At the edge of Mississippi, where the massive river cuts a swath through the center of America, a local mayor, former city official, sportsman, and an emergency responder stood above an area recently awash in flood waters. "We all recognize this was ground zero for us," Mayor George Flaggs said. In April of 2011, massive storms dumped record levels of rain that led to historic floods along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Many access points to Vicksburg were closed due to the flooding, siphoning money from the local economy and endangering the surrounding community.
Mayor Flaggs went on to note that this threat is not isolated to Vicksburg, stating that action is being taken all over Mississippi, where mayors have banded together to identify protections for their communities. But while we make the necessary investments in mitigation strategies and first responders, the mayor also underlined the need to address the root cause of extreme weather, climate change. We must work to protect communities, waterways and clean air, by addressing the industrial carbon pollution that fuels climate change. Sportsman Shambeni Watts summed up his primary motivation for standing up and taking action on climate change: "I have a five-year old daughter," he said. "I want her to be protected and be able to enjoy our natural resources."