The above graph is adapted from Limits to Growth, Revisited. It is not a hard and fast prediction, but rather the product of a model with 40 years of high correspondence with developments. We are, at present, at the top of the growth curves, many of which have already begun to plateau. Slopes of decline do not factor in such worst-case scenarios as widespread urban- or domestic nuclear facilities collapse consequent to economic collapse.

I've added the shading and 'crossover' circle' (coincident with 'peak everything') to indicate my best guess as to the high probablility zone for global, economic collapse, triggering the onset of TEOTWAWKI.

I fear a hard landing... no 'reboot' or 'transition' to a lower functioning economy. I urge high priority preparation now.

I've got a short glossary of terms at the bottom of this page... if you come across an unfamiliar term, please scroll down and check it out.

Information I'm including or pointing to doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it. Rather, I've found it to be stimulating and worthy of consideration. I'm sure you'll exercise your own judgement... we're nothing if not independent! 8)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Location, Location, Location

So we believe it's all coming down in TEOTWAWKI. Where do we want to be when it does?

There's a good, solid argument for staying where you are, or close. Chances are, you know the the lay of the land, if nothing else. You may have community... a network you can count on, at least to some extent, when SHTF. Local resources, forage and a general wealth of knowledge accumulates - consciously or sub-consciously - the longer one lives in an area.

But in evaluating your locale and potential alternatives for SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situations, consider the following:

Proximity to Large Populations

'Large' is relative to the carrying capacity of the the land. When supply-on-demand fails, chances are the carrying capacity of urban and suburban areas will be near zero. Even if intensive gardening could support a larger population, they are not now, and are not likely to be widespread. The prepare/sow/harvest cycle requires seed, and time far in excess of that which will be available.

This applies equally to rural  'small towns'. Pressures will be less for them, but food is rarely grown locally in quantities that will support a population in the thousands. Monoculture has rendered even farming communities vulnerable. Single crops do not provide full nutrition. When pesticides and herbicides become suddenly unavailable, pests may well consume entire harvests on or near 'factory' farms.

Hunger has and will drive populations to desperation. Within a week of Orlov's Stage 2 Commercial Collapse, large and dense populations will slide quickly to Stage 4 Social and even Stage 5 Cultural Collapse.

Distance from such concentrations is a plus.

Availability of Wild Forage

The ability to subsist from wild forage may be essential. Even if one has laid in supplies, these will eventually run out. Crops fail for a number of reasons. We may become separated from our base by force or circumstance. Supplies are heavy and bulky, meaning (land-based) mobility is out of the question.

The ability to live off the land is the ultimate fail-safe.

Is your locale environmentally intact? Does it have a range of wild plants, fish and game? Do you have the means and skills to forage, fish and hunt? Did the indigenous peoples thrive, master foragers within an intact ecosystem that they were? Were they obliged to follow game migrations, or did they form settlements? Were they dependent on some extinct or eradicated species (such as buffalo)?


Even more pressing than food is the question of potable water. In some regions, of water at all. Even if we have laid in filtration and purifying tools, again, we may become separated from our base.

It's tempting to think that, because water comes out of a tap, that it's readily available. Much water is transported far from its source via sophisticated delivery systems requiring regular attention and maintenance. Some of it is pumped from deep within (receding) aquifers, no longer the stuff of home equipment.

Does your area have clean, free-flowing surface water? Is groundwater secure, and can you reach it? If you are attached to a specific location, does it have a reliable source of water?

Airsheds and Watersheds

We face the likelyhood of widespread radioactive emissions from domestic nuclear plants (my post on the subject). Factories, refineries and cities, among other large undertakings, store many toxins. In TEOTWAWKI, sooner or later, most of the containment arrangements will fail, releasing their contents into the environment.

What's upstream and upwind? What are the groundwater flow patterns, and do they pass near possible sources of contamination?

Area of Viablility

Should you be forced to go nomadic or relocate, is the area you're considering large enough to meet these criteria at every step along the way? Consider that many of the more or less intact ecosystems remaining have, in many cases, been reduced to islands.

Is that island big enough for yourself and those for whom you are responsible? Will others be drawn to the same refugia, and is that acceptable to you?


Some terrain is considerably less accommodating than others. In many areas, roads follow the only reasonable routes through harsh terrain. Roads, historically, have often been infested by bandits, making them virtually impassable to all but large, armed caravans. Easier terrains allow wider options, and reduce the bottleneck effect.

Does the area you're considering provide easy movement in most any direction? Does it provide cover? Concealment for camps?

If you are settling in a specific location, do you have the high ground? Can you monitor the approaches? Do you have an escape path?


M.D. Creekmore and others have emphasized this rule: Do NOT become a refugee.

In hard times, persons who have been uprooted are extremely vulnerable. The amount of gear that can be carried varies with circumstance, and may comprise no more than what can be packed. Local knowledge fades with every step away from the familiar. Locating such basic necessities as food, shelter and potable water require time and energy, drawn from short supply. Individuals and small groups may be prone to assault, theft and worse, by others operating on ground known to them.

Settled groups will have little incentive to offer help or hospitality; considerable disincentive, in fact. There will be no asylum at the end of the run.

In terms of preparation, then, a corollary would be to relocate now to where you want to be when SHTF. There may not be a single day's free travel when it does. If travel closes down, one is either stuck where one is, or a refugee. A New Yorker planning to fall back to Yosemite, or even Maine is likely to see plans gone agley.

The learning curve within any environment is a long one... getting to know its ways, strengths and limitations takes time and application.

If you're going to be prepared, the time is now.


  1. I once contacted Joel Skousen, author of Strategic Relocation with a very detailed analysis to illustrate that he had prematurely entirely written off all of Alaska based upon his false preconceptions. I must say that I am glad that he hasn't published what you and I have found, but still am struck by how wrong people can be. We saw your boat go by and had to find out what she was, which ultimately led here. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us.

    1. I'll check that out.

      It's true that Alaska is off the map for most folks (part of its attraction, actually). But Home, sweet Home!

      I'd love to hear from you... you can contact us through if you care to.

      Fair winds!


Hey Folks... I'm not in a position to moderate comments. If discussion remains respectful and on topic, I welcome comments (passion okay). If it spins out of control, I'll have disallow them... I thank you for your civility.

I've opened comments to all 'Registered Users' (whatever that means!) to help weed out pesky spam.

- Dave Z