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Your Economic Security in an Era of Climate Change

*** At DemocracyFest This Saturday***

BEYOND KYOTO: Responding Together to Climate Change

How can we respond together to the possibility of future disasters like Hurricane Katrina that are partially due to the results of rapid climate change?   The panel will address the topic from perspectives of the environmental movement, community development, and insurance.  Panelists will also lead a discussion on the roles of government, business, and bottom-up community activism in managing new environmental risks, which may threaten the economic security of communities around the nation.

     *      John Garamendi, California State Insurance Commissioner
     *      Lori SaldaƱa, California State Assemblywoman (76th Assembly District, San Diego)
     *      Quintus Jett, Principal Investigator of the Gentilly Project in New Orleans, also moderating


Hi, I figured I'd start with the panel on climate change on DemocracyFest.   My being on the panel as a lot to do with my research project that focuses on Post-Katrina recovery in the neighborhoods of Gentilly, a community about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown and the French Quarter that doesn't get mentioned all that much.

Everything I've seen in New Orleans has me thinking a lot about the economic security of families following disasters.   If what's going on (or not going on) in New Orleans is an example of what we'll see after the next widescale disaster, we're in a lot of trouble.  Somehow it escapes most of the public dialogue all the thousands of working- and middle-class people that are suffering economically post-Katrina.  It's not just the poverty of those before Katrina, but also the people at risk of being pushed into poverty afterwards.

Then there's rapid global climate change.  Didn't think too deeply about this until after Katrina, and learning more about global warming, higher sea levels, and warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico that cause stronger hurricanes.  Next time there's major flooding and/or devastation due to a hurricane, how many hundreds of thousand of people could be displaced next time?   How many tens of thousands of homes will be destroyed?  And what can government, business, citizens do to prepare and later respond if such a thing happens?

Posted by Quintus Jett on July 10, 2006 at 08:07 PM | Permalink


Thanks Quintus for joining us - the recent flood/rain events in NY, PA and the like remind us daily of the growing toll of climate change/global warming on our overall security - beyond economic. One of our staff at UVM traveled down to Binghamton, NY to handle hazardous waste. Right - who was concerned about HW when their house was under 20 feet of water. Power was out for thousands for weeks, those without resources remain stranded. Our infrastruture is falling apart - our $$ resources are being drained by global war. Will we ever wake up in time?!

Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 8:14:35 PM

Hi Bob, thanks for having me.

There's a chance with global warming that I don't think we usually have with most environmental issues. Typically, environmental damage or harm to humans can be so slow, you can't really see it.

In the case of this climate change, it's happening very rapidly. There are growing physical manifestations of it. The issue then becomes what to do about it...

Posted by: Quintus | Jul 10, 2006 8:20:25 PM

Quintus - wish I could be involved with the panel discussion in SD. I guess I see several avenues available. First, emergency response has to be coordinated between federal/state/local groups. On paper we've been working on that for the past 5 years, but it's obvious that "tuft" issues still exist. When my colleague went to southern NY they worked on getting the old Beechnut candy factory up and running. Find anything wrong here? We need officials to recognize real needs - homes, lives, jobs as the immediate need.

Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 8:29:54 PM

Bob, I share your disappointment that officials aren't doing more to articulate these most basic of needs.

I'm come to the point that we need more "un-officials" involved in planning and response. These flooding events are so wide scale, I'm not convinced that we should just be leaving it to the professionals.

Posted by: Quintus | Jul 10, 2006 8:36:21 PM

So, maybe what we need is grassroots conservation corp volunteers/paid workers to be available to help out with these disasters. But doesn't that let the various gov't off the hook? An old friend of mine once said - wouldn't it be great if we had garage sales to fund wars!

Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 8:42:05 PM

When there is a real disaster or need, do we ask such questions?

I do think governments have to be and will be involved. But just because governments do it, does it necessarily mean evertything is fine?

My point is bureaucracies, whether they are governments or non-profits like the Red Cross, or good for some things and perhaps not others.

Posted by: Quintus | Jul 10, 2006 8:51:13 PM

Hi Quintus, Sorry I don't have time to read your post and comment. I'll read it later...like next week ;-)

Posted by: Jessica | Jul 10, 2006 8:54:06 PM

Hi Jessica, thanks for stopping by : )

Posted by: Quintus | Jul 10, 2006 8:55:57 PM

So, we're back to local and perhaps regional responses to our needs. Certainly that's that direction we seem to be going in New England and in particular Vermont. Our community meets our needs, including emergency response. I guess the question that arises is the cost. Seems like to replace the community infrastructure these days goes way beyond the resources of the local, even state resources. Can you really put the genni back into the bottle?

Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 8:57:43 PM

Thanks Quintus - here's hoping that your panel discussion is truly engaging - and please continue the great work that you're doing. Perhaps you might join us at Sunday mornings blog session. Later...

Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 9:01:53 PM

Bob, thanks!

On preparing/rebuilding community infrastructure, I can say from my own research that additonal resources (local and non-local) can be attracted for such a project if the details of the goals/progress/gaps would be made plain for the public to see.

I don't think the public can do it on its own. That's where I think a government, university or some other organization would come in.

We need an infrastructure to attract and build community infrasture, if that makes any sense : )

Sorry you won't be at DemFest. It will be fun.

Posted by: Quintus | Jul 10, 2006 9:07:58 PM

Thanks Quintus - talk again as the summer moves on.......


Posted by: Bob | Jul 10, 2006 9:10:12 PM

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