Climate change is not just a thing of the future – it’s happening now. If you’re under seventy, you’re likely to see big changes in the weather. Some of today’s hurricanes and wildfires are already worse because of climate change, and more severe disasters are expected in the coming years.
In the second half of the 21st century, it’s going to get really hot in places that are already warm. Sea levels will rise, making some islands impossible to live on. Hurricanes will become more frequent and destructive, especially in coastal areas.
Our kids and grandkids will live in a world that’s very different from ours. Climate change will have messed up where people live and how they get food and stay safe. They won’t have as many choices about where to live. So, it’s not too early to think about finding a safe place in a world that’s been messed up by climate change.
What Makes a Place Safe?
Instead of listing things right away, let’s first understand what to look for in a place to build or buy a home and feel safe.
1. Cool Weather:
In about 30 years, it’s expected to get much hotter in the middle of North America. Places from Tennessee to Nevada and Southern Wyoming to Northern Texas may be 6 degrees hotter in summer.
Most of the country will be 5 degrees hotter, with more dangerously hot days above 95°F.
2. Away from the Ocean:
Coastal areas will face problems like shrinking coastlines, flooding, and stronger tropical storms. Living near the ocean might not be a good idea due to these issues.
3. Access to Water:
While you wouldn’t want to live in a storm-prone area, living in a desert isn’t great either. In deserts, increased heat makes the soil dry, leading to drought. So, having access to water is crucial.
Being at a higher elevation can help escape heat and flooding. Some lower elevations might be okay, depending on the conditions.
Best Places to Live in a Future Affected by Climate Change:
1. Boston, MA:
It’s far enough north to avoid extreme heat, and it has a plan for dealing with rising oceans, including elevating roads and creating flood-absorbing marshes.
2. The Great Lakes States (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin):
These states are generally cooler and have the Great Lakes as a water source, without the risks of tsunamis or sea-level rise.
Climate change will make Greenland greener. It will have abundant water and is investing in hydroelectric plants for power.
4. Denver, CO:
Denver is elevated, avoiding rising water and staying cool. It also has plans in place for safety.
Ireland doesn’t heavily rely on agriculture, making it less vulnerable to climate change. It’s committed to environmental protection with a significant investment in its National Development Plan.
Some great places to consider are in central Canada (not near the coast), Scandinavian countries, and North-Central European countries like Latvia and Estonia. In the U.S., upstate New York and Pacific Northwest cities like Portland and Seattle are good options too.
But places in serious trouble include developing nations, such as Haiti and some African countries. These places are at risk of harsh natural disasters like droughts and extreme heat.
If you’re thinking about where to live in 2050 and beyond, the most important thing is how far you are from the ocean. Being away from the coast but close to lakes is a good idea. Living at a higher elevation can also help.
It’s more about finding the right mix of factors rather than hoping for one perfect location.
As we get closer to the middle of the century, it’s crucial to check how individual cities are planning to deal with climate change. Choosing a place that shows it’s keeping its infrastructure in good shape is the best bet for your children and grandchildren.