If there is a silver lining on the giant Sandy cloud – and I’m not sure there is one – it’s that now, perhaps, the powers that be will begin to take the reality of climate change seriously.
Words fail me right now. This morning, my friend Greg Basta joined me on the show to talk about the storm. Greg was on with me last week to talk about the release of the Occupy the Boardroom book that’s just been published. Of course, I also asked him about his work with New York Communities for Change where he works as a community organizer to help poor and middle income people in NYC. Last night, Greg’s twitter feed kept me up to speed with what was happening in the city of my birth (yes, I’m a native New Yorker, born in Manhattan’s Mt. Sinai Hospital 53 years ago this Sunday).
Greg was with his family in Suffolk County on Long Island last night to ride out the storm. This morning, he relayed the information that, while they fared OK, four of his friends lost their homes. He talked about the work ahead for NYC residents, and how NY Communities for Change would be out helping their members…. because that’s what they do.
About an hour after I moved on to my next guest, Greg wrote with this devastating message:
The NYCC family is in a state of shock right now. The daughter of our executive director Jon Kest was struck by a tree and killed last night. His family is like our family, and I really don’t even know what to say right now.
Words fail me right now. The worst of Sandy’s wet, windy fury may have passed, but the aftermath is just beginning – and immeasurably worse. As the hours pass and the clean-up and digging out continues, the casualty count will rise. We’ll learn of the deaths of many human beings – friends and family members of people we know or never even met, but with whom we will mourn. The cost in terms of treasure will be enormous – like nothing we’ve ever seen.
I know this is not the time for politics, but with one week to the day left before the 2012 presidential election is history, I can’t help but ask whether Mitt Romney has the right to even ask for your vote. This is the man who suggested that FEMA not only be dismantled and sent back to the states, but to be put in the hands of the “private sector”. Furthermore, he insisted that it is “immoral” for the federal government to take out loans to provide assistance to citizens dealing with a natural disaster.
That is our fundamental difference. I say it would be immoral for the government NOT to come to the aid of its people.
Today on the show, I also spoke with former law enforcement officer turned novelist Mark Langford about his book Persia Rising. Actually, we spoke about the scenario posed in the book, that of the prospect of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack on the US and what it would look like.
And we finished the show with Phil Aroneanu, co-founder and US Campaigns director at 350.org who made it quite clear that Sandy is a result of our warming planet. If we don’t change the way we do things and our dependence on burning fossil fuels, this is our new normal. Let’s change the conversation.