Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rattled Confidence 2

South Burlington, Vermont

In Rattled Confidence, I mentioned New York, Vermont, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  That is because those are the places I heard having trouble with flooding. After this week's news, let me add the province of  Ontario to the list. Of course, other states may also be affected, but I haven't heard about their problems on the news.

Of course, inconvenience to me and other boaters is an insignificantly small part of the story.   If these rain patterns become the new norm, what are some of the long term consequences?    For one, I foresee the farm belt of the USA moving several hundred miles north.   That would raise interesting problems if thousands of US farms might be abandoned and the farmers (or farming corporations) want to move north into Canada.

Another drastic change would be that the wet areas might need major new dams to control flooding.  I am thinking of dams as large as the Grand Coulee and Glen Canyon, and lakes behind them as big as Lake Mead and Lake Powell.  In these highly populated and developed areas, that would be a major upheaval.  

Imagine a map that looked like this.  Add to that evacuation of coastal areas.  Add to that changes elsewhere in the world.

Should we wring our hands in despair?   I think not.  In any other context we consider change to be necessary for societal vitality, and lack of change a recipe for stagnation and demise of great nations.  Fresh water could become the most valued of all natural resources.  Why should we not look upon climate change as a great opportunity?

It is politics, not nature, that could transform beneficial change into disaster.  Think of the politics of national borders.  A necessary part of embracing this change and making it positive must be global removal of restrictions on large scale migrations of people.

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