Environmental Justice in the U.S.
Facing Hurricane Florence: differences of opportunities
By Marie Courtais, 2018-09-15
Hurricane Florence is expected along the eastern coastline of the United States from Georgia to Virginia, from Friday 14th Sept, until Tuesday 18th Sept, 2018. The New York Times went and interviewed some readers living in Florence's projected path (article here). The result of this item, an archive of testimony, reveals that each answer has a different factor of vulnerability in face of a natural hazard coming.
On Friday, environmental activist and famous author Naomi Klein tweeted NYTimes' article and commented:
"Climate chaos is a justice issue. Economic justice. Racial justice. Migrant justice. Gender justice. Justice for the disabled and elderly. Justice for prisoners. These disasters drag into the light exactly who is already being thrown away".
Naomi's tweet is to the purpose. Indeed, the most suffering from natural hazards are minorities, such as women, children and elderly people, person with disability, refugees and prisoners. Actually, what Naomi Klein points at is the reproduction of factors of vulnerability, from daily life social fabric to a situation of risk of disaster. In the academic landscape, Terry Cannon, in his article "Vulnerability analysis and the explanation of 'natural' disasters" (1994), attempts to explain that processes which make people more or less vulnerable are significantly similar to those which generate disparities of access to resources and power. From here, "The vulnerability concept is a means of 'translating' known everyday processes of the economic and social separation of people into a more specific identification of those who may be at risk in hazardous environments", as asserted by Cannon (1994: 17).
To sum up, Hurricane Florence and its impacts to come are another opportunity to reflect unequal distribution of chances in front of an environmental affectation such as a natural hazard.
Image: © National Hurricane Center