HITTING CLOSE TO HOME : Hurricane Sandy In New York City where Eve Mosher performed the HighWaterLine in 2007, city streets and subways were inundated with floodwaters from Atlantic hurricane Sandy on October 29th, 2012. It was the largest hurricane on record in diameter with winds spanning 1,100 miles, and the second costliest hurricane ($75 billion) behind Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005. Sandy affected 24 states including the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine and west across the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York.
Dear Friends, I a m so glad that you are considering the HighWaterLine as a project to u ndertake in your community. When I started the project in 2006, I didn’t really understand how meaningful it would be to go out and draw the line. Over the course of the project, I learned so much about my watershed and how it might be affected in the face of climate change.
Hurricane Sandy was intensified in part because of changing climate and weather patterns. Warmer seas provided energy and allowed the hurricane to travel farther north than usual. Sea level rise was one of the contributors to the extreme height
Doing this project gave me the opportunity to have a mazing conversations with people living in New York City about what could happen in the event of sea level rise and increased storm intensity. Taking action changed the way I viewed my community and it gave me a voice in the global conversation on climate change.
I NEVER WANTED TO BE RIGHT - A reflection by Eve Mosher I didn’t set out to be a prophet(ess). I never wanted it to happen. I only took the published facts and translated them into a physical and visual indicator. In fact, I was hoping that I could bring the conversation to light in order that we might avoid this situation. We were lucky. Bloomberg & Cuomo stood their ground – they shut down transit, MTA, bridges and ordered a mandatory evacuation. Everyone said, don’t be fooled into complacency, Irene was a “near miss” – this one is like no other. Hurricane Sandy brought the HighWaterLine project into stark reality this week.
Now, more than ever, the effects are all around us: decreased snow-cover, rising sea levels, intense heat, drought, and stronger more frequent storms. Climate change is real, and the recent extreme weather and “superstorms” are predicted to get much worse over the next century. We all play a part in contributing to climate change, but we can also do a nu mber of things to increase awareness, and change our own habits and actions when addressing this important issue. Everyone who undertakes this project has a chance to connect with the environment and their neighborhoods in new ways. It is an opportunity for you to invite dialogue about climate change, and to build tools to address this important issue in your own region. Take your time while drawing the line, talk to people, you can make a difference.
I have seen images of water up to (and past in many cases) where I drew the line. I keep hearing about incidents that, sadly, don’t surprise me at all. For example, what was the explosion at the 14th street sub station? That was a power plant right on the coastline, and below 10 feet above sea level. The height of the storm surge was reportedly 13 feet. The images are shocking, the storm itself was pretty scary, tearing down trees and ripping up fences and awnings – and even a few building facades. The inundation is what has crippled the city – the subway and the tunnels remain closed. Manhattan below 38th street remains without power. In 2007 I walked along
Good Luck! Eve
of the storm surge – over 13 feet at The Battery. According to a research assessment being produced by the Earth System Research Laboratory at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, “It is very likely that further sea level rise will contribute to increased coastal high water levels in the future, conditions that led to Sandy’s primary impacts on coastal New York and New Jersey.”
almost 70 miles of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan coastline. I got to know the people who lived, worked and played in those communities… At the time I sought to get climate change and its potential impacts to be a part of the conversation – locally, at the city and state levels and maybe even at the federal level. Many have complained that it is still not a part of the national conversation, it should be. If we don’t solve this, what do any of the other problems matter? What is good education if there is no school? Healthcare when the hospitals can’t operate? Housing rights when your house has been washed away? Thankfully, Bloomberg and Cuomo are talking about it. Even Cuomo’s quote, “It seems like we have a 100 year flood every two years now,” is eerily familiar to the conversation I had on the streets during the project. The likelihood of a 100-yr flood could become as frequent as once in every 43 years by the 2020s, once in every 19 years by the 2050s, and once in 4 years by the 2080s, on average, in the most extreme case. I never wanted this to be a reality. Five years ago I couldn’t have even imagined it. And along comes Sandy. And now it is true.” October 31, 2012 (Source: evemosher.com/2012/i-never-wantedto-be-right/)
Published on Jul 4, 2014
ecoartspace presents Eve Mosher's HighWaterLine ACTION GUIDE, the first in a series of ten art and ecology learning guides presenting replic...