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Original artwork by Meryl Quinn Kernell

The Earth is Flooding

Sanne Bergh
The Green Millennial

I had a dream of myself standing on the beach. The waves began pulling out toward the horizon, and I saw a wall of water in the distance. I walked towards it, squinting into the sun, I pointed, and I waited. A tidal wave barreled towards me. I froze. I woke up. 

In a time not long from now, some won’t be able to return home. It will be underwater. An uninhabitable desert. Their crops failed on tired soil. Some will move, and some will stay until they cannot. We are calling it climate migration, and global warming. How many scientific ways are there to say that the Earth is getting hotter? I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of listening to politicians promising solutions in high seats when we know their words are contradictory to the deals made with billionaires. 

I read that there are entire island countries sinking into the ocean because of rising sea levels and that there is little plan for those that live on them. The Earth is flooding, and we sit, we debate, we weep, we purchase Teslas and tweet. We blame each other for drinking out of disposable plastic cups, for wearing fast fashion, for not taking enough personal responsibility. We like to blame. 

We react to crises in phases. We’ve already passed denial, yet Greta was arrested. All sense of normalcy is behind us. The Earth is burning us out like a virus, like the flu. We’re slow to respond that we are in crisis. We are frozen. Climate migration will create more refugees than war.

I am slow to question. When countries sink, will borders evaporate? They say we will see the largest migration in human history in just a matter of a few years. Our society is built to sell, so I can only hope to sell this. 

The phase of deliberation: the most spectacular fact I know about Earth is that she’s resilient. 

I live in a temperate rainforest, a synergy beyond forest and ocean. An endless delight in mossy patches of lichen that cover old-growth evergreens, Trix yogurt sunset horizons, sprinkled with hundreds, no, thousands of treetops, muddy tide beaches that steal your boots. Every single shade of green and blue.

Salmon run through our town, and crowds gaze over the edges of walking bridges to watch them fight their way up fresh waters to spawn. At the end of last year, I saw dozens of bald eagles crowd over a body of water beside the road, feeding on the carcasses of salmon that had already run their course. 

I capture the beauty of where I live, but I won’t bring it home like we do with our subscription boxes, ordered through Instagram, ready-packaged for tomorrow. Waterfall flecks spackling my cheeks, a rainbow cresting, a fleeting memory of a lover with a calcium deposit tooth, a salmon hurling its body up the falls. I tuck it away because I need to.

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