Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Permadrought Or Permagloom?

Concerned about permadrought? Why not move to the Great Lakes?
It may not feel like such a pressing issue after a weekend of pounding rain in L.A., but the Southland is thirsty -- and it's only getting worse. Edward McClelland makes an interesting, though not so attractive case for moving to the Great Lakes in Salon: "The South needs water. The Midwest needs people. Maybe it's time we work something out."

"Ignoring thousands of years of prophetic wisdom, Americans have been moving away from fresh water and into the desert," he writes. "In the most recent Census Bureau survey, the two fastest-growing states -- Nevada and Arizona -- were two of the driest. Michigan and New York, states awash in water, actually lost people. Some of these migrants were looking for work, following factory jobs down South. But others just couldn't stand the gloomy Northern winters." As a result, the South is choking with population growth -- California's population alone is expected to jump 75% by 2050 -- while northern cities are turning into ghost towns.

In search of solutions to their water plight, southern states have been lurking at the lakes, pondering how they could divert them their way, but Michigan's position is clear: "They can have all the water they want. All they have to do is move here." So, "You have a choice," McClelland concludes, "get used to the droughts, or move to Detroit -- or Cleveland, or Syracuse, or Chicago, or Duluth -- and get used to the winters. They're not as tough as they used to be. As you may have noticed, the climate is changing."

Yeah. But not fast enough. And we don't feel thirsty enough yet to give up the year-round flip flops for moon boots and wellingtons. Or job opportunities for desolation and crystal meth. Our curse.
illustration salon.com