Climate change – what happened to the Isle of Oxney?

old_mapWhen I was a child, my maternal grandmother retired to Littlestone, on the Kent coast. The nearest town was New Romney, which used to be a thriving port not so very long ago. I recall seeing the metal rings that the ships used to tie up to on the harbour wall.

Not any more.

And what about the Isle of Oxney, just up the road? That is completely gone.

The ravages of climate change? Swamped by rising sea level?

Just the opposite, actually. The port of New Romney is now a mile or so from the sea. The Isle of Oxney is no longer surrounded by water at all, and even further from the sea. So it is no longer an island.

You can blame this on climate change if you like. But you’d be wrong. The reason New Romney is no longer a port is not because sea levels have been falling in the English Channel, but rather because the surrounding area of Romney Marsh has been rising. Just like other places in the world have been falling.

But not Alaska. The flopsies publish sad tales like this, on the assumption that Alaska is being inundated by rising sea levels:

“We have to relocate by choice, rather than being forced to by evacuation. By choice, we could still retain our identity, as a culture, as a community. But unless we’re willing to do it ourselves, it’s not going to happen.” – Nora Kuzuguk in Shishmaref. 

ELFox1nWkAUmMqTWhich could be tear-jerking, except that it’s not remotely true.

There are of course flopsies who acknowledge that Alaska is not being inundated by the sea. But they haven’t given up hope. They are still clinging on to their fixation on catastrophe:

sea levels near Alaska have been decreasing because the land beneath the state is rising. Despite this, the state could see rising water in the future, as sea levels will eventually rise faster than the land

Well, if they’re right, at least we might see the magnificent spectacle again of ships tying up at New Romney harbour.

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