Is Mother Nature trying to wash, scour and sweep humanity off the earth? No, but nature is more insistently asking people to pay attention. The damage, loss, and tragic personal stories of the super hurricane "Frankenstorm" Sandy will not soon be forgotten. Nor will be forgotten the heroic efforts and compassionate cooperation of people who came together in a cold and dark time. They made, and are continuing to make, new room for new lives, and clear away the debris to let sunlight pour in once more.
The east coast was battered by cyclone winds over 90 miles per hour. Curling tendrils of mighty waves surged inland, flooding oceanfront mansions and huts equally. Tens of millions of citizens, young and old, rich and poor, shivered in darkness and uncertainty. Medicine, refrigeration, food and clean water quickly became urgent needs for thousands.
Scientists were quick to point out that warmer ocean waters generated a pressure system that collided with both easterly and westerly cold fronts creating a hybrid "freak" perfect storm. In other words, man made climate change is driving such disasters. And it is time to find the human spirit to rise to unprecedented challenges.
Having been battered repeatedly, the people of some of the greatest cities on earth are realizing that preparedness, resilience, cooperation and lots of hard work will be necessary for colossal clean up efforts. And they will prepare for the next Frankenstorm, wiser and weather tested by flood, fire, fury and faltering transport and commerce. Now that experts have explained it will be a "once in a lifetime storm annually" (repeated) people are prepared to listen and learn.
Flooded tunnels and subways, buildings splintered into piles, whole neighborhoods burned to the ground, piers and boats ripped to shreds, cold days with no heat or electric light are just some of the challenging aspects that those on the East coast are methodically now addressing. And everywhere, Sandy left sand and mud, a calling card to remind that her sisters and brothers will be back. Will everyone be ready? Admitting climate change intensifies storms, people are equipped with the power of knowledge. They can learn how to improve a stormy relationship with the planet that will take love, patience and persistence.
In crisis and disaster what brings people together is the stark realization that everyone is at risk, and all are bound by common humanity. Also bringing out the best in people is the realization that if human beings have affected the warming of ocean water that drives such events, then human ingenuity, caring and determination will help ameliorate such disasters and their aftermath. Ending denial is the beginning of empowerment. Stormy co-dependent families, like human's shared kinship to water, air and life, can only reconcile when parties involved, man and nature, are determined to cooperate and regenerate, support and respect, the relationship wholeheartedly.
Natural laws are neither good nor evil. They simply create. The world was created by volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, fires and more. But, more often than not, nature creates blue sky days, life sustaining forests, beautiful beaches and several diverse and amazing creatures, among them human beings. There is a stark and awesome beauty even in the aftermath of something like San-Fran-Ken storm. The monster came just in time to frighten the hell out of everyone, only to die by Halloween. People came to resist the hybrid creature, not with pitchforks and torches, but with courage and care for one another, and for homes and towns worth protecting.
Now all that is left if for people to keep up the good work. When driven by events to come together, there is no better human quality then the ability to realize the tough stuff that people are made of that will determine future outcomes, too.
With clear skies back, sunlight and new insights into competence and capability, people will bounce back, be empowered to fight for sustainable lifestyles, jobs, infra-structures and smoother relationships with the world that creates all life.
People will learn to no longer contest, or merely exploit, the parts of the whole which sustain them. Instead, they will cooperate with the systems of nature's laws, with more savvy about consequences. Communities will re-build. Then, they will invite a more gentle mother nature and her bounty back. Sunlight, calm waters, restored habitats, and better protected water, air and soil will enable people to belong in good graces once more. Short of death, there is no way to shut down the dance of inter-dependent life cycles that thrive on diversity, determination and undaunted spirit.