It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Almost off to Seattle...

So part of that finishing-up-all-this-stuff is doing a little last minute reading for my class tonight. The class is called Tsunamis, Monsoons and Hurricanes (with some subheadaing about natural disasters in the urban context). The class has been good overall, and very much a step forward for an international affairs program that makes nearly no mention of the environment in its course offerings.

Some of this week's readings focus on climate change, cities, urban disasters and globalization. I was going to throw a little something in my weekly reading response about the South Pacific island of Tuvalu that has been making plans since at least 2001 to move inhabitants elsewhere.

Then I came across a Dear Umbra, question on Grist from 4/17.
Dear Umbra,
Given that there is a possibility/probability that sea levels will rise significantly [due to climate change], and that some parts of the world may become too hot while others could become too cold, where in the world will things be relatively "safe"? If I start thinking about moving my family to another country, in which direction should we be looking?
Michael LairdBelgium (below sea level!)
(read her answer, which is very good, here.)

Now that's some forward planning! If only international organizations and donor agencies would get on board and incorporate a little more forward thinking by throwing in some mitigation and adaptation planning into their efforts. I don't think we need to evacuate all low-lying coastal cities, or start rearranging the global populace, but we can't keep thinking of planning the same old ways. Yes, housing needs to be built for the urban poor (how and where is another question altogether), but if their homes are flooded and livelihoods are wiped out, is that doing much to alleviate poverty?

(That's all, must get back to work now...)

A previous post of mine about climate change/adaptation.

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