Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reality...Our Fragile Systems...

Life is a struggle. And the further we get from the struggle of finding food and making shelter and creating warmth, the further we get from reality and the closer we get to being so dumbed-down and stupid that we can't survive whenever there is a belch in our life-support systems.

I admit it, I love the fact that we have the medical science that saves newborn children with severe medical problems who would have died just two decades ago. What is not to love about that? It's wonderful!

I like movies and music and books. I don't just "like" these things, I do love them.

I know, "survivalist types" are not supposed to like things like movies and music. They're supposed to shun things like MP3 Players and Ipods, etc. I like my MP3 Player.

I love the fact that I can flip a switch and have light in the middle of the night or turn a knob and fire magically appears and I can have a can of safe and nourishing chicken noodle soup whenever I want it. But I always keep in mind that these things are supported by very fragile systems. Our systems are not robust. We have been very lucky...very fortunate.

From time to time, we see glimpses of reality. They oftentimes have names. Names like Camille, Agnes, Andrew, Hugo, Katrina, Ivan, and Rita. Tornadoes don't have names, but they have dates, locations and Fujita Scale designations. Locations become the thing of legend for those who survived them, places like Xenia, Ohio and Mattoon, Illinois.

Hurricanes have the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale but we name them, so the names are remembered along with their "Category" of power via that Scale.

Earthquakes? Richter Scale designations go along with the locations, Loma Prieta and Northridge and many others. And then we have the Tsunamis...don't we?

The 2004 Indonesian Tsunami which killed over 200,000 people. The current, unfolding horror in Japan - the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.

Volcanic eruptions...some ancient, like the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum from a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The massive explosion of Krakatoa. In more modern times? Mount Saint Helens.

How many people are aware of the Yellowstone Caldera or Supervolcano?

Most Americans have heard of the San Andreas Fault. How many know about the New Madrid Fault?

Then we have manmade disasters. Sometimes they are coupled with a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina followed by the failure of the Levee System in New Orleans which turned the natural bowl that is New Orleans into what some people referred to as a "toxic bowl of soup."

Then we have human error or stupidity as was the case with the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill or hubris and avarice with the Deepwater Horizon or B.P. Oil Spill.

The Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, India. The meltdown at Chernobyl. The partial meltdown and successful containment of Three Mile Island.

Then, a natural disaster that becomes so much worse when the human element, the ever-present fragile we see with the current Fukushima Event.

Then there are the incredibly strange events like London's Great Smog of 1952 which killed 4,000 people in London. Four-thousand people or "Lake Overturn" or Limnic Eruption. "Exploding Lakes," add that wonderful phenomenon to your ever-expanding disaster lexicon.

The Blackout of 2003. When this happened everyone wondered how one substation could take down such a massive portion of "The Grid."

Survival in Urban and Suburban areas is basically snubbed by most people writing about "survival" on forums and websites. Sure, there are a few, but at the core of most of those pages you see the hawking of gold and silver or seeds...which is the real focus of the writing.

Not all, but most people who are writing about "survival" are writing about "wilderness survival." Again, this is fine, I'm interested in that as well. Or, they are writing about primitive living skills and holding that up as the answer to the problem of surviving. The large flaw, perhaps the fatal flaw for some of these folks is, you would have to put yourself into a situation like that. It won't naturally occur unless you hunt, fish, hike, camp or do some combination of all of them, in a remote area.

You are much more likely to encounter some other type of disaster and be caught up in that disaster or some other event on the periphery of it and it won't be by choice. It will just happen. But these problems are, as I said earlier, basically snubbed by the survival folks. Some of them like to make fun of the whole Urban and Suburban element to survival.

So, what I wanted to try to do with this blog is write about that. That doesn't mean that I won't talk about surviving in the wilder areas, but I wanted to talk about surviving in a wide range of areas. Years ago I put up this article that this guy wrote, The Joys of Being Homeless. I don't know what happened to Jerry Leonard, but he is the guy that assembled all of that information and I just wanted to save it for as long as I have a website.

Seven years ago, that's the date at the bottom of that article. A long time. I've been beating the drum for a very long time. So, this is nothing new but a lot of people think it is something new for me. 8-)

So, what is your own threat assessment for the area you live in?

I left non-hurricane and non-tsunami flooding out of the hyperlinks up above! Should I bore you and include some of them as well?

Flood-prone areas, a large concern as well. There are so many things you have to look at and then adjust your preparations accordingly.

Do you live near a nuclear power plant? What would you do if the unthinkable happened at that plant? How about a Hydroelectric Power Plant...a Dam?

Do you live near a major interstate or railroad tracks? Do you have any idea what flies down the roads and rails on a daily basis? One goofball does something in traffic around a tractor-trailer tanker full of chemical nastiness and you might have to evacuate...a train derailment with multiple tankers of chemical nastiness...have you thought about this?

Societal collapse...tyranny in many possibilities.

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