Going by Maslow’s hierarchy, the first thing we’d need to worry about without power is food. Shelter is pretty much taken care of. Our current houses aren’t falling down so quickly without power. Clothing- again, taken care of for the initial period. My children have more shirts than most department stores.
But food…food is a big problem. For starters, we rely almost entirely on supermarkets who rely entirely on having food trucked in on a weekly basis. Luckily a lot of the highly process food will last for a while. But the meat and veggies, that’s gone in 48 hours without any way of getting more unless you had an extensive home garden.
In my city, it’s illegal to have chickens in your backyard, so no fresh eggs. There are a few local farms in the area, but they’re more for farmers markets than full scale feeding of the population. The current US system of factory farming would shuts down with the power shut down.
The worst part is the US population has no survival skills. I can’t tell an edible berry from a poisonous one. I’m not Katniss Everdeen. Third world countries will fare better with the power out than we will.
And let’s pretend for a moment, I could fashion a bow and arrow and manage to bring down a deer in Rock Creek Park, what the heck would I do with a whole dead deer? I don’t know how to skin it, prepare it, or anything. Necessity is the mother of invention, so I’m sure we’d figure something out, but there’d be a lot of wasted deer parts for a while.
I keep thinking how our amazingly modern urban lifestyle would kill us if it were taken away abruptly. Without Google or Wikipedia to diagram hunting skills, we’re screwed!
I mentioned shelter before. I actually think we’d be okay here. My husband is very handy, even without a power tool. He’d be able to keep our home functioning or build a shelter for us. Running out of nails and supplies is a problem. Without Home depot’s sources shipping in fresh nails and lumber, it would be tough, and my husband’s good, but he’s no Charles Ingalls to fashion nails from wood instead of metal. But, overall, I’m least worried about shelter.
Clothing would be fine for a little while. But considering the poor state of our manufacturing, we’d have to figure out how to darn, sew and mend, pretty darn quickly. When’s the last time you met a cobbler? Sure my shoemaker can fix a sole, but can he make new shoes from the ground up. Without electricity? Probably not. I keep seeing the knee-high boots Monroe’s militia men are wearing in Revolution and wondering where they’re getting them. Who’s making them tall leather with metal grommet boots? In fifteen years since the blackout, shoe making becomes an art? We don’t have mentors. The days of apprenticehips are gone.
When Ben Franklin was apprenticed as a candle maker to his father. It was a necessary skill. Nowdays we head to Pottery Barn for candles. In Revolution, candles seem to be a dime a dozen. How??? I wouldn’t have the first clue how to make a candle? Does anyone other than the one person/actor in Williamsburg, VA? Who would teach us how to make candles?