Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula has been in the news lately, as an unfortunate “poster child” of ocean rise and climate change. The Quinault Nation has been the first community in the lower 48 that has been forced to move their homes due to what is clearly being attributed to ocean rise. (certainly there are very good reasons to say that Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina also represented climate change created superstorms, this is the first example I’ve seen of a 1:1 relationship).
While the Republican dominated Congress fiddles while their constituents burn, and supposed leaders like Ted Cruz are about to hold a Congressional hearing on climate change that will only include testimony from scientists who oppose the findings of the 97% of scientists that believe in climate change, we only have to look west to the coast, and our neighbors under siege from rising waters. It’s clear that Cruz is not representing his constituents, but the economic forces aligned against taking action. But back to the coast and a report from superb regional journalist Ashley Ahearn.
International leaders gathering in Paris to address global warming face increasing pressure to tackle the issue of “climate refugees.” Some island nations are already looking to move their people to higher ground, even purchasing land elsewhere in preparation. In the U.S. Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years. The Quinault Indian Nation, whose small village lies at the mouth of the Quinault River on the outer coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, now relies on a 2,000-foot-long sea wall to protect it from the encroaching Pacific Ocean. Ashley Ahearn report. (NPR)