disaster, disaster, disaster

This is a world of frequent tragic disasters. I’ve heard a few people lately comment about how they feel bad when they can’t connect emotionally to the enormity of some disasters, and wonder why some impact more than others.  I personally felt much more affected by the Victorian Bushfires and Samoan Tsunami than the current Haiti tragedy.  I think we shouldn’t worry about this.  We are social beings, and as such our emotional networks extend from family to friends to friends of friends.  Of course we can relate more to the suffering of those closest to us, and as much as we mentally and spiritually like the idea of universal concern,  its simply uneconomical to have a emotional empathy to six billion other humans.   To mark the almost anniversary of the apocalyptic sadness that engulfed parts of Victoria in Australia last year the guardian has written a stunning review of the events on that sad day.  Read it here.

One Reply to “disaster, disaster, disaster”

  1. Reading this article prompted me to go back and find an email I wrote a week before the Black Saturday fires. It’s a little eerie reading it now..

    “I’m in a heatwave. Its like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Its was 35 degrees on tuesday, 43 on wednesday, 44 degrees yesterday and today it got to 45 degrees. We are looking forward to thunderstorms and 37 tomorrow. And I tell you I am looking forward to it! I’ve lived in heat close to this before but there is something about the way Melbourne is hot that makes this place almost unbearable. I suspect that its all the concrete.

    I can see how people die in a heatwave, it would be so easy to get dehydrated, to not get home in time before your body couldn’t handle the heat. Or to be old and put up with an uninsulated house that does nothing to keep the heat at bay. There are bushfires that have already destroyed homes and are apparently threatening Melbourne’s power supply because they are burning in areas where there are substations supplying power to large parts of the city.

    I’ve been working at the Victoria market in the central city, outside. At an organic produce stall under a tin roof. No breeze, I don’t know how hot it got at work. I think around 50.. There was a power outage overnight and our fridges turned off. We lost thousands of dollars worth of stock that was in those fridges, yoghurt, milk, tofu, fruit and veg… And then there were no customers. Only a few crazy ones who wanted to brave the heat. I feel kind of sorry for our boss.

    I just found out that the city declared a free public transport day today to encourage people to be out of the sun while they commute. I wish I had known. I biked around. Foolish! I had to spray my bike seat and handlebars with water so that I could touch them they were so hot. Yesterday I went to meet someone for a coffee which was a 20 min bike ride from my work, I arrived and the cafe was closed because they didn’t have air conditioning. And then I started feeling faint. So I retreated into a supermarket nearby and idled in the isles until I felt ok enough to brave the heat again.

    It is so dry that the only way I know I’m sweating is that my skin is covered in salt and I haven’t needed to pee all day and have drunk at least 3 litres of water. Its so dry that it feels like by breathing somehow moisture is being sucked out of me via my lungs.

    It might be unrelated but another weird thing that happened yesterday when I was biking in the searing heat, while I waited in the shade for the lights to change a baby bird dropped out of a tree and onto my bike seat. It was all long legged and furry. It wasn’t going anywhere so I had to pick it up and deposit it on the grass under its tree. Strange. I hope it is ok.

    So now I’m going to go to the pool along with the hundreds of other people seeking relief. And then maybe the beach..”

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