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Disaster Planning for Social Collapse
Keep your brain switched ON © Martyn Carruthers

Online Survival Coaching & Counseling

Perhaps you can forgive yourself for being uninformed;
but CONSEQUENCES do not forgive anybody!

People cannot stand too much reality. Carl Jung

We not only risk natural and man-made disasters, we risk financial, commercial, political and social collapse. Things can go wrong slowly - or things can go wrong very quickly. Without trade, transport, banking or manufacturing, life could quickly diminish to desperate subsistence. It would be uglier than most people can imagine, and in the worse scenarios, many unprepared people will die.

It's not what you don't know that will hurt you.
It's what you know that isn't so.

This is a difficult article to write - and you may find it difficult to read.
Here is a Pandora's Box of unpleasant possibilities ... and solutions.

Do you see your lifestyle as a birthright? Do you believe that you deserve prosperity? Will you choose a sustainable lifestyle and reduce your standard of living? You may be forced to make these changes. A societal collapse would be fast and deep, and would hurt developed countries the most.

Few people will think about what the various collapses would look like,
or consider their impacts. Those who do not plan ahead may 
not survive. Survival will have little to do with luck.

In 1977 New York City suffered a power failure for one night. Over 3,000 arrests were made for looting, 400 policemen were injured, 500 fires were started, more than 25,000 emergency calls were placed and four times the usual number of hospital emergency cases were admitted - all following one lightning strike.

Civilization is a veneer. Many empires have declined and fallen. Persia, Greece, Egypt, Rome, Turkey, Britain, Spain, China and Russia ... and many of their collapses were self-inflicted. The collapses were not from being attacked - but from attacking.

American politicians wanted to police the world while maintaining its people's lifestyles beyond their ability to pay. America is losing its wealth ... like so many countries before. America's military (2012) seems to focus on exit strategies that are not too humiliating.

An economic collapse will likely hurt the richest countries most, although many if not all other countries will be affected. Survival in any country will require broadly similar strategies. What can you do?

  1. Decide to live - choose to survive!
  2. Be prepared - most people will do nothing!
  3. Get yourself healthy and understand the risks!
  4. Learn what to do before, during and after a collapse!
  5. Read, read, read! Perhaps start with Global Research
  6. Your best insurance? Decide to survive and stockpile essentials!

Professor Sir John Beddington, (UK government chief scientific adviser), says that
the world faces a perfect storm of climate change impacting food, energy and water.

Will your Social Parachute Open?

Little information about the risk of collapse and the difficulties of survival is available in any media. Despite the risk, survival training is nearly non-existent. Government agencies tasked to prepare for and mitigate disaster have been exposed as ineffective. Assume that you will be on your own.

Rule One: Don't trust your government to protect you.
You CAN trust them to protect themselves.

At best, life in the coming decades will become increasingly local and smaller scale. This can happen if cheap energy decreases smoothly, if people act intelligently and if global competition for food, water and oil does not trigger world wars or hyperinflation.

At best, energy-dependent enterprises and cities will gradually contract with the supply of power. Expect cheap food, medicine, communication and education to vanish.

At best, sea levels will rise slowly, giving coastal populations and industries time to relocate to higher, safer ground. Expect lost homes, jobs, and reduced import/export to create hordes of hungry unemployed people seeking food and shelter.

At best, the extra heat called global warming causes controllable wildfires, heat waves, gradual droughts, floods and storms. Expect disenfranchised, displaced and homeless people to surge to cooler, safer areas - all hoping to 'start again'.

At best, cheap power gradually vanishes, taking industry with it. As cities are products of an industrial revolution based on cheap energy, expect urban homes to lose value catastrophically. Expect people who invested in suburban mansions to lose their illusions of equity. Expect disrupted urban infrastructure to create logistical nightmares for people stuck in cities.

At best, after years of collective paralysis, political expediency and cognitive dissonance; social upheaval will gradually increase. Your community probably depends on electrical machines, electronics and computers ... how soon will suburban communities die without electric power?

At best, expect populations to migrate away from cities and threatened areas, with food, oil and water shortages limiting movement. Reduced food production will result in increased prices. Expect a return to rural values - and increasing interest in self-sufficiency and small family farms.

Arbeit Macht Frei

Work Makes Free ... were the words on the gates of Nazi concentration camps. At first, expect millions of unemployed office and hi-tech workers - highly educated in suddenly-unwanted specialties. Expect the conditions following economic collapse to lead to a new peasantry - office workers becoming field laborers or bandits; tied to food production by desperate circumstances.

