FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

New York Was Warned

by RITT GOLDSTEIN

“Oh Great Lord of the Almighty Dollar”, the panicked voice cried out, its Wall Street owner realizing he was indeed in truly deep-water, “how could you have forsaken your devoted and faithful?” But though this poor soul lifted entreaty after entreaty to what had become his sacred deities — those of Narcissism, Hubris and Greed — reality swept in like the hurricane it was, flooding Wall Street and much around it.

The Ancients knew what happens when one worships false gods, and today many are hopefully learning a lesson long forgotten, forgotten even though the biblical proportions of Sandy’s flooding were predicted a year earlier.

In 2011, a report by New York State upon the impact of climate change had described the potential for the flooding news media have now allowed the world to witness. New York was warned, and even warned again just this September.

In September, an article in The New York Times — ‘New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn’ – contained comments by Prof. Klaus Jacob, lead author of the transportation section of the state study, Jacob quoted as observing that if the storm surge from Hurricane Irene had been about a foot higher, “subway tunnels would have flooded, segments of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and roads along the Hudson River would have turned into rivers, and sections of the commuter rail system would have been impassable or bereft of power”.

Hmmm, it seems Prof. Jacob had the right idea, especially as he went on to note that some of New York City’s (NYC) under-river subway tunnels “would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion”. The study outlined NYC needed to invest between ten and twenty billion to avoid such calamities; though, it didn’t. Not a good decision.

I’ll add that The Times pointedly quoted Jacob as observing he was “disappointed that the political process hasn’t recognized that we’re playing Russian roulette.”

Last year, the activists of Occupy Wall Street filled New York’s financial centre; this year, Mother Nature decided to personally protest. Russian roulette is a dangerous game.
Bloomberg News has reported New York’s subways may indeed “take weeks of work and tens of billions of dollars” to return to full service, and while “limited” subway service has resumed, there’s no date for reopening service using the cross-river tunnels. Then, there’s electric power, not to mention that Manhattan’s electricity is distributed underground, an underground that’s speculated to need days to dry.

I won’t add anything regarding the corrosive effects which the seawater flooding New York will have on electrical equipment. And I certainly won’t dwell upon the ‘human costs’.

Neoliberalism, its Church of the Almighty Dollar, didn’t care about Global Warming – it’s money and business that are important! And so, there’s perhaps a ‘silver lining’ to the money and business ‘Frankenstorm’ so nastily stole, but only if this latest wake-up call isn’t denied, the capacity for denial seeming to be the favorite renewable resource of far too many.

I was born and raised in New York City, and there are times I indeed miss it. I used to fish in Breezy Point, the area where over a hundred homes burnt, and once — as a young man — even worked on Wall Street. Those places people are reading about – they used to be my home. But perhaps more than climate changes, perhaps people change too, and perhaps sometimes in a way that’s as destructive as Sandy has proven.

The uncaring and insatiable greed of some, the wanton destruction across so many levels of society that it’s caused – so much of what was best has been taken from us. Those who cynically (and often selfishly) have dismissed the effects of Global Warming, may well yet succeed in destroying what’s left, the fact that neither Obama nor Romney addressed the issue in debate speaking volumes.

According to an October poll by Pew Research, 85% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans believe in Global Warming. As for the rest, the capacity for denial appears indeed a favorite renewable resource, but, an increasingly and dearly expensive one.

As the very values that defined America changed, as Neoliberalism flourished, many of us have argued the effects of this are as devastating as Sandy’s — though clearly not as easily seen — but what should be evident is what can happen if one is worshiping the wrong things, New York’s devastation well highlighting what comes of it.

Ritt Goldstein is an American investigative political journalist living in Sweden. His work has appeared fairly widely, including in America’s Christian Science Monitor, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, Spain’s El Mundo, Austria’s Wiener Zeitung, Hong Kong’s Asia Times, and a number of other global media outlets.

More articles by:

Ritt Goldstein is an American investigative political journalist living in Sweden.

November 21, 2017
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohamed bin Salman
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail