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Interview with Martyn
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Disaster Planning for Social Collapse: 1
Not IF but WHEN © Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching, Relationship Counseling & Therapy

We not only risk natural and man-made disasters, we risk financial, commercial, political and social downfall. Things can go wrong slowly - or things can go wrong quickly. A fast collapse would probably be uglier than you can imagine.

A loss of trade, labor, transport, food, banking, electricity or manufacturing could
cause your life to quickly diminish to desperate subsistence. Unprepared
people who cling to fantasies are likely to die in such a collapse.

Following a collapse, you probably have several days before people
realize the truth, get hungry, make hard decisions and move out of the cities.

Part 2: Survive a Collapse

You may forgive yourself for being naive;
but CONSEQUENCES do not forgive anybody.

It's not what you don't know that will hurt you. It's what you know that isn't true.
This is a difficult article to write - and you may find it difficult to read.
It opens a Pandora's Box of possibilities ... and at the end ... hope.

Egypt's Old Kingdom collapsed after a centuries of increasing prosperity. About 80% of all towns and villages were suddenly deserted. Ancient records refer to people like locusts and parents eating children. The collapse was sudden, cataclysmic and widespread. Most civilizations end abruptly.

Would you blame a timer for the explosion of a bomb?

Do you consider your way of life to be a birthright? Do you believe that natural resources allow perpetual prosperity? Would you reduce your standard of living to a sustainable lifestyle?

You may be forced to make this change! A collapse will likely be sudden, rapid and deep ... like a flash flood ... and hurt developed countries the most. Yet your survival will have little to do with luck. See also Recession Coaching.

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 ... in ONE night without power.

In a local or regional disaster, supplies quickly disappear.
Supermarkets will be closed and shops stripped bare in a few hours.
A collapse will be dangerous, ugly and scary. Your primary challenge is to stay alive.

  1. Decide to live! Choose to survive!
  2. Be prepared - most people won't be!
  3. Get yourself healthy and understand the risks
  4. Learn what to do before, during and after a collapse
  5. Read, read, read ... and think! Perhaps start with Global Research
  6. Your insurance? Learn survival skills, stockpile essentials and have crisis plans

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 you see your children grow up?

The size and growth of our human population impacts on all life on Earth, yet is not publicly debated. We stand on the edge of collapse, yet little information about the difficulties of survival can be found. Survival training is nearly non-existent. Government agencies tasked to prepare for disaster have been exposed as ineffective. In a collapse - assume that you will be on your own.

It is too late to avoid serious impact from climate change and ecological damage after trying to drive global economic growth far beyond systemic and resource capacity.
We risk an environmental crash, a sudden collapse in the global economy,
and we need to be ready to respond to the ensuing social and economic hurricane.

Paul Gilding, author of "The Great Disruption"

No civilization has ever prepared for collapse ... and all civilizations before ours have collapsed! Responsible preparation could include social training, preventing further environmental and ecological damage, destroying nuclear weapons and preparing industry for rapid, extended shutdowns. The best scenario would be a managed collapse.

At best, life in the coming years will become increasingly smaller scale and local. This can happen if available cheap energy decreases smoothly, if people act intelligently and if global competition for food, water and oil does not trigger massive wars. What are the chances?

At best, large enterprises and cities will shrink as the supply of cheap power (also cheap food, cheap medicine, cheap transport, cheap communication, cheap education and cheap politicians) dwindles.

At best, cheap power slowly disappears, taking industry with it. City homes lose value. People who invested in suburban mansions lose their illusions of equity. The disruption of urban infrastructure and communications create logistical nightmares for people who cannot leave the cities.

At best, social upheaval will gradually increase. Expect migrations away from cities and low-lying coastal areas, especially after floods, droughts, power outages or epidemics. Expect reduced food production and enormously inflated prices. Expect a surge of self-sufficiency, bartering and family farms. Expect a return to medieval values where fortified farms are real wealth - again.

