ICLEI USA and 350.org are taking a U.S. People’s Delegation to COP23, the 2017 Conference of the Parties organized under the UNFCCC. Below is a message from delegate Bridget Tydor from New Orleans, LA. COP23 will take place in Bonn, Germany, from November 6-17, 2017 — you can support Bridget’s role at the climate talks here.
Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina, flooding, more hurricanes, and even tornados continue to threaten the wellbeing of the citizens of New Orleans. In the more than a decade since the hurricane, many of the city’s residents have relocated and rebuilt — but an increasing number of extreme weather events clash with out-of-date infrastructure to wreak havoc on the New Orleanians’ famous joie de vivre.
City officials’ recent response to flooding brought on by a nine-inch downpour on August 5, 2017, drew national ire when several officials inaccurately reported the number of working drainage pumps in their findings. While a fully operational system would not have prevented the flooding altogether, the officials’ flawed reporting turned residents’ frustration toward the department I work for.
As a Senior City Planner for the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO), I have an intimate understanding of the issues that affect the Mississippi River delta region. I’ve sought to usher in a new, progressive, more resilient era in stormwater management in Orleans Parish, working alongside the City, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, and a private consultant to develop a local government operations sustainability protocol as well as a compiling a community-scale greenhouse gas inventory.
Bringing New Orleans’ Water Issues to COP23
Despite these efforts, for many SWBNO employees like me, it feels as though years of hard work imploring residents to take proactive measure against the effects of climate change have been washed away.
November 6-17, I may have the opportunity to share the Delta Region’s experience internationally and reassure my fellow New Orleanians that the Sewerage and Water Board is planning for a climate-impacted future when ICLEI USA and 350.org take a U.S. People’s Delegation to UNFCCC’s 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23). These groups recognize that the voice of the People needs to be heard now more than ever and take a place of prominence in international climate talks. We are a diverse group of seven individuals from the environmental justice and youth communities, city staff and community activists, big-city dwellers and small-town folks.
We offer hope to communities seeking to contend with the impacts of climate change but feel their messages are not making it to elected officials or climate negotiators. The nations that have signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement will attend COP23 to continue implementation of the Agreement. As a member of the U.S. People’s Delegation, I have a unique perspective to represent the people of New Orleans and city water staff to relay specific measures that we can implement to adapt to climate change while proudly announcing #WeAreStillIn.
We are crowdfunding our trip and with your support, this diverse and passionate delegation of grassroots United States representatives can carry the message of local commitment to climate action all the way to Bonn.
Bridget Tydor, ENV SP is a Senior City Planner at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) and a member of the ICLEI USA-350.org U.S. People’s Delegation to COP23 in Bonn, Germany. She has an intimate understanding of the issues that affect her region and strives to ensure that SWBNO embraces the climate realities of the 21st Century. She works cooperatively with other governmental and non-governmental organizations to meet New Orleans’ citizens’ needs.