Thundersnow?? Snow Bomb? We’ve had our share of winter extremes, the most recent, Winter Storm Quinn, this past Wednesday, March 7. Just last Friday, March 2, we had an unnamed nor’easter. I was expecting friends for dinner and all the trains from New York City were delayed or canceled. They got here, via Path train and then an over-priced Uber ride and we celebrated Purim, (reciting my updated megillah to include today’s political Hamans.
By Tuesday, Quinn was predicted and by 4 pm Wednesday, we lost power. After Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and losing power for five days, we invested in a generator and were well prepared for the ravages of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Friends stayed with us and others availed themselves of offers to shower or charge their devices. The generator covers heat and hot water, the refrigerator and freezer so we don’t need to rush to grill all our meat or eat all the ice cream; and a couple lights and a few outlets. It’s not the whole house; if we were to lose power in the summer, we’d be without air-conditioning.
Schools are closed. People aren’t going to work. Wires crisscross roads, felled by trees and broken utility poles. The recording from our electric company says power should be restored by March 14th. That’s a week. If. I’ve seen a few trucks out—a crew from West Virginia. By three pm yesterday, they’d disappeared and I saw none today.
As a kid, growing up in rural Connecticut, we’d lose power infrequently, often due to ice storms. We’d fill the bathtub with water to use for the toilet, and lots of bowls and big pots for brushing our teeth. My father would make a huge fire in the fireplace and we’d camp overnight in front of it. I don’t remember being without power for extended periods and remember these episodes as adventures. School wasn’t canceled and life seemed to continue. I remember playing in the snow and enjoying distinct seasons; snow yielding to spring, to summer, to fall.
Weather now is more extreme. Rarely does the snow last long enough to play in. One of my grandsons loves winter and had hoped for a sledding birthday party back in December. Instead, the temperature was over 50 degrees and they played in the park. He invented “indoor” sledding, using cushions as a toboggan to slide down the stairs, landing softly on a pile of pillows.
These extremes are examples of climate change. Of how we’ve polluted the earth and seas, how we rely on fossil fuels, how we dump toxins, how we warm our air and sea temperatures with our negligence. Earth Day dates to 1970, and yet we continue our bad behavior, passing it along to the next generation.
Yet, we pride ourselves on our education system and our technology. Certainly, a country that produces computers, electric cars, solar and wind power, can find the innovation to combat global warming and still provide the electricity communities need to remain vibrant.
Among the many admirable attributes of the movie, Black Panther is the country Wakanda’s inspiring technology in transportation and communication. I’m sure its leaders have planned for potential natural disasters to avert a complete shutdown of the grid.
The fact is we have power. We have the power to challenge the climate change deniers; the politicians who have been coerced by business interests to continue the status quo, who refuse to acknowledge that global warming is real and coming for us.
I went to a local library to use its Internet. Every table was filled with families and business people working, seeking refuge from their unheated, powerless homes and offices. I’m luckier than most, I admit, with my “glamping” situation. I have to return to the library to post this blog, and to write to elected officials that I’m outraged about the outage.
I hope you are too.