September 3, 2017 by Eric Kirkendall
Hurricane Harvey: Union of Concerned Scientists partners on the ground need help ASAP
Received on Friday from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
Since last week, we at the Union of Concerned Scientists have been working to provide reliable, science-based information about storm preparedness and flood risk to people in the path of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction.
We have worked and developed close relationships in this region, and we believe it’s our human duty to do what we can right now–not just for our partners, supporters, friends, and family in the Gulf Coast but for everyone affected.
For several years, UCS has worked hand in hand with an organization called Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S.). With them, we have analyzed the risks to communities living near industrial facilities and provided information in an accessible form to residents. We brought together science experts and Houston community members to raise awareness about environmental justice issues and provide greater scientific support to efforts to mitigate some of the very same risks people in Houston are facing now as flood waters breach chemical facilities and refineries that line the Gulf Coast.
T.E.J.A.S. is in it for the long haul. Recovery from this disaster will take years, and poor communities and communities of color will bear the greatest burden. So today I’m writing to encourage you to make a donation to support T.E.J.A.S. to help in the recovery efforts.
T.E.J.A.S. has always been clear about the connections between global warming, increased flooding, race, and poverty. Last year we collaborated on a report, Double Jeopardy in Houston(1), showing how people of color and people in poverty live closer to chemical facilities and face the greatest chemical risks. And now, over the past few days more than a million pounds of emissions from the oil refineries and chemical plants that border their communities have been released into the Houston air(2). Meanwhile, the city has shut down its chemical monitoring stations as floodwaters rise, leaving residents without a critical safeguard(3) and explosions at chemical facilities have already been reported(4).
We will continue to see these things happen around the world. Global warming’s consequences are well understood: rising ocean temperatures can cause more intense hurricanes(5), and higher sea levels cause devastating storm surges(6). Even as we speak, massive floods in South Asia have caused more than 1,000 deaths (7). People in many parts of the world are suffering, dying, or losing their homes and businesses because of the effects of global warming. Entire communities are being abandoned because of it.
Please help the people most impacted by Hurricane Harvey and our partner organization in Houston with a donation today. If you are interested in helping other hard hit, under-resourced groups, you can find a list of small scale organizations here.
Thank you for your generosity during this catastrophe. UCS will continue to support our partners engaged in recovery efforts and to ensure that people on the ground have access to the scientific information they need to handle this crisis.
Kathleen Rest, PhD, MPA
P.S. Feel free pass along these resources:
- As Arkema plant burns, six things we know about petrochemical risks in the wake of Harvey.
- What’s the connection between climate change and Hurricane Harvey?
- Flooding from storms can place people at risk of drowning, contaminate water, cause sewage systems to overflow, and create mold–what you need to know.
- Central Gulf Coast’s electric grid is exposed to inundation from such a storm.
science-and-democracy/ connecting-scientists-and- communities/double-jeopardy
rundown/exxonmobil-texas- refineries-damaged-hurricane- harvey-release-thousands- pounds-pollutants-air
warming/science_and_impacts/ impacts/hurricanes-and- climate-change.html
world/2017/aug/30/mumbai- paralysed-by-floods-as-india- and-region-hit-by-worst- monsoon-rains-in-years