WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - The hammering that New York, New Jersey and other eastern seaboard states just took from Hurricane Sandy might - might - be a wakeup for people about the reality of climate change.
My relatives in the Long Island-New Jersey area are all ok, but it was (and remains) a harrowing experience that will be talked about for years. As of this writing, most are without electricity and heat and repair efforts are slow at best, more likely glacial.
As Hurricane Sandy roared through the Finger Lakes - and it did roar through but doing relatively little damage - I was finishing a book called Zoo, James Patterson's (and Michael Ledwidge's) latest.
I have not been much of a Patterson fan in recent years, but this book should get more attention from people who are watching climate change, genetically modified food effects, and the destruction of the planet as we plunder it for oil, gas and minerals.
It's hard not to spoil the plot here. But I will say that the book describes how man's incessant desire for more industrial growth leads to a problem with animals. No, they don't get sick, exactly. But imagine your pet Chihuahua suddenly turning from a yipping little thing with a grapefruit I.Q. to a clever, conniving pooch with the attitude of the late Leona Helmsley.
Ouch. That really bites.
I had a biology teacher in high school who used to say that "Mother Nature always bats last."
Hurricane Sandy was a good demonstration of that. And Mother Nature still is at the plate.
A reading of Zoo is just as frightening.