Eighteen months have passed since Superstorm Sandy hit New York, but the effects of the storm still penetrate deeply for the thousands of New Yorkers who are struggling to reconstruct or fix their homes and move on with their lives.
Climate change requires that we transition to a fossil fuel free economy: But at what pace? How will we fund this transition? Who will pay the costs? What technologies will be used? If the transition takes place too slowly, we bear the risks of climate change.
In 2007, a financial firestorm ravaged Wall Street and the rest of the country. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy obliterated a substantial chunk of the Atlantic seaboard. We think of the first as a man-made calamity, the second as the malignant innocence of nature.
In his recent inaugural address, President Obama spoke about not debating the role of government, but rather ensuring we "act in our time." A hundred days after Sandy, as many are still struggling to put their lives back together, is certainly the time to act.
As efforts progress to rebuild New York City neighborhoods significantly broken by Hurricane Sandy, we would be wise to address a lingering problem afflicting these and other communities: access to healthy food.
Sandy is a storm fed by climate change and rising seas due to the melting of the polar ice cap. And what causes -- and how do we fight -- that? Boy, that's a big topic, but it is certainly not by continuing business as usual.
As we go about our busy lives during the holidays, it's my hope that we can also stop to consider the people whose lives remain in turmoil. The families affected by Hurricane Sandy were some of this country's most vulnerable.
As rebuilding continues after Hurricane Sandy, there are two things of which we can be certain. First, that Americans will respond with generosity toward those affected. And second, that only part of their response will have the intended impact.
While there is still optimism about rebuilding, it is now tempered -- by defiance and determination -- as well as by an accumulation of memories, filmed, told to, listened to, overheard, strung like pearls and worry beads on our all too human necks.
New York neighborhoods are changing thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's initiative MillionTrees NYC, which is making the landscape of the city greener, one tree at a time. But planting trees is only the first step in improving the NYC environment.