One of my readers sent me this news item from southwestern England: Announcing the Release of ‘Can Totnes and District Feed Itself?’. That got me thinking. Perhaps they can feed themselves. But if things fall apart, how can they feed the Golden Horde from Bristol, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Poole, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bath, Exeter, Swindon, Torbay, and the other cities of southern England? And let’s not forget greater London. Most of those city dwellers will want to head for “the countryside”, but how many urban refugees can the small towns absorb?
Parenthetically, I’ll mention that the Rawles family name originated from southwest England, not too far from Totnes. (Well, actually a bit farther west, in eastern Cornwall.) My progenitor left England around 1700, in part because he considered it “crowded.” That was when the nation’s population was under 6 million people. It is now more than 51 million. (To give American readers a sense of scale: That is roughly the combined population of California and New York, but all shoehorned into an area the size of the state of Alabama. Yikes! That does not provide a great prospect for self-sufficiency–especially if sans grid power. I wonder what my gr.gr.gr.gr.gr.grandfather John William Rawles would have thought about the modern-day self-sufficiency conjecture in Devonshire? He’d probably advise being on a tall ship on the next tide.
There are several thousand SurvivalBlog readers in England. My advice for any of you that are genuinely concerned about preparedness and self-sufficiency: Take the Gap. As I’ve just illustrated, the demographics are against you. The climate is also against you. (It is a cold, wet climate.) The gun and knife laws are increasingly against you. So face it: Your chances of surviving a grid-down collapse are quite slim in England. If anything, the nation is a prime candidate for a tremendous die-off, possibly to pre-1700 level population levels. (That would be a self-sufficient population level!)
Even if you live way out near the Brecon Beacons or in the Yorkshire Dales and have James Herriott’s family for your next door neighbors, there just isn’t enough “countryside” to go around. In a true “worst case”, every town and village will get mobbed by the yobs. My advice is straightforward and perhaps a bit blunt: You should emigrate to a lightly-populated corner of the United States, New Zealand, or perhaps Belize, as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll dramatically increase your family’s chances of survival, and you’ll also enjoy greater personal liberty.
The Peak Oil crowd–both in the US and in the UK–is well-intentioned, intelligent, and articulate. It is also sadly predominated by folks that are hopelessly naive. It is all well and good to talk about farmer’s markets, sustainable agriculture, green technology, and kumbaya. But we live in the real world, where if the lights go out, it won’t take too long for people to get hungry and start hunting two-legged big game. And in England, where there are few guns, and the few there are predominantly owned illegally by gangsters rather han legally owned by the good folk. So the self-defense equation will come down to nothing but brute force. Take my advice and take the gap!