August 02, 2017 Updated August 02, 2017 6:55 PM
Sea level rise isn’t the first worry on the mind of Dolores Rivas — more like the sixth or seventh. But living in a housing development near the water in East Boston, the specter of flooded city streets is never too far off.
“My first priority is financial, because if somebody is not financially prepared, you can’t do anything,” she said in Spanish, standing a block away from the water. “In the case of a disaster I would need a lot of help. Help moving. I wouldn’t be prepared.”
Of the city’s 23 neighborhoods, East Boston is considered among the most vulnerable to coastal flooding. The city estimates that in 50 years, nearly half of East Boston’s territory will be at risk during a major storm.
Now officials want to build a series of defenses along a three-mile stretch of the East Boston coast. The goal is to prevent the neighborhood from losing ground to the ocean, and also to open up access to the water with parks and walkways.
The effort to defend East Boston comes as the neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying. But it’s still one of the most diverse parts of the city. Half the residents are Hispanic, and nearly as many have limited English skills.
City officials say they want to reach people like Rivas in their effort to defend East Boston from sea level rise. But even with the citywide Climate Ready Boston plan in full swing, Rivas hasn’t heard a word.
“There has to be more efforts to educate people about [the
climate risk],” she said. “We live here near the water.”
This segment aired on August 2, 2017.