My thoughts go out to people who were heavily hit by the storm. If you haven’t heard, Hurricane Sandy has caused billions of dollars of damage in New York City and countless other places along the East Coast. Where I live, we were lucky. Early this morning, I was joking around that this was “devastating” damage in my city:
But then, tonight, I came home to this. The city hasn’t been able to fix the drainage problem (see previous post: Stormy Democracy in Action). The rain keeps turning my street into a river. By morning, it’ll probably be gone, but right now, it’s pretty dramatic.
So, what’s next? The city knows about the problem, but they haven’t been able to fix it yet. Some people have suggested that I rally my neighbors together to sue the city. All of us whose cars were waterlogged are out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars because of the city’s old sewage system. As a concerned citizen, what do you think I should do?
More importantly, what should we all do? It’s hard not to wonder if there’s a connection between this hurricane and global warming. A friend of mine calls it “global weirding” which seems to me like a more accurate term. As the planet warms up, weather patterns get stranger and stranger. This week, those of us on the East Coast of America were affected. However, others around the world feel the impact of global warming every day. Here are some scary statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency about what our planet may see if we don’t make a change:
- Drought and lack of water for hundreds of millions of people in Africa
- Increased risk of flooding and rock avalanches in Asia (due to melting glaciers)
- Significant loss of biodiversity in places such as the Great Barrier Reef
- Reduced crop productivity due to higher temperatures and drought in Southern Europe
- Loss of tropical forest in the Amazon (to be replaced by savanna as temperatures increase and soil moisture decreases)
- More and longer heat waves in North America, with potential health impacts, especially for older people
- Death of migratory birds, mammals, and higher predators in the polar regions
- And the list goes on…
So, what are we doing as a global community to stop this? Is it enough? As an election approaches in the United States, I encourage all voters to research each candidate’s views on global warming. If you can’t yet vote, ask adults around you to find out more about this issue and vote for the candidate who they think has the best plan. We need to push our politicians to take more action. We need to act locally AND act globally. Let’s think “glocally” so that we avoid messes like this in the future. Let’s make this a priority… for ourselves and for the world.