Best places to survive amid global societal collapse

Written By: Moohita Kaur Garg

What would you do if there is a global collapse of society as we know it, or more importantly where would you go in such a scenario?

A recent study gives us a low-down of the countries that would be the safest bet in such a situation. Let's take a look:

What study are we talking about?

Published in the journal Sustainability, the study is titled: An Analysis of the Potential for the Formation of ‘Nodes of Persisting Complexity’

The study says, that due to environmental destruction, limited resources, and population growth: “The [academic] literature paints a picture of human civilisation that is in a perilous state, with large and growing risks developing in multiple spheres of the human endeavour.”


Human activities overexerting available resources

According to the researchers involved in this study, due to the highly interconnected nature of our society and the energy-intensive nature of society, as well as the environmental damage that has been caused, human civilisation is "in a perilous state.".

The study says that although the Earth System is finite in size, energy capacity and complexity, human endeavours have exceeded the system's limits and will continue to do so, moving the system out of equilibrium.

In simple words, human activities are overexerting the available resources, which can possibly lead to the collapse.


So which countries are safe and why?

Research shows that the best places to survive a global collapse of society are New Zealand, Iceland, the UK, Tasmania and Ireland.

Among the five New Zealand has topped the list. 

To determine which countries would be best suited to resist a collapse, countries were ranked according to their ability to produce food for their population, protect their borders from mass migration, and maintain some manufacturing capability. 



New Zealand

Ranked at first, New Zealand was rated the best place to survive global societal collapse. 

According to the study, New Zealand (NZ) currently has a low total population of 5.0 million and high agricultural land percentage of 43.2 per cent, both conditions that can prove favourable.

The nation also has direct access to the Pacific and Southern Oceans.

Energy production needs in such a situation can be dealt with due to New Zealand's abundant renewable energy sources indigenous to the country.

One shortcoming that the research has pointed out is related to the nation's manufacturing sector. A modern economy, NZ is heavily dependent on natural resources, with limited manufacturing capacity.




Iceland has taken second place. 

The points in favour of it being a haven are pretty similar to New Zealand.

It has a very low population of 354,000 and direct access to the North Atlantic Ocean. However, agricultural land is moderate at 18.7 per cent. 

In addition the nation has abundant indigenous renewable energy sources, along with a modern high-tech economy with limited manufacturing capacity.




United Kingdom

The researchers say that “We were quite surprised the UK came out strongly. It is densely populated, has traditionally outsourced manufacturing, hasn’t been the quickest to develop renewable technology, and only produces 50 per cent of its own food at the moment. But it has the potential to withstand shocks.”

But here it is. UK has taken the third place in these rankings.


Tasmania (Australia)

Tasmania has taken the fourth place. With abundant indigenous renewable and non-renewable energy sources, Tasmania is a modern high-tech economy with moderate manufacturing capacity.

As per the study's revelations "Under high or low global emissions scenarios, temperature increases in Tasmania are projected to be lower than the global average, largely due to a southerly latitude and the moderating influence of the Southern Ocean, though the spatial and seasonal distribution of precipitation is likely to undergo significant change due to climatic changes."


As a result, Tasmania could become more readily recognized as Australia's 'local refuge' (lifeboat) as conditions on the continental mainland may become less conducive to supporting large populations in the future.




The fifth place to be when the society collapse happens is Ireland.

The study points out that despite the fact that fossil fuel generation currently dominates, Ireland has a large amount of renewable energy resources (primarily wind) which are only partially exploited currently and have the potential to be utilized in the future.

It cautions that despite an abundance of agricultural resources and general climatic advantages (now and in the future), extreme weather events can negatively impact them.

However, Ireland's small population would likely compensate for limitations related to its small geographic area and current reliance on fossil fuels, making it a potential 'node of persisting complexity' in the future.


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