Future scenario’s of an energy descent world

The transition town model has a big weakness. Whilst it covers most aspects of providing resources for its members in a post peak/low energy future it hasn’t sufficiently dealt with the aspect of keeping what you have when faced with people who are willing to take it from you.

This article is an attempt to close that gap. It will not tell you how to organise your selves. Each group is different with different dynamics and Terrains. This article and the others that follow are intended to provide a thorough and objective look at the future of personal and community defence so as to guide us on the most effective ways to Prepare strategies.

It will tell you about the risks we face and give suggestions about how to plan for various scenarios.

First, an assumption for this discussion is that the reader lives outside of densely populated urban areas. Under no reasonable scenario will an urban area have adequate resource security in the face of Peak Oil, so to speak of military defence of such an area is moot. However these areas can be prepared in such a way that there are “hidden” resources that can be returned for if a group has decided to leave once the area has been abandoned. This general analysis should be applicable, however, to persons living in small towns, some suburban areas, or rural areas.

The risks and threats.

A lot of scuttlebutt has been posted on the internet and various blogs and forums about the threats that could occur during a break down of society regardless of the cause of that break down. In this section we will break down and explore these various threats and the likely hood of them occurring.

1. Oppressive Regimes

The single greatest security threat in many survivalists’ minds is the spectre of the government smashing down your front door and raiding your stockpiles. Recent government leadership and actions have certainly provided some legitimacy to these fears. The recent riots in London and the Arab uprisings, have raised questions about appropriate police response including the use of water cannon and rubber bullets as well as the implementation of martial law during any given crisis, certainly don’t bode well for the future of freedom in this country.

If government forces do choose to exert their will on the populace, there is no feasible military response for a local community. Local Para-military and militia forces cannot compete with a fully trained and equipped army to achieve meaningful military victory.


To focus your community defence efforts solely to counter the threat of government attack is a waste of resources and may in fact result in attracting enough attention to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The best defence in this scenario is to be as innocuous as possible. By not making yourself an obvious target the government will most likely pass you by for a more “promising” target. Remember; in a scenario where resources are tight large organisations tend to look at things as a return on investment scenario. They may not take your stored food if there is a supermarket or warehouse  nearby.

If in fact the government did declare martial law, consider this: there are 60 million people in the United kingdom supported by a standing (plus Territorial army reserves) of 227.160 personnel. There are more of us than there are of them. It would take a lot of resources to police us all. Consider also that the U.K. government is a hair’s breadth away from Insolvency, and funding a sustained conflict against even a portion of its tax base would be national suicide.

To sum up these points, martial law outside of urban centres is not feasible in the United Kingdom and any military action outside of cities would be so minimal that any single community would have an extremely low probability of attack. However it would be much easier to do things like limit travel, place check points on the roads and issue travel permits.

Published by The PermaFuture Project

We combine Permaculture and survivalist ethics and strategies to plan for a sustainable and self-sufficient future - both for individuals and communities.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m of the opinion that government forces will probably function for awhile, but then be forced into combat for resources. The military here in the U.S. is most likely going to be the last entity to be receiving fuel, with private security forces and transportation being second and third in line for whatever they can get in this country. At some point, they’ll be burning petroleum so that they can fight over the supply of petroleum. When that happens, the military organization seems like it would begin to break down, and communities trying to organize themselves in the face of collapse would have very little to worry about. I’m very curious to see just how much power remains in government hands in a descent scenario.

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