If movies or television are to be believed, humanity is doomed in just a few short years. Depending on what you believe, the likely end of civilization might come from zombies, ancient prophecies, global plagues, or alien invasion. There’s also the potential for a robot uprising, the biblical wrath of God, or an asteroid.
Regardless of how mankind meets its inevitable destruction, earth’s survivors will be faced with one very serious question: how do we stay at a comfortable temperature when the world is either burning or freezing? Or being attacked by zombies? Or aliens? In almost any situation, the last of humanity will have to rely on ancient techniques and modern advances to survive the end of the world without freezing or shivering.
Fire is one of mankind’s oldest discoveries and methods for containing it have been developed over millennia. Remaining cool in the heat has been a problem for people for most of history. Emperors would have ice shipped from thousands of miles. Up until the early 20th century, ice houses were common throughout America. When facing the loss of a stable power grid, people will probably finding themselves turning to these solutions to keep cool.
Access to water and shade was one of the primary means people kept themselves cool throughout history. The widespread effects of this trend can even be seen today as most people live near coasts. The temperate climate of these areas also benefit cultures seeking to stay in moderate temperatures. Early civilizations blessed with reasonable weather thrived and advanced agriculture and technology. Handheld fans were another common method for cooling individuals but this had obvious limitations and was often ineffective. Where possible, ice from glaciers and other sources were valued during the summer months.
Air conditioning has had a profound effect on where people live. For most of American history, the southern states were relatively unpopulated, in large part due to the heat. As air conditioning made its way into more homes, the population of the southern states began to explode. By 2016, the fastest growing cities in the United States were located in the south. If modern air conditioning were no longer possible, the ways of old will probably return and people will find comfort in the shade near a lake, river, or ocean.
Staying warm has been one of the great struggles of humanity as a species. Creating clothing was the first attempt by man to shield itself from the elements. Soon, fire gave man the ability to stay warm in extreme environments. This allowed the population of nearly every corner of Earth by humans.
Early central heating systems were developed by the Chinese, Romans, and other cultures several thousands of years ago. Some of these designs were well thought out and constructed. Others were not and resulted in significant fire damage. Insulation and heat are still the best solutions for warmth, regardless of the century. During an apocalypse, humans are much more prepared to deal with freezing temperatures then prolonged exposure to intense heat.
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