The global health pandemic threatening everybody has certainly brought new challenges to life everywhere, but the threat of this plague is only the most recent factor in the pressure building toward a major cataclysm. At least, that’s the way it feels for many of us right now. When you combine the pandemic with the threats of political instability, climate change, economic depression, and natural disasters around the world, the guy holding the cardboard sign and preaching “doom” on the street corner suddenly seems a little less crazy.
Many of my friends and acquaintances have expressed their own personal growing anxiety and depression over the possibility of a doomed world, or at least a doomed generation. Many of them feel powerless to control their own futures. While I might be able to recognize that sense of social and political impotence, it hasn’t seemed to build its way into my particular cocktail of mental illnesses. My mom always said, “you control the colour of the sky in your world,” so while all of us continue to struggle to affect the course of history for the better, this article might at least be able to relieve the dread hanging over some of us like an elephant from a ceiling fan. The premise is simple. An apocalyptic event isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s something to take advantage of. Many of us have already started to do so without even knowing it.
I’m not about to recommend that you start raiding and looting as soon as California sinks below the waves. Apocalyptic human barbarism is the last thing I want to advocate for and if that’s what you’re looking for then there’s a plethora of post-apocalyptic literature to satisfy any misanthropic and pessimistic reader. For many of us, the current quarantine has led to the learning of new skills and hobbies, many that will be particularly useful for those of us living in the end-times. That’s the opportunity that doom presents for us.
Many of my friends have also taken up gardening this year, which is a hobby that provides its own obvious benefits, even in the present days of mounting cataclysm. The difference in taste between a store-bought tomato and a home-grown tomato is undeniable. Gardening has also proven to be a great outlet for anxiety (according to some of the grimmer fatalists among my friends), and I believe that in the days that follow Ragnarök these budding cultivators will grow and thrive. Some of us already experienced the minor effects of a brief disruption in the global supply chain this year. I like to believe that somewhere out there somebody is sleeping soundly each night on a thick mattress of bathroom tissue, but toilet paper shortages would only be the beginning of trouble in a true catastrophe. A significant enough global debacle could permanently disrupt the global supply chains. When we can no longer get peppers and tomatoes from California, or fruits from B.C., it will be the gardeners that rise to feed their communities. The greatest badge of honour in the post-apocalyptic world will be a green thumb, assuming that the soil is still fertile.
Those are just two examples of the many skills people are building now that will aid them in their attempts to survive underneath the grey skies of the post-apocalypse. If you’re feeling helpless about the apocalypse today, try a hobby that can help you in a distant tomorrow. If you’re worried about rising sea levels, maybe take up diving, unless, like myself, you have asthma and are thus barred from obtaining a diving license. In which case, maybe move further inland.