Are We Living In The Post Apocalyptic World?
Preppers around the world are busying themselves each day with preparing for emergencies and disasters, hoping that if/when something does happen they will be ready and able to successfully guide themselves and their family to safety. We watch the weather, we watch the news, we watch the skies and we watch each other. We listen for key words that we feel may be harbingers of what is to come, while we continue to prepare. Many preppers will never use their preps aside from training or simple stock rotation due to a lack of need.
Threats loom in the distance for preppers. Some of us fear a global economic crisis, and it would be hard to deny that possibility with a straight face these days. Many preppers fear a political Armageddon where the US Constitution is nullified and the jack boot of government comes crashing down on our collective necks. No matter the “reason” for your prepping, it seems that most of us are in a constant state of waiting for that “oh shit” moment.
As we all know, every word in the English language comes from the Greeks, and Apocalypse is no exception. The word “apocalypse” comes from the Greek word apokalyptein meaning “pertaining to the imminent end of the world”. Preppers use the term “post apocalyptic” to reference the time after the apocalypse when survival will be most perilous and all of their training and secreting of goods will finally pay off.
Mentioning the term “post apocalyptic” brings visions of dusty landscapes barren of discernible plant life, rusted automobiles that haven’t moved in years, rubble and smoke and an overall sensation of despair. Scenes from Mad Max, The Road and Book of Eli with their great interpretations of life after the event are often used to describe what we can all look forward to living. All of these scenes provide us with the impression that the post apocalyptic world is a harsh environment that is not conducive to happiness or that late 80’s feeling of living forever.
What if the big movie companies have gotten it wrong? What if we are already living in the post apocalyptic world? Is it possible that at this very moment as we toil through our daily lives going to work, mowing the grass, paying our bills and planning weddings, birthday parties and backyard barbeques that the human race is rushing headlong into the abyss of extinction? Does an extinction level event have to be something that the world watches happen, knowing that this is the end? Is it possible that we have all witnessed this event play out in front of us only to fail to recognize the significance?
An “Extinction Level Event” is thought to have caused the dinosaur die off 65 million years ago, although the exact cause is now under some discussion. Growing up I was taught that a great meteor impact in the Yucatan Peninsula was responsible for the death of the dinosaur and that made perfect sense to me. We had been studying “Cause and Effect” in school and I could understand the direct correlation between a giant space rock colliding with the Earth and great terrible death following. I guess that’s why some people are finding it hard to believe that a big part of the dinosaur extinction may have been caused by bacteria or viruses that were transferred between species when land bridges formed between continents and allowed isolated groups of dinosaurs to mingle with each other en masse. You see, no direct cause and effect, harder to grasp the concept.
So this begs the question; Is it post apocalypse after the chain of events is set into motion, or only after it is apparent to everyone involved that something has happened?
If there is an asteroid the size of Texas headed this way due to some deep space impact with another proto-planet sized object, the chain of events to destroy human life is already under way. In this case we are living on borrowed time, but the actual “event” has not occurred yet. Obviously if it is a thousand years before the asteroid reaches Earth we have time to do something about it, but what if we see it when it is two months away? Are we then living in the post apocalyptic world?
There has been a lot of talk amongst preppers and some media outlets that the United States government is in the process of a huge internal buildup. Some of the reports have identified huge sums of tactical equipment and weapons and ammunition for the Department of Homeland Security, others have discussed large stockpiles of food and medical supplies and the ever popular FEMA Camps. More recently there was a letter that is being attributed to Sheldon Songstad, retired Senator of the state of South Dakota, claiming that he is in direct knowledge of an extremely large ramp-up of supplies and training for DHS, FEMA and the CDC slated to be completed “no later than” November 1st, 2013. Why the hard cutoff date? Is this due to fiscal year budgeting, or is there another reason?
Now we are seeing increased tactical training where the civilian police are working side by side with military resources creating a very gray area for Posse Comitatus. These exercises have even included close formation military overflights with Blackhawk and Cobra helicopters, armored vehicles and in some cases live fire using automatic weapons and blanks. Shortly after the horrific bombings of the Boston Marathon we saw the Boston Police using techniques that have certainly earned the ire of many people in this nation as being heavy-handed or unconstitutional. I am not here to discuss the legalities of those actions, but I cite them as an example of increased militarization of civilian law enforcement.
All preppers know TEOTWAWKI to mean “The End Of The World As We Know It” but relatively few believe such a major event is likely to occur in our lifetime. Yes, there are possibilities such as the Yellowstone Caldera exploding, large asteroid impacts, huge CME’s taking out the power grids around the world, etc. These events are things that most people simply shake their head about. Even if they DID stop to think about them, most won’t worry about them and will probably blow them off by saying “I’ll be dead anyway” or “I don’t have time to think about it” which is rather dismissive and implies that anyone that does worry about it must not have much responsibility or is simply insane.
I believe the problem with TEOTWAWKI is frame of reference. It has become associated with “the end of everything” as opposed to it’s real meaning, which is the end of one life and the beginning of a new, different life. If the United States were to crumble economically and a new currency were to be named the “reserve currency” then that would certainly fall under TEOTWAWKI. Most of us would still be alive to see it happen, but it would certainly be a different world and would not resemble the one we had known.
