Over at Dot.Earth, Andy Revkin points out that basic preparedness is important – and that he’d have benefitted from some.
If I’d followed my colleague Tom Zeller’s advice and invested in a wood-stove-style insert for my fireplace — as I’ve muttered about for years — my family wouldn’t have had to sleep in a 45-degree house for four days in the wake of the epic snowstorm in the Northeast last week. (Although we still would have had to melt snow on our propane stove to flush the toilets; watch the video below for more survival tips from the snow zone.)
Everyone lives where potential disasters can occur. And virtually everyone who is not homeless can prepare in some measure to protect themselves. That is, you may not have any extra money for food, but you can still fill soda bottles put in recycling with water for an emergency and look in on your neighbors What we can do to protect ourselves and our households varies enormously – but our moral responsiblity to do what we can doesn’t change.
We know that many of us will be on our own in the event of a natural disaster – we’ve seen this happen in the US repeatedly, and we also know that even when everything works, the people who are there are the first line of response. They were the first people out rescuing their neighbors in every disaster – the first responders are you.
The more you do to ensure that you can meet basic needs, offer a helping hand to those in need, and make sure that the people who can’t help themselves get resources first, the better off everyone is, whether the earth shakes or a storm rolls in.