For many decades, such unexpected epilogues of modern civilization as the zombie apocalypse, an asteroid strike, or nuclear war were a topic exclusively for feature film makers. In recent years, observing where things are headed, not only filmmakers have begun to think about the prospect of an impending apocalypse, but also ordinary people who are now buying up bunkers and making other feasible preparations for the end of the world. And the process has gone so far that academic journals have begun to write about the Apocalypse.
So, one of these days the scientific publication Sustainability is to publish an article devoted to the prospects of preserving the statehood of these or other countries in the event of a collapse of civilization as we know it. The article is a bit biased for an audience living in the Commonwealth, but the main points are correct, so let us retell the material (it is paid) as interpreted by phys.org:
A new study has examined factors that could lead to the collapse of global civilization, and New Zealand is identified as the country most resilient to future threats.
The study, conducted by Nick King and Professor Aled Jones of the Institute for Global Resilience at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), focuses on “de-complexification,” a widespread change in the trends of a particular civilization, potentially leading to the collapse of supply chains, international agreements and global financial structures.
The study, published in the journal Sustainability, explains how the combination of environmental destruction, limited resources, and population growth can cause a decline in the overall orderliness of a complex civilization. In doing so, the climate change now being observed will serve as a “risk multiplier,” exacerbating existing trends.
The collapse of civilization can occur under a variety of scenarios, ranging from instantaneous (war, asteroid) to permanent, the consequence of a “long progressive decline” that will build up over decades, but then everything will suddenly collapse in a year or month without warning of the impending final collapse. The most likely scenario envisioned by scientists is a hybrid scenario, where the crisis will first build up gradually, but then, as a result of some dramatic event that will trigger “feedback loops”, a total collapse will begin, and it will be swift.
The study identified five countries with the most favorable starting conditions for survival in a global collapse by examining self-sufficiency (energy and production infrastructure), carrying capacity (land suitable for crops and general population habitation) and isolation (distance from other major countries that might be subject to displacement events).
New Zealand – along with Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia (particularly Tasmania), and Ireland – were found to be the countries currently best suited to maintain higher levels of social, technological, and organizational complexity within their own borders should a global collapse in each do occur.
All five countries listed are islands or island continents with strong oceanic climate influence. They currently have low variability in temperature and precipitation and therefore have the greatest likelihood of maintaining relatively stable conditions despite the effects of climate change.
A qualitative assessment was then made of New Zealand, Iceland, Great Britain, Australia (Tasmania), and Ireland for their individual energy and agricultural characteristics on a local scale. This determined that New Zealand had the greatest potential for survival because of its ability to produce geothermal and hydroelectric energy, its abundant agricultural land, and its small population size.
Iceland, Australia (Tasmania), and Ireland also have favorable characteristics, while the United Kingdom presents a more complex picture because of its complex energy supply structure and high population density. Although the UK has generally fertile soils and a variety of agricultural products, the availability of agricultural land per capita in the UK is low, raising questions about future self-sufficiency.
Professor Aled Jones, director of the Institute for Global Sustainability at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), summarizes the study this way:
“Significant changes are possible in the coming years and decades. The impacts of climate change, including the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, extreme temperatures, and greater population displacement, may determine the severity of these changes. In addition to demonstrating which countries we think are best suited to deal with such a collapse – which will undoubtedly be a profound, life-changing experience – our study seeks to highlight actions to address critical factors for building resilience in countries that do not have the most favorable starting conditions.”