If you hop over to Dark Sky, you will notice that a huge amount of space on the Earth is taken up by people. North of the 49th parallel, in Canada, the majority of Canadian people live in the lower half of Ontario.
Desmond Morris wrote one of my favorite books, called The Human Zoo. In as much as Morris describes the benefits of living in cities (the zoo), he also describes how doing so places humans in an unnatural environment. Densely pack urban centers create problems of their own, and many times this results in crime, stress, and even war. If there was ever a disaster which effected the majority of those living in such circumstances, the problems compound themselves, making living in a city a disaster by itself.
And the problem isn’t limited to just the numbers of people living within a limited space. Large populations of people require large amounts of electricity. Even in the early 1900’s over 7 million kilowatt hours were used to provide power to the residences of Toronto. At the time the population was only around 400,000 people.1 In March of 2017 Ontario Hydro was producing up to 16,205 megawatts of electricity2 to meet the needs of 13.6 million people, nearly 40% of all of Canada. Humans have become increasingly more dependent on electricity since the invention of the light bulb in 1879. In today’s world, with terrorism being the primary intentional threat, an attack on our grid is likely to become more and more common.
More then 290 people per square mile take up residence in Southern Ontario3, as compared to 17 per mile for all of Alberta.4 If …. and sadly it’s more of a ‘when’ then an if … economic disaster hits, there will be less crime in Alberta then Ontario per capita. If you google “Doomsday Preppers the Top Ten Biggest Threats to America” one of the results you’ll get is Secrets of Survival’s post. It’s a bit of a fluff piece, but it does bring up an important point for me at least. Most people do not understand that regardless of the cause or nature of a disaster, even personal or global, the biggest threat to people … is people.
And here is the irony that I have to mention here, the anti-thesis of the above is simply this. We need people. You can not go it alone, and it is very unlikely that any “group” will ever get it right to form a survivalist militia or co-op.
So what should we do about the Human Plague, in regards to planning out our future, preparing for the worse to happen, and still get it right? My suggestion first off is a 50/50 split.
If you spend 100% of your time getting ready to survive the end of the world, you won’t. The reason for this is rather odd amongst other Preppers, but for me it’s simple, the end of the world might not happen. If you don’t prepare for a disaster, even a personal one such as the loss of a job, it’s is likely to happen, God has a strange sense of humor.
On the other hand you can take 50% of your time preparing for SHTF, and the other half to prepare to thrive. Note the wording of that last sentence. I’m not saying take half time off, I’m saying that not preparing for good times, is just as stupid as not preparing for bad. We miss opportunities at ever turn in our lives. I, myself am kicking myself for not investing tonnes of money into Bitcoin before it went past a dollar, as I write this, Bitcoin is reaching a mark of almost $3,000 per coin, no other investment on the planet is that good. I had not prepared for the good times of crypto-currency, it’s that simple, I had spent my time surviving not thriving.
In the world of business, you need people. Lots of people, the denser the population of people the better for marketing, and getting product and service to the masses. If you want to run your own business, and make tonnes of money when times are good, the city is where it’s at..
Which means, that our entire mindset for survival is at best opposed to thriving. And our desire for financial success is opposed to being ready when disaster strikes. Professors have a idiom for this, it’s called Cognitive dissonance. We know for example, that a donut is bad for us. It’s full of sugar, fats, and has no nutritional value at all. But place it in front of us, and it’s not long before we eat it.
Cognitive dissonance get even more compounded when the two sides of coin are not only equal in value, but require opposite approaches of attack to complete. Do you go all out in the middle of no-where and build the ultimate bomb shelter? Or start a corporate headquarters in the capital city?
Actually there is a mathematical way to solve this, and have both worlds. In part thanks to Desmond Morris, Jared Diamond, and Frans de Waal. Humans tend to follow natural instinctive trends, to the point of surprise. Take for example the magic number 60. No I do not mean magic as in the supernatural, or even as some kind of prime number, I mean magic as in surprise the hell out of you. Most people tend to link up with about 60 other people give or take. This includes close friends, relatives you keep in contact with, in-laws, the butcher, the baker, etc. Your boss is included with this, so are the guys you have lunch with, or play tennis with. What ever gets your goat. You may know a lot more people then that, and with virtual social networks you may have even a couple of thousand social Facebook friends. But in day to day life you likely hang out with, or regularly interact with, about 60 people.
The other odd thing is the areas where we live. We tend to mark out a territory, our home, where we like to shop, and where we tend to work. All of that area is within 3 mile radius of where we call home. Now this isn’t a rule, but rather an average. The higher the population density is the radius shrinks, the less dense the opulation is the radius increases. All of the this has to do with keeping our real life social network to around 60 people.
This is so predictable, that if you take the average area a person spends his life and compare it to the population density of that area, you end up with the geographical average of the population density. In other words, if a place gets to crowded people tend to move away, and then migrate closer together is the density isn’t thick enough to support them. Sixty is the human population equivalent of the golden rectangle. Now I think technology, agriculture, and other factors are also at play here, but for averages, this works out rather nicely.
So the bottom line is that you are looking for an area that has all the other factors you would look for if SHTF, or… if things get better and you start to thrive. A population density of 18-20 will fit most needs. This helps avoid picking an area that is so far out in the woods that cabin fever becomes a sudden real threat, and also avoid the mass riots of the inner city.