Don't Hunker in the Bunker; Learn How to Do Stuff That's Useful

Public Domain. US Department of Agriculture

TreeHugger has covered the repurposing and reusing of old missile bases and bunkers, and recently discussed the New Yorker article on the subject of high-end survivalists like Peter Thiel, who are buying up New Zealand as the last great place to escape to. In the end, we quoted our own Sami and his call for resilience, redundancy and adaptability.

Now Wes Siler takes up the discussion in Outside Magazine with a really sensible look at the subject, and explains “how you can prepare for the apocalypse better than a billionaire.”

Siler goes through the New Yorker article as we did, but says we really have to ask “what if”- will these plans work? Can you get to New Zealand?

What if the earthquake damages the airport where you keep your private jet? What if your pilot can’t get through traffic? What if he decides to fly his family to safety instead of his employer? What if the airport is out of fuel? What if John Cusack steals your plane, and your seat on the mega ship? These guys are rich, so maybe the also have a boat or two. What if a tsunami caused by that earthquake sinks them? What if what turns out to be doomsday happens on the crew’s day off? What if you’re playing golf with your buddy Donald at the Winter White House, when he decides to push the big red button and your boats are all on the West Coast?

Siler makes the point that it’s complicated. These big disasters are by their very nature, unpredictable. He is not big on the survival condo either, thinking it will make a fine target for those looking for a ready supply of food and weapons.

But if we’re going to enter the fantasy realm of apocalypse scenarios, then it’s also logical to hypothesize about the villains that may emerge in those fantasy scenarios. Do you really think Immortan Joe and his War Boys would have trouble getting into a simple bunker protected by a single sniper post? In more realistic circumstances, there are 21.8 million veterans in the U.S., with various levels of professional expertise in solving problems like bunker busting. Hell, there’s more guns than people in this country. Fixed locations are inherently vulnerable by their very nature, subject to siege, and allowing attackers to patiently plan ways to penetrate them.
lesson from grandma

Civil Defense Museum/Public Domain

Siler is writing for Outside Magazine here, and people who read Outside usually have some outside skills. He happens to be fond of motorcycles (good for getting around stuck cars, just watch Elijah Wood in Deep Impact) and he likes to hunt. He thinks that we should all just get competent, healthy and learn how to do stuff.

Throughout the New Yorker piece, there’s an air of secrecy. No one wants to tell you exactly where their hideout is or what they’ve got stored in it. Well, I’m happy to share my doomsday survival plan. I spend my time developing fitness, recreating outdoors, and making stuff with my hands. I know I can navigate through the wilderness, because that’s just a fun weekend for me and my dog. I know I can set a broken arm, because I’ve set mine. I know I can build a house, because that used to be my job. And I don’t have to wait for the apocalypse for that stuff to pay off, those experiences give me a good life right now. Please, feel free to steal my survival plan.

I like that plan. That’s resilience and adaptability. And it is a lot cheaper than a farm in New Zealand. Read it all in Outside Magazine.