End of Democracy

Like modern industry, cities and education - modern democracy is a product of cheap energy. In a collapse, expect millions of unemployed office, technical and government workers - highly credentialed in suddenly-useless specialties. Expect an economic collapse to create a new peasantry - office workers becoming unskilled laborers or bandits; tied to food production by desperation and hunger.

Hope can kill you if you depend on luck!

Without modern sanitation and medical care, expect plagues and epidemics. Without modern education, expect many professions to vanish. Without modern democracy, expect wars. "Who benefits?" Religions and cults may experience enormous growth as oil-based societies return to more medieval structures, perhaps calling a collapse an Act of God.

Myths work as long as a majority believe them to be true. Leaders clad their agendas in the language and thought patterns of myths. Until the 20th century, most 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 populations, 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)

Chaos Theory

Our societies require the ongoing integrated functioning of many elements, e.g. electricity, water, food, heat, transportation, communication, medicine and security. An extended failure of one sub-system can collapse our societies; and disruption in one region or country can create chaos elsewhere.

A gradual collapse would not be SO bad. A fast collapse would be chaotic. Most people will panic or freeze, not believing the news until starvation and epidemics are rampant. Most people who wait for help will die unpleasantly. NOW is the right time to make emergency last-minute preparations as insurance. How can you protect your family? How can you keep your essential possessions?

Natural Disasters Man Made Crises Social Collapse
  1. Floods
  2. Famine
  3. Drought
  4. Blizzards
  5. Epidemics
  6. Hurricanes
  7. Earthquakes
  1. Wars
  2. Civil Unrest
  3. Power Outages
  4. Nuclear Incident
  5. Terrorist Attacks
  6. Chemical Releases
  7. Militarized Diseases
  1. Moral Collapse
  2. Financial Collapse
  3. Commercial Collapse
  4. Political Collapse
  5. Societal Collapse
  6. Military Collapse
  7. Civilization Collapse

The essential difference between survivors and casualties is preparation!
During a disaster - every second counts! People who wait for help may die!

Online Survival Coaching & Training

Potential Stages of Societal Collapse (Thanks to Dmitry Orlov)

Stage 1: Moral Collapse. You stop trusting people. You hear empty promises, even by politicians, doctors, teachers and your neighbors. You suspect informants and you feel alienated, abandoned or imprisoned by your government. You expect that most people will try to abuse you. Depression, anxiety and mental health problems are normal. Freedom becomes another word for bondage.

Stage 2: Financial Collapse. You stop trusting currency and banks. You realize that the paper in your wallet and the digits in bank computers are only fantasies, based on faith and magic. You cannot assess risk and your assets are not guaranteed. When financial institutions become insolvent; your savings evaporate, and you cannot access your capital or get a loan. Authorities call it a temporary emergency and blame liberals, anarchists or terrorists.

Stage 3: Commercial Collapse. You stop trusting businesses. Money is either devalued and scarce or hyperinflation makes it worthless. People hoard and trade basic commodities. Import and retail chains cease, and there are widespread shortages of necessities. Supermarkets have armed guards and you hear of food riots. Martial law may be declared and essential supplies are liberated by troops.

Stage 4: Political Collapse. You stop trusting governments. Attempts to provide survival necessities are ineffective; and politicians lose legitimacy and relevance. Emergency calls are not answered. Strict rationing and forced labor begins. Starving people seek food, medical supplies and weapons. Airlines, borders and some cities are closed. You hear of migrations of starving people spreading pandemics.

Stage 5: Social Collapse. You stop trusting authorities. Social institutions are resourceless. Many violent prisoners have escaped. Dead bodies are commonplace. Cities have become centers of starvation and disease. Families allow the old and weak to die. Might is right ... but who has weapons? Internment camps conceal slavery, starvation and genocide ... for a while.

