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Aster's avatar

If the Power Grid Gets Destroyed by Solar Flares, How Would You Spend Your Days?

Asked by Aster (18806points) July 7th, 2010

It is being said by scientists that , as in 1859, there will be tremendous storms on the sun which will destroy our power grid. In 1859 it knocked out the telegraph. This time there will be no electricity for possibly months. What will you do all day? How will your life change?

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49 Answers

Ltryptophan's avatar

oh, I would definitely think that I would try to get far away from other people. People, will definitely fail to maintain order in such a situation.

Aethelwine's avatar

Ask my husband’s boss if we could stay at their ranch. We had a tornado come through our town several years ago that left us without power for days. She offered for us to stay there then, so I’m hopeful she would let us stay if this happens. Their lakes are stocked and they have plenty of cattle. We’d get by.

Aster's avatar

@Ltryptophan True. If no trucks delivered to the grocery stores then hoodlums would kill if they knew you had food. Even gardens would be unsafe. I wonder , if and when the generators stop working, what would happen in hospitals?
Take us back 100 years.

judochop's avatar

WooHoo, when does this happen? I would stay at my house in the city. Night time would be prefect for taking pictures, until my battery died… :(

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would probably spend a goodly portion of my time looking for gasoline to power my generator. : )

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t need electricity to make gifts with yarn and plastic canvas, or quilts, or cross stitch greeting cards.

CMaz's avatar

Well, it would become every man for himself real quick.

A few years back we had Hurricanes roll through here that shut us down for weeks. And, it was localized. With a little effort you could find food and gas.

The grid going down, nationwide, would be a bad thing.

gemiwing's avatar

I would finally get this afghan finished. Maybe that finger thread prayer shawl would see the light of day. I also would be snapping pictures left and right. Luckily I have a collection of film cameras too. I’m all set.

I would rig up a pedal fan too, just too damned hot here.

Honestly- a lot of my zombie preparedness will pay off.

Aster's avatar

Keep your mind on how the frontiersmen lived and you’ll get the picture. You’re right, Chaz. The number 1 focus will be food
Growing it and keeping it from thieves. Number 2 focus will be defending yourself. Fifty focus steps down will be obtaining glue for making greeting cards.

CMaz's avatar

@Aster – GA.

“Keep your mind on how the frontiersmen lived”
Only problem with that is it was normal for them.

Aster's avatar

@ChazMaz I didn’t mean to imply it would be easy. I used that to create a clearer picture of the lifestyle. We have a whole-house generator but it wouldn’t work.
I have heard that the city that would run out of food the fastest would be New York. The food would fly off the shelves in a hour.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I think a similar result would occur if a nuclear strike happened in any major us city. I don’t think the panic would be local then.

Aster's avatar

If the power grid went down I assume it would affect the entire world. Incorrect?

gemiwing's avatar

@Aster Why so anti-craft? It’s a big part of being without electricity. My family has needlework done from the 17th century, so it was obviously done back then as well. It’s a part of it to me and I’m curious why that’s so far down in your opinion. Is it because you think it will be closer to Mad Max than frontier life?

CMaz's avatar

“Is it because you think it will be closer to Mad Max than frontier life?”
Can I answer that? :-)

Yes it will be. And way beyond Thunderdome too.

Nullo's avatar

As @ChazMaz pointed out, most everybody is accustomed to the industrialized life. Take that away, and they’ll go bonkers. Maybe if they knew a thing or five about trades and crafts, things would be easier..

You’ll find me liaising between the militias and the Society for Creative Anachronisms down in the Bootheel. Who knows, it could be fun.

CMaz's avatar

I already have a game plan for unifying my neighbors

You know, in order to keep the “outsiders” from infiltrating the neighborhood.

YARNLADY's avatar

It might be an opportunity for employment. People could offer their services operating a bicycle-type generator for those who just have to have electricity. With a full, round the clock staff, you have electricity all the time.

There would also be personal solar generators, similar to the ones I see on Highway signs, and of course, we could all have a wind power generator on our roof.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@YARNLADY if all those things were already in place before the event, I think you’d be onto something. Distribution of anything valuable, especially if it makes electricity, will be like bringing a snoball safely through the fires of hell, post some power grid catastrophe.

Aster's avatar

@YARNLADY Don’t you think those would be in short supply?
Plus, you’d have to either use a telephone or vehicle to get one.
You Do, however, have a way of making it all sound rosy.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster It is rosy when you realize that people managed to exist quite well before cars and electricity were even invented. The power devices I mentioned could easily be distributed by animal or human powered carts. In the frontier days, wind mills were built by hand from wood.

