The “We are the World” Blogfest (#WATWB) is in its thirteenth month! This blogfest is a blog hop that takes place on the last Friday of every month. This event seeks to promote positive news, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Your cohosts for this month are: Shilpa Garg, Dan Antion, Simon Falk, Michelle Wallace, and Mary Giese. Please link to them in your WATWB posts and go say hi! Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up.
I have chosen this story, Louisiana Islanders Find a New Home Beyond the Water, by Nicky Milne. Isle de Jean Charles is a small strip of land in Southern Louisiana. In the 1950s it measured 11×5 miles. Since then it has lost 98% of its land. Its inhabitants are mostly descended from the Biloxi, Chitimacha, and Choctaw tribes who took refuge from white settlers on the island in the early 19th century.
What I think makes this story good for We Are the World is the community effort the inhabitants are making to resettle all the families on the island.
Chantel Comardelle, the Executive Secretary of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, won funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase land where the islanders can move. She says that the plan “blazes a trail for other groups who face the prospect of losing their land, both in the United States and other countries.”
“Right now, there’s very little positive in the form of relocation or resettlement of people,” she said. “We presented a different model of doing it – a community-designed, community-driven process.”
They are also working with a group called the Lowlander Center, a non-profit organization supporting lowland people and places through education, research and advocacy.
The inhabitants of Isle de Jean Charles are climate refugees right here in the United States. Climate change is no longer a “slow-moving disaster” happening somewhere else in the distant future. It is happening right here, right now.
Photo credit: Newlands Sugarcane farmland near Shriever, southeast Louisiana which has been purchased by Louisiana State for resettlement of the community of Isle De Jean Charles. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Chad Owen