For many New Jersey residents, the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 brought a sense of immediacy to the state’s acute vulnerability in a changing climate. In the storm’s aftermath, housing and health care issues necessarily took precedence. But seven years on, long-term solutions such as offshore wind have become an important part of the conversation about how to address the ongoing crisis that involves more tidal flooding and severe weather.
“People see that we have to move to renewable energy,” says Amanda Devecka-Rinear, executive director of the New Jersey Resource Project (NJRP). “They see that we have to do something about climate change, not just raise our houses.”
NJRP has been raising awareness about offshore wind among both residents and policymakers in the four southeastern counties hardest hit by Sandy. Though only about a third of the storm’s survivors had heard about offshore wind coming to New Jersey in an NJRP survey this year, a majority are excited about the prospect and curious to learn more.
“We’re seeing a recognition that we need offshore wind if we’re going to do something about the challenges we face as a community,” Devecka-Rinear says. “It begins to take root and spread when you’re investing in community leaders and helping to educate them about it.”
- The Fate of My Grandmother’s Home: Facing Sea Level Rise in New Jersey
AMANDA DEVECKA-RINEAR, GUEST COMMENTARY,
UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
“I understand the risks I face, that our communities face, from storm surge, sea level rise, and flooding. And sure, someone on the outside might say, “why don’t you just leave?” Leaving home would be like losing a family member. And my community doesn’t cut bait and run—we stand together and fight.”