Grabrielle’s Climate Story #1


Gabrielle Ketchum


Philadelphia, 19130

How are you sensing climate change?

Emergency on I-676 On September 2nd, 2021, my friend and I were on our daily walk home. Walking home was a tradition that started earlier this year. The walk was free from screens and distractions and gave us time to talk about our day. Since we were in different classes— a seemingly continuous trend— there was a lot to catch up on. Today was notably filled with emotion and conversation, because of the historic rainfall from Hurricane Ida the night before. “Everyone was talking about the flooding,” My friend said. I remembered all of the online videos I had seen of New York City, with water streaming down the steps of the metro station. I wondered if scenes like this existed in my hometown, Philadelphia. While I knew the flooding had affected my surroundings in some way, I wasn’t an eyewitness to it. This somehow made it feel like a false reality. I nodded to my friend’s claim, and we continued walking. Once we reached Vine Street and walked above Interstate 676, I could sense something in the air. I turned my head to the expressway and looked down. Sitting below, was a river somehow created on a major road. Here it was, the floodwater in front of my eyes. It was a light brown. The water was still. It was as if the gallons upon gallons, almost touching the overhead signs, were meant to be there. I looked around and registered the impact. I wondered how I could have been so oblivious and unaware of a disaster only a couple blocks away from school. But my mind foiled with the thought of how even under crisis —an expressway submerged in water— the hustle and bustle of the city remained unaffected. Did regular I-676 travelers merely plug a different route and set off? “I guess the expressway is flooded, so I’ll have to go a different way,” they must’ve thought. A thought that did not award the water crisis with suitable recognition. Standing there over the expressway, I couldn’t grasp how I had been continuing on with my day. More importantly, I couldn’t comprehend how the world was continuing on, in the aftermath of the storm, and with the out-of-place water on I-676.

How do these changes make you feel?

When I first saw the flooding on I-676, I was in disbelief. I’m always reading climate stories, and heard stories about severe climate change but had never been an eye-witness to something as big as the flood on September 2nd. Philadelphia is not located near a coast, so normally when hurricanes are affecting other parts of the U.S, we are not impacted as harshly. However, due to climate change, I can see this is changing.

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Deveena’s Story #1

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