And then the Deluge

Climate Change

New Orleans       One of the mixed blessings of our internet age and the ubiquitousness of social media and email is the low barrier to communication.  On the downside, there’s the constant vigilance required to not be tricked by phishing, spam, and other dangerous weirdness.  On the upside, people who want to find you can find you easily.  Organizationally, it is interesting how many great ACORN affiliates have sprung from a Facebook or random email message trying to connect, which makes it worth scrolling through the garbage to find the gold.

That fades compared to the email traffic that comes with running a radio station.  Every day come pleas for airtime for new and aspiring musicians and bands with requests that verge on the existential.  After years of helpless deleting, I now forward them to some of our volunteer programmers in Uganda and the USA to assemble into weekly “new music” shows.  PR folks are next in volume.  They want their clients to be interviewed, authors to be booked, or folks to hijack your blog.  It only takes a minute to roll through and sort it out.  Having hit thousands of doors that were colder than ice, I empathize with all of them.

Every once in a while I find a pearl, like I did the other day.  A weird website called Lawnstarter sent me a list of the twenty US counties most susceptible to flooding.  Now that was interesting, especially given our work with the Anthropocene Alliance where so many of the frontline groups are often literally up to their ankles and knees in water.  Of course, Houston’s Harris County, one of the largest in the country, led the list.  Unsurprisingly, several Louisiana parishes were in the top-20, including St. Mary, St. Martin, and Livingston.  Florida had five counties, including Miami-Dade, on the list.  Hurricanes are a seasonal danger in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida and account for half of the 100 must vulnerable counties according to the FEMA data that was the backbone of this report.

Here’s what really caught my attention.  New Jersey counties had the #2 to #5 slots and six in the top twenty with Bergen, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, then Middlesex at #16, and Monmouth at #20, due to both coastal and riverine flooding.   Keep in mind, since the numbers come from FEMA, this correlates to the serious economic impacts water triggers in these areas.  I need to quickly add that Philadelphia is on the list at #11.  I’m sorry to say this, but it’s some comfort to see these Mid-Atlantic locations on this list, rather than just the Gulf Coast areas.  Their pockets are deeper, and sometimes their voices are louder.  Some may be OK if more of these red states wash away, but New Jersey and Pennsylvania are blue state keepers for many of the powers that be.

Climate change is real, so this is everywhere.  The Washington Post had a scary article about the impact of high tides on Carolina Beach, North Carolina, where water is now seven inches higher.  They posted cameras along the main street of this, 7000-person town, and water rolled in and out.  We all have to wonder how this situation could ever be sustainable, especially because we know it will get worse.

For all the talk about climate change, looking at these counties and really any coastal community, we need to admit, it’s “ready or not” time, and we’re not ready by a long shot.