I scrub a bit of mold from my kitchen sink drain this morning, thinking of my family in Fort Myers, Florida, my hometown. All the people and dogs are okay, thankfully.
My niece lives in my parents’ old house on a canal. The water world we enjoyed growing up: the canal and the nearby Caloosahatchee River, all turned deadly with the force of Hurricane Ian. The storm surge flooded the house with 2 feet of water.
While I tackle my mold with a tiny sponge, my 70-year-old sister and husband are dragging their daughter’s furniture and most of her belongings to the curb. The neighborhood streets are lined with tons of wet, moldy, used-to-be comfy things.
I know more about this flooding because it’s closer, and I am familiar with the places. I know less about the horrific tragedy that happened in Pakistan last month, flooding a third of the land and affecting one in every seven people in that country.
This is the face of climate change. Warmer water and air cause more intense hurricanes. Ian hit Florida within a hair’s breadth of a Category 5 hurricane. I used to think my activism against new fossil fuel infrastructure with 350 Santa Barbara was to protect my grandchildren. Now I can see it’s for us — now.