11/20/2012 03:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Hard Evidence of Sandy's Destruction

A message written in debris from Hurricane Sandy reads "Global Warming is Here" on the beach in a devastated area of New York. Photo by Greenpeace

As the cleanup continues, the harsh light of day illuminates the ongoing devastation caused by Sandy in so many East Coast communities. In many homes, daylight is the only thing doing any illuminating. Over the course of this disaster, some eight million people were without power. Flood waters coursed through many homes, streets and subway tunnels.

But something is different. After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along our eastern shore, the conversation has turned to the role of climate change, as it should. For while we're all working to offer support to those in need, we can't forget the urgent work we need to do to help prevent climate change catastrophes like Sandy from being even worse in the future. As scientists make clear that global warming is supercharging storms like Sandy, no one can deny the increased pattern of more intense weather, or a clearly changing climate.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to brace for more frequent and intense storms, along with other extreme weather events like droughts, heatwaves -- and the unfortunate devastation they entail, from rising food prices to damaging wildfires. Throughout this presidential campaign, climate change has been the elephant in the room, as if both candidates calculated that by not mentioning the greatest challenge facing humanity it would somehow miraculously disappear.

Surveying the destruction captured in the accompanying photographs, it's clear that blithely ignoring -- or even denying -- this problem is going to put us directly in the path of dangerous weather events on a more frequent basis. Both candidates should tell Americans impacted by this disaster how they plan to increase our resilience to extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and reduce the pollution at the root of the problem.

Damage to yachts and property is visible in the Carteret area of New Jersey on November 1, 2012, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy is an example of the extreme weather we can expect to see with continued climate change -- in fact, storms will continue to become more frequent and more severe. Photo by Tim Aubry/Greenpeace

View Greenpeace "Hurricane Sandy" Photo Gallery here.

View Greenpeace's complete set of photos here.