x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Brave new world: a guide to surviving the Earth's destruction

According to the Mayans (well, kind of), the world as we know it is set to end. You probably won't be safe by following these methods for survival.

Jay Blevins walks to his backyard with a bug-out bag, a quick grab bag with about 40 pounds of survival gear including a Katana sword. Brendan Smialowski / AFP
Jay Blevins walks to his backyard with a bug-out bag, a quick grab bag with about 40 pounds of survival gear including a Katana sword. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Forget about last-minute Christmas presents. Don’t worry about where you’re going to go for New Year. In fact, all concerns you’ve got about pensions, school fees, mortgages, fixing the downstairs bathroom, “that” embarrassing photo leaking on to Facebook or pretty much anything else on your mind can be slung out of the window.

Why? The Mayans. Yes, according to those South American maize-munching merchants of doom (and more recently Roland Emmerich in his expensive and rubbish disaster movie 2012), modern civilisation as we know it is set to end this weekend. And while historians have squabbled over the precise meaning behind the prediction, everyone has come to understand that December 21 2012 is the Doomsday date.

While exact timings have yet to be confirmed, there are clear signs the world is preparing for oblivion this Friday and several last-minute tips have emerged for those who might prefer to survive.

Run away

According to the online airfare finder Skyscanner, interest in one-way tickets to remote places considered safe from the wrath has spiked. Apparently, the southern French farming town of Bugarach has proved rather popular, as has the western Turkish village of Sirince, which has reportedly been flooded with doomsdayers because of its “positive energy”. Sadly, there aren’t direct flights from the Middle East to either of these destinations, so expect a few stopovers.

Build an ark

If you were one of the unlucky folk who had the displeasure of watching 2012 you’ll know that a) John Cusack and Thandie Newton both survive the apocalypse, and b) if you want to join them you’ll need to build a big boat.

For one man in China, that’s exactly what he’s done, reportedly spending around US$160,000 (Dh587,568) on his very own 65-foot, 80-ton Noah’s Ark. “I’m afraid that when the end of the world comes in 2012, flood waters will destroy my house,” Lu Zhenghai told the Chinese News Service (translated by The Huffington Post). “So I took all my savings and invested in the construction of this boat. When the time comes, everyone can take refuge in it.”

By everyone, we’re not sure if he means the entire world or just the population of China. Either way, we just hope he’s put enough bathrooms on board.

Stockpile

For years, we’ve come to understand that if you want to survive some sort of disaster, you’ll need a whole lot of tinned food. But for a group of “preppers” in the US, there’s more to it than just buying a big load of baked beans and perhaps some air freshener.

According to AFP, in the basement of Jay Blevins’s home about an hour from Washington, there’s a walk-in pantry packed with cans, preserved food and medical supplies, while out in the backyard he’s got barrels of fresh water and a small arsenal of pistols and rifles locked away. “We could survive for quite a while just on this stuff,” said the father of three, a former deputy sheriff and SWAT team officer who appears on season two of Doomsday Preppers, a National Geographic Channel reality TV series that is broadcast in the US.

And if the Blevins should have to make tracks, every member of the family has their own “bug-out bag” – a backpack filled with on-the-road essentials including, naturally, a samurai sword.

Just ignore it

Those eggheads at Nasa are seemingly intent on ruining everyone’s Doomsday fun. Not content with having spoilt the old rumour of the Earth being flat, they’re now trying to debunk the Mayans via boring science and suchlike.

In a video released for December 22 entitled Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday, Nasa claims that if an asteroid were heading towards Earth, we’d have already seen it and that the sun isn’t a threat either as it’s been flaring for billions of years without causing any serious harm.

While this may look like extreme confidence on the part of the US space boffins, it’s really a win-win scenario for them. If nothing happens on Friday, they were right. And if it does, nobody’s really going to be around to point the finger, right?

aritman@thenational.ae