Monday, August 12, 2013

go east


GO EAST

Before we start today, a short word on one of my latest book recommendations.  “The Yellowstone Conundrum” by John Randall.  I’m not guaranteeing that this is going to be a post-apocalypse book ( this is the first in a promised series ).  All 500 pages only covered the first day, and to be honest the President character sounded so much like the head of HOG, Obammy The Mutant Kenyan I kind of got the feeling that the author would suck the man’s ass in public if given the opportunity.  If this is the case then you can’t have the series be the end of civilization because then his hero would be slightly less than deity-like.  So the thing might end up being nothing more than a Big Disaster Cozy.  However, having said that, this book kicked ass.  The writing style was very enjoyable, a slight twist of wry humor in most places.  And I couldn’t put the thing down ( it consumed the majority of my weekend ).  Highly recommended.  Okay, on to the meat of today’s article, a case being made for living in the East as a survival location.  This is me playing Devil’s Advocate.  I’m not saying it is the best choice, or my personal choice.  But it is an antidote to the mindless lemming movement to the West.  I wish to thank Russell for planting the seed for the article.  Why the East isn’t as bad as the “professional” Survival Guru’s suggest.

*

Yes, we’ve covered this before.  But today I’m focusing on another aspect.  The East is all ready to go for the Apocalypse.  Don’t get confused with what I am saying.  I don’t claim you want to be back East during the die-off.  You don’t want to be ANYWHERE where there are other people during the die-off, including a town of 53 population in the middle of nowhere.  So much effort is being put into focusing on the East and West die-off, not enough attention is being paid to AFTER the die-off.  Afterwards, the east will be far superior in terms of infrastructure.  It is true the East will have issues.  The die-off is going to be brutal, with race wars, civil wars, territorial wars and what not.  But once the ruckus dies down it will be a very nice place to hang your hat.  The West, while much better off during the die-off because it is so easy to hide, is going to fare poorly post-transition and it certainly will be a bit more violent.  The armed clashes will involve far fewer individuals, but the violence will be as intense and perhaps more frequent ( although, realistically, in the absence of nation-states we will all have to get used to a lot more local violence ).  The West is going to see more water wars, constantly.  Mainly because without large armies the combatants won’t exhaust themselves enough to have lulls between wars.  Agricultural armies tend to be centralized and have large armies involved in large conflicts.  Grazing areas have more constant low intensity fighting.

*

The East was built on pre-coal power.  Yes, the place was lousy with railroads later on.  But water transportation was predominant first.  And if you look at European history it was a fight over waterways instead of roads because water doesn’t need fodder for animals ( you can have animals pulling alongside a canal.  The point is water is much more energy efficient ).  Just as we discussed last week on the deplorable roads of the Revolutionary War, water transportation can go a long way in both commerce and war.  The East is also built up for easy day trade between villages.  Look at how close everything is.  You load up the wagon in the morning, go to town, sell your food and get back by evening.  In the West, rather than being horse or buggy distance, most everything was railroad distance.  Most of the West was settled after the railroads and is dependent on them or cars to be livable.  Hell, most of the towns in Nevada never would have produced precious metals without water being shipped in.  There are a very few places in the West where a local agricultural existence is possible.  I sure as hell wouldn’t be living there as they will be a magnet for trouble ( there will be a lot of fighting at first in the East- the suburbs must be cleared for local agriculture.  But in the end, as everyplace is great for growing ( except New England ), wars will probably be about things other than starvation.  In the West, since farmland without wells is rare, those areas will invite conflict.

*

In the East, every town is situated with an agriculture in mind ( there are those situated for ore extraction, but I’d wager even those had local crops ).  There is no rebuilding necessary.  And, if lucky, during the die-off the suburbs are burned down to clear for future planting.  The excess population must be removed, but there should be enough buildings left to shelter the survivors.  And local growing can commence.  Back West, if lucky you can ranch ( with wars over the meager water supplies for those animals ).  Don’t forget, the buffalo are gone.  In large areas, you can’t live like the Indians used to.  In places like Nevada, there were very few of those as the place is a vast wasteland with little room at the top of the food chain.  I still love it here, but I hold few illusions of the viability of survival here.  People are too in love with extraction here, and they will strip the place to survive.  They couldn’t live sustainably if you showed them.  Now, this doesn’t make all the problems back East any less heinous.  You will still be a poor serf on the king’s land.  But you will eat.  If you survive the tens of millions fighting over land meant to support tens of thousands.  But don’t ignore the aftermath of the die-off where the East holds the advantage.

END

11 comments:

  1. No argument here. I almost completely agree with your assessment. Water routes are where it's at. It's a matter of degrees though I still recommend living West of the Mississippi but East of Colorado as the perfect spot to ride out the decline. There are as well certain areas in the East that will be islands of security adrift in the sea of violence you predict. Especially mountainous and wooded areas that can be made "remote" easily with a few felled trees and downed bridges.

