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82 | Resilience’s Frontline

Mathew Sanders details the pioneering struggle of the people of Isle de Jean Charles in confronting climate change.

82 | Resilience’s Frontline

The community of Isle de Jean Charles is a vanishing strip of land on the coast of Louisiana. Prone to natural flooding and hurricanes, the Isle has been further ravaged by offshore oil drilling projects, dredging, and other man-made disturbances near the area. Since 1995, over 90% of the Isle’s landmass has disappeared. The area has historically been home to Native American tribes, who are now forced to move as their homes recede into the sea.

Mathew Sanders is the Resilience Program and Policy Administrator for the state of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development who is leading the development for a project that’s the first of its kind. He and his team will use a grant from HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition to aide in relocation efforts for an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. Historically, most efforts of this type look to buy out or move individual properties – resulting in community fragmentation.

Sanders is hopeful that the Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Plan will be a model for future large-scale relocation projects which can keep communities and families intact with an effective and considerate system.

Sanders, his team at the Louisiana Office of Community Development, and the people of Isle de Jean Charles are on the front lines in addressing how communities deal with the changing world. Come join us as we speak with Sanders about the optimism and challenges found in the creative obligation to develop responsibly.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music for this episode is "Leavin' Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" by Emmylou Harris from her album "Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town."