Hurricane Sandy and Our New Normal

NEW YORK (November 5, 2012)- As many of you know, WEDO is headquartered in New York, a city still recovering from the devastating impacts of last week’s Hurricane Sandy. Today, our team finally made it back into the office from our respective homes across four states – and we wanted to send our warmest greetings and thanks for the messages of support over the last days, as well as our sincerest well wishes to the very many of you still coping with the aftermath of this disaster. While we saw some damage to our homes and neighborhoods, went without power for days, and felt the tremendous force of a fuel shortage and a crippled public transportation system, none of us experienced the brutal loss that so many millions are still facing. A week after this ‘superstorm’ ravaged through the Carribbean and up the eastern coast of the U.S., we stand with our families and communities to try to return to normal.

But what is normal now? This is a changing world – and we have a changing climate at our doorstep. As our friend and colleague Tim Gore of Oxfam points out in his excellent reflection on Hurricane Sandy, “Let’s be clear – as CNNBill Clinton and New York Mayor Bloomberg have all been in the last days – that Sandy was another clear cut case of climate change in action. With increasing rigour (as I described here), scientists can now show that global warming driven by excess greenhouse gas emissions, either makes extreme weather more likely or more severe, or both.

At WEDO, we’ve worked on climate change as a priority issue for years. But in our own neck of the woods, a changing climate is usually seen as someone else’s problem. Sandy proved that natural disasters don’t discriminate – but the aftermath certainly does. The impacts of storms like Sandy will be felt throughout our communities for months and years to come – but those with least resources and security will bear the worst of it.

Our friends at 350.org have been doing great work this week, providing tools and information on how individuals can organize and directly support communities in need of assistance, as well as take political action against big polluters – not least, the fossil fuel industry – wreaking havoc on the environment while pouring tons of money into lobbyingagainst climate science for their own benefit. 350.org’s Hurricane Sandy action site calls on, “all corporate polluters to take the millions of dollars they’re spending to influence [the U.S.]election and donate it to Hurricane Sandy relief instead.” Go to their site to sign the petition – and then link to American Red Cross to support immediate relief efforts.(See below for more ways to help.)

And speaking of lobbying and the election…don’t forget: tomorrow is Election Day here in the United States. One hundred forty years ago today, Susan B. Anthony voted in the 1872 General Election. For doing so, she was arrested, fined, tried, and found guilty. Around the world, including in the United States, the right to vote is continually suppressed and denied. It is not a right to take lightly. There is an important choice to make tomorrow, and political leadership on climate change just jumped to the top of the President’s to-do list.

Take Action

Support Relief Efforts

  • International Rescue Committee- The IRC’s relief efforts focus on some of the most vulnerable people in the storm’s path in the Caribbean: displaced families and children in Haiti. Nearly three years after the devastating earthquake struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, many people still live in makeshift tent settlements in areas prone to flooding and mudslides.
  • Music for Relief-  raising funds for the recovery effort in partnership with International Medical Corps in Haiti, and Save The Children in the US.
  • Occupy Sandy- Find out latest news and updates on relief efforts, volunteer and donate.

Learn

WEDO- Read our latest resources on the human impacts of climate change including, information on gender and disasters.

Huairou Commission- Read information on Huairou’s global campaign on Community Resilience to integrate poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction as inter-related elements of a comprehensive disaster resilient development planning and policy framework.

World Resources Institute- Resources on the connection between climate change and human needs.

350.org- Global grassroots movement of online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries to solve the climate crisis.

Read

And help us strengthen our work on climate change

In two weeks, the WEDO team heads to Qatar for the annual UN climate change negotiations conference.  We could use your help to publish new research, support women negotiators, and sponsor women leaders from across sectors to influence the negotiations. Together, we can make a world of difference. Visit the WEDO website today to find out how you can support our work.

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