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Reverend Yearwood: In Remembrance of Katrina, Why We Must Fight for Climate Justice
Do you remember where you were 10 years ago? For many of us, we were glued to the television.
We watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina surged to a Category 5 hurricane as it raced across the Gulf of Mexico, wondering when it would touch U.S. ground and fearing the worst.
Hitting the Gulf coast on the early morning of Aug. 29, 2005, Katrina would soon prove to be one of the most catastrophic storms in American history, causing more than 1,800 deaths and $100 billion in damage.
Fast-forward to today and you'll find vastly different opinions on the recovery of New Orleans following Katrina's aftermath. According to a study published this week by Louisiana State University, about four out of five white, Louisiana residents believe the state has mostly recovered from the storm while about three out of five African-American, Louisiana residents believe the opposite—and rightfully so.
Over the past 10 years, only two-thirds of New Orleans' pre-Katrina residents have returned. Thousands of the city's most vulnerable people are permanently displaced from their homes with no way of returning or attempting to rebuild their past. Schools, hospitals and social programs that served and supported these communities were devastated and never reinstated.
What has remained constant and a true barrier to fully rebuilding since Katrina in the face of this tragedy is the ever-looming presence of the fossil fuel industry. We know that African-American families are disproportionately affected by climate change and live closer to the sources of pollution that cause climate change: power plants, highways, drilling sites and factories. They suffer increased health impacts such as heart and respiratory diseases, higher health care costs, missed work and school and difficultly with learning. On top of that, climate change continues to drive more extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and record-breaking heat waves—events to which many people of color and low-income communities are defenseless due to financial instability.
Too many lose their lives to climate change before they should. I've witnessed it far too many times.
As the fossil fuel industry continues to profit at the expense of the most vulnerable and contribute to climate change, we are facing the next greatest economic and racial injustice of our time. Just as my parents fought for equality, I find myself fighting today for existence—not just for access to a particular water fountain but any water fountain with clean water that is free of harmful pollution. We must look at climate change as a serious civil and human rights issue for the health of our world because if we don't solve this now, nothing else will matter.
As leaders like President Obama and former Presidents Clinton and Bush head to New Orleans this week to remember Hurricane Katrina and the lives lost, I hope they hear the cry of the thousands who are still victim to injustices since Hurricane Katrina. I hope they see all that was taken away from these communities and what has yet to be returned. I hope they pursue radical action to prevent such a climate change related disaster from ever happening again.
We need these leaders' support in this fight, as a fossil-free future is the right future for all of us. We must divest from fossil fuels and invest in the transition to a 100 percent clean energy future. We must implement the Clean Power Plan to its fullest extent and beyond. And as world leaders prepare to travel to Paris this December for the United Nations conference on climate change, we must add to the demand for a bold agreement and then hold governments accountable for their commitments.
To rally urban communities and the U.S. public at large in major support of this action, the Hip Hop Caucus is working with allies like 350.org, LCV, NRDC, Earthjustice, Solutions Project and Sierra Club as well as top music artists such as Common, Antonique Smith, Dee 1, Crystal Waters and Malik Yusef to launch the People's Climate Music “Act on Climate" National Bus Tour. This month-long run of concerts, meetings, community events and on-the-ground toxic tours will reach more than a dozen U.S. cities with music and messages that inspire climate change awareness and action, giving a voice to those who cannot be heard.
Photo credit: Hip Hop Caucus
We kick the tour off in New Orleans this Saturday on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to remember the past and fight for the future. We'll join together in beautiful music, thoughtful discussion and a spirit of advocacy in:
- New Orleans—Aug. 29
- Ferguson, Mo.—Sept. 2
- Chicago—Sept. 3
- Detroit—Sept. 4
- Philadelphia—Sept. 5-6
- Portland, Maine—Sept. 9
- New York City—Sept. 10
- Hampton and Newport News, Va.—Sept. 11
- Charlotte, N.C.—Sept. 12
- Charleston, S.C.—Sept. 13
- Atlanta—Sept. 14
- Birmingham, Ala.—Sept. 15
- Washington, DC—Sept. 16-18
- Brooklyn, N.Y.—Sept. 19-20
- New York—Sept. 21
- Baltimore, Md.—Sept. 21-22
- Washington, D.C.—Sept. 23-24
- Tempe, Ariz.—Sept. 26-27
To catch the announcement of the People's Climate Music “Act on Climate" National Bus Tour and updates on tour activities, follow Hip Hop Caucus on Twitter.
As Saturday approaches and we remember Hurricane Katrina, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the lives lost, my encouragement to the families still suffering, and my call to global leaders and U.S. citizens of all backgrounds to join the fight against the injustices caused by the fossil fuel industry. We can solve this in our generation, for all future generations. The time is now and I hope you'll join me.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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