Year 3, Month 11, Day 8: When You Need Advice On Running An Army, Be Sure To Ask A Hippie

Well, it looks like Wall Street got wet. Forbes Magazine asks, “What If Mike Bloomberg Is Right And A Climate Change Nightmare Is Here?”

Lower Manhattan was almost entirely without power, probably until tomorrow. Staten Island was devastated. At least 38 New Yorkers are dead. The devastation in the nearby Jersey Shore is even worse. Nobody knows when the subway system will be running between Manhattan and other boroughs again. It’s true, as ProPublica pointed out, that the hospital evacuations are part of an epidemic of hospital generators failing during natural disasters, and that the generators were, in the words of NYU Langone trustee Gary Cohn, “not state-of-the art and not in the most state-of-the art location.” We couldn’t come to emotional terms with the destruction a fourteen foot wall of water could do to this city. Now we don’t have any choice.

“In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable,” wrote New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his endorsement of President Barack Obama. “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Why not ask some climatologists for advice on your investment strategies? That’d probably work as well or better than asking an apologist for capitalism for his opinion on climate. Sheesh. Better late than never, I suppose. Sent November 2:

What if Mike Bloomberg is right on climate change? A very good question indeed, but not the one that really needs asking.

If it takes an extreme weather event of Sandy’s magnitude to get him to recognize that climate scientists knew what they’ve been talking about all along, what does that say about the ability of the private sector to recognize and acknowledge expertise in any area? If environmentalists’ predictions are coming true, can the business community even realize that it’s been on the wrong side of both science and history?

If business leaders finally acknowledge that climate change is real, human-caused and dangerous to humanity, can they take the next step, and recognize that our planet’s resources and resilience are finite, and cannot support an economic model predicated on continuous growth? Can market capitalism transform itself into an agent of long-term sustainability rather than accelerating consumption and waste?

Warren Senders

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