Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Guardian contributor Megan Mayhew Bergman has written a series of columns about why she thinks Southerners don’t get the climate crisis.
What I learned writing about climate change and the US south for a year
I crisscrossed a region – my own – that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough.
Megan Mayhew Bergman
Wed 7 Aug 2019 20.00 AEST
I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.
I saw more of the south while reporting for this column than I ever saw in my 30 years of living there. My travel reinforced what I already knew: there is no one south. In 2019 it is multitudinous, diverse and still reckoning with its plantation economy and cruel social history. It has PhDs, evangelicals, Trump enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and activists. It’s this very tension that has often made the south the genesis of social movements; one hopes it might happen again, and soon.
What does a better and more inclusive conversation look like? Non-traditional environmentalists can be critical allies in addressing the culture of climate change denial below the Mason-Dixon Line, like hunters in Arkansas and evangelical Christians in places like St Simons, Georgia. But too often, the perspectives and interests of frontline communities are ignored, further exacerbating the environmental racism so pervasive in the south.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/07/climate-change-us-south-what-i-learned-writing-about-for-a-year
One theme which continues to shock me is how intolerant many allegedly inclusive green liberals are. If you disagree with them about climate change, they say all sorts of vile things about your views and your culture, even if they grew up in that culture as Megan did.