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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Apocalypse, now (or pretty soon anyway)

What if the world as we know it is coming to an end and the apocalypse lurks around the corner--do you have what it takes to survive?

If this is something you haven't really spared a thought on lately, you must be reading the wrong papers. Apocalypse seems to be the new black, at least in the left-leaning British press that I like to read. The other day I stumbled upon a hillarious article by Guardian journalist Tanya Gold who went into the wild forests of Devon to learn how to prepare for the morning after the big (and I mean BIG) collapse.

"I am an urban girl. I have no skills except whingeing and bingeing. I can barely open a packet of Hobnobs without an explosive device. But, unlike you, doomed and dying reader, I have decided to prepare for The End, and I am prepared to share the life-saving knowledge I will accrue. This is your cut-out-and-keep guide to the apocalypse. Put it in a drawer. One day you may need it."

In her scenario, you wake up one day --post plague, say--and almost everyone is dead, so there's no one to provide your running water or electricity. Or food, for that matter.

I know what you will say--what's the likelihood of something like that happening? All right, perhaps it is not very likely that an avian flu or nuclear war will wipe out a good portion of humanity, but we seem to be on the verge of (or in the middle, or on the first ladder of a very long descent into) a major global economic crisis. That in itself is pretty scary, too.

So even before all these survive-the-apocalypse-guides started appearing in the media I caught myself thinking, well what if the crisis gets really bad and our world changes dramatically? I'm not talking apocalypse here, just a very bad economic crisis with almost no jobs and very little money in circulation--something like we had in Serbia in the 1990s.

What can I do that is practical? Almost nothing, really. I can cook, but can't grow my own food. I can write, edit, translate and write communications strategies but how much would that be in demand? In times like those it's good to be able to do something with your hands: grow food, repair plumbing, fix teeth, make clothes, take out an appendix (ideally, all of the above).

So, should I get worried? Are you?

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