CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For my 30 years of government service I was a manager and supervisor, 26 years of which were spent in West Virginia. One thing I came to understand, there are whiners and there are winners.
Whiners look back; winners look forward. Whiners fight change; winners figure out how to take advantage of change. Whiners make lists why we can't; winners make lists of how we can. Climate change is real! Even conservatives acknowledge this, now whining about why we should ignore it.
Results of climate change expected include adverse affects to ocean resources where water chemistry is already being observed. In West Virginia, warmer average temperatures resulting in more atmospheric moisture meaning higher average rainfall and a greater storm potential is likely. But, in a twist of fate, West Virginia is as well positioned as any state to take advantage of the affects of climate change. West Virginia is sitting in the middle of large population centers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina. West Virginia has a highway network that can move commerce to these population areas within one day. We have reasonably priced real estate, including that which the coal industry would love to see used in a meaningful way, sitting in the middle of a good work force.
Consider the federal research and development expertise in West Virginia. We are home to facilities like the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, the Department of Interior's Science Center in Leetown and the Department of Agriculture National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture. West Virginia has a good university system for research and development efforts in areas such as agriculture, aquaculture and engineering. The state is covered by digital hydrologic data including rain and stream gages as well as radar rainfall estimates. With our location, transportation system, work force and deep research and development potential, we must start thinking and acting like winners.
How would a winner think? They would ask how we can take advantage of global warming. Here are some of the visions they might see for West Virginia:
* With global warming stressing our oceans and the growing emphasis on healthier diets, how about making a big investment in aquaculture to serve our large neighboring populations? With warming temperature, the time is right to identify new agriculture opportunities.
* As the temperatures in and around cities rise, more people will be looking for an escape. With our water and outdoor resources within a one-day drive, let's develop a strategy to become an outdoor Mecca for fishing, mountain retreats, etcetera.