Death on the American Express
Rural America In Decline
Rural communities in America are in a dive bomb decline not only are people dealing with opioids in middle America, lack of blue collar jobs and deaths of despair (suicide and poisoning by suicide, alcohol and drugs) over 1000,000 deaths expected by Fall 2022).They also are faced with how climate change is forcing an exodus away from rural areas. By 2050, fewer than 13% of Americans are likely to live in rural areas based on current trends. Rural communities are highly dependent upon natural resources that are affected by climate change. These communities also face particular obstacles in responding to climate change that increase their vulnerability to its impacts.
Not only are rural “deaths of despair” disproportionately affecting white men who have not earned college degrees.These communities have to deal with anticipated domestic climate migration as storms and wildfires exacerbated by climate change make parts of the country unlivable. Lands that have been in families for generations are suddenly lost. We are already seeing the beginning of the coming storm while we have been focused on those at risk from sea level rise over the next 20 years. We have largely ignored those in our own country who will be driven away from regions of prolonged heat, drought, the loss of lakes and water resources, and the ever increasing threat of wildfires. Land may become less fertile; fewer reeds may be available for basketmaking; there may be less local fuelwood for cooking, the seemingly endless list goes on and on.
Most of these people are likely to move from rural communities into nearby cities, putting an increased burden on public services, affordable housing avenues and labor markets with livable wages. Furthermore as many coming from farm communities will be unskilled in many job markets and therefore in competition for service industry jobs currently held by urban lower-income residents.
A lot of the rural newcomers will be bringing other issues into the cities. Case in point the Suburban areas of Boston imported all their opioid and fentanyl addicts into the city proper around the area of Boston city Hospital and during the winter months many of these homeless former suburbanites succumb to the elements. The court's decision not to incarcerate opioid addicts is one the biggest factor in their growing death tolls across the country. From 1963 to 2020, the U.S. rural population declined from 34% of the population to 17%.
Climate change has caused the decline of small farms and rural manufacturing jobs have moved to other countries, or been co-opted by corporations. Decreased population erasure of small businesses, reduced tax bases, non-existent public services, made rural areas less attractive for new residents and left fewer options for locals who want to stay. It is not likely that any real help will come for these communities unless they do it for themselves but that requires ignoring their political leaders who are paid by the fossil fuel industry to maintain the status quo.
Real answers resulting in the mitigation of climate change involve Using less fossil fuels ,Raising the price of carbon-based energy sources, switching to renewable energy and battery technology, utilizing electric vehicles for mobility and building net zero residences and planting crops that preserve the land like hemp, as well as forests. Our leaders have the knowledge but sadly, few have the will.