In the previous chapter, not a lot was said about enviroment. Mainly because, as a heading, it is the most broad ranging of the tree. Enviroment, in relation to a zombie story, encompasses such things as setting/location (the specific country, whether it is a city, a town or in the country), the weather, the effects these two will have on a character. The resources and industry available should an outbreak occur. Transport, borders with other countries. Basically, anything not one hundred per cent dedicated to the type of zombie will fall under the heading of enviroment.

For example, compare and contrast the United States of America with Ireland. Both are developed, first world countries. Both have fairly good to well developed transport systems (airports, seaports, road, rail etc). What are the glaring differences?

For a start- military. For a neutral country of its size, Ireland has a well equipped, but small, military. For the purpose it has been set, the Irish military is totally able to fulfil its purpose. However, it if was attacked in an all out, conventional attack, and without any outside assistance, generous estimates say the Irish military may last between twelve to fourty eight hours (if the opposing force was America). If the opposing force was zombies, the question of how long the Irish military would last depends on the answer to two simple questions- where did the outbreak begin, and how fast did the Irish seal their borders?

The Republic of Ireland has only one land border*~ with Northern Ireland, a part of the UK. If the zombie plague begins in some other country, and if they can seal their border quick enough, then Ireland (as a whole island) may be safe. The simple fact of geography would save them the mass, overland migration of the infected. As for sea born zombies, a skeleton force for a given stretch of coast may be sufficent.

The United States, in relation to military, is number one in terms of militar budget (spending more than the next five countries combined), and second in terms of total manpower. In essence, America has the power to deploy troops to every major city in the country, or to level those cities if needed. However, like Ireland, the ability of the U.S. to combat the zombie plague depends on the answer the following- where did the outbreak begin and how fast did they seal their borders?

The border between Canada and the U.S. is the longest undefended border in the world, and Canada is a big, sparsely populated country. One infected person landing in Canada and getting lost- how long until that zombie makes his/her way accross the border? Could the military deal with a full blown outbreak in New York or LA?

Then there is climate. Ireland has a mild, moderate climate. It suffers neither extremes of heat or cold. Unlike the U.S., one part of Ireland is not suffering drought while another has a snow storm (California drought crises verses the snow storms in New York anyone?)

What does this mean for a zombie outbreak? What does climate have to do with a zombie outbreak? The answer is simple- the agricultural base. The production of food. For any Americans reading- does the area in which you live produce enough food to support even half the population that lives there?

Yes, Ireland has cold winters, but it produces nearly enough food to feed its polulation through farming and fishing. Consider- how many people live in the cities of New York and LA? Could enough food be put aside for winter.

Enviroment also includes setting, and again I will return to Ireland and the U.S. to make one simple point- weapons. Yes, America has guns and Ireland does not. Us Irish will have to adapt to basic hand to hand weapons- machetes, axes, crowbars etc. If you are in America, scrounge in gun stores for ammo- the weapon is the bullet, the gun is just the delivery system.

At this stage, I believe many of you are getting the picture on how the heading "enviroment" covers all the basics of survival- the 'how and why' of it, and how it is the little details that make the story.

And remember in the previous chapter, I talked about dehydration- maybe not a good idea to set your story in Vegas. A lovely city when the power is on, but once it goes off, and there is no more power in the water pumps... a well laid buffet.

*FYI- As defined by the Irish Constitution, the name of the country is simply Ireland. The name the Republic of Ireland is used ny many journalists to avoid confusion with the island of Ireland and Northern Ireland.