This post was going to be an explanation of collapse and a brief rundown of all the likely scenarios. But something happened this morning that changed my mind. Our Sun experienced a Class M9 solar event which released a rather large, fast-moving Coronal Mass Ejection. This CME is predicted to arrive at 0900 EST tomorrow morning. This is precisely the scenario I was going to describe; not in terms of what causes it, or how it effects the Earth, but in the implications for us as survivors.
If you’ve read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “The Black Swan”, you already know that the impact of an event is directly proportional to its rareness or unpredictability. Sure, we can “predict” solar activity to a certain extent but never with any useful precision. The best we can hope for is a vague warning that “something” might happen.
In 1859, the “Carrington Event” occurred. It was the most powerful Solar storm ever measured. It didn’t cause widespread damage or loss of life because there was no worldwide electrical grid, communication satellite network, or Internet. Not to jump ahead of myself, but life in 1859 was very similar to what life will be like in a post-collapse society. Folks in 1859 didn’t worry too much about the Sun as long as it kept rising every morning and setting every night. They communicated face-to-face or via telegraph (the “Twitter” of the 19th Century). They were resilient.
So, what would another Carrington Event mean for you and me in 2012? Nothing less than the end of every modern convenience. Living without electricity is doable for a day or two. You might even be able to last a week if you get really lucky and have all the right skills and lots of the right supplies. But what about after your morale is sapped and your supplies are gone and the power is still not back on? Preparing for such an event is prepper talk and I promised I would keep that to a minimum. Let me say this: living in a grid-down scenario for a month, or six months, or a year is entirely possible. But you have to want to do it.
The first step to having the right attitude is being aware. If you know something is coming, you are less likely to be surprised by it. If you are not surprised, you will not be in shock. If you are not in shock, you will be able to react quickly and appropriately. You won’t get the jump on the Black Swan, but you will be one step ahead of the situation and in a better position to take care of yourself and your loved ones. In a future post I will discuss the Black Swan that I fear the most.
Until then, here’s my preferred site for monitoring solar activity. Check it regularly to maintain good situational awareness on trends and forecasts as we ramp up to the next “Solar Maximum” in early 2013.