Just read an article about how a group of professors from Columbia University are urging immediate political action on climate change in the next 6-12 months because "Memory fades very fast".
I agree. I was appalled by how, after the brutal, unprecedented heat of the summer, climate change again fell completely off the map during the campaign season.
And urgent action is critical, but not because people will soon forget about hurricane Sandy (which they more or less will, as they did with Katrina), it's critical because if we don't stop climate change in a hurry it could well become too late to undo it (which of course it might already be, but we don't know that, so let's push for urgent action).
But the thing I'm coming to understand is, Mother Nature will not be backing off anytime soon. After the unbelievably warm winter and spring we had last year, it was pretty obvious to me we were about to have a ridiculously hot summer, and of course we did. Then, of course, that was followed by the Frankenstorm Sandy.
And with all these events, more and more people believe in climate change, more and more political will is built up.
The climate movement did next-to-nothing during the campaign season. We Pissed-Off Polar Bears were determined to make it a major issue in the election, so we protested at both political conventions and all three presidential debates, but were shocked that the movement at large wasn't there with us to force the issue. The media wouldn't cover it, the politicians wouldn't talk about it, and as the campaign wound down it became more and more apparent that this election would be a lost opportunity.
But then Mother Nature, the greatest climate activist of all, made her voice heard yet again. Hurricane Sandy put climate change on the map days before the election. Climate change was the October Surprise.
With the heat and drought and fires, Mother Nature did more for climate awareness than anyone in the movement last summer. Then she stepped it up again with Hurricane Sandy. I think the Columbia professors are underestimating her. People may "forget" Sandy's impact over the coming months, but catastrophic weather isn't going to end with Sandy. Not by a long shot. Mother Nature is going to remind us and remind us and remind us again. The public will not have the luxury of forgetting about climate change.