With fears of a fuel crisis, virus outbreak or global financial collapse and shows like #TheWalkingDead, Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Castle all currently on TV, it's fair to say that the apocalypse seems to weigh more heavily on our minds than it has in recent decades.
But as prepared as you feel The Walking Dead may have made you for the impending collapse of civilization as we know it, how accurate is it? Would the world look anything like we've seen in Alexandria, DC or Atlanta? Take a look below to see how a real post-apocalyptic world might look like, and how close The Walking Dead comes:
Along with the human race, fresh food was very quick perish in the apocalypse. With power supplies being cut off relatively soon after the outbreak, food stores in fridges and freezers rapidly spoiled.
While vegetable patches would have been good producers of food, they're largely seasonal and the average city or town-dwelling survivor may not have had the knowledge required to make the most out of them (evidenced by Alexandria only starting their's in Season 6!). Also given that pesticides and fertilizers etc would eventually run out, it could make maintaining large crop fields difficult, especially as insect and wildlife numbers would have exploded as the number of humans rapidly decreased. Wildlife would also be a threat to survivors hoping to farm animals, as would walkers as we saw in Season 6 when buttons the horse was swiftly ripped to bits.
At this stage in The Walking Dead, canned food is a big staple of survivor's diets, though rations are always running low. Canned food is also probably the safest way to get nutrients for the survivors, given that food poisoning is a very real threat and with limited medication can be much more dangerous than in normal civilization.
Luckily canned food is, generally speaking, good for between one and five years, though studies have shown that food canned over 40 years ago was still in perfect condition, and that food canned up to 100 years ago would probably even be fine. Strictly speaking the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends using high-acid canned foods such as fruits and tomatoes within 18 - 24 month, and low-acid foods (meats and vegetables) in two to five years. So all in all, if the Walking Dead scavengers manage to find a stockpile of cans, chances are it's still going to be pretty good to eat.
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Gasoline and diesel
Though many of the comforts of the old world are now gone, the characters of The Walking Dead still primarily use cars to get around. In recently seasons alternative modes of transports such as horses, bikes and even rollerskates have increasingly been used by old and new characters, indicating that the series is gearing up for cars to become obsolete in the future - and this is a good thing from an accuracy standpoint.
Given that the survivors are about two years into the apocalypse, they're now at the point where gasoline should be almost useless, with diesel well on the way. The reason why fuel becomes useless is basically due to the refining process. Gas is highly refined, and eventually the bonds break rendering it useless, diesel requires less refining giving it a longer lifespan.
Apocalypse survivors could probably use gasoline without issue for up to three of four months, or even up to a year or two provided they use a gasoline stabilizer (let's just assume Rick and co knew all about this). Meanwhile diesel is fine up to a year, and can even be stretched to five years with a stabilizers. So basically, Maggie should hold onto that tractor because it might eventually become a primary mode of transport - though, if the survivors were smart they'd also be sourcing as many electric cars as possible because as we know, Alexandria has a ton of solar panels. Meanwhile any community still using cars or generators running on gas or diesel will find themselves plunged into darkness sometime soon.
In Season 6 of The Walking Dead we met the character Tina, who suffered from diabetes and needed insulin to survive. While it seems obvious that people suffering from all types of conditions might survive the apocalypse, the idea of Tina surviving the better part of two years was especially hard to believe. Opened bottles of insulin — which needs to be store in a fridge — is good for around 28 days, meanwhile unopened insulin is usually good for about a year. However, insulin is very sensitive to temperatures, and should not be used if exposed to very cold or hot temperatures, something that would have been likely.
While other medicines such as ibuprofens (Advil, Motrin etc) and paracetamol (Tylenol) definitely have expiration dates, consuming them after the expiration dates won't necessarily have ill effects, but they may not be as potent as they were. IV fluids such as saline will often last long after their expiration, though the big issue may be external factors compromising there sterility.
One of the big issues concerning medication in the apocalypse is having someone with the knowledge to administer treatment. If Alexandria hadn't had Denise in their community when Carl was injured, or even porch dick Pete before her then there's no doubt there would have been more casualties. Luckily these days Hilltop and even Negan's sanctuary have a doctor on hand (the Carson brothers), though if the survivors of the future want to have medical professionals, they better bring on apprentices soon.
Obviously clothing is unlike food or fuel, but as anyone with a favorite t-shirt or sweater will be able to tell you, eventually they do wear out. Having sturdy clothes made of wool or leather is a must in the apocalypse, and survivors better get good with a needle and thread if they want to keep their wardrobe in tip top condition. With all the walking, boots are obviously the ideal footwear, though hoarding pairs as they find them will make it easier for when clothing and footwear supplies run low in the years following the apocalypse.
We're seen a lot of abandoned and rotting buildings in The Walking Dead, and a lot of them are accurate to what we could expect buildings in the apocalypse to look like. Given that most buildings will be shut up tightly with no air flow, they would eventually become damp, smelly, leaky messes - especially if bodies or humans or pets have been rotting inside them. Also without tenants to keep nature at arms length, not only could plant life slowly take over both the outside and inside of the structure but animals would also make their way indoors and wreck havoc.
If the buildings are in an area particularly prone to extreme weather or natural disasters then eventually the elements will get to the core foundations and the buildings will crumble, though this might take up to 30 years post-apocalypse to happen, and only provided no one upkeeps the buildings.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC.
Do you think you know enough to be an apocalypse survivor?
Sources: Off The Grid News