There has been a big debate in (local) government about how best to respond to Hurricane Sandy going forward. There is the governor’s camp, which argues for redesigning great swaths of the city and state’s built environment; and the mayor’s camp, which both before the storm and after, argued that the city could never really protect itself from these kinds of disasters, so it was up to citizenry to protect themselves. The city would help with evacuations and the like, but really, don’t build near the sea or count of some fancy new sea gates to protect you, the mayor insisted.
During the recovery, The Observer would ask major officials into which camp they fell. Both Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Jerry Nadler (who represents much of the formerly flooded downtown Manhattan) put themselves in the camp of doing more, building more, protecting more.
“For the future, we have to look into it,” Senator Schumer said.
“Wow. We live in a horror movie,” my husband opined one morning not long ago. He was reading an article about the melting of the Arctic tundra releasing massive bubbles of methane gas into the atmosphere, which in turn causes more melting, which in turn causes global warming, which in turn creates monster storms that threaten to end civilization as we know it.
I love scary movies, the creepier the better. But this Halloween season, they’re bleeding off the screen and into real life.
Can we please turn it off now?
Actually, no, we cannot.
A week ago, I was invited to the premiere of a deeply alarming documentary called Chasing Ice. It follows the work and adventures of a National Geographic photographer named James Balog in his endeavor to document, with time-lapse photography, the epic melting of the Arctic glaciers, a melting that is filling the world’s seas and atmosphere with water that has nowhere to go but onto land.
The False Trade Off
Since 1985, the Gallup poll has asked survey respondents to trade off environmental protection against economic growth. This past spring, for the first time, more people chose economic growth than environmental protection. (See Gallup graph) The data is an accurate reflection of public opinion, and there is no question Read More
On June 26, 2009, the House of Representatives took the historic step of passing the first piece of U.S. legislation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. While the bill, like all legislation, is not perfect, it is a giant step in the right direction. The most important provisions of the bill require:
• Reductions in Read More
It is amazing to me how the media can both create and resolve its own conflicts. On April 10 John Broder wrote a piece for The New York Times, “Obama, Who Vowed Rapid Action on Climate Change, Turns More Cautious.” In the story Broder asks, “Has the administration scaled back its global-warming Read More
Watching the Obama Administration’s “green team” in action is inspiring. In a very short period of time, these folks have revitalized our environmental agenda. They are doing it with words and with deeds. While there is plenty of rhetoric and lots of symbolic action, there is also significant and Read More
I had high hopes for David Paterson when he became governor, but I have to admit I’ve pretty much given up on him. I was appalled by the way he treated Caroline Kennedy when she expressed interest in New York’s vacant Senate seat: Hey Governor, a simple no would have sufficed. Is it really a Read More
With atonement and repentance in the air today, the transit advocacy nonprofit Transportation Alternatives released a feature on the Web site rollingcarbon.org that calculates the carbon footprint of New York City commuters.
Visitors to the site can choose one of seven transportation options (bus, car, hybrid car, taxi, subway/train, bike, walk) and calculate Read More
Last Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore joined the many voices that have been calling for a crash program-a "moon-shot" national effort to get us off of fossil fuels. Senator Obama applauded the speech saying "For decades, Al Gore has challenged the skeptics in Washington on climate change and awakened the conscience of a nation Read More
When we walk down Broadway in Manhattan, we sometimes forget that New York is virtually surrounded by water. In fact, the five boroughs have 578 miles of shoreline. If global warming ends up melting enough sea ice at the poles to cause the sea level to rise, New York City is in a world of Read More