Superstorm Sandy was a game-changing storm. After the storm ripped up the East Coast last October, killing nearly 300 people from the Caribbean to New England, Bloomberg Businessweek published an iconic cover headline reading “It’s global warming, stupid.” They were right.
Of course storms would happen without climate change. But all the factors stirred into a storm are stronger, faster and more destructive, and Sandy was living proof.
The recovery from Sandy was has been slow and expensive. According to several climate scientists, disaster specialists and economists, this is a sign of what’s to come with climate change. Natural disasters will become frequent and equally as destructive costing billions of dollars in repairs and rebuilding.
However, in those first stages of what may have felt like hopeless recovery from Sandy, people organized in an inspiring collective movement of what had to get done. Far Rockaway, New York was particularly devastated by the storm yet people came together to rebuild the only home most of them had. As one resident put it, “it’s a collective pain.” therefore it had to be a collective recovery.
Greenpeace sent its solar truck, the Rolling Sunlight, to power a community store and was soon joined by other mobile solar projects including the SolaRover from Colorado. Those solar arrays would later power a Thanksgiving dinner among the rubble.
These images tell stories of the unthinkable force of which our environment is capable if we mistreat it. They also tell the resilience of the human spirit and how much we’re capable of when we’re working together.
19. A building collapsed into floodwater near the Route 528 (Herbert Street) Bridge one day after Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey and New York.
18. An aerial view of an amusement park in Seaside Heights.
17. A “No Gas” sign posted at on Mobil gas station pump in Brooklyn as fuel becomes scarce in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy
16. An aerial view of a burnt out neighborhood with open natural gas fires from pipes that broke in damaged buildings during Hurricane Sandy.
15. A solar array helps power a community Thanksgiving during the recovery and rebuilding processed in Far Rockaway Beach, New York.
14. A washed out New Jersey coast.
13. Cell phones charge at a makeshift base to help residents of Far Rockaway in Queens still without power after Hurricane Sandy. The Greenpeace solar truck Rolling Sunlight supplied power.
12. A satellite image provided by NASA of Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 11 a.m. EDT churns off the east coast as it moves north on October 28, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean
11. A building floats near the New Jersey shore
10. Heavy equipment piles rubble being collected in a makeshift garbage dump in Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, Queens
9. Maintenance of Greenpeace’s solar truck, the Rolling Sunlight, which helped to power a community store in Far Rockaway.
8. Sand from Hurricane Sandy obscures most of an athletic field in the Rockaway section of Queens, New York
7. Trailer homes in Beach Haven pushed awry by the storm surge are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey coast.
6. Three weeks after the storm in New York.
5. A cleaned up playground in the foreground is ready for children while boats are still piled up against houses in this Staten Island neighborhood
4. Volunteers distribute donated food and supplies at a makeshift base to help residents of Queens still without power after Hurricane Sandy.
3. What’s left of a house in Far Rockaway.
2. A car fire on Brighton Beach after the storm.
1. Thousands of people queued for buses to Manhattan.