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When someone thinks of climate change, they often think only of doom and gloom. Floods. Torrential rains. Droughts. Snow storms. Hail storms. The kind of weather that can kill people or leave them homeless. Tropical diseases spreading to people with no immunity and countries that can’t afford the treatments.
An artificial greenhouse effect can cause broad disruption of economies and fundamentally change the lives of every person on this planet.
It’s only natural to think that there are no benefits to climate change, but when you think of the history of the world, you’ll quickly realize there are benefits.
After all, we wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for natural climate change. Climate change drove evolution and lead to all the wonderful animals and plants that exist today. From ice ages caused by incredible forests, to the warming period that allowed humans to explore Europe and beyond, if it weren’t for the constant change in weather and overall warmth of the planet, things would be very different today.
Environmental change will have its winners and its losers, as any change does. Not only will it change the physical landscape of the planet, but it will change the landscape of money and power.
With that in mind, let’s explore some locations in the world that will actually benefit from climate change (taking into account factors like inequality, infrastructure, biodiversity, air quality, and ethnicity). It’s time to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska
A borough in Alaska, Kodiak Island Borough has a population of around 13,000. It sits near many active volcanoes, and its villages are only accessible by boat or plane.
It’s also one of the safest places from climate change in the USA. It’s the most climate-resilient place in the country.
Kodiak Island is lucky, largely because of its natural environment. It’s abundant and basically pristine because of how few people live there, and the industry there largely isn’t one that destroys the wildlife.
Hofn, Iceland is experiencing something strange as the impacts of climate change on the region intensify: Instead of rising sea levels, they’re falling.
Arctic glaciers are beginning to melt at faster rates, and the weight is lifting from the earth’s crust. This means the land in northern regions is starting to rise.
Because of this, Hofn could become a growing city, reversing the effects of people moving from Hofn to Reykjavik.
The official home of Santa Claus, which sits at the edge of the Arctic Circle, stands to see great changes in its temperature and the growing season.
These changes could mean that the capital and commercial center of Lapland, will see a renaissance. Increased forestry and agriculture will make the northernmost province in Finland will be producing more food and renewable resources for the rest of the world.
One of the first and most dire challenges a hotter planet will face will be access to enough fresh water. As the temperatures rise, places in the Mediterranean and Africa will become drier than ever.
Places in the North, however, will probably still have about as much fresh water as ever.
Greenland as a country has so much water, that it will likely be major player by 2100.
This water will be useful not only to drink, but also to use for hydroelectric power. And that access to water will also increase agricultural prospects for the country.
Another northern city that will produce plenty of food and have access to water is in Siberia.
Siberia is home to the coldest populated place on earth, but all of these coldest places will soon be the best places to live as climate change ravages the rest of the planet.
As the temperature rises, so will rainfall, meaning land that was once barren and frozen will soon be useful for growing plants and feeding a growing population.
Not All Doom and Gloom
I’m sure some of you will read this post and think I’m crazy. “No one benefits from climate change!” You’ll cry. And you will ultimately be right: we should do everything we can to stabilize out planet and weather while we can.
But sometimes, it’s nice to look on the bright side of things. The northernmost parts of our planet will soon be melting, revealing land for agriculture and homes.
And who knows, perhaps that melting snow will reveal great archaeological finds.
While we all live in fear of a changing planet, it’s important to remember that there is always hope. even if it requires us to change too.