Sandy Anniversary: Climate Plans Need to Fortify Vulnerable Communities


Contact: Alyssa Ritterstein

These neighborhoods don’t need a plan for a rebound,” says GFA CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. “They need a plan for a rebirth.”

OAKLAND – One year ago, Superstorm Sandy struck the Atlantic Coast, taking more than 150 lives and leaving 600,000 homes destroyed or damaged. As we remember the storm, Green For All is calling on our leaders to invest in fortifying the communities most vulnerable to climate change disasters and pollution.

Statement of Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

As we remember those who lost their lives, homes and businesses to Hurricane Sandy, we’re called to build communities strong enough to withstand the extreme weather caused by climate change. It’s especially important for low-income Americans and communities of color that are especially vulnerable to disasters, severe weather, and pollution. Communities with the fewest resources…

The conversation around resilience calls for building communities that are designed to quickly “bounce back” from damage caused by extreme weather events. But for communities of color and poor Americans, the idea of bouncing back from a disaster doesn’t work. These neighborhoods don’t need a plan for a rebound; they need a plan for a rebirth.

If you’re struggling to feed your kids and keep a roof over your head disaster has struck long before the wind blows and the rain starts to fall.  The goal of returning to business-as-usual is simply not enough. Vulnerable communities don’t just need funds to rebuild homes they don’t own; they need long-term investment in the things that will fortify them, including public health, economic vitality, and social cohesion.

Smart investments in measures like green stormwater infrastructure could do just that, helping fortify vulnerable communities by creating millions of good jobs. As our leaders formulate their climate response plans, they should maximize our investments to bring true stability to communities on the edge.

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