The Phaserl


Here’s What Movies Forget to Mention About What Happens After Society Collapses

by Joshua Krause, Ready Nutrition:

Post-apocalyptic movies are popular for a reason. We live in a world that is brimming with long lines, bills, traffic jams, bureaucracy, and stressful jobs. So even though we intuitively understand that living in an apocalyptic hellscape would be an absolute horror show, in the back of our minds we kinda wish that we had an excuse to blow off all of our modern responsibilities.

In that sense, post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows provide the perfect fantasy for us. They give us loner protagonists wandering through the quiet, windswept ruins of our cities, scavenging for food and fighting off zombies instead of working day jobs. These films try to convince us that post-apocalyptic living is an arduous but simple feat, in much the same way that Old Western movies romanticized the pre-modern world.

In short, these films depict the death of everything we hate about modern society, while downplaying the consequences of that state of affairs. They portray the leftovers of our society as a playground for charismatic misfits, but neglect to inform you of a very important detail. If the modern world falls apart, never to return, it’s going to leave behind an abundance of ticking time bombs in its wake.

They don’t show you what will happen to millions of our abandoned pets, who will revert to their wild instincts after we stop feeding them, and begin competing with their former owners for food. These films don’t show you what it’s like to walk through an abandoned suburban city, where ten thousand swimming pools have turned into breeding grounds for disease carrying mosquitoes.

They rarely mention the dozens of nuclear power plants that litter the United States. If no one is there to operate them, how long before they melt down and bury millions of survivors under a radioactive cloud?

Then there are the 12,000 facilities around the country that store large quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals, and reside close to residential areas. 2,500 of these sites contain chemicals in quantities that, if a catastrophic accident were to occur, could affect 10,000 to 1 million people each. And let’s not forget the 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines that can be found in every state. They suffer hundreds of leaks and ruptures every year, and are much more likely to explode when they aren’t maintained. That detail seems to be conveniently forgotten by post-apocalyptic films.

And finally, most post-apocalyptic movies will forget to mention what happens when there aren’t any functional fire departments. Aside from the obvious consequences, like whole neighborhoods routinely burning to the ground, who’s going to put out landfill fires that are occasionally radioactive?

Another product of the modern world is the poor management of our national parks and forests, which has laid the groundwork for some of the largest and fastest burning forest fires in history. Even with the help of firefighters, these conflagrations routinely burn more than a 100,000 acres at a time. How many rural Americans are going to have to flee their homes from the veritable tidal wave of wildfires that would scorch the landscape?

Frankly, this is just a short list of some of the unexpected disasters that will be waiting for us if society collapses. There are probably plenty of others that we haven’t even considered yet. So the next time you’re enjoying a post-apocalyptic feature of some kind, try not to get too wrapped up in the fantasy it provides. If the world falls apart, traveling through the ruins of our dead civilization will be less like a whimsical action packed adventure, and more like traversing a mine field without a metal detector.

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4 comments to Here’s What Movies Forget to Mention About What Happens After Society Collapses

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    A somber and truthful reminder for us all.

    We won’t need SKYNET to burn our world. We’ve pre-stacked all the fuels and chemicals needed to burn our own world in the worst way.

    Some solar panels, batteries, inverter & some HEPA filters may be a very important thing to prepare for several years of deadly air pollution, followed by centuries of polluted well water.

    And a good respirator (carbon filters, etc) for those outdoor trips or garden work.

    A cheap dust mask is not going to be good enough for many situations.

  • AgShaman

    Just because people work for the gubmint does not mean they are successful as they would like to be.

    Because dotguv has figured out a way to divide the soylents into 2 groupings (those that rely on the guv for their sustenance…and those that are self sufficient)

    All that remains is to create an economic policy that foments the nonsensical destructive forces behind “government gone-wild”

    The policy of the USFS is a scorched earth policy…meaning, they want huge and repetitive wildfires to burn down everyone’s neighborhood. How do they get their yellow shirted minions to be onboard with this scorched earth policy.

