NOTE: these notes were taken watching a few episodes from series 1 and 2 of The Colony. I'm not passing any judgement on the correctness of this information, or the usefulness of the series. I couldn't watch more than a few episodes though, it was too much of a 'reality TV show' with all of its bombastic drama for my taste. -Maja

After the euphoria of a catastrophe calms down, the survivors are left exhausted, sore and dirty. It is difficult to accept the new conditions of reality and abandon creature comforts. Being separated from family and friends causes emotional distress. Any reminder of home after a period of separation can cause powerful emotional experiences. They go through a grieving process to accept the loss of former life, but must look forward. A forward-looking attitude can make a difference for survival. What is normal is stripped away, inhibitions drop and you have to guard against complacency. Physical and mental capabilities diminish with exertion, sleep deprivation and malnutrition after 20-30 days. When mind and body near a breaking point, rational thought is severely compromised. One of the most common ways to guard against the influx of emotions is to immerse yourself in work, in a routine.

Water harvesting and filtering is one of the first things to sort out, and can be done easily with available materials. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramps and nausea. After 4 days organs begin shutting down.

The change in diet makes people lose a lot of weight, which results in loss of energy and confusion, lowering of mental capacities – slow degradation of complex thought. People can starve in 30-40 days. Hunting and foraging, as well as food preservation becomes a crucial skill. The colonists construct a smoke house and fuel it with wet woodchips (but the construction catches fire and spoils the food). Root cellar: burrying food to keep it cool. Foraging for plants and eating insects are good options. Hunger makes you forget about basic security.

The colonists are worried about security of their home and resources. They need tools (for hunting, construction) and power - generators, fuel. The colonists decide to make gas from animal fat, that they can harvest from found rotting carcases of pigs, then make fuelcells out of car batteries. They make a forge to make metal tools and materials. They make a windmill. They make a fermentation pot to make ethanol out of sugar, yeast and water.

Maintaining hygene is crucial: washing hands, having showers… The air, water and ground can be spoilt with pollutants that can't be filtered out.

Vehicles: in order to be able to forage further, or leave if food and water aren't available.

When encountering strangers: a small group rebuilding a life, in a scarcity of information and resources – social structures breaks up and everything becomes equal (for a while at least). When two groups meet, there is an initial period of curiosity, after which suspicion and competition arise. There is an issue of trust, that relies on social skills to avoid unwelcome intrusions and stealing resources, but welcoming beneficial strangers. Introducing new people in a social group causes tension, animosity and internal conflict. Negotiation skills become very valuable (win more friends with honey than vinegar). An invite to meet outsiders should be dealt with caution – running a relay of information. Newcomers cause change in the rhythm of the group. It is difficult to establish trust, but if threats go up, survival takes over. Individual fight or flight instinct is strong, but the survival depends on the whole group staying out of harm's way.

In times of despair people themselves become a commodity. It is crucial to know your behaviour and if too hotheaded, allow yourself to stay back. In a hostage situation, the plan is most important. No emotions should take over.

Issues of leadership arise. There is always self-governance in the beginning, without a real leader. However people fall into their niche in frustrations. A single leader is useful: someone to check and oversee, not to give orders – an organiser, someone who can take on and take every member of the group into account. The choice of a leader can be done by a secret ballot. When struggling to survive, any person who can improve a situation becomes a beacon of hope, caution becomes secondary.

  • resilients/the_colony.txt
  • Last modified: 2013-02-12 05:39
  • by maja