There are plenty of other ways to generate power completely off the grid. The items I mentioned would only be in short supply for the short time it takes people to re-learn how to make things by hand.

It reminds me a a quilting class I taught. One person who signed up for it was amazed that we would be learning to make a quilt by hand – no sewing machine involved. She didn’t even know you could sew by hand!

Nullo's avatar

This reminds me of a comment that I once read about microwaves having built-in Faraday cages. Can anybody back that up?

CMaz's avatar

First food and shelter. Then fire.

Then a way to make ice cubes. I do love a cold drink with grilled dog.

Don’t get upset… Cat will do fine also.

Nullo's avatar

@ChazMaz @stranger_in_a_strange_land once posted that in the summer he stores his beer under a lake.

CMaz's avatar

Ah yes…

Make note:
Store beer in lake. :-)

Aster's avatar

@YARNLADY Yes, we did exist quite well before cars were invented. But we all had gardens then, didn’t we? And chickens? And a pond? Not everyone has access to clean water.
Gardens don’t grow fast enough when you’re starved and the store shelves are bare. just sayin’ in case you reply that we could just grow one

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster I guess I’m spoiled, I’m already ahead of the curve on several fronts. There is a stream near where I live (which would require purification tablets to drink for a year or two) and I have a garden. I have nearly a year’s supply of food in my storage, and so on. Plus I know how to fish, and I know how to slaughter and butcher animals for food.

Aster's avatar

@YARNLADY I have all those things too but I’ve sure never butchered an animal ! Fireplace? Gotta have one of those.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster Well, a barbecue actually, with plenty of charcoal and there’s always firewood nearby.

CMaz's avatar

What every you have or think you have, Will be spent in no time. If the grid went down for a long period.

Entirely living off the land means hours of chopping wood and constantly hunting and butchering the food you will need to stay alive.
Just for starters.
Back in the day, people were working from sun up to sun down 6 days a week. Just to survive. Back then, it was a way of life.

That cord of wood that takes you all year to burn will go in a week. That dear you have in the freezer will also possibly last a week.
Wait, you wont have a freezer. So it will need to be fresh meat every day.

Something, most of us just do not comprehend.

And, if you accomplish all that you need to do to stay alive. You better be isolated. Because the less fortunate and less capable will be at your door wanting some of what you have or taking it.

Under the current situation described in this question. It will be survival of the fittest. And, most ruthless.

Aster's avatar

I watched one of those “lottery shows” last night. One winner said their new home would be “off the grid.” I’ve never thought of that.
She said they’d have solar panels and a few other things so they could live independently. I’m glad I didn’t erase it because I want to go back and hear how to be off that grid. (they have chickens, too, and a pond).

Nullo's avatar

@Aster There’s a back issue of Popular Mechanics (2009, I think) that goes into that sort of thing. They called it the Self-Reliance Issue.
Article here

Aster's avatar

@Nullo THANK YOU . I HAVE WANTED A COPY OF THAT ISSUE !!

CMaz's avatar

Just something to think about. If you think that there is a possibility of a catastrophe of some sort, isolating you from the “civilized” world.
Take the time and just sit down and think it out. A step by step scenario in your head.
What you will need, how much you will need. What do you think you will need, and do, to get what you need.
What will the people around you think of what you will have and how far will you go to protect that which you have and your family.

Because they are thinking the same thing.
Your safety and security is not on the top of their list.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster There are several online sources for living off the grid

Nullo's avatar

@ChazMaz It would turn to looting pretty quickly, wouldn’t it? Might not be a bad idea to invest in that assault rifle.

CMaz's avatar

Having a firearm would be a must have tool. Under the description of the post.

Looting, rape and killing. The have-nots (under then duress of survival) will do what ever it takes.

If it goes TOO LONG, even cannibalism could come from it.

Aster's avatar

@ChazMaz Cannibalism, chaz? I’m fatalistic but , come on!
Just load up on canned stuff. Matches. Firewood. Batteries. We have a small hand-crank radio. I think I’ll get another. Candles.
Kerosene lanterns, fuel. More matches.
I’ll miss the flutherers in 2012. (History Channel said , “solar flares expected in 2012; worst ones in recorded history. ”
See? The Mayans were right! The I-Ching was right.

CMaz's avatar

“Just load up on canned stuff.”

Good idea, and what will you be eating two weeks later? :-)

Aster's avatar

@ChazMaz More canned stuff. We also have 2 Huge buckets of reconstituted?? rations. You add hot water. 175 “meals” per bucket. This won’t be any time to be pigging out, you know. Do you have enough cabinets for food storage?
I think I’ll fry some pork chops. lol

YARNLADY's avatar

@ChazMaz That sounds like so much nonsense to me – people in India, Africa and China live like that all the time, and none of that is common.

