In retrospect, “Ida” seems too tame a name for the lethal storm that made landfall on Aug. 29 in Port Fourchon, Louisiana—on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With wind speeds just short of 157 mph, Ida took 95 souls in the US, tracked across nine states. 11 New Yorkers drowned while trapped in flooded basement apartments. A nightmarish encounter landed one 71-year-old Louisiana man inside the gut of a 12-foot, 500-pound alligator. Following an almost parabolic path of destruction, Hurricane Ida couldn’t have made the point any more sharply that the wild beast of climate change is not lurking in some near or distant future—it’s here. A scientific fact, long predicted, repeatedly warned against, persistently and deliberately lied about by the fossil fuel industry, now mercilessly unleashed anew with each passing season. 

With the ever-quickening pace of the digital news cycle, stories about Ida and its destructive force hit hard, hit quickly, and then dissipated much like the hurricane itself. But for those who felt its wrath firsthand, the damage lingered long after most media left, and the struggle to rebuild is, for many, very much ongoing.  

As storm-impacted communities continue to right their upended realities and reestablish their lifelines, The Real News Network spoke with representatives from three organizations on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana who, in Ida’s wake, brought immediate disaster relief to people in New Orleans, the river parishes, and down the bayou: Kali Akuno, executive director of Cooperation Jackson; Kendra Unique Wills, an organizer with Southern SolidarityLoan Fund steering committee member Maya Pen, who is also an organizer and artist; and founding member and project loan officer Susan Sakash of Cooperation New Orleans. Each of these organizations has a mission-based commitment to participating in the solidarity economy, and all of them categorize their disaster relief efforts as mutual aid work. 

These organizations and these people share the view that mutual aid is a transformative economic practice that at once delivers needed support while dramatically shifting humans away from commodified relations toward productive (and ecologically sustainable) ones.

Read the article at The Real News Network