I know most people will read my previous article and think they can see a realistic scenario for surviving without electricity. Let me see:
1. Going completely pre-industrial. Have a farm, grow livestock, staples and vegetables, use animal waste and compost as fertiliser. Use wind or water to power a mill. Manage a forest as a sustainable source of fuel for the winter. Great plan, it would work, until hungry, desperate, violent and armed people from the cities come and take your farm. If you resist they kill you, if you don’t resist they make you their slave, and since there’s lots of them, the farm suddenly can’t produce enough to sustain all of them. Best case scenario, they repeat the dark ages feudalism scenario and occupy several farms on a territory, and take 10% of produce from each. This is long-term sustainable, but it would take lots of trial and error until they get there. Let’s say you were very “lucky” and you get to live as a serf.
2. Going sustainable high-tech. Have a solar power plant on your farm, produce biodiesel for your tractor, grow animals, staples and vegetables. Great plan, and it would work, until something breaks down and there are no spare parts; also, everything from 1. applies and you are eventually found by an armed gang and either killed or enslaved.
3. Let’s say you create/live in a sustainable enclave, or you are seriously lucky and your community can control a power plant (hydroelectric or nuclear) that can work sustainably for decades. You also have functional agriculture and limited industry. Good for you. Now you’re the prime target for everybody else in the world who wants what you have. You defend it, and the armed conflict destroys the assets and now nobody has them; everybody dies. Or you don’t defend them and somebody else takes over, and you are either enslaved, killed or exiled.
4. You have an underground shelter stocked with food, have access to a filtered water source or huge tanks of water, have some sort of a power generator that can go for decades (let’s say it’s hydroelectric, powered by a subterranean water flow). Nobody knows you’re there, and you don’t know what’s outside. You possibly use your underground facility as a base for conducting raids on the surface, to replenish your supplies. Congratulation, you became a Morlock.
5. Join an armed gang that robs, kills and enslaves people. The problem is, you turn into a predatory beast and sacrifice virtue for survival. Not the best tradeoff to make, in my opinion.
6. Form an alliance with farmers, where you protect them with weapons and they feed you. Alternatively, the farmers form a wider alliance and feed a protective paramilitary force that’s known and trusted. Joining such a community is a good option, if they will take you, but the problem is that they will most likely shoot outsiders on sight.
7. You have an unsustainable, but substantial cache of supplies. You wait for things to improve. They don’t. Your supplies either run out, or attract robbers.
8. You belong to some native community that traditionally survives off the land in some rainforest, desert or wasteland, where trained traditional people can live off the land, but the resources are so shitty nobody else would find it worthwhile to fight over. The problem is, if you don’t live like this now, it won’t happen.
So, this is my problem with preparing for apocalyptic scenarios: when I apply game theory to them, they all either turn into dead ends, or shitty life that’s not worth living. All the prepping scenarios where you can do something constructive are those that assume a local, contained disaster where the rest of the world is fine and help will eventually come, or a disaster that degrades the civilisation, but everything more-less manages to limp along afterwards, and improves after a while.