Fierce storms and rising seas are causing existential angst for communities in Alaska, Arizona and other states on the front line of the climate crisis
The 2019 hurricane season, which has already seen parts of Texas flooded and the Bahamas devastated, is prompting existential angst for a unique US culture that fears being torn asunder by the climate crisis.
Fiercer storms and the encroaching seas are gnawing away at the Gullah Geechee nation, a distinct cultural group that historically dwelt on a 425-milestretch of coastline from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Today, the bulk of this community, descendants of African slaves and native Americans, resides only on the low-lying fringes of South Carolina and Georgia.
Hurricane Dorian, which lacerated the Caribbean in early September, uprooted trees and left debris strewn across historic Gullah Geechee sites, according to Queen Quet, the elected chieftess and head of state for the community, which declared its own nationhood in 2000. A destructive recent pattern, marked most severely by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, is taking hold.
The biggest concern is the massive number of [storms] that are arriving on our coast annually, said Queen Quet, also known as Marquetta L Goodwine, who is also a computer scientist and historian. In the English-based creole language used by the Gullah Geechee, she is known as the head pun de boddee.