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99: Getting back to normal

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Show notes and links:
How to survive a disaster (BBC)
Civilization: Definitions and Recommendations (ISCSC)
The Colony – Season 1 (Wikipedia)


Full episode text

In 2009 and 2010, Discovery Channel aired a series that I found quite intriguing, called The Colony. The show tried to recreate the experience of living after some kind of large disaster event, such as a pandemic.

Of course, surviving the tragedy is the first step. We all like to think that we’d be the first ones to act, and the heros in a situation. Statistics, however, tell us that only about 15 percent of people in a crisis act rationally. And only 10 percent of people completely and utterly panic. It’s that other 75 percent of people that often don’t even realize something truly disastrous is happening, and they rarely act with the speed needed.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about The Colony was that it showed many of the realities of life after a big event; including being so close yet so far away from many of the things that mark “civilization” to most of us. There was one scene in one of the episodes where the group managed to actually build a warm water shower — which was an experience that several of the cast said was an “making them feel that things would be okay” – that civilization and rebuilding would be possible.

What exactly is “civilization”? That’s a matter of opinion, and opinions that vary widely, but in my opinion it’s a matter of experience. The discussion answers on this one varied from coffee to safe tattoos to surgery to hot water to the ability to wash clothes.

So what’s the one thing that says civilization to you?