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anticipating climate change  RSS feed

 
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I have a dilemma that I would like to pose to the permies community, to see what y'all think.

I am almost at the point where I am ready to buy some land. I am currently in Southern Colorado, and love it here. I have been thinking of buying land in this general area for a while. There are lush green fields, rivers running through towns, beautiful mountains, and plenty of sunshine and fresh air.
However, I recently heard about a very dreary climate change forecast. Somebody told me about a report that they read that predicted that in 50 years, Grand Junction, CO will resemble the current climate of Tucson, AZ. That was not the first dreary prediction that I have heard. I also heard spoken that within 10 years Santa Fe, NM will resemble the current climate of Albuquerque. Regardless of the credibility of these reports, climate change seems like something very real, and must be reckoned with and anticipated.

My concern is that if I find a beautiful and lush piece of Earth to put my name on (in the eyes of other humans, at least), will it turn barren within my lifetime? Will I wake up one day and realize that there is no more water? I love it here now, but would it be a better idea to seek land a bit farther North?
 
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Adam Lehn wrote:I have a dilemma that I would like to pose to the permies community, to see what y'all think.

I am almost at the point where I am ready to buy some land. I am currently in Southern Colorado, and love it here. I have been thinking of buying land in this general area for a while. There are lush green fields, rivers running through towns, beautiful mountains, and plenty of sunshine and fresh air.
However, I recently heard about a very dreary climate change forecast. Somebody told me about a report that they read that predicted that in 50 years, Grand Junction, CO will resemble the current climate of Tucson, AZ. That was not the first dreary prediction that I have heard. I also heard spoken that within 10 years Santa Fe, NM will resemble the current climate of Albuquerque. Regardless of the credibility of these reports, climate change seems like something very real, and must be reckoned with and anticipated.

My concern is that if I find a beautiful and lush piece of Earth to put my name on (in the eyes of other humans, at least), will it turn barren within my lifetime? Will I wake up one day and realize that there is no more water? I love it here now, but would it be a better idea to seek land a bit farther North?



Adam,

I share your concerns! I first heard about climate change back in 1983. (Unfortunately it was misnamed "global warming" early on -- a name that stuck and which, I believe, is partially responsible for the slow response to this ultimate global challenge. Climate change can go many ways -- mostly EXTREME -- and include greater cold and more serious storms in addition to overall warming trends.)

However, with warming in mind, I have spent the last 3 decades searching for what I hoped would be the best place to live once things start drying up. I started in the most obvious place -- looking for the places with the most water. Turns out Canada has more surface and ground water than any place else on Earth. So... my husband and I explored the possibilities of moving there. At that time, our currency was worth almost double that of Canada's so land was cheap. Unfortunately not free and we could never quite afford to buy. (Plus we had lots of animals and other concerns with moving to another country at that time.) Now I am glad we didn't make the move.

The more I know about climate change, the more I realize there is no perfect place to be and that "sheltering in place" is probably the most sane solution. No matter where you go, each region will have its own set of problems. In Canada for example, all that water is going to become a highly coveted resource when the rest of the world gets drier. That means more people, more competition and ultimately even bloodshed when, or IF things deteriorate to fighting over water rights. If you live somewhere that never had outstanding water resources to start with, you may find yourself in sole possession of those that remain when the rest of the world panics and moves to greener (and wetter) pastures. Of course, you still won't have a lot of water, but maybe more than you would get in a place where everyone is fighting over it.

In my opinion, the thing is to be prepared -- wherever you are.

Build covered cisterns and water tanks to hold rain water (or fill with well water if you have a drilled well or from a nearby creek, river or pond, if you have those) and KEEP THEM FILLED. Build ponds everywhere you can (assuming that you have proper drainage to fill them regularly when water is available -- otherwise they can be rather wasteful due to evaporation).

save water by planting drought-tolerant plants and using water saving horticultural methods like hugelculture. Take baths only when absolutely necessary and stick to quick wash ups or very short showers otherwise. DO NOT own a swimming pool or hot tub! Use a composting toilet. Buy fewer clothes and wear them until they are actually dirty before laundering. Water is LIFE and as such it is for drinking. Everything else we use it for is secondary.

And above all, remember that though things may not come to such dire ends in your lifetime, they probably will in your kids or grandkids lives. Make your footprints on Earth as light and green as possible -- for them. If we had all done that many years ago, we wouldn't be in this mess now.
 
