Monday, December 9, 2013

What's Next, One Year After Sandy

Waves of Action Program Culminates with Distinguished Speakers,
Panel Discussions, and Sea Level Rise Survey Results

Full house at McLoone's Pier House in Long Branch
On Saturday, Clean Ocean Action (COA) held a conference with concerned citizens more than one year after Superstorm Sandy at McLoone’s Pier House in Long Branch, New Jersey.

A celebration of the culmination of Waves of Action “For The Shore,” the year-long Sandy response program, the conference highlighted the extraordinary success of Waves of Action volunteers and project leaders, released results of a summer-long survey on sea level rise and accountability, and included panel discussions with distinguished speakers.  Panelists and speakers discussed, ‘What Do Communities Need Now and How Can Volunteers Help?’ and ‘What Resources are Available for Resiliency and Environmental Stewardship?’

One hundred and seventy three citizens were surveyed during the Clean Ocean Action Shore Tips (C.O.A.S.T.) campaign this past summer to garner public opinion about sea level rise and climate change, the impacts from Superstorm Sandy and what citizens believe elected officials and the general public should do in response to sea level rise and climate change.  The results are clear; the majority of the public believe that sea level rise exists and that a broad array of both citizen action and government action are needed to reduce the impacts.  Sea level rise survey and report by Macailagh McCue, 2013 C.O.A.S.T. Intern, 2014 Masters Candidate, James Madison University.

“Over the course of the past summer, COA’s sea level rise survey of the people of the Jersey Shore led to one inescapable conclusion – nearly everyone agrees the climate is changing, the sea is rising and that it’s up to us to make changes in our lives, communities and laws,” said Clean Ocean Action Coastal Policy Attorney Sean Dixon.

“New Jersey Recovery Fund grantees have been doing amazing work throughout the state of NJ to promote a recovery process that is transparent, sustainable, creative and equitable. They are currently serving as watchdogs, healers, educators and leaders to better prepare NJ for future disasters. I look forward to sharing more information about their work with conference participants,” stated Emilio DeLia, New Jersey Recovery Fund Project Manager.

“As the founder and editor of Jersey Shore Hurricane News, I not only report the daily news, but I'm also at the helm of a community of people primarily in Ocean and Monmouth counties. The platform is a community resource and has been intimately involved in the post-Sandy recovery. Accordingly, with the long-term recovery still in its early stages, our communities will continually require a strong communications coalition,” explained Founder of Jersey Shore Hurricane News Justin Auciello.

“Nature is tremendously resilient if given the chance and volunteers can make a big impact,” stated Save Barnegat Bay Executive Director Britta Wenzel.

“The challenge for homeowners that want to rebuild in a more sustainable manner is a lack of resources to support that decision. Many residents are struggling just to rebuild what they had, and often the additive cost of building a more resilient home is prohibitive. Government programs and flood insurance payments should provide additional resources to assist homeowners and businesses build a more sustainable shore community,” said Sea Bright Volunteer Coordinator Frank Lawrence.

"The need was unprecedented, as was the response. But we may just be looking at the tip of an iceberg in future years, an iceberg quickly melting into higher sea levels as it rushes our way," stated NJ Reporter for NBC New York Brian Thompson.

“As time goes on, Superstorm Sandy won’t be given as much media attention, which is why it is important that groups like Clean Ocean Action continue to advocate for what needs to be done in the future.  It is important to restore the shore, but it is most important to think long-term and prevent future damage,” explained US Representative Frank Pallone, New Jersey, 6th District.

"Clean Ocean Action's comprehensive response to Hurricane Sandy, sea level rise, and extreme weather is impressive.  COA has been front and center engaging shore lovers at the grassroots, businesses, and elected officials to be proactive about our resiliency in the midst of climate change," said Lauren Townsend, NJ Director of US Strong. “Congratulations to COA's board, staff, and activists for accomplishing so much throughout 2013's Waves of Action, and thank you for your counsel and partnership advocating for national action, and the creation of a federal extreme weather relief and protection fund," added Townsend.

Waves of Action ‘For the Shore’ was Clean Ocean Action coalition’s response to Superstorm Sandy. It has been a remarkable year of challenges and achievements, and there are thousands of stories of tenacity, compassion, resiliency and hope.  We believe the program must now evolve to help move toward restoration—minding the rules of Mother Nature and encouraging environmental stewardship.  Indeed, it’s not really a choice, it’s a mandate,” said Clean Ocean Action Executive Director Cindy Zipf.

Through Waves of Action “For The Shore,” almost 14,000 volunteers have helped to improve and protect the marine environment through 281 projects, with more than 125 different organizations, in over 70 towns in New York and New Jersey.  For more information, visit

The Waves of Action Conference was sponsored by Whole Earth Center of Princeton, Montecalvo Recovery Facility, New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly.

The Waves of Action program was sponsored by Aveda, Bloomberg, Dave Matthews Band, Provident Bank Foundation, LUSH Cosmetics, Rebuild Recover, Mickey Hart Band, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, All-State Foundation, Spinach for Rip & Joe Schiavone Foundation, Eileen Fisher, Inc., The Harriet Greenfield Foundation.

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