Without modern sanitation and medical care, plagues and epidemics will run rampant. Without modern education, many academic and professional categories will vanish. Expect religions and cults to experience enormous growth as oil-based societies return to more medieval structures.

Myths work as long as a majority believe them to be true. Leaders clad their agendas in the language and thought patterns of those myths. Until the 20th century, leaders used religious talk ... now people believe that democracy and the free market really exist and that they are the mainstay for everything dear and valuable ... Thus to mobilize today's population, leaders use democracy and free-market talk. It is like the difference between official socialist/communist concepts and real-world socialism/communism.
Marcel Marien (Berlin 2010)

The Good, The Bad ... and The Ugly

Our societies require the integrated functioning of many factors, including electricity, water, food, heat, transportation, communication, medicine and security. An extended failure of any of these sub-systems can damage or collapse the others; and the collapse of one country or region can have huge consequences elsewhere.

Food is power. We use it to change behavior. Some may call that bribery.
Catherine Bertini, UN World Food Program Executive Director, 1997

A gradual collapse would not be SO bad. A fast collapse would be devastating. Most people will freeze, panic or reject the news - until they are motivated to move by thirst, starvation, looters and epidemics. Many people who wait for help will die. NOW is the best time to make emergency last-minute preparations.

Natural Disasters Man Made Crises Social Collapse
  1. Floods
  2. Blizzards
  3. Hurricanes
  4. Earthquake
  5. Drought / Famine
  6. Epidemic / Plague
  1. Civil Unrest
  2. War / Invasion
  3. Power Outages
  4. Terrorist Attacks
  5. Nuclear Incidents
  6. Chemical Releases
  1. Financial Collapse
  2. Commercial Collapse
  3. Political Collapse
  4. Societal Collapse
  5. Military Collapse
  6. Civilization Collapse

The difference between survivors and casualties is preparation!
During a disaster - every second counts! Waiting for help may be deadly!

Potential Stages of Societal Collapse

Stage 1: Moral Collapse. You stop trusting people. You distrust your elected politicians, businesses, government employees, religious leaders and military. Who are the informers? Unemployment soars and your neighborhood becomes increasingly dangerous. As riots and suicides increase, dysfunctional authorities may talk about the temporary crisis and seek scapegoats.

Stage 2: Financial Collapse. You stop trusting banks. You cannot assess risk and your financial assets are not guaranteed. If financial institutions become insolvent; your savings may be wiped out, and you cannot access your capital. As social unrest and suicide increase, airlines and borders may be closed. Authorities may call this a temporary exigency and may blame computer hackers.

Stage 3: Commercial Collapse. You stop trusting businesses. Money may be devalued and/or become scarce. People hoard and trade basic commodities and medications, import and retail chains cease, and there are widespread shortages of survival necessities. Supermarkets are guarded and you hear of food riots. Martial law may be enforced in cities. If your electricity stops - would you freeze in the dark?  Authorities may talk of a temporary emergency and blame farmers and traders.

Stage 4: Political Collapse. You stop trusting governments. Official attempts to provide survival necessities are ineffective; and politicians lose legitimacy and relevance. Emergency calls are not answered. Starving people want your food, medical supplies and weapons. You may hear of military coups or of millions of starving people. Desperate authorities may blame terrorists.

Stage 5: Social Collapse. You stop trusting authorities. Social institutions become resourceless. Dead bodies become commonplace. Cities become centers of starvation and disease. Might is right ... but who has weapons? Internment camps may conceal starvation and genocide ... for a while. Panicking authorities may blame hoarders.

Stage 6: Military Collapse. You stop trusting the military. Martial law transitions into local dictatorships. The military may perceive you and your family as targets competing for the same resources as themselves - or as a potential slaves. They may create systems of forced labor and slavery ... fighting local wars over local resources. Kindness becomes a strange concept. Any remaining authorities may blame communists.

Stage 7: Civilization Collapse. You stop trusting hope. Death is everywhere. People cannot afford to be kind. Urban regions become death zones. Nothing is more dangerous than desperate men. Whose women and children will live - and whose will die? You hear stories of cannibals. You might be killed for a candy bar ... you might be hunted for your meat.  The only authorities are people who can kill you.

Government report following the winter of 1609-1610:
Driven thru insufferable hunger to eat those things which nature most abhorred, the flesh and excrements of man as well of our own nation as of an Indian, digged by some out of his grave after he had lain buried three days and wholly devoured him; others, envying the better state of body of any whom hunger has not yet so much wasted as their own, lay wait and threatened to kill and eat them; one among them slew his wife as she slept in his bosom, cut her in pieces, salted her and fed upon her till he had devoured all parts saving her head.

