On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York. Five years later, advocacy groups and residents assembled to voice objections to how elected officials have responded to both the storm and the looming threat of climate change. On Saturday, hundreds representing organizations from around the country marched from downtown Brooklyn to Manhattan, in a protest called Sandy 5.
With the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy happening this Sunday, artists and activists are preparing for the “Sandy 5,” a rally to urge New York’s elected officials to promote renewable energy, deal with unresolved damage, and prepare the boroughs for future storms.
Trump. That’s all that was spelled out this afternoon when artist David Datuna laid down some cool art in Union Square. The all-caps letters were made of large blocks of dry ice that emitted fog that drifted away in the wind. On top of the blocks, some of which were cracked, were notes that said #thistooshallpass.
“Have you been to one of our shows lately?” Reverend Billy asked me. The answer was– no, I have not. Not ever. In my chat with the eco-activist, author, and radical preacher who “prays to life on earth,” I was curious to know what in heaven’s name a Reverend was doing on the calendar at a Bushwick DIY venue like Market Hotel. But Billy’s explanation brought everything together for me. “They’re a little like mosh pits,” he explained. “It’s a punk gospel for life. It’s a laboratory for getting going again.”
A teaser like that is hard to turn your back on, and so is the Reverend’s larger environmental message: consumerism and “nation-state allegiances” stand in the way of our relationship with the Earth. As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, there’s a new kind of urgency to changing our ways, and Reverend Billy believes that calls for physical, direct action are the only way to foment radical change. But when he’s not putting his body on the line to preach against the further slaughter of the earth, the Reverend is hosting shows like the one happening this weekend at the Market Hotel. “I’m trying to preach here,” he said, exasperated. “And along with the choir, we’re trying to inspire activism in our audience.”