As leaders from around the world convene for the next climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November and the world focuses on global changes, it’s easy to forget how climate changes and extremes can affect people locally.

Nowhere is that clearer than in Olneyville, which has seen its share of extremes and remains vulnerable. In 2019, ONE|NB, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and Steer Media teamed up to create a video to highlight the flooding that occurred here in 2010. The video was shown at schools and local community events.

As the film makes clear, flooding along the Woonasquatucket River is likely due to climate change, is made worse by development of what was once wetlands because rainfall cannot be absorbed.

“We can’t drop the ball on this,” warned Jen Hawkins, ONE|NB’s Executive Director. “We’ve seen the devastation that climate change has brought to Central Providence and elsewhere. As we advocate for, build and maintain affordable housing, we know how vulnerable it can be due to climate extremes. It’s important that residents remain vigilant and prepared for emergencies, especially with the winter approaching.”

“With four hundred miles of coastline, urban and rural coastal communities, fishing and agricultural industries, the Ocean State is on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” said Governor Dan McKee upon signing Rhode Island’s landmark Act on Climate, which updated the state’s emission goals, in April 2021.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a proponent of addressing the consequences of climate change, wrote on his website: “Rhode Islanders see the effects of climate change all around us, from rising sea levels to stronger storms.  Climate change poses one of the greatest threats to our economy and national security.”

In memory of Abelardo Hernandez, who shared his memories of the flooding in the making of this film.

“We can’t drop the ball on this. We’ve seen the devastation that climate change has brought to Central Providence and elsewhere. As we advocate for, build and maintain affordable housing, we know how vulnerable it can be due to climate extremes. It’s important that residents remain vigilant and prepared for emergencies, especially with the winter approaching.”

Jen HawkinsONE|NB Executive Director.