Today we, along with our partners at Virginia Organizing and Virginia Sierra Club, are inviting you to check out and join the “Flood of Voices,” a new website dedicated to the stories of coastal Virginians being impacted by rising tides and flooding, especially those whose voices are not normally heard.
The Flood of Voices project began in March, when Virginia Organizing brought the South Hampton Roads community together for a series of events to share and collect stories of flooding in low-income neighborhoods.
Everyone has a story, from Tuere Brown (above) who was stranded on a washed out road trying to take students home from a flooded school, to Peggy Stamoulis, who put herself in the path of flood waters because she needed a job. These voices are important, and tell the story of daily life in Hampton Roads.
We know personal stories are the most effective way to inspire action and build a strong movement against climate change. CCAN, Virginia Organizing and Virginia Sierra Club are using these stories to educate and organize across Virginia and build the support we need to win solutions for our families — like passing the Virginia Coastal Protection Act. The stories of our neighbors in Hampton Roads play a huge role in influencing our legislators and show that climate change isn’t a crisis for our grandchildren, it’s a crisis for us right now.
On August 3, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of its Clean Power Plan. The Plan will reduce carbon emissions that are fueling climate change and sea level rise while increasing development of wind, solar and efficiency.
The EPA rules leave it up to Virginia to decide how to cut fossil fuel pollution. Over the past year, CCAN activists like you have been building momentum behind a win-win solution: Passing the Virginia Coastal Protection Act to join the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. This bipartisan state legislation would cap carbon pollution in Virginia and raise up to $100 million annually to fund flooding protection measures in our hardest-hit neighborhoods.
In the U.S., the Hampton Roads region is second only to New Orleans as home to the most people at greatest risk from flooding caused by rising sea levels. Residents are already seeing the consequences – living on the front lines of climate impacts driven by fossil fuel industry pollution. Chronic flooding is forcing the raising of homes, roadways and naval infrastructure, and it’s only getting worse. Scientists predict that sea levels could rise by as much as seven feet within this century. In the event of a major storm, there is no effective plan to evacuate and shelter residents, even as warming ocean temperatures and longer hurricane seasons increase the risk of superstorms like Sandy.
We must act now to protect coastal Virginia from the impacts of climate change, and a “flood of voices” is rising up to demand change.