The Williams river was so languid and lovely last Saturday morning that it was almost impossible to imagine the violence with which it must have been running on 28 August 2011. Yet the evidence was all around: sand piled high on its banks, trees still scattered as if by a giant’s fist, and most obvious of all, a utilitarian temporary bridge where, for 140 years, a graceful covered bridge had spanned the water.
The YouTube video of that bridge crashing into the raging river was Vermont’s iconic image from its worst disaster in memory, the record flooding that followed Hurricane Irene’s rampage through the state in August 2011. It claimed dozens of lives, as it cut a more than $1bn swath of destruction across the eastern US.
I watched it on TV in Washington, DC, just after emerging from jail, having been arrested at the White House during mass protests of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since Vermont is my home, it took the theoretical – the ever more turbulent, erratic, and dangerous weather that the tar sands pipeline from Canada would help ensure – and made it all too concrete. It shook me bad.
And I am not the only one.
For Bill McKibben’s complete article visit: Connecting the dots of this climate change crisis | Bill McKibben | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.