The Next Level

For there to be any meaning at all to anything written on this page, we have to assume that the worst of the crisis was averted, or the transition is not yet complete. As expected. sea levels have risen, but not to the full extent possible. People are surviving in small communities, but have had to make drastic changes to be able to do so.

Money, and credit, have long since disappeared. Barter is the only method of trade that makes sense under these conditions.

Communities specialise in whatever commodities they can in order to be able to exchange with other communities along the newly established trade routes. Solar furnaces enable some metal smelting to continue where metals are available. The coinage has long since been commandeered for this purpose. The blacksmith’s trade lives again, and occasional foundries cast metal for basic agricultural implements, such as ploughs and harrows.

Communities established early enough have additional manufacturing capabilities, but these are geared to providing energy sources, such as solar cells, Stirling motors, LED’s and reflectors. There is a need to produce more copper wire, but much research and planning must be done to bring this project to completion.

The other main source of power is compressed air. Although this suffered a decline with the advent of the electric drill, under these conditions it is again much in demand. Its great advantage is its simplicity, and hand or foot-powered compressors are easily maintained.

Some radio communication still exists, but no longer in the sense of broadcasting. The equipment itself is from earlier days, and is maintained from a supply of spare parts that were thoughtfully procured in time. Transmission is at prearranged times, and receiving communities know when to switch on and tune in. They in turn will transmit their messages at their allotted time. Power for the radios will depend on the prevailing conditions – solar if possible, otherwise hand- or pedal-powered generators. The main purpose of this communication is to pass on information from the central library. This was planned in advance, and provides data on all aspects of the previous civilisation to those that request it.

Food production is precarious at first. Soils are impoverished, and have to be improved. This occurs over a period of years using organic techniques. Hedgerows and windshields are essential, however, as strong winds easily damage crops. Trees themselves may need the support of ropes and stakes to prevent their total destruction under high-wind conditions. Similarly, good soil drainage and erosion prevention is necessary to cope with the increased rainfall.

Cottage industries are common enough. Materials are woven from whatever local produce is available, flax for linen, wool is spun into thread, and cloth produced on simple hand looms. Some communities have a small tannery to enable footwear to be produced. Those without, must rely on trade for these products, but can bring hides in payment for the product.

Poultry is reared as before, but is mostly allowed to roam free, there being only limited materials available for fencing. They must be collected and housed at night, for predators – mostly cats and dogs gone wild – would soon decimate the stock. Predators are also trapped and eaten when the opportunity arises.

Dairy farming is very limited, as pasture land at lower levels has had to be converted to grow crops. All dairy produce is locally produced, the large-scale collection and trucking of milk around the country having been consigned to history.

Medicines are severely limited in supply, and are reserved primarily for pregnant women. There is a plan to produce simple painkillers such as Aspirin, but as usual this requires careful planning and the availbility of resources.

Alcoholic drinks are not available. Beer would not be difficult from an energy viewpoint, but all grain is required for food production. Beer will only be produced when a surplus can be guaranteed.

Biogas systems are commonly used for the disposal of faeces and waste crop material.

Water is a difficult commodity, but can be managed using a variety of systems. Rain water collection is the prime source, and this is supplemented by dew ponds and fog fences. The fog fences are particularly vulnerable in high winds, and must be sited correctly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The foregoing is of course mostly conjecture, but serves to demonstrate that continued survival would be possible if we are capable of adapting to the new conditions. The conditions themselves will be harsher than those that existed in say medieval times, as resources will be much more limited.

It should also be possible to see that our starting point can be greatly improved by planning ahead of the change, and procuring stocks of goods that will be needed, but at first cannot be manufactured.

Furthermore, there is nothing to stop us moving to higher ground now, establishing our base well ahead of the requirement, and adjusting our lifestyle to suit. However, this is not recommended as individuals. Far better would be to establish the community early, and be prepared to defend it when the time comes.

We should be under no illusions at all about one thing:-

    The transition will not be pretty!

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