Doomsday when it finally arrives fullblown is very unlikely to be the end of humanity. The reason for such a bold statement is that if all of the H-bombs in the worlds arsenals were exploded in a war it would not equal the Chicxulube meteor which exterminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. There were many animals which survived that extreme event including our mouse-like ancestors or we wouldn’t be here and neither would the birds or alligators. If that exact event happened now there would be a similar devastation to the wild animals for the simple reason that those animals do not know what they need to do to survive such a violent change in their environment. Humans do know how to cope with many environments and are more wide spread on the planet than any other creature. We get along quite well all the way from the South Pole to the depths of the jungles, deserts and cities.
With the immediate atomic bomb devastation of the Doomsday war and the several year-long advent of the Nuclear Winter most humans will die. Depending on how things develop during the war the human population will drop far below the current 6.8 billion people and perhaps well below the Roman era of one hundred million. But everyone will not be killed by the bombs or by the couple of weeks of radioactive poisoning but by the total disruption of the food supply. The attacks of the first few days may kill a billion people almost all of them in cities and in heavy fallout areas but the real problem will be that the creation of food will be disrupted.
The destruction of food creation happens is several ways. 1. Destruction of existing food supplies located in cities, along with the people in those cities. 2. Destruction of the distribution of food chains to bring food from supply depots to the people. 3. Heavy overcast from dust in the air preventing the crops already in the fields from maturing. 4. Lack of distribution of seed for next years crops. 5. Lack of fuel for transportation to bring seeds and fertilizers to the areas where they can be used. 6. Lack of fuel to operate the farm equipment which is needed to plant, plow, cultivate and harvest the crops. 7. Infestations of insects which, without insecticides, will eat what few crops are available. 8. Lack of skilled farmers to operate the equipment. 9. Lack of knowledge of where and how to distribute what ever crops are available because of lack of infrastructure. 10. Continuing hostilities and threat of new hostilities and problems of local organized and unorganized hostilities. 11. And, the unknown unknowns and the unknowable unknowns which will probably be the worst.
All the same there will probably be many pockets of people surviving in many different places and for very different reasons for the first few months. Those surviving for over a year and certainly those surviving for more than five years will have to be members of functioning social groups. These groups will have been successful in solving all 11 of the problems mentioned above. Perhaps they survived from simple luck at the beginning but will continue surviving because of coordinated social activity which creates food. Those living in the Southern Hemisphere will have the best chance for surviving the first months after Doomsday but will probably have difficult times creating sufficient food because of the disruptions.
When talking about these awful things to people many perhaps most of them say they hope the bomb falls right on them. They want to die in the first instant of the catastrophe. That is unnecessarily fatalistic and gloomy because there is hope and if one prepares properly the chance of moving on to a brighter day is made more possible. A couple of years afterwards might even be a wonderful time, not so much that life is as easy as it is right now but because things are getting better every day and there is a feeling of creating a wonderful new society.
If The EarthArk Project has succeeded in storing lots of various seeds and other stuff in the deep Antarctic mountains then much of the Earth can be restored. Not the animal life so much but the plant life can be saved and those surviving people will enjoy seeing the world come back to life. It will be a wonderful adventure.