A Snake Story

Today I want to tell you a story about a snake. Well, to be more accurate at least two snakes. To be more honest the snakes just made me think about the main point of the article. In any event, it’s not the snake story you may well have expected.

I love my two book clubs. One is now meeting live and the other in a hybrid live/Zoom format. Everyone in both groups is fully vaccinated. Nerd that I am, to be perfectly honest those are usually my two favorite evenings of the month.

At the conclusion of a recent club meeting one of the ladies cautioned the live attendees to be mindful of copperheads. Two of her friends had recently been bitten while gardening. I related that I grew up in an area of the country that didn’t have poisonous snakes. Come to think of it I’m not sure I ever saw a live snake outside of a zoo until I was 50 years old. Having spent the last twenty plus years in Florida and North Carolina I have become aware of poisonous snakes.

Over the last several days the Northwest region of the country has shattered high temperatures records. (To use a baseball term, keep in mind we have not reached the dog days of August yet.) Despite right wing rhetoric to the contrary, (and even then, only in America), climate change is real and the earth is warming. One of the evitable outcomes of climate change will be (and it has already begun to a small degree) climate migration. In simple terms people will move because the land they live on will become uninhabitable or simply will not sustain their lifestyle (especially as it relates to agriculture).
If they get ahead of the “climate change curve” they will encounter new situations. (Like me and poisonous snakes.) That is no big deal and for the most part the individuals will adapt. My big concern is just how well the climate refugees will be accepted and absorbed. If history is any indication the answer is: not very well.

One of the major effects of climate change is sea level rise. The majority of major cities are coastal or on large rivers. They will be adversely impacted by sea level rise; in many cases to the point of being underwater and uninhabitable with the technology currently available. This will cause climate migration. Climate change is one of the drivers of migration of non-white into Europe. That is not going as smoothly as it needs to. (I’m being kind in the last sentence.) What happens when the scale of this phenomenon grows exponentially, seemingly overnight?

I don’t have the answer to that question and my crystal ball is broken. That may be a good thing because I’m not sure I want to see the future in this case. This much I can assure you; it will be a lot more complex than my checking the grass in the backyard for snakes when I take my dog out for potty time.

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