[caption id="attachment_13535" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Josh Ingle of Greenpeace loads bread and supplies into the Rolling Sunlight solar truck the day after Hurricane Sandy"][/caption]
The link between cataclysm and rebirth exists in cultures throughout the world.
In Japanese, the word crisis contains the symbols for both danger and opportunity. Even in English, the word crisis means a time of change.
[caption id="attachment_13536" align="aligncenter" width="584" caption="The Rolling Sunlight, a solar generating station that powered the relief effort at YANA in the Rockaways"][/caption]
Sandy is undoubtedly a brutal crisis for much of the east coast. However, networks have been setup to provide people with lifes most basic necessities. As the immediate needs of food, water and shelter subside, we can begin to ask ourselves, What Now?
[caption id="attachment_13534" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A banner outside of YANA's volunteer center"][/caption]
Do we rebuild by looking backwards, in the same unsustainable ways that helped create this crisis?
Or will this community look forward, and embrace the sustainability and resiliency that is necessary in a world affected by climate change?
Personally I am hopeful. The first phase of construction has already begun on YANA, a green job training center that became a main hub for the community relief effort in the Rockaways after the storm. It took hurricane Sandy to bring solar power to YANA, and renewable energy will continue to power the community center through the rebuilding process. YANA, which stands for You Are Not Alone, will become a proof of concept for sustainable rebuilding, and will train teams of workers from the Rockaway community to install and service solar panels and other sustainable infrastructure throughout the area. There are also plans for community owned gathering centers which will provide a space to organize and educate, as well as farm in community gardens.
Go here to learn more about the sustainable rebuilding of YANA and how you can contribute.
Social movements throughout the world have been borne from crisis. In harrowing circumstances, the boundaries that separate people are broken, and networks of similar thought can be connected, forming a powerful social force.
"Another world is Possible. Lets prove it.
Jesse Coleman is a researcher with the Greenpeace Investigations team. His focus is on front groups, fracking, and the oil and gas industry. Jesse's work has been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Colbert Report, Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, and NPR.