The pandemic highlights the man-made disasters to come

What to do when you’re cooped up at home

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

For the next few weeks, many of us here in Ireland – and possibly where you are — will feel like we are in a permanent state of house arrest, working from home and looking after children kept home from school. Most of us are, rightly, staying away from crowds of people and making food at home, so most of us need to stock up on the basics durable foods that will keep over time – beans, lentils, rice, flour, salt, sugar and other staples.

Once, shopping meant shopping for these basic ingredients, which any home-maker knew to make into bread, soup, cakes and other goods. Vegetables came from the garden, and everyone had one of those just outside the kitchen door, fed every year with compost from the kitchen that had been allowed to rot into soil again. This basic cycle meant that every home was – to some extent — a self-sufficient homestead, a self-contained Ark during any of life’s floods….


The pandemic highlights the man-made disasters to come

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has fully arrived, how bad it gets will largely be a function of how our society responds at every level.

Why it matters: From pandemics to climate change to earthquakes, massive catastrophes lie in our future. But in a world that has the technological capability that ours does, we have the power to mitigate those disasters through our preparation and resilience — or to make them worse through our failures. Today we can either directly see through technology a disaster coming or reasonably know our level of risk based on the experience of the past or the ability to model what’s to come.

What this means is that in the truest sense, no disaster is really — or only — natural. The toll a catastrophe takes, especially in human lives, now has as much or more to do with our preparation, response and level of wealth as it has to do with the strength of the event itself….

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