How to Survive the Future

Dr Vernon Coleman

Whatever happens, the future is going to be very different. It has been clear for some time that the world is running out of oil and, as a result, our lives are going to change. Here are my notes (first published in 2007) describing how we can best deal with a different world. I was not writing then about the Great Reset – but about the problems we will face as the oil supply diminishes over coming decades. The climate change fraud (and the associated 15 minute cities and clampdown on travel) was created to force us to stop using oil. It is the coming shortage of oil supplies, not climate change, which politicians would be discussing if they were honest. My book `A Bigger Problem than Climate Change’ explains everything you need to know about the oil shortage.

1. Prepare yourself mentally for a different world. A world in which the rich ride horses, the middle classes use bicycles and the poor walk everywhere they want to go. Think carefully about your current lifestyle. And try to imagine how difficult (and different) things will be when there is no oil.

2. Energy prices are going to rise inexorably. Take time now to reduce the amount of energy you use. Cut out all non-essential energy usage. Within the home the greatest expenditure is usually heating. See how low you can turn down your thermostat and still survive comfortably. Wear a sweater indoors and you may be able to cope with a lower temperature.

3. If possible you should acquire alternative forms of heating and cooking. Do not rely on one energy source. If you have gas central heating then you should have one or two electric heaters available. If you have to replace your oven consider purchasing one which will enable you to cook with either gas or electricity.

4. If you can become at least partly independent by installing an alternative personal energy source then now is the time to do it. Maybe a small windmill will supply at least part of your electricity needs. If you have a working but unused fireplace in your home then have the chimney swept and cleared so you can have log or coal fires to keep warm. Start laying down stocks of logs and coal. These things won't rot and I don't think there's much chance that they are going to go down in price.

5. Look around your home and make a list of all the gadgetry and equipment upon which you are dependent. How will cope without each item? Can you accumulate spares? Can you learn how to repair any of these items?

6. Prepare yourself for electricity blackouts by buying lamps and candles. Don't forget that you will need candle holders and matches. (And make sure that everyone in the family knows how to use them safely.)

7. If you are considering changing your motor car you might consider choosing a car which uses less fuel. Look also for a vehicle which has a decent tank capacity so that you can continue to make small journeys when there are fuel shortages. Reconsider all your travel needs. How much do you need a car of your own? Would you be able to cope more economically (and with less hassle) if you simply relied on taxis and hire cars occasionally? How big a car do you really need? Must you buy a new car? An older car may need more maintenance but the maintenance will almost certainly be easier to manage than a car which is controlled by a series of complicated computers. If you don't have a bicycle this would be a good time to purchase one. If you can't ride one then now is the time to learn. Folding bicycles are easy to fit into a car and it should be possible to carry them onto public transport. Equip your bicycle with panniers and a basket so that you can carry shopping on it.

8. If you are choosing a new home consider your likely future needs. Houses within walking or cycling distance of a railway station will sell at a premium in the future. A home that has its own water supply will be particularly attractive as public water supplies come under threat. But look for a spring or gravity fed supply rather than a bore hole. In order to get water out of a bore hole you will need an electric pump - and when the electricity goes off you will get no water.

9. If you have land consider establishing a vegetable garden where you can grow at least some of your own food. Try to grow as much food as you can. If you have little or no experience of gardening it will probably take you a year or two to learn some basic gardening skills. Acquire a small library of relevant gardening books. Try to manage your garden without using artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals. Even if you don't want to start your own vegetable garden straight away you should, perhaps, start thinking of living in a home where a vegetable patch would be possible. (And, ideally, you should have a vegetable patch which is not open to the world. Thieves of the future will not be stealing television sets and mobile phones. They will be stealing potatoes and runner beans. If you grow your own vegetables you will have to be prepared to protect them from thieves. You should prepare now by making your house formidable, impenetrable and uninviting. If you need to dig up your front lawn in order to grow more food, you will need to think about ways to protect your crops from thieves.)

