One of the hot button issues across the country, but especially in New England, right now is flood insurance. The federal program is deeply in debt, thanks to record payouts after devastating storms like Katrina and Sandy. Congress passed legislation in 2012 to eliminate many subsidies and raise rates, but the backlash has been severe and President Obama just signed new legislation that is designed to ease the pain for a while.  However, if you live in a flood plain and subscribe to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your rates will be going up, if not now then shortly. This will certainly be painful for many homeowners, but in a way it’s necessary. There’s a case for not subsidizing the risk of living in a flood plain.

Another issue is that FEMA has redrawn the flood maps that determine who does and doesn’t live in a flood plain, and who is subject to the federal program’s constraints.  The areas are getting larger.  And with climate change, they may get larger still.

As we face this new reality, there are scenarios coming from the Chronofacts that show us options. Floating houses. Hover Homes. But there are also scenarios where the water wins. Bridge crossings. Broken technology.

Whatever our futures hold, we would be wise to remember the old saying: no matter how high a bird flies, it has to come down for water.

 

 

“Displacement” as a theme has been cropping up more and more. We have heard about how rising waters are displacing some people, while a lack of water has others scrambling.

Currently, California is facing its largest, perhaps most devastating drought in years, turning once green fertile farm lands into vast brown arid patches.

SierraNevada_tmo_2014018_lrg

This particularly hurts farmers, which in turn hurts workers and affects food supplies and prices.  Be prepared to pay more for your produce this year.

In the future, we could be faced with even more terrain changes. This report from a place called “Burnt Creek” talks about jojoba, mesquite bosques and desertification.

Burnt Creek 2041

I’m not certain this is the same place mentioned in the voicemail, but there is a Burnt Creek in North Dakota that is currently a lush area near the Missouri River that’s prone to flooding.

How do we get from today’s Burnt Creek to the Burnt Creek of 2041? Is there any way to prevent it?