Sandy's warning for all
On its way from being a late-season Caribbean hurricane to gaining horror-movie superstardom as a "Frankenstorm", Sandy racked up a breath-taking number of calamity records in addition to claiming over one hundred lives. More than eight million people in the vast stricken north-east states of the USA lost electricity, the New York subway took its worst hit in 108 years while the NY Stock Exchange closed its doors for two straight days for the first time in 124 years as water 14 feet high surged into Manhattan.
While it remains at the level of a whisper, the culprit at the back of many minds is the spectre of climate change. Although the case is still to be conclusively proved, Sandy, described as a "freakish and unprecedented monster", fits into a pattern of dramatic global ill-effects said to be connected to the over-warming of the planet.
There are many areas in which countries can stake out separate and territorial interests, but the environment is not one of them. If nothing else, climate change should bring home to all mankind the fact that, whatever our differences, we all live on the same planet where the actions of one hold consequences for all.
Regardless of size or income or any of the other indicators of global significance, every community of people must therefore insist on their right to have their voices heard in the global debate on climate change.
For small island states like those in the Caribbean, the price to be paid for damage to the eco-sphere will be disproportionate to our actual responsibility for it. But we cannot simply throw up our hands and assume that the large industrialised nations will generously agree to carry the cost of reversing the trend. We already know the lengths to which special interests are willing to go in resisting change and denying their responsibility. In the face of scientific fact and empirical evidence, some have preferred to invest in a counter-science movement designed to discredit the global environmental movement as mere conspiracy theory.
Notwithstanding our small size, we must recognise our power as part of a global alliance in defence of the planet and ourselves.
For this, we need a public education drive that promotes greater understanding of how individual action and behaviour are directly connected to community, national and global environmental phenomena.
In our increasingly polarised and acrimonious political climate, the room for national solidarity on such over-arching issues as the environment is not merely limited; it is almost nonexistent.
If nothing else, Hurricane Sandy's devastation serves as a reminder of the things that are truly important to people and which should be at the top of every nation's priority list. On this list, disaster preparation must be among those at the highest.
God may or may not be a Trini, but He is known everywhere as being willing to help those who help themselves.