The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by our ancestors 400 years ago this month. The year before, in 1620, 102 men, women and children emigrated from England to land in the new world. Some, fleeing religious persecution, others, merely searching for better lives, migrated to this new world. For many, this Atlantic migration was an existential threat; 51 of the Mayflower’s 102 passengers died before this first Thanksgiving.

Nearer to home, since the time of the pilgrims, more than 500 islands in the Chesapeake Bay have disappeared because of sea level rise(SLR) and erosion. Tangier Island “is now the last remaining inhabited offshore island in Virginia’s bay waters.” The Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s, David Schulte, then states that the “town of Tangier has already been severely impacted by climate-change-induced SLR.” Schulte concludes that SLR will flood the island, and, “by 2053, the people of the Town of Tangier will complete their exodus.” For Tangier, climate change is an existential threat. Just like the Mayflower passengers were migrants, the residents of the town of Tangier will become migrants.

Tangier’s residents are likely Virginia’s first climate refugees, though both Louisiana and Alaska are already relocating residents. By the end of this century, the US is projected to have 13 million climate refuges from SLR alone. This number is based on conservative projections of only 1 meter of SLR. Recent projections expect twice this SLR. SLR from climate change is an existential threat for those 13 million Americans.

Climate change causes sea levels to rise both by warming the oceans and melting land ice. As water is heated, it expands, just like mercury expands in a thermometer as it warms. As Greenland, Antarctica, and terrestrial glaciers melt accelerates, their runoff pours into the oceans. This sea level rise is an existential threat.

James Holland, does say, “Climate change-An existential threat,” I think he does not mean it though, as he immediately says, this existential threat, “comes not from the climate.”

To the 13 million Americans who will be forced to migrate because of climate change induced SLR, climate change is an existential threat. To the Defense Department, “climate change is a profoundly destabilizing force,” in part, because it can lead to mass migration.

Last summer’s heat wave in the pacific northwest, which killed hundreds of people, is an existential threat. The present Colorado wild fires, in areas usually blanketed with snow, have already taken human life, remain an existential threat.

Climate change is an existential threat. More than 200 medical journals conclude that climate change is the greatest threat to public health.

Though climate change is an existential health threat, I am thankful we already many solutions. Renewables are often the cheapest power available and will only get cheaper. I am thankful, that before Paris in 2015, we were on track for 4C of warming. After Glasgow, we are on track for only 2.4C warming. I am thankful that so many are working on solutions to this existential threat.

Nick Snow is a resident of Boyce.

(26) comments

DavidSparkman

Climate change (hotter or colder) was before was called weather and it always changed. President Obama named Climate change an external threat and then bought a home next to the sea only feet about sea level. He is a REAL believer. Follow the money, it leads to college professors needing government grants.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Oh, peanut.... Climate has never been the same as weather. What a sad, little man you are.

hagansan

Here's the problem with the Sparkman position: It shows no philosophy. There's no morality. Here's another guy who is willing to stand up, in the face of all evidence-- evidence confirmed by thousands of true experts, evidence from all over the globe, including evidence from just up the road -- and lie, just lie. The ulterior motive is to support the confirmation bias of so many people who are simply incapable of accepting the truth, of recognizing the changes all around us as a tsunami of evidence and visible changes to the range and migration of numerous species of plants, birds, fish, and animals all over the world.

These people believe that there is no aftermath, no consequence, no justice to their immoral positions. They either don't care or can't see the danger to their own descendants and heirs, or to humanity as a whole. They are blind to the future where their own friends and family will some day cover their eyes in embarrasment and mummer: "How did they do this? How could they live with themselves?"

hagansan

Lots of comments!! Let’s look at some facts:

NOAA reports that 2019 was the second warmest year globally ever recorded. Nine of the ten warmest years have been since 2005. The warmest July ever recorded was this past July, another record after four straight years of global records. At this rate sometime before the next century Richmond, VA will have a climate resembling San Antonio, TX today.

