Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tea Party/Flat Earth Crowd Deny Sea-Level Rise

A local example of the growing glorification of ignorance that is a hallmark of today's Republican Party can be witnessed close by in the form of the batshitery espoused by the Virginia Campaign for Liberty, a tea party affiliate with 7,000 members. These nutcases have their panties in a major wad because they refuse to accept the geological fact that much of the region is sinking. They also deny the existence of global warming.

The consequence is that they are opposing any and all efforts to plan ahead to deal with sea level rises that are happening whether these lunatics want to believe it or not. While these individuals remain in denial, the U. S. Navy is moving to overhaul its piers at the Norfolk Naval Base to deal with the water level rise and private individuals such at the boyfriend and I are looking at means to move our main living areas to higher levels in recognition that flooding seen over the last decade is going to be more common. The Washington Post looks at the attempts by the ignorance lovers of the Tea Party affiliate. Here are some highlights:

A well-organized and vocal group of residents has taken a keen interest in municipal preparations for sea-level rise caused by climate change, often shouting their opposition, sometimes while planners and politicians are talking.

The residents’ opposition has focused on a central point: They don’t think climate change is accelerated by human activity, as most climate scientists conclude. When planners proposed to rezone land for use as a dike against rising water, these residents, or “new activists,” as Lawrence calls them, saw a trick to take their property.

“Environmentalists have always had an agenda to put nature above man,” said Donna Holt, leader of the Virginia Campaign for Liberty, a tea party affiliate with 7,000 members. “If they can find an end to their means, they don’t care how it happens. If they can do it under the guise of global warming and climate change, they will do it.”

Outside of greater New Orleans, Hampton Roads is at the biggest risk from sea-level rise of any area its size in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The water has risen so much that Naval Station Norfolk is replacing 14 piers at $60 million each to keep ship-repair facilities high and dry.

The area has historic geological issues. A meteor landed nearby 35 million years ago, creating the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater. And a downward-pressing glacial formation was created during the Ice Age. These ancient events are causing the land to sink, accounting for about one-third of the sea-level change, scientists say. This geology is lost in local meetings, where distrust of the local and federal governments is at center stage.

When planners redesignated property as a future flood zone, activists said officials were acting on a hoax. They argued in meetings and on Web sites that local planners are unwitting agents of Agenda 21, a United Nations environmental action plan adopted in 1992 that the activists see as a shadowy global conspiracy to grab land and redistribute wealth in the United States.

Tom DeWeese, president of the conservative American Policy Center, who wrote an essay opposing “smart growth” titled “Fight Agenda 21 or Lose Your Freedom.” The ultra-conservative John Birch Society cautions adherents through its Web site that the “Agenda 21 program may already be in your local community, through your home town or city’s membership in . . . Local Governments for Sustainability.”

Shereen Hughes, a former planning commissioner in James City County, worried that some officials are giving ground to fearmongers. The uprising against smart growth “is ridiculous” and “a conspiracy theory,” she said. But it’s effective. Planners aren’t saying this is wrong, Hughes said, because “most are afraid they won’t have a job if they’re too vocal about this issue.” Tea party members have political allies who “might stand up” against planners who complain, Hughes said.

One of the most serious threats to America is the growing refusal by the far right to accept scientific fact. The rest of the world - especially our economic competitors - are moving forward. Meanwhile the GOP and the Christianist/Tea Party base want to take the country back to the 19th century or earlier. America will fall from within if this threat is not countered.

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