Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Climate Change is Personal

I am spending this week in Porto Velho, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rondônia, where I did research for my dissertation in 1996. At that time, and during subsequent research visits in 2000 and 2003, the problem of deforestation was framed primarily in terms of land-use change. As I return, the same problem is -- rightly -- viewed through the lens of climate change.

Even when traveling, I often listen to WBUR in Boston, and this afternoon it brought me this excellent reporting on a story I have been following very closely since the summer of 2016. Journalist Rebecca Hersher examines the costs of two catastrophic floods in Ellicott City -- July 30, 2016 and May 27, 2018 -- in terms of personal relationships within a close-knit community that has great personal significance for me.


As the reporting indicates, even though they may disagree on the most appropriate ways to respond to the flooding, town residents acknowledge that climate change makes further severe flooding inevitable. The story briefly and obliquely alludes to land-use change as an additional factor; I discussed this in some detail in some of my previous posts about these floods.

Flood Flash -- July 31, 2016 -- my initial post about the first of the two floods mentioned in today's reporting. We had enjoyed a visit to Ellicott City just a week before this flood. This post explains why it was unprecedented, even for a town with a history of memorable floods.

Flood Peak -- August 5, 2016 -- following up a week after the first of the severe floods. Of course, at that time we thought of it as the only one.
--------------------
Flooding: It's Not in the Cards -- June 4, 2018 -- a detailed explanation of the multiple reasons that expressions like "100-year flood" are no longer useful, if ever they were.

Houston, Too Close to New Orleans -- August 7, 2018 -- compares flood disasters in three great American cities, two big and one small.

Burying the Survivors -- September 1, 2018 -- in which I indicate which remedy I oppose.

Lagniappe

Two posts from well before these floods, merely reveling in the charm that is Ellicott City:

Haunting My Old Haunts -- July 12, 2012 -- is just what it sounds like. This is a great place for ghost stories.

Great Divide Beer -- June 11, 2009 -- a geographic tidbit at one of our favorite E.C. boates.

Photo by Geoffrey Scott Baker conveys the hold this town has on people.



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