After a $14-billion Upgrade, New Orleans' Levees Are Sinking

Thomas Frank, writing in Scientific America:

The agency’s projection that the system will “no longer provide [required] risk reduction as early as 2023” illustrates the rapidly changing conditions being experienced both globally as sea levels rise faster than expected and locally as erosion wipes out protective barrier islands and marshlands in southeastern Louisiana.

A slow moving disaster in the making. Let’s hope the Army Corp. and the residents and decision-makers in all levels of government start addressing this now.

Here's How Paradise Ignored Warnings and Became a Deathtrap

More outstanding work by the Los Angeles Times, who has had some of the best Camp Fire reporting by any news organization. The LA Times Paige St. John, Joseph Serna, and Rong-Gong Lin II conclude

In truth, the destruction was utterly predictable, and the community's struggles to deal with the fire were the result of lessons forgotten and warnings ignored. The miracle of the tragedy, local officials now concede, is how many people escaped.

This is a brutally frank assessment of the socianatural origins of the Camp Fire, and how policy and human decisions factored into creating the highly vulnerable conditions. File this story in the “there is no such things as a natural disaster” bin.

Left to Louisiana's tides, a village fights for time

Stunning and informative piece in the NY Times on Louisiana's disappearing coastline, and its causes and consequences. 

Jean Lafitte may be just a pinprick on the map, but it is also a harbinger of an uncertain future. As climate change contributes to rising sea levels, threatening to submerge land from Miami to Bangladesh, the question for Lafitte, as for many coastal areas across the globe, is less whether it will succumb than when — and to what degree scarce public resources should be invested in artificially extending its life.

Flint's Water Crisis Is A Blatant Example of Environmental Injustice

Sociologist Robert Bullard in an interview about the Flint water crisis:

In studying the history of environmental justice, you see over and over that it generally takes longer for poor communities to be heard when they make complaints. Government officials received complaints in April 2014 expressing that something was wrong with the water in Flint. If regulators at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had had to drink that water, or serve it to their children, their response would have been different.