A clever fox once said, “Chaos reigns” Things fall apart; entropy rides everything. Death is close and getting closer all the time. Who’s to say it won’t be soon? Who can promise that the world won’t end? Not Dan Martin. Martin is a former engineer for Boeing Aerospace, and currently an expatriate of society itself. Dan lives with his wife in a Mexican desert. He’s written thirteen books about building your own free home, or installing DIY solar panels, and other elements of off-the-grid living. His most recent book, Apocalypse: How to Survive a Global Crisis, is a synthesis of Dan’s rugged survivalist skills, and information supporting civilization’s impending doom. I talked to Martin over a satellite Skype phone while he took a break from traveling, giving seminars and going to Haiti to rebuild schools in the most environmentally sustainable way possible. Hopefully, after you read this, you’ll be prepared for the world’s eruption into hellfire flame.
AHG: You’re a pretty prolific writer; how did you start writing books about self-sufficiency and doomsday preparation?
DM: I was in the military for about four and a half years. Then I worked for Boeing Aerospace; I was an aerospace technician for about five years. One day, I woke up–or “opened my eyes” I like to say–and realized living in society wasn’t for me. So, I bought some raw land in west Texas and I built a ranch. My wife and I sold all our property and cashed in our accounts and investments. We sold the car; we got rid of everything. We built our own house and our own farm road. The cabin we lived in for eight years had no utilities–electricity, water, phone, garbage, etc. We caught rain water for drinking and bathing; we made our own composting toilets. We made furniture, and grew our own food. Eventually we installed windmills, solar heating and cooling, hydroponics…
AHG: This seems to explain your massive Amazon page. After you learned how to do all this stuff, did you just think, “Well, might as well turn this stuff into books.”
DM: When I started, you couldn’t just buy a book or download something that explained how to be completely self-sufficient. So I just had to learn hands on. I decided I had to get this information out to people so they don’t have to fight as hard as I did if they’re inclined to try these kind of things. So did your experience as an engineer help you figure out how to do this stuff? When I was at Boeing, I worked with NASA and helped with the space station. We learned how to synthesize nitrogen from air, oxygen from air, separate the gases and what not. Not to mention, I grew up in the mountains and camped in the woods. Worked on cars and stuff. I’ve always been a do it yourself kind of person. Anything I didn’t know I just figured out as I went.
AHG: Alright, well I just finished up Apocalypse. Let me make sure I’m getting your main argument: essentially, while we can’t say for sure where and when a government meltdown will happen, we can be pretty certain one will happen eventually and the least we can do is prepare. Does that sound right?
DM: Correct. Not only will it happen, but I think it’s already begun. Look at economic collapse, major earthquakes around the world, tornadoes, record setting floods, wildfires, in March alone, 24 countries tried to rise up against their governments…I’m not religious, I’m not spiritual, I’m not prophesying any magical forecasts. It’s just when these religious or cult like entities prophecies these things, and then when scientific entities like NASA are backing them up, it’s something we should pay attention to. There’s so many prospective ways the apocalypse could happen–astroids, nuclear warheads, I personally subscribe to the idea of super-solar flares. In September of 2010–I’m not sure–NASA released a report that states in 2012, solar flare bursts are predicted to go through Earth’s atmosphere. It’s not uncommon for the sun to become super-active. The last time was in 1959-1960. Back then, the only electronic grids were telegraph machines and wires. They didn’t have electrical wires, phone lines, computers, whatnot. All the wires and cables of the telegraph grid spontaneously ignited and burnt up the whole system. They had to replace the whole system., causing a massive replacement. Today, we’re dangerously dependent on our electrical grid and it’s extremely susceptible to this type of power failures. It’s essentially a big sponge for these times of solar flares…
(Editor’s Note: I looked for this report, but could not find it. Ron Paul’s website published a story citing the report, but didn’t include a link. Universe Today has a great article breaking down the science of solar flares that does say solar flares would be disastrous for electronics; however, they’re skeptical that the flares predicted for 2012 would be able to do that. Guess we’ll have to wait and see! )
AHG: What are you doing December 21st 2012? Should we be doing the same thing? Should we find bunkers?
DM: The whole solar flare thing isn’t going to kill everybody on earth. It’s not going to burn anything down; you don’t have to go underground. It doesn’t have the potential to be that severe; it would just effect electronics. Essentially, it will be a normal day until all of a sudden our iPods and laptops and ATM machines stop working. American society depends so much on that stuff and society is so fragile that it could set into motion a collapse that society couldn’t recover from. Me, I’m going to be sitting on the beach drinking a beer on Dec. 21st because I’m so far away from civilization that I don’t have to worry about that stuff.
