Although the story is fiction, the threat is very real.
If an atomic bomb is detonated above the earth’s atmosphere, it can generate a pulse wave which travels at the speed of light and can short circuit every electronic device that the wave touches on the earth’s surface. It is like a super lightning bolt striking next to your house and taking our your computer except infinitely worse, for it would strike our entire nation, most likely without warning, and could destroy our entire complex electrical grid and everything attached to that grid.
I know this because Newt said so.
Yes, that Newt, and this time I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. A newt is a salamander and can alternate between aquatic and terrestrial environments, which could prove helpful in this situation.
At first it seems that we could survive without electricity. After all, mankind was able to live without it for thousands of years. But consider the fact that we are overly dependent on electronics. It is virtually impossible to live off the grid, no matter how clever you may be. Any late model car with a computer system would come to a screeching halt. All cell phones and computers would cease to work, and large computerized planes without manual overrides would probably crash. Those that are the most vulnerable would die first. It will become survival of the fittest. Medicine, food, and water would become scarce, and without communication to the outside world, each of us would be responsible for our own survival.
In the book, the elderly and those that depended on life-saving medication died first. I imagine that probably would happen, but I can’t help but think of a teenager who lost his or her cell phone, tablet, and computer. They couldn’t Google “how to survive.” I doubt many would know how to find food or shelter on their own. Consider having some food storage available for your family and pets just in case COSTCO closes. It could happen.
As the story continues, people began rationing food and killing animals, including horses and dogs, for food. They also were forced to kill others that were after their food. What if everyone had a big enough garden to feed themselves? The characters in the book were lamenting the fact that their meat (dead animal) would go bad and cause foodborne illnesses without refrigeration. We now know that even properly refrigerated meat can cause illness. I can testify to the fact that veggies grown in a greenhouse will last much longer and are much more sustainable than animal products. What if you could just pick what you needed for each meal? Stored nuts and grains could help round out nutritional needs.
What if instead of raising cattle and pigs and chickens that need to be fed, people grew vegetables instead? It would require less water and land, and more food could be raised to feed more people. Trust me, you can live without animal products, and if you do, you may not require any of the medications that so many are dependent on for survival. I speak from experience, but if you don’t believe me, do a bit of research while your computer still works.
I’m appalled at the number of people who think gardening is too much work. Yes, it requires some effort, but I would think most would rather put forth the effort than starve to death. I am reminded of a young man I talked with recently who was digging a ditch by hand in the vineyard next to our house. He admitted that digging wasn’t the most fun he has had recently but preferred to focus on the fact that he didn’t need to spend any time at the gym and he was working outside in the fresh air. Yep. Win-win for everyone. If his car stopped 20 miles away from home, he could probably walk the distance without dying, unlike many in the book.
If you car suddenly stopped away from home and you couldn’t call anyone to come get you, could you walk the distance? If you are in Las Vegas, you might be out of luck, but could you walk from St. George to Veyo? If not, maybe you need to think hard about how you would survive in a similar situation and make a few changes.
Addiction to drugs, tobacco, or alcohol could cause much suffering as well. Maybe it’s time for all of us to take steps to become more independent and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Not having an available supply of an addictive substance would make withdrawal even more miserable.
There are other threats that could wipe out humanity in an instant, and honestly, I’m rooting for one of those. To me, it is far more preferable to be vaporized in an instant than experience nuclear winter and starve to death. I happen to be a fan of the sun and like warmth and light. I never want to be forced to eat flesh of any kind ever again. At least our 1979 Cessna would still work. Maybe we could fly to a remote location with our dog and cat, grow a little medicinal marijuana, and die happy. Just saying.