Well, no surprise here. It’s raining in Seattle.
Or rather, it’s still raining in Seattle. Months of it now, can’t seem to stop. Lightning flashes punctuate Hank’s thoughts and the intermittent rumble of thunder keeps everything vaguely unsettled. Folks seem dazed—the events devastating our neighbors to the west in Japan weighing heavily on everyone it seems.
After all, many of us here have family there, and we sit uncomfortably on the Pacific Ring of Fire together. What’s more, in the year 1700 an equally massive event known as the Cascadia earthquake ripped the Pacific coast from California to British Columbia, doing huge (and mostly undocumented) damage here and generating a tsunami that devastated coastlines and villages thousands of miles away in Japan. Scientists believe that an event of this magnitude occurs on a roughly 500-year cycle. Hank suspects folks are wondering how we’ll fare when it’s our turn (again).
By any measure, the Japanese are knowledgeable about and prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis. Far more so than we are, yet the tragedy unfolds still. Hank’s been most impressed by the grace the nation has shown in dealing with these multiple tragedies—the images of rescue workers praying over bodies and the brave efforts of nuclear plant workers to cool the damaged reactors is humbling. What will happen here when it’s us? Scientists believe it’s likely the next Cascadia will be of magnitude 9.0 or above, so we’re in for a heck of a wallop when it arrives.
When it does, let’s hope we will be well-prepared to prevent any nuclear and industrial catastrophes, well-prepared to aid and shelter our citizens and fellow creatures, and well-prepared to act compassionately towards each other.
A fine Op-Ed in the NYT today (“Memories, Washed Away” by Marie Mutsuki Mockett) in case you missed it:
Also, few good links to relief efforts for Japan:
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is doing good work for critters affected by the disaster. http://blog.ifaw.org/
From the IFAW blog, a video of man’s best friend in action (read the transcribed copy if you don’t speak Japanese):