The idea of the world’s end has long crossed the minds of countless prophets and scientists. Today, thanks to research and popular culture, we can better imagine how it might be while listing random pointers for survival in our heads.
But as far as the movies have shown, not everyone survives apocalyptic events. We can hope for the best for all earthlings, but from a more realistic, resource-oriented perspective, it’s easy to tell who’s got the upper hand.
Of course, they’re no other than the super-rich who, apparently, are already bracing themselves for the planet’s collapse.
Online and On-site Talks
According to The New Yorker, survivalism — or the practice of preparing for civilization’s crackup—expanded to affluent individuals in recent years. The movement started among Silicon Valley and NYC executives, managers and their peers. Today, there are private Facebook groups where the super-rich reportedly exchange information on bunkers, locations and other necessities in the event of climate catastrophes.
One investment firm head told The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos:
“I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system… A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”
Tim Chang, a managing director at Mayfield Fund, said “they” have been talking about it:
“There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.”
He added that his family keeps their bags packed:
“I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.'”
What to Keep
Meanwhile, Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman shared that his worries began after seeing the 1998 film “Deep Impact”, where people desperately tried to escape from a tsunami:
“Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. That scene happened to be filmed near my high school. Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”
Then-nearsighted, Huffman underwent laser eye surgery in November 2015 to increase his chances of surviving a disaster. His main concern, however, seems to be the collapse of “governments and structures” following an actual apocalypse:
“I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”
Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook product manager based in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest. He brought ammunition, generators and solar panels:
“You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.”
Such preparations are arguably logical, considering that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the “Doomsday Clock” to its closest time to midnight since 1953 on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The clock has long been a symbolic indicator of the world’s affinity to disaster. Its recent resetting, which moved the hands from three minutes to two minutes and 30 seconds, supposedly meant humanity is much closer to catastrophe. Scientists attributed the move to threats such as climate change, nuclear weaponry and Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the U.S.
“The Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than it’s ever been in the lifetime of almost everyone in this room,” Lawrence Krauss, the Bulletin’s chair, said.
In any case, it’s alluring to think that mankind would survive any threat only if it could come together as one species. Regardless of age, sex, gender, political affiliation, religious belief, social class or any other construct meant to divide it, saving our home — our only home — is everybody’s responsibility.
And if the 1% can’t save everyone else, let’s hope governments, at least, don’t forget. Because if the worst ever comes, you know what Katniss had to say:
“If we burn …”