The New Normal?

Goodlifer: The New Normal?

Hurricanes, earthquakes and natural disasters have become quite common events these days. And they are more often happening in places where such occurrences have traditionally been extremely rare. An earthquake and a hurricane hitting NYC in one week? I mean, come on. Anyone who says that the climate is not changing is turning a blind side to this disturbing fact.

Are natural disasters becoming the new normal? We have floods in one part of the world while another struggles with ravenous droughts. This has always been the case, to some extent, but seems all the more noticeable lately. Perhaps because we are more connected to the other people on this planet than we ever have been, but more likely because we are more disconnected with Mother Earth than ever before.

Hurricane Irene. Photo by NASA.

Hurricane Irene. Photo by NASA.

I think about this as I sit here, in New York City, the day after Hurricane Irene swept by and left the city relatively unscathed. The preparations had been crazy, we had stocked up on water and food, some people had to evacuate their homes and some taped giant Xs on their windows. Watching the news reports and interviews with people on the street yesterday I was very distraught to hear people call the whole thing a “lame” “lackluster” “non-event.” Perhaps this was the case in the city, but people Upstate and elsewhere were, and probably still are, dealing with major floodings, loss of power and roads made inaccessible. To express disappointment in the fact that there was not “more action” right here is to turn our backs on those people. We should be thankful that we were spared.

Flooding in the Bronx.

Flooding in the Bronx.

Flooding and damaged roads in the Catskills.

Flooding and damaged roads in the Catskills.

I do understand where these kinds of feelings come from though. We have so little in common with each other today. There used to be TV shows that tied us together, shows that everyone watched at the same time, simply because that’s what was on. As we have started consuming media on demand, this part of our common culture has quickly faded. When we all have to care about something, like a hurricane approaching, that sense of togetherness and belonging comes out in all of us, and it feels good. When it’s all over—the disaster food shopping, the filling up of tubs, the making of go-bags—we are left with a sense of emptiness, wondering what the next topic of conversation in the elevator, at the bus stop, in the cafeteria at work will be.

Empty streets and taped windows in NYC on Saturday.

Empty streets and taped windows in NYC on Saturday.

Empty store shelves at a Manhattan Whole Foods.

Empty store shelves at a Manhattan Whole Foods.

I have an idea. Let’s really think about how we can prepare for a world that is safe in the long run. Let’s talk about why these natural disasters are so common these days. Let’s talk about what we can do to create a new normal that we would actually be comfortable with. That, I think, would serve to create a really stable common ground for all of us.

One thing you can start by doing is joining The Climate Reality Project on September 14, which aims to reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis. Find an event near you or watch the live stream here starting at 7pm CT .

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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What constitutes the good life? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of time and something we all strive for. To us, the good life is not a destination but a journey. We want to see more positivity in the world. Thinking happy thoughts makes for happy people, and happy people are more productive, innovative and at peace with the world. We believe in the transformative power of good news.

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