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Andrea is a writer and researcher based out of Chicago. Andrea has a Bachelor's degree in environmental science from The Ohio State University and a Master's in Environmental Planning and Management at National Taiwan University, where she specialized in climate adaptation and urbanization. She writes for TaiwaneseAmerican.org, and sends out a biweekly newsletter which includes articles on politics, environment, identity, and intersections of race, class, and gender (http://eepurl.com/bPv-F5).
This story focuses on Atlantic City as a case study on how climate change is impacting communities on the east coast of the US, but some populations are being left behind by federal protections. Atlantic City, a tourist town tucked between the ocean and a bay, is more and more susceptible to damaging floods from rising sea levels. Some say that in the next 30 years, a third of homes in the area will be underwater. "But the federal government has done little to protect...the millions of other working class and poor Americans who live near bays up and down the East Coast, from a worsening flooding crisis...With municipal budgets stretched thin, lower-income neighborhoods built on low-lying land are enduring some of the worst impacts." In many places, protections are being put up for wealthier residents, but poorer areas are left to face climate change without seawalls, bulkheads, or other structures.
Atlantic City is known for its casinos and other revelries, but as the economy has suffered, so has Atlantic City's working class people. Once employed by the tourism industry, many residents are facing long years of unemployment and rising seas, almost on their own. But meanwhile, "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending tens of millions of dollars building a seawall to reduce storm surge and flooding risks for Atlantic City’s downtown and its towering casinos, five of which have closed in the past four years. A few miles in the other direction, it’s preparing to spend tens of millions more on sand dunes to protect million-dollar oceanfront homes."
This article not only outlines the issues facing Atlantic City, but features an interactive infographic and a video interview of residents and other people in the community. As sea levels continue to rise and our economic and government systems stay the same, it will be residents like these working class people in Atlantic City that will bear the brunt of the impacts.