In response to my recent posts concerning how we in the Midwest might deal with the massive inland migration of climate refugees, I received the following interesting response from Jane Peers.
As a member of the coastal Quakers, I wonder how we Friends, after we find each other, will respond to the non-Quakers who will be fleeing to the same areas. Will we be building high walls? Offering classes in how to emulate our solutions? Something in between?
And, as a coastal dweller, I wonder how well we can adapt as well as how genuinely welcome we might be. We will lack almost all of the skills the new life will require.
This article is very welcome and could provide the basis of new acquaintances across the mountains – before the emergency. Could we share some of our visions – or nightmares – even if they are only small pieces of some larger as-yet-unseen vision? For example, how to keep warm in winter – skins were an early solution; Raising cotton or sheep and hand-spinning yarn and then learning to weave it and form garments – all this is just one other aspect of this vision.
Thank you for taking the trouble to write out this well-considered wake-up call.
In response I wrote: Thank you Jane. I think it would be a great step forward to begin to build connections with coastal Quakers, completing the circle in a way. Figuring out what those on the coast grapple with, and how they make preparations for the journey would be another part of the way we can all help those who will become climate refugees. We would be building an ‘overground’ railroad.
I think this is a fascinating possibility. I hadn’t considered that connecting with coastal Friends would be an important step in the migration process. As Jane implies, those Friends could be learning needed skills BEFORE they start their journey. And as importantly, they could be teaching those skills to hundreds or thousands of others who would soon become climate refugees.
Such connections between those living on the coast and those in the Midwest could allow time for planning and preparation of the new communities. This could make the massive migration somewhat manageable, instead of the alternative of unexpected arrivals. A new dimension to building a peaceable kingdom.
What we’re already experiencing and likely to continue to experience for a long time: enormous loops in the Jet Stream driving Arctic climate southwards in one part of the country while another experiences weather from the tropics.
Water shortages are likely to remain a problem here [which might be mitigated by passive systems extracting water from what will probably be humid air. (Is Paul Klinkman following this?)]
But overall, an arrangement which connects communities in widely-spaced locations has clear advantages (as long as food can still be shipped between them. Depends on how well the railroad routes hold up?) So we might not be moving back East as much as trying to hang on wherever that turns out workable…
Thank you. But part of these changes in the Jet Stream is also significant warming of the arctic, with more glacial melting, and release of methane from permafrost, increasing air temperatures leading to more glacial melting and rising sea levels.
Yes, early this year one of those loops was cutting directly across the Arctic Circle above the pole, & was expected to raise the local temperature briefly over freezing (during its long Winter night, already!)
We’re undergoing an accelerating process that may well burp up a truly scary load of subsurface methane (or not), putting the skids under even more glaciers… We can only guess at how fast that rate of increase could/will climb. Things they’ve been estimating to happen in 100 years or so… won’t happen tomorrow, but could be quite soon.
There are coastal areas hereabouts very likely to go underwater, but we’ve got serious mountains in the vicinity. When one region (hard to predict which) is undergoing bad enough weather to blast the local harvest, others could undergo different conditions.
The combination of northward flow on the West Coast with eastward flow down the East Coast can be annoyingly stable, or it can shift abruptly without notice.
Rich folks are already buying themselves into gated bunker communities down in New Zealand, oh well. Our approach needs to be a little more widespread… and cooperation between us could make all the difference.