    Water aside I think heating fuel is going to be another huge factor. One Winter without fuel and the violent masses are going to be heading South quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A good time to kill a bunch of DamnYankees. Of course, that is just the first wave.

      Delete
    2. Yeppers, come on east while I head west. Here in the Pa. We can radiate you with radon from the fracking, as well all those radioactive sites like waltzsmill, cannonsburg, and apollo. We got some real cheap prime land if you don't mind the pcb's, and the ash from yellowstone only got 18-20 feet high from the last time it went off. There's also all the mystery stuff they dumped in the old abandoned mines. No problem at all if you don't mind living down wind of a few dozen reactors, all which will be spewing god knows what after the lights go out. Have luck with that drinking water too...Yee! Hah!

      Delete
    3. Isn't the New Promised Yuppieland right on top of Yellowstone? And, the West has plenty of pollutants. Being government land and all. Also mine pollutants. My point is not the pre-collapse issues, nor the die-off issues but the post-collapse issues. I love the West. It is a hard place outside the Oil Age, though.

      Delete
  2. My county in NH is bigger than RI, but has a population of about 33,000. I live in one of the less built up areas. There is enough farmland to feed this population, but we won't eat fancy. Potatoes, beans, squash, and some corn. We do have water. Keeping warm will suck. I can heat my place with firewood gathered within walking distance, and to compete with anyone else. People will crowd in together for warmth. What we do have a lot of is water. My house sits on the old Native canoe trail and the water ways will get me where I want to go.

    I found the west to be too darn dry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see surviving ( intact ) natural disasters like fires and earthquakes. The one thing that scares me would be flooding ( as far as dooming all you own ). So I guess for me personally dry is good. But, granted, I lived most of my life in the west and that is just conditioning.

      Delete
  3. vlad December 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Does not take much fuel to heat an eskimo house.
    ttp://www.duffyslaw.com/current14.htm
    My life with the Eskimo Stefansson
    excerpt
    ESKIMO HOUSING
    Eskimo houses were constructed with a hole in the roof to allow in light. The hole which was most often left open was covered with Bear intestine. The base of the house was five to six foot thick made of earth and sod and tapered and thinned out towards the top which was about six foot square. The top had about six inches of earth on it. The center of the house was about nine feet high and the walls at the edge were about five feet high. The opening on the roof was about three foot square. 3 or 4 lamps burned continuously and one of the most important duties of the wife was to make sure they didn’t smoke or go out. The entrance to the house was a twenty to forty foot shed-covered tunnel about four feet lower than the floor of the house.

    The cold air in the tunnel would not rise into the house which was kept warm by the four lamps at a temperature of sixty to seventy degrees fahrenheit even when the outside temperature was fifty below zero! They would sit with only shorts on in the house. So they would be bare below the knees and above the waist. After five months Stefansson began to enjoy the boiled fish they would eat for supper. The entryway and the hole in the roof were kept open most of the time, but especially during cooking. The only time the entryway would be covered would be to prevent a baby from falling into it or puppies coming in from outside and this was only rarely. Stefansson would usually sleep next to the tunnel entryway to get more fresh air. Each corner of the room had an elevation for sleeping that was covered by skins as was the floor. The houses at first smelled bad but soon you realized that it was the cooking of food that gave the smell to the house. The lamp is a halfmoon soapstone about two or three inches deep kept almost full and the wick is a powdered ivory (walrus), sawdust, dried moss ground in the fingers, manila rope from the whalers with a strand taken and chopped into tiny pieces. The wick is made from the powder laid in a strip which the oil soaks. A piece of fat is suspended over the flame and when the wick dries the flame gets brighter and hence hotter and more fat drips into the halfmoon lampbowl which then fills and wets the wick more which cuts down the height of the flame and this works by itself for about six or eight hours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is access to coal if it stays even remotely civilized, but they will burn up the firewood in no time.

    Too many people is just a huge problem.

    But for what the land will bear, there may even be relatively more people in many portions of the West.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of West areas are worse than East urban. The differance being you can disperse from West to empty surrounding areas ( not that you'll live long ). But, yes, the Wests carrying capacity is perhaps 1% of current numbers whereas the East might be closer to 10% ( obviously I'm guessing a bit here ).

      Delete
    2. The 10%/1% guess seems reasonable. I did a post a while back on "the rain follows the plow" (a 19th century idea that seems lie a forerunner to abiotic oil) and I seem to remember that the homesteading in the west was a disaster because the land parcels were too small. You need something like 150 acres to diversify sufficiently to survive the occasional drought. That is a lot of land, and presumes you also have a clue as to what you are doing.

      Delete
    3. The homesteaders will never admit to the need for that much land. No one would buy into it. Course, they rely on pumped water and what-not. You never hear much about the plains farmers-they go from Land Rush to Dust Bowl and nothing inbetween.

      Delete