OP-ED: Post-Harvey Houston

There should be no suggestions to the contrary – we have (willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or not – it doesn’t really matter) created climate systems of massive power and energy and we have placed our cities in their paths. This was an act of Human. The faster we get a grip on this the faster we can face ourselves and our future.

Houston is our home. Houston is where the Expanded Environment journey began and we would be remiss if we didn’t devote a small section of our time and digital real estate to honor and support our fair city. Hurricane Harvey has tested the limits of Houston’s infrastructure, built environment, our character, and spirit. Tens of thousands have been displaced, likely many of them permanently. In the last five days we have witnessed harrowing water rescues, three-times-around-the-block supply lines, and more water than anyone can imagine.

Below, listed here are some of our selected links for information about the storm, notes of commendation and how you can support or get support if you’re in the area or feeling generous.

But, a few things though deserve some additional thought. Firstly, Houston will certainly recover from this tragedy. We’re a big city of big-hearted people who have seen adversity before. Our resilience is never in doubt. But our collective memory and critical thinking powers need to be just as confident. Certainly, Harvey will be spoken about for years to come. The stories we tell will shape how we remember and learn from this cataclysm.

Maybe we will tell stories about how Harvey served as a catalyst to spur more discussion and regulation of our sprawling metropolis. Maybe we will come to see value in our “vacant” or “empty” bayou prairies as not merely spaces waiting for a “highest and best use” but as spaces already full of good and vital storm-protecting ecological services. And finally perhaps we will come to see this tragedy as not an “act of nature” but almost purely of our own making. We are far past the point where we can claim to be victims to nature. Indeed, we are far past “nature.” There should be no suggestions to the contrary – we have (willingly or unwillingly, knowingly or not – it doesn’t really matter) created climate systems of massive power and energy and we have placed our cities in their paths. This was an act of Human. The faster we get a grip on this the faster we can face ourselves and our future.

-Ned Dodington

Houston, 8/30/17

Harvey and Climate Change @ FactCheck.org

Extreme Climate Event Attribution

 

 

How to support:

The Red Cross:  The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the Gulf Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by Tropical Storm Harvey.

The YMCA: If you would like to be a part of the YMCA’s relief efforts, text the word HOUSTON to 91999 to make a donation. Your support will help us provide the families and individuals who come to YMCA with their basic needs in this time of crisis.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation: After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and companies who want to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods.

AIA Houston: If you need help with temporary office space, office equipment or office furniture, please email your specific request to Harvey@AIAhouston.org. If you can offer temporary office space, office equipment or office furniture, please email us at Harvey@AIAHouston.org.

If you are a registered architect in Texas,

  • Have you had emergency training such as CAL-OES, or AIA Preparedness?  If so, how recently?
  • Are you FEMA certified?  If so, how recently?
  • If the answer is yes to the questions above, are you available to deploy to the impacted areas when needed?  If so, do you have housing contacts of your own?
  • If you have not received FEMA Disaster training or the AIA Preparedness training, would you be willing to participate in training on Friday, September 1 in Austin?

NPR : Additional resources and information

All images credit: Ned Dodington

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