jeudi, novembre 01, 2012

How do you define "apocalypse"?

Here in our corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, we were, relatively speaking, unscathed.

Most of  us, though not all, had power -- or lost it for a couple of days.

Some streets are closed off due to trees toppled during Sandy's wrath on Monday and Tuesday. 

Grocery stores were a bit jammed.  Geez, there were three people ahead of me on line at Trader Joe's. 

So why do I still feel so sick inside? 

I can't speak for you --   we all react to major events so differently.

But having grown up in New York,  I know those dark streets. 

I've taxi'd through Chinatown,  strolled the Lower Manhattan street, gotten stuck in a car near City Hall more time than I could count.

My heart breaks for New Yorkers, as it did in the terrible days after September 11, 2001.

The lovely twenty-something new teacher and her male friend, crushed by trees in Brooklyn as they walked the dog.

The boys swept out of their mothers arms to a watery grave.

The young woman burned alive by a wire as she went to photograph the storm.

That's not to mention the elderly without power in the cold, the younger folk who can't get to work, the hospital personnel who are stuck until someone comes to relieve their five-day shift.

And let's not speak of the battered, devastated Jersey and Long Island beaches.

What bothers me the most, I think, is that if New York City and our country had taken appropriate steps a decade or two ago (or even, in the city's case, a couple of years ago), we probably never would have had this disaster.

Melting ice fuels rising seas.  As the temperature creeps higher, the water warms, fueling even more violent storms.  Hurricane Sandy, that might once have moved out into the waters of the Atlantic,  made an almost unprecedented move west. This is because perhaps, research tells us, the jet stream is lessening.

Are we bringing on our own apocalypse?

Judging by the posts on  Facebook, including mine, we are mostly glad to have escaped what could have been a ghastly experience -- what was, for many, beyond terrifying.

But have our perspectives changed? Will we, would we be willing to make the financial and lifestyle sacrifices needed to help heal our broken world?

I doubt it.

Instead, we will, in most likelihood, keep driving to work in our SUV's, repairing our beach homes, being quiet when we need to speak out for green energy, and acting as if nothing has changed. 

Maybe it hasn't changed.

For us.

This time.

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