What Goes In A Civilization Starter Kit?

005As a science fiction reader from way back, who was always fascinated by End Of  The World As We Know It (EOTWAWKI) scenarios, a recent news buzz about a guy who’d actually created a “Civilization Starter Kit” caught my eye!

While this might sound like something exclusively for doomsday preppers in case of electromagnetic pulse, nuclear incidents, fuel shortages, war, pandemics, zombies….the kit’s  inventor., Marcin Jakubowski,  has his mind primarily set on another purpose.

In 2007, Marcin identified fifty machines he feels are the most important for supporting modern life. With a list including such things as ovens, brick presses, cement mixers and tractors, his goal is to create a low cost, Do It Yourself (DIY) version of each. He civilizationstarterkitbuilt his tractor, for example, in 6 days, after which he made the designs and an instructional video available online for free. The details of his first four machines are now published and he and his team are steadily working their way through the remaining forty six, with 2015 as a deadline for having all 50 ready for civilization-building DIYselfers.

If the doomsday apocalypse hits at some point – on the Mayan calendar or otherwise – these fifty machines won’t immediately reboot civilization everywhere. But if you have his plans and the skills (like welding) to turn them into reality, your little pod of people will be in much better shape than the rest of us.

jericho-pictureIn old science fiction movies and novels about EOTWAWKI, the survivors usually go scrounging through the wreckage of civilization for machines and supplies to use. Jakubowski , who holds a PhD in nuclear fusion physics,  states “If you’re going to try to build any kind of sustainable, model community, you find out quickly that the tools you need break down and are expensive,” he says. (Business Week, 11/1/12). Good point! I guess in the real world we’d be left with, it might not be as easy to repair all those fancy devices as the movies and TV shows make it look.

What Marcin and his supporters actually hopes is if “We can lower the barriers to farming, building and manufacturing…we can unleash massive amounts of human potential.” (TIME, 11/12/12) Highly critical of corporations because “…they spend too much time obsessing over patents, spending millions on commercials, and generally getting in the way of progress….” (BW, 11/1/12), Marcin hopes individuals all over the world will take his basic designs and figure out their own improvements. He’s made good use of such modern communication techniques as the TED talks, Kickstarter, YouTube, websites and other social media to spread the word about his concepts, share his designs and generate enthusiasm for addressing some pressing world issues.

He also tries to live his principles on the “Factor e Farm” in Missouri – the “land based facility where we are putting this theory into practice.”

You can check out his Civilization Starter Kit for yourself over at Open source Ecology. Me, I think I’d better go learn to weld!

What would you miss most if we get hit with EOTWAWKI?

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