Katrina brought together the most pressing environmental problem of our time, global warming, with a little-acknowledged environmental truth: non-white and non-affluent people pay a disproportionate share when the bill for humanity's collective environmental behavior comes due.
Katrina will be looked back on as the first great U.S. casualty of global warming. As such, it holds great lessons both for America and the world at large as global warming inevitably intensifies in the decades ahead.
Mark Hertsgaard interviewed a wide range of people about what went wrong in New Orleans before Katrina and how ongoing reconstruction efforts could protect the Gulf Coast in the future. He then visited Florida, Japan, Bangladesh and the Netherlands to see how these lessons compared to practices elsewhere.
The goal of his project is to encourage a new paradigm for confronting global warming. From now on, the fight must be waged on two fronts; We must not only reduce the greenhouse emissions that drive future warming; we must also prepare ourselves against the hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, floods and other impacts that are unavoidable over the next fifty years, thanks to our failure to reduce past emissions.