(Photo Brian Stansberry)
No, not zombies; they rate quite low on my list of things to worry about – somewhere below the dangers of escaped Unicorns – I mean actual Extinction Level Events (ELE).
So, what’s the most likely ELE? Well, lots of people have chosen to research this question. The list includes an asteroid impact, a global pandemic, political or economic meltdown, large scale war involving WMDs, a massive power blackout and the end of oil (I'm sure you can think of a few more).
The one that is only just entering public awareness is global warming (yes, I know we're supposed to call it 'climate change', but that's like calling a decapitation an 'injury incompatible with life') - we're living in the slow apocalypse folks!
Our erstwhile leaders can debate endlessly whether the economy can afford a 1% cut to the increase in profits due to meeting new recycling targets, but I think it's up to us, as individuals, to actually prepare ourselves to survive it.
Brace yourselves for the next century - it's going to sting a bit! A list of some of the most exciting things to expect coming up!
1. The sea's coming in - yes, all that expensive coastal property is going to become posh new rubble as it floods. The land around it will become very salty and/or swampy, and incapable of supporting agriculture. This means the growing population of the world will have to cope with less and less space.
2. Storms will get more powerful, and less predictable. Windspeeds, amount of rainfall, storm surges will all be amplified by the increased energy in the atmosphere. Storms like the famous one of 1987 could start turning up every year. Seasons will get more extreme; much harsher winters, long rainless summers. Everything gets drier, so serious wild fires become a lot more common.
3.Entire populations of people will have to move. High ground, further away from the equator will become magnets for displaced people. Even in the UK, people will be forced to move away from the flat, coastal counties and move further inland.
4. Entire ecosystems will collapse, making food production and clean water less capable of meeting demand.
5. Competition will increase for resources. Yep, water wars will become more common than oil wars. Food and fuel prices will increase massively. Global trade will fall off, leading to more shortages, especially in developed countries, who are far less likely to be self-sufficient in food and manufacturing.
What to do?
1. Move inland, especially away from urbanised flood plains, or reclaimed land, or build a house that can survive flooding.
2. Prepare to cope with big storms (Category 6 storms will become all too common) and floods. Get some sandbags and a boat!
3. Plan for either having to suddenly move, or for lots of desperate people to turn up where you live. Planning to fortify your home and fight them off is simply not realistic; there's going to be a lot more of them! How will your community respond if several thousand refugees turn up? Is there land around to house them, or to grow extra crops? It's far, far better to try and gain the sympathies of thousands of displaced persons on your doorstep, than to antagonise them. They may be around for a while (years), and you may well end up joining them!
4. Become as self-reliant as you can - grow as much of your own food as you can, and plan on how you could expand your operation. Try to become energy - independent if you can, or figure out how you can cope without electricity. However, be careful about not becoming seen as an electricity station by roving bandits, militia or military; they may just occupy your site, and turn you out. Have a back-up plan, for where you could move to.
5. Learn how people in history coped with sieges and military occupation. This is a good article on the sorts of lessons learned from Bosnian War survivors, there are also good ones from Syria and Rwanda.
So, go outside, and enjoy the sunshine. You never know, it may well become a permanent feature of British weather!