This article is not about a Zombie apocalypse and the best weaponry one can buy for protection. It is not about a massive alien attack either. There are much more probable and scientifically based scenarios of the end of the world we should consider. As incredible as it may sound, the survival kit won’t include any laser weapons or space rockets you’ve heard about so many times. If something terrible happens to our planet, the things that can save our lives won’t need any advertising and global marketing campaigns because they are pretty basic.
We study in reputable universities, learn foreign languages, and try to get well-paid jobs. We dream of buying fancy cars and big apartments. Unfortunately, these things won’t help us get through three of the major threats to the survival of human civilization. From a scientific point of view, we should be afraid of solar storms, cosmic collisions, and supervolcanoes. The sad fact is that one of these disasters might take place in the next decade.
The coronal mass ejections (CME) that can do a serious harm to our planet don’t happen that often. Nevertheless, they are one of the most probable disasters a humankind can face in the future. According to the recent studies, there is a 12% probability that a massive storm can occur within the next 10 years.
The largest CME event was registered in 1859. It disabled all the telegraph cables and people in Rome and Cuba could enjoy watching the northern lights. If the same event occurred today, most of the transformers would be damaged leaving millions of people without electricity for months or even years. The worst part is that it’s incredibly difficult or even impossible to predict when the next event will take place. We will only have 30–60 minutes to activate the survival mode.
Consequences: Damaged electric grid, no water supply, disabled telecommunication facilities. The absence of electricity will lead to food and water supply shortage in the big cities.
How to survive: Those who enjoy a peaceful life somewhere in a small village will be the lucky ones. The survival kit will include an independent source of water and energy, several batteries, emergency rations, and a gun for the protection from invaders.
No one wants to end up like the dinosaurs. But we have a good chance to do so if an asteroid as small as 1 kilometer wide hits the Earth. The scientific community works on the ways of identifying large objects in the Earth’s neighborhood. They try to come up with more effective options for preventing a possible disaster. The good news is that the large asteroids hit our planet only once in a few million years.
Consequences: Blocked sun rays, crop failures, and mass starvation.
How to survive: Let’s pay our taxes and hope that by the time some space objects decide to collide with our planet, our governments have an effective plan on how to save us all.
Volcano eruptions happen more often than cosmic collisions. We can still remember the inconveniences and damage caused by Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull in 2010. But the result of an eruption of a supervolcano can be dramatic. One of them — Mount Toba eruption in Indonesia — killed most of the humans 74, 000 years ago. There are 3 supervolcanos in North America, one in South America, one in New Zealand, one in Indonesia, and one in Japan. And there is now way to predict when and where the next massive eruption might occur.
Consequences: Due to the dust clouds the average temperature will decrease by 5°C to 10°C. No plants will be able to grow. This will be the cause of a serious food supply shortage and hunger.
How to survive: The scientists believe that we have enough plants to supply us with alternative food products. But we’ll need some time for them to function on a regular basis. So, again, you’ll need a source of water and energy, food, and a gun for protection. The survival kit will also include a location to plant seeds and some basic farm machinery. You’ll need to unite with other families to cope with everything and survive.
The infographic below shows what a family of three will need to buy to stay alive and how much it will cost them.