We now live in a world where a tropical hurricane and a huge snow storm can occur in New York only one week apart. We must have made mother nature really angry…
Hurricane Sandy affected over 24 states, as well as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. In the NY Tri-State area specifically, it was the worse we have seen in over 100 years, and the 2nd costliest after Hurricane Katrina. Two cities very near and dear to my heart, Rockaway, Queens, and Long Beach, Long Island, were absolutely devastated. And although most people in Manhattan have gotten their power and heat back, there are multitudes of people who, during this crazy snowstorm, are without.
And in Brooklyn, where I currently live, every tree is still fully leaved (also due to the unnaturally warm year we have had), and the heavy snow will without a doubt cause some to fall over – they are already starting to look a bit precarious…
I grew up in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Rockaway, Queens, one house away from the beach. One of my favorite games to play with my friends growing up was “taking a short cut” to the beach, which involved climbing sheds, hopping fences, and crawling under the shrubbery of the neighboring houses to get there, while yielding swords made out of branches to fight off our beach jungle enemies. My friends and I found this quite fun. My neighbors…not so much.
Those sheds, fences, the boardwalk and the beach wall, let alone the houses, do not exist anymore. Any house that was along the beach wall was completely destroyed, and almost every house in the neighborhood was flooded, including my own family’s. Over 100 homes in Breezy Point and Belle Harbor were burnt to the ground, with maybe, just maybe, the chimney left standing.
When I was 10 years old, I moved to Long Island. My family continued to go to the beach in Rockaway during the summer, but as a bratty teenager who was too cool to hang out with my parents, I was with my friends in Long Beach, where I continued to have beach adventures of a different kind. And now, as an adult, many of my friends from high school currently live there…or did until Hurricane Sandy tore the neighborhood apart.
So what do we do now? How do we stop Mother Nature from having her nasty mood swings? We might have already done too much damage, but one way to reduce our impact on the environment is to eat a plant-based diet. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, our meat and dairy industry have more negative impact on our environment than any other. Even eating a plant-based diet just one day a week, or maybe just one meal a day, will make a difference. At Jivamukti Yoga School, where I work and practice, we have a focus of the month, and this month’s focus is about Aparigraha and Veganism.
aparigraha sthairye janma kathantā sambodhaḥ
अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथन्तासम्बोधः (PYS II.39)
When one becomes selfless and ceases to take more than one needs, one obtains knowledge of why one was born. Aparigraha essentially means greedlessness, or non-hoarding. Do you really need to eat meat/dairy 3 meals a day, 7 days a week?
More importantly, right now, please do not forget the people from Rockaway, Long Beach and all of the others who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, who still have a long way to go before their lives are back to normal, if there will ever be a normal again. There are many ways to help, and I have provided some resources below. Hope you are all safe and warm. ❤