Astronomers predict an increase in solar activity that will at best interrupt our electrical and electronic infrastructure in the coming years. Is America ready? Does anyone really need to follow the link to know the answer? As a society, and for that matter, the human race as a whole, we are not very good boy scouts. We are hardly prepared for anything.
As I write this, the great BP oil spill continues to gush. BP was not prepared, but all of the other oil drillers had similar plans to deal with a deep-water emergency. They would not have been prepared, either.
The federal government proved unprepared to do much more substantial than to hold BP responsible and declare that they must pay. Not only has it done little to protect the coastline, it has actively interfered with local residents and governments in their attempts to deal with the problem.
Who elected such a government? The same folks who consistently build and rebuild homes and businesses in flood plains, earthquake fault zones, and unstable hillsides. The same folks who want every imaginable government service but don’t want to pay taxes for them. The same folks who make their own convenience their very top priority, without questioning its costs.
Are we prepared for earthquakes? California, of necessity, has adopted strict building codes, and yet it’s not that long ago that an earthquake collapsed an apartment complex, which caused many deaths. Geologists say that large earthquakes are likely in areas that experience them infrequently. What kinds of building codes do jurisdictions in those areas have?
Are we prepared for floods? We have built over wetlands that would have offered some protection from floods. We have constructed whole communities in flood plains. Property owners expect insurance companies to pay for rebuilding in the same place.
We never seem to have the money to prioritize replacing eroded bridges, redesigning highways with high accident rates, or otherwise keep infrastructure in good shape.
We keep discarding huge quantities of trash, even though some jurisdictions must now haul it many miles to find a landfill for it. Then, of course, the trucks must drive back empty–one way among many that we waste gasoline. Hmm. Might that have something to do with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?