Sunday, March 1, 2009

Climate fears are attracting US 'ecomigrants' to New Zealand

In his recent Washington Post article titled Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across Globe  staff reporter Shankar Vedantam noted that  New Zealand's environmental credentials are no longer much of a secret.

Nearly half of all American skiilled migrants to New Zealand country cite its "climate or the clean, green environment to be a main reason" for moving there, according to a survey conducted by the the US Department of Labor.

By way of example Vendantam writes of Adam Fier, who recently so ld his home, got rid of his car and pulled his twin 6-year-old girls out of elementary school in Montgomery County. He and his wife packed the family 's belongings and moved to New Zealand - a place they had never visited or seen before, and where they have no family or professional connections. Among the top reasons: global warming.

Fier, 38, a computer security professional who used to work at NASA, said he thought hard about the risks of global climate change. He knew moving to a new country would be difficult but thought that the dangers of staying in the United States were worse. Several years ago, he drew up a list of countries and studied how they might fare over the next century. He examined their environmental policies, access to natural resources and whether they would be safe from conflict. He decided that New Zealand would offer a comparable quality of life, has an excellent environmental record and is isolated from global conflicts by large tracts of the Pacific Ocean. Its tropical, subtropical, temperate and arctic zones also offer a variety of “bioenvironments” as a hedge against the vagaries of climate change.

THOUGHTS:  We just don’t know how lucky we are to be living here in New Zealand. This current recession will break us out of our economic and environmental complacency. I'm hoping it will jump-start some powerful grass roots community building.

WORDS:  New Zealand, Immigration, Sustainability, Climate Change 

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