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Just read that it’s now day 3 without power, heat, or water in Far Rockaway, NY, and the Red Cross is nowhere to be seen. Gas stations are running out of gas.  It reminds me of this day-by-day account from Hurricane Wilma, and the importance having 7-10 days worth of emergency supplies, not just the 72 hours most relief agencies recommend:

“I realized something that had never been clear to me from all the disaster novels I had read. When society starts to fall apart, there’s a lag time. During that period of latency, before the disaster bites hard, natural human inertia causes most patterns to persist unchanged. Just like the crews trimming grass and doing highway repairs along the turnpike, the UPS driver was going to continue his routines so long as he had enough fuel to do so. I recalled that even in New Orleans, a whole week had passed before things started getting dangerous.”

The south (Katrina), southeast (Wilma), and now the northeast (Sandy) have all been hit in the past 7 years with their most devastating storms ever.  This is likely the new normal, as The Onion so aptly puts it.

On the plus side, crisis points are when the terms of a debate can be changed, and I think Sandy has a chance to be the catalyst for real climate change action.  I’m not hopeful, given the topic never even came up in the three presidential debates, and none of the top environmental groups are pushing the topic, but there’s a chance, and we should all try to make it happen.

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