A survival skills teacher says that in order to survive in post climate-change apocalypse, we’ll need empathy, generosity, and courage to survive. Kindness and fairness will be more valuable than any survival skill.
While I do not believe in “climate-change apocalypse,” per se (that’s a discussion I don’t have time or space to get into, here), what archaeologist and wilderness survival instructor Chris Begley describes here applies, as he points out, just about any imaginable apocalyptic scenario: “climate change, neoliberalism, authoritarianism, zombies, or a meteor.” He left out X-class solar flares, but yes!
Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world “will be harder than we think, and we will need different talents than the survival skills I teach,” Begley reminds us, and continues,
“I study how people live and how societies change, in the past and present. I cannot predict the future, obviously, but no likely disaster scenario fits our fantasies. No tragic yet convenient event will allow us to discard our complex, messy, and ever-changing social reality and live out our rugged individualistic fantasy. We will not be by ourselves, with only the people we choose, avoiding those we do not understand or trust. We will not be free from the need to cooperate and compromise…
“While the wilderness survival skills certainly can’t hurt, it will be empathy, generosity, and courage that we need to survive. Kindness and fairness will be more valuable than any survival skill. Then as now, social and leadership skills will be valued. We will have to work together. We will have to grow food, educate ourselves, and give people a reason to persevere. The needs will be enormous, and we cannot run away from that. Humans evolved attributes such as generosity, altruism, and cooperation because we need them to survive. Armed with those skills, we will turn towards the problem, not away from it. We will face the need, and we will have to solve it together. That is the only option. That’s what survival looks like.”
That said, we may have to draw firmer boundaries than our present culture gives us the luxury of avoiding. Resources will be limited, and no one can save everyone. Deciding who to let into our circle and who to exclude, and why, will be one of the tougher, but also most essential, decisions which post-apocalyptic survivors will (if the worst happens, from which, God defend us!) have to make.