Crossposted from The GC Advocate (http://opencuny.org/gcadvocate/).
By guest contributor Jesse A. Myerson, writer, activist and author of the forthcoming 'Onward: An Occupier's Guide to Understanding the Current Crisis
When I began to write this essay, there were cars floating on Wall Street. It sounds like some sort of trader lingo, perhaps describing General Motors stock, but individual automobiles were in fact riding Hurricane Sandy’s surge merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily down the capital of capital. Enormous gusts of wind outside my window carried distant sirens, and messages online carried news of power outages, flooding, inaccessible evacuation routes, infrastructural damage, and, eventually, heartbreaking deaths.
As usual, it is difficult to express appropriate distress when something like this happens. Compounding the distress, there is an “as usual” factor in the first place. The Onion, also as usual, provided gave eloquent voice to my sense. “Nation Suddenly Realizes,” the headline read, “This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On.”
Weird weather is now way weirder than ever before, and the weirdness amplification is on track for exponential increase, as our carbon output continues to exacerbate the climate crisis. Hurricane Sandy has come after a summer so hot and dry that the Department of Agriculture had to designate more than half of all American counties “disaster zones.” Three-quarters of the United States’ cattle acreage were in drought, and half of its corn crop was rated very poor to poor. Wildfires in Colorado that consumed hundreds of homes were due in large part to the previous winter, which had brought “scant snow” to the Rockies. A friend of mine is haunted by an image she encountered in Oklahoma: fish baked into the hot, cracked earth where a lake used to be.