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The Colony (Discovery Channel)

by Brad
(Las Vegas)

Over the past few weeks, I watched Discovery Channel's show about a post apocalyptic period, called "The Colony". You can find out more about this show at this link:


Ten volunteers are placed in an abandoned warehouse and they "survive" by making things out of the various materials found on the premises. It doesn't take long until you realize that solar panels, appliances, rope, canned food, machine tools, wooden pallets, cargo nets, tanks of helium and propane, welding equipment and the like, are just what the team needs to fabricate communication devices (spark gap generator), repair cars and trucks, make potable water, etc. The volunteers are almost all very handy, but in the end I realized that they wasted a lot of time and energy in their food and water preparations.

Had any of these handy people constructed several panel solar ovens, or prepared their rice with a Hot Pot Cooker (hey, I have one!), their fuel and water supplies would not have become a recurring issue, over the 70 days they filmed the show. The volunteers would often waste an entire barrel's worth of wood, cooking a simple pan filled with rice. The over-the-top survival techniques included: building a solar powered trike for transport (vice use a bicycle or walking): constructing a Tesla coil for the ozone generation needed to purify water, in order to conserve dwindling fuel supplies, wasted on barrel top cooking (when several individual solar panel cookers would have taken their water to 170 plus degrees in the Los Angeles sun for needed purification); constructing flame throwers and Molotov cocktails, when a Helios Array could have vanquished their enemy's day time attacks (just kiddin')...

At the end of the first season, I could not help but wonder why they had not shown how much easier survival would have been if one person amongst them had the ability to cook and purify water with the sun. We "first World" inhabitants would do well to learn from those who struggle every single day, in our version of a post-Apocalyptic World, by adopting simple survival techniques which include many of the products found on this fine website.

Thanks again to this site's host and its contributors, who have all helped advance my knowledge of solar-based survival skills.



You are very correct in your observations and conclusions. I agree totally.

Solar Cooking concepts, theories and principles are just too simple for some people I guess.

Good to hear from you again.

Thank you,


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Dec 19, 2011
Agree completely
by: Jim La Joie

I agree. When talking about solar power, our local media seems to always feature massive residential arrays costing almost 100k. Naturally, this dissuades most home owners. Too bad there is not a show just focusing on the utter simplicity of solar. Like a small photovoltaic system, or simple solar cookers, or batch hot water heaters.
No need for high tech. Solar applications are ancient. We just need to re-learn to use the sun.
Great observations.

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