A state of emergency was declared in New York after the passage of Hurricane Ida. Images of the flooded city are multiplying, showing just how unprepared cities are for the ongoing climate upheavals.
Hurricane Ida, which hit the United States, led New York City to declare a state of emergency on September 2, 2021. Shock videos multiply, showing water engulfing sidewalks, seeping in in homes and the subway. Results, streets and buildings devastated. In a powerful imagery thread, journalist Brian Kahn shows how unadapted cities are to upcoming climate change. The lack of vegetation, the increasing concreteization make them spaces ultra-vulnerable to floods and drought. More vegetation would indeed stop the water and loose soil would absorb some of it, where concrete surfaces are swallowed up in record time. Indeed, as an article in The Conversation explains, any flood “comes from the fact that rain cannot penetrate the soil quickly enough. Instead, it drains quickly over the surface of the soil.”
Brian Kahn writes that “all this shows that our infrastructure is not at all prepared for the climate of the 21st century, and that no place is safe”. He points to the growing importance of solidarity in dealing with increasing climatic disasters.
How then to avoid running into the wall? Many activists warn of the need for a change in the model of society and cities, an adaptation of individual behavior and wide-ranging political action. Radical changes are needed to prevent further climate cataclysms, which spares no one and affects us all. Hurricane Ida shows that they are having very real consequences, even in our streets and our homes.