In the whole globe image above, captured by NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on Oct. 28 at 9:02 a.m. EDT, Sandy is a huge white swirl centered just off the east coast of the United States, merging with a cold front on its western edge. (Courtesy wired.com).
Now that we’re pulling ourselves out of the one-two punch of Hurricane Sandy and Nor’easter Athena, what have we learned?
For two weeks we’ve endured power outages (mine was out 9 days), long gas lines with odd/even day scheduling, no school for our kids (Carrington just went back on Monday), disrupted services, closed businesses, downed trees and lines, flooded homes, a reshaped Jersey Shore, questionable tunnel damage in New York City…the list goes on and on. As of this writing, many are still suffering from the effects of Sandy, including loss of life.
We hear the warning cries from climate change scientists that this is a harbinger of things to come-especially if we don’t change how we deal with the environment/climate. The New York Times did an op-ed piece calling for people to stop building on the shore (there’s talk of rebuilding). We have government post-mortems on what could have been done differently and what was learned. From now and probably the rest of the year this will go on…
Then spring will come, after which, summer. We’ll hear the sounds of rebuilding and sand replenishment on the Jersey Shore; where homeowners will rebuild their high-cost, high-maintenance beachfront property. It will be business as usual while we dump hydrocarbons and other toxins into our atmosphere, while we brush off any advice from our scientists or global protocols. Flood-prone cities like Manhattan and Jersey City will get back to business. Not to sound like a wet blanket, but something tells me we won’t learn anything…
Until the storm next time. Oh yes folks, there’ll be another storm; one just like (or worse than) Hurricane Sandy-you can bet on it. Thanks to our screwing up the atmosphere, we’re altering the climate for the worst; over-warming up our oceans where more storms-in quantity and power-will be cranked out. And again, we on the Eastern Seaboard will be sitting ducks as our shorelines (and properties) take a beating, Southern Manhattan and Jersey City get flooded, and we have more service and quality of life interruptions that lead to the woes I mentioned earlier….
Until the day comes that we can no longer live here in the NY-NJ Metro Area the climate gets so bad. When we have storms lashing Manhattan and Newark with such ferocity that people move out for good. That our shores and low-lying urban neighborhoods become permanently inundated and uninhabitable-causing the displacement of thousands, if not millions, of climate refugees-right here in America! Businesses move out or don’t even bother locating here due to the risk of the weather. This scenario, if we’re not careful and prudent today, may be a reality in my son’s generation instead of my grandchildren’s. Just imagine the financial toll this will take on those who have to endure it (which may include you and I); it would be unmentionable.
And it won’t just be here in my corner of the world. Other places will suffer similar-if not worse-fates of the climate: hurricanes, drought, flooding, etc. If we don’t learn for the storm next time. And to be honest? That would down right suck.
What have we learned? That there will be the storm next time. And what we do (or don’t do) now will determine its effect on us…
And in turn, how we will-and will not-live.