whole range of threats of various magnitude - from local bioterrorism to global information/ power shutdown through reversal of the earth's magnetic field. And our drive tells us to find ways of facing, addressing, and conquering those threats in a way that keeps us safe. So far as possible, anyhow.

    So the question is - anyone else here feel affected by the same mentality? If so, to what degree? Not doing much (simply worrying), looking to address in future (like myself), or already there (nuclear bunker already fully kitted out)?

    If anyone does, what's your own reasoning, if any, for your own drive? Do you really expect something?
     
  2.  
    nemesis

    nemesis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    154
    The world has always existed in a state of change. The modern world exists in an ever greater state of change. The human reaction to change is adaptation. You perceive threats in the modern world and are prepared to adapt to survive those threats. Whether those threats ever occur is immaterial.
     
  3.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    16,344
    Location:
    Nairn, Highland
    Although I do not subscribe the notion of a sudden apocalypse, I see a very troubled 21st century ahead.

    Global warming is an issue we're aware of, but I don't see much in the way of long-term thinking being applied. Anyone here living on a flood plain? I am - Hull is reclaimed marsh and very prone to flooding. A long term goal would therefore be to establish a relatively permanent home on higher ground elsewhere (even Yorkshire, in general, is pretty flat).

    Another issue related to global warming - but little discussed - is the comprehension of the political tensions that are going to result from all the issues related to global warming.

    If we're facing changes rain patterns, we're facing changes in local fresh water supplies. And perhaps worse than that, rainfall changes will inevitably cause changes in agricultural use. If we get those we're talking serious political tensions arising.

    All in all, in terms of the issues that will continue through my lifespan, I'm thinking in terms of finding a suitably safe home base from which to raise and maintain a secure and safe family.

    Is that such a bizarre survival instinct?
     
  4.  
    Survivor

    Survivor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2002
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    In the shade
    Every scientifically valid model of global warming indicates that it will not cause significant increases in sea levels for a few centuries, at least (the nature of the Antartic ice cap, which is the crux of the matter, may be such that even a 50 degree increase in global temperature would take millenia to have an effect).

    Precipitation patterns are more difficult to predict, but the development of new technologies are making irregular rainfall more a matter of monetary costs than of catastrophe (at least in developed nations...).

    And yet, there is a looming crisis point. Even today, conflict in the Islamic world is threatening a series of limited nuclear/biological/chemical wars. Within twenty years, indications are that China will make a play for dominance, and America will either fight them or sink into a secondary role (which has it's own implications). In fifty years we will have "solved" the human genome, a crisis point that we cannot fully imagine. In a century...but we'll never make it that far.

    How sudden do you want your apocalypse? I give humanity another thirty years at the outside.
     
  5.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    16,344
    Location:
    Nairn, Highland
    The problem with precipation patterns is that adaption is dependent upon local geography and resources. One perception I developed a few years back was the possibility of detrimental changes of rainfall hitting the Great Plains of the USA.

    Granted, it's a huge geography, but I'm talking long-term. There are already drought issues in certain areas, and with the US agricultural sector already heavily subsidised the possibility of it becoming increasingly vulnerable would set a very regretable set of circumstances.

    Of course, rainfall isn't the only issue - worse and more frequent east coast hurricanes, stronger and more frequent mid-state tornadoes. Then there are the temperature differences and how that affects soil fertility, not to mention the spread of tropical disease into temperate zones - not simply dramatic human disease, but dramatic plant disease and even those that would attack cattle etc.

    Sounds a little alarmist, but over the coming decades the US agricultual sector (not to mention others) is going to face serious issues related to Global Warming - a very issue it practically denies even exists.

    As for China, though - it wants to play the power game, sure. But they're playing a global game. It's not a case of military domination, as much as economic, that they appear to want to play at. And doing so would certainly be a challenge to any agressive ideaology.
     
  6.  
    Voice

    Voice New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Messages:
    4
    all empire fall--the american empire is sat on top of the largest debt ever seen in the world--it is a precarious throne--substantial and prolonged problems will destabilise--then there will be the worst crash on wall street--the global effects would be terrible--the us dollar is the world currency
     
  7.  
    Survivor

    Survivor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2002
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    In the shade
    Anyway, the point is that Global Warming is a long term problem that we don't understand all that well. Given that the Earth right now is colder than optimal for life, it may well be beneficial--if we're still around to enjoy it ;)

    Our problems are closer than next century or even next decade. And pretty soon one of them is going to get us. A global economic collapse is a real possibility, but it probably won't start in America. The problem is that it can start anywhere. The likelyhood of a significant nuclear exchange goes up with every state, whether or not a "rogue", that developes nuclear weapons, and we'll develop bioweapons capable of ending all human life well before we develop a reliable protocal for countering such weapons. A comet hitting the Earth might still be dismissed by some as science fiction, but it has happened in the past and will again. The only thing science fictional is that we would be able to do anything about it if one shows up in the next few years. On the other hand, our western love of technological progress may yet kill us all.

