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Displaced by Climate Change — a new American reality for some

ew Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Haves and Have Nots

As Global Warming takes hold of the planet, changes are happening all over. But they already have been happening in places that are often hidden from view with majority of the general public in the United States of America.

Christopher Flavelle of Bloomberg highlights an ongoing interest of mine, the effects of Global img_5430Warming on vulnerable populations here in the United States. It shows that these effects are here and now, not in some far off future.

Storms and flooding are damaging or destroying a growing share of the nation’s 1.1 million public housing units. Those homes are getting replaced slowly or not at all, forcing the people who lived in them to leave their neighborhoods and often their cities.

This is an issue that HUD and public housing authorities across the country are going to have to face,” Harriet Tregoning, director of community planning and development for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, told me.

The disproportionate toll of climate change on public housing isn’t just bad luck. “A great deal of public housing is built on less-than-desirable pieces of land, whether it’s by a river, or by an ocean, or by a creek,” said Donald Cameron, president of the housing authority in Charleston, South Carolina. When cities built that housing, most of it between the 1930s and the 1950s, “they were looking for cheap land.”

Not just for environmentalists

What we are witnessing is a housing crisis. The system was already stressed, but with extreme weather events some people get displaced and can never rebuild or return home. Renters and people in lower income house are particularly vulnerable.

This is yet another reminder that climate change is not simply a scientific issue or something for traditional environmentalists to talk about and worry about. It is an issue that forces us to look at housing policy and the needs of people who are most affected in the USA and beyond

You can read more: Climate Change is Already Forcing Americans to Move


Author: Prescott Allen Hazeltine

Prescott grew up in the hills of western Massachusetts, and still feels most at home out in the wild. He went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with his undergraduate degree and has done post graduate studies at the University of Houston as well as the Gemological Institute in New York City. While hiking is a major passion, as is snowshoeing, he also love to read, research and learn, and can just as easily get lost in internet information as he can photographing the wilderness.

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