Recently having received an email from a Reader who asked for an opinion of where is the best place to live from the standpoint of survival interests and preparedness, here are a few considerations… (this pertains to the US)
The criteria from the Reader are as follows:
-Well developed agriculture for plant based diet
-Well developed infrastructure
-Interest in clean energy
-Predators/Poisonous life forms
-Pollution/Susceptibility to Pollution via atmospheric/ocean currents
Nuclear power plant locations
OK, lets look at these one at a time…
Well developed agriculture for plant based diet
From a survivalist or self-sufficiency standpoint, this would be somewhat related to the ability to grow some of your own food, and therefore is hinged to the climate of the region, length of the growing season, as well as the general soil condition (e.g. deserts won’t work well). The further south, the longer the growing season. Having said that, northerners do just fine so long as they plan well and begin some crops indoors or in a greenhouse environment. Parts of the northwest are very favorable for agriculture – growing season – climate – adequate rainfall, such as Oregon and Washington state.
Well developed infrastructure
Personally, I would not choose to live in ‘the city’. One reason is because I’m just not a city-dweller type person. Second, a city depends too much upon infrastructure (it has to) for my own comfort zone should disaster strike. For example, a major power outage could bring social chaos in a short period of time. However, a good benefit of living near enough to a city are the services rendered – such as better health care – hospitals if needed, and much more. I believe that a good ‘safe’ distance from any major city is ideal, say, an hour drive. Some fear the Golden Horde – zombies exiting the cities during disaster, and will prefer to live further away.
Interest in clean energy
Utilization of clean energy can be executed almost anywhere. Solar energy is more efficient the closer to the equator – the further south, the more effective sunlight. Southwestern states are ideal due to less cloud cover during the year and abundant sunshine – however these regions are often desert areas. No matter where you live (except perhaps in some neighborhood developments or zones where rules prohibit it), solar photovoltaic panels, solar hot water systems, and wind power can be utilized. I believe that ‘interest’ in clean energy is growing nationwide.
This is subjective to some degree. ‘The south’ has a general reputation for having a friendly attitude. Having traveled quite a lot during a previous career, I agree with that. ‘The west’ compared to ‘the east’ is of a friendlier demeanor. I’ve lived on both coasts and know this to be true. Also, generally, the more remote you are, the more the community will be tightly-knit, that is, if you move into a countryside community, it may take longer to ‘be accepted’. So long as you yourself are not an ass, I suppose this won’t be an issue in most cases.
If you are looking for freedom and liberty, stay away from the cities and high population dense regions of the country – where rules and regulations always abound. Perhaps New Hampshire with their motto, ‘Live Free or Die’, may suit you. Freedom loving regions that stand out, no doubt include areas like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, perhaps eastern Oregon or eastern Washington. However there are plenty of other regions with little restrictions on freedom and liberty. One way to determine this is to examine gun laws of each state, which are often directly proportional to the level of freedom and personal liberty there.
Living along the seacoast at sea-level presents risks from flooding of hurricanes or tsunamis. Living at high altitude will reduce the length of the growing season due to a colder climate. Many entire states are at a very high altitude – up and down the Rocky Mountains for example. Having spent some time exploring the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I personally enjoy altitude climates there at approximately 1,500 – 2,000 feet (‘the foothills’). It’s different in other parts of the country though because overall weather patterns vary. The short opinion though, avoid sea level or living immediately along the coast (save that for vacations). Be aware of the growing season effectiveness at your geographical location and altitude.
Climate is immensely important. Some people will not be able to ‘happily’ deal with certain types of weather and climate conditions. Too Hot – Too Cold – Too Humid – Too Wet – Too Dry – Too many Mosquitoes! – etc… It is important though that the natural rainfall is adequate to sustain a summer garden. This rules out some of the west and much of the southwest which rely upon reservoirs for their summer water. The northwest is abundant with rain (especially coastal), however I personally would become too gloomy due to the excessive number of rainy days (everyone’s different though). I do enjoy climates with four seasons, so long as the winter is not too long. Whatever suits your desire is probably OK, provided you don’t risk living in a dry desert region that depends solely upon infrastructure to provide your water needs during the summer months. Be aware of micro-climates, which can be very different from the regional climate! Do your research.
Predators/Poisonous life forms
The west and northwest have bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and poisonous spiders. Although there are deaths each year, provided you take common-sense precautions, you will likely be just fine. I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider and lived to tell about it for example… I’m certain that there are some black widows around my wood pile, and I’ve encountered bears while in the Trinity Wilderness area of northern CA. The key is knowing your region and dangers, and knowing how to be cautious about it. Parts of the south have alligators. I would personally rather deal with poisonous spiders and the slight risk of running across a bear than an alligator – but that’s just me… Everyone has their phobias. The least likely regions for dangerous predators compared to other regions, will probably be the central and northeastern US.
Very important. Fresh, clean water is the single most important ingredient to survival. You will find more of this in the mountainous regions. Obviously the southwest US and desert region is a no-go in this category. Best areas – northwest, southeast, northeast, and some northern states. Be aware of the current drought conditions in parts of the south and central US. A property with a natural and year-round stream is ideal. Alongside a pond or lake is great. Known ‘good’ well water in the area is good. Adequate rainfall and perhaps a rainwater collection system will fit your needs.
Pollution/Susceptibility to Pollution via atmospheric/ocean currents
Pollution will be concentrated at lower altitudes and where the most people live. Be aware of what is ‘upstream’ from your location, both by way of air currents and water flow. All regions have prevailing wind directions. In the west, the winds and storms come from the Pacific – sometimes from the southwest and usually from the northwest – meaning that the air will be relatively ‘clean’ coming from an ocean expanse. The jet stream generally blows from west to east across the country. The northeast usually has prevailing wind patterns from the west or northwest (from upstate NY or Canada) – but sometimes from the northeast (ocean) . The point is, discover the weather pattern and prevailing wind pattern, and you will know what’s heading your way by looking upstream. To avoid pollution, stay away from the cities and major transportation corridors.
The worst place in this category is up and down the California coast. There is also a fairly high risk along the coastal northwest. The New Madrid fault zone is another frightful area, although no one knows when this one will rip again, if ever again. Truly, there are earthquake risks almost anywhere, although well known fault zones are the places to stay away from.
It’s often easier to find reasons NOT to live somewhere. I do believe that there really is no perfect or best place to live. It comes down to what you can live with, and what your own priorities are. Everyone values risks and priorities differently, and these are often offset by other factors that may be important to you. The process I would use to find a best place to live, would be to analyze first (using the internet to discover statistics, etc.), then choose several possible areas of interest and go and visit them. Often times ‘you will know it’ when it’s right. It will just feel right to you. Trust your instincts.
Very generally speaking, in the context of survival risks, in all cases avoid city centers and very high populous regions. Consider parts of the northwest US, or parts of the south – how about northwest Arkansas for example (I’ve looked closely at this one – low taxes, good geography, etc. but not sure about the summer heat and humidity though).
The best place to live is very difficult to identify from one person’s point of view because of the wide range of factors under consideration, that differ for everyone. A hard core survivalist may choose northwestern Montana, say in a small town like ‘Plains’ (just an example – never been there) within an hour drive of Missoula for important services. A moderate survivalist may choose a place within an hour drive of Fort Smith or perhaps within the region of Hot Springs (so long as you’re not up against Little Rock). There are all sorts of smart choices around the country that could be made. The key is to think about all the aspects, prioritize, and then go visit them!
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