... page 2 ...

Are You (even slightly) Prepared?

It hardly matters what causes it - financial collapse, global warming, an oil war or space aliens. As infrastructure collapses, misinformation will dominate the media. Instructions and advice given to avoid widespread panic may worsen your chances of survival. This may not be a good time to stay indoors and wait for instructions. It may be a good time to get out of a city fast while you still can.

Government agencies may tell you, while communications last, that their instructions will ensure your survival. But your survival may not support their survival. Police in most countries (including America) are not obligated to protect you even now ... and if you are not prepared, you and your family may quickly die during a fast economic collapse. And if you are prepared ... you might just survive.

During a financial collapse your paper assets and perhaps even banknotes may lose value. Keep records of your stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, insurance, taxes and other paper instruments in case of recovery. Be prepared for hyperinflation and have a stock of useful money-substitutes for trading ... coffee, sugar, salt, toilet paper, herbs, pain-killers. Hoarding may not be a crime ... yet.

During commercial collapse most consumer goods become unavailable, except as trade for useful items or services. Shops and supermarket staff hoard their goods and food awaiting some sign of recovery - and only distribute those goods in return for trade or protection, or at gunpoint. Communications cease and food riots begin. Don't expect police, military or firemen to protect you or your home. Suspected looters or terrorists may be shot on sight ... which means anybody.

During martial law, little freedom will remain, and martial law can be enacted with a signature. Expect curfews, rationing, closed borders and travel permits at first ... later you may hear of sealed cities, slave labor and concentration camps. (See: Guidelines for American Troops in the Event of a Domestic Disturbance).

During political collapse government services vanish. Your contracts, licenses and tax returns have little meaning. Police and military use their weapons to protect their own homes and supplies from rioters. Suicides skyrocket. Highways resemble parking lots. Starving city people converge on farms near cities, known food-producing areas and vacation homes. Expect stringent rules and road barricades to limit theft and contain epidemics. Expect summary executions for minor offences.

During social collapse most hospitals, clinics and schools cease to function. Their staff may not be paid and either be forced to work (perhaps at gunpoint) or become local enterprises trading their services for food, medications and essentials. Disease is everywhere and medications are scarce. Equipment requiring electrical power may be operated from local generators while fuel is still available. Few people care whether you live or die ... and some would prefer to loot your dead body.

Your articles warning us of collapse are so realistic that I feel fear in my belly and mud between my toes. And I don't think its avoidable. It's WHEN not IF. London

During military collapse the military forces become a new aristocracy based on scavenging and feudal farming. Much of your remaining food and property could be confiscated and little if any effort invested in your survival. Torture and executions are commonplace. You're on your own. Unless you have needed skills you are an easily-replaced field slave or grunt soldier.

During civilization collapse most of your time is spent gathering and protecting whatever you can hoard, trade or scavenge; and avoiding being robbed, enslaved or eaten. Pity has become a luxury!

Survival Coaching - Preparation

  1. What skills are essential to your survival?
  2. What goods would simplify or comfort your survival?
  3. If you cannot survive without luxuries - how do you want to die?

Preparation is a better investment against chaos than stocks, bonds or gold. Stocking up on necessities is very cheap insurance, but be discrete, or you may be accused of hoarding, or be robbed. Plan to survive. Have what you need instead of desperately searching or fighting for it.

Other good insurance if you can afford it may be a large sailboat or a country house with space to grow and store crops. Seek a rather isolated place, maybe a hundred miles from a city, not visible from the main roads, with woodland and surface water nearby. (And if there is no collapse in your lifetime, you and your family can enjoy a boat / vacation house / smallholding with a good resale value.)

Food (per Person per Year) Medical

Wheat, rice or cereals 300 lbs / 140 kg
Powdered milk (nonfat) 75 lbs / 30 kg
Sugar or honey 60 lbs / 25 kg
Beans & legumes 60 lbs / 25 kg
Cooking oil 20 lbs / 9 liters
Salt 5 lbs / 2 kg

First Aid Manuals and medical books
Assorted bandages and band aids
Scissors, thermometer, safety pins
Painkillers, cough syrups and antiseptics
Prescription medications and vitamins
Supplements, creams and ointments

Food Production


Hunting & fishing supplies
Land, seeds & cuttings
Tools & containers
Winter storage

Dry, warm shelter
Clean water & soaps
Cooking & eating utensils
Clothes ... blankets etc
Binoculars / telescope
Goods for trade & barter

Luck Favors the Prepared

Do agrarian ways seem to be relics of the past? Your ancestors stored fruits, vegetables and canned meat in cellars ... they survived severe winters without electricity ... and so can you.

