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.
Sometimes it seems strange to give thanks for what we have when so much has been taken away. I went to the Rockaways for the first time the weekend after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, and then again this past weekend.
The opportunity to do service in Brighton Beach instilled in me a sense of appreciation. Being able to interact with individuals, see them eye to eye, talk to them face to face and hear their stories from their own mouths allowed it to all set in. It made it all real.
In the twilight hours of a random Monday morning I suddenly bolted awake. I jostled Boyfriend who peacefully slumbered beside me. Then with my eyes still closed I groggily said to him: "I wanna drive a truck full of supplies to New York for the Sandy victims."
The new grassroots organizing group People's Relief and local residents have taken control of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in several Coney Island public housing developments where government agencies' performance has been inadequate.
When Hurricane Sandy hit our great city, the staff family at American Bible Society were directly in her path. Like so many others across the region, our staff continues to recover from the storm's impact in their own lives.
Most of the people I spoke with in Ocean Village said they need information: a centralized location where they can learn when their power might come back, what transportation is running, how they can get food stamps, or charge their phones.
With higher temperatures for longer periods and deep rain or snowfall, life is not easy. The costs of weather damage may trump complaints against a sluggish economy in less than two years. The next election will be a very interesting one.