If you are a regular watcher of the news, it is hard to escape the feeling that the end of the world is coming.
There are increasingly extreme weather events caused by climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of passing, especially with a Lambda variant being discovered in South America, which is proving resistant to vaccines.
In fact, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, authored in 1972, predicted that the collapse of civilisation as we know it would happen around 2040.
Wikipedia even has a page dedicated to a list of dates predicted for apocalyptic events.
Researchers are continuing to treat the prospect somewhat seriously, with a recent study examining the factors that could lead to the collapse of civilisation and the countries best placed to survive these threats.
The good news is that Australians are in a good position to flee to at least two of the spots expected to perform well in end-of-the-world scenarios – New Zealand and Tasmania.
The Anglia Ruskin University open-access study focuses on a phenomenon they call ‘de-complexification’, which is a widespread reversal of the trends of recent civilisation, which could see the collapse of supply chains, international agreements and global financial structures.
The study explains how a combination of ecological destruction, limited resources, and population growth could be exacerbated by climate change and cause the breakdown of civilisation.
The study identified five countries with the most favourable starting conditions to survive a global collapse by examining self-sufficiency (particularly energy and manufacturing infrastructure), the land available for farming and the overall population as well as the distance from other large population centres, which could be subject to displacement events.
It found that New Zealand – along with Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia (specifically Tasmania) and Ireland – were the nations currently most suited to maintaining higher levels of societal, technological, and organisational complexity within their own borders if a global collapse were to happen.
Some of the reasons that these five nations were considered to have good starting points was that they are all island nations with low temperature and rainfall variability, giving them the greatest likelihood of relatively stable conditions despite the effect of climate change.
Climate consistency is part of the reason Tasmania was mentioned separately to the rest of Australia in the study.
All five of the countries deemed to have good starting points were then assessed based on characteristics that suited farming and local energy production.
This identified New Zealand as having the greatest potential to survive relatively unscathed, thanks to its ability to produce geothermal and hydroelectric energy, its abundant agricultural land and its low population.
Iceland, Tasmania and Ireland also had favourable characteristics, but the UK suffered from a high population and a complicated mix of energy sources, according to Professor Aled Jones, one of the study’s authors.
“Significant changes are possible in the coming years and decades,” Prof. Jones said. “The impact of climate change, including increased frequency and intensity of drought and flooding, extreme temperatures, and greater population movement, could dictate the severity of these changes.”
Do you fear that we are approaching end times? How do you think the world will end? Which countries do you think are well placed to survive the collapse of civilisation? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
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