Home / U.S. / The feds are spending $ 48 million to move their town. But he does not want to go.

The feds are spending $ 48 million to move their town. But he does not want to go.

Land was purchased and studies are being conducted before the building starts and families move in during the next year or two.

But Chris Brunet does not want to go.

While looking along the strip of vanished land called Isle of Jean Charles, he says the multimillion-dollar project to create a new community for himself and his neighbors is not an opportunity to be captured, but a difficult decision to be made.

The island is the only home he has ever known.

His parents lived there. And yours. And yours.

"The stage and the stage to be raised as a child, and play outside and all this here, … (is) just a real good education," says Brunet.

The island is flat and open. The breezes stir the Spanish moss hanging from the old trees and the wind chimes. The weather here is marked by storms. At one point, houses were built on the ground, and then some were built on short docks. Then hurricanes Isidore and Lili came and the houses had to be placed on higher piles. By the time Gustav broke through, most of the houses had been raised.

The family photos of Chris Brunet show scenes of past lives on the Isle of Jean Charles, even when the houses were flooded.

But even this land, settled by Native Americans when they were forced to abandon their ancestral areas on the Trail of Tears almost two centuries ago, is disappearing.

Increasing seas, sinking and erosion have seen 98% of the surface of Jean Charles Island suffocated by water since 1950. And it does not stop.

So Brunet made his decision and plans to move 40 miles north and inland, along with perhaps 20 other families, to the new settlement paid for by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"It's a good property," he says, adding that "it's not this, you can not go and do this again, no, there's no way possible."

The relocation of the families of Jean Charles Island used to be sugarcane fields.

The property is also open and flat. The Spanish moss still hangs from the trees. But any song of the birds must compete with the traffic noise of Highway 24 that runs along one side of the tract. There is a swamp, but Brunet laughs when he says: "I see a ditch".

The land used to be a sugarcane field, but now it will be a "very important pioneer project," says Pat Forbes, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. The people of Isle de Jean Charles will not be the last to move due to climate change.

Because it is the first government project of its kind, it will be more expensive, but it also offers opportunities, says Forbes.

"One of the main objectives is to improve the culture that the community once had and help them have the opportunity to have something of that back here," he told CNN.

But he knows that some islanders will move reluctantly, and others will not.

"I can not blame them, they grew up there, they can still live there now and they want to live the rest of their lives there."

Chantel Comardelle, here with her daughter, says that her grandmother refuses to leave the island.

Chantel Comardelle hopes that some facets of life on the island, such as children playing with cousins ​​and relatives, can be recreated on the continent. But his own grandmother, 94, has no intention of moving, so he knows that some things will be lost.

"We do not know how to move people with deep roots," she says. "I want to say that this is the emotional, spiritual, social and cultural level.

"We have to find a way to do it because there are other communities that are deeply rooted and, as leaders, we have to find a way to do it well."

It is likely that Jean Charles Island disappears underwater during the lives of its resident children.
It is likely that the Isle of Jean Charles is immersed in the course of the lives of the children who now run around it. Their movement can be followed by the Shishmaref villagers in Alaska, who have voted twice to relocate their community inland before it is flooded by rising seas, although they have no way of making that happen.

But one day, it will not be the villages that plan to relocate, they will be cities, says Tor Tornqvist, president of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Tulane University.

Tor Tornqvist studies climate change, here with soil samples used to assess how quickly neighborhoods are sinking.

"What maybe five years ago was the worst scenario now is what we might call a very likely scenario," he says of the impacts predicted by the latest research on climate change.

The Tulane house in New Orleans will be affected, as it is largely below sea level.

"But the reality is that there are other cities, even bigger, that can be even more vulnerable, like Miami, for example," says Tornqvist.

A recent study indicates that millions of American households are at risk of chronic flooding in this century

"All these cities will face dramatic changes, and we will see large migrations of their inhabitants, probably at the end of this century."

And that's when some of the effects of rising seas can be felt in places hundreds of miles from any ocean, says Mark Davis, a Tornqvist colleague in Tulane and director of the Institute for Water Law and Policy at the university.

"If I'm in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and I'm thinking, this is not a bad place to be in a changing world, you may be right, but if your products can not reach the market because there is no New Orleans to ship your products, or if it depends on the fertilizers and fuels that come from here, and those plants are located here, … then it will be affected by what happens in places like this, whether you're thinking about it or not. "

There is a road to the Isle of Jean Charles, and it is often overwhelmed by water.

And while no one can know exactly what will happen, there will undoubtedly be a widespread impact of climate change, he says.

"Anyone who thinks we're going to live the next 50 to 100 years without drastic changes, is not paying attention."

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