The current state of the Earth, in terms of national and global politics, environment, and other factors, has many justifiably scared (or at least leery) of what the future holds. This has caused an increased interest in doomsday preparation, and companies are capitalizing on the opportunity.
The possibility of nuclear war is at levels we haven’t seen since the Cold War, and climate change is causing record temperatures on a consistent basis. Earlier this year, these factors led the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to move the symbolic Doomsday Clock to two and a half minutes to midnight.
To ease the minds of the more affluent among us who share these concerns, Vivos Shelter Networks has transformed a former military fortress in South Dakota into a complex of 575 bunkers, which it is leasing for customers to outfit into luxurious shelters against the end of the world. The company promises: “The Vivos global network of hardened, deep underground, survival shelters is being built to survive virtually all future catastrophes and disasters.”
Vivos’ bunkers are available for a 99-year lease at $1,000 a year, along with a $25,000 deposit paid upon signing. That pricing only covers the cost of the bunker itself; customers would be expected to pay contractors (or Vivo itself) to outfit the bunkers with electricity, a septic system, air filtration, and any amenities with which they want to cram in their limited survival space.
If that level of survival luxury isn’t in the cards, you can also buy a space in a shared bunker, pre-furnished, outfitted, and stocked with linens and household supplies, for a cool $5,000, plus a monthly expense fee of $50.
We must note that the company’s marketing material focuses almost exclusively on sensationalism, by choosing to cite prophecy (like the long-debunked theory that the Mayan calendar prophesied an apocalypse) and pseudoscience over very real threats, like climate change, that are supported by credible scientific evidence.
Even so, experts have still noticed a trend here, with the rise of what Becky Alexis-Martin, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, calls in an article on The Conversation “bourgeois bunkers.” She adds that, “It seems that as ever, only the moneyed, connected and powerful are entitled to outlive a nuclear catastrophe.”
Obviously, bunkers are not the answer in addressing the issues facing our world. Battling climate change and voting for leaders who will work toward peace are much more effective ways to ensure the survival of the planet. Supporting efforts that will accomplish these goals can ensure that everyone, regardless of financial standing, will have a chance to live out full lives on this planet — not hiding underneath it.