Talyah’s Climate Story
Houston, TX 77009
How are you sensing climate change?
I hate small spaces. Specifically, I hate being enclosed in a 2007 silver Toyota Corolla while a sweeping storm rages on amidst an unrelenting flood while trapped in the crowded highways of Houston. The lingering scent of salty rainwater and impending doom festers in our car, only one car of many along San Jacinto Boulevard.
Though I was 7 years old, I distinctly remember the night my mom and I were stuck in our car amidst a flood along San Jacinto Boulevard. The feeling of powerlessness overcame me, as I had unknowingly submitted to the will of natural disaster that had surrounded me. The wind and rain were forces of their own entrapping us within the madness of Hurricane Ike. Upon returning home once the rain calmed down, my mom and I were stuck in our small cottage home for a week. The storm persisted throughout the week causing our power to go out and flooding the nearby bayou below a hill. Seven days. We ran out of food and were left with any nonperishable goods left in the cupboard. Seven days. We couldn’t contact any of our family members to ensure that we were safe – or that they were safe. Seven days. The tree I used to climb on as a kid was struck down by the command of Mother Nature. Seven days felt like a long time for a child, each day felt like 86,400 seconds rather than a smooth passage of time. In those 86,400 seconds I fell witness to the slow destruction of my neighborhood, watching stray animals die, houses and trees collapse, and cars on the road crash all because of Hurricane Ike. Although I no longer live in Houston, countless hurricanes with deceptively humanizing names continue to destroy any semblance of humanity within the areas that they occur. Harvey, Hanna, Ingrid. But, in reality, the effects of such hurricanes are synonymous with the strife that comes with climate change and the ever increasing natural disasters around the world. The once sunny, humid, and lively streets of Houston became plagued with disastrous ruin, impacting the state of the city itself and the lives of the people that inhabit it.
How do these changes make you feel?
These changes make me feel hopeless for the future and how these same exact instances of extreme natural disasters impact the surrounding communities – especially communities with marginalized people. Although I have negative associations with memories of hurricanes in Texas, it does feel nostalgic and representative of many of my childhood experiences.
Houston, TX 77009
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