We’ve all heard the doomsday theories that the world is coming to an end. Heck, it’s about to be released in multiplexes everywhere in the form of 2012, a big-budget action movie centering on the theory that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of it all in December 2012. Another theory that’s gained ground in recent years — that global warming will eventually make our planet inhospitable — is the focal point of a piece published earlier this week in Slate magazine, which quotes Robert Shibley, a UB professor and co-author of Buffalo’s Comprehensive Plan.
Plus, the article also postulates that Buffalo and the rest of the Great Lakes region could see an influx of people fleeing cities like New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix, which will become too expensive to live in when energy costs rise due to global warming. Basically, according to the article, the Queen City will eventually become a mecca for people who initially abandoned the area for the West. Crazy, huh?
As we all know, in its heyday, Buffalo was one of the nation’s largest cities, thriving because of its prime location on the Erie Canal, as well as its industry. As recently as 1900, it was the eighth largest city in the country. Since then, as we all know too well, post-industrial Buffalo has shrunk to its current state. That’s not to say Buffalo isn’t a wonderful place to live — because it definitely is — but it certainly doesn’t see population figures exceeding 500,000 like it once did.
Now, as this article in Slate hypothesizes, Buffalo may eventually have to deal with an overpopulation problem. In a time of global warming, rising sea levels, recurrent storms and ever-increasing energy problems could make cities like New Orleans, Miami or San Diego too expensive to save, thus forcing many of its citizens out for dryer, less expensive areas. Shibley offers an alternative destination: the Great Lakes region.
From his viewpoint, the Buffalo area would have ideal conditions if global warming advanced to this scale. “You’ve got agricultural land around our perimeter, you have the power from the water and [Niagara] Falls, and you have the industrial infrastructure to die for, the roads and railroads,” he said in the article. Furthermore, there’s also plenty of real estate available, especially on our growing waterfront area.
Of course, intense climate change would make our already-snowy winters even more blustery, but with parts of the country struggling through drought, Shibley sees more snow as more positives for the region. Better blizzards than complete dehydration!
Check out the complete article here, which further examines if, with Buffalo’s proposed overpopulation issue, people would pour into Canada and its vast tracts of unused land. What do you think of all of this? Could Buffalo really become a paradise for people escaping their once-idyllic western locations? In your opinion, Is intense global warming in our world’s future?