Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Helplessness of Natural Disaster

I'm going to start this post by admitting that what I'm about to write is somewhat insensitive. Unfortunately, it is something I can't stop thinking about, so I've decided I might as well write about it.

The earthquake that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12 is a tragedy that could not be prevented and is painful to watch, but also is a bit heartwarming to see the world come together to help our neighbors. Earthquakes, in my opinion, are one of the worst natural disasters we have to deal with in this world -- there is very little warning and very little one can do to help themselves during one.

Now comes the insensitive bit. I can't help watching the search for survivors and the requests for debt reduction and rebuilding funds and wonder, how in the world will we as a planet deal with the disasters that are surely to come in the next 100 years.

I mean this is one small island and so many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the pain and suffering occurring. As we continue to warm this planet and watch while many of the predictions for 20 years in the future occur now, we know these disasters are going to become more frequent and more devastating.

I didn't get to watch every speech made during the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen last December, but I did watch the speeches by the representatives from island nations. It was heartbreaking. These nations will be under water, some within our lifetimes, and still we could not come up with a good solution.

Why are we as a planet able to come forward when a terrible disaster occurs, but we can't come together to prevent such a disaster?

Before I get comments, I do know that climate change has little affect on earthquakes. I'm not implying here that this disaster was preventable. What I'm saying is the terribly aftermath is going to become more and more common and we need to decide how best to react. It seems, and several economists agree, that it will be less expensive to prevent these disasters as much as possible, then to actually have to rebuild these countries. Not to mention the loss of life, which there is no way to recover.

Climate change isn't going to only negatively affect countries who can't afford the devastation. Look at a map -- our most populated areas in this country will also be affected. Something to think about next time you forget to turn a light off or decide to drive somewhere that is less than two miles away.

That is what keeps me up at night. I feel awful for the people of Haiti, not only because they have to live through this nightmare, but because they were a people who already had to suffer great injustices and it will only get worse in the next few decades.

Now that I've depressed us, we tried to lift our spirits in my office this week by having another craft night. Every now and then a few of us stay after work and do crafts. It is not organized, we don't all do the same craft, we just bring whatever craft on which we are currently working. If you want to learn something, like knitting, the people who knit are happy to show you. We have snacks and drinks and get a lot of people who don't even do a craft attending. My craft this time was photography. I need to practice taking photos inside and I'm still getting used to my LensBaby. Upon review of these photos I noticed that I'm still not sticking the focus quite right. I'll have to keep working on it. Below are some results...