But even those that suffered loss can take solace knowing that this disaster will not, like so many others, be meaningless.
It was a bad week. Hurricane Sandy struck New York with great force, destroying thousands of people’s homes, killing dozens, and bringing our nation’s greatest metropolis to a halt. As of this weekend, half the city is still without power, everything is wet, and, as a special bonus, New Yorkers will now be inundated by a plague of giant, disease carrying rats (on the plus side, there were no tourists in Times Square for five minutes).
When disaster strikes a place like New York, a city of transients, the effect is far reaching. The flooding of the Greatest City on Earth is global news. It transcends that place. As pictures of crumbling sea walls and violent storm surges disseminated, worried parents, brothers, and sisters around the world, from New Zealand, to Pakistan, to Kansas, picked up the phone and called their loved ones.
But even those that suffered loss can take solace in knowing that this disaster will not, like so many others, be meaningless. If there’s an upside to such a high-profile disaster, it’s that it forces change. In this case it’s the realization, in circles where power resides, that the Earth is changing, and that it probably has something to do with us.
New York’s own mayor, Michael Bloomberg, announced on Thursday that he is endorsing Barack Obama for a second term as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. “The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast,” he begins, “...brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.” The endorsement may seem like an obvious attempt to show his concern to the citizens of New York, but for Bloomberg, a noted political independent and capitalist suspected of having larger aspirations of office, it represents a serious political risk on his part. Perhaps he simply foresees a future where people are voting with their planet instead of their tax returns. Or just maybe, he sees this not as a political issue, but one of survival.
Anyway, without further depressing reflection, here’s your Weekend Reading!
Climate change is becoming increasingly hard to ignore in a world filled with overwhelming scientific and statistical evidence. So why can’t politicians talk about it? Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek.
“Mitt Romney has gone from being a supporter years ago of clean energy and emission caps to, more recently, a climate agnostic. On August 30, he belittled his opponent’s vow to arrest climate change, made during the 2008 presidential campaign. ‘President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet,’ Romney told the Republican National Convention in storm-tossed Tampa. ‘My promise is to help you and your family.’ Two months later, in the wake of Sandy, submerged families in New Jersey and New York urgently needed some help dealing with that rising-ocean stuff. Obama and his strategists clearly decided that in a tight race during fragile economic times, he should compete with Romney by promising to mine more coal and drill more oil. On the campaign trail, when Obama refers to the environment, he does so only in the context of spurring ‘green jobs.’”
Celebrate the return of basketball with an extensive oral history of the 1992 Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. Lang Whitaker, GQ.