At the end of this month, Americans will mark a solemn anniversary: it will have been one year since Katrina wrecked the Gulf Coast and destroyed much of New Orleans. Other recent disasters have been far more deadly, and some of them continue to cause loss and suffering. But Katrina was special, if only because it brought home for Americans as never before the real implications of climate change and poverty.
There are a surprising amount of great work being done on the anniversary. There's Spike Lee's documentary, MoveOn's new oral history, a new poll showing only 16% of the victims have returned to normality, the Faces of Katrina show in Shreveport, and of course a myriad of people reporting from the reconstruction projects underway on the Gulf Coast, talking about what life is like in their community or just weighing in on the meaning of the tragedy.
The best coverage I've found, though, is Worldwatch's special issue on Katrina. It's packed with Worldchanging perspectives on Katrina, climate, race, poverty, politics and futurism.
This issue taught me more about Katrina and New Orleans (as seen from a sustainability perspective) than I knew I had to learn. The whole thing is excellent. One of the highlights is John Young's explanation of what we know about climate and rising sea levels (it's very serious: as many as 353 million people could be flooded out by the 2080s). Another is an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson (earlier WC post here). Michael Renner and Zoe Chafe's article about human security and sustainability is excellent.