Will Climate Change Result In Mass Gentrification?

Many opinions and talking points continue to be hurled around the topic of climate change. And while corporations and leaders in Washington D.C. continue to dig their heels in the ground on the side they’re on an obvious truth seems to be staring us all in the face. The super storms we’ve been witnessing over the past decade has shown no signs of slowing down. While various companies and politicians all have an opinion about why the earth has warmed the science surrounding climate change seems to be clear. The only question is will we ever be able to come to some solution before climate chance results in mass gentrification?

Currently, we understand gentrification to be the process where people of greater wealth and power move into a location and force those of lesser means out. But what happens when nature is the one doing the relocating? The last major storm to hit North Carolina was Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The damage mounted up to approximately $6.9 billion, 51 fatalities, and over 500,000 people without power.

According to NASA “the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid 20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

NASA image
Image from NASA: This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.) Find out more about ice cores (external site).

In a recent Vice article they go on to mention how  “the physical displacement caused by climate change is on full display in Houston, and has been increasingly happening in the United States. Think Hurricane Katrina, which immediately displaced more than a million people along the Gulf Coast, many of whom were low-income and were never able to return to their homes.”

As a consequence, “since climate change has made rising sea levels a reality, and waterfront homes are a liability, people are looking to elevated areas as the next residential hotspot.”

The other possibility would be to build stronger homes that could endure the force of nature but how much would that cost and who could afford it?

One Houston woman, Dora Yudelevich, spoke to BuzzFeed News after returning to her home following Hurricane Harvey and seeing the devastation said “You feel like at this age you’re ready to retire, then you lose everything. We had no savings other than this house.”

As storms such as Harvey, Sandy, Katrina, and Floyd continue to press upon our coastal cities, sea levels continue to rise, and more people (especially those of lesser means) sustain greater loss will we start to see a mass gentrification take place?

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