He originally planned to hit D.C. on September 22, the same day that Bike4Peace is bringing cyclists from all over the country there on World Carfree Day. But extreme heat has slowed the 62-year-old ex-Black Panther, and his arrival may be delayed. He aimed to ride 35 miles a day for 45 days but may take longer.
Numerous media reports have commented on how Gulf communities hit by the BP oil spill were just on the verge of finally recovering from Katrina. But few mention the historic responsibility of the oil and gas industry in the hurricane's destruction. Geography places New Orleans in danger from storms, but it took decisions that favor a petroleum-based transportation system to wreck the city's natural defenses, leaving it more vulnerable than nature intended.
Rahim is drawing attention to the role of wetlands in the Gulf. One reason Katrina so clobbered New Orleans was the damage that oil exploration and drilling had already done to the wetlands that used to buffer the mainland. Wetlands absorb the impact of a hurricane's storm surge like a sponge. The wall of water that produced most of Katrina's trail of wreckage reached almost 30 feet in places. Every square mile of wetlands reduces that storm surge by about a foot.