Letter: We should consider climate refugees

Graphic by Lori Deaton

House Bill 819 (SL 2012-201) may have inhibited the city’s new Comprehensive Plan from considering all the possible impacts of climate change but, as individuals, we are not subject to its restraints.

Twice in a hundred weeks now, we have watched caravans of climate refugees heading our way. Both proved to be short-lived and, given our surfeit of hotels and the thousands of short-term rentals offered through Airbnb and the like, refugees who made it this far should have had little trouble finding somewhere to sleep — although they would have had to deal with the same shortages and price-gouging as the rest of us.

However, once the Outer Banks have inevitably washed away, more and more of those refugees will be looking for a place to settle. How will we see them? Will we, like characters in some trashy dystopian fiction, block the interstate exits and demand that they keep moving? If not, will we treat them as human reflections of ourselves stripped of our homes, clothes and possessions? Or, ignoring Christ’s teachings, will we seek to profit from their misfortune — regarding them rather as prey?

— Geoff Kemmish


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7 thoughts on “Letter: We should consider climate refugees

  1. Lulz

    LOL is that why new york and chicago buffoons are moving here? To get away from the cold? And the high taxes.

  2. jason

    This is some crazy stuff right here. Is this really what occupies liberals time?

      • jason

        You should read the letter again. There is no science discussed. I guess you could somehow link climate change to the washing away of the Outer Banks, but the letter is talking about people as refugees. Take another look. And yes, I am a scientist/enginner.

        • luther blissett

          The letter-writer is no more representative of “liberals” than some regulars are representative conservatives.

          Still, there’s a sliver of a point: we know about the “halfbacks” who migrate between Florida and the mountains, and we’re familiar with coastal residents making the most of storm evacuations with an Asheville vacation, where the more affluent stay in hotels or AirBnBs and others crash on friends’ couches. Regions that are less vulnerable to catastrophic weather events will, over time, face the burden of accommodating people from regions that are more vulnerable, and not just for the odd weekend.

  3. Nelson

    Yes this is what people that have been through things like hurricanes think about. Hurricanes are getting stronger and more insidious. I have been through a bunch and feel climate change is creating monster storms. Yes I would like to not experience another one, and move somewhere less likely to get a strong storm. Since I am from your area would consider moving back

  4. Stan Hawkins

    Okay Geoff, I am a conservative and as I watch the weather, the tides, etc. change from time to time; let’s say you can convince me that “climate change” deserves some from of legislation that I believe would lower the financial standard of living for most of working class Americans. But, as I say, let’s say you have convinced me of that.

    Now, let’s also say that I believe that K-12 public education in NC and WNC needs the innovation and competition of the private sector as in statewide partially or wholly public funded private schools. A new initiative promoted in compromise to lead in education. This is needed to spur innovation in teaching, learning, civics, and environmental initiatives at a young age. This is also needed as a competitive force in holding accountable the degree of success in public funded education. In other words, which way works best?

    Just checking to see if there is a spirit of compromise or if this is just a one way street?

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