Oh no! Society will be plunged back into the dark ages of technology! What will I do?
I need to prepare myself for swords and plagues and a return to dirt farming fiefdom.
Well… not so fast there. We’re not people from the dark ages. Even if the lights go out tomorrow, we don’t HAVE to go back to a dark ages mentality. There are a lot of things we know now that our ancestors didn’t, and it’s important to keep those things in mind.
Cleanliness and Sanitation – Diseases aren’t a mythical force brought on by malevolent gods or mischievous fairies. Open sewers and poor hygiene are breeding grounds for germs. We know what germs are, we know how to combat them. Soap, water, bleach, alcohol and heat. Viruses are understood. They are organisms like us, they evolve, they replicate and then they transmit themselves by touch and/or fluid exchanges. We don’t have to go back to carrying herbs in our pockets to ward off illness. Get yourself some good face masks, stock up on some alcohol based sanitizer. Store bleach.
Reproduction – Babies aren’t caused by storks or fairies. We know about sperm and ovulation. Even if hormonal contraceptives become hard to find, or prohibitively expensive, we don’t have to go back to 9 kids per woman. Barrier methods will still be likely be available, alternate forms of fun can be had, (no, I will not elaborate, this isn’t that kind of blog people!)
Agriculture – This one is a give and take. Yes, I think an argument can be made that past peoples understood better than us how to grow crops without massive inputs of energy. But, we do know more now about plant nutritional needs, pH balances, and the how’s and why’s of things like composting. We need to reclaim the old knowledge, but let’s not forgot our N-P-K in the process. Or our knowledge of genetics, “Thanks Mendel!”
Math and Science – We know how to calculate aerodynamics for gliders. Remember, two bike mechanics invented flight as we know it with little more than bike repair tools. We know what methane is, we can teach our children it’s properties and characteristics, so not only will they know what a methane digestor does, they’ll know how to safely work with methane and how to properly reproduce and deploy the technology.
There is so much that we can do, even if the fossil fueled extravaganza known as the American Way of Life ends, there’s no reason we should look for an ushering in of the dark ages. Not unless we let the light of knowledge die.
Stock up on some science text books, find some encyclopedias. Be smart out there people.