“Rather than bouncing back, places hit repeatedly by hurricanes, floods and wildfires are unraveling,” reports the New York Times.
“Residents and employers leave, the tax base shrinks and it becomes even harder to fund basic services.”That downward spiral now threatens low-income communities in the path this week of Hurricane Ida and those hit by the recent flooding in Tennessee — hamlets regularly pummeled by storms that are growing more frequent and destructive because of climate change. Their gradual collapse means more than just the loss of identity, history and community. The damage can haunt those who leave, since they often can’t sell their old homes at a price that allows them to buy something comparable in a safer place. And it threatens to disrupt neighboring towns and cities as the new arrivals push up demand for housing…
Adapting to climate change in the United States arguably comes down to a brutal decision: When to build back, and when to help move people away from threats that are only getting worse.
The first option is becoming more expensive and less effective as disasters mount. The second option is usually too painful to even consider.