Paradise on Earth

Are there any regions of the world that have nice climates- here defined as anything between “tropical” and “southern California”- that don’t have a lot of major natural disasters[sup]1[/sup]? Florida has hurricanes (not to mention the poor Carolinas), the Caribbean has hurricanes, California is always worried about the next scheduled earthquake[sup]2[/sup], etc[sup]3[/sup]. Whereas up here in New Jersey, we don’t seem to have to deal with that stuff a lot. The occasional hurricane[sup]4[/sup], maybe, but we’re mostly left to stew in our cold winters in peace. Is there some invariable correlation between “doesn’t really have much of a winter” and “Here comes the Big One!”?[sup]5[/sup]

[sup]1[/sup]Defined as the sort of thing that necessitates and evacuation and/or does severe structural damage.

[sup]2[/sup]As a lifelong East Coaster, I may have a slightly exaggerated impression of California earthquake problems. How dangerous is it actually? Is California the paradise on earth I’m looking for after all?

[sup]3[/sup]Hawaii was in the news a couple months back because their volcanoes were misbehaving. Was this typical, or are they usually not a big problem?

[sup]4[/sup]My view of how disruptive “the occasional hurricane” is may be influenced by the fact the I live in a a really flood-resistant neighborhood; the worse I’ve ever personally suffered from a hurricane was a long blackout during Sandy. If this is equivalent to how a Californian might view “the occasional earthquake”, well, I’ll feel silly but at least I’ll know.

[sup]5[/sup]I like footnotes.

Cartagena Colombia. Really, that whole Caribbean coast south of Baranquilla is storm and earthquake resistant.

I have lived in CA all my life. I have lost power for three days and a couple knick-knacks walked off shelves and broke. That’s it for 60 years.

Well then, I stand corrected.

Due to currents, high level prevailing winds, etc., the island nation of Aruba does not get hit with hurricanes. I’m not sure if they are in a seismically active area…

Somewhere in the Mediterranean? (I’ve heard California’s climate described as “Mediterranean.”) Italy and Greece can get a bit volcano-ey, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a serious natural disaster along the French or Spanish Rivieras or elsewhere in the western Med. Maybe one of our European posters knows better?

And Panama. We are south of the hurricane belt. Significant earthquakes are limited to the eastern and western parts of the country. No active volcanoes or tornadoes or ice storms or forest fires or brush fires. Except in the highest mountains, the temperature never goes below freezing, and rarely goes above 95 F even in the hottest areas.

The most significant natural disasters are floods produced by heavy rains, but those are generally very localized and subside rapidly.

Welcome to Paradise- 2nd mildest climate after Hawaii, none of the volcanoes (or hurricanes, or earthquakes)

Well, the south of France has the mistral.

The coastal natives of the Pacific Northwest were reputed to have the most advanced culture of any hunter-gatherer society, pre-contact.

This was due to all the readily available natural resources and mild climate.

In terms of an actual Eden-like existence, I’d say it comes closest.

Of course things have since changed in terms of game, fish, pollution, etc. Dirt runoff from logging has ruined the ecosystem of many coastal bays where natives spent their summers gathering clams, crabs and such. The fields of camas they maintained by burning off the trees are almost all gone. It was their “potato”-like starchy food.

I lived in CA for 55 years before moving to my slice of paradise, and if you can afford it the mid coastal area is pretty close to perfect. Anywhere from Monterrey down to Santa Barbara would work. I personally like the more isolated areas such as Big Sur, Cambria or San Simeon (think of Hearst’s Castle), but it all depends on what you like. If cool ocean breezes are your thing you really can’t go wrong.

And about those pesky earthquakes. As long as you don’t live in a densely populated area, or in a high rise condominium, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. They do sell earthquake insurance if it helps you sleep at night. I really doubt CA will ever break off and fall into the Pacific Ocean… (famous last words)

Even in living memory the coastal areas were basically a seafood buffet. I can remember as a kid watching cityfolk digging for clams while me and my brother just waited for the tide to come so we could walk out and pick them up (they sit on top of the sand when they’re underwater); I remember walking down to the creek several times a year when various salmon were running–it was a shallow creek so you could just smack a 40 pound salmon on its noggin and stroll on home through the woods; And a crab dinner was just a matter of dropping a crab pot someplace for a couple hours while you trolled the bottom of the bay for cod or flatfish. And further inland blackberries grow like weeds. Hard to imagine an easier place to eat as a wild human with no millions of industrialized people to compete with. Oh, and nothing venomous trying to kill you just for walking by or putting on your shoes.

Apart from having a mild winter, the south of the UK fits the bill.

Yep, it was nice.

But there are lots of rattlesnakes.

My slice of Paradise is on the Big Island just north of Hilo.

Year round (day and night) one only needs shorts and flip flops. Shirts are only for visits to town. It never gets cold and the trade winds blow off the ocean most days making A/C completely unnecessary. The yearly 120 inches of rain falls mainly at night and makes irrigating the garden unnecessary. The garden grows an over abundance of fruits and vegetables. The rain is collected off my roof, filtered and stored in a 10,000 gallon catchment tank behind my home. No water bills from the County and no electric bills as the house is off grid powered by solar panels. The house has its own sewer system. (This became a problem when I wanted to renew my drivers license. The County wanted to see a “utility bill” to confirm my address and I had to explain to them I didn’t have any.)

About 1/2 mile east of the house there is a 60 foot cliff (over looking the ocean) which defends us from Tsunamis. Earthquakes and big storms happen but they never have caused any structural damage. The volcano is 30 miles distant and situated in such a way that the lava flows directly into the ocean away from us.

We do have mosquitoes, rats and wild boar, but no snakes.

And the people around here are really nice. The “aloha spirit” is not just a slogan.

If you are defining “Paradise” by climate primarily - there is a reason so many people move to California. Sure, there are occasional earthquakes in SOME parts of the state, and there are a couple large volcanoes up north (Shasta and Lassen), but in my area the weather is so boring the local weatherman vacations in the mid-west chasing tornadoes.

After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the SF Bay Area, the big banks in SF decided it was not such a good idea to have their data centers there. They looked for a place not too far away that was devoid of natural disasters - Rancho Cordova, CA. Low risk of floods, wild-land fires, and earthquakes, and no tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, landslides, volcanoes, sinkholes, tsunamis, or sandstorms. Other than the summer heat (which can be mitigated), and the occasional winter tule fog bank (getting more rare with the drought), the climate in this area is as boring as can be, perfect for protecting your banking data, but does not make for an exciting landscape, tho, and certainly not a Paradise.

Not on the we(s)t side of the Cascades.

Also the way that millions of people in southern CA are living in a desert (10 to 15 inches of rain a year) completely dependent on a huge, complicated, computer controlled water delivery system is very scary. So many things from earthquakes to terrorism could disrupt the supply and how long can this massive population go without water, especially during the Summer?

Mangosteen wins.

Even on the east side of the mountains things aren’t so bad. I’ve been out in the sticks there a bunch of times and never came across one. I thought that odd so I asked my cousins who live there and spend a large amount of time out hunting and four-wheeling in sagebrush country. They’ve never seen one in the wild either.

Along the coast the most dangerous animals are bears. The natives “hunted” them the safe way: dig a trap-pit.

Of course, for the whaling people the whales are obviously dangerous. But if you go out in large canoes on the ocean and start spearing gray whales, whose fault is it if you get capsized?

One thing to note about these coastal peoples. The early explorers were amazed by the Chinook houses up on the bluffs over the Columbia river. There were covered in wood planks, could be two stories high complete with balconies. They were surprisingly similar to houses back in Boston.