Carbon Dioxide, the culprit greenhouse gas, has increased from a preindustrial 280 Parts Per Million to a current level just over 410 PPM: a 45% increase and the highest level in 800,00 years. And frozen methane, some 50 times as potent as CO2, lies dormant as millions of tons of methane clathrates in the polar sea beds, just waiting for a thaw.

It’s true the climate has always changed. But never since the Chicxulub asteroid has it changed with such speed and ferocity: an existential threat to thousands of species including, possibly, our own. The changes are most impressive in the polar regions of our planet, but not all of them. In February, 2017 the Martinsburg Airport recorded the warmest monthly temps ever for the month of February, a stunning 10 degrees warmer than the February averages for the preceding decade. That data is available online. It's a matter not only of federal records that the warmest years ever globally have been in the new century, but it is also evident right here in the Shenandoah Valley that there are unprecedented changes occurring clearly in the view of residents and people you know.

Fossil fuels are indeed 100% natural. So is smallpox, arsenic, and strychnine.

Every sentence of Snow's article is based on established fact. It's not arrogance to observe the reality of the universe which surrounds us and conclude that greenhouse gases are causing a fundamental and disturbing change to the ecology of our planet. But it truly is arrogance to look at the overwhelming evidence, not only in the science but in the everyday perception of life all around us, with the melting polar ice, the ocean acidification, the storms and forest fires and desertification, the coastal flooding and loss of lowlands and insist that it is not happening. To be a climate denier today is to be one of the few survivors to a cult that most rational people have long since abandoned. And unless we act now, the persistent environmental changes will continue long after the last climate contrarian is brought to his knees begging for salvation.

The climate change beast is out there. It can’t be reasoned with; it can’t be bargained with. It has no emotions; it doesn’t feel pain, pity, or remorse, and it simply will not stop-- EVER-- until we as a species find the collective will to act against it.

Doc Samson

@Nick Snow - Would honestly love to know your opinion on this presentation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zrejG-WI3U

hagansan

“love to know your opinion on this presentation”

And I’d love to give you mine! The impressive sounding Independent Institute is an ultra-libertarian propaganda ‘think’ tank serving as a forum for such outrageous charlatans as Fred Singer, the former UVA climatologist known for rejecting the scientific consensus on several issues, including climate change, the connection between UV exposure and melanoma rates, stratospheric ozone loss being caused by chloro-fluoro compounds, and the health risks of passive smoking. Singer was noted in the Oreskes book Merchants of Doubt, as one of three contrarian physicists who regularly injected themselves into the public debate about contentious scientific issues, positioning themselves as skeptics, their views gaining traction because the media gives them equal time out of a sense of fairness. He notably is on video explaining that compensation from the Tobacco industry did not represent a conflict of interest to him as a scientist: "They don't carry a note on a dollar bill saying 'This comes from the tobacco industry'"

Dr. Willie Soon, prominently featured in the video, is a Harvard/Smithsonian astrophysicist. From 2005 to 2015, the New York Times reported Soon had received over $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry, while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his work. It’s clear that the reputation and motives of these actors are opinions which conflict with the scientific consensus on climate change, where there is overwhelming consensus for anthropogenic global warming, and a decisive link between carbon dioxide concentration and global average temperatures. Conclusively and convincingly, the video and its primary cast are all resonating with the ulterior programs of propaganda factories such as the Heartland Institute and Heritage Foundation, while acting in the face of scientific accomplishments endorsed by thousands of accredited researchers and respected institutions. Soon’s work has been described by climatologist Gavin Schmidt as “complete trash”, and there is very little doubt that the entire confederacy of deniers and contrarians is at base a financially motivated response to the vested interests of the extractive industries.

