A couple of summers ago, my sons encouraged me to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a novel about a father and son fighting for survival as they traverse a cold, sunless, ash-covered landscape. What touched me most about the book was the way the father tried to explain, even normalize, this post-apocalyptic world for his son.
Amid the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, I imagine parents up and down the Eastern Seaboard are doing the same for their children.
I’ve watched this video taken in Rockaway Queens over and over again.
I can’t get the images out of my head: streets buried in sand, cars scattered into piles like pick-up sticks. “It’s like a scene from some end-of-the-world movie,” says the film’s narrator. It has been weeks since Sandy raged through this neighborhood, and many people are still without power, heat, or hot water.
This is where we are. We can’t go back. We can only move forward. But the fork in the road that will take us toward McCarthy’s dystopian future is ever closer.
These superstorms are the new normal. And while it will take decades to bring our planet back from the brink, actions we take now can slow and maybe even halt climate change tomorrow.
Fighting for a clean and safe environment is like every other battle we’ve undertaken. We haven’t made progress in attaining civil rights, equality for women, or gay rights by asking politely. We demand those rights, loudly, consistently — because we are entitled to them.
We must do no less in our fight to stop climate change. Not only are we, and future generations entitled to a clean and healthy environment, our lives, and theirs, depend on it.
The fork in the road is just ahead. We must act now.