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Shifting Climate and Mennonite Disaster Service

October 7, 2020

Executive director Kevin King interviewed about impacts of climate change on disasters

Fifteen years ago, if there were three or four major disasters for Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) to respond to, that was considered a very busy year.

Today, that number has “tripled or even quadrupled” says executive director Kevin King.

“We have seen a noticeable increase,” he says, noting a reason for the growing number of disasters is climate change.

And not only that, he says; the disasters are more intense and extreme—things like wildfires in the Pacific northwest, windstorms in the Midwest, drought in various parts of the U.S., and the hurricanes battering the Gulf Coast as examples.

All of this has put additional strain on MDS as it seeks volunteers to respond to the growing needs for help across the U.S. and Canada. It has also prompted the organization to look for ways to mitigate and lessen the impacts of storms.

One way MDS is doing that is by building new homes higher up hillsides away from creeks and rivers, off of floodplains, and by elevating houses on the Gulf Coast.

“We’d rather not go back and clean up, repair or rebuild homes we worked on after another storm comes along,” King says.

King was interviewed about the impact of climate change on MDS by Shifting Climate: A Podcast About Climate Justice and the Church. Go to https://shiftingclimates.com/episode-3/ to listen.