American geography professor Laurence Smith spent 15 months traveling the
Northern Rim and other parts of the world to find out what our future will look like. He visited remote
Arctic villages, lived on a Canadian icebreaker, interviewed lumberjacks, diamond miners, seamen,
and government officials, and even met his future wife in the Finnish Lapland along the way [COOL! and ROMANTIC!].
IN 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future is Smith’s comprehensive and balanced vision of our
future — and surprisingly, the news isn’t all bad. While he does not mention polar cities per se, and never talks about such a scenario, if you read between the lines it might occur to you that "polar cities" are part of his vision, too. Even he does not know it, yet!
I plan to interview Dr Smith on this blog to discuss:
1. Why does he think the Northern Rim (the United States, Canada, Iceland, Greenland (Denmark), Norway,
Sweden, Finland and Russia) will become a key region in the 21st century, a place that will
experience steeper climate changes, rising strategic value, and greater human activity than today. And he can imagine "polar cities" as part of the future scenarios?
2. In the geopolitical race for the Arctic Ocean, why does he think Russia has a special right to the North Pole. And will Russia build their own "polar city" settlements for survivors of climate chaos in future times?
3. Does you think, Larry, that California's thirsty desert cities will survive, but that its famously abundant agriculture may not and why, and what this means for the Lower 48 as mass migrations north to polar cities in Alaska and Canada get going in future times?
4. Why do you think there a surprising political rise of northern Aboriginal (capital A please!) peoples in North America but not
Europe and Asia?
5. What do you think, Lary, about some possible wild cards that can affect our future: polar cities (http://pcillu101.blogspot.com), AGW-caused climate chaos, abrupt climate change, rapid sea levels rise,
north-to-south water sales, and collapse of global economic integration.
THE WORLD IN 2050 offers long-term
thinking, original illustrations and maps, model simulations, and photographs — Smith’s account of his
personal experiences, and those of the people he meets, resonate throughout the book, making this an
extraordinarily human work of scientific investigation. Still, he has not addressed the issue of "polar cities" to house future survivors of climate chaos? Why not? Why is he blinded to this possibility? Fear? Denial? I will ask him.
-- Dan Bloom
Director, Polar Cities Project