In the middle of the 20th century, the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis brought on an era of backyard, DIY Fall-Out Shelters designed to help a small family survive nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
2012’s combination of fear and excess in America finds wealthy individuals wanting more luxury with their survival shelter, and the money to pay for it. Joseph L. Flatley explores responses to these fears of Mayan predictions, climate change, and global instability in Condo at the End of the World @ The Verge.
This frighteningly real article begs the question, “If you had a couple million dollars laying around handy, would it be crazy to buy yourself and your family such a backup plan, or would you be stupid not to?”
In attempting an answer we can cut right past the questions of how global populations would be wiped out (zombies, nuclear holocaust, global ecological collapse) and get to the more pressing questions:
-If you did buy a spot in such a safe haven, would it be worth it to survive such a disaster?
-How many people would be needed in order to successfully repopulate after such a disaster (read: minimum viable population)?
Though answers range by opinion and method of inquiry (some using the bible to justify the belief that we actually did come from one pair of humans 6,000 years ago, to others with estimates in the thousands and with a range of mathematical models to explain them), the most commonly accepted answer seems to range from 80 to 160 humans (depending on genetics and breeding practices).
With some luxury shelters being designed to house and sustain between tens and thousands of individuals for a range of time from several years to several decades, these approaches begin to seem surprisingly feasible.
Some of the most expensive units on their own (above) are capable of comfortably housing and sustaining at least the 80 people believed necessary for re-population. Other bargain options give individuals a spot in larger group shelters.
Whatever your takeaway regarding these developments in survival real estate, they clearly point to underlying concerns our society has regarding our likelihood of long-term survival.
-Degradation of ecological environments due to over exploitation of natural resources.
-Links between climate change, natural disasters, and increasing deadly shortages of food and water.
-The use of mass weapons and violence by both national governments and non-national networks.
While the 1% of the world may be able to pay for their increased survival odds, the other 99% will need other plans.