The winter storm of February 2021 laid bare Texas’ climate challenge. It showed us the extremes our weather is now capable of, the vulnerability of our infrastructure, the critical importance of water access, and how social and racial inequities shape who bears the brunt of climate change.
The Gulf Between is a new podcast that focuses on water inequity in Texas and the people leading the fight to overcome it.
Water, like much of our landscape, flows and follows many of the racial and social lines that have long-divided Texas. For decades, public water funding concentrated on supplying, protecting, and beautifying wealthier, whiter neighborhoods in Houston and the broader region. At the same time, our climate continued to warm, intensifying flooding, drought, and sea-level rise across the region. Minority communities bore the brunt of these disasters.
Although there’s still much to be done, this picture is slowly beginning to change. Community leaders and organizations, many drawn from Texas’ most vulnerable neighborhoods, are driving efforts to address these historic imbalances and better prepare all of us for the coming decades of storms and heat.
Our team here at the Texas Living Waters Project decided to speak to some of the leaders on the forefront of this change. To find out the historic roots and present realities of water-related inequity in Houston, the Texas Gulf Coast, and the state at large. We also tried to catch a glimpse of the future trajectory of the region, find out where there’s genuine hope and where there’s ongoing concern.
What follows is a series of interviews with experts and community leaders who have spent years tackling water and environmental equity issues in Texas and beyond. Each episode explores a topic critical to the region’s future including: community buyouts, water affordability, infrastructure inequity, ecosystem restoration, access to nature, indigenous communities, collective memory, and community engagement. The power of water to both sustain and destroy flows through it all.
These interviews are a first step into much larger, unfolding discussions. If you’d like to dive deeper into any particular topic, check out the accompanying blog posts and recommended resources posted to texaslivingwaters.org. Thank you for listening and welcome to The Gulf Between: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of Water Equity Along the Texas Gulf Coast.