Collected Hurricane Harvey Updates
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August 29, 2017
Sitting here at #JFK about to board a plane and head into another once in a 500 year storm—the third one in as many years, many thoughts are running through my mind. Much of my life the past 15 years has been dedicated to witnessing the changes wrought by the #anthropocene from Hurricanes #Sandy, #Katrinaand #Rita and the great #Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. But this time it feels a little different. I’m older now and my friends have begun having families and I have been so lucky to have these wonderful new people come into my life—and my niece and nephew are are just entering into their adolescence and young adult years. I now share a birthday with a beautiful little boy who began his life in displaced housing in Tohoku and not a day goes by when I haven’t thought about the people I met and now consider family in Northern #Japan.
Thinking about what I will see in Houston and all along the #GulfCoast, I am sure to see many of the same scenes that I’ve seen before: the flooded homes, the slow moving recovery, the tremendous hearts of people coming together and making their way through this immensely challenging time.
However, I am filming and photographing with an increased urgency thinking about the young lives that I’ve come to know over the past 15 years—lives that have been born into this increasingly volatile environment of our own making. To that end, the postings I will be making in the coming days will be an urgent plea for us to make changes in our lives and IMMEDIATELY advocate for cleaner and less polluting energy—the cause for these more intense storms. We must leave these children a better legacy than what we currently are doing.
For the cities, states and corporations that have remained committed to the #parisaccords (#parisagreement) we need to examine how to speed up our commitment and invest in these new and, in light of the millions impacted in Houston, life saving technologies. They are there, well within reach and so MUST be implemented without delay. We MUST actively push for these technologies—DEMAND that we have them, otherwise simply nothing will happen or it will happen much too late. Climate change is no less urgent than any invasion or war and we must make decisions with equal haste.
A second goal of mine on this trip is also to reach out to the red state of #Texasand see if we can begin to bridge some of the divide that separates this country. Being a lifelong #NewYorker, it might sound strange for me to say that every time I’ve been to Texas I’ve always come away with admiration for the people I met there. (The politicians are another matter.) So, to those of you in the state who are reading this I come with the desire reach out and that my small contribution through photographs and filmmaking can help bring us together and make this county and world a better place.
September 10, 2017 I woke up this morning thinking about the battered Gulf Coast and the massive restoration efforts that will be needed in the coming years.
Last year I worked on a project along Louisiana's coast that looked at the legacy of the BP oil spill. After they were fined for gross negligence one of the things BP had to help rebuild were the barrier islands off of the LA cost. Those islands, however, were already battered by hurricanes and rising sea levels—and they are essential for helping decrease the force of hurricanes as they approach the coast. (Their land mass acts as a kind of speed bump sapping the hurricane of the warm waters it uses as fuel.)
Sadly, such projects are now threatened by the 45th president and yet the communities that benefit from the barrier islands are key voting blocks of the president's.
These restoration projects are also some the the largest employers in the state and protect the land for hunters and preservationists alike. I hope that these projects will continue the be advocated for—both by us in other states, but especially by the people in Louisiana who might not be perceived as giving consideration to the environment, but know full well that unless the rising tide can be stemmed, their children and their communities will have no future on the land that some have called theirs for generations.