Earthday – Reflection and Action

Earth Day is a time for reflection and action. It’s a day to celebrate our planet, but also to recognize the many challenges we face in preserving its health and well-being.
The theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Restore Our Earth,” which is a call to action to focus on restoring the damage that has already been done to our planet.

Image of the the Asheville flood of 1916 in which 80 souls were lost.

Climate change, pollution, deforestation, and other human activities have taken a toll on the environment, but it’s not too late to take action to reverse these trends.
When it comes to building a more sustainable and resilient future, one of the most critical areas of focus is managing flooding and stormwater. As the climate changes, we’re seeing more extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, and droughts, which are putting our communities and ecosystems at risk.

To address this issue, we need to take a holistic approach that includes both natural and engineered solutions, along with proper planning and management. One of the most effective natural solutions is preserving and restoring wetlands and other natural floodplains. Wetlands and floodplains act as sponges, soaking up excess water during heavy rain events, and slowly releasing it over time, which can reduce the risk of flooding downstream.

Image of 2004 flood in Asheville which resulted in 11 deaths and $7 Million in damage in a seven-county region.

Proper planning means considering the needs of both people and ecosystems. For example, when designing stormwater systems, we need to make sure they don’t exacerbate existing flooding problems downstream or harm sensitive habitats. We also need to take into account the needs of communities that are particularly vulnerable to flooding, such as low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
In conclusion, managing flooding and stormwater is critical to building a more sustainable and resilient future. By implementing a range of natural and engineered solutions, improving our infrastructure, engaging communities, and incorporating proper planning and management, we can reduce the risk of flooding and ensure that our communities and ecosystems are better prepared for the challenges ahead. On this Earth Day, let’s commit to working together to build a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

Image of the author – Danvey Walsh, Environmental Scientist
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