One of the best, if not the best, places to live and work.

By: Mike McConnell

As a career Intelligence Officer in the US Navy, I had the opportunity to live, work and serve all over the globe: Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe, the Persian Gulf in the Middle East and in the U.S.  In my travels, the only continent I did not visit was Antarctica. Born and raised in Upstate South Carolina and spending my leisure time as a youngster roaming the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina and the mountains of Upstate SC, I was always mindful of the comparisons between my birthplace and my global travels, the heat and jungles of Southeast Asia to the deserts of the Middle East.

When serving as the U.S. Director of Intelligence for President George W. Bush in 2008, the Democratically controlled Senate was pushing me to conduct an intelligence assessment of the impact of global warming. President Bush, being from the energy producing state of Texas, controlled by the Republicans, was not supportive of such a study.

Mindful of Congressional oversight (and control of my funding), I decided to ‘play Solomon’ telling the President while we were not predicting global warming and while we would not engage in the policy debates about what we should do about climate change, the U.S. Intelligence Community would conduct an assessment on the premise that “if United Nations studies are accurate, here is an assessment on the global impacts of climate change.” The result of our assessment, if United Nations studies are accurate, was tragic: drought, rising oceans, crop failures, mass migration, border wars, wildfires, and extreme weather.

Since, I have continued to think of my birthplace, the place of gentle mountains, cool forests and plentiful rainfall. The Appalachian Mountains run NE to SW from Maine to North Carolina turning west around Asheville. This geography, at elevations from 2,000 to 6,000 feet, offer plentiful rainfall from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico with a climate that is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the lower evaluations. This area, now known as the Carolina Crescent, is a delightful micro climate that enjoys the ‘first drink’ of fresh water from the plentiful rainfall and sustenance for the beautiful forests.

The bustling cities of Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC offer fine restaurants, cultural events, wineries & breweries, streams, rivers and lakes and growing economies to compliment the pleasant temperatures.  Friendly people, robust educational opportunities, and growing economies make the Carolina Crescent the perfect place to live and work.

After 50+ years of roaming the globe, I intend to spend the rest of my days enjoying this beautiful area, away from whatever may result from a changing climate. I have purchased a home on the NC/SC border at 3,200 feet looking down on beautiful Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee above the Jocassee Gorge. It is truly a beautiful, pleasant place to live and work away from the effects of any potential climate change.

Short Bio: Mike McConnell, born in Greenville, SC, graduate of Furman University, 30 year Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, former Director of NSA, former Director of National Intelligence, former Defense Contractor and currently serving as the Executive Director of Cyber Florida hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa promoting Cybersecurity education, research and outreach across the state and the nation.

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One of the Best Places to Live and Work

Former NSA Director and Vice Admiral Mike McConnell shares his decision to locate in Upstate of SC and Western North Carolina to mitigate the affects of climate change.

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