AHG: If the apocalypse hits in 2012, we don’t have much time. What should we do to prepare?
DM: The most important thing to do is educate yourself. America is dependent on a service driven economy. If something happens with the plumbing, call a plumber; if you’re injured, call a doctor, etc. The most important thing is to learn about as many feilds as possible. Learn the fundamentals of electricity, mechanics, plumbing, medicine, welding, hunting, cooking! It’s really dangerous to be dependent on just one thing because if it gets taken away, what do you do? If you’re used to having a roof without leaks, and after a societal collapse you find out there’s leaks in your roof, what do you do?
AHG: What are the most essential supplies to surviving an apocalypse?
DM: According to my solar flare prediction, you should stock up on non-perishable foods and ammunition. Money, credit cards, and currency will be worthless. You’ll need something else to barder with. I foresee things like cigarettes, coffee, toliet paper, and things you don’t think have much worth will be extremely valuable because people are addicted to these things. Even if you don’t smoke or drink coffee (which I don’t), I’ve stocked up on cartons and cartons of cigarettes and crates of coffee because I know they will be worth something if the factories close.
Besides learning all these trades, take a step to convert your body and yourself away from luxuries. We’re so used to climate controled areas, so turn your air conditioning and heaters off. Live with that so your body accumulate to these temperatures. I hear about the heatwaves in New York where people are dealing with 110 degree tempatures; that’s an average day in Mexico. We’re used to that down here. But most people leave their air conditioned house for their air conditioned car until they get to their air conditioned office and go to an air conditioned resturant for dinner.
Hike. Run. Build your muscles up and walk places instead of driving to them. Lay off the cell phone and laptop and stop being dependent on them. If only to get a taste of what things might be like if you’re cut off from modern society.
AHG: Those sound like reasonable things to do regardless of impending doom. Who’s going to take control after society collapses?
DM: The United States government is a capitalist run government: it runs on money. If the economy collapses and everyone loses their jobs, no one will pay their taxes. If that’s the case, there will be no one around to uphold the lifestyle we’re used to–the police, armed forces, and security will have no reason to protect and serve. The prisons will empty because there won’t be money to keep them open. Gangs will rise up. Even out of work law enforcers might abuse their authority and take control. The strong will survive. There will be confusion, suffering, death, ignorance, looting, rape, murder. That’s the way it always is. Whenever a government collapses, that’s what happens. Look at the USSR in the 90s, and Africa right now.
AHG: So, my readers should probably go out and buy a gun?
DM: If you’re living in society, your only option is to batten down the hatches, arm yourself, stock up on some food, and ride it out. The better option though, is to get away from it. Go out where there’s no people. If you can go out where there’s no people, there will be a lot less danger.
Eventually things will calm down. People will adapt; humans are very resliant. We will build new societies and new forms as government just as faulty as the last one. That society will fall in 500 years, or 100 years, just like the ones before it. That’s the way we are. Every government fails; none has ever survived. Especially superpowers! It sucks, but that’s the way it is.
AHG: You write that motorcycles and trucks will be the preferred mode of transportation, but what about horses?
Well, I say motorcycles and trucks because my book is for people living in the city, living in society. In the city, it will be a lot easier to get a hold of a motorcycle than a horse. But if you’re in an environment with horses or donkeys, and you have experience riding and taking care of big animals, that would be the way to go.
Between horses and donkeys though, donkeys–or what we call, burros–are a better option. Horses are breed to move heavy weight and run real fast. That can be a bonus in an emergency situation, but in the long run, you’d want an animal that could move over any terraine. A dedicated, security animal. That’s why you’d want a donkey. A horse has “flight” demeanor, while a donkey has a “fight” demeanor. A donkey will stay and protect you, while a horse would probably run away.
AHG: What are you going to miss most about civilized society?
DM: I’ve been out of society for almost ten years now. When I lived on the ranch, I didn’t see any other people for eight years. I haven’t had a phone, or a calendar, or an alarm clock in almost ten years. I haven’t owned a wallet in almost ten years! We’ve eliminated anything we were dependent on.
When I left the ranch, everyone had cellphones. Big, black cellphones they’d hold up to their face. But when I came back, nobody had cellphones anymore! They were just talking into little speakers. Just talking to themselves and shouting out into the air. Now I see people with cellphones, but all they do is tap on them!
AHG: I think you mean Bluetooth headsets and smart phones.