    In any case, even a "minor" catastrophe could cause enough economic disruption that self-sufficiency is hardly an irrational idea. Americans had a brief craze for 72 hour kits after 9/11, and long term food storage has always been popular in the western states. Keep in mind that one of the supplies you'll need is ammunition ;)
     
  8.  
    nemesis

    nemesis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    154
    There are many threats but humanity is hugely adaptable. It is unlikely that we will face a global collapse except in the face of a global catastrophe. Even then storing food and selfsustainence would help little in the face of it. Humanity is an adaptable animal. Short of immediate extinction we would survive any event. The question is as to whether civilization as we know it would continue.
     
  9.  
    Survivor

    Survivor Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2002
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    In the shade
    Well, obviously there's no point hiding in the woods from something that's going to wipe out the whole species. We were talking about disasters that could make hiding out in the woods a serious survival strategy.

    A global economic collapse could caused by a very localized catastrophe, if the local were in the Middle East, or Europe, or East Asia or...well, you get the idea. Heck, this Venezualan strike has OPEC worrying about the price of oil (I'm betting that they're thinking of the European economy more than the US).

    In any case, civilization as I know it would continue ;)
     
  10.  
    Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,853
    Reviving this ancient thread, which I just discovered.
     
  11.  
    BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2014
    Messages:
    5,904
    For some reason this bring to mind the History channel's Life After People .
     
    Cat's Cradle likes this.
  12.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    16,344
    Location:
    Nairn, Highland
    Cat's Cradle likes this.
  13.  
    Mirannan

    Mirannan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,353
    Global warming (and the associated changes in weather patterns and sea level) is far from the only possible catastrophe affecting the entire Earth. There are many more local disasters, which I won't mention here. It's probably also not worth discussing potential disasters about which we can do nothing; false vacuum decay, GRB blast aimed at us, rogue massive object wandering through Sol system...

    Just a few:

    Asteroid strike; Chelyabinsk gave us another reminder. Worth noting that the budget for NEO detection (never mind doing anything about them) is less than Americans spend on lipstick.

    Global war; unlikely to be a Cold War inspired scenario, but others are possible. For one example, google "Three Conjectures."

    Plague, whether natural or artificial. It's getting easier by the year to muck about with the genome of microbes; sooner or later, hacking by irresponsible teenagers in the garage becomes possible. (Or by terrorists, for that matter.)

    Nanodisaster AKA grey goo scenario.

    Singularity event with the associated AIs being hostile. If humanity has to contend with a hostile weakly godlike entity, then we are well and truly f*cked.

    Any others?
     
  14.  
    svalbard

    svalbard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,452
    It is interesting in looking at the older posts in this thread and how some things just do not change. Conflict in the Middle-East is still an issue, China is still spreading its influence and The US continues to weaken.

    My theory is that the next great war will be one for natural resources due to the pressures of Global Warming.
     
  15.  
    Ray McCarthy

    Ray McCarthy Editing, Proofing, Publishing.

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    7,227
    Location:
    Ireland
    Water, not Oil.
    Even if there wasn't Global Warming.

    The Arab, Russian and South American oil is no longer strategic.
     
  16.  
    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Messages:
    16,344
    Location:
    Nairn, Highland
    Five years after I posted this, there was catastrophic flooding in Hull - one in every ten homes damaged. Ironically, the street I'd lived in wasn't particularly affected. By then, I'd already left and was living on top of a small hill in Scotland. :)
     
  17.  
    Quellist

    Quellist Last of the lost

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    UK
    Good thread. And yes, I have had this mindset all my life, but the past few years it has grown.
    Now I have quite a large family, the desire is tempered by the need for schools and so on, but I still yearn for a simpler existance, away from the crowds.
    At the moment we are in the early stages of planning moving to Ireland, we can get a good size family home, rural location, with enough land to grow all my own veg, build an office, and plenty of space for the kids and animals. It would give me a mortgage of aro around 60% of my current one that covers a 3 bed terrace with a tiny courtyard garden.

    Self reliance is valuable to me for its own sake, hopefuly this will pass to my children. And should it ever become a survival issue, then we have a head start.
     
  18.  
    Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,853
    The first half or so of Schumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed is probably one of the most influential books on my thinking, notably the hierarchical ontology that he describes.
     
    Brian Turner likes this.
  19.  
    Ray McCarthy

    Ray McCarthy Editing, Proofing, Publishing.

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2014
    Messages:
    7,227
    Location:
    Ireland
    I sort of tried that 30 years ago. But not enough land or capital.
    Feel free to pop in for a chat and cup of tea.
     
  20.  
    Quellist

    Quellist Last of the lost

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    900
    Location:
    UK
    Best value place we've seen is in cork, 4 bed house, nice size, set in the middle of what looks like close to an acre of grass. That is just enough really, I only need a basic block built office around 3 metre sq at most. The dogs need a secure patch to run in, so 10 to 15 sq m, and maybe 10sq m for growing veg. The rest for nice space/kids etc.
    That place is 65k in uk £. My 3 bed terrace with no space is currently worth around 140 to 150. That gives us around 35k equity. Use 25 as deposit and have a 40k morgage instead of 115. If i took a job as badly paid as mind is currently, we'd still be hugely better off financialy AND have a better lifestyle.


    I'll take you up on that cuppa ray. May be a while yet, but its in planning =)
     
Loading...

Share This Page