One Year Since Hurricane Sandy Climate Change Necessitates Human Change

Climate change is a big deal. A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported that, “if greenhouse emissions continue their steady escalation, temperatures…will rise to levels with no recorded precedent by the middle of this century.”  Similarly, our friends at the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) reported that by 2050:
  • Average temperatures will rise by 4-5 degrees
  • Sea levels will rise 12-24 inches
  • Precipitation will increase 5-10% with the number of extreme weather events rising even faster


These are facts not fear mongering, and they mean that major changes are coming for coastal residents. Nearly one year ago today we got a glimpse of what the future could bring when the statistics hit home. Though one of many without power for two weeks in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, I was thankful to have a home to come back to when the lights finally came back on. Later, when I joined fellow White Roofers and RWDSU to help gut homes destroyed by flooding in the Rockaways, I was reminded of my experience volunteering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, New Orleans seemed surreal. Seeing the same destruction in my own backyard was a wake up call. After Sandy there was debate about the connection of climate change to the storm. Whether or not climate change “caused” Sandy, we know that climate change is impacting our weather. The atmosphere is wetter and hotter than it used to be and extreme weather events like Sandy are increasingly commonplace.



Climate change necessitates change from us. Human change starts small, and it’s everyone’s responsibility. That’s why I became part of the White Roof Project – because simple, tangible, change comes in many forms. Painting a roof white is one baby step toward reducing emissions. White roofs lower summer energy use. They’re relatively cheap, and they save building residents money over the long-term. Perhaps more importantly, a DIY roof project motivates residents and communities to do more.

I’ve helped coat lots of roofs around New York City. There’s a simple joy in spending a spring day doing good for the earth while doing good for the wallet. It can inspire even the staunchest non-believer – I’ve seen it.

One day after the one year anniversary of Sandy, White Roof Project needs your help to keep the ball rolling. Join us at our annual party White Is The New Black. Details here: This event supports our work for an entire year. It’s a celebration and the largest funder of efforts to spread the white roof cause across the states while paying for nonprofit and low-income projects in New York.




Even if you can’t make it, check out our DIY roof packet and become part of the solution. Climate change is here, and human change begins with you.

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