CAMBRIDGE, England — If you’re looking for a safe place to retire, you might want consider hopping a plane ride across the world. New Zealand is the country most likely to survive the collapse of global civilization, according to a new study.
British researchers examined which countries could withstand an apocalypse either coming from climate change or due to the fall of global financial structures and international agreements. Studying trends of natural disasters, limited resources and population growth, the researchers found New Zealand is the most resilient.
The authors believe the small country near Australia is best prepared for such a collapse — whether it happens during a “long descent,” over years or decades, or very rapidly, in the space of less than a year. Academics say either one could occur due to potential collapses of supply chains with climate change serving as “risk multiplier.”
The effects could spread quickly due to the increasing hyper-connectivity and interdependency of the globalized economy.
Which other countries are primed for surviving the collapse of global civilization?
Overall, the research team from Anglia Ruskin University concludes that the top five countries likely to survive a collapse of global civilization are New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia (specifically Tasmania), and Ireland.
“Significant changes are possible in the coming years and decades,” says professor Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin, in a statement. “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.”
The research team pointed out that all five nations most likely to survive are islands or island continents, with strong oceanic climatic influence. All five currently have low temperature and precipitation variability, and therefore have the greatest likelihood of relatively stable conditions continuing despite the effects of climate change.
The analysis 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. Researchers say the UK is a more complex choice because of its large population and low availability of agricultural land. This raises questions about future self-sufficiency.
“As well as demonstrating which countries we believe are best suited to managing such a collapse – which undoubtedly would be a profound, life-altering experience – our study aims to highlight actions to address the interlinked factors of climate change, agricultural capacity, domestic energy, manufacturing capacity, and the over-reliance on complexity, are necessary to improve the resilience of nations that do not have the most favorable starting conditions,” says Jones.
The study is published in the journal Sustainability.
South West News Service writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.