A really big storm is heading New York's way. It's going to be the confluence of a garden-variety hurricane (these days, "garden-variety" means unseasonable and oversized) with two other unseasonably large storms that will happen to end up in the same place at the same time, from different directions. The results, by all accounts, are likely to be spectacular.
Kids naturally like big storms, as well as disruptions to daily life. There's the whole hustle and bustle of stocking up on water and candles, and maybe the boarding up of windows so your house feels like a fort. You might get to take off school, and your parents might stay home -- such opportunities can be rare what with middle-class leisure time at an all-time low (two thirds what it was before Reagan!). Once the storm comes, it can be pretty fun to watch. Plus there's the excitement of unpredictable minor dangers -- flooding, falling trees, stuff flying off buildings.
Unfortunately, some things can get in the way of the fun, excitement, and group bonding experiences. So here are a few guidelines to making sure you and your parents enjoy the big storm, as well as the many more likely to be coming your way by the time you're grown up.
Unfortunately, as soon as a monster storm comes heading our way, you'll hear people talk about "climate change." That can totally ruin the fun, because climate change also means: crop failures, droughts, rising food prices, famines, conflicts, and insect-borne diseases migrating to where there's no resistance. Those things in turn mean the deaths of 1000 children like you every day, and warnings from the UN that last summer's crazy temperature records could end up hurting tens of millions of people in the coming months. So don't listen to the UN, or to scientists, or to anything other than the weather channel, network television, or the pronouncements of the president and his challenger. Knowing that the cool storm you're in the midst of is part of a pattern of global mass murder can be a big bummer.
If you're reading this, chances are you live in the US or maybe Europe. Stay put. You'll be fine -- probably (see below). Certainly don't consider going to live in Bangladesh, or the middle of Africa, or any number of other extremely endangered places that also happen to be the world's poorest. Your parents weren't thinking of getting a second home in Bangladesh? Great! The mosquitos are terrible anyhow.
Again, if you're in the US or Europe, you're probably ok. There probably won't be any life-wrecking catastrophes in the years before you're kicked out of the coop. But probably isn't certainly. The fact is, scientists just don't know. For example, the loss of Arctic sea ice is completely outstripping the worst-case predictions of scientists' climate models. Also, scientists have only catalogued some of the ways our unprecedentedly carbon-rich atmosphere could react to the situation, mostly based on samples of ice from hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ago. So it's safest to be ready to move at a moment's notice.
These are a few ways to keep cheerful about your Hurricane Sandy experience. Even if your parents tell you to stay away from the windows, go ahead and take a peek. This thing won't hurt you. Probably. Yet.
Note to parents: if you're concerned about weather-related damage to your progeny, please consider helping us with our new film and "Action Switchboard" at www.theyesmenarerevolting.com.