Today our society is largely dependent on what we refer to as “the system.” We rely heavily upon the services and utilities that bring us things like water, heating, electricity, and food. Pretty much everything we could ever need or want is provided by a complex network of harvesters, manufacturers, transporters, and sellers. Aside from the handful of people who have basic survival skills, pretty much all of us have forgone learning what it takes to survive in the wild so we can acquire other skills that help us make money and subsist in modern times. Hopefully you’ll never find yourself suddenly lost in the middle of a forest or stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, but should you ever happen to be in such a situation, here are seven essential survival skills you can learn that could save your life.
If you can imagine a world without digital maps or GPS, you might start to get a sense of what our ancestors were dealing with when they had to travel far from their shelters in search of food and other materials. Thomas Wynn, a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado proposes that humans possessed the capacity for modern spatial cognition as early as 500,000 years ago, and it likely played a critical role in navigating the terrain. While we still retain our excellent spatial sense and mental map making ability, these days we’re mostly reliant on navigational aids to direct us whenever unfamiliar terrain is expected.