Audacious Water
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Audacious Water

US Coast Guard conducts Hurricane Ida post-storm overflights along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Credit: Coast Guard News/Flickr

The Lasting Impacts of Hurricane Ida

Scholar and activist Amy Lesen shares how the region’s most vulnerable communities view Ida as the most destructive in their lifetime

I’m starting to feel that my job is more about how we can all help each other figure out how to live here at the same time that we also are addressing the potential possibility of having to leave.

— Amy Lesen

Most of the communities I work with are working-class or poor and are hugely impacted by environmental change. And so it’s really about how to try to work with people who are experts on their own environment. They’re experts in their own lives, and have some pretty good ideas about how they want to do things and what they want to bring to fruition. Because they usually know a lot about what they need to do and are just needing help to try to actualize that, and it’s often a lot of science and a lot of information that they really want. And so those are the kinds of things that I can help them with.

Most of the communities I work with are working-class or poor and are hugely impacted by environmental change. And so it’s really about how to try to work with people who are experts on their own environment. They’re experts in their own lives, and have some pretty good ideas about how they want to do things and what they want to bring to fruition.

— Amy Lesen

John Sabo: This is one in a series of many disasters. I mean, you mentioned the oil spill, you mentioned Katrina before, there were two other cat. 4 or 5 storms right before Ida. Has the mentality changed or evolved at all such that it’s viewed as a normal, as a stress instead of a shock?

Understanding that we’re all facing the same problems and to see us as a group of people trying to solve this together rather than pointing fingers at people and where they shouldn’t live — I think that’s a message I really want people to hear.

— Amy Lesen

I’ve learned what’s important to people that might be the same or different from me. I’ve learned that sometimes being a friend is more important than being a collaborator.

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