When an earthquake tore up Anchorage, AK a few weeks back, the news quickly spread through British Columbia. Coastal communities need not worry, there is no threat of a tsunami. Everyone stand down.
Humans respond pretty well to disaster. We do a good job of setting aside differences and pouring our focus into the task at hand. When we need to. We deliver results under the stress of short-term catastrophe.
It’s the longer term that we struggle with.
If we are not experiencing it in real-time we can set it aside. If it is not giving us pleasure or pain in the immediate, it is not happening. So, when storm surge is swelling rivers and washing away coastline, the community comes together to fortify neighbourhoods with sandbag walls and a volunteer ferry system is created on-demand to get the vulnerable to safety.
But, when it comes to climate change for example, it is a little more difficult for us to handle. There are so many excuses.
Standing at the check-out counter of the local grocery store with debit card in hand the gentleman next to me said, “if you had cash then you would already be done!”
Who carries cash? Other than my kid (who has more cash than me) the cashless world is so easy. No change rattling around in the pockets and no need to know basic math. Plug a card in and let the algorithms sort it out.
That comment sparked a conversation that carried on into the parking lot. He told me the story of his friend who was in Christchurch, NZ during their big shaker. They were relieved to be carrying cash as the digital infrastructure crashed around them.
What is convenient, might not be prudent
Whenever these disasters strike there is a frenzy of activity. News stories offer stark warnings about being ready for anything. Ready for everything.
Is your emergency kit up to date? Do you have a supply of food to carry you for a few days? Do you have a bug-out bag? We don’t. Even though we know we should. So many excuses. In our case, none of them are acceptable.
It is preparation that provides us the confidence we need to spring into action for our community when that call goes out.