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Currently — June 28, 2021

The weather affects everyone, and it’s something that brings us all together. Currently is a weather service — a community of people sharing resources and delivering justice, hope, connection, safety, and resilience in a world in urgent need of systemic action.

The weather, currently.
Yes, the Pacific Northwest is on fire. Portland, Oregon was hotter on both Saturday and Sunday than Houston or Miami has ever been. But another extremely unusual weather event happened over the weekend that may have equally lasting consequence: Detroit experienced one of its worst flash floods in history.
Late on Friday, June 25, several lines of heavy downpours dropped over six inches of rain in parts of the Detroit metro area in just a few hours.
An estimated 1000 vehicles were left underwater — the Michigan State Police said that roads were “littered with abandoned vehicles” and 911 services were overwhelmed as authorities performed dozens of high water rescues.
The sudden deluges have created enormous problems. Incredible images of ponding on roadways, stranded vehicles, and flooded basements made it immediately clear that this was a major flood with major consequences.
 A Currently reader sent in this report:
One of my good friends lives in Dearborn, which has been hit very heavily by the floods. Her basement is more than 4 feet underwater and her fridge is floating. Finished basements are very common in Dearborn, so her story is far from uncommon. This is going to cause incredible amounts of property damage to an already underserved community. A lot of people are about to have catastrophic water damage.
In response, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for Wayne County to speed the way for federal relief funding. Dozens of pumps that are part of the freeway stormwater drainage system lost power or failed, drawing scrutiny on the state of vital infrastructure tested by an extreme rainfall event. It can’t be overstated that the impact of this flood will fall disproportionately on Black and Brown residents.
The city of Detroit has set up a special website for folks who were affected by the flooding to apply for financial assistance, and the American Red Cross has been mobilized to coordinate relief services.
So just how unusual is it to see this type of heavy rainfall event in Detroit? Based on statistical modeling, we would expect to see 3-hr rainfall exceed 5” approximately once every 500 years in a stable climate. It’s fair to say that under the current climate, the odds are already much more likely than this. Recent climate trends point towards both increased annual precipitation and more extreme precipitation events like this one for our region. — Dean Fogarasi and Eric Holthaus
In case you needed an actual photo to illustrate what the intersection of climate change, crumbling infrastructure and policy failure looks like, this is Detroit today:
What you need to know, currently.
Quarantine Taught Me How To Live More Sustainably & Here's How You Can Too
Currently spoke with Lola Méndez, a sustainability journalist, to discuss how to scale individual lifestyle actions and the need for broader systemic changes to address the scale of the climate crisis.
Méndez emphasized that being “sustainable” doesn’t mean buying new things like solar panels, urging people to stop viewing going green as a sacrifice. 
“Going green improves the quality of your life – knowing your reusable utensils are clean while traveling.”
Méndez discussed that the sustainability world can be flooded with greenwashing and marketing jargon which often lacks sufficient governmental regulation on consumer goods. She advises consumers to seek out third-party certifications when shopping – such as B Corps, The Rainforest Alliance, and more.
“Show corporations the financial value of using recycled packaging, for example,” said Méndez. “While we have to support local, small businesses, we still can encourage big businesses to utilize ethically sourced, vegan, recyclable products.”
Méndez views her personal role in addressing the climate crisis as leading by example, asking small questions along the way such as “is my desire to do this worth the environmental impact?”
To address feelings of eco-guilt, Méndez stressed the importance of giving yourself grace and reminding yourself that you are doing your best. Méndez highlighted how critical it is to be a lifelong learner, stating, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” – Kate Glavan
home - Lola Méndez
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