What is a Climate Haven?

Plus: growing up in the 90s didn't prepare me for this

Hi folks -

This isn’t my typical long essay. Instead, I want to offer you a brief update on the things I’m working on and thinking about.

Some of them are preludes to something bigger, others are just: hey, I’m thinking about this. This is gonna let me wander like I want to wander: into climate, into community, into those other topics I said a few weeks ago I’ve been wanting to look at more closely.

Without further ado:

Climate Havens & Community

🌎 Two years ago, I bought a house in the mountains of Central New Hampshire. It was near a premiere climbing area, yes, but originally my search wasn’t for a climbing retreat — it was for a family property that would serve as a “climate haven.” And oh, did I find one.

So what is a climate haven? Actually, there isn’t any clear definition as far as I can tell. Right now it’s mostly a marketing term being thrown about by a handful of Great Lakes cities (check out this CBS Sunday Morning report from a few days ago. Around 4:38 it turns in to one giant ad for moving to Madison, WI).

🌊 By one estimate, the U.S. is averaging more than 230,000 climate refugees every year: wildfires and hurricanes being the motivating disasters. Here’s an NPR report about a climate refugee couple who moved to the same New Hampshire town I did, after fires pushed them out of the mountain West.

I’ve been concerned about climate change for years, and am convinced the answer is something we don’t want to hear: move. But move where? In absence of an official definition for climate haven, I want to offer a way to think about it. A climate haven has three components:

  • Region

  • Community

  • Property

In other words, you don’t have a climate haven unless you’ve taken care of those three things: a region insulated from the worst effects of climate change, a resilient community, and a climate resilient property. More to come on all that.

📟 Growing up in the 90s didn’t prepare me for this

I’ve written before, this pandemic really sucks.

But I’m convinced it’s effecting different generations differently. Perhaps a lot differently. I’ve been in a mixed generation household for most of the past year, with my mom and my 10-year-old son, as well as two teenage step-kids and my partner, their mom.

The other night over dinner I got to telling these three kids how easy my childhood was, how blessed, how carefree. Literally the worst thing that happened to the country in my entire childhood was the dot.com bust, which, let’s get real: it was peanuts compared to what’s come after.

My adulthood, meanwhile, has been a time of shock, disillusionment, recession, the decay of Democracy, Trump, and the pandemic. 9/11 happened when I was 19 years old. The 2008 crash happened mid-way through my 20s. Then Trump, then this.

In contrast, my 10-year-old just seems to kind of be rolling with it. He grew up in this world. The teenagers? Missing school sucks, but they barely remember when Trump wasn’t president. Disillusionment is simply status quo for them.

Basically what I’m saying is: the 90s didn’t prepare me for this.

🤔 I’m hosting an Interintellect Salon about Hunter S. Thompson

For those who missed my last newsletter, I announced that I’m hosting my first Interintellect salon: a close read of Hunter S. Thompson’s “Ninth Path” letter. I wrote about the letter at the end of 2019, in a post called, A Lesson in Path Dependency.

It’s a quick read, in which a young Thompson gives a friend some life advice. I’ve read the letter probably a dozen times, and I still don’t feel like I have my brain wrapped around all the wisdom in there. Here’s Interintellect founder Anna Gát:

I do hope you’ll join me. Tickets are a paltry $10, and for my money that’s the best three hours of entertaining, intellectual discussion you’ll find during a pandemic (or arguably outside of it as well).

Register here.