The usefulness of knowledge is dependent on context. The purpose of this web page is to provide a context for projects and for selecting information to be posted on these websites.
The postCollapse.org mission is locating, developing and posting on our websites useful information with three groups of people in mind:
Those forming or living in a future post collapse community,
Those planning to form or join a post collapse community,
Those contributing to postcollapse.org projects.
In order to provide useful information one must consider the context in which it will be used. Since the post collapse period will be one of changing conditions we have chosen to provide this reference context in the form of a projected “future history”.
To better define and understand this context future history is broken down into five periods:
The pre-collapse period is the period when some people recognize a probable coming collapse, but before serious disruptions in the system become apparent. We are currently in the pre-collapse period. This is the time when we can best do the homework to help improve conditions in the later periods.
The collapse period begins with the first significant widespread disruptions in the infrastructure. It ends when the infrastructure no longer supports most human needs and there is little hope of near term repair. The duration of this period depends on numerous unpredictable details of the condition of the infrastructure and the triggering mechanism(s). There may be a series of significant partial failures before a final collapse or it may all be very sudden with little warning.
The turbulent period starts during the latter parts of the collapse period when the infrastructure no longer supports most of the pre-collapse social structure. It lasts until a large majority of the population lives in stable post collapse communities. We expect significant population die off during the period. There will be a significant overlap of the turbulent and transition periods; some areas will be well into transition while others remain turbulent.
The transition period starts with the building of functional communities independent of the old extended infrastructure. It will last while pre-collapse materials and equipment remain useful. PostCollpae.org primary focus will be on providing information for setting up and maintaining such transition communities. During the early part of the transition period we anticipate most communities will have little trade with remote locations. Things from remote locations will not be available so self sufficiency will be essential. As things improve trade will expand.
The sustainable period is one where communities can function essentially independent of pre-collapse equipment and stored materials. The changeover from transition to sustainable communities is expected to evolve slowly, without a clearly defined time boundary. By this time surviving communities will have established at least limited trading for essential things not available locally.
Keep in mind that this “future history” is only intended to be a context for assessing likely usefulness. This is not thee usual history focusing on dates and specific events.
The timing of transitions between periods will not be uniform. For example, an isolated and well prepared community may be minimally effected by the turbulent period while other areas will remain in turbulence long after most surviving people have become part of transition communities.
Only the transitions associated with the collapse period are likely to be abrupt. The other transitions are likely to take years. For example it could take years to breed enough draft animals to replace failing tractors. Today there are probably not enough draft animals in the country to plow one percent of the land now under cultivation.
The kind of information to be posted on postcollapse.info should be the information we believe will be important to transition communities. To few people have the knowledge and skills that will be needed by such communities, and that could be very costly.