Nature Conservancy, Climate Change, and Heading for the Hills

tumblr_static_tnc-logoNew Orleans        Naomi Klein, the author, reporter and documentarian from Canada, busted the Nature Conservancy and its corporate captivity with an early leak from a coming book revealing that they were more than willing to break their “no drilling” pledge on lands they hold in Texas in order to collect millions in royalties from oil companies. With six billion in assets the Nature Conservancy is the big dog in the pack of large environmental outfits, yet with all of that money, land, and corporate partnerships, they still couldn’t say “no” and honor their public pledges. Geez!

Klein’s core point was simple and disturbing. If the Nature Conservancy can’t do what is necessary to take a small, baby step towards confronting climate change, then what chance do we really have, given the state of current affairs?

Putting two and two together, am I the only one that believes that the headlines trumpeting surprising growth rates in inland cities (or what the Coasties not too long ago referred to as the flyover states) is only about finding more affordable housing prices?  Hard to believe.

Seems Oklahoma City is enjoying another land – and people – rush with growth of 12%. And in the Times’ breathless surprise, “Other affordable cities that have jumped in the growth rankings include several in Texas, including El Paso and San Antonio, as well as Columbus, Ohio, and Little Rock, Arkansas.”

Ok, I’ll grant that price is important and so are available jobs, which you might want to put on your list as well, along with relatively speaking, less crime and so forth, but some of us are looking at the maps that chart the water line one-hundred or more years from now and are pretty clear it’s time to hedge our bets on the future as well. Pine Bluff, Arkansas when the hills start to rise from the Mississippi Delta, looks like beachfront property on many of these maps. We had a family meeting on a couple of off-days when we could get the tribe together to talk seriously and it wasn’t long before we were talking about whether or not we needed to have a place in Hot Springs or Little Rock somewhere. You can bet we talked about that map.

Living three blocks from the Mississippi River in New Orleans in the post-Katrina, we can always couch these conversations in the guise of having a hideaway for a hurri-cation next time we have to evacuate and head north with something coming. But, we already have an old Airstream safe and sound on in-laws property. With heat and humidity rising we can also just say, it would be nice to have a couple of acres or heck, even a lot, somewhere with hills and water like the Hot Springs area just to cool our jets for a bit.

We can say lots of things, but we could also tell the truth and admit that on our dark days we share Naomi Klein’s pessimism and wonder after three generations of our family in New Orleans whether or not another three generations will be able to make it here without a sea change in attitude and politics on climate issues. And in those minutes we know Montana and Wyoming are too far, and Arkansas, a place we know and have roots, looks just about right, especially with our backs to the mountains and our eyes on the water rising at our feet.

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