How does climate change influence where and how we live? I report from communities throughout the United States uprooted by the impacts of a warming world. Taken together, these stories plot a map of America's Great Climate Migration, and chronicle our shifting notions of place, national identity, belonging, and home.
WHEN CLIMATE CHANGE COMES TO YOUR DOORSTEP
We are now at the dawn of America’s Great Climate Migration Era. For now, it is piecemeal, and moves are often temporary. But permanent relocations, by individuals and eventually whole communities, are increasingly becoming unavoidable.
ARE WE THINKING ABOUT CLIMATE MIGRATION ALL WRONG?
“I don’t think people realize that there are climate induced-relocations happening in the U.S. now. It’s not something in the future, it’s not something happening [only] in Tuvalu. It’s something that’s directly impacting communities now.”
MOVING AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUEL: THE ESCALATING PUSH FOR DRILLING SITE SETBACKS
Backed by an emerging academic consensus, political pressure to push oil and gas wells as far as a half-mile from homes and other buildings is peaking
across the country.
The mushrooming American West has long grappled with the twin concerns of rapid growth and dwindling water supply. Now, in the midst of an historic megadrought predicted to last many more years, the issue grows increasingly urgent.
WHEN GRASS STOPS GROWING
Americans cannot separate our most pressing crises—the criminalization of migrants, the policing of communities of color, the escalation of climate change—from our nation’s original sin. A review of Dina Gilio-Whitaker's As Long As Grass Grows.
ON MIDDLE AMERICA AND THE STORIES WE CHOOSE TO TELL
Esquire came under fire for putting a straight, white, Trump-supporting Wisconsin teenager on its cover. But that wasn't the real problem.
THE PEOPLE'S FOREST
The Menominee of Wisconsin, because of colonization, essentially live on an island of forest in a sea of Holstein-speckled farmland. Their forest, which they’ve sustainably harvested and lived off of for generations, is so dense it’s visible from space. But like many islands in the age of climate change, it’s in danger of disappearing.
Forty years ago, an epic flood forced a tiny Midwestern village to pick up and move. The relocation drew national attention, and would end up a model for communities across the country now relocating in the face of climate change.
CLIMATE CHANGE, ON THE GROUND
December 2018/January 2019
As global conversation churns around the problem of climate change, The Progressive asks, “So what are we actually doing about it?” In this issue, curated by associate editor Alexandra Tempus, reporters and experts—including writer Bill McKibben and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz—take us to communities around the country and the globe responding to the crisis and making concrete change.
TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE, RETREAT IS NECESSARY
Years after Hurricane Sandy, coastal communities and government agencies alike recognize that rising oceans mean relocating residents. But there is no consensus on how to do so.
MANY HOMES REBUILT AFTER SANDY ARE LIKELY HEADED BACK UNDERWATER
Why is New York City funneling millions into rebuilding areas its own scientists say will soon be flooded by rising seas?
'NOWHERE TO RUN,
NOWHERE TO HIDE'
Back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma have uprooted many within the United States as escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric further blurs the line between who said to belong in America and who does not.
LITTLE ABOUT ME
I grew up on the Wolf River in the northwoods of Wisconsin. But both my grandfathers were Iowa farm boys named Gene. An expansive painting of the Iowa prairie still sits atop the mantle in my Nana's living room in Madison. My dad, the editor our hometown newspaper, always made sure I knew when a Packer player or a character actor in some old movie was from Iowa. I made the state the subject of an elementary school project—cutting its shape from a block of foam and arranging a toy John Deere around miniature hay bales. Later, on assignment, I spanned the Midwestern countryside covering high school graduations and county fairs.
At the University of Wisconsin, I learned from pioneering environmental historian William Cronon that humankind was inextricable from nature and the places we made of it. These days, I explore the impacts of climate change through this deeply rooted sense of place. How does climate change—a culmination of our collective relationship with the land—influence where and how we live? As I've documented uprooted communities from Staten Island to Dubuque to Houston, I've seen a clear and stunning pattern emerge: America's Great Climate Migration. Now, I'm writing a book about it for St. Martin's Press.
I'm a 2019 Henrich Böll Foundation Transatlantic Media Fellow, a 2018 New Economy Coalition Climate Solutions Fellow, and a 2016-2017 CultureStrike Climate and Environmental Justice Literary Fellow. From 2017 to 2019, I was associate editor at The Progressive magazine. Previously, I was a researcher at outlets including Rolling Stone, The Intercept, and BuzzFeed, and served as lead researcher for Naomi Klein on her 2014 bestseller This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate.