Sandy Survivors to Obama: Our Power is Out, But You Have the Power to Stop Climate Change
Before he gives his State of the Union address, survivors of Hurricane Sandy want President Obama to think about the state of their neighborhoods.
Occupy Sandy volunteers and displaced coastal residents joined climate advocacy groups 350.org, CREDO, Forecast the Facts, and Moms Clean Air Force on Monday to deliver an open letter with over 280,000 signatures urging President Obama to take immediate action on climate change.
The flood of donations and national goodwill after Hurricane Sandy has slowed to a trickle, advocates said, but the work of rebuilding devastated communities in the Far Rockaways and New Jersey has only begun. Several thousand residents still lack heat and power, even after more than three months, and “rebuilding” can’t even start until flood-devastated homes are gutted and cleaned of mold.
“I’d like to see President Obama put on a pair of boots and see what we’re living every day,” said Alyssa Durnien, an Occupy Sandy and fire department volunteer in Keansburg, New Jersey whose own home was devastated in the flood and is still full of mold.
“The effects of climate change are here now,” Dawn DeLuca, a full-time Occupy Sandy organizer, told Campus Progress. “The survivors of Sandy are proof of that.”
Sandy is just one of many “dots” organizers hope to connect for the President on the issue of climate change and the devastation it will cause.
“The first and simplest test of whether or not [Obama] is serious about his words on climate change is whether or not he approves the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Duncan Meisel of 350.org. When a key scientist like NASA’s James Hansen calls a project “game over for the climate,” Meisel told Campus Progress, a President who is serious about climate change should not pursue that project.
The open letter, drafted by CREDO organizers and co-signed by many prominent environmental activists, urges the President to take specific action beyond the encouraging words of his inaugural address. Among those actions: Stop the “all of the above” energy policy that treats harmful fuel sources equally to sustainable ones. Invest both in sustainable energy and disaster preparedness for storms like Sandy. And if Congress doesn’t cooperate, fight to change Congress, or use executive authority.
Otherwise, advocates say, storms like Sandy, and their impact in American communities, will only become more frequent and more devastating.
“People need to understand that this is really just the beginning,” DeLuca said.
Emily Crockett is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @emilycrockett.