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Rebuilding Smarter After Hurricane Sandy

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Rebuilding Smarter After Hurricane Sandy

On the Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy was sweeping inland far south in New Jersey, I spent an emotional day connecting with coastal communities in Connecticut where storm-whipped waves surged ashore past beachfront homes, over roads, beaches, and wetlands that had just recovered from Tropical Storm Irene.

During the weeks since Hurricane Sandy reawakened the conversation about smarter ways to manage our coastlines and climate change in the U.S., these images from that day have stayed with me.

I witnessed a mother and daughter returning to their home for the first time after Hurricane Sandy and picking through the rubble to retrieve a few remaining family photos.

I watched all four generations of a Hispanic family dig out sediment from their home with the National Guard to recover their American dream.

I met a restaurant owner who had just finally reopened this past summer, with the help of countless community fund raisers, after Tropical Storm Irene damaged his property a year ago, only to be back to square-one with nine months of repairs ahead.

l stood with a family whose home was swept off its foundations and carried 20 feet away, knocking over two telephone poles in the process. I stood with that same family as the fire chief drew a large circle with an “X” in orange spray paint on their front door – “condemned.”

I was there as the Connecticut Science Director of The Nature Conservancy, which has been working with state and local officials and citizens on natural and climate-related hazard planning along the shores of Long Island Sound. But by the end of the day, my role as a community advisor on coastal risk reduction and adaptation solutions seemed rather small and abstract. Seeing the tears and exhaustion in these people’s faces drove home for me the human toll of disaster.

Image credit: Adam Whelchel/TNC (Sandy batters Connecticut’s shore).

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Read more: Community, Conservation, Environment, Global Healing, Green, Health & Safety, Home, Inspiration, Life, Make a Difference, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Self-Help, Spirit

By Adam Whelchel, Ph.D., The Nature Conservancy

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8:39AM PST on Jan 18, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:29AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Noted this interesting read. This was such a terrible tragedy, and hoping when rebuilding is taking place, people will take into consideration that if they are really close to the sea, down the line they might have to face storms again, I don't think they will be another as wicked, considering that fact that Sandy happened on a night with the full moon, which of course affects the tides. Also I heard a gentleman on TV speaking about Statin Island where he is rebuilding with his own money so far, and how the storm sewers have never been upgraded.

1:44PM PST on Jan 12, 2013


9:07AM PST on Jan 12, 2013


7:06AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

So sad...

10:54PM PST on Jan 10, 2013

So very sad.. Signed and noted..

5:28PM PST on Jan 8, 2013

Sadly these super storms,hurricanes,droughts,and tornadoes will be increasing in numbers in the near future. Not really sure how one can prepare and build better structures that will withstand these forces of nature.

1:57AM PST on Jan 8, 2013


8:59PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

So sad

7:44PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

It would be good to go with solar and wind and replace fossil fuel-based infrastructure.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Squashercize for fitness and fun. I wonder if someone will show him it's edible too.

Thank You for very interesting comparison =)

OMG, one more food thing to watch out for...sometimes being a part of this world bums me out!

And I just love the picture of the water lily.


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