Friday, September 16, 2005

Guest Post: Katrina was environmental and social blowback

This article by Eli Greig, published on Melbourne Indymedia on Hurricane Katrina, was promoted as a story feature on the front page. I was an editor at Melbourne Indymedia at the time, although the decision to promote would have been a collective one. Although it doesn't mention climate change or global warming, it raises important questions about disaster response and adaptation very relevant for today. Eli Greig was Social Justice & Environmental Projects Officer at Monash University Student Association. I am republishing it in the lead up to the 10th anniversary of Katrina. - John Englart 12 July 2015

What has happened and is happening in New Orleans poses critical questions to our assumptions about the great traditions of western thought and social progress.

The first and most important question that must be answered is, was the cause of the levies breaking simply a lack of investment in old, yet critical infrastructure or is it a fundamental question on the failure of a market economy and the subjugation of civil society to neo-classical economics?

If you believe that the levies broke through a mere lack of engineering and that the solution lies in more engineering, then you may as well not read on. Just ask yourself one question: What assumptions and what ideological fabric underpin the drastic reduction of funds from federal grants for levee maintenance, and their subsequent redirection to war making?

Why did the Bush administration divert $71.2 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corp of Engineers, a 44% cut? With the loss of Federal funds plans to upgrade pumps and fortify levees were mothballed.