But then there's Greenland.
BBC News, off-grid and National Geographic tell us that higher temperatures and retreating ice caps are opening up the island's “vast mineral rich wilderness” to exploration. From the off-grid article:
The belief in Greenland’s potential riches stems from the fact that the geology is identical to that found across the now ice-free north-west passage in Canada, which has led to large opencast mining in the Arctic region.
But Greenland has other potential riches too. Gold has been discovered and is already being mined, although so far at a loss, and there are deposits of other minerals such as zinc, that could be exploited. Oil giants are negotiating licences to explore blocks of the coastline covering thousands of square miles.
The melting glaciers themselves may even have some economic benefits, as a source of hydroelectricity. In fact, according to the BBC News article, “Greenland has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US company Alcoa to build a huge aluminium smelter using the country's plentiful water reserves.”
What all these mean, then, is that Greenland could achieve financial independence from Denmark, who each year gives the province about $600m, and perhaps full political independence. So while global warming could end a traditional way of life, particularly those of the Inuit in the north of the country, they may gain a new nation with a new (and very large) immigrant population of prospectors.
A newly revealed landscape for creating new cultural identities.
In any case, a few things:
1) A new landscape needs, of course, a new breed of landscape architects.
2) What if Greenland — realizing how strategically important it will be in an iceless-Arctic-Ocean and navigable-Northwest-Passage future — rents the Thule Air Base to the U.S. for a whopping $600m+ a year? What if instead of letting Halliburton or some other sinister oil company run rampant around its virgin territory, the U.S. military somehow becomes a sort of environmental steward? There will be some fascinating examples of greenwashing, obviously, but what subtopian landscapes will come about?
3) And this is worth asking again: What if Greenland was Africa's water fountain? How about Atlanta?