Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17, 2106--Midcoast: Climate Refugees

A day before heading out, a friend from Maine called to "alert" us to "big changes."

Immediately, this made me anxious. One thing I love about Maine is that it doesn't change very much.

"In what way?" I asked not really wanting to hear what he had to say.

"The weather."

Puzzled, I asked, "You mean black fly season?"

"That never changes. No, I mean the climate."

I really didn't want to talk with him about this. Not for a few days anyway until we are settled in and calmed down. Then I'll be better prepared for his continuing concerns about climate change. It's another one of things that never changes in Maine--his going on and on about the climate.

I know, I know. But time in Maine is supposed to be relatively carefree for us. But, I know.

In spite of myself, with an edge, I asked, "So what is it now?"

"You know about the big forest fires up in Alberta?"

"Sure. But what does that have to do with . . . ?"

"Everything. If you look at the globe. I mean a map of the world in global form, not the flat projections, you'll see that there's a sub-arctic belt of forests that goes all the way from northern Europe and Russia through Canada and then arcs over the northern-most part of Maine."


"And that means that as things warm and dry all of these forests are in peril. They could ignite in a global conflagration."

"Now that's a happy picture."

"Have you noticed when you look on the Internet at the Intellicast website, the one I recommended you use when you're up here--I find it to be most accurate--that there have been a lot of weather alerts posted?"

"Yes, for windy conditions and some occasional coastal flooding warnings. When there's a nor'easter."

"There are the usual number of those but then this year for the first time in a long while there have been alerts about the danger of forest fires. When we have these it's more typically later in the summer, not after a winter of snowfall and melt."

"And this year it didn't snow that much. I noticed that."

"I'm not talking about changes in the weather but in the larger climate. That's what has me worried about what's going on in western Canada."

"I can see that." By then he had me fully engaged. Joining in, I said, "I recently read that if the global climate heats up by only four degrees there will be catastrophic consequences. Including, from the map I saw, to the coast of Maine. Hopefully I'll be long dead, but where our house is might become part of the flood plain. At the moment, though, we're right on the coast but because of water levels are not required to have flood insurance."

"At the moment. That says it all. And, I read," my friend continued, "that when this happens, there will be the first big wave of climate refugees. In the northern half of the Western Hemisphere, much of it to northern Canada where up to 100 million are anticipated. Now, the population of Canada is only 30 million."

"I read that too," I said.

"Which brings me back to Maine."


"Because we too should expect millions of refugees from the lower 48 states."

"Are you sensing that already?"

"Maybe a trickle. Young families from south of here who are relocating to farms just in from the coast. There was an article in the local paper about that. About who's moving here and for what reasons. Quite a few apparently for climate-change reasons."

"So what are you recommending?" I was finding this depressing and wanted to get back to packing up.

"Learn to grow beans, put in a few hundred gallons of water, get a gun, and make sure you have lots of ammo."

"That's it?"

"Well, you asked."

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home