Just reading up on this week's news in amazement. And yes, I confess having taken a look at the Reuters site again - I just can't find any half decent American news site anymore which is a shame. (I am open for your suggestions). Articles discussing the need for an "overhaul of the DOW Jones Index" and even a headline "Do stocks make sense?" that would a year ago have qualified as the joke of the day and prompted Reuters to send their authors to a mental institution on the spot are now in high demand. Point is: the current crisis wasn't entirely unforseeable, was it? When things seem to be too good to be true they always are. Million dollar bonuses and ever increasing real estate prices are some of them. And there were people we could have listened to but we chose not to because life was just too good.
The extinction of many animal species is another such topic. It's been going on for a long time but we don't care. Now polar baers and penguins are up and some more people are beginning to take notice. But honestly: how many of us are truly concerned?
This one here is more likely to hit home: islands are sinking! The Maldives are actually evacuating - over 300,000 people! Take a look at the slideshow on Treehugger.com (link above). The last location in particular might sound familiar.
Still not impressed? So let's just give science the benefit of the doubt and assume that sea levels will continue to rise by about 6m over the next 100 - 200 years. That's 3cm per year if we're lucky which may not sound like much. Where this is headed, however, is that
- The Netherlands will cease to exist
- New Orleans is toast (permanently)
- Florida will be largely under water
- Your beautiful home down the Jersey Shore will be fully depreciated
- Look at the water level of the Hudson River in New York City when you visit next time. Do they have 6m to spare without getting wet feet?
- ...your favorite shore location here
Bottom line is that a very significant amount of land (aka "real estate" in financial terms) will be gone. And not the cheapest land either: think of all the luxury acocmodations that went up in Dubai and other places in recent years. And New York City gone? We don't want to believe it so we don't.
I am not into preaching the end of the world but it is fairly obvious that it's the end of an era, and the dawn of a new world. Maybe not for us anymore, but how much exactly do you care about your children? Your grandchildren?
And what are the consequences? Stay out of the lowlands? A good start. But think of all the people who will of course not believe it until it hits them (people never change - dare I say "New Orleans"?) and who will need to go somewhere. There will be millions. And they will be desperate. A tremendous challenge to maintain peace among us, and to create newly shaped societies.
Thanks for listening,