Climate change has turned our farms into lakes.


Floodwaters in Henderson County, NC


For the past three or four years, I’ve been noticing drastic changes in our climate that can’t be explained by temporary freakish weather conditions or other passing factors.  These are enduring, permanent changes that have affected the climate in the mountainous regions of North Carolina (Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains)  and have actually raised us up a notch on the Plant Hardiness Growing Map so that plants that were once not viable here (due to it being too cold) can now be grown.    Soon I expect to start seeing palmetto trees!

Forgive the gallows humor, because it really is no joke.

In spite of occasional blasts of severe winter weather and single digit temperatures, for the most part, the past three or four winters have been extremely warm, some days so warm you can go without a jacket or sweater.  I remember Christmas Day of 2015 was in the seventies.   I’ve seen trees and flowers blooming as early as mid-February.   I may live in the south, but it’s not the tropics or even the deep south.   In normal years the winters have been consistently cold, though they don’t last very long, even here in the mountains, where it tends to be colder.


But even more noticeable than the higher temperatures and earlier springs (and later winters)is the rain.  While climate change has made some parts of the country, such as California and much of the west, extremely dry and prone to drought and devastating wildfires, other places are getting an excess of rain (and severe storms).  We are one of those places, and the rain often leads to flooding, something that until recently wasn’t that common here, or at least was confined to specific areas that everyone knew to avoid.  Now it seems to be everywhere, and is affecting small farms in this area the most drastically.  There’s an area of fairly flat land in Henderson County that I pass on most days.   This is a valley area which is often used as farmland or grazing land.    Now many of these farms and grazing areas seem to be almost permanently flooded, forming shallow lakes and ponds.   The water never gets a chance to evaporate sufficiently before the next rainstorm comes along and causes even more flooding.

The rivers also seem unusually high.   There are times certain roads have been closed off due to the rivers and streams overflowing their banks.

And the mud!  While it tends to get muddy here every late winter and early spring, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.   When you walk across the grass,  you feel the ground give way beneath you like a soggy sponge.   Trees have fallen because the ground is too soft to hold their roots in place.   And all my shoes are ruined.  This forested region is fast becoming very close to something resembling a wetland.

The speed of these changes is scary.  Climate change is real.  Anyone who tells you otherwise either isn’t paying attention or has bought into lies certain powerful politicians and CEOs are telling.

16 thoughts on “Climate change has turned our farms into lakes.

  1. Last year was the wettest on record here in Highlands. As little as ten years ago, the small lake near my home froze solid enough to drive on and the old timers talk of regularly ice skating there. I’ve seen almost no ice on that lake this winter, even when temperatures dropped into the teens and twenties for a few days at a time.The real point of climate change is that there will no “new normal” (stable climatic equilibrium) for a very, very long time, and until the temperature peaks (several hundred years) there will be rapid and accelerating change in weather, sea level, and, especially rainfall patterns. warmer air holds more moisture. Warmer ocean surfaces evaporate more water that will come back down somewhere. Farmers, world wide, will be among the most effected. Will rain come at the right time for the crops, or the wrong time? Will it be too little or too much? It is going to be more difficult to know from year to year.

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    • Climate change is caused by global warming, but of course that doesn’t mean consistently hotter weather everywhere. It means more extreme and dangerous weather (and very fast changes, such as rising sea levels that could inundate coastal cities). If the ice caps melt, we are REALLY fucked.

      If the Gulf Stream changes course, or disappears due to rising sea levels and polar ice caps melting, that could mean most of Europe is plunged into a deep freeze and becomes uninhabitable (there was a movie about this some years ago called “The Day After Tomorrow”, which addressed this).

      We are going to have all sorts of food shortages and even famines due to crop failure. And Trump and his cronies are stoking the fire and laughing as they do it.

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      • The safe prediction is that the ice caps will melt. A study of the temperature rise (5C) following the Chicxulub impact found that the world stayed that much warmer for 100,000 years. [] The natural carbon sequestering processes are that slow. There will be plenty of time for the ice to melt.

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  2. It’s the same up here in Western, NY. Winter is entirely changed. Spring, summer, fall, all changed. What hasn’t changed is how everyone acts about the seasons. They act like “climate change” is the trump administration of weather & in a few years, everything is going to go back to “normal”. There is no normal anymore.

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    • The reports have been very dire. A lot of people seem to be in denial. I suppose if there’s not much we can do except slow down the coming disaster, I can understand people not paying too much attention to the reports. But Trump and his buddies are thumbing their nose at reality and just doing whatever the hell they want, and don’t give a damn about our children’s future. It’s infuriating.


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