Next up we have a look at Tony C., of somewhere-in-Indiana:
Tony is, as far as I can tell, the first person to appear on DP with a fear of asteroids:
Just joking. He’s actually worried about any number of astronomical events that have the potential to end life as we know it. He seems to think that asteroids, comets, rogue black holes, and interdimensional breaches or whatever “all happen on a cycle, and that cycle is due now!” Nah, man, it’s only comets that are cyclical. Which means it’s the unforeseen asteroids you really want to worry about. (Chelyabinsk, anyone?)
To get some insider information about his fear, Tony goes to visit a Dr. Murphy at Butler University’s Holcomb observatory.
Doc tells him that there’s a one-in-five-million chance of a major ‘space-borne disaster’ occurring in his lifetime. Hmm, those are pretty safe odds. But tell me what’s worse—a one-in-five-million chance of an Extinction-Level Event (which no one can really do anything to avoid), or the fact that our relentless cannibalistic ‘civilization’ is causing 200 species to go extinct every day (which we definitely could do something about)?
Despite the very good odds in his favor (the good doctor tells him he has a significantly higher chance of getting killed in traffic than by a celestial object), Tony maintains that “something’s going to happen, everybody knows it, and so maybe I can do something.”
Hmm, I’m not sure about that. I mean, yes, something is going to happen, statistically speaking; at some eventual point in the future the planet will shake hands with another Chicxulub-level spacerock. Personally, I’d be more worried about the threats to our survival over which we actually have power, and I think that if there’s something that “everybody knows”, it’s simply an increasing awareness among the general populace of the inherent fragility of the little civilizational experiment our culture has created for itself; what they don’t know is that they can do something about it.
But what is Tony doing to deal with this threat? Holing up and burrowing in. How about doing something to help others?
Of course, the form his burrowing takes is pretty novel—he’s built a livable underground space around his RV camper (at least he’s decorated it and made it home-y, instead of ugly contrete)! And why did he choose to build around that, instead of starting from scratch? “Because everything’s there—it’s designed to be self-contained living, with all the comforts of home!”
Blerg. Dude, you’re not getting it. Just because your living infrastructure isn’t house-shaped doesn’t mean it’s any less utterly dependent on the Grid than your average suburban McMansion.
To be truly ‘self-contained’ a home must be able to provide (at the minimum) shelter (this would includes heating and cooling), water, food, and sanitation, all without reliance on outside sources (for a great example, take a look at Cody Lundin’s consciously-designed offgrid digs).
Take away the grid, and all Tony’s buried RV accomplishes is Shelter—it keeps him out of the weather. If he has 1,000 gallons of water stored, where is it coming from?—his dirt mound doesn’t look very suited to rain catchment—I assume electric water pump? Do his ‘comforts of home’ require electricity to run? Unless he has some solar panels ingeniously hidden on top of his dirt mound (I didn’t see any), that Juice is going to have to come from somewhere—either from the coal-burning grid, or a fossil-fueled generator. Unless he’s using a humanure setup for sanitation (this is not the same as an RV ‘chemical toilet’), eventually he’s going to have to empty that sewage tank. That requires the Grid.
Anyway, like I said, he has 1,000 gallons of water stored up and three-to-four years’ worth of food (storebought in steel cans).
Because one of the big issues of an impact event would be the planet-wide cloud of atmospheric ejecta blocking out sunlight and preventing photosynthesis, Tony decides to install grow lights?? Again, where’s the Juice gonna come from to power them?
And because another potential issue is all that particulate matter floating in the atmosphere, Tony whips up a pretty sweet-looking homemade air filtration unit. Here’s where I have to give him props—I love the DIY filter, which looks like he really did some research and took his time—really well-crafted. However, the bathroom air pump that makes it work…still relies on the Juice to run. Really, I’d look into a bicycle-powered generator system, which would also prove useful in helping him keep active in the long days underground.
The experts tell him to have a way to get more fresh water. He claims there are numerous water sources nearby—yes, but what about particulates/fallout? Now Tony needs to DIY himself a gravity-fed water filter. They give him a score of 60 for 8 months.