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Today Sierra Club launches a new site to catalog the devastation from Hurricane Sandy and other climate events wreaking havoc on our communities. “Climate Comes Home” collects and shares stories, photos and videos documenting the human impact of the latest extreme weather events supercharged by climate disruption.
Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune grew up on Chadwick Beach, NJ, in the house his father and uncle built. The damage along the shoreline from Hurricane Sandy is so extensive that the area has been closed since the storm due to sink holes up to eight feet deep and houses strewn across the road and floating off into the bay. Michael’s family and their neighbors were permitted to enter the barrier island for seven hours on Sunday to begin the clean-up process. There is still no clean water or power in many communities.
“No matter how high the definition might be on your screen, you can’t anticipate the scale of some disasters until you see them firsthand. Thousands of homes have been flooded or destroyed. Roads are ripped up, boats sit calmly in the middle of side streets or on train tracks. There is no heat, no gas, no power and no water,” said Brune, after arriving in Chadwick Beach.
“Like many families, there was a foot or two of seawater that came through our house. The smell hits hard when you open my parents front door, even when wearing a mask: mold is everywhere. It grows on the walls, in the insulation, in cabinets and even on lampshades. All the appliances and furniture were ruined. We were able to save an old folder of campaign materials when my dad first ran for mayor in the 1970s, but we may not be so lucky with old family photo albums found soaking wet.”
Hurricane Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of destructive weather that has become impossible to ignore. In 2011, the U.S. suffered through a record-high 14 weather events that caused at least $1 billion each in damages.
The Sierra Club is committed to cataloging the human toll from climate emergencies and using these firsthand experiences to compel our leaders to solve the climate crisis with bold and immediate actions.
Add your voice to the climate movement by sharing your story, pictures or thoughts on Hurricane Sandy. Visit Climate Comes Home.