We were very pleased to see this poignant editorial by Mr. Greenberg in the New York Times. As we begin the process of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy we have an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with the natural environment.

iSuperstormSandyIn reading Mr. Greenberg’s account of the historic oyster habitat around the New York & New Jersey Estuary, one can’t help but to make a connection to the grandeur and fragility of our own coastal cities. His description of the great “kingdom” that formed as “generation after generation of oyster larvae rooted themselves on layers of mature oyster shells […] until enormous underwater reefs were built up around nearly every shore of greater New York” is reminiscent of the long and deliberate processes which built New York City. It is reassuring to think that the native oyster populations, which were decimated in a relatively short amount of time, can serve not only as a warning but as part of the solution.

In learning from the difficult lesson of Hurricane Sandy, hopefully we will take stock of our many resources and continue to grow cities (and oyster reefs) with a greater understanding of what is necessary to form resilient communities.

Further Reading

Pandemic Pause
E+D Podcast with Keith Bowers: The state of ecology and design in landscape architecture
Living Infrastructure: Green is great, but alive is even better
Water, Equity, and Ecology in Urban Planning
Composting Toilets: When Nature Calls

More From This Author

Thoughts on Salamanders
What if the People’s Climate March had Included Plants & Animals?
Learning from Hurricane Sandy
The stark reality of post-apocalyptic film locations
A Beach with a View – Rebuilding New Jersey’s Coastal Dunes