Everyone relies on electricity nowadays. We use it to heat up food that we have cooked on an electric stove. We use it to charge our smartphone battery and we use it to see clearly in the dark. We do take it for granted and we use it without even thinking about it because we are disconnected from the natural world.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) was born and raised in the United States of America and he is famous for many inventions, such as bifocals and the Franklin stove to name a few. The one thing that Benjamin is famous for though, is the discovery of electricity. Without his discovery we wouldn’t be able to straighten our hair or turn our lights on when it gets dark outside.
So, you’re sat watching TV, eating a meal you cooked in the microwave when suddenly, everything cuts out. What do you do? How will you cope? When will it come back on? You need to charge your phone because you have just realised that it’s on 3%.
How did people cope hundreds of years ago without electricity? Basically, they had to. They used candles to see in the dark and they had to hand wash every bit of clothing and then spread them on bushes. We would have to do the same if we were living without electricity.
We all know that winter is well on its way and how do we stay nice and warm? We turn the heating on. Well we wouldn’t be able to do that anymore, instead we would have to light fires but with the instability with the world today, it is sensible to prepare well in advance of season changes. Putting the supplies a year ahead of time is a very traditional farming practice because it gives a net of safety in case of uncertain weather.
We can survive on eating tins of cold beans and spaghetti but it would get very boring very quickly. The simplest way of heating cold tins of food is to lay a couple of bricks around an outdoor fire and prop your tin over the flames. It’s very low cost and it works. You can also do barbeques if you have the charcoal and matches. It is a lot harder to cook more than meat and a few vegetables over an open heat and never use these ideas in a confined space as that can give off carbon monoxide.
We use a lot of water and we don’t even think about how much we’re using. We take long, hot showers, we use the toilet, we also use water to wash our clothes and much more! That would change dramatically if we were to ever lose electricity. We would only be able to collect water by hand and we would have to boil it (to purify) before we use it.
The resources we use to help us deal with our problems and emergencies today all require technology, such as a phone call to 999, the machines in a hospital and radio dispatch consoles in emergency services vehicles.
Humans are simply not independent enough today to get by without technology. Yes we did survive for thousands of years without electricity, but that was before we built our entire civilisation around electricity and technology. From the way we dispose our waste, the layout of our cities and our dependence on the web for all of our answers, we have become accustomed to looking to others to provide for our needs.
Even though our survival instinct may kick in, it is not guaranteed that we will survive. We are so used to having everything done for us like having our meat prepared by a butcher, having our fish filleted by a fishmonger and our vegetable prepped and ready for us to cook straightaway. We lack the knowledge to find water, make food and shelter and how to hunt for our food. Survival instinct would tell a person to eat their dog if they were starving but someone with survival skills will train their dog to hunt with them.
Survival instinct alone will lead to mass panic, violence, desperate choices and bad decisions. All of it has to be backed up practical survival skills, which unfortunately, most people just do not have today due to their inactive lifestyle.