Thursday, 4 April 2013


As the Westphalian nation state fails and climate rises, a question that arises is “Where can be safe?” This, of course, can be a rather loaded question, given the instabilities that unfold as millions of refugees run for safety. Places that seem stable and peaceful for now may become less so as populations shift. Likewise, there is the risk of neutral places becoming drawn into wars and armed conflict by less stable neighbors. However, some places in the world have the geography, culture, and resilience to weather the disasters of a shifting planet. 

-New Zealand: New Zealand is the highest ranked Commonwealth country in the democracy index. It also has mountains that provide reliable hydroelectric power and water for drinking and agriculture. The low density makes it a good place for farming and outdoor sports and has a more relaxed, informal culture. Unlike Australia, their geography enables farming without excessive chemical use (although pollution is a rising problem, especially agricultural runoff). Refugees from Pacific islands may pose another issue as sea levels rise. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions (including the supervolcano under Lake Taupo) could be another issue. 

-Northern Europe: By this, I roughly refer to the Scandinavian countries, Germany, and perhaps Switzerland. The German economy is shifting towards renewables and remains a powerhouse for technology and research. Norway also steered clear of the disaster that was the Eurozone, and wisely invests its oil money into public infrastructure and resources. Issues, however, are strict (read: practically nonexistent) immigration protocols, meaning it is good for people who are already there. As climate change occurs, I imagine those immigration controls will get stricter.

-Cascadia: Cascadia is Washington and Oregon in the US with British Columbia in Canada. This region has water from the nearby mountains, as well as abundant hydropower. Drawbacks include a few nuclear reactors there (as well as being downwind of Fukushima). This area is beautiful and likewise has a tech-driven economy. Unlike California, they have water resources less dependent than the increasingly depleted aquifers of the American Southwest. Likewise, Seattle invested in an edible garden, while other cities have not. The public transit systems in the urban areas tend to be better than many more suburban sprawl belts (such as LA).  

-New England: New England is another decent region in North America, given its white-collar economy and natural resources. In particular, Vermont appeals the most to myself, given its drive towards self sufficiency and lack of more obnoxious laws. Drawbacks include a number of nuclear reactors active in the region, especially given the large population along the US East Coast and near the Great Lakes. However, ocean acidification may mean traditional fishing becomes increasingly less viable. 

However, even Canada is sliding into an oligarchic petro-state, complete with repression and censorship of research. Maybe in a few decades time, Russia may be a prosperous and free society. No place is truly safe, but those places are where I would bet on being relatively stable compared to other parts of the world. Better to find a resilient community today.

No comments:

Post a Comment