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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As An NYC Resident, My Obligatory Post-Sandy Thoughts

Photo courtesy of  Max Serota.

Not long ago, I sat with some nice people on a Greenpoint, Brooklyn pier not far from where the photo above was taken, and gazed across the water toward Manhattan.  We all admired the skyline and ruminated on the gradual lowering of this mighty metropolis as the surrounding waters rise.  "In about 10 years, that won't be there...." I remember saying, as I pointed over to a low part of the island.  Someone disagreed, but after a while we settled on something like that in one hundred years the majority of the lower part of the city would be underwater.  Actually, I don't remember what exactly was decided, but you get the point.  Needless to say, that same pier was covered by a bunch of really dirty water last night, and maybe still is right now.

Fast forward to a mere five or six weeks later, a tropical cyclone with an appellation so perfectly apt for Grease jokes arrives to the Atlantic Seaboard...  Those ominous thoughts didn't take long to partly come into fruition now did they!?  Last year's disillusioning Hurricane Irene made it so that people were more skeptical of Sandy this time around, which ended up giving us what one dubious weather website called "an epic six hour thrashing" (a description which I think is more fit to describe Beowulf or anything with a budget of around 100 million dollars revolving around Greek mythology, not so much a natural disaster).

I am fine, as I live in one of the highest regions in the city.  I didn't spend the evening evacuating my home, gracias a Dios, or without electricity, just compulsively reading climate change articles, drinking Beck's and watching season two of The Office (the British one).  The greatest inconvenience from this whole event was that I woke up much too early on a Saturday because of very loud winds, or maybe that I picked the wrong timeframe to have purchased an unlimited metro card (I swear I am slowly turning into George Costanza).  I know a lot of people have been affected in serious ways, but I also know firsthand what a generous city this is, one that knows how to come together when in crisis mode, and that no matter how much we yell at each other on a daily basis, we are so inextricably close that differences are dropped in a pinch during trying times.  Knowing the sense of community and superhuman hard work the people of New York City are capable of, I know that everything will work itself out relatively soon.  

What isn't working out, however, is the shit state of denial (although "state of greed" is a more felicitous phrase) powerful people are in when it comes to controlling our climate in a responsible way, as opposed to the current ungrateful, hubristic track we're so boldly on. Below are a couple of articles I found interesting.  Perhaps the most important thing I read, while wondering if the giant tree outside could actually crash into my window, was the top article by Rebecca Solnit of

  • Climate Change:  War on the Poor which casually yielded this great piece of ancient wisdom (sorry in advance for the banal Confucius quoting, but it's such a good one):
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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