Where Should I Move To, To Escape Climate Change?
Why we need to stop asking this question
Back in 2015 my (now ex) husband took me on a surprise trip across Vietnam. This was a dream come true for me, and an experience I will never forget. Seriously, I love that country so much!
We traveled to and stayed in different places throughout our trip so we could see the country in all of it’s beauty, sample different parts of the cultures there, and, the most important thing for me, meeting many locals and learning about the country and people from the experts.
There wasn’t much I can fault about the entire experience, I still well up with happy tears just reminiscing. But there was one part of the trip I didn’t like, and one that I regret in some ways being a part of, and that was our boat trip around Ha Long Bay.
An unexpected experience
This was a trip that was included as part of the package deal, and so of course we went along with where we were told to go.
Early hours of the morning we were packed onto a coach and headed out from our quaint little hotel in the busy city of Hanoi towards Ha Long Bay, where we were told we would spend the night on a boat.
Upon arrival we were herded off of the coach and packed onto little boats. The whole boat trip very much made us feel like herded animals in fact. At regular intervals we stopped off to go see various attractions including a stunning cave and an interesting pearl farm. We were waved over to join other groups that were following like cattle to where we were being told to go.
It was nice to see these things, and the people who worked on the boats and attractions were all so lovely, but it felt like a factory settings trip itinerary. I really didn’t enjoy being told to go here and there, and to pile into tight spaces with dozens to hundreds of people.
All I wanted was to sit on the deck and look at the stunning scenery, which I was not allowed to do very much of
However, when I did, there was a terrifying scene emerging that broke through what otherwise would have been a beautifully tranquil moment in this mysterious place.
You see, through the mist that rolled around the little islands that adorned this pretty place, were dozens and dozens of other boats, all throwing out metallic tasting black smoke into the air and toxic oil into the water.
It was in this moment that I suddenly felt like I had committed a dirty crime. I was inadvertently contributing to the pollution of one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever seen.
This was the moment when I started to look at my travelling habits, and how I really need to start travelling responsibly (or not at all).
But this is now being encouraged because of climate change!
‘Where shall I move to in order to escape the worst of the climate crisis?’
‘10 places to visit before they are under water.’
These are just a couple of recent articles I have seen popping up. No matter how I look at them, I can’t help but feel appalled at the audacity of these people.
My mind races back to that scene along Ha Long Bay with people flooding to see it’s beauty, not realizing that our actions are in fact slowly ruining it. To then think that people are being encouraged to go to such places before they disappear or are ruined beyond recognition is nothing but infuriating.
I think of how packed that place was already, and I dread to think of what it will become if thousands of tourists flood to see it before another natural beauty comes to an end.
But this will help these countries
There is an argument that actually these countries are relying more and more on the tourist industry to bring money in and help economies grow. In fact, a lot of locals we met on our journey through Vietnam told us that they wouldn’t be able to support their families without the tourist industry, which has been growing year by year.
I will always support local businesses and local people, but I can’t help but look at the bigger picture. If we encourage people to swarm to these places they will become trashed very quickly.
The very act of ‘seeing them before they disappear’ will be what largely contributes to the areas’ deterioration so much faster.
And then, while we have temporarily brought money into the country, once the tourist hot spots have been destroyed, there will be no reason for people to continue to visit, the economy will again decline, and the local people will be left to pick up the pieces of what remains, whilst still battling with increasingly harsh weather and conditions brought about by climate change.
We need to stop being so selfish and short sighted
This also goes for the people who are asking where they can move to escape the climate crisis, which really ticks me off to be honest. Firstly, there isn’t anywhere. Yes, some places are being more affected than others, but there isn’t anywhere that isn’t and won’t be affected. Either directly because of the extreme weather conditions, the poverty, famine and disease that follows, or indirectly by the millions of people who will inevitably need to flock to safer grounds for their own survival thus, increasing population growth in other areas which will then cause a ripple effect of changes and possibly friction.
We are in a WORLDWIDE crisis, it will hit everywhere. Fleeing from it won’t help, it will follow you. All you have done is to delay how much you feel the effects.
There is another way
We are in an urgent situation, one that isn’t being fully dealt with as the crisis it is by our Governments. We all have a right to be worried and want to protect ourselves and our families.
Some of this will come from how we adapt to the changes that are here and are coming. But in my opinion this should be done as communities. Our strength is in our ability to work together and support each other to make our areas better and more resilient.
The other bit however, is to not run to see everything before it disappears, or running from what is happening, but to prevent the need for all of this.
How about, instead of planning to flock to places to see them before they are ruined, we put that money into the countries’ economies to preserve these beautiful landmarks and to thrive as communities maintaining their culture.
How about, instead of fleeing to another country to hide from the crisis you can’t hide from, forgetting those who are badly affected at OUR actions, barely THEIRS, let’s grow a backbone and stand and fight.
Running to hide will not make things better. It will in fact probably contribute to some of the growing problems, completely ignoring other human lives, and doesn’t help protect the planet and future generations of humans, animals and plants that are counting on every action we take today.
The next chapter is still unwritten
Okay, real talk here. The Science reports and the predictions they forecast are terrifying. But they are just that, predictions, based on multiple possible scenarios.
It seems like people have just seen the worst that can happen or where we are currently heading and decided that the Apocalypse is happening in ten years and there is nothing we can do about it.
That is not what any reputable climate Scientist is saying from what I have seen. They have all said that we are heading for catastrophe, but only IF we don’t make the necessary changes. The reports state that we CAN stave off the worst of the effects and plan to slow down the rates of warming, which will help us to adapt as well as support life and the planet to heal. It will also ensure the futures of the children who are inheriting the mess we have created, leaving them with a better world than what they are currently facing.
So, what do you choose?
To flee and have to perhaps one day look a child in the face and tell them that you could have done something about it, but instead decided to run to make YOUR present more comfortable at the expense of THEIR future?
Or, will you fight? Support in raising our voices to push for more urgent actions from policy makers. Help preserve our natural world instead of destroy it. Support your local communities and push for our Governments to better support the countries most affected?
The choice is up to you.