Saturday, March 19, 2011

THYME Magazine

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume III, Issue XII

A (Very) Brief History of Resilience

Today our hearts go out to the Japanese people as they face a crisis of enormous proportions. History tells us of how the Japanese people have faced massive devastation before and created the 'Japanese Miracle' in the face of it.

It is interesting to note that the one nation on Earth to actually experience nuclear devastation uses nuclear energy to such a great extent that most of its power needs are supplied by reactors.
One must be careful to do honest assessments of the risks and dangers involved without falling prey to those who would exploit disasters to inhibit energy production. We need to improve our methods in deep water oil production and design better backup procedures for cooling nuclear facilities, but that does not mean we cannot use them at all.

In the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration shut down ALL production. Governor McDonnell of Virginia speaks directly to such overreaction:

“Virginia’s efforts to become the energy capital of the East Coast include innovative, safe and affordable plans for investment in nuclear energy, coal, offshore exploration for oil and natural gas, and offshore wind energy development. It will only be through a combination of these energy sources that the nation will be able to meet its energy demands and curtail its dependence upon foreign oil. Our plans to develop Virginia’s offshore oil and natural gas supplies have been thwarted by the Obama administration’s failure to include drilling 50 miles off the coast of Virginia in the five-year lease plan. Once again, rising gas prices are hurting families and small businesses due to the shortsightedness of overzealous federal regulators.”

More importantly, the unwillingness of the administration to allow domestic energy production makes for a dangerous situation as America must depend on energy sources in unstable areas of the world and pay premium prices for them... putting our national security at risk.

This is not acceptable.

Hall of Industry
The Hiroshima Prefecture Hall of Industry was gutted by the nuclear explosion. Photo by Bob Kirchman.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Today a bustling city surrounds Hiroshima's Peace Park. Photo by Bob Kirchman.

Close to the turn of the Century a number of American cities burned to the ground. In 1904 the city of Baltimore burned to the ground. San Francisco's great earthquake and the Chicago fire are more well known, but the fact remains that great disasters have affected much of the world throughout history and America has seen her share too.

Hurricane Katrina is often compared to Camille. In 1969 Hurricane Camille came inland and poured torrents of rain upon Nelson County Virginia. This severe drenching caused entire mountainsides to move and many died in the massive mudslides.

Lovingston, the county seat, was cut off from the outside world by musdslides. VDOT had recently completed a four lane bypass of US 29 around Lovingston which was quickly turned into an airstrip for rescue and relief operations. Today US 29 has been rebuilt and Nelson County is a beautiful place to visit. One can still see the scars in the mountains from the great mudslides though.

After the great fire, Chicago rebuilt herself. The early Twentieth Century saw the 'Cities Beautiful' movement recreate the centers of our great metropolises.

Our prayers are with the Japanese people at this time. We pray for their courage, strength and determination as they write the next chapter in the story of human resilience.