Katrina’s lessons still not learned 5 years later

By Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO

Cross Posted from TheGrio.Com

Ms. Sadie is an African-American woman who was born and raised in Pointe a la Hache in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. When Hurricane Katrina struck five years ago she lost the only home she had ever known. Due to a series of administrative and procedural gaffes, Ms. Sadie is still living in the trailer assigned to her by FEMA after the storm. In April of this year when the Gulf oil disaster occurred, Ms. Sadie watched her entire community crumble under the devastating weight of economic and cultural loss.

Now as she looks out of the window of her trailer, she sees fishermen just meandering about because their place of work has been defiled and many weren't even afforded the chance to engage in the "vessels of opportunity" program. Ms. Sadie and her community embody the conundrum faced by coastal dwelling communities and beyond-- the interconnectedness of cause, effect, impact, and response to climate change.

Five years after Hurricane Katrina, we are still failing to absorb the lessons that Katrina and the multiple subsequent disasters should be teaching us. US over-dependence on fossil fuels is wreaking deadly short and long term destruction, and we've only seen the tip of the impact.