Will civilization as we know it end in the next 100 years? Will there be any functioning places left? These questions might sound like the stuff of dystopian fiction. But if recent headlines about extreme weather, climate change, the ongoing pandemic and faltering global supply chains have you asking them, you’re not alone.
Now two British academics, Aled Jones, director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and his co-author, Nick King, think they have some answers. Their analysis, published in July in the journal Sustainability, aims to identify places that are best positioned to carry on when or if others fall apart. They call these lucky places “nodes of persisting complexity.”
The winner, tech billionaires who already own bunkers there will be pleased to know, is New Zealand. The runners-up are Tasmania, Ireland, Iceland, Britain, the United States and Canada.
The findings were greeted with skepticism by other academics who study topics like climate change and the collapse of civilization. Some flat-out disagreed with the list, saying it placed too much emphasis on the advantages of islands and failed to properly account for variables like military power.
And some said the entire exercise was misguided: If climate change is allowed to disrupt civilization to this degree, no countries will have cause to celebrate.
Professor Jones, who has a Ph.D. in cosmology — the branch of astronomy focused on the origins of the universe — is broadly interested in how
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