Everybody needs a plan to survive the zombie apocalypse, climate apocalypse, financial apocalypse, or all of the above. You need your shotgun, your go-bags, and your pickup truck but mostly you just need a good place to hide out while all the shit goes down—a refuge from the madness of systemic, global collapse.
Now, science has apparently locked down the definitive location for that: The best place to survive the end of the world is (*checks notes*) ...New Zealand. That green, idyllic place where they filmed The Lord of the Rings is the safest place on earth.
That’s according to a new study from a British research team at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. The team’s paper was recently published in the academic journal Sustainability and assesses geographical regions that would be most resistant to a large-scale catastrophic event (not so focused on zombies tbh). Such events could ultimately lead to what researchers call a “global de-complexification”—their term for when things get totally FUBAR. As it’s laid out in the paper’s abstract, the thinking goes likes this:
Human civilisation has undergone a continuous trajectory of rising sociopolitical complexity since its inception; a trend which has undergone a dramatic recent acceleration. This phenomenon has resulted in increasingly severe perturbation of the Earth System, manifesting recently as global-scale effects such as climate change. These effects create an increased risk of a global ‘decomplexification’ (collapse) event in which complexity could undergo widespread reversal. ‘Nodes of persisting complexity’ are geographical locations which may experience lesser effects from ‘decomplexification’ due to having ‘favourable starting conditions’ that may allow the retention of a degree of complexity
The basic premise here is that some places are better suited to withstanding global devastation than others. These good spots, also called “nodes,” are basically places where society could potentially persist after a worldwide cataclysm. To measure this, researchers created a scoring guide to rate countries based on favorable conditions (what they call “starting conditions”), such as: high levels of indigenous energy resources (both renewable and non-renewable), social isolation, a stable climate, and large agricultural potential relative to current human population—basically all variables that would allow a civilization to keep itself going independent of the broader global system. As the Washington Post points out, “islands in temperate regions and with low population densities generally came out on top.”
So, with all that in mind, here are the places you should consider booking a plane ticket to when the shit hits the fan. Don’t say we didn’t warn you (and apologies in advance to these nations’ current residents).