The threat of a massive CME (Coronal mass ejection) or human initiated EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) that takes down most of the electrical devices we depend on has become more of a threat to modern survival than ever before. Modern man has become so dependant on technology that the loss of it can have sudden and catastrophic consequences to our daily survival. The 1859 Carrington Event caused much chaos in its day but life went on. The problem is that we have moved far beyond those simpler days of 19th century America.
A catastrophic loss of technical infrastructure today would have the potential to reduce the American population by up to 90% according to many experts in the field. This is due to the inability of modern populations to adapt to the sudden changes and the lack of modern delivery systems to supply large population centers. The inability of population centers to function without modern technology could be overcome but the lack of preparations by these people make it unlikely. This is due to the lack of a functional infrastructure to replace modern technology and the lack of supplies to carry people over until older methods could become functional.
Water and sewage can be moved by steam powered pumps and bulk food supplies can be moved by steam locomotives. The lack of these archaic items makes this unlikely today in the short term but possible none the less. You also find problems with modern food production where the current 2% that produces food for the other 98% will no longer have the ability to do so without modern machines. With modern technology removed from the equation we simply do not have the infrastructure to maintain the current population. That does not mean we do not have the ability to maintain a smaller population.
Even in the worst technology disruption we still have items that can help to maintain a smaller population and provide a good quality of life. It only requires that people embrace this older technology and have it available if the time ever comes that it is needed. The following is a list of items that will still function even with a catastrophic CME or EMP.
Mechanical clock or watch
Steam engine and boiler system
Absorption refrigeration systems and gas appliances
Compass and paper map
Pencils and pens
Typewriters and carbon paper
Manual printing press
Slide rules and mechanical adding machines
Gramophone and records
Mechanical sewing machine
Livestock, plants, seeds
Fishing poles and nets
Stills and fermentation tanks
Telescopes and binoculars
Firearms and ammo
Independent septic systems
Mechanical food processing equipment
Mechanical weather instruments
Non-electrical medical instruments
Bicycles, sail boats, balloons
Clothes line and washing tub
This is only a small list but you can get the idea. Even with a catastrophic loss of modern technology we still have items that can function and carry a smaller population until systems can be rebuilt or repaired. One of the differences between the survivors and victims will be the amount of older infrastructure available to them when the worst happens. Those that have the ability to access older technology will fare much better than the multitudes that have no access. It all boils down to infrastructure and supplies and the masses that laugh at preppers will learn that lesson the hard way if this scenario ever comes to pass.
Many of the things on this list are already owned by many and other items are relatively cheap and take up very little space but will be worth their weight in gold if they are ever truly needed. In a massive CME or EMP many things will be lost but many things will still work and allow you to live if you have access to them. The day that everything suddenly stops, you will have what you have on hand to deal with it. A CME or EMP does not have to be the end of the world but unfortunately for most it will be. How well are you prepared?