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Adam, The changing time (what we are in now is the fifth shaking of the world) is going to affect everyone, everywhere.

"My concern is that if I find a beautiful and lush piece of Earth to put my name on (in the eyes of other humans, at least), will it turn barren within my lifetime? Will I wake up one day and realize that there is no more water? I love it here now, but would it be a better idea to seek land a bit farther North?"

If this land speaks to you, calls you to it, wants to be cared for by you, then it is the land for you.
The current weather changes may or may not end up with your area seeing desertification, that is yet to be seen but it is not a reason to not live there.
Deb put forth good information on how to cope and prepare should the worst happen to that land.

The weather pattern changes that are in flux now, may or may not continue along the current path, no one can really predict what will be the new, longer term pattern.
The key things would be; Does this land you are looking at buying pull you to it. (my wife and I purchased our land last year, because it called us to it, over and over, no matter where else we looked, this land wanted us to care for it.)
When you do as Earth Mother and Creator desire you to do, only good things come of it. Sure, there will be tribulations and doubts may enter your mind for a time, but always there will be good things happen if you stay on the path.
Nothing with great worth does not come easy, these things require some effort, some sweat, some sacrifice. At the end of every day there is always satisfaction to be had by looking at what was accomplished and realizing that it is good to be where you are.

As I mentioned, We, are at the beginning of our journey to stewardship of our land. Wakantanka brought us to this place, when we would leave Earth Mother pulled us back, time and again this land called us to come and care for it, nurture it and the creatures who call it home.
We struggled with the idea of being in our 60's and starting such a life, we knew it would be hard, that we were probably crazy, but we listened and acted according to the wishes of Earth Mother and Creator.
Currently we are only able to be on our land on weekends, after working at our jobs, we rush to our land every Friday evening, knowing that we will be hurting at the end of each day.
Our rewards are great and many. Friday evening we see the sunset and our beautiful views from where our house will one day stand, we see new creatures come and we see these blessings every time we are on our land.
We wake to see the sunrise, knowing that soon we will pour our sweat and probably some blood onto the land. When the day ends, we look out over the valley and are filled with awe.
There is no time to be bored, no day that muscles are not sore and aching, usually I have at least one new bandaid.
Every day Wolf tells me I am crazy. I just look into her eyes and say, yes, you are probably right, but look at where we will be living, look at all we have already done, soon we will be living here.

The beauty of homesteading is not in what is now, but what will become. There is great satisfaction knowing that everything you do gets you closer to the end goal.

Last year we bought this land we call Asnikiye Heca.
On April 27th, 2014, at 7 pm a Tornado came through our town and wiped half of the town from the face of the earth.
We had been on our land and were planning to leave that Sunday night, but instead we felt we should leave Saturday night.
5 people were taken to the spirit world, if we had not left a night before we had planned to, we would be in the spirit world with them.
Those of us that lived gave thanks for life and began picking up the pieces that were left.
Many have left, the strain of two tornadoes in three years was just to much for them.
Life goes on.
Wolf and I knew only a few people at that time, having just started our current journey into homesteading, one of those few went to the spirit world.

 
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Adam,

There is a fair degree of uncertainty on how climate change will manifest on the small scale. It is almost a fool's errand to try to predict what will happen on a local scale. Besides, there is so much variation year to year, that it will be decades before one can really say that the local weather patterns have changed. I could see Colorado being drier as it is a fair ways inland, but I could also see it being wetter, because a warmer world may drive precipitation further inland. But who knows? However, the chances are that land that experiences favourable weather currently will continue to do so in the future, at least more so than land that currently experiences less favourable weather today. I wouldn't go buying up desert land thinking it will become lush farmland a couple of decades from now. Instead, I'd buy land that is good today.

I happen to own land that it is in a semi-arid region. I've experienced two droughts over the last eight years. I'm quite worried that climate change could push our area in the direction of an arid environment. However, there are much more important factors at play, like the people that live nearby (ie. family), and our access to local markets. So I don't get too caught up in worrying about the affects climate change will bring to our little corner of the world...there's just too much to do in the meantime.

One thing I did think about was working out a deal with other land-owners that were somewhat distant. The idea would be a sort of climate insurance policy, where if things went badly in one local, one could access land/product/profit from the other properties. But there are so many problems with it. I felt it was better to just self-insure by banking any profits and trying to build up our properties resiliency (through earthworks and such).
 
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