The Intercept has Naomi Klein’s article Harvey Didn’t Come Out of the Blue. Now is the Time to Talk About Climate Change.
Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters — even while they’re playing out in real time — isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines. In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.
Naomi Klein didn’t even mention that absence of any zoning laws in Houston exacerbated the flooding tremendously. There are no rules preventing developers from paving over wetlands that would have sopped up a lot of this water. I am not saying that zoning laws could have prevented Harvey, but I am saying that it could have lessened the damage. Or do we now think that lessening the damage is not a proper function of government?
To back up my comment about zoning, you have to read the Green News Update article Hell and High Water Predicted Houston Disaster.
First, it’s important to know that Houston – the fourth largest city in the U.S. –has no zoning. Yes, that’s right. Developers have a basically free hand in acquiring sites and installing subdivisions or commercial development in the burgeoning Houston region. There are virtually no development regulations, and developers often sue successfully to get their way!
Houston’s lack of zoning laws has been notorious since I lived in Dallas in 1969. We knew back then that this lack of zoning would come back to bite them someday. We just didn’t know how.