Sandy Had a Silver Lining, Colltalers
Just when you thought there was no end for the misery, destruction, and despair left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy through the eastern seaboard, there’s word that a powerful nor’easter is fast approaching the same region.
But if we can stick our heads above the water for just a moment, there’s something positive, a bright spot if you’d care to name it, about such devastation: we wouldn’t be talking about climate change in the eve of a presidential election otherwise.
Not to make light of such a terrible event, and the damage it caused to thousands of Americans, there’s much less ‘natural disaster’ in it, than man-made madness. And that’s been only compounded by the fact that this presidential campaign had barely touched the issue.
The death and flood that Sandy’s exacted upon a large swath of geography this past week, with all due condolences to those affected, turned out to be almost like an uninvited guest that everyone’s become grateful for having crashed our party.
Thanks to such a violent eruption, the election acquired a relevance that at times was completely absent throughout months of political campaign, when we couldn’t believe that this and other crucial issues were consistently being shoved aside by the candidates.
We can’t imagine any other way that the damage caused by melting glaciers, carbon fuel pollution, and temperature increases and rising levels of oceans could be so eloquently illustrated as the gigantic storm and the destruction it’s visited upon us this time around.
The grim prospect is that this is not an isolated incident. In fact, in only two years, we have already broken more temperatures, receding shorelines, disappearing permafrost and other disturbing records than ever and since records are kept.
That’s why it’s so crucial for all able bodies to vote tomorrow, and make this election, one that would break a different kind of record: that of relevance, which our democracy has been steadily depleted as of lately.
Even if other crucial issues, such as the U.S.’s military defense budget, or the easy availability of guns in the streets of American cities, have been equally ignored during the campaign, climate change has rightly so become the issue of the day.
May it inform your vote tomorrow, and before we all drown under its literal and symbolic weight, may it retain its explosive and galvanizing power. We, and the world, have had but a sample of what it can do to us and how it can bend our society out of shape.
Its implications are as far reaching as global geopolitics, balance of power, distribution of natural resources, and trade stability, all factors powerful enough in themselves to disrupt the world order, if there’s still one, and reverse the clock on humankind.
The issue provoked laughter at the Republican Convention, but President Obama didn’t help much when he took turns with the GOP candidate, defending the coal and natural gas industries, two of the most pollutant and unnecessary sources of energy still active.
The difference, though, is that the president does not consider corporations people, and overall he’s supported initiatives contrary to the interests of the energy industry. Much of the funding bankrolled for his defeat comes from energy concerns.
Even though an event of the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy does not depend on anybody’s political inklings, it’ll be our commitment as a nation and as a civilization to take it as a serious, and likely fatal, consequence of our current lifestyle.
Considering how much is at stake, tomorrow’s election may be one of the last opportunities for Americans to make a statement about our political process, the need for greater social justice, and how important we deem the issue of climate change.
We hope you vote with your heart and with your mind. Have a great one. WC