Thirteen years ago, the events of September 11th, 2001, now simply known as 9/11, took us by surprise. Over 3,000 people lost their lives, including more than 400 firefighters and police officers. Estimates of damage in New York City topped $10 billion. Out of tragedy, we united as a nation and came together as never before. If you’re old enough, I’m sure you remember the surge of patriotism. We took swift action, doing our very best to ensure that terrorists would never again attack us. We taught our children and worked hard to ensure that the next generation would not be doomed to see history repeat itself for lack of wisdom.
Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy, did not take us totally by surprise. On October 24th, 2012 it made landfall in Jamaica, and over the next several days left a path of destruction through the Caribbean and finally hit the US East Coast on the 29th. Superstorm Sandy killed at least 286 people, left over 200,000 people homeless in Haiti, and caused $68 billion dollars of damage. Sandy was the second costliest hurricane to hit the United States, surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (1,833 deaths and $108 billion in damage).
After 9/11, we formed an expansive, and expensive, vision–because we were willing to allow our desire for justice, and our dream of creating a better world, to have the highest priority. We created the Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. We made sacrifices and changes to our lifestyle. We are now used to taking off our shoes, jewelry, and belts at the airport. Our lives changed irrevocably after September 11th to achieve our goals. Change was not easy, but we did change, and quickly.
Although we responded swiftly to 9/11, how quickly and seriously are we addressing climate change? Climate affects the weather every day, and although one weather event cannot be “attributed to global climate change,” our warming planet gave Sandy its super-powers of size, strength, and high level of destructiveness. President Obama, speaking on Superstorm Sandy, said “…And I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.”
What if our leadership’s response to 9/11 had been, “I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it”? We would respond with “take out the “I think” and “something!” We cannot afford to wait, we must act now!” The costs of changing our very ways of life are staggering, but we will sacrifice in order to protect what we hold most dear, no question.
We can do this. We can take a stand, change our lives, unite as a nation, and prevent more harmful damage to our planet. We are smart, flexible, amiable people! We can act now to ensure that we are doing absolutely everything we can to prevent future Superstorm Sandys. Let’s form our vision and work now towards an environment that is healthy, for the sake of present and future generations and the glory of God (after all, he made us the managers of the place). I’ve seen us rally together before–let’s do it again.
In fact, a rally is taking place on September 21st in New York City ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit. It’s called the People’s Climate March, and you should watch their video, called Disruption, for a better idea of why people are taking to the streets on climate change issues. Plenty of evangelical Christians are taking part in this historic event–join them if you can!
For other ways you can act to address climate change, click here.