Provided civilization collapses, as it probably will sooner or later, how could a plan to bootstrap it after look like? A satellite system that provides information at the right moment (after cities and agriculture appear again)? Cave paintings with technical descriptions? Copper plate libraries with Rosetta stones?

What I mean is a plan created before the collapse, to help future generations.

Edit: For the discussion, let's assume society is back on stone-age technology, pre-farming, but that the earth and ecosystem are otherwise fine.

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    $\begingroup$ The recovery plan from any failure scenario strongly depends on the failure scenario. If you don't tell us how the civilization collapse, how can we come with any proposal? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 13 '19 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ As L.Dutch noticed. Satellites won't help you if your apo is EMP, Rosetta stone is useless if apo decimate the population and there is no need to communicate. Technology is tertiary if your apo destroyed bees so there is no food to harvest. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jun 13 '19 at 10:16
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    $\begingroup$ I did an answer on a related question which might be relevant to you. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 13 '19 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ @SZCZERZOKŁY the rosetta stone is entirely relevant if you cannot be absolutely certain of the language and writing of the people who are following the plan, which may well be a very real issue in many parts of the world. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jun 13 '19 at 10:30
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    $\begingroup$ Hello Olle Härstedt and welcome to this site. You may want to take the tour and familiarize yourself with the purpose of this site and its customs. As a general rule, this site is not a discussion forum and it not intended as a service to develop a plot for you. This site is intended to help with well-defined problems; that is, you come up with a plan to reboot civilization after some dire event, and then ask about a specific aspect of this plan. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 13 '19 at 11:09

A good start could be the vaults on the norwegian archipelago Svalbard:

These include valuable plant seeds (needed for feeding the remainders of the apocalypse) and stored data of cultural and technological interest (stored on some special microfiche, IIRC).

Nobody prevents you from adding some bootstrap building sets for water pumps, wind turbines and other interesting stuff. If they are stored as separate parts, embedded into some anti-reactive fluid oder nitrogen, they could be functional for quite a long time. Just etch the manual on your copper plates and the survivors are good to go.

The most relevant things to consider are IMHO:

  • How can the stuff be stored a long time (permafrost for seeds, some fluid or gas preventing chemical reactivity for valuable items)
  • Where to place it in case of global catastrophe (the polar regions look promising)
  • How to present it to the survivors in easy understandable means (pictograms etc., guides for common tasks and survival in the wilds, long-lasting guides to rebuild the industry, although these would take quite a time and are only manageable with larger groups of survivors)
  • How to prevent complexity from backfiring (at first, simple machinery with few moving parts, manuals for gathering resources that are easy to reach)
  • $\begingroup$ the seed vault does not store seeds to feed the remainders of the apocalypse. It stores seeds to preserve their genetics. If you eat the seed you destroy the genetics. Moreover, since it's in a post collapse, how does one know that there is a place called Svlabard, how do they reach it and how do they know that it has seeds stored somewhere? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jun 13 '19 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ But the vault can be a start. Just load up more than the necessary amount of seed to preserve their genetics. In that case you could end up with enough seeds to start farming and still preserve enough. But it also could be a matter of priorities... Apart from that, each bootstrap-concept that is bound to a single place faces the same problem that its whereabouts must be known to the survivors. $\endgroup$ – martin Jun 13 '19 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ All good points. An interesting discussion is how to draw a map so that people far in the future can understand it. $\endgroup$ – Olle Härstedt Jun 13 '19 at 11:27

Broken-Backed War Theory

Broken-Backed War Theory is a form of conflict that could happen after a massive nuclear exchange. Assuming that all participants have not been annihilated, there may arise a scenario unique to military strategy and theory, one in which all or some of the parties involved strive to continue fighting until the other side is completely defeated.

This theory was created very early in The Cold War, when it was possible that a full nuclear exchange wouldn't be enough to take out either country fully. Even then this theory was highly controversial but it was given serious consideration.

While prominent military strategists like Bernard Brodie argued that this form of conflict may be impractical simply because it is almost impossible to plan for, Colonel Virgil Ney argued for a modest construction of underground facilities and infrastructure for such an event.

Plan created before the collapse

General concepts to consider inline with thinking related to Broken Backed War Theory and Natural Disaster Response. These will be based on the assumption that some remnants of society remain:

  • Build shelters, you need people to survive any sort of apocalypse that occurs. It is recommended these are below ground level or ground level in buildings with more than 10 floors. For urban areas subway systems were often designed to double as shelters. In Switzerland large communal shelters were made under existing through mountain tunnels.
  • Generally it isn't recommended to rely electronics, as these will be disabled by an electromagnetic pulse.
  • Food and water - who knows how available these things will be after an apocalyptic event. (You dont have to go nuts, just enough to let groups survive a couple days until they can figure out a plan to get more. You will never be able to feed everyone forver)
  • Modern tools such as steel picks, steel axes, steel shovel, swiss army knife (massive time saver), duct-tape and zip-ties, rescue equipment, various kinds of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, guns and lots of bullets.
  • Medical training, teaching people basic medical care skills will go a long way. (I think the American Boy Scouts were created for this)
  • Rescue training, knowing how to extricate trapped people in rubble or transport an injured person from an unsafe spot to a safe spot, will go a long way in increasing the life expectancy of the surviving humans.
  • Defense training, so people can use the guns to possibly hunt or just for basic defense.
  • Transportation will be very valuable but among the things listed, maybe the hardest to provide. Conventional fuel would be limited by how much you can store. I would personally opt for something like an off-road bicycle.

Biases (since this is a highly opinion based answer)

  • My High School Mentor went to Florida (from Connecticut) for 2 months to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Irma
  • I am certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and have friends who work full time as EMTs and Firefighters.
  • While neutral on gun control, I do firearms engineering as a hobby.
  • $\begingroup$ Nice feedback, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Olle Härstedt Jun 13 '19 at 17:19

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