Record Floods Prompt Nationwide Campaign

Alliance of flood survivors launch
United Flooded States of America

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More than 30 local and regional leaders across 16 states are joining together to start a national campaign to combat flooding. The United Flooded States of America, an initiative of Higher Ground, represent hundreds of thousands of people in cities, suburbs, towns and villages from across the U.S., who have been harmed by irresponsible building and climate change. They want action now to stop development in wetlands and floodplains, reform flood insurance laws, and reduce human-caused greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Their flag shows 50 stars, representing the 50 states, above a scene of flooded streets.

> See our press release
> For a list of participating leaders, please contact us Harriet at AnthropoceneAlliance.org
>
Our stories

Our Eight Demands

  1. Stop paving wetlands and building in flood-prone areas

  2. Prevent excessive runoff into rivers, creeks, streams and bayous

  3. Secure federal funds to elevate or buy out vulnerable homes

  4. Install rain gardens and bioswales to locally manage stormwater

  5. Protect and expand natural buffers against floods: wetlands, forests and barrier islands

  6. Ensure that the National Flood Insurance Program puts communities & science first

  7. Use climate predictions in every local government zoning, building regulation and finance decision

  8. Reduce global warming by using only clean, renewable energy sources

> Join the Higher Ground Facebook group.
> Want to join the campaign? email Harriet at AnthropoceneAlliance.org.


Images from the campaign

Flood survivors in Charleston, SC, take dramatic action in protest at the city's continuing push to develop in flood prone areas.




News coverage

Flood survivors join forces to change policy, fight climate change. Citizens’ Climate Lobby News. July 18, 2019.

Women Are Fighting Flooding Crisis in the US. Human Rights Watch, July 1, 2019.

Stop building on floodplains, say flood-hit U.S. families. Yahoo News, June 24, 2019. By Sebastien Malo, Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Commentary: Stop building in floodplains. Chicago Tribune, June 17, 2019. Commentary by Aa Executive Director, Harriet Festing.


A selection of folks who are participating

Images of flooding from the campaign participants


About Higher Ground

Higher Ground is the largest flood survivor organization in the country. We help people harmed by flooding get organized, heard and supported. We aim to help them: 1) envision a safe, prosperous and sustainable future; and 2) develop strategies for attaining it.  It is an initiative of the nonprofit, Anthropocene Alliance (Aa).

We do this by:

  • Acting as a strong and independent public advocate for the millions of people in the US affected by flooding. 

  • Helping communities form neighborhood flood survivor groups that can work together to mitigate the impact of flooding and demand prevention. 

  • Acting as a liaison between the flood survivor groups and organizations with the skills and resources to help them: federal, state and local government and their agencies, trade associations, insurance companies, non-profits and businesses.

Our focus is on sustainable solutions to that bring multiple benefits to communities, such as restoration of wetlands and forested areas; upgrading commercial corridors, parks and brownfield sites to manage stormwater; retrofitting homes to reduce flood risks and hold stormwater; investment in urban tree canopy; buying out private property in the floodplains, and strengthening workforce training.

What makes a successful flood advocacy group? Helen Lekavich launched Floodlothian Five in 2013 after severe flooding affected homes in the Village of Midlothian, Illinois. They share their story.


We can help

We offer people affected by flooding:

  • Free assistance to help you better understand the nature of your community's flood risks and potential solutions.

  • Introductions to major agencies and nonprofits who can help your community respond to flooding events.

  • Regular webinars, training, and online guidance on ways to reduce your flood risks.

  • A monthly forum, via video conferencing, to share experiences with flood survivors from across the U.S. and get support and advice.

  • An active Facebook group, and the nation's largest video library of flooding footage.

  • Briefings on legislation and policies to help your community address flooding and climate resilience. 

Interested? Contact us to learn more.

Hilton Kelley, flood survivor & environmental justice campaigner from Port Arthur, Texas calls for a rally at City Hall in support of housing for people who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey.


Find a flood survivor group

Flood survivor groups are typically set up spontaneously by flood survivors (businesses as well as individuals), volunteers and supporters. They are comprised of residents and businesses affected by, or at risk of flooding. By coming together in groups – sometimes only virtual, sometimes tangible – members support each other, sharing sympathy, ideas, strategies and practical solutions.

Please see the map below to find the groups that we are currently working with. Most of these groups have Facebook groups that you can join. If you manage a group and would like to be listed, please contact us. We also help new groups get set up - please see below. 


Lead a flood survivor group

Residents affected by flooding often believe themselves alone, not realizing their problems may be similar to their neighbor’s. Flood survivor groups are good ways for residents to document and vocalize problems, discuss causes and solutions, and engage with government and nonprofit organizations.

If you are interested in starting a flood survivor group, please see our factsheets on How to set up a Flood Group, and How to Get Politicians to do Things for You. You can also contact us to get support and advice. 

If you have information or experiences concerning flooding that you wish to share with other groups, please share them with our online community of flood survivors. Your experience and ideas can help us help your neighbors!

A sign from the flood group, 'Ocean City, NJ Flooding'.

A sign from the flood group, 'Ocean City, NJ Flooding'.


Become a Flood Reporter!

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Sign up to become a Flood Reporter.

Storms have gotten more intense and more destructive in recent years due to poor planning and global warming. Unfortunately, we can expect even more of the same in 2019.

Volunteer Flood Reporters help document flooding events so we can better predict, mitigate and adapt to them. If flooding occurs in your area:

1) Go someplace safe;
2) Be sure your family, friends, neighbors and companion animals are safe;
3) Get out your cellphone, switch to video, and record what you see.

A video of flooding can help with insurance claims and future rebuilding. And when you send it to us, we can alert folks across the country about what’s going on.

Your videos will be posted on our YouTube channel.


Downloads & Fact Sheets

Scroll this page to find downloadable information on setting up and leading flood survivor groups. 

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PROTEST 101

You can vote in elections, or run for election, meet with elected officials, attend public meetings, send letters to newspapers. But sometimes, protest is the best way to build a movement and change things!

 

FLOOD SLOGANS AND CHANTS FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS AND PROTESTS

Bringing humor to public meetings, hearings, rallies and protests keeps people’s spirits up and gets the attention of politicians, government officials and the media

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HOW TO GET POLITICIANS TO DO THINGS

People sometimes ask: “Why don’t elected politicians hear us?” Higher Ground has produced a brief guide to make sure they do. If you follow its three guidelines, you won’t always get what you want, but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.

 

ABOUT TO BE FLOODED?

The local weather report can be terrifying when you know that your river is rising fast. What do you do when the water is heading your way? Download this guide to help you take the necessary steps to protect your family and home.

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STARTING A FLOOD SURVIVOR GROUP?

Is it time to rally the troops? Let Higher Ground help you. There is plenty of work to go round, and many hands make it light. We can help you partner with services and providers that will lighten the load and keep you afloat.