Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jerry Thompson: The TNB Self-Interview

Excerpt from the interview:

But seriously now, aren’t you just trying to scare the hell out of everybody?

Actually, I’m not. Because I think kneejerk alarmism is a complete waste of time and energy. The truth is – we’re not all gonna die. The vast majority of us will survive the quake. Cities and towns will be wrecked to some degree and the tsunami waves will kill some of us – but only a few compared to the overall population.

The last number I heard was that something like 28,000 people in Japan had been killed or were missing. Which is a terrible number, no getting around it. But there were millions more in that region who survived. In the days ahead I expect you’ll start to hear stories of how some of those folks managed to stay alive – there will be stories of miraculous heroism and ingenuity. The Japanese knew something like this would happen eventually and they were probably the most organized and prepared people in the world. But right now, we in North America are nowhere near that prepared.

So what really matters now is how well all of us survivors endure the aftermath. And that depends entirely on how much effort and energy we invest in getting ourselves ready for the inevitable.
But here’s some good news: survival skills can be learned. Education will help, so go out there and get some. Take a first aid course. Join your local emergency preparedness group. Make sure your local and national politicians don’t ignore the long list of things that need to be done right here at home.
Here’s some more good news: resilience is a state of mind and a multi-purpose tool. Whatever you teach yourself about surviving a quake will work just as well if you’re facing a forest fire, a flooding river, a hurricane or a terrorist attack.

If you think back to how the richest, most powerful, most technologically advanced nation on the planet responded to Hurricane Katrina, then just imagine what it’s gonna be like when five cities get hit with a Katrina-size disaster on the same day. The shockwaves from a magnitude 9 quake on Cascadia’s fault will reach from Sacramento to Portland to Seattle to Victoria and Vancouver in Canada. All at the same moment.

So there won’t be any government agency or white knight riding over the hill to the rescue. People are going to be on their own for days if not weeks. And that’s why now’s the time to snap out of the trance and start making your own plans for survival. Because nobody else is going to do it for you.

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