Seeking Shelter

During extreme weather, not everyone is given the same comfort and safety.

Seeking Shelter
Photograph by Sofia Terçarolli for Textile Exchange

LISTENING: to the silence
FEELING: better than I did yesterday
SEEING: my needy cat demand cuddles

There's something about impending doom that really brings people together, isn't there? Tuesday night, New York City saw an overnight storm that brought severe winds and flooding. When I looked out my balcony before bed, I saw what looked like waves on the water gathering on the street. The wind was creating ripples. It was nerve-wracking.

At home, we texted a friend who lives down the block to make sure he was safe ahead of the storm. I received a message from my father. I don't hear from him often. As I said, there's something about moments like these that remind us of the people we care about — even if we don't tell them we care often. Why is that?

I appreciate the silence outside my window now. I'm always scared when the wind howls and the rain pounds. I worry a tornado may be forming up above. The storm may be 2024's way of welcoming us into the new year. We don't know what's coming, but the outlook isn't great.

This year could possibly be one for the books.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I miss the days when we'd get snowstorms, instead.

The rain storm forced city officials to move hundreds of migrant families out of a shelter near the coast at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn where they were previously living in tents. The situation was far from positive before the storm: Advocates were already upset about the city placing this vulnerable group in this hazardous, flood-prone location to start with. Now, parents are upset as the city moved families into a nearby school where students had to stay home the next day to accommodate the migrants' needs.

None of this is right. Why were these newly arrived families placed in this half-assed shelter to start with? Students shouldn't have to miss school because of the city's lack of preparedness, either. However, why are parents upset with other parents who brought their children to this country in an attempt to build a better life? Why is the city failing so monumentally?

It all feels so wrong. We all deserve safety. We all deserve a quality education. That's what climate and environmental justice is all about: the interconnection of all these important areas. Everyone is worthy of access to all this. What will happen the next time a storm comes? Whose safety will be put first? Whose communities will be pitted against one another?

We all deserve better planning than this. 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

The above shitty storm system has killed at least five people across the eastern U.S.

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