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The New Yorker Radio Hour

Praying for Tangier Island

Residents of Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, live through each hurricane season in fear of a major storm that would decimate their land. With its highest point only four feet above sea level, the island loses ground to erosion every year, and its residents may be among the first climate-change refugees of the United States. “I do believe in climate change,” Trina Moore, a schoolteacher, says. “But I believe in what it says: centimetres a year. We’re losing feet.” The New Yorker’s Carolynn Kormann and the Radio Hour’s Sara Nics travelled to the island, and spent time with James Eskridge, a commercial crabber and mayor of the town of Tangier, Virginia. A stalwart supporter of Donald Trump, Eskridge told the President of the residents’ desire for a seawall around the entire island. Based on his own observations, Eskridge disputes the entire scientific community that sea-level rise is a threat, but he sees that the danger is real: “If we were to get a hurricane to come in, it would wipe out the whole harbor here, and probably a good chunk of the island.”

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