  1. Read about survival. Use but don't depend on the internet - or on electricity.
  2. Get healthy. Walk and ride a bicycle. Find substitutes for artificial medications.
  3. Sort out your fears and concerns now ... you will need a healthy mind to protect your family. Life will be tough enough without depression, neuroses and panic attacks.
  4. Dry foods such as rice, grain and beans are cheap insurance against a crisis. Stock enough long term storage food for a family of four persons to survive for three months, or for one person for a year. Use this food regularly and restock it regularly.
  5. Keep a supply of clean water ... if you lose electric power you may lose drinking water too.
  6. Wean yourself off addictive and unhealthy foods. Learn about and explore wild foods. Know, at least, which local wild foods are edible and which are toxic, and where they grow.
  7. Stock up on needed medications and emergency medical supplies; learn first aid and CPR.
  8. Ten acres of good land can support 4-10 people indefinitely, depending upon available water, land quality, tools, foiling thieves and management skills.
  9. Locate a retreat in a low population density area - the lower the better - more than 160 km / 100 miles from large towns or cities.
  10. Let your survival be your best revenge.

Drug dealers, legal and illegal, do not profit from healthy people. Most physical and mental diseases are consequences of unhealthy lifestyles and unhappy relationships. Clean up your mess!

Survival - Coaching Communities

Following a rapid collapse, many people will die and survivors must cooperate to live. In remote areas and in rural villages, neighbors are still valued. We coach people to be good neighbors - to resolve most internal and external conflicts - by dissolving entanglements, limiting beliefs and trauma.

We coach people to work together cooperatively, with a dynamic sense of survival. We can coach communities to develop leaders and build Community Visions. We can help potential leaders solve difficult problems and resolve conflicts while encouraging members to respect each other's goals.

Most people, even with huge emotional baggage, even in horrendous crisis, can participate in community - if they choose. Community requires that people choose co-operation to individualism. It may not be easy, but it is possible. We can coach people to build community and develop leaders.

In the event of a collapse, joining a successful community will become a dream for many starving people. How will your community decide who to accept - and who to turn away? How kind can you be? How will you deal with armed intruders? How will you commence trade with other survivor communities? You may find our training useful.

Survival Intelligence ... Read Survival Books

Read, read, read ... and talk to people who have training and experience in the risks associated with your region. Is your home at risk of floods, hurricanes, blizzards or earthquake? What can you do if your savings are worthless, if your supermarkets are empty, if you cannot get needed medications, if armed gangs loot your area? You have better options than death.

Most survival books are just tips on what to do if you get lost in the woods, or if the weather is unusually bad. Read about or at least have books on self-sufficiency, first aid, small farms, trapping, raising livestock, basic construction and repair, and using and making hand tools. Your survival will be a victory in a starving land that is being looted, ransacked and ravaged.

You may better consider the effects of economic collapse if you read novels or watch movies about disasters and societal collapse. Check out The Postman by David Brin, for example, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven, the Collapse books by JL Rawles and One Second After by William Fortschen.

Nuclear War Survival Skills, by Cresson Kearny (ultimate self-help book on civil defense.)

The Long Emergency, by James Kunstler (Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2005).
Kunstler writes that as energy becomes scarce, transportation will become difficult, causing food and other commodities to become unavailable in many communities. It will be necessary for local communities to become self-sufficient for food production, but some will be unable to do so, particularly large cities. The result will be mass starvation, disease and civil disturbances. Kunstler suggests that governments will be incapable of managing these problems.

Sense of Survival, by J. Allan South (Timpanogos Publishers, 1990).
Comprehensive. Includes fallout studies and protection. How to grow a garden, find drinkable water, and raise animals. This is useful knowledge if the infrastructure collapses.

Life After Doomsday, by Bruce Clayton, PhD (Paladin Press, 1980).
Thoughtful and intelligent. General insights and specific survival strategies following economic collapse, civil unrest and natural disasters. Excellent fallout studies.

No Such Thing As Doomsday, by Phillip Hoag (Yellowstone Publishing, 1996)
Useful information.

Are these shadows of things that will be,
or are they shadows of things that may be?

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Martyn Carruthers was a paramedic and later Radiation Protection Officer and Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) Officer for the Canadian government before he founded Soulwork Solutions.

Online Life Coaching for Survival Planning

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 2007-2010 All rights reserved.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email