LOTS of conversation on last week’s episode…and this week was another good one. One thing that I mentioned in last week’s comments was that The Colony isn’t a show you want to watch to LEARN how to survive a disaster. It’s a show to watch to start preparedness conversations with your friends/loved ones, to give you scenarios to game, and to show you how average people MIGHT react in a disaster situation. The psychology lessons alone are VERY valuable from the show.
The show starts out with the colonists relalizing that the stream that they’re using is polluted. There’s a sheen of oil and several dead fish floating on the water. I’m really surprised that they haven’t caught more rainwater up to this point.
In a long term survival situation, once you get your basics (shelter, fire, water, food, & security) taken care of, you want to create redundancy for each of them. In this case, even though they had repeated rains and were catching SOME water, they evidently didn’t store much of it because as soon as they see that the stream is polluted, they say that they only have 4 days of water left. This is really pathetic, because that amounts to about 50 gallons of water, or 2 good sized rubbermaid containers.
As I cover in my “Advanced Urban Water Purification” book, you CAN make water contaminated with oil, pesticides, herbicides, and other pollutants potable in a fairly straightforward manner. The colonists are very close to having everything in place to do this…they just don’t know it.
What they decide to do is build a cistern to catch rain water…great idea, but poor implementation. They decide to build an above ground cistern. Unfortunately, it’s got some big problems. They basically use plywood lined with a tarp. The first problem is that they left a big gap in the tarp for the water to go through.
The bigger problem is water pressure. The cistern is basically a box that appears to be 8 feet by 4 feet and 4 feet high. The 2 sides that are 4 feet tall by 8 feet long will have almost 4,000 pounds! of pressure against them when it’s full. (as a note, it DID rain at the end of the show, the cistern got a couple of feet of water, and it held until morning! I still have doubts as to whether or not their cistern could handle being filled.)
They would have been much better off if they would have found a place where they could dig in the ground and use the earth to provide counter pressure. Their wooden design could work, but it’s not likely.
They FINALLY set up a night watch, but they’re only using one person for the entire night. In general, the more boring the watch, and the less disciplined and experienced your group, the more often you should rotate. Michael was supposed to be on watch, but he laid down and went to sleep and intruders came and broke in again.
I discuss this in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course, and I’ll briefly describe a sleep/watch strategy here. Basically, you would designate 12 hours for sleeping. Out of those 12 hours, everyone in the group would sleep for 8 hours and be on watch for 4. Ideally, you’d have 1/3 of the group on watch at any given time.
Again, you could obviously modify it if you had a high percentage of people with military experience, but this is a solid strategy for groups that are mixed in experience, training, and discipline.
Two of the guys catch a gator…which was simultaneously gutsy and done smartly. While gators have very strong jaws, they don’t have much strength to open their jaws. I would have killed it before carrying it a few blocks, but I’m impressed that they pulled off catching, killing, and butchering it.
3 of the colonists go out exploring and find a fast food restaurant. For a second time, they find evidence that someone else is living in a place they’re searching and they decide to loot it anyhow! I’m all for scavanging after a disaster, but I’m a 10 Commandments guy and taking supplies that people are using or will be using before you can replace them is stealing.
Besides that, there will be “law” and “justice” in a disaster situation, no matter how bad things get. It may be in the form of people taking the law into their own hands instead of in the form of the police and a judge, but you have to expect that there will eventually be consequences for breaking laws.
When they got back to the colony, they changed their story and said that there was no sign of life. To me, this is simply an indication that they realized that it was wrong to take stuff from the fast food restaurant, but they did it anyhow.
Fortunately, at the end of the episode, they decided to pick a leader. They picked Sally, the mechanic. One thing to keep in mind is that the person who does the most isn’t necessarily the best person to lead. I’ll be interested to see if Sally taking a leadership role will take away from what she’s able to actually do, or if she’s able to use her leadership position to inspire the others and increase overall productivity.
I was very glad to see that the colonists switched from a democratic form of organization to a representative republic. Democracies are inherantly unstable and have historically imploded when the laziest 51% figures out that they can survive off of the efforts of the 49% that works the most.
So, what survival lessons did you see this week? What conversations did The Colony start for you? And what are some of the traits should the ideal leader have in a long term survival situation?.