Extreme weather!

Hurricane Sandy scared the hell out of me.

We were lucky, at least in my household.  I walked around the house this morning to see whether everything was in one piece.  Our basement was not flooded and i felt grateful.

During the height of the storm i had no idea whether a tree would fall on us, whether the power would go out, or what.

And then i looked at what was happening to my home town–New York City.  The flooding downtown; the power going out in the hospitals.  I spoke with a couple of New Yorkers and could hear in their voices the deep anxiety they were experiencing.

And yet, there have been few discussions in the mainstream media tying this storm to what is known as “extreme weather events.”  Yes, of course it is true that one has to be careful about looking at an individual storm and drawing too many conclusions, but this has been two years in a row that hurricanes have made it north.  And in this case the storm made an unusual westward turn rather than moving up the coast and out to sea.

Mainstream politicians, including President Obama and Governor Romney, have refused to raise the issue of climate change as central to their platforms.  In the case of Obama and Romney, they did not mention it in their debates.  While Obama has taken some positive steps, there remains this fear in too many mainstream circles that ringing the alarm bell about climate change is somehow inappropriate.  So, Obama can talk about the need for alternative-to-fossil fuel energy sources [Good!] but not link the need for alternatives to climate change.  It is not just that we are running out of oil but that fossil fuels are destroying the planet.

I keep asking myself how many more storms do we have to go through before the so-called mainstream political world (which is actually an elite political world) will get it.  Certainly there are major sections of the political Right that will either oppose such discussions outright or will advance “climate fatalism.”  Frankly i do not think that these folks will ever be won over.  But the polls seem to indicate that there really are majorities that get that something very wrong is unfolding and they are looking for leadership in addressing it.

There are those on the political Left who are not waiting for anyone else to step forward on this issue.  They are correct.  The struggle for a sustainable environment that protects the planet is directly linked to a political challenge to the established order.  In other words, capitalism is bad for our health.

i am tired of living in fear of extreme weather.

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