The title is a little deceiving…
Living in California definitely has its challenges, but none like I’ve experienced living in the mountain communities. I moved my family up here for the sake of my youngest, who was literally given a prescription to move out of the Central Valley of California due to air quality concerns affecting his lungs. Upon doing so, his breathing issues cleared up within 48 hours and he hasn’t really had an issue since! However, that’s not what this post is about…
In the 10 years I’ve lived in the mountains, it’s been non-stop fires, floods, severe windstorms and, now, a severe winter storm, all of which have knocked out power, water, internet and cell services for up to a week or more each time affecting between 5k and 10k people (and sometimes more) in each event. In the case of the current winter storm, unfortunately, it’s not over yet!
I’m writing this because my current mental state of musing is confounded by the fact that, regardless of the amount of technology, preparedness and disaster mitigation tools we have, outages of these types still happen on such a widespread basis during emergency disaster events.
We can now put power lines underground (and PGE has released ads stating they are doing so), yet you still see power poles snapped on the side of the road during harsh conditions. We have the ability to put power backups ANYWHERE we want utlizing a multitude of space-saving “clean” battery technologies (I could write a whole post on this), yet water pumps, telco stations and ISP hop stations still suffer power outages during weather events. Many power, telco and ISP stations can now be placed underground, yet you still can drive by them and see how badly exposed to the elements they are. This is 2023…what gives?!
I understand that significant investments would be required to convert current resources into more resilient provisions for the purposes of disaster preparedness and risk mitigation. However, in an advanced society such as ours, shouldn’t we care less about the bottom line and more about the needs of those who are dependent upon these services? While I fare better than most, even I have medical devices that are dependent upon water, power and internet for my well-being. I personally took steps of my own accord to prepare just in case, but even that almost wasn’t enough (and wasn’t enough in one instance).
If we are going to foster and culture an advanced society dependent on resources we now consider necessary for survival, shouldn’t we take steps to ensure these resources are available regardless of the cost? If the concern is the bottom line…it would behoove decision makers in these companies to consider that more money is made when resources are available than when they aren’t!
The wisdom of the past says to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We now live in a society where we “prepare “for the worst and, unfairly, expect to enjoy the best of what we have. Can we enjoy the best of what we have when we still haven’t prepared for the worst?