Reflections On Hurricane Sandy

The devastation left behind from Hurricane Sandy is heartbreaking. Watching helplessly from afar, I am extremely sad to not be there and help my fellow New Yorkers. Knowing that lives have been lost, with more bodies being found, is unbearable. People, young and old, are suffering in the cold, lacking food and drinkable water. Seeing the subways I rode every single day, submerged in water, is shocking. There are so many tragic realities to deal with. So much to recover from. Some things — especially lives — just cannot be recovered.

Marblehead, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Brian Burke.

 

In the midst of tragedy, what has been inspiring is the compassion we have seen in so many. People have opened up their hearts and homes, shared their electricity, distributed food, cleaned up neighborhoods and drained flooded basements, amongst many, many other generous acts.

Conversely, this is a stark reminder that our society is missing the steps needed to prevent future ‘Hurricane Sandys’ from happening. As the Scientific American reported “…Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, tweeted: ‘Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is [the] storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.’”

 

The downtown power outage in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of TenSafeFrogs.

Climate change is happening and we have just witnessed one of its devastating effects. We need to make drastic changes in how businesses, governments and individual people act, in order to stop the destruction of our planet.

A main cause of global warming is carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants. Big businesses do not want to stop burning fossil fuels that make them money. They are committed to profit rather than the stability and health of our Earth. Some oil companies deny the existence of climate change altogether — so as not to hinder their profits. They are not concerned about the long-term cost the abuse of fossil fuels is causing our planet and currently the East Coast.

 

Photo courtesy of MTAPhotos.

The U.S. government supports big businesses and their role in the destruction of the earth by imposing only the bare-minimum restrictions on them and their carbon emissions. Climate change is a topic rarely properly addressed during presidential debates and candidates do not show much concern in confronting it.

Even many individuals are not willing to make sacrifices in their lives to decrease their effect on climate change (for example, lowering their electricity or gas consumption). In our society, many choices are based on convenience rather than conservation.

Photo courtesy of eutrophication&hypoxia.

 

On the other hand, so many people would do the right thing if they had accurate information and the resources to help them make the appropriate decisions. But the mainstream media plays a part in global warming (most of them large corporations themselves) by not providing us the information we need to truly understand the effects of climate change, why it is happening, and what we can do to stop it.

If we don’t work to change the state of our planet, things will only get worse. Climate change will continue and it is likely that ‘Sandys’ will re-occur more often and more catastrophically. I hope we can learn from the tragic experience many East Coast families went through last week and are currently still struggling through by realizing that we can’t ignore global warming any longer.

 

Photo courtesy of Takver.

We need to show businesses that their products are not worth destroying the health of our planet. We need to advocate to not just businesses, but to our local politicians, that climate change can no longer be ignored. We need to research the effects of our actions by turning to alternative media sources. We need to do all we can to stop these tragedies from happening again — while we still have a chance.

We need to pressure our leaders at every turn, but we also need to make changes ourselves. For simple things you can do to slow down climate change, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.