Posted by: ecodestination | April 1, 2009

The Scilly Isles: Denial about impending doom

Cornwall, Scilly Isles

Cornwall, Scilly Isles

The forecast points to rising sea levels and frequent violent storms leading to flooding.

The Scilly Isles will be taken over by a meter-plus rise of sea water in this century. These isles are particularly vulnerable relative to the UK because they lay isolated, 28 mi. out in the Atlantic from the UK’s mainland.

The so-called Maldives of the Atlantic Ocean are surrounded by submerged islands already, a grim reminder of watery destruction to come. (These surrounding islands were invaded by rising sea levels within the past several centuries.) You can still find archaeological remains. What now constitute hilltops, though, used to stand much higher. How depressing. The Scilly Isles will be the next Tuvalu.

The plan now is mitigation. Personally, I think this shows denial and procrastination. What they should be working on are plans to move residents (11,000 households, folks) out onto higher land. They need to educate the Scilly Isles’ inhabitants about their options-what they can do with their savings, how they could move their belongings to their new homes, where they could establish themselves in the UK, and so on. I imagine that at least Britain, if not the whole UK, will offer these unfortunate people help.

“The bottom line is that we mustn’t bury our heads in the sand,” commented Andrew Davey, an expert on coastal matters for the National Trust.

Right: the sooner the better, so why aren’t they getting their asses in gear? It seems to me like they don’t want to freak people out-but they should! Maybe the very decision-makers are freaking out and they don’t even know it yet, hence the rampant denial and choice of mitigation over sensible action.

But really, if we’re ALL going to wait until the last minute to salvage refugees, we won’t be able to ask each other for help, because we’ll be too caught up helping those nearest us geographically, nationally, and so on. We’ll be donating money to campaigns aiding people in our own country, right? Desperate times lead to protecting your “own” and neglecting everyone else. In desperate times, we don’t think straight.

So why wait it out? Shit.



  1. You are half right and half wrong with what you are saying here.
    Yes we may have trouble with rising sea levels, but this is not presently happening at any rate to be concerned about.
    The sea level rise is this area is 0.3cm per decade.
    In my lifetime of 33 years there has been no significant rise in sea levels here and we are prepared well for big storms and such like.
    The East of England is at far higher risk than our islands, much of which are a great deal higher han any predicted 1 metre rise.
    Our islands have indeed been inundated in the past due to sea level rise but still remain habitable and will stay that way for many hundreds of years.
    A large part of our group of island are higher than 40 metres, so we are hardly going to be wiped off the map overnight.
    I think that there may well be evidence to suggest a sea level rise but I really don’t see the need to evacuate the islands any time soon.
    You should come and visit before any scaremongering takes place….

    • Hi George,

      I’m REALLY glad to hear that!!!

      The article I linked to is, then, I’m afraid, sensationalistic. I am happy to know that and very much appreciate your perspective!

      And I hope I do get to visit. It looks absolutely charming.

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