I speak to this only to point out the significant difference between “post apocalyptic” and TEOTWAWKI and how the two terms are not necessarily interchangeable.
Are we in the post apocalyptic world already?
Are we living in a post apocalyptic world? Some people believe we are, and you may be surprised to know that they could be right.
Most people remember the Earthquake and subsequent Tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011. The damage to the region was cataclysmic and will not soon be forgotten. In the aftermath of that event we learned of damages to a power facility in Fukushima, Japan. The media bombarded us with pictures of damaged buildings, videos of water pouring through the region and warnings of nuclear meltdowns. In just a few short months however the news reports slowed and many people forgot about Fukushima.
Over the next two years the cleanup of Fukushima flew under the radar. Occasionally there would be a report of leaking nuclear waste or material and depending on the outlet that discussed it, the report was either ignored or filed away as unimportant. Recently however the reports have not been going unnoticed. The company in charge of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, TEPCO, has admitted to various leaks and issues, some of which are extremely frightening.
One such admission is that radioactive material, in the amount of up to 300 tons per day by some reports, has been leaking into the bay near the plant for the past two years. The picture below is attributed to the State Department, but I cannot confirm it’s authenticity.
Recent reports have also identified a second leak, this one coming from the coolant water storage tanks that have been erected near the reactors, that has spilled an estimated 300 tons of highly radioactive water onto the ground where much of it has been absorbed. These leaks are due to the construction of the tanks, (plastic seals I believe), and therefore could be indicative of all of the tanks that are on-site which may lead to more leaks. The reports talk about the aquifer potentially becoming contaminated and Tokyo being abandoned as uninhabitable, which would be terrible, but it isn’t the worst that could happen.
Of course, according to Forbes these leaks aren’t a problem at all. Once you read the article I would LOVE to see your comments. I may not be a genius but I know their comparisons were complete crap and not based in any form of reality.
Starting in early November (do we remember that timetable earlier in the article?) TEPCO will begin trying to manually remove some of the 1400 damaged nuclear fuel rods that are at the Fukushima facility. The fuel rod removal and subsequent cleanup could take 100 years according to some pundits. This process is normally handled by a computer controlled robot but due to the massive damage that will not be possible. I am not a nuclear physicist, therefore I cannot validate the following claims, but they are frightening.
According to some news outlets even a very minor slip up when removing these fuel rods could result in a chain reaction which would be unstoppable once it began. I don’t know if this would be a “melt down” or an explosion, or if those are one in the same, but it certainly doesn’t sound good. Especially when some estimates are saying that there is 14,000 times more nuclear material involved than that of the bomb that hit Hiroshima in World War II. Still, that isn’t the worst that could happen.
Contrary to the wonderful article above from Forbes I am worried about the amount of radioactive pollution entering the ocean from Fukushima, and the potential for much, much more. I am a firm believer in the delicate balance of life in our oceans and I understand the concept of the Circle of Life beginning with the plankton or phytoplankton of the deep. Could this small amount of radiation, too small to affect humans, be large enough to affect this tiny creatures? I don’t know, but I guess it’s plausible.
A Sobering Thought
If the radiation from Fukushima has already been affecting the ocean life and spreading around the planet killing plankton and phytoplankton we could already be living in a post apocalyptic world. Unlike the Hollywood blockbusters we are used to this would probably be a slow death, one we may not even begin to notice for months or even years. Although there may be reports relating to the fisheries, including studies showing that fish throughout the Pacific may not be safe to eat.
Even though the problem may not be evident to the average Joe, it is probable that certain government agencies would be keyed into these facts and would start their preparations. What preparations would a country need to take if they were looking at such an event?
First, they would need to locate emergency food supplies. They would need food to keep people somewhat under control initially. Most people will remain calm in the face of a crisis if they are able to get some of the staples they need. If you need further evidence of this fact just look at any of the global food crisis programs around the world and see how the people there have come to accept life as long as their food shows up.
Before long however people will start to get anxious and ask questions. Some people will try to start groups that will fight against the powers that be, thereby threatening the stability of the authority. It would be a good idea at that point to know how to deal with these people and to have somewhere to put them.
Eventually the news will break and people will start rioting and going crazy, because that’s something that always helps a bad situation, and the authority will need to step in and take firm control. There will be a need at that point for the authority to have some form of standing army or defense force and it would need to be well equipped. When all hell breaks loose victory may be determined solely by who runs out of ammo first.
In The End
In the end it doesn’t matter if we know we are living in the post apocalyptic world or not, there’s nothing we can do about it. The dinosaurs didn’t know they were doomed when the asteroid that killed them was slammed out of the asteroid belt and sent on it’s way 100 million years before their demise. Technically speaking once that chain of events was started they were living in a post-apocalyptic world. When ours comes, we may see it coming, or we may not. I continue to plan and prep, because there are a lot of things out there that we need to be ready for before the apocalypse comes, or finishes, or whatever.
Please also see this video regarding Fukushima radiation and damage
More post apocalyptic reading? Check out my other post – The Real Apocalypse (written before Fukushima)