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The Knowledge

How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

By Lewis Dartnell
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell

The Knowledge (2014) is a practical guide to surviving the apocalypse. These blinks explain both how to survive a horrific catastrophe and how to create a self-sustaining life and rebuild civilization.

Key idea 1 of 8

In the event of a catastrophe, your priorities are shelter, warmth and water.

What would you do if a cataclysmic event occurred? In the aftermath of such an event, whether a catastrophic asteroid collision or an unstoppable pandemic, civilization as we know it will begin to fall apart. So, if you’re lucky enough to survive such an event, it’s imperative that you make wise use of the brief period before total collapse.

First off, you’ll need a roof over your head and a fire to protect you from the elements. Shelter shouldn’t be too hard to find, though; after a catastrophe and its massive death toll, empty houses will be plentiful.

But keeping yourself warm is another story, because without electricity, heaters will be useless. One accessible option for fighting off the cold is clothing. Most small shops will have been destroyed, but goods in large shopping centers will probably be safe. After all, they’re buried deep inside the cavernous interior of a mall. Malls are therefore a good bet for finding clothes that’ll last you a few years.

Sometimes, however, clothes aren’t enough, and you’ll need a fire to stay toasty. You’ll probably have found some matches or lighters, but if you haven’t, you can always go old school: grab a magnifying glass or a pair of glasses and use it to focus the sun’s heat on a piece of paper.

Once you’re warm and secure, you’ll need clean water. Right after the catastrophe, you’ll be able to get potable water from the municipal supply and bottled water from supermarkets. Be sure to save all the water you can. That means filling clean buckets, baths and sinks with water. Keep your supply covered to prevent light from harming it, detritus from contaminating it and algae from growing in it.

And keep in mind, you’ll need to sterilize any water that didn’t come out of a sealed bottle – an easy thing to do. Just boil it for a few minutes and you’ll kill any dangerous pathogens.

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