Rapidan Institute

Climate Change in the Rapidan Valley

Climate change predictions have been cussed and discussed since the 1970s. The latest report paints a fairly grim picture as it looks like a temperature increase of 4.6° Fahrenheit is inevitable in our lifetime. Like recalcitrant children, we balk at dire predictions that we can’t see with our own eyes. Climate doesn’t work that way, and humans, especially Americans, are particularly sensitive to being told to do something we don’t want to do. Climate change is like a baseball game where it’s easy to see the strikes and balls, hits, and home runs in front of us. But even the worst club in the league still hits home runs and still gets wins. That doesn’t change the fact that we’re losing in the league standings.  

The predictions for Central Virginia aren’t as dire as some other places. We won’t be permanently under water like the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We will likely see longer heat spells, more severe rainfall events, and a host of secondary effects. Pressure for housing by people fleeing the coast is likely. The drag on the national economy will affect everyone, as will international unrest and conflict in parts of the world less able to absorb the shock. Adapting agriculture will be difficult but not impossible, but only the producers willing to embrace change will be successful. Thankfully some technologies are coming online that will help, and the Rapidan Institute is hoping to introduce them to the community in the coming years. Certainly solar panels make sense, but there are a number of other technologies and practices that can reduce emissions and increase sequestration of carbon. Unfortunately, much of the problem is “baked in” as it takes 300 years for carbon to cycle out of the atmosphere. Restoring ecosystems, forests and soils and adopting renewable energy can help mitigate climate change. – Jeff Waldon

This blog provides information and commentary that may not represent the views of the Center’s Directors and Advisors