Commentary: Social inequality caused Hurricane Harvey disaster

Author: Ilan Kelman, Eco-business, Published on: 8 September 2017

"Don't blame climate change for the Hurricane Harvey disaster - blame society," 4 Sept 2017

Weather and climate don’t cause disasters – vulnerability does... This means that the widespread discussion as to whether the Hurricane Harvey disaster was caused by climate change or not becomes a dangerous distraction... A disaster involving a hurricane cannot happen unless people, infrastructure and communities are vulnerable to it. People become vulnerable if they end up lacking knowledge, wisdom, capabilities, social connections, support or finances to deal with a standard environmental event such as a hurricane... This can happen if lobbyists block tougher building codes, planning regulations, or enforcement procedures. Or if families can’t afford insurance or the cost of alternative accommodation if they evacuate...  People with disabilities rarely have their needs met when away from home. Fear of harassment or assault could stop others from entering a communal shelter. Legal or undocumented immigrants might not understand warnings and might fear the prospect of detention if they seek help... Blaming climate change, or even just the weather, for the hurricane disaster distracts from individuals’ and society’s responsibility for where we live, how we live and how we support people who cannot help themselves. This vulnerability, not nature and not climate change, causes hurricane disasters.limate change does not affect people’s vulnerabilities to the hurricane... 

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