When Hurricane Ian decimated the west coast of the Florida peninsula in late September 2022, virtually wiping out Ft. Meyers, the community called Babcock Ranch, to its immediate north, came through with hardly a scratch. How could that be? Apparently the community was designed for success – by former Green Bay Packer lineman, Syd Kitson of Kitson and Partners! It was meant to accommodate Florida’s climate and ecosystem, offering some forward-thinking features:
- indigenous plants and natural waterways for drainage
- built 25 to 30 feet above sea level to help mitigate flooding from storm surges
- sustainable water and sewage systems
- all electric and phone lines buried
Interviewed on 60 Minutes, Kitson said, “We are the first solar-powered town in America. We have a solar field that’s 150 megawatts.” The solar field “features a massive solar array of 700,000 panels, built by Florida Power and Light. Those panels withstood Ian’s brutal beating.
“There’s a lot of water, but you don’t see a single panel that’s been dislodged. And there was quite a bit of wind that came through here over the last few days,” Kitson reported. “Gusts of over 150, and it did not take a single panel out of here, which is really just remarkable.”
Babcock Ranch community was planned to be the first solar-powered city in the country, expecting to have the world’s largest solar power array when completed. Commercial buildings and homes were designed to be energy efficient and constructed to the standards of the Florida Green Building Coalition. A tech center with an emphasis on research and development for clean energy was a key feature at Babcock Ranch from the outset.
The message is clear: Instead of climate denial, Syd Kitson has capitalized on climate change in his development. Now, through proof of his success, he has the opportunity to maximize his growth on real estate development – a huge win for him and his home owners, whose equity increased nearly overnight due to his foresight in development. This is a prime example of a foresight strategy – out of the box early.
Learn more here: Babcock Branch Real Estate and “Babcock Ranch: Solar-powered “hurricane-proof” town takes direct hit from Hurricane Ian, never loses electricity”
Phil Hauck, Envision Board member
Remember World Futures Day, March 1, 2022? Vicki Loomes of TrendWatching spent a good bit of time helping us understand the most unfamiliar “metaverse.” Well, guess what: It’s here! It’s now at Horizon 1.5 and imminent.
Want proof? Check out this link from America’s Got Talent (September 13, 2022) for a demo by a group called “MetaPhysics.” Here’s how it works: Place a camera driven by physical-look AI software in front of a somewhat-look-alike person, and you will project Elvis Presley live on screen, singing “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog” – or even a song he never did sing. You can include Simon Cowell singing along with Elvis and Heidi and Sofia as backup singers!
Want a better explanation? The MetaPhysics team explained it here. Amazing!
Now, might it come to Green Bay soon? Probably not too soon, but it’s clearly in the sights of PMI Entertainment, which brings groups to the Resch Center and the Meyer Theater. PMI CEO Brendan Bruss wrote in a recent Horizons article that, as PMI seeks ideas from the marketplace, the industry or even PMI could create small concerts pairing a deceased singer with Abba, for example! Stay tuned; the metaverse is on its way.
Steve McCarthy, Executive Director, Envision
Lynn Gerlach, Communication Consultant, Envision
The United States is in the early stages of a great, decades-long transformation. Across the US, nearly half our entire population will likely experience a decline in the environment: prolonged droughts, increasing temperatures, more wildfires, increased flooding due to rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, pressures on agriculture, and species declines, to name a few. Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration — ProPublica
In the Greater Green Bay Area, however, the scenario might be substantially different. Current models suggest that Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region will experience a more moderate, possibly even positive impact, such as an extension of the growing season. Why? It’s largely about the water! Our proximity to the Great Lakes can moderate climate impact, and sustainable access to water will be key to maintaining population levels and quality of life. As all of humanity adapts to the changing climate – with differing levels of success – we might find that the Greater Green Bay area is physically positioned to adapt well, even thrive in the face of climate change. New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States | ProPublica
What does this mean for the future of Green Bay? There’s a good chance people currently living in increasingly distressed parts of the country, such as the desert southwest, will migrate to the Upper Midwest for a safer, more temperate climate and a stable life. With its abundant natural resources and committed community leaders, Green Bay’s star is on the rise. Envision Greater Green Bay and many of the growing number of local leaders trained in strategic foresight are watching now for signals about how climate migration will affect our growth plans.