Giving Compass' Take:
- Coastal cities in South Carolina demonstrate the need for urgent and immediate climate action to protect these communities as sea levels rise.
- What are the long-term impacts of flooding on smaller, rural communities? How can relief encompass the growing needs of coastal cities in this climate crisis?
- Learn why cities worldwide aren't adapting fast enough to climate change.
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Bordered by a freeway and flanked by former industrial sites, the coastal community of Rosemont in Charleston, South Carolina, is home to generations of Black families. But as climate change raises sea levels and surrounding natural protections from storms have been removed for infrastructure projects, flooding has become a regular problem for the community.
It’s not surprising that flooding is on the rise here—infrastructure in Rosemont has been neglected for decades. When storm drains and sidewalks were put in throughout the city of Charleston, Rosemont was bypassed. Decades of heavy industry left a legacy of pollution—two superfund cleanup sites lie within roughly half a mile of the community. A hurricane in 1989 destroyed the long dock that gave Rosemont residents access to the marsh and the water beyond—it still hasn’t been replaced. And despite Rosemont’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, a proposed $1.1 billion new Charleston seawall ends before the Rosemont community begins, leaving residents unprotected yet again.
Chris DeScherer, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), is concerned about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plans. “They are proposing to build this wall around the most affluent part of Charleston,” he says. “This is where the tourists come, the area with the highest market value. But the wall stops before Rosemont, and the Corps has not proposed other protections that would sufficiently protect the Rosemont community.”
Residents worry about their risk. Cora Connor has lived in Rosemont for 23 years, raising her three children here. She says that since an adjacent freeway and the surrounding trees were demolished, flood water has regularly inundated her yard, lapping at her lowest porch step. Her 90-year-old neighbor sometimes can’t leave the house due to the flooding surrounding it.
Read the full article about flooding coastal cities at Grist.