Hurricane Sandy: Cleaning Up in New Jersey, A Long Way To Go


On October 31st, instead of getting our Halloween candy ready for children who might come to our door, I was putting out snacks for 20 and making dinner for 15, as we remain one of the few homes in our New Jersey town with power. Halloween by the way has been “cancelled,” it is too dangerous with downed wires and trees to be walking around neighborhoods. This is the second year in a row Halloween has been “cancelled” due to a weather disaster.

Here are a few more pictures of the devastation in my local area, where clean up is being done by neighbors helping neighbors as the town and the state remain overwhelmed.

My Neigborhood: Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

My Neighborhood: Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

We would have been trapped in our cul de sac, perhaps still, if it wasn’t for our neighbors son and son-in-law who used their chain saws to release us from mother nature’s captivity (the blade bent on the saw and is so worn it can’t be used again.)

Life is “precarious” and we don’t even realize how fragile the connection to “normalcy” is. My family is so one injured, lights and heat are on. But many of our friends are “toughing it out” in cold dark homes, which can’t continue too much longer..I imagine we will be pulling out more sheets, blankets and air mattresses if the power stays off as predicted, for a week or more. At least we aren’t trapped in a home surrounded by sewage filled water, as citizens of Hoboken, NJ find themselves today, and at least in our town, homes may be damaged but can be repaired, unlike many homes on the Jersey shore that are simply gone.

These pictures are of lines building and forming at one of the few gas stations that has power in our area. An unexpected and not widely discussed problem that is growing day by day is the shortage of gas and in some communities, access to clean water. Not only are people running out of fuel for their cars and figuring out ways to conserve, but many homes that do have generators need gas to keep them running and the lights and heat on. A local town facebook group has been “reporting” on gas stations that are open and have less then a 2 hour wait for gas. In some communities electric power to water suppliers remains off, and water rationing and the need to boil drinking water has begun. Are any of these wake up calls that when we rebuild, we should consider other options besides fossil fuels and “drill baby drill?”

Lines For Gas: October 31st, Route 208 New Jersey

Lines for gas blocking Rt 208 New Jersey

Lines for Gas, Route 208 New Jersey, October 31st

The presidential elections, which had occupied much of our thoughts and discussions these past weeks and months, are now only 6 days away, yet seem like a distant and unimportant issue. As my children’s schools remain without power and closed through the week, it isn’t clear we will even be able to vote. Local schools are our polling stations. As hundreds of thousands of homes remain without power in the New York tri-state area, and therefore millions of people impacted, can the elections even actually take place as planned? Climate change, it’s impacts on the economy, jobs and our future has remained off the campaign trail and the candidates stump speeches. History will write more about this, but it seems to me that Mother Nature decided to put our changing climate, and our need to do something about it, squarely on the “table” and “up front and center. Human caused climate change is a fact of life that can’t and won’t be ignored.

View from my front door: 3 days after Sandy

Life goes on, the sun is rising and the sky is clear today, as you can see from this picture I took this morning from my front door. But somehow I feel that life will not ever be quite the same as it was before Sandy roared into town.


Climate Mama

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2 Responses to Hurricane Sandy: Cleaning Up in New Jersey, A Long Way To Go

  1. Leigh says:

    As a fellow northern NJ resident, voter, and environmentalist I could not agree with you more… life will never be exactly the same as it was before the storm even for those of us lucky enough to have power and undamaged homes.

    I hope our leaders start to take climate change seriously and start talking about it. Luckily, some of our leaders like Bloomberg and Cuomo have started talking about it this week and the press has started to ask questions at press conferences! I even saw news segments explaining climate change and the melting ice caps. I am just sad and disappointed it took a storm like this to get it on everyones minds.

    • Harriet says:

      green-4-u.comAgreed Leigh..not only do our leaders need to start talking about it, but the media needs to make sure climate change stays “up front and center”…We can help “around the margins” but we need it to be front page on some of the national newspapers and nightly news shows too! Thanks for ll you do at

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