fava beans

What’s your post-apocalyptic skill?  This subject keeps coming up at Coffee Social.  We humans are brilliant animals who can orbit the earth in a space station and trap all of human knowledge in a smart phone, but if all hell broke loose, would we have the basic skills needed to survive?

Barry, for example, wants to be able to create his own energy.  Solar power is great, but our current photovoltaic technology is so complex to manufacture that it’s not a do-it-yourself solution.  Hydro or wind might be more realistic. Chris brought to the table his new post-apocalyptic skill: He’s building “the Internet in print.”  In other words, a bookstore.  Online for now, but come mass disaster he’ll be armed with low-tech paper versions of all that info we lost when the web went down.

But what about the basics: Food, clothing, shelter?  There was a great quote in one of the Doctor Dolittle books that has stuck with me for years.  With his unique ability to communicate with animals, the good Doctor finds himself having to explain to them his need for money, surely a foreign concept to non-human inhabitants of this planet.  A bird can forage for seeds and a bear can catch a salmon, but most of us humans have lost our hunter/gatherer skills. A bird has feather and a bear has fur, but we’re born naked and unprotected from the elements. And while a bird may build a nest and a bear may find a cozy cave, most people live in elaborate houses that require many specialized trades and a large sum of cash.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?  After Phil brought in some recent research on climate change predictions, even the best-case scenarios leave us wondering if we might actually need these skills for more than a hypothetical zombie takeover.  You might also notice how “resilience” is beginning to replace “sustainability” as the buzz word du jour.  Being resilient meaning boning up on some basics so we have the ability to take care of ourselves and our communities if need be.  And who knows? Those post-apocalyptic skills might even come in handy without a major disaster.

Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. Edited by Linda Jay.
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