Stage 6: Military Collapse. You stop trusting the military. Martial law transitions into local dictatorships. Para-military forces perceive you and your family as targets competing for the same resources as themselves - or as potential slaves. They create systems of forced labor and slavery ... fighting local turf-wars to control local resources. Kindness becomes a strange concept.

Stage 7: Civilization Collapse. You stop trusting hope. Death is everywhere. People cannot afford to be kind. Many urban regions are death zones. People are starving - whose children will live - and whose will die? You hear terrible stories ... you might be killed for a candy bar ... you might be butchered for your meat.

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.

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 (EMO) Officer for the Canadian government before he founded Soulwork Systemic Solutions.

Part 2: Survive a Collapse . Online Life Coaching for Survival

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 2003-2018
All rights reserved.

... Insert page 2 here ...

All major utilities – electricity, water, communications, gasoline – are now under central control and key personnel cannot leave their workplaces. Military barricades circle administrative buildings. Remaining TV and radio programs are replaced by government reports.

You have a short time. Are you (even slightly) prepared?

The last straw hardly matters - government bankruptcy, global warming, oil wars, EMP or space aliens. Misinformation dominates the media. Instructions and advice given to avoid widespread panic often worsen your chances of survival. This is not be a good time to be patient, stay indoors and listen to a radio. This may be a last chance to get out of a city fast while you still can.

In a collapsing economy, virtual money is ... virtual!

Government agencies 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. Many unprepared people will die during a fast economic collapse. People who are prepared, tough and intelligent ... well, some will survive.

During moral collapse, family values deteriorate and communities disintegrate. The only crime is getting caught. Parents allow media to damage their children's mental health. More parents reject their children, more teachers fear their students and more doctors fear their patients. Identity loss, drug use and sexual abuse became normal - all hidden in plain sight.

During financial collapse your paper assets and perhaps even banknotes are exposed as worthless. You keep records of your stocks and bonds, certificates of deposit, insurance, taxes and pensions in case of a recovery. However, you are prepared for hyperinflation with stocks of money-substitutes for trading ... coffee, sugar, salt, tools, herbs, pain-killers, etc. Hoarding is not yet a crime.

Food and supplies will immediately disappear in a commercial collapse.

During commercial collapse most consumer goods become unavailable, except in trade for useful items or services. Shops and supermarket staff hoard their goods awaiting some sign of recovery - only distributing goods in return for trade or protection, or at gunpoint. Communications cease and food riots begin. Police, military or firemen do not protect you or your home. You cannot get essential medications. Suspected looters or terrorists may be shot on sight ... which means anybody.

Martial law is imposed by military forces when civil authority breaks down. Curfews, rationing, closed borders and travel permits at first ... later you hear of sealed cities, slave labor and concentration camps. Armed forces suppress domestic violence - or increase it. See: Guidelines for Troops in a Domestic Disturbance and Steps to Disperse Insurgents and Restore Order.

During political collapse government services vanish. Your contracts, pensions and tax returns have little meaning or relevance. Police and military use their weapons to protect their own property from hordes of hungry people. Suicides skyrocket. Highways resemble parking lots. Starving city people converge on farms near cities. Strict rules and road barricades attempt to contain riots and epidemics, and summary executions start for minor offences - such as hoarding or even walking.

During social collapse most hospitals, clinics and schools cease to function. Their unpaid staff are forced to work or they become local enterprises trading their services for food and essentials. Disease is everywhere. Electrical equipment is operated from local generators - while fuel is available. Few people care whether you live or die ... and many would prefer to loot your dead body.

During military collapse the military becomes a new aristocracy based on scavenging and feudal farming. Much of your food and property is confiscated and little if any effort is invested in your survival. Executions and murder are commonplace. Nuclear weapons are used to sterilize some starving, disease centers once called cities. Unless you are in a safe community you are 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; without being robbed, enslaved ... or eaten. Pity ... what a concept!

