Shelter From the Climate Storm? Experts Say Vermont Needs To Prepare For ‘Climigration’

Floodwater rises in Marshfield during the nor'easter on March 13, 2018. Photo by Jesse Costa for WBUR

Floodwater rises in Marshfield, Mass. during the nor’easter on March 13, 2018. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

As the planet warms, many areas around the world may become uninhabitable. On the east coast of the United States, especially in population centers like Boston and New York, rising sea levels and increased coastal flooding are likely to force people to move inland to places that are higher, drier and relatively affordable – places like Vermont.

While there are no solid predictions for how many people will move to the Green Mountain State as a result of the climate emergency, or even when that migration could occur, some Vermonters are already thinking about climate migration and what the state needs to do to prepare.

Several experts say Vermont could learn from a current catastrophe-caused population influx.

The COVID pandemic fueled a real estate boom in Vermont, as those with the money to move and the ability to work remotely searched for safer places to live. The average price of housing rose 33% across the state from November 2019 to November 2020, according to a report from the Vermont Association of Realtors.

“When it comes to climate migration, the ‘How is it going to happen?’ is an interesting question, but also, ‘Where is it going to happen?’ is a very, very important question,” said Kate McCarthy, the sustainable communities program director with the Vermont Natural Resources Council, a statewide environmental group.

Read the rest of the story at VPR’s website.