I’m not sure which is more terrifying: Going on TV for the first time or watching yourself on TV for the first time.
Both are new experiences for me. I’m a writer, not a talking head. But at the urging of my wife, I recently accepted the opportunity to appear on David Ushery’s WNBC weekly show, The Debrief. Each Sunday, Ushery explores a newsy issue relevant to New Yorkers, or as he puts it, “the story behind the story.” After Hurricane Sandy, climate change became a topic of national conversation, due in no small part to statements made by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I have written about that and the larger public dialogue playing out in the past few weeks, which Ushery and his producer read. Hence the invite to appear on the show.
three of the four taped segments posted online. For some reason, they’re missing the introductory segment. (I think there’s a technical glitch.) When they put it up, I’ll make sure to paste it in. (All fixed–the show can be watched in full below.)
I’m the telegenic natural (not!) sitting in the middle, between NBC meteorologist Chris Cimino and David Biello, an editor at Scientific American. Both of these guys were terrific and more polished than me. To my surprise, however, I didn’t melt into a hyperventilating puddle and even managed to hold my own. Beyond an initial jitter, I didn’t really feel nervous. I have no idea why this is so. (I think the easy-going, conversational format was a big part.)
What’s more impressive is that a substantive discussion on climate change took place on local network television–for 30 minutes. How often does that happen? So kudos to David Ushery, Chris Cimino and David Biello for elevating the dialogue on one of the most important and contentious issues of our time. I’m sure people will quibble with some of the things said by myself and the other two guests, and in retrospect, I wish my brain and tongue were more in sync. But overall, I’m pleased with how the show turned out. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Well, this was some week. Not so much for me and my family. We were among the lucky ones–we never lost power where I live in NYC. But nearly all my relatives on Long Island and New Jersey did and some of them are still without power. Thanks to readers who sent their thoughts via email and this blog.
I haven’t been blogging or tweeting because I’ve been distracted by everything that’s gone on around me in the city. Plus, with schools being closed, my two kids have been home all week. And when I was on the computer, I was using that time to work on some pieces that will be out shortly.
I have followed various threads of the climate debate that are playing out in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I have some thoughts on climate-related posts, articles and ensuing discussions, but will hold off until next week before putting them into some kind of bloggy perspective. Meanwhile, I will say this: It remains to be seen how much the hurricane will impact U.S. climate politics, but I’m fairly certain the storm was a big wake-up call for New York City.
By that, I mean its toll on the city’s infrastructure. For example, my wife works for a big company in a big modern skyscraper in downtown Manhattan–near Wall Street. That part of the city is not returning to normalcy anytime soon. The latest she’s hearing is that the building will be shut down until January. That’s incredible. And I’m pretty sure her situation is not unique.
Several weeks ago, when I attended a panel discussion on urban resilience, I wondered how long it would take for officials to make NYC more resilient to weather-related disasters like Hurricane Sandy. I’m guessing they’re going to be moving pretty fast from this day forward.