NEW YORK -- A group of climate change activists braved the calm before the storm on Sunday afternoon to rally in New York City's Times Square.
Leading environmental activist organization 350.org organized the event, "Connect the Dots between Extreme Weather and Climate Change," in less than 48 hours, according to Phil Aroneanu, the group's co-founder and U.S. campaign director.
"We've never really done anything like this before, but climate change hasn't really reared its head in this kind of way before," Aroneanu told The Huffington Post. "Even though you can't attribute every storm to climate change, the average of 5-degree warmer oceans have created so much more vapor for the storm to pick up and dump on NYC and Boston."
As New York's subways, trains and buses prepared to shut down on Sunday night, and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers geared up to evacuate the city, close to 100 activists, 350.org supporters and passersby held a banner emblazoned with the words "End Climate Silence," clear enough to be legible from Times Square's surrounding skyscrapers.
Aroneanu said that, among other things, the banner is a nod to the lack of attention climate change has received in this year's presidential election season. For the first time in a generation, the issue of climate change was not specifically raised in a presidential debate.
"It's frustrating especially from the president. Just yesterday on his MTV appearance, he spoke about climate change, so he knows young people care about it in particular," Aroneanu said. "But as a leader, even though Americans don't want to hear about it, he's got to speak truth."
Although 350.org leaders stressed that their first priority is for everyone to stay safe during the storm, Aroneanu said it should also been as an opportunity to discuss climate change, which he said will bring more extreme weather in the coming years.
"It's come to the point now where it just seems crazy not to connect the dots here," he said.
In a statement, 350.org president and best-selling author Bill McKibben said meteorologists have called Sandy "the biggest storm ever to hit the U.S. mainland, which is a reminder of how odd our weather has been in this hottest year in American history."
Meteorologists have pointed to warmer ocean temperatures as a key factor in the power and speed of recent storms, including last year's Hurricane Irene. The National Climatic Data Center concluded that September 2012's ocean temperatures were tied with 2005 temperatures for the warmest in history.
BEFORE YOU GO
11/04/2012 12:26 AM EDT
PHOTO: A Marathon Wedding Proposal, Minus The Marathon
HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:
Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.
"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.
Photo by Damon Scheleur
11/04/2012 12:25 AM EDT
Check Donation Lists
Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.
-Catharine Smith, HuffPost
11/03/2012 10:42 PM EDT
Brooklyn Regions Still Lack Electricity, Heat and Water Days After Storm
HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.
11/03/2012 10:18 PM EDT
On Long Island, Cuomo demands Accountability from Utilities
At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.
LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.
"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."
"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."
Read the full story on Huntington Patch.
11/03/2012 9:38 PM EDT
Gasoline Shortage Likely To Last For Several More Days
Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.
11/03/2012 8:50 PM EDT
Behind @ConEdison: The 27 Year-Old Preventing Panic, One Tweet At A Time
HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:
On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.
11/03/2012 8:35 PM EDT
Estimate Says 600 Million Gallons Of Water Hit Mass Transit System
@ USACE_HQ :
Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system... http://t.co/5jMXDhRc
11/03/2012 8:15 PM EDT
$12 Million Donated So Far To NYC Mayor's Fund For Recovery
@ MikeBloomberg :
If you would like to donate: visit http://t.co/9w8egqxD So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.
11/03/2012 7:52 PM EDT
Don't Touch Downed Power Lines
@ usNWSgov :
Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC