It’s not an illusion

It’s not an illusion, coastal lands are disappearing around the globe. It is a plain and simple fact. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) “the global mean sea level has risen by 8 inches since 1870. The rate of sea level rise is faster now than at any time in the past 2,000 years, and that rate has doubled in the past two decades.” Living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, a peninsula surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, makes the issue of rising sea levels of interest to me. We can see the land disappearing before our eyes, but we can’t agree on why — Is it a rise in sea levels due to climate change, erosion, or is it simply God’s will?
The article by Carolyn Beeler and Molly Peterson compares two communities facing the same problem, but each hold differing opinions on what is happening to their land. Both are desperate to find a way to preserve what they have left. Tangier, Virginia residents believe erosion from storms is to blame. Their island was once a single piece of land, but is now several smaller islands measuring just over 1 square mile. As a deeply religious community, they also believe that it must happening because it is God’s will. (Tangier was in the headlines during the last Presidential Election – President Trump called the Mayor to discuss the loss of land there.) The other town, Isle de Jean Charles on the Louisiana Gulf coast, once believed that erosion from storms and manmade forces was eating away at their land (their land now measures at just 2 percent of what it was when surveyed 60 years ago). Due to the rapid loss of their land residents now believe that climate change is real and has caused a rise in sea levels.