Post Apocalyptic World
The Post Apocalyptic World, or PAW, is a reference to what life and the world might be like after any given cataclysmic event. There are relatively few disasters that might occur to cause such a world. Far more commonly, events occur that cause a temporary localized disaster such as the condition of New Orleans in the months following Katrina.
There are several high-risk/low-probability events that can trigger a world-wide apocalypse. One has to decide what events are worth preparing for. Preparing for the worst possible event has it benefits as it covers preparation for many more likely to occur but less long term events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes.
- Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is electromagnetic radiation from an explosion (especially a nuclear explosion) or an intensely fluctuating magnetic field such as a solar storm/flare. The resulting electric and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges. A large-yield nuclear warhead detonated at sufficient altitude has the potential to generate an EMP burst that would affect the greater part of the contiguous United States. A solar storm such as hit the Earth in 1859 would fry all satellites in orbit and wipe out a significant portion of the world's electrical devices and grids. Depending on how strong the pulse is, unprotected electronics can be destroyed by the current and voltage surge, especially modern, more intricate and fragile components.
- Great Quakes,Volcanic Eruptions & Hurricanes , while incapable of causing a world-wide PAW, can create a localized disaster such as the Katrina induced 3rd-world conditions that much of the Southeast United States endured in the months following the storm. Tornadoes and major floods can cause similar devastation, but on a much smaller scale.
- Nuclear War is perhaps the worst possible man-made apocalypse because it could destroy virtually everything on the surface, causing a worldwide radioactive desert for some number of years forcing all life underground to survive.
Life in a Post Apocalyptic World
This has been the stuff of fiction (e.g. Stephen King's The Stand) and movies (e.g. Mad Max) for decades. It is expected that due to societal collapse the rule of law will be absent as will any form of transportation and utilities. People will be reduced to bartering for goods and services, lynch mob rule regarding crime or further decline into simple nomadic hunter-gatherer gangs. In reality anything could happen but with preparation and dedication to principles and values life even in a PAW can be satisfying and worthwhile.