As we say goodbye to another “once in a century” storm, it’s high time to confront a new, disturbing reality. While New York City averaged just about a foot of snow from Nemo (when did we start naming snowstorms?), Commack, Long Island wasn’t so lucky, with two-and-a-half feet of snow and 80 mph wind gusts.
“We dodged a bullet this time,” said NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Yes we did. Snow in February isn’t big news and we’ve certainly had fierce storms before, but never this severe and this often. As NY Governor Andrew Cuomo succinctly put it “We have ‘storms of the century’ every two years now.” And if we don’t address this new reality soon, last fall’s “once in a lifetime” disaster will seem like child’s play.
During Superstorm Sandy much of Manhattan below 34th Street resembled Venice. Doomsday projections of New York completely submerged under water are no longer exclusively the province of apocalyptic filmmakers but serious weather scientists as well.
Such extremes as severe snowstorms, freakish hurricanes, unprecedented heat waves, droughts and flooding are increasingly common. The Earth is warming to dangerous levels and oceans are rising. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor which supplies more energy for severe storms. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact we must squarely face.
So why don’t we? Did someone say politics?
“President Obama has promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” said Mitt Romney with a snide smile as attendees at last year’s GOP nominating convention burst into laughter. It’s less than reassuring when a group that controls our Congress and laws mocks efforts to stop a calamity.
Former GOP governor Mike Castle said “I believe my Republican Party needs to do a much better job of examining the overwhelming scientific evidence about man-made global warming and climate change.”
The result of his honesty? Castle lost Delaware’s GOP 2010 Senate primary to alleged witch/Tea Party mascot Christine O’Donnell. Double double toil and trouble indeed.
The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower is, in the words of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, not just “in danger of becoming the stupid party” but has clearly achieved that title. Sorry, but it’s no accident that the states with the ten highest education levels all went Democratic last fall and the ten states with the lowest education levels Republican. Those who deny climate change and evolution and view science the way the church did hundreds of years ago are unfortunately in charge of our destiny, at least in Congress.
We can only do so much here in New York to address these weather-related calamities waiting to happen, and need the federal government to take climate change/global warming seriously and make it a priority.
Staten Island can’t bear another Sandy this year. And while some red state, landlocked GOPers may scoff at (or even welcome) New York City becoming Atlantis, we must do everything in our power to battle the flat-earthers and demand strong, preventative measures be taken__now.
Film Review: Silver Linings Playbook (click Arts above)