Where the Money Flows

For the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, community experts share their concerns about where federal funding is going.

Where the Money Flows
Photograph by Gleeson Paulino / Instagram

LISTENING: to a leaf blower grumble
FEELING: oh so very sleepy
SEEING: brown leaves roll down the street

In New York, the temperature is starting to cool. It's nearly 80°F (27°C), and what a relief. The summer is coming to an end, yet I can't help but wonder if the end of summer as we know it is slowly approaching, too. For me, summer has always signaled the start of a rest period: lying on sandy beach towels, lazying around on the couch with my niece and nephew, and living my best life on a dancefloor. (Dancing is incredibly invigorating!)

This year, however, I'm feeling comforted by the leaves that are browning and falling from the trees. Summer has been a season of stress. I can't even count the number of nights I awoke in terror because of a lightning storm that broke out in the middle of my sleep. I'd lie in bed wondering if the rain would be enough to flood my new car or if a tornado would sprout from the clouds, tearing apart everything in sight.

The thoughts would be enough to keep my eyes wide open until the sun rose.

Unfortunately, not even the end of summer can truly calm my spirit. Hurricane season is heating up, and my heart is with those who sit on the frontlines of regions most impacted: the U.S. South and the Caribbean.

The possibility of their safe future will depend heavily on the money they're able to access to improve their infrastructure and build resiliency into their very fabric. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has promised to allocate a significant portion of funds to them — but will it in actuality? The possibilities of what can happen with such dollars are immense. As are the possibilities if money never reaches them.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and this week, I want to talk about the anniversary of the IRA's passing.

The landmark climate bill signed by President Joe Biden promised billions of dollars of federal funding to those most impacted historically by environmental burdens. However, a year after the bill was codified into law, many community-based groups that know best the needs of their constituents have struggled to navigate the bureaucratic process.

I wrote about this in a story for the Guardian this week.

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