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In Remembrance of Katrina, Why We Must Fight for Climate Justice


In Remembrance of Katrina, Why We Must Fight for Climate Justice

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

Do you remember where you were 10 years ago? For many of us, we were glued to the television. We watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina surged to a Category 5 hurricane as it raced across the Gulf of Mexico, wondering when it would touch U.S. ground and fearing the worst.

Hitting the Gulf coast on the early morning of Aug. 29, 2005, Katrina would soon prove to be one of the most catastrophic storms in American history, causing more than 1,800 deaths and $100 billion in damage.


Looking at America's role alone, I don't expect to see much change.Our leading contribution to climate change is our excessive use of privately owned motor vehicles, and we haven't even begun to legitimately address this. Massive amounts of soot and oil particles (the cause of climate change) are poured into the air every rush hour. Our middle class is virtually defined by their motor vehicles, and they have (for decades) fought every effort to invest in building a modern, Euro-level mass transportation system. We can begin to grasp how absurd Americans have become when we contrast the avoidance of discussing our transportation pollution with the nutty extremes of the anti-tobacco crowd. Regardless, because Big Oil has such a choke-hold on America, we will continue to "tinker around the edges" of catastrophic climate change without actually tackling the most critical factors.


From Kerry Emmanuel, an expert on the effect of climate change on hurricanes:

Adapting to the myriad changes expected over the next 100 years is such a horrendous prospect that otherwise intelligent people rebel against the idea even to the extent of denying the very existence of the risk.

This recalcitrance, coupled with rising sea levels, subsiding land and increased incidence of strong hurricanes, all but guarantees that New Orleans will have moved or have been abandoned by the next century.

The Real Lesson of Katrina: the Worst is Yet to Come