Climate change fears prompt more Americans to join survival schools

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This kind of rhetoric may sound alarmist, but there are ominous clouds on the horizon.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has expect a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Some scientists even consider this a conservative estimate.

As temperatures rise, so do the repercussions.

Evacuated residents kiss near State Route 89 during the Dixie Fire in Greenville, Calif., July 24.David Odisho / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“What we are seeing through these impacts is what climate change is going to do: drought in the west, forest fires in the west, the heat wave we are experiencing, hurricanes turning to stronger and stronger and move differently, hurricane seasons get longer, ”said Jason Smerdon, professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

“All of these things have strong fingerprints on climate change. And that’s really the kind of thing we can expect more to move forward on, ”said Smerdon.

Travis Johnson, founder and senior survival skills instructor at Northwestern Survival School in Ione, Washington, does not need to imagine these future scenarios. He can feel it.

Taking a group of students into the mountains for advanced training last month, Johnson said they would be hit by the stench of wildfires plaguing other parts of Washington as they descended to base camp .

Johnson said he saw a 60% increase in registrations this year from previous years, and the 25-year veteran of the craft attributed the influx to climate change.

“This year it’s people you wouldn’t normally expect doing it because they’ve never been interested in the outdoors,” Johnson said. “We’re getting a lot more family groups, instead of just fathers and sons, because they want everyone in the group to have these preparation skills, whether it’s for urban areas.” [environments] or desert.

There is growing pessimism about the quality of life for the next generation. Among the students enrolled in Hobel’s Wilderness 1 class on the day of NBC News’ participation, there were three children under the age of 9.

Kavita Pawria-Sanchez, 44, a lawyer from Brooklyn, New York, watched her 7-year-old daughter, Sahira, become hypnotized as Hobel started a fire with embers from a stick rubbed on a plank of wood, using cedar bark fibers like tinder and twigs like kindling.


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