The 5 countries best suited to survive the apocalypse, according to a new study
- Researchers created a "shortlist" of five nations most likely to survive the apocalypse.
- The list includes New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland.
- Silicon Valley billionaires are already investing in bunkers and doomsday shelters in New Zealand.
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With climate change strengthening its grip on the planet, researchers are searching for the best possible hideout locations post-apocalypse.
Using data from the University of Notre Dame's Global Adaptation Initiative, researchers at Anglia Ruskin University's Global Sustainability Institute in England graded the 20 least vulnerable countries on three main criteria:
- Carrying capacity: How much land is being used for farming to sustain the current population? High agricultural land per capita is good.
- Isolation: How close is the country to other highly populated areas? Further away is better.
- Self-sufficiency: Does the country produce its own renewable energy and have manufacturing capacity? More is better.
Using these parameters, co-authors Nick King and Aled Jones found five locations particularly suited for global collapse, or what they call "de-complexification." Each of the five are notably islands with large metropolitan regions, meaning they've already shown they can sustain millions of people. Their work was published in the peer-reviewed journal Sustainability on July 21.
New Zealand is naturally cooler than many regions in the world, boding well for the area in the event of a large temperature increase due to climate change.
Close to 40% of the country's primary energy supply comes from renewable energy sources and the nation produced enough energy to cover 75% of its energy requirements, according to a New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, making it an ideal location in the event of societal collapse.
The only highly populous country close to New Zealand is Australia, making the country harder for global refugees from around the world to travel to in an apocalypse with scarce resources. Based off the country's Covid-19 response, New Zealand's already proven that its leaders and region can survive intense periods of hardship.
The nation shuttered its borders to nearly all travellers early on in the pandemic and instituted internal lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus - and it worked. Only 26 people have died of Covid-19 in New Zealand, making it one of the safest places to be in the world during the ongoing pandemic.
Wealthy Silicon Valley executives have reportedly been buying property in New Zealand over the last decade in preparation for an apocalyptic scenario. Billionaire Peter Thiel has already purchased several properties in the region and buying property in New Zealand is code for getting "apocalypse insurance."
Coming in at No. 2 on the list, Iceland is home to an abundance of natural and renewable energy sources in the form of geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.
Being substantially closer to the North Pole than the equator, Iceland's climate is much cooler than other regions of the planet. So the arable land should continue to be tenable as the climate keeps warming.
While Iceland's land is icy and seemingly inhospitable, the country grows more than half of its produce with renewable energy, according to the US Green Chamber of Commerce. Many farmers use greenhouses and natural geothermal steam to "actively enhance photosynthesis" in their plants.
Iceland is also home to an abundance of fisheries along its coastlines, allowing for readily available food in the event of a sudden collapse. According to the the Global Sustainability Institute, the nation has several "favourable starting conditions" and is prepared to survive a disaster.
The United Kingdom has lots of available farmland, a milder temperature climate, and a plethora of precipitation that makes it a fantastic region to rebuild society, the researchers found. The area also isn't regularly hit with major natural disasters, which bodes well for its survival chances.
One major drawback of the United Kingdom is its fairly limited amount of land and increasingly large population. The study authors noted the energy demands of the UK's population is substantial enough to be a problem in the event of an apocalyptic scenario.
Nearly half of the UK's energy comes from fossil fuels and nuclear power generation, making it difficult to adjust to changing supply chains in a de-complexification scenario. About 42% of the country's power comes from renewable energy, a statistic that continues to rise as the nation slowly taps more into unexploited wind resources.
The only continent on this list, Australia's location and massive land mass make it another prime spot to ride out the apocalypse. Each region boasts a different climate and temperate, which allow for increased agricultural and animal biodiversity.
The study notes that climate change is expected to have a large impact on Australia by exacerbating trends: rainy regions will see more precipitation, deserts will get less water, and so on. Trees becoming drier and drier due to hot and arid conditions have already led to repeated wildfires in the continent.
Tasmania, an island state directly off the coast of Australia, faces fewer effects from climate change and already uses an abundance of hydroelectric and wind-powered stations. A quarter of the island is already used for agriculture, which could be increased in the event of a disaster.
The study authors note that Tasmania could become Australia's "lifeboat" if conditions on the main continent become uninhabitable.
The entire island of Ireland comes in at fifth on the shortlist and is notably a combination of Northern Ireland - which is part of the United Kingdom - and the Republic of Ireland. Ireland's climate is similar to the UK's with lots of precipitation and fertile soil.
Ireland's low population conversely means it has less energy demand. While about one-third of Ireland's energy came from renewable sources in 2018, the region continues to expand its clean energy initiatives via wind generation and hydroelectric plants.
Low energy demand and increasing renewable energy sources make for a promising spot for a doomsday bunker, the authors concluded.