    Clownbux and bennies do just fine.

    You will have class warfare because Amerikwans are patently obtuse and too lazy to figure out the scam. It’s much easier for these ‘dolts’ to go along with the program, keep their mouths shut, and collect their portion of the ill gotten booty.

    When normal, free thinking people have had enough with these scorched earth policies…they will be pitted against the govt workforce of sell-outs, and the civil unrest and division between the 2 groupings will be fomented by the 4th branch of govt.

  • Ed_B

    “They rarely mention the dozens of nuclear power plants that litter the United States. If no one is there to operate them, how long before they melt down and bury millions of survivors under a radioactive cloud?”

    Never. Those running those plants will shut them down before turning off the lights and locking the doors. They don’t want a running but abandoned nuke plant near their families any more than anyone else does.

    • Craig Escaped Detroit

      @Ed, yes, I do agree with you that the engineers will shut down the active reaction systems, but what teams will remain on site for the next thousand years to keep the “after heat” cooling systems operating to keep the “waste-rod-cooling ponds or pools” from overheating and boiling off all the water, and then going wild themselves?

      We cannot say that those cooling ponds/pools will be shut down, because they are already considered “shut down” but still must have active cooling for how many decades?

      Even when reactors are “shut down”, what happens if and when the reactor vessel plumbing breaks a leak, and the shut-down water is lost, and the heat begins to slowly build up in the DRY reactor vessel?

      The ONLY safe, DRY storage, is the specially designed “dry cask storage” that must have the spend fuel, diluted and separated by a specific amount of specialty concrete, and only then can it be cooled by the ambient atmospheric temps. ALL other storage techniques that hold massive amount of spent fuel from the previous decades, still rely upon water bath cooling, and plenty of them rely on active circulation water bath systems (with pumps, plumbing, and electrical grid power.)

      I never personally worked in any nuclear facility, but had some family member(s) who did, even including one cousin on part of the drafting-design-engineering department for some reactor(s) in the midwest. So my information is just touching the surface, right?

      But let me know if I am totally off the target, ok?

      I’ve read enough about the “high density packed” cooling pool for spent rods at Fukushima to understand that it’s a ticking time bomb because the spent rods (still hot for decades) must be kept actively cooled because without the active cooling, those rods will boil off the water and soon go into self sustaining hot reaction (critical) and begin a melt-down process that will melt down all the reactor-loads of rods stored in that pool.

      I think it holds more than 8 full reactor loads of rods, so it will be the same as a minimum of 8 nuclear plant melt-downs if the cooling pool should break (and the really scary thing, is that the cooling pool, is on STILTS about 100ft in the ceiling of the reactor building.

      So if the sides, bottom or water pipes bread, it’s all over. (and considering the entire complex was heavily damaged by the R9 earthquake, and then the 10 Meter Tsunami, and then the reactors that went critical and blew up from an actual small scale nuclear explosion (they have finally admitted-and the evidence shows, that it was NOT a Hydrogen gas explosion and it was not a “steam explosion” either.)

      That detailed information can be found in the links contained in as well as Arnie Gunderson’s information and a few other “watchers”, scientists, etc.

      TEPCO recently released information this summer, that they have determined that they located one of the “cores” either inside, or UNDER the reactor, and it remains WHITE HOT MOLTEN even today.

      As for the reactor that went critical and blew out the core into the atmosphere, it is calculated that a large portion of the 120 tons of nuclear fuel was dispersed into air, land and sea.

      As soon as they start taking about Becquerels, Sieverts, etc, I’m in over my head.
      I’ve got a bargain priced Geiger counter (Gamma & Beta only) that can switch between Rads and Sieverts. Fits in my shirt pocket like a long pack of cigarettes. The GMC320. It has some pretty cool features for something less than $150.

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