Hurricanes and Earthquakes: What Do We Care About?

Our overly active hurricane season illustrates how unprepared most of us are for natural disasters.

In our seismically challenged Pacific Northwest, studies indicate insufficient preparation for a major earthquake.

An extensive drill found that the region would be unable to cope with the three million or so survivors who would need food, water, shelter, and medical aid ( The Seattle Times, October 23, 2016).

“Everything we depend on to live our 21st century lives is going to be significantly degraded or eradicated,” one official said. “The needs are going to be immediate, they are going to be urgent and they are going to be overwhelming.”

These warnings are similar to those sounded as major hurricanes approach.

Smartphones and Facebook helped rescuers find trapped families in Texas, but electrical power outages, lost computers, and damaged cellphones begin to limit digital use.

What do we depend on when these fail us?

We depend on basic networks so often neglected in our wired age. We depend on families, neighborhoods, and face to face friendships. And also on the kindness of strangers.

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