By Laura Moser
I’m proposing the CREATE Plan, a new vision for Houston. Let’s make our city resilient, ensure the safety of our residents, and show the rest of the country how to face climate change.
Collaborate: We’ll work together with city, county, state, and federal authorities, as well as flooding and environmental experts, to draft a long-term plan for flood-proofing our city, and then implement it together.
Resist: We need big structures to protect the coast: dikes, walls, levees, dams, dunes, artificial reefs—whatever it takes to keep our city and its industries safe. We need to start building this crucial infrastructure NOW.
Educate: Homeowners deserve to know if they’re buying in a risky area. Building inside a reservoir? You have the right to be informed. And developers who want to build upstream should only do so after open discussion with downstream neighbors.
Avoid: Make room for floodwaters by steering development away from low-lying areas, including the 100-year floodplain or the category 1 surge zone. Harris County already leads the nation in buyouts, but we need strong local and federal leadership to relocate our most vulnerable residents.
Talk dollars: We deserve our fair share of money. Houston is no less important to the national economy—or our national security—than other storm-hit places like New York, New Jersey, or Louisiana. Yet we’ve received only a fraction of the federal dollars those states have. Better representatives will make sure we get more return on our tax dollars–and that starts with representatives who don’t lie to us about climate change. If we can’t even admit what’s happening, we can’t take action to protect ourselves.
Expand: We need to invest in and expand our flood-management network. We must widen bayous dramatically and add far more retention and detention ponds and reservoirs, as well as parks and recreational areas designed to hold water during floods. There are tried and tested ways to do this, but to do it on the scale that’s required we need help from Washington.