resilience starts with information
Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry review
Because of its harsh climate and remoteness from the centre, Tohoku, Japan’s north-eastern region, has long been regarded as the country’s backwater. Along with that reputation comes a set of unflattering stereotypes about its people – that they are taciturn, stubborn, somewhat enigmatic. Rather than speaking their minds, they grit their teeth, bottle up their feelings and go about their business in gloomy silence. But those very traits were seen as an admirable asset in the immediate aftermath of the 11 March 2011 disaster that hit Tohoku’s coastal communities, when a magnitude-9 earthquake was followed by a tsunami, then a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Journalists reporting from the disaster zone commended the resilience of Tohoku people, marvelling at the restraint demonstrated by survivors, many of whom had lost everything. Uncomplaining, they organised themselves…
David Suzuki: Wildfires are a climate-change wake-up call
Wildfires are sweeping B.C. Close to 900 have burned through 600,000 hectares so far this year, blanketing western North America with smoke. Fighting them has cost more than $230 million—and the season is far from over.
It’s not just B.C. Thousands of people from B.C. to California have fled homes as fires rage. Greenland is experiencing the largest blaze ever recorded, one that Prof. Stef Lhermitte of Delft University in the Netherlands called “a rare and unusual event”. Fires have spread throughout Europe, North America, and elsewhere. In June, dozens of people died in what’s being called Portugal’s worst fire ever. Meanwhile, from Saskatchewan to Vietnam to New Zealand, floods have brought landslides, death, and destruction.
What will it take to wake us up to the need to address climate change? Fires and floods have always been here, and are often nature’s way of renewing ecosystems—but as the world warms, they’re increasing in frequency, size, and severity…