Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Climate Change

[This is a reflection on Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath in New York City. D.O. recently returned from delivering hurricane relief supplies to Occupy Sandy in Brooklyn]

As a born and raised New Yorker I've always identified deeply with the City. As an accidental environmental activist and broadcaster, I always fear for our planet and all her inhabitants. I feel certain most people do as well, when they actually think about it. Sometimes it takes a disaster to bring these things into our everyday lives. Twenty years ago I helped to promote
The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity, a paper that told us "No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished".  Those one or a few decades have passed and it's not just humanity whose prospects are immeasurably diminished, it's most of life on Earth. Now, the streets I walked so often on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan have been under water.  A lot of water.  And this is just the beginning. Frankly, I take that personally.  I am saddened and I am outraged.

The Climate Crisis is not some abstract scientific paper. It's certainly not the alleged hoax so many far-right reactionary ideologues would have us believe. It is real, it is human-caused, and it is upon us. We can take down greedy financiers and traders on Wall Street, we can stop immoral home evictions, and we can rebuild devastated communities, but how can we push back the change in our climate? There are multiple answers to that question and it is a personal thing for each and every one of us, even for those who have never given the natural environment a second thought. Some of the answers are as simple as committing ourselves to use less: less energy, less junk from China, less resources. Other answers involve the larger community, the state and federal government. That can require getting into the streets or to seemingly endless hearings and meetings. And still other answers involve confronting Corporate America, the companies and forces that are most responsible for destroying the planet. That takes a lot of time and personal energy. Since we are legion we can address all these answers and more. We can change the way industrial civilization uses the planet we all live upon. We can do this thing,
really, but we must do it now.

-Don Ogden (d.o.)

d.o. is the producer of The Enviro Show and co-producer of Occupy the Airwaves
WXOJ-LP, Valley Free Radio
Florence, Masachusetts

Photo from U.S. Coast Guard's photostream at Flickr Print Friendly and PDF

1 comment:

Ann Ferguson said...

D.O. You are absolutely right--we need to be more active than ever in organizing to protect the environment and fight the human-caused pollutants that are hastening climate change.

I wanted to bring people's attention to the conference next week called From Soil to Sky:Organizing for Climate Justice which starts on Fri. Nov 30 from 7-9 pm at St. John's Episcopal Church in Northampton with many performances including a talk by Joel Kovel, a former Green Party candidate for President and author of the book The Death of Nature, and continuing with workshops on permaculture, the coop movement and many other environmental justice projects on Sat. Dec. 1 from 9-5 pm at Franklin Patterson Hall at Hampshire College.

Ann Ferguson