How to survive after an apocalypse

If an asteroid hit earth or a mass pandemic caused the collapse of society, would you have the necessary skills to start rebuilding the world? Or without the ever-present guide of the internet, would you even be able to keep yourself alive?

With the incredible array of labour-saving devices and pre-made products at our disposal, few of us are likely to feel adequately equipped to rebuild humanity, even if we have completed The Last of Us on Survivor mode.

Sure, many of us have given some thought about what our initial response would be. A quick poll of the Factor team found strategies ranging from joining together as a team or securing a space as a safe living area to accepting defeat and going out in a haze of naked craziness. But if we’re honest, none of us is that well equipped for the nitty gritty of day-to-day survival.


But all is not lost. A new book entitled The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World From Scratch aims to address these issues by providing a guide to rebuilding society. Written by astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartnell and available from tomorrow, the book tackles the disconnect between our everyday lives and the basic principles of our civilisation.

“I think that very few of us have any real idea where our food comes from, or the clothes we wear, or how the materials making up the objects in our pocket right now were dug out of the ground and processed and refined,” said Dartnell.

“I wanted to dig down to the foundations of all of this and try to understand how our world actually works on a fundamental level, and so how you could rebuild it all from scratch if you ever needed to.”

The book and its accompanying website provide guides on the basic skills that will enable us to grow food, generate power, prepare medicines or even extract metal from rocks.

But, perhaps more importantly, the book aims to provide the knowledge to avert another dark ages. Instead of the surviving members of humanity facing lost knowledge and skills, Dartnell believes that understanding the fundamentals of science would enable us to relearn forgotten techniques and accelerate redevelopment.

Instead of having to discover complicated engineering processes entirely from scratch – a process that could take hundreds of years – we’d be able to redevelop techniques far more quickly using fundamental scientific knowledge.

“It’s science that has built our world and it’s science that would be needed to rebuild it again,” explained Dartnell.

Find out what our apocalypse survival strategies are by scrolling down or clicking here

Image courtesy of The Knowledge.

Our apocalypse survival strategies

Whether a passing wonder or a full-blown plan, we’ve all thought about how we’d survive in an apocalypse. Here are team Factor’s strategies for apocalypse survival, which range from the very silly to the very serious:

“I would steal everyone’s food and find a secure underground bunker to hide it all in.”

“I think the first thing I would try to do is to stay calm – it would be hard though. I would get in touch with my relatives and loved ones. But if there would be any possibility to save the society (I mean any possibility) I would try to make it happen. In this case it would be essential to work as a TEAM with everyone in the world. That would be quite difficult as well to do according to how majority of people behave. All in all, it would be worth trying anything that could help.”

“Just do a Sean of the Dead and go to the pub!”


“Look for family, friends, food and the nearest Nando’s to search for piri-piri chicken and sauce.”

“I would find an out of town retail park with a DIY superstore, supermarket, bed store, carpet store etc. and turn it into a secure space by stacking shopping trolleys between the buildings and turning them into walls using wire and rolls of carpet. From there you’ve got all the tools to build and defend a small settlement, plus you can make pretty comfy living spaces from the bed stores, you’ve got medical supplies from the supermarket and you can turn the (usually flat) roofs of the retail units into growing spaces for food. Sorted.”

“If you’re gonna die anyway you might as well do something crazy! I think I would run in the woods naked, singing Arias and then make a fire and dance around it and try to connect to the spirit world, so that I could descend from my body to the next dimension without any pain.”

“I’ve got a couple of friends at home who believe that such a scenario will probably happen in the next couple of decades and they’ve been collecting all sorts of survival skills and knowledge. Stuff like proper foraging, natural alternatives for all kinds of medicines you might need – and they’re saving up to do a survival course and shooting training. So the first thing I’d do is get myself to where they are and set up camp with them and a small group of family and friends that can be trusted 100%.”

“To ensure I survived I would transform into Jaguar Paw from Apocalypto.”


“When it comes to an apocalypse, my reference is the book of Revelations. And an ultimate end to society, i.e. end of this world, is something I look forward to in the sense that I trust in the promise of a future Kingdom. So anything that happens in my lifetime in this world, although scary at times, wouldn’t shake me on a serious level.”

“I’d make it my mission to rid the world (what’s left of it) of everything religious. Knock down all the places of worship, burn the books. That way the world will be a better place when it gets back to normal.”

“I would re-enact the entire first series of Lost…. and fight to the death. Correction I would re-enact the entirety of 28 Days Later including the eye gouging scene. Mwa ha ha!!!!!”

“Well. In a ‘normal’ apocalypse I’d try to get to family and work out where to go from there – home is a close knit community, some guns because it’s rural… Zombie apocalypse, kill myself, because I’d be USELESS and would rather not be turned into a zombie. Like when you kill one queen wasp and it stops 100,000 wasps being born.”

“Back to the roots. Form tribal structures with others, all of them adding their skills to group survival. Get away from the cities if possible, less competition for food / shelter etc. in nature, less chaos. Less crime. Plus food to hunt and gather. But: help is further away too in case of medical emergencies, so would be good to win a medical doctor for the team. Travel as light as possible if the catastrophe requires moving. Survival and more safety through group cooperation.”

Would you do something different? Tweet @FactorMagazine with your apocalypse survival ideas.