Monday, October 22, 2007

From Ghost Towns to Ghost Marinas

While global warming opens up fabulous opportunities in the Arctic for submarine polar explorers and others in the swashbuckling klepto-petro sector, the business opportunities that a screwed climate presents to temperate-zone economies are starting to dry up.

In the Midwest, the Great Lakes are shrinking, and shipping companies are being forced to lighten their loads in order not to run aground.

In the Pacific Northwest, diminishing mountain snowpack is jeopardizing the region's legacy of cheap hydroelectric power during the dry summer months.

Even humid Dixie is running dry: the reservoirs that supply Atlanta are draining quickly, with pontoon boats and swimming docks marooned high and dry above the retreating shoreline. Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency this weekend.

The New York Times made these droughts the feature of this weekend's magazine, with gorgeous photographs of the disappearing desert lakes and quotes like this one from Bradley Udall (a hydrological engineer and son of Mo): “All water-management actions based on ‘normal’ as defined by the 20th century will increasingly turn out to be bad bets.”

The 20th century American west had ghost towns; the 21st century American west will have ghost marinas, ghost casinos, ghost ski resorts, ghost golf courses...

1 comment:

Patrick Ian Banks said...

My homeland is drying up and blowing away. Fortunately Wyoming has yet to boom like Colorado, Nevada, or Arizona have, so maybey the fall there won't be as severe and steep.