Is Hurricane Sandy an omen for our future?

Considering the events of the past week, I decided that it would be appropriate to center my weekly blog around Hurricane Sandy.  Although we were relatively lucky here in central Pennsylvania, many other parts of the country were devastated.  Some of my family in New York were forced to evacuate, and face the crippling effect of water damage.  Infrastructure has been devastated, million have lost power, and dozens have tragically died.  In my opinion, the most frightening thing about Hurricane Sandy is that it is just the first of many devastating hurricanes that may become standard in our future.

Six years ago, scientists at NASA warned that global climate change may lead to more intense weather in areas of the country that may never have experienced that type of weather before, specifically mentioning New York City.  Hurricane Sandy caused an astounding 13.88-foot wall of water to consume the city.  Frighteningly, according to Ben Orlove, the director of the Master’s Program in Climate and Society at Columbia University, one foot of this wall is attributed to climate change.  This devastating occurrence, which has historically occurred about once every hundred years, could occur every other decade by the end of the century, according to a projection conducted by researchers at MIT and Princeton.

Although everyone in this country seems to be content with ignoring climate change – from the public to our presidential candidates – climate change will not simply ignore us. Our oceans will continue to rise – according to one estimate, by three feet by the end of this century – and we will continue to endure ever more severe storms.  If we choose not to act, we will deservedly suffer the repercussions.

The green tip of the week is also a health tip: try to walk and bike whenever you can.  I’m sure that you already abide by this in college, but try to incorporate it into your lifestyle at home too.  Using these methods of transportation will help combat climate change; in Copenhagen, where 58% of the population use a bike on a daily basis, more than one-third of all transportation fossil fuel use has been eliminated, reducing Copenhagen’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90,000 tons.

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2 Responses to Is Hurricane Sandy an omen for our future?

  1. Kathleen Forichon says:

    This is extremely scary because hurricanes used to be something I’d see on the news-they would happen in places like Florida, far away from home. I grew up in Manhattan, and it is quite shocking to see photos of places I used to go every day devastated or flooded. It’s definitely a big reality check.

  2. Lauren Kearney says:

    Despite the fact that politicians continue to ignore climate change and pretend it doesn’t exist, events such as hurricane Sandy are very troubling to me. I’ve lived around 30 minutes from New York City for my entire life, and no weather disaster of this magnitude has ever occurred in the city or in New Jersey. We usually see this sort of devastation limited to the tropics. Hopefully people will soon begin to acknowledge the seriousness of the issue, rather than overlooking it completely.

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