The world is changing and Western New York is primed to become massively important. 

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Sea levels are rising. Global temperatures are climbing. Places along ocean coasts are becoming ever more dangerous to live next to. The southern and midwest United States continues to get hammered by hotter and extremely dangerous weather. Drought, wildfires, tornados, hurricanes… it’s not pretty. 

Then there’s Western New York and the Finger Lakes. 

The Stereotypes about WNY and the Fingerlakes

Western New York and the Finger Lakes Regions of New York State are usually lumped in with Upstate New York. That’s because most people only know New York City, and everything else is a moot point. Downstate and upstate. That’s it to most. Part of the good old Rust Belt of America. Often forgotten about and generally made fun of for various reasons. Some warranted, but mostly not. Usually, when people talk about these areas you hear of the Buffalo Bills losing 4 Super Bowls, a joke about Kodak, rust, old, and a whole bunch about snow and cold. Plus in the past many decades the economy hasn’t exactly been amazing there. 

It’s a lot of negative. That, though, could all very well change and soon. 

Why WNY and the Fingerlakes Have an Advantage

As the weather gets worse and the sea levels rise, this region of the United States offers a lot.

Yes, it snows there. A lot. Well, sort off. It used to snow a lot more truth be told. It still does and it gets really cold in the winter. The thing is they can shovel that out of the way and continue on, and they do. 

Western New York and the Finger Lakes are home to the cities of Buffalo and Rochester. It also has Niagara Falls, Canandaigua, Batavia, Geneva and not to be forgotten in the Southern Tier of these regions Jamestown, Ellicottville, Dunkirk, Watkins Glen, and Ithaca. 

2 of the great lakes are situated there: Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Then there are the MANY finger lakes, which look small compared to the great lakes but are in fact very large and extremely deep. 

There is an abundance of farmland, as well as elevated areas that have been used to create massive wind and solar farms.

While costs have gone up, housing is still massively cheaper compared to most places in the United States. Public Education is excellent (excluding the inner city programs which need help). Several highly rated and affordable colleges are located in this area. There are jobs in healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing along with the educational institutions to complement them. There are professional and minor league sports teams. Major concerts and venues. A well-documented modern and classic food scene that goes well beyond Wings, Beef on ‘Weck, and garbage plates. There is a renowned craft beer and wine scene with micro-breweries everywhere and gorgeous vineyards all along the many Finger Lakes.  

Buffalo in particular is an international border and international city. Its population has been growing as it welcomes refugees from across the globe who have settled in to revitalize neighborhoods and grow the economy. 

It's all about Fresh Water

This region has a lot to offer. None more valuable though than water. 

As the world changes, so will who has access to freshwater. The UN points this out:

Higher temperatures and more extreme, less predictable, weather conditions are projected to affect availability and distribution of rainfall, snowmelt, river flows and groundwater, and further deteriorate water quality. Low-income communities, who are already the most vulnerable to any threats to water supply are likely to be worst affected. - UNWater.Org

Western New York, along with the Finger Lakes which are perhaps even more important in this conversation, offers an IMMENSE amount of clean water. This will be something sought after and fought over in the years to come around the world. While that happens, this region will still be farming, will still be hydrated, and will be prospering long after others are underwater.

This isn’t bragging or hoping for such an outcome. It’s anything but, really. It’s a warning to not sleep on this region of the United States, and the Great Lakes in general. They are more important than most realize, and very well could be the key to our survival. 

Plus, there’s a reason people who come to this region from large cities often stay. Good people. Good food. Affordable living. Space. Get that while you can. 

 

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