Super Storm Sandy a Sobering Reminder of Climate Change

by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing

For a weather geek, it’s hard to think of anything right now besides Hurricane-Now-Tropical-Storm Sandy, which came ashore Monday night in Atlantic City, NJ. Even as it weakens, it continues to churn away – flooding roads, damaging buildings, and leaving millions of people without power. The destruction is New York City is truly awful, as subway tunnels have filled with water and major traffic arteries and bridges are shut down. The New York Stock Exchange shut down for 2 consecutive days for the first time since 1888.

As one of many Floridians with New York origins and family still there, it has been an anxious time of calling and emailing to verify that folks are OK. As a business person, I wonder when all businesses will recognize that climate change that causes this kind of disruption is bad for business. No one expects calm, sunny weather every day. But as the evidence has accumulated over the last few decades that changes in our climate are headed in a dangerous direction, some businesses have been slow to respond.

The cost of this kind of event is staggering. It goes well beyond the cost to repair all the physical damage across multiple states over the next days, weeks and months. It includes all the business lost because phones are down, power is out, and businesses can’t operate. ┬áThousands of flights are cancelled. Pickups and deliveries of all kinds stop. While I sit in sunny Florida today, I can’t reach my clients up the East Coast. Revenue that I don’t make today can’t be made up later.

So while I am glad to see that our local power companies – TECO, FPL and Duke Energy – have all sent crews to assist with storm repairs, I know that’s a band aid. We need to see climate change for the multi-faceted challenge that it is, and take appropriate steps – each business in its own way – to address the factors that contributed to Sandy’s formation. Doing so, I believe, would generate huge opportunities for businesses of all kinds.