Hurricane Sandy and Low Income Residents, USA


Description

In late October of 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the United States Atlantic coast devistating coastal communities. The storm had a disproportionate impact on low income and minority communities and exposed the vulnerabilities of these communities to climate change impacts even in a developed nation. In the aftermath of the storm many communities demanded new adaptation measures to protect the vulnerable from increased intensity and frequency of storms conneced to climate change. The storm also churned up long buried chemicals from industrial sites and lead to dangerous levels of several chemicals including phosphorus and arsenic in water sources as well as waste water overflow.

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Basic Data
NameHurricane Sandy and Low Income Residents, USA
CountryUnited States of America
ProvinceNew York and New Jersey
SiteMultiple cities
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific CommoditiesFair Housing Access
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn the United States millions of people lost power or were displaced from their homes. There are 149 confirmed deaths attributed to Hurricane Sandy. (Alter, Diane. 'Hurricane Sandy: Reporting One Year Later.' The Suit Magazine)
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date10/12/2012
Relevant government actorsFEMA, HUD, USEPA, Fish and Wildlife Services, White House, NOAA, Department of Homeland Security, and others.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNew York City Environmental Justice Alliance, 350JerseyShore, 350NYC, WE ACT, Mobilization for Climate Justice, Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement
OtherHomelessness
Outcome
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Migration/displacement
New legislation
Development of AlternativesRelocation of vulnerable residents, new requirements on building standards especially for public housing
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Hurricane Sandy brought new attention to the impacts of climate change on low income and minority residents. However, the impact on national discourse was much less dramatic and shoter lived than past extreme weather events such as Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Sandy did lead to some significant changes in federal adaptation and mitigation plans but the full implications of these changes for the EJ movement remain to be seen. Less momentum than early aftermath of the storm but still a vocal movement to draw attention to climate justice issues in the region.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Sandy Recovery Improvement Act
[click to view]

Links

What Hurricane Sandy Should Teach Us About Climate Justice
[click to view]

Hurricane Sandy: Reporting One Year Later Written by Diane E. Alter
[click to view]

Other CommentsThis is one of the top 40 influential environmental justice cases in the United States identified from a national survey of environmental activists, scholars and other leaders by graduate students at the University of Michigan
Meta Information
ContributorKaty Hintzen, [email protected], University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment
Last update07/05/2015
Comments