But that is not the end of the human story. Some people will survive. After a period of anarchy, signs of social recovery include:

  1. Medieval power struggles last for years
  2. Barter economies until hard currencies emerge
  3. Cults and religions attract vast numbers of converts
  4. Industrial plant and scientific equipment are recycled for reuse
  5. Organized crime and / or law enforcement and / or military are governing bodies

Survival Coaching - Preparation

A fatal mistake may be to assume that you can gain essential knowledge and survival skills during the chaos of a crash or global collapse - without internet or books and with intense competition. Maybe take time to decide now ...

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

Repair family ties. Build strong relationships so that you can support each other. Encourage financial responsibility and personal responsibility. Help people break obsessions and addictions. Encourage young adults to select spouses who are compatible and willing to make lasting commitments.

Preparation is a better investment than stocks, bonds or gold. Stockpiling basic necessities is 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 small country house with space to grow and store crops. Seek a rather isolated location, over a hundred miles from a major city, not visible from the road, with woodland and surface water nearby.

(And if there is no collapse in your lifetime, you will have a nice boat / vacation house / smallholding investment with a good resale value which can be used by your children.

Buy essentials now. Essentials are what you cannot live without. Extreme basics include food, water, clothing, shelter, heat and medicines. (Given the shelf life of medicines, get some books about herbs!)

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
Medical prescriptions and vitamins
Supplements, creams and ointments

Food Production

Other Essentials

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

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

Luck Favors the Prepared

Agrarian ways may seem relics of the past. Your ancestors stored fruits, vegetables and canned meat in cellars. They survived severe winters without electricity. You may not like it - but you can too.

  1. Get healthy. Have and use a bicycle. Build networks of family and friends.
  2. Read about survival. Use but don't depend on the internet - or on electricity.
  3. Sort out your fears and concerns now ... you will need a healthy mind to protect your family through bad times. 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 which local wild plants are edible and which are toxic.
  7. Stock 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. If you can, purchase a large sailboat, or a holiday home in a low population density area more than 160 km / 100 miles from any large town or city.
  10. Survival is the best revenge.

Drug dealers do not benefit from healthy customers. Most physical and mental diseases are consequences of unhealthy lifestyles and unhappy relationships. We can help you sort it out!

Online Survival Coaching & Training

Survival - Coaching Communities

Following a collapse, many unprepared people will die and survivors must cooperate to live. In remote areas and in rural villages, neighbors are still valued. We can help people create community - to resolve most internal and external conflicts - by dissolving enmeshments, limiting beliefs and trauma. We help people assimilate their shadows from the past and be all of who they are.

Do you want to be stranded amongst angry and hungry strangers? Whilst there is still Internet, we can coach people to manage emotional problems and work together, and develop a dynamic sense of survival. We can coach communities to develop leaders and build Community Visions. We can help potential leaders solve problems and resolve conflicts while encouraging members to cooperate.

Most people, even with huge emotional baggage, even in horrendous crisis, can participate in community - unless they prefer loneliness. Community requires people who prefer co-operation to individualism. It is possible. We can coach people to build community and develop leaders.

In the event of a collapse, joining a successful rural community will become a dream for most 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? Our community and emergency training is useful.

Survival Intelligence ... Study  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 become worthless, if your supermarkets are empty or if armed gangs loot your area?

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

Survival Coaching for your Peace of Mind

You may better consider the effects of social collapse if you read novels or watch post-apocalyptic movies about economic disasters and societal collapse ... The Postman by David Brin, for example, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy or Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven.

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

The Long Emergency, by James Howard 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. Local communities must become self-sufficient for food production, but some, particularly large cities, will be unable to do so, leading to mass starvation, disease and civil unrest. Kunstler suggests that governments cannot manage these problems.

Sense of Survival, by J. Allan South (Timpanogos Publishers, 1990).
Comprehensive, including 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 D. 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 L. Hoag (Yellowstone Publishing, 1996)
Useful information.

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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