How to Survive the Next Ice Age
Throughout the history of the planet, the world periodically experienced ice ages when most of the world was covered in ice sheets and glaciers. If you saw the movie called The Day After Tomorrow, then you would already be familiar with how global warming, whether caused by man, nature, or both, will cause another ice age. Unlike the movie, the next ice age will not happen in a matter of days, but most likely in a few decades. And the next ice age will most likely not start during our lifetimes, yet it is an inevitable cycle of the planet. So, how will mankind survive the next ice age?
During these ice ages, almost all forms of life find surviving much more difficult than the abundant period of time that humanity is experiencing now. No matter how well prepared any person or group can be for the next ice age, they will eventually run out of supplies and need to start living off the land again. And since we are no longer cavemen or Neanderthals who survived by hunting and gathering, we need a well thought out plan for survival. The four minimum requirements needed for survival during the next ice age are food, shelter, water, and fire. Let’s tackle each of these requirements one at a time.
FOOD:At the start of the next ice age, most farms on the planet will be devastated and will not be able to produce enough food. Additionally, most of the world’s population will move closer to or into the tropics, and these tropical areas will not be able to produce enough food for everyone either, especially when they are severely overpopulated. Therefore, the world would need different kinds of food sources that can better survive the cold.
During the last ice age, it is believed that the main source of food for Neanderthals was fish and rabbits. These types of animals are more naturally resilient to cold climates. On the other hand, I don’t see how most livestock, such as chickens, can survive perpetual winters for hundreds of years; so farms will need to switch to raising animals that can more easily withstand cold, especially if these animals can more easily forage and consume the limited plant growth during the ice age such as rabbits. Also, the production rate of these types of animals will be much higher than regular livestock such as cattle, thus more quickly feeding more people with fewer resources.
Remember that large proportions of the planet will be covered in ice sheets and glaciers where edible plants will not grow. Therefore, farms in warmer areas will have to switch to faster growing plants to be able to feed more people, especially with shorter warm seasons to grow plants and limited farmlands. Growing food quickly with limited areas of farmland will be the key to feeding the world’s population in the next ice age. As a result, I predict that farms will convert to using mostly greenhouses; where even in harsh climates, foods of any type can be grown. Unfortunately, growing food either way will be much more difficult and more expensive. I also predict that most individuals will be growing food in their homes and in small personal greenhouses to offset the costs of food.
SHELTER:I suspect that our homes during the next ice age will look much more different than today’s McMansions (i.e. excessively large houses), because larger homes will cost more to keep warm. First, most of the existing homes and building will not be able to withstand the harsh weather or crushing ice sheets, so new homes and buildings will need the be redesigned and built specifically for the ice age climate. Homes will have many more sources of heat, such as fireplaces and skylights, for keeping their occupants warm and dry than they do now. These homes will be better insulated and have fewer windows to keep out harsher winter weather. In the overly populated areas near the equator, smaller homes will be a necessity to squeeze more people together over small areas of land.
Furthermore, communities and even cities will almost become self contained biospheres that are virtually closed ecological systems. These biospheres will provide safe and necessary communal areas for commerce, recreation, education, farming, etc. away from the harsh weather outside.
WATER:Water will most like the easiest survival requirement to satisfy. Anyone can easily boil snow and ice to make safe drinking water. And in the over populated tropics, current technology allows us to safely desalinate salty sea water.
FIRE:Since wood will become more scarce during the next ice age, burning almost anything, including trash, will be the norm to stay warm and dry. However, in modern society, we mostly use electricity and fossil fuels to heat our homes. I predict that the world’s energy requirements will skyrocket to unfathomable heights to keep people alive. I can only hope that our scientists and researchers can eventually invent cheaper, safer, and renewable sources of energy, such as solar, wind, hydro, and fusion power.
CONCLUSION:Unfortunately, these plans may not be sufficient to save mankind during the next ice age. Only through the prevention of ice ages can we guarantee a safer planet for ourselves and our descendants. Therefore, we need to discover new ways to understand and control the world’s climate, thus preventing both global warming and global cooling that can both lead to future ice ages.
by Phil B.