CMaz's avatar

True, because THAT is how they have been living.

Also, don’t compare the two. Taking away THEIR comfort zone. As minuscule it might seem to you. The same will follow, if they lost it.

Look at Somali. Those people are displaced with very few resources. Women have to fear getting water, the risk of rape is so great. Bands of militants rob and hack of the limbs of men then rap their women. They are starving and desperate. The only reason they have not killed themselves off is because they are surrounded with stability of other countries. That constantly “drop by” to break up the disarray, to some extent.

If the UN was not there, genocide would prevail, most of the population wiped out by the stronger and greedier.

Don’t let denial take control, you are attaching reason while you sit in an air conditioned home with a fridge full of food, as are your neighbors.

Honestly think…. If everything you had was gone. And it will. To what extent would you go to to keep your family safe and lacking hunger.

Knowing the type of people that are in this world. You have to conclude, a no trespassing sigh or a locked door, is not going to stop the desperation of others.

If the grid goes down here. It will go down all over the world. It will be every man for himself. Hopefully, we will find stability before it gets too out of hand. But it will get out of hand to some extent.

Plenty will think that their fellow man will band together, to stay safe. I am one of them. Part of my plan is to unify the neighborhood. ASAP.

Plenty will not. Desperation does that to people.

So if you want to sit in your house with your cases of cream corn. Minding your own business. So be it.

But I will be totally honest with you.

My family is hungry, I know you have some food. I will ask for some. But there will come a point you will not have enough to share and my family is starving.

I’m going to take it. Sorry. :-(

Some people will go further and take advantage of the situation. I am not one of them. The only fear you should have of me is to resist me talking the last few crumbs of your food.

That is life.

Aster's avatar

@ChazMaz GA, Chaz !!! Well done.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I presume that factions would soon arise. Turmoil would only exist for a short period, maybe six months. After that life will never return to the way it was, but certain factions of society will aggregate. Those aggregations will have warrior groups that will defend against lesser peoples that wish to enter the group. Food will be pooled…feudalism will begin…

I imagine it will look like many water droplets converging into a larger water spot. Successful groups will probably unite. Unsuccessful groups will also probably unite…if only to cannibalize the weaker.

You know…mad max….etc…

YARNLADY's avatar

@ChazMaz May we never see which of us is right

CMaz's avatar

Amen sister!

Aster's avatar

I want my firewood pile back. ))-:

kiltman51's avatar

I’ve read all the stuff on stocking up on this and that. And when you live in the city, it just doesn’t make sense! I will be getting out of any major city, when the proverbial stuff hits the fan! The best things you can learn for this, is how to hunt, how to butcher animals, for food and whatever else their bodies can provide, how to make weapons, how to fish, how to clean fish, archery, building shelter, and cabins, if you don’t have a house in the country already, woodworking, metalurgy, sewing, tailoring, how to grow, and harvest a garden. Which is based on each fruit, or vegetable, or herb you want to grow. Basically anything that was a major skill in the pioneer days, is what you need to learn. It will go a long way! If you have never shot a gun, start learning! Like Chaz said, Shelter, food, water, and then fire! Pick an area that has a nice steady supply of water, that is secluded. Near a lot of woods! As Chaz said again, as far from people as you can get! I myself, have formed a group, of trusted people, that will travel with me, and help each other out as a community! Try to keep it under 15 adults! Too many people, and your supplies will never last long! Family first!

kiltman51's avatar

Though I do suggest stocking up, on matches, and any other item a fire can be started with. Fishing equipment, a few good knives, clothes, for outdoor living, working, in a good abundance! Winter clothes, summer clothes, etc. Hiking Boots, more than 1 pair! Extra laces, shoes, more than one pair, extra laces, a few good wide brimmed hats. Work gloves, winter gloves. For Winter shirts, I would go with flannel shirts! Reasonably priced, and pretty durable, and warm as hell. Pants, and shorts, cargo! Wool socks, for winter. Gardening tools! Rakes, Shovels, Hoes, etc. Hatchet, and Axes. Saws, machetes, etc. If you are using a gun, as much ammo as you can stock up on! Me myself, I am a bow hunter. So I learned how to make arrows from wood. My bullets will be saved for protection! Also, get you a few 55 Gallon water barrels! $99.00 at Sam’s Club. Rain water is 100% pure when it falls and does not touch nothing but the barrel it is falling in! And will store for 5 years in one! For sewers, crocheters, stock up on your supplies!!! Yarn, thread, needles, whatever!

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