My first impulse was, “This is the perfect time to sell this place and move.” It was the summer of 2018 and the Hollywood Riviera home we bought in 1993 for $360,000 was now worth four times that much in the typical irrational Southern California real estate market.
And I knew that this was when the smart money made their move – long before everyone else figured out that paradise at the beach was destined to be over and that you wouldn’t want to be just 25 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles as the climate collapses.
This was the sweet spot before other folks grokked that you’d want to be above the 40th line of latitude when the climate shit hit the fan in LA – and everywhere else that far south on the map.
This was the time that places just a half mile from the ocean were the safe escape from the heat of any location a mile inland where the sun burned away the May-June gloom that kept us cool along the coast under a blanket of late night and morning low cloudiness, known as the California Eddy condition, back when you could count on things like the Jet Stream.
This was the moment when prices for places you’d want to move to in Oregon, Washington State and around Vancouver British Columbia would still be within reach, might still be open to a climate refugee before they realized you were one and closed their borders to same.
With housing so scarce at the coast in LA County and rental prices so astronomical it made sense to rent our house out for a few years, maybe longer. The hotter inland Los Angeles got the more well off people would be willing to spend to be close to the water.
But where exactly to go?
And that’s when the idea for Climate Change Of Address was born. I would go Huell Howser-like, not in quest of “California Gold,” But in search of our great escape from the hell and high water headed our way in L.A., the escape so many would be thinking about.
I decided to embark on a great adventure: visiting towns and communities, big and small and exploring all the possibilities for our next great place. I’d visit the people, check out their culture, what they loved about where they lived, what great places they had to eat, to play, to be part of.
I’d evaluate their climate impacts risks and look for resilient places that wouldn’t suffer from an increase in temperatures which had enough local sources of food, water, healthcare, renewable energy, good local governments and local services.
Especially important would be whether a place was open to having me and perhaps others move there and become an accepted member of the community. I knew from experience not every place was.
It was the perfect plan until I shared it with Debra, my wife, and partner-in-crime for the past 39 years.
“Are you kidding me?” she asked with a look that said, “You better be.”
“I don’t want to move. I love it here. All my friends are here and the life I love is here. It took me all these years to get my gardens thriving. Why would I want to uproot everything now, years before it will get horrible here? You don’t know how long it will take before we’d be forced to go.”
As I explained about being ahead of the curve and preemptive and controlling our own destiny it was immediately apparent that none of those things were going to be winning arguments. But I tried anyway.
“We need to make a climate change of address move from here before the climate address of the Hollywood Riviera changes into a different one then we moved here for.”
“No,” she calmly said. “We need to prepare THIS address for the new climate headed our way.”
And suddenly I knew that Climate Change Of Address now had two distinct missions.