I have been writing about the likelihood of the migration of millions of people, climate refugees, from coastal areas to the middle of the country when the oceans rise, calling this the Overground Railroad. I began thinking about this in response to a recent article in Friends Journal, in which Donald McCormick asks “why is there no vision for the future of Quakerism?”
My vision for the future of Quakerism is that Friends will lead the way in responding to our increasing environmental damage and the resulting chaos in several ways. One will be figuring out how to rapidly build communities for the new arrivals, basically pre-fab communities. These communities will need to be created with very simple structures built with local materials, such as straw bale houses, or berm houses. Kitchen and bathroom facilities will be in a common area, shared by all. Food would be grown in fields around the community. Cisterns and rain barrels would help with water supplies. Acquiring solar panels while they are still available would provide a source of electricity.
Friends from the San Diego area who are interested in this idea pointed out it would be best if those who will be migrating learned as much as possible about building the structures, raising food, etc, prior to moving inland.
The Facebook group, Overground Railroad, was created for discussion of these ideas.
The other way Friends can help is with spiritual leadership and support. It is clear that a major part of the response to our environmental crisis is the need to return to valuing relationships among people, and with Mother Earth. To reject the idea that natural resources can be owned by corporations and can be used without regard to the consequences to society and our environment. The examples of indigenous people rising up to protect the environmental all over the world is one we should honor and embrace. The powerful, nonviolent response at Standing Rock is an example. We need to support and become water and earth protectors ourselves. This is all based upon a spiritual vision, one that is a natural fit for Quakers. I urge Friends to engage with these efforts.
There is a great deal of inertia related to these ideas. Few people grasp the urgency of working on these things. An excellent explanation of how rapidly sea levels may rise, written by Kevin Loria was published yesterday in Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/antarctic-glacier-melting-could-warm-seas-and-cause-ice-shelf-collapse-2018-4
From the article:
- Warm waters are pooling underneath Antarctic glaciers in a way that’s causing glaciers to melt more rapidly and preventing the formation of cool water beneath Antarctica, according to a new study.
- This could slow ocean currents and potentially lead to a rapid sea-level rise event known as a pulse.
- Such an event could be devastating, causing sea levels to rise by more than 10 feet by the end of the century.