SoCS: flood anniversary

Linda chose “where” as a prompt for this September 11th, assuming, perhaps correctly, that most posts would be about where we were when we found out about the 9/11 attacks in the US twenty years ago.

In Broome County NY where I live, besides the twenty year retrospectives of the 9/11 attacks, we are having the ten year retrospective of a record high flooding event on the Susquehanna River. The ground was still saturated from hurricane Irene when the remnants of tropical storm Lee dumped about ten inches of rain.

Where my house is is near a flood wall for a creek that runs into the Susquehanna. The creek came up fast with the river flooding a bit later as it collected all the run-off from the creeks as well as what was running off the hills and being dumped by storm drains.

The power was shut off in our neighborhood as the houses closer to the river started to flood. If we didn’t have a generator, our basement would have flooded when our sump pump lost electricity. One of my Memories on Facebook helpfully reminded me that two blocks from us houses had basements totally full of water and two blocks in the other direction the road was washed out and a gas main was broken. Three blocks away there was standing surface water. A big intersection of Main Street and the Parkway was underwater, too.

Most of our neighborhood had been evacuated the night the flooding began, but our little section was only under evacuation order for a few hours on the third day of the flood. We later discovered that the reason was that they were afraid of the flood wall being overtopped. Even though the creek itself had begun to recede, the flooding of the river had backed water up into the creekbed so that the water was within a foot of the top of the wall. (Just to clarify, this is an earthen/stone flood wall, not a concrete one.)

We have been lucky not to have had another severe flood like that one in the last ten years. The prior record-setting flood had been in 2006 and I fully expected we would have had another horrible flood by now.

Unfortunately, I know it is just a matter of time. Looking around the US, we have catastrophic fires in the West and flooding aftermath in Louisiana and the South, in Tennessee, and across a swath of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. There are fires in Siberia, floods in Germany and other areas in Europe, killer heat waves, and on and on. While the events themselves are natural, they have been made worse by human-caused climate change.

We have so much work to do to try to stabilize the climate and protect human, animal, plant, and marine life. And we are far behind in our efforts.

I’m upset because scientists and activists have been warning about this for decades. I myself have tried to amplify the message about climate change. It seems that people are finally listening but the amount of change of policy and behavior now will have to be huge to make a dent. Our family has tried hard to reduce our carbon footprint and to advocate for change but the world needs those in power to finally step up and lead. Governments and businesses need to put people and planet over profits. The money won’t be worth much if the planet becomes uninhabitable.
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This less-than-cheery post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday series. Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/09/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-11-2021/

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

14 thoughts on “SoCS: flood anniversary”

    1. Yes, although it’s only a matter of time before our luck runs out. I was just driving through one of the heavily neighborhoods this week and noticing how many lots are now greenspace because houses were not able to be rebuilt.

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        1. It’s a difficult situation, especially with established neighborhoods that have faced escalating threat over the years. With the flood insurance, people could take a buyout or do an elevated re-build. I can think of one case where a home had been re-built on stilts in after the 2006 flood but flooded again in 2011. It’s possible that a large share of current buildings on coasts and riverfronts may need to re-locate to higher ground.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. This is so scary for you and I also share your fears about the damage we have done with the mismanagement of our planet. Sadly those in power are deaf, dumb, stupid, blind, selfish, greedy and evil….. Sorry, I am praying for us all… And I am not overly religious 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem feels almost insurmountable now. It frustrates me to think we started talking about environmental issues (or at least I first noticed) back when I was in college in the early 90s. We had to push to have recycling collection stations around campus — but here we are with fires and floods and air pollution.

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    1. I’m a bit older than you, Laura, so I remember the environmental movement from my childhood years in the late ’60s to early ’70s, especially at the time of the oil embargo when there was a big push for energy efficiency and conservation. While some of us made that a permanent feature in our lives, most did not and here we are. While it’s true that we can’t undo all the current impacts, there is still time to rein in the worst projected impacts but it will take decisive and widespread action.

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  3. I remember the ecology movement that started in the 70s when I was in high school and we barely had an inkling of the dangers ahead. Thanks for making it clear: “Governments and businesses need to put people and planet over profits.”

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    1. What is particularly galling is that many businesses, especially fossil fuel companies, and some government agencies knew back in the ’70s about the dangers that greenhouse gases posed to our planet, climate, and health but they covered it up in order to continue making huge profits and gaining large government subsidies. I’m hoping that the US government and state governments will finally stop subsidizing fossil fuels and use that money for initiatives to help the environment and to help people and other species adapt to the changes that are already inevitable.

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