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Currently showing: Climate/natural disasters > Climate change

02 Sep 13 17:32

August 29th marked the eight year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and while reading the news coverage regarding the storm's anniversary, I came across an excellent blog post on the Huffington Post, which can be found at the bottom of this post. Apparently, some residents new to New Orleans (read: moved in after the storm) have been critical of those who experienced Hurricane Katrina for wallowing. The author's response: "I still don't feel once a year is too often to turn around and remember."

I empathize with the author. As someone who grew up at the Jersey Shore, and whose family has called Ocean Beach, NJ, a home for 50 years, October 29th now has a different meaning to me. October 29th will always be "X" number of years since Hurricane Sandy. The storm represented a paradigm shift for us. Houses will be rebuilt and most people will come back; having spent the whole summer down here, I know many people already have. However, the underlying culture will be different. Some residents will leave, for financial reasons, while others will leave because the stress of living in a coastal zone is too great, and as the human characters in an area change, so does the community.

To me, the preservation of the community and the preservation of home are among the most important reasons why we, as a society, must confront climate change immediately. We can put dollar values on our infrastructure and on our buildings. I myself know exactly how much our house is worth. However, community and culture is almost invaluable. I cannot begin to put a value on our home, because my memories are priceless and my personality was shaped here. We as a society can't afford to ignore climate change and its potential impacts, because in addition to losing buildings and infrastructure, we will lose communities, and these communities are so much more than a collection of buildings.

Hurricane Katrina Note From New Orleans: 8 Is Enough

So there we were with a new car, no pets and a cashed out 401K that was to be the only source of funding for the foreseeable future. After the levees failed post Hurricane Katrina, there was nothi...

Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Floods/storms, Resilience

Location: Ocean Beach, Lavallette, NJ

1 Comment

Jennifer Rodney - 3 Sep 2013, 10:09 a.m.

Megan, thank you for sharing these very personal reflections and adding your voice to the conversation. I think sharing stories like yours and keeping the memories of these events present can serve a very real purpose.

I well remember watching the coverage of Katrina on the news with horror (I had just moved to Switzerland earlier that year). Sandy struck closer to home. My family luckily were spared the extremes effects of the storm but some of the lower lying areas of my hometown in Connecticut were flooded and power restoration was a major issue.

I sincerely hope that these events are enough to bring about policy changes, pro-active urban planning and inspired actions to manage/combat climate change but I sometimes wonder if it will take EVERY person in America having a direct experience with such a catastrophe to truly realize that something has really got to change - and to take action.

In the mean time, keeping the dialogue going and helping those who have not been directly effected to understand the full impact of such events has got to count for something. Thanks again for sharing!

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