Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reflections on Superstorm Sandy, One Year Later: An Open Letter

Dear Friends: 

The one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy will be a time of reflection. For most of the millions affected by power outages and infrastructure failures, the anniversary will be a memory of lack of water, cold temperatures and shared generators. But for thousands of those with homes and businesses hit by the storm surge, Sandy is still a devastating reality. Some reconstruction has been completed, but many are still closer to the start than to the finish. Most of these storm survivors have been victims of another flood - of paperwork and bureaucracy by insurance companies and/or government. 

Baywood Swamp, Brick, NJ
Before and After Waves of Action volunteers cleaned the area
Clean Ocean Action focused on responding with Waves of Action For The Shore - directing almost 14,000 volunteers to projects for citizens, communities, and habitats in need. 

Going forward, there are decisions that our leaders must make - how can we better prepare with resiliency and environmental stewardship? How do we sustain a clean ocean economy for boating, diving, surfing, and tourism, but respond to inevitable sea level rise and extreme weather? To reduce the devastation, these questions need to be answered prospectively, before the storms hit. Toward that end, Clean Ocean Action is working with the New Jersey Recovery Fund on legislative and policy actions with American Littoral Society and NY/NJ Baykeeper.

In addition, COA is supporting US Strong, a national, non-partisan initiative to establish an Extreme Weather Relief and Protection Fund to protect families and homes. It would provide for resilient infrastructure and ensure environmental stewardship. Recent studies prove that every $1 dollar spent to prevent devastation from storms, saves $9 of clean up and recovery costs.

There are also individual actions we can all take now to reduce climate change, accelerated sea level rise and increased pollution. Severe weather and its devastation costs impact all of us. We can help reduce these impacts. 

Step one: reduce, reuse, recycle, repeat. We can all take simple, yet meaningful actions that,
together, can have profound benefits! First and foremost, use less energy: as if the planet depends on it - because it does! Join us for the NEXT WAVE OF ACTION FOR THE SHORE and BEYOND. Look for new postings each month where we will suggest ways that we can reduce energy use without impacting the quality of life. The added benefit will be saving money. There will be more for the children's college fund or taking an eco-vacation, with less cost to the planet. Let's make it a joint adventure: a reality show with a purpose.

Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action Executive Director

Clean Ocean Action Wants Your Input

To help Clean Ocean Action gauge public opinion on sea level rise and climate change in coastal communities affected by Superstorm Sandy, please fill out COA's citizen survey here. COA will begin compiling the survey data on Friday, November 1.  This week is your last chance to add your voice to COA’s survey!

As we look back at all that has been accomplished since Superstorm Sandy, we would like to hear from someone important — you. Clean Ocean Action wants to hear about programs or projects that promote environmental stewardship and resiliency in your town. Add to what COA has already started compiling:
  • Has your town created an innovative, green project?
  • Has your town brought volunteers together for community service?
  • Do you know a business or homeowner that has rebuilt sustainably?
  • On the other hand, have you seen rebuilding projects that you believe do not promote coastal resiliency?
Email Sean Dixon at policy@cleanoceanaction.org.  COA might add your ideas to the upcoming Waves of Action Conference and Awards on Saturday, December 7.

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