Those who logged on to The Weather Channel’s website recently to decide how to dress for Beaufort County’s fluctuating temperatures might have noticed a striking declaration.
“THERE IS NO CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATE,” a headline strung across the Weather.com homepage read.
The statement leads into the website’s series called “United States of Climate Change,” examining the effect of climate change in each state. And the site led with South Carolina and Beaufort County.
The episode on South Carolina, first published in November, spotlights the threat of rising seas to the Gullah-Geechee culture on St. Helena Island and other sea islands along the East Coast.
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“The sea islands are the front line of climate change,” St. Helena resident Marquetta Goodwine said in the video. “We literally live on the water, and I often say to people the waterways are our bloodline, the land is our family.”
Goodwine, also known as Queen Quet and chieftess of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, is featured prominently, along with Penn Center director Rodell Lawrence, USC Beaufort professor and Penn Center volunteer Najmah Thomas and other St. Helena natives.
Gullah traditions of farming, fishing, language and music are maintained on St. Helena, Goodwine notes, with the culture already at risk due to ongoing development. Significant sea level rise would be devastating to place like St. Helena, the narrator says in clip.
“Our culture and this location, this island are one in the same,” Thomas said. “It’s not as though you can pick up this culture and put it in another place away from the islands and it would manifest in the same way. There’s an impossibility there.
To be Gullah-Geechee is to be on the sea islands.”
The Weather.com series launched last April, telling a story or investigating a climate issue for each state. Site editors dedicated the homepage to the project Thursday because of a lull in winter storms might otherwise take precedent, the website’s editor-in-chief Greg Gilderman told Axios.com.
On the series page is the headline “50 states, 50 stories. Climate change is already here.”
“To engage in a debate about the reality of climate change is to deny that there is a remarkably wide — and sincere — consensus among those who study the subject most intently,” the site says.