As part of my care giving services to my mother, I decided to drive from New York to Florida to be with her, and initially my stepfather, from January 19th until about February 24th, including the driving. I will be returning to South Beach, Miami from March 15th until March 30th when my mother, her dog Clare and I return to NYC.
The drive had a three pronged purpose: 1) to provide a nice mode of transportation for my parents during my stay, 2) the ability to check out strategic cities that are in some ways at the forefront of the U.S. climate resilience discussions and 3) letting me superficially check out cities I might want to relocate to in the not too distant future.
My first stop (I must say I used Airbnb and friends mostly) was Washington DC to see a high school friend in Rockville MD and attend a seminar sponsored by Leaders in Energy Research, et al (www.lercpa.org). This organization is led by Janine Finnell who started LERCPA around the same time I started the NRF. The DC area faces mostly flooding issues and will have to focus more on the issues lower Manhattan is exploring with the BIG U, I think. The traffic and overall vibe of DC is probably not to my taste, even though its importance to climate resilience cannot be over-emphasized.
Next I was off to Virginia Beach to quickly check out the Hampton Roads Naval Base and surrounding areas. I also had the opportunity to stop by the Edgar Cayce Institute that is based in Virginia Beach. The predominance of military branches in this area is evident as I literally heard military planes and helicopters all the time during my short stay. Even though VB appears to be highly susceptible to weather events, notably flooding, I think its military presence make it likely that the city will survive longer than many of its other flood prone counterparts. Too much military for my taste in terms of relocation as well as somewhat isolated from the mainland.
My drive was permeated by a fairly major storm that I largely avoided as I traveled south (DC had some pretty serious ice and their drivers are notoriously dangerous in poor weather conditions — either too cautious or too reckless). Why do people think just because they have an SUV or a Truck that they are impervious to the outside weather?
The next stop was Raleigh, NC. The city was basically at a stand still due to about an inch of solid ice so I had a unique perspective having the ability to drive through the City on a Friday afternoon as one of the few cars on the road (even Whole Foods was closed but not Rite Aid). Raleigh has an elevation of about 315 feet and may well become coast line in the not too distant future. Although I only spent one night in the town, it had a very nice feel; college town like and at the same time the capital of North Carolina with some impressive architecture. Definitely on my list of possible relocation candidates.
From here, I ended up seeing my first Manhattan roommate, Robin “Birdi” Meshel, in her recent new hometown Charleston, SC. Charleston has had some serious flooding issues in recent years and its 19 foot elevation may not make it feasible to save it in the long run. The architecture in the historic is beautiful and the food is absolutely sublime — I had fried green tomatoes and She Crab soup at Toast, an excellent downtown brunch place in the old downtown. Here are some photos and a video from the Charleston visit. Even though I had a blast from the past at the Charleston bar with Birdi below, the humidity made it much more bone chilling than other more northern cities I had visited; conflicted about Charleston — people seem nice but a little stand offish and the downtown is beautiful but not as affordable as some of the cities I visited.
|Florida — before sea level rise|
|Florida — After sea level rise|
As you can see from the before and after simulations of Florida in the future, a large swath of Florida’s east and west coasts will be wiped out due to sea level rise, including Miami up to north of West Palm Beach and the west coast from Key West up through Tampa. This seems like an area that is ripe for what Klaus Jacob of Lamont-Doherty advocates: that populations should be relocated up land to an area indicated by the after portion of the simulation.
|Baptist Church Savannah Exterior|
|Baptist Church Savannah Interior|
|Artwork by Airbnb host|
|Parish Hall (an inside joke with my son)|
|The Old Pink House — 250 years old excellent food|