Lessons from Sandy a year later

Occupy Sandy

To mark the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Josh Fox is encouraging people to watch his short film on storm cleanup and relief efforts, Occupy Sandy.

Fox, better known for his two full length documentaries on hydrofracking, Gasland and Gasland II, also makes short films. He made the 25-minute video on Sandy and its connection to climate change at the end of last year.

Don’t count on Washington for help

The film offers a powerful lesson in the need for communities and households to be prepared and not to expect much help from the authorities.

“What we’re hearing from FEMA and even the Red Cross themselves is that, because they’re such large operations, it takes them weeks just to get set up,” Michael Sniffen, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, tells Fox. “You know, FEMA comes and knocks on someone’s door and says ‘OK, we’ve done an assessment, you’ll hear from us in ten days.’ But for folks who are living without power, without water, without food, ten days is too long to wait.”

Occupy Sandy offers an inspiring portrait of the volunteers, mostly young people who had camped out in Zuccotti Park as part the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, who went out to seaside communities that looked like war zones after the storm to knock on doors to check on residents and offer them food, blankets and medicine.

More superstorms to come

The film’s primary message is that Sandy should be a wake up call for America to finally get serious about climate change.

“There is a wake up call and there is a lesson to be learned,” says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the film.

There is a reality that has existed for a long time that we have been blind to. And that is climate change, extreme weather, call it what you will, and our vulnerability to it. It is undeniable today. Thirty-three billion dollars. Loss of life. Weeks of inconvenience. Weeks with the city paralyzed. The question is, how do we make sure it doesn’t happen again or reduce the damage if it does?

Yet, as Fox predicted, neither Cuomo nor New York City Mayor Bloomberg committed to get the city or the state off of fossil fuels. And for Fox, anything less is just not enough.

— Erik Curren, Transition Voice

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  1. susan rudnicki says

    Mr Curren—I am referring to your article on the NaturalYards raised beds you wrote about in 2012. I am a organic gardener in Los Angeles and recently became embroiled in a dispute about the 4 raised beds I bought from NaturalYards in sept 2009. They are beginning to fall apart—the wood has thinned greatly and rotted where ever in contact with the soil. My beds, 4 X 6, 3 boards high, cost me $1125 and are about to turn into compost. Writing to NY expressing my dismay, I was told the lifespan figures they gave me in 2009 was based on forestry figures of OLD GROWTH PORT ORFORD CEDAR, and they have since been advised this was a huge error. All the forest they are cutting is secondary growth. I am a botanist and understand these concepts. However, NY is offering to only give me a 40% discount to replace all the rotten boards. The old information on their site indicated my beds should last 15 years!! I am warning you, though it is likely your beds were treated with the new wood preservative they never offered in years past, the situation is very distressing and NO testimonials or information on the website indicates the many customers who bought in complete ignorance and who were never apprised of the conditions. Susan Rudnicki, Manhattan Beach CA

    • Erik Curren says

      Susan, thanks for the info. So far our raised bed is doing fine. And we’ll see how it does over the next few years.

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