three anniversaries

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of the the terrorist attacks by plane which cost over 3,000 lives in New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks have cost additional lives as those who were exposed to debris and air pollution in the following months went on to develop serious health issues.

Many, many more lives were destroyed  – and continue to be destroyed – by the fifteen years of war which have followed.

On Friday at Binghamton University, there was a presentation on the aftermath of the attacks entitled “9/11: What have we learned? Where do we go from here?” Featured speakers were Ray McGovern and Donna Marsh O’Connor. Video is available here. The theme was building peace, not war. Donna Marsh O’Connor, who lost her daughter who was pregnant with her grandchild, spoke movingly about not wanting the death of her daughter to be an excuse for violence and war. Ray McGovern, who was once a CIA analyst, recounted the way that the situation after the attacks was manipuated to spread the war to Iraq. Mr. McGovern is now a peace activist.

Peace.

Something that I want desperately.

For all of us.

Wherever we are.

Whoever we are.

At church on Sunday, we sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I cried.

Adding to the emotion is a local anniversary. Five years ago, we were suffering from a historic flood after the remnants of tropical storm Lee dropped about ten inches of rain. Parts of my town were underwater, as were other nearby towns along the Susquehanna River. At my home, we had no power and only avoided a flooded basement because we had a generator to keep our sump pump operating. There were flooded homes and standing water three blocks away. In the five years since, we have seen some neighborhoods decmiated as homes were torn down, unable to be replaced as the land was considered too high-risk to inhabit.

Every time there is a flood in the news, we have a good idea what those people are going to go through and how long the process is.

As we watch coverage of floods, blizzards, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and other weather-related disasters, we are painfully aware that their increased frequency and severity is related to global comate change. There is a new website that shows how much impact global warming has on weather events. It does a good job showing how particular events are tied to changes in the atmosphere brought on by global warming.

It is sobering but a good tool to help explain the science.

Which leads to a third – and significantly happier – anniversary.

This is the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek. There have been marathons of episodes of the original series and interviews about it and its cultural impact as a franchise that spawned many television shows and movies. In their version of the future, earth is a peaceful place with a thriving natural environment. Poverty has been eliminated. There is racial and ethnic equality, although, while improved from the 1960’s reality, they still have a ways to go on sexual and gender issues.

In an odd way, though it is fiction, it does highlight that we can improve lives and health through science, knowledge, learning from past mistakes, ingenuity, co-operation, and good will.

Let’s get to work on that.

Mount Saint Helens

Re-blogging this post: http://wordwomanpartialellipsisofthesun.blogspot.com/2016/05/may-18-1980-where-were-you-when-mt-st.html  from blogger friend Steph on the anniversary of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in the western United States.  Great explanations and photos to remind us of the incredible power of geology. Check it out!

Stay safe!

This morning, I am thinking about all those facing severe weather. There is a blizzard approaching the mid-Atlantic region of the US. Seventy-five million people will be affected, including my sisters and their families and B’s brother and his family. The forecast calls for a large swath of 2-3 feet (0.75-0.95 meters) of snow coupled with strong winds.

I live further north where we will only catch a few inches, if anything at all.

I am also thinking of others in the United States and around the world who are suffering from floods, droughts, tornadoes, cyclones, mudslides, avalanches, dust storms, and all other weather disasters.

I wish everyone safety and and the swift arrival of whatever aid they need.
*****
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Start by visiting here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/22/just-jot-it-january-22nd-felicity/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today.

disaster preparedness and the radio

Four years ago, my hometown was among those affected by record flooding caused by the remnants of tropical storm Lee adding ten inches of rain to ground already saturated by Irene a few days prior. We were grateful that no one in our area was killed by the flood, largely due to the fact that people followed evacuation orders. However, there was a lot of damage with some homes and businesses lost permanently.

Since then, emergency preparedness has gotten more attention from government and the media, especially in September which is designated as disaster preparedness month.

One of the most important things to maintain during a crisis is effective communication. This is an area, though, where sometimes lower tech is more vital than high-tech.

Although our home did not flood, we were without electrical service for four days, which also meant no telephone or internet service. We would listen to the radio for information and it was very frustrating to get only very limited information on-air with the directive to go to their website for complete information.  Those of us who most needed that information did not have internet available. I can hear some people saying that we should just use our cell phones, but a)  the majority of people in our area don’t have cell phones with internet access, b)  with no electricity, it’s difficult to keep cell phones charged, and c)  during emergencies, cell networks often fail due to increased traffic.

Battery-operated, hand-cranked, or car radios are a better tool than the internet for reaching people who are affected by floods, ice storms, and other emergencies that result in loss of electrical service. Disaster preparedness plans should reflect this.

The Tohoku Earthquake Four Years Later

Sending thanks to Jay Dee Archer for this astonishing and heartfelt post about the earthquake/tsunami in Japan four years ago.

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

It’s now March 11th.  At 2:46 pm Japan time on March 11th, 2011, the fourth most powerful recorded earthquake struck northeastern Japan off the coast of Tohoku.  I was in Yokohama at the time, and never in my life have I felt such violent shaking of the earth.  It’s an experience I will never forget.

Looking back, I’m amazed that it’s been four years since the earthquake and tsunami.  15,889 people died, most from the tsunami.  The buildings held up to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake remarkably well.  It was the tsunami that was devastating.  Not only did it destroy or severely damage numerous villages, towns, and cities, it also crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and caused a level 7 meltdown.  The surrounding area was evacuated and is still restricted.  Few are permitted to enter the vicinity of the power plant.  60% of the people who lost their homes…

View original post 395 more words