10. Do not take on any additional debt. Try to pay off any existing debts as soon as you can. Credit card debts are particularly expensive and can be a huge drain on your personal resources. If interest rates soar your repayments could be crippling. Water and food are, like fuel, going to become extremely expensive. And the coming price rises in oil and food will be structural not cyclical. Oil and food will never again be as plentiful or as cheap as they are now. Your savings could help you survive.

11. This could be a good time to examine your life. How many of the things you spend money on are essential to your health and happiness? How many of the things you buy turn out to be a burden rather than an asset? Every time you make a big purchase consider not just the cash price but also the time price. How many hours did you have to work to earn the money to pay for it? If you are contemplating buying an electrical item that costs £500 and you earn £5 an hour net of taxes then the item you're thinking of buying will cost 100 hours of your life. Step off the consumer treadmill and you may feel physical and mental benefits.

12. Try to replace some of the more complex tools in your house with simpler tools that don't need electricity. For example, a small hand drill may be slower and harder to use than an electric drill but you will still be able to use it when there is no electricity. Accumulate simple well-made hand tools to use around the house and garden.

13. This might be a time to start learning simple, practical skills so that you will be able to look after your home and your belongings without always being reliant on outside `experts'. Learning basic carpentry and basic plumbing will provide you with considerable freedom.

14. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain the services of a general practitioner out of hours. This is likely to continue (if not to get worse). Hospitals are likely to deteriorate still further as they struggle to cope with a top heavy bureaucracy, an increasingly incompetent and unhappy workforce and an on-going energy crisis. You should, therefore, make sure that you acquire some simple medical skills. Put together a simple first aid kit and a small library of easy to understand medical books.

15. Try to do as much shopping as you can at local stores and local markets. When buying food try to buy locally grown food. Big supermarkets may sometimes (but not always) be cheaper and it is certainly more convenient (if rather soul destroying) to do all your shopping in one store but when oil becomes increasingly expensive the big stores will not survive. (Transporting food and other supplies to their stores will be costly and many of their customers will no longer have the transport available for them to visit out of town stores.) If you and your neighbours do not keep small shops and markets alive where will you shop when the supermarkets close down?

16. Try to limit the amount of rubbish you accumulate. As oil become increasingly expensive, and local councils struggle to cope with their dramatically increasing pension obligations, so local services will deteriorate considerably. Rubbish collections, already threatened, will be non-existent. Try to free your home of as much rubbish as you can now. And be cautious about taking home new rubbish and clutter. You will need to find new ways to get rid of your rubbish in the future - either by burying it or burning it.

17. If you live in an area which is likely to flood then think about permanently moving your most valuable possessions upstairs.

Taken from `A Bigger Problem than Climate Change’ by Vernon Coleman. `A Bigger Problem than Climate Change’ (a revised version of `Oil Apocalypse’ – which was first published in 2007) is available as a paperback and an eBook.

Copyright Vernon Coleman September 2023


When the oil runs out (which it will do soon) I believe that the world will change for ever.

Is there a chance that none of this will happen?

Yes, of course there is.

Someone may discover another entirely `free' form of energy: a form of energy we can use to drive motorcars and aeroplanes and from which we can obtain electricity.

Or maybe explorers will discover a huge oil field four miles underneath Milton Keynes.

Perhaps a young scientist in Latvia will perfect a perpetual motion machine.

Who knows, perhaps someone will find a way to turn sea water into oil.

Anything is possible.

If you think any of these scenarios are likely (and you're happy to put your trust in chance and good fortune) then you have no need to worry.

Otherwise, I think you should take this danger very seriously.

As I wrote at the beginning of this book, the problem of the disappearing oil is a threat to our civilisation much greater than global warming or terrorism. It is a threat which everyone in power knows about but everyone in power steadfastly ignores. It's a danger no one talks about.