Doc Samson

@haganchan - Thanks for NOT addressing any facts presented but, rather, spending significant effort to merely discredit through slander and mockery... [rolleyes] [thumbup] Your definition of what constitutes "science" is sad.

hagansan

We are known for the company we keep.

nds625

Thank you fro the video. My problem with the video is much of the data is cherry picked, which means choosing data to fit your bias. For example, why did John Christy, only use 800 of the 1200 USHCN weather stations when presenting high temperature records? Willie Soon ignores this fact when presenting data. When all weather stations is continental US are included, daily high temperature records are being set more frequently than record low temperatures. The advantage of presenting data to scientists rather than youtube, is that you have to explain why you excluded data you didn't like. Doc, I do recommend reading science papers rather than youtube if you are interested in this subject. I have included a reference here. https://www.pnas.org/content/113/49/13977

Mr Incredible

The Earths climate has been changing since it formed an atmosphere. And I'm thinking you don't buy a waterside mansion in Martha's Vineyard if the sea levels really are rising. Unless, of course, you truly can stop the rise of the oceans like obama promised back in 08.

DavidSparkman

We have seen the government tell us many things that are wrong. They were wrong to tell us that Freon does not affect the Ozone hole. They gave us water saving toilets that need to be flushed 3 times instead of once. And now they tell us that we can overcome the Universe and stop global warming when any record of the earth tells us it warms and cools regardless if it is man or dinosaurs that inhabit the planet.

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

That's so right Sparky! Because at one time, the government said it was ok to send children to work in factories and mines. They said dumping sewage into waterways was fine. They said leaded gas was great. They said "those people" can use different bathrooms than you. Amazing, it's almost like when things change, a good society changes along with it...

Oh, well, I'll give you a pass. The only active part of your brain is your amygdala.

RightSide

Climate change is normal and natural. If you progressives really care about it (which I don't believe. Think John Kerrey and his pollution.) then you would pressure the world's biggest polluter, China, instead of loving them so much for their system of government (communism). Climate change is just a control mechanism for you. A way to turn America into a socialist nation. You don't fool anybody.

Doc Samson

It's kind of a "given" that Pr0g's HAVE to break the guidelines/mandates while they are telling all the commoners to FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES AND MANDATES!!!

Trump Rally? Super spreader Event!

Blue City Riot? Gov't funded scientific consensus that those actually cured Covid!

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

That comment was such a clumsy tangle of right-wing talking points that it hurt to read. How did you get "SoCiAlIsM!!!" from this?

Spock Here

There is no excuse for denying this threat.

Doc Samson

Well, actually... there are quite a few but when bias confirmation is your constant companion... [rolleyes] [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

DavidSparkman

There is no need for you to hide behind a false name or to spout such ignorance.

Spock Here

There is really no need for you to support a traitor against our country, Sparks, but here we are....

Doc Samson

A traitor?! Yikes! Gosh! Golly gee willikers, Wally! Would love to see proof! Unless you're just throwing hoaxes around like confetti? In that case, carry on! [lol]

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

Sparky here was at the "Wild Protest" at the Capitol. Oh, I'm sorry, he was on a tour on January 6th. It's why the people in his bus got teargassed.

Catherine Giovannoni

Yes! If we all work together, we can save this lovely planet for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Solar and other renewables are so much better than burning carbon.

RightSide

Oil and coal are 100% natural. Nothing wrong with using them as fuel. People like you tout electric cars, which require recharging. What do you think generates the electric at the recharging stations? So stop making us laugh at your comedic posts that make no sense to anyone but you and your fellow progressives.

Doc Samson

@RightSide - Pr0g's don't have to think or prove anything. Once their science is "settled" they have the moral high ground! You know, kinda like how some religious types "know" they have the market cornered on interpreting religious texts and... oh, wait... Fauci is their Jimmy Swaggert. [ohmy] [lol]

TheOneAndOnlyNuri

No one cares what you think. It's clear that you don't.

Doc Samson

"No one cares what you think. It's clear that you don't."

Such a sassy little spud! [lol]

Welcome to the discussion.

Comments are reviewed by moderators so they may not immediately appear. We appreciate your patience.