Sustainably Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
So tonight is Halloween, the night of ghosts, ghouls, and other horrifying monsters. Including one of my favorites – zombies. I find zombies fascinating because of the symbolism wrapped up in them – fear of the other, fear of losing your sanity, and fear of becoming a brainless horde. At the same time, being the other in a brainless horde can be pretty fun, as long as it’s not hurting anyone. There’s a reason I’ve participated in the Silver Spring Zombie Walk multiple times, all the while crying “Braaaiiinssss.” While evil construction canceled the “walk” part of the Zombie Walk this year, I did take to thinking how the skills described in this blog could help in the case of a zombie apocalypse. While I’ve contemplated real emergencies before and the CDC offers some useful emergency advice, it’s worth sharpening these skills just in case…
Warning – a few zombie movie spoilers ahead…
1) Bicycling: I think a bicycle is one of the best forms of transportation in the case of a zombie attack. It’s faster than walking, and you won’t run out of gas like you would in a car or motorcycle. After all, gas station pumps require electricity and according to the Straight Dope, most electrical systems would fail after only a couple of days in most parts of the U.S. and Canada. Even if you know how to siphon gas, the zombies are just guaranteed to attack when you’re at the gas station. But if you’re in good shape and have an adequate supply of high-calorie food, a bicycle theoretically has an unlimited range. The major downfall of a bicycle is that you can’t run over zombies like you could with a car. Besides lacking the squishy satisfaction, there’s also the chance they could pull you off of the bike. Just another good reason to practice sprints and hills.
2) Gardening and saving seeds: So you’ve managed to get away from the teeming masses of zombies and found a nice, isolated island. (At least you think it’s isolated – but so did the folks in Dawn of the Dead.) Perhaps you brought some food or there are a few snacks left in the pub. Great! But at some point, you’re going to produce food or it will quickly become bleaker than The Road. You’ve got to live off of the land and there isn’t a farmer’s market in sight. Better learn quickly how to collect the necessary natural products to build the soil and save some seeds so that you’ll have a long-term stash. After all, you don’t know if the military is still out there saving people or if they’re all looking for tasty, tasty brains as well.
3) Being a vegetarian: While zombies are known for their love of brains, I would hesitate before eating anything with fresh blood just in case it attracts them too. Although hunting skills might come in handy for other reasons entirely.
4) Foraging: Without meat in your diet anymore, you’re going to have to find other sources of protein and fat. Fortunately, nuts and seeds are full of both. Acorns were a traditional food for many Native Americans, as well as number of other cultures including Greece, Iberia, and Korea. While a bit of a pain to grind into flour, they offer a lot of energy for their size. In preparation, consider reading a book on foraging or even taking a class.
5) Cooperative living: Living utterly alone is awful, especially if you’re always in fear. It’s best to join up with a group so you can take turns looking out for yourselves and share the chores. I’d advise against joining up with the militia, as the subtext of many zombie movies are that “people are monsters too,” but finding a nice group of people willing to support each other isn’t a bad idea. In addition, groups can make limited resources go further.
So with those skills, you should be set for the zombie apocalypse. Having the Zombie Survival Guide might not be a bad idea too.
Any other tips on surviving inevitable doom?