A team at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute examined the impact of natural and man-made disasters such as climate change, financial collapse or, say, a pandemic caused by a deadly air-borne virus, to reach its findings.
Far-flung island nations with mild weather, low per-capita populations that are well spread out, and which also have stable agricultural sectors and the ability to harness renewable energy, scored well in the survey.
The ability to control unwanted immigration was also a plus.
Other places to score well in the survey included Iceland, Tasmania, a small island just off the south coast of mainland Australia, and Ireland.
Of surprise to the study authors was how highly the United Kingdom scored on the "self-sufficiency" analysis with its "abundant indigenous renewable and non-renewable energy sources, modern high-tech economy and large manufacturing capacity".
The institute warned that this doomsday scenario may be a lot closer than some might believe, describing human civilisation as in a "perilous state".
Perhaps for that reason, billionaires and others with the means to do so have been buying bunker-like properties in New Zealand for some time.
Among those to purchase boltholes are billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who bought a 193-hectare estate near the South Island resort town of Wanaka in 2015.
Since he was granted New Zealand citizenship in 2017 after only spending 12 days in the country, the Donald Trump-backing Thiel has scarcely been seen at the property, according to media reports.
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Titanic director James Cameron moved permanently to New Zealand nearly a decade ago and continues to work on Avatar sequels from his reclusive 1,500-acre organics farm in the Wairarapa, near the capital city Wellington.
Former Today presenter Matt Lauer also purchased a 16,000-acre $9.2 million ranch near Wanaka in 2017.
To purchase ”sensitive” property in New Zealand, non-citizens have to seek approval from the country’s Overseas Investment Office.
Professor Aled Jones, one of the study’s authors, said he didn’t expect the UK to perform strongly but was not surprised to see New Zealand at the top of the list.
Prof Jones said major global food losses, a financial crisis and a pandemic had all happened in recent years, and “we’ve been lucky that things haven’t all happened at the same time”.
“As you start to see these events happening, I get more worried. I hope we can learn more quickly than we have in the past that resilience is important,” he said.
“With everyone talking about ‘building back better’ from the pandemic, if we don’t lose that momentum I might be more optimistic than I have been in the past.”
However, Prof Jones also warns that there’s no real reason why potential crises can’t all happen in the same year.
The study, published in the journal Sustainability earlier this month, said: “The globe-spanning, energy-intensive industrial civilisation that characterises the modern era represents an anomalous situation when it is considered against the majority of human history.”
Agencies contributed to this report
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