Virginia Controversies

Virginia Climate Fever

This week’s readings, which were excerpts from Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform Our Cities, Shorelines, and Forests (2014) by Steve Nash, talks about the climate change in Virginia. From the start of this reading, I loved Nash’s acerbic tone. He plainly lays the facts about climate change, how it is no longer a “potential disaster,” and is not afraid to call people out for being too caught up in the political system to see the bigger picture. To that end, Nash focuses on Virginia. Virginia has been steadily getting warmer since the Colonial Era. Thomas Jefferson recorded such changes, and it is now something the Weather Service monitors. Temperatures and precipitation rates have been changing to such an extent that it is becoming hard to predict them, because climate change has been happening over time for a very long time. However, abnormal temperatures during certain seasons were, well, normal due to Virginia’s geographical location. It’s the global temperature one must consider as well, because even a few degrees can offset the balance. Everything in Virginia is affected by these changes, including the Chesapeake Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, the various rivers, the rate of precipitation, drought, and more. Not only will if effect the physical locations, but also the ecosystems that live within. Already there are signs of crab and fish populations disappearing. Logging is becoming more common – I say this because I live in a very rural area entire tracts of land cleared in days. But are trees not vital to support life? This is the reality we live in. People take and destroy with little regard to the bigger picture, yet the world is slowly responding through the various signs of climate change.

This book was published in 2014. For those who have lived in Virginia for a long time, how has the temperature changed over the years? Consider the average temperature during the winter and summer, and please discuss any examples you may have.

Climate change is often considered a political issue that politicians appear to want nothing to do with. The United States pulling out of the Paris Accords under the Trump Administration didn’t help matters either. Why do you think politicians want to control the narrative of our planet’s wellbeing? What do they have to gain? What to they have to lose?

This reading harkens back to the Tidewater short documentary we watched last week about flooding in the Hampton Roads. There was a scene in that documentary of a political stating the navy should not be worried about climate change because they are meant to be training to protect the country. However, how are they supposed to train on the base if it comes to be permanently underwater? What is the logic in avoiding or ignoring something that is obviously making life difficult for people? Or is this just another “that’s the next generation’s problem” things that they hope to push off onto us?


Nash, Stephen. Virginia Climate Fever. University of Virginia Press, 2014.

One Comment

  • Sellers

    I sometimes think politicians are like stock traders or some CEOs–there is a short-term horizon that’s more significant to their prospects than long-term thinking. In government, that’s one of the arguments for career professionals/bureaucrats, right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *