Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things go whoosh boom burn

Tuesday, 24 August 2010 - If you live on the flood plains, why are you surprised when your basement floods? You live in tornado alley, yet when your mobile home becomes upwardly mobile, you look for answers.  The question should be why you rebuild your life in the path of a tornado? There is clearly understood economic reasons for living in the path of natural disaster. Often, people who live in these areas do so because they can afford to live there. Moving out of the area could take money they just don't have. Perhaps the family home has been passed down - and moved from concrete pad to concrete pad - for generations.  When, as a family, you are marginalized, it is no easy task to pack up your life and move. How will you pay for the move? How will you create a new life when you can barely afford the one you have?

Hurricane season too is but a month away which means there are a few people who's lives will be turned upside down and sideways - or at the very least, the car in the driveway and the lawn furniture will get a ride.  For me, it means low season prices on Mexican vacations, and a week in the sun.  If a hurricane comes through, it means an extended vacation and a few good stories when I get home.

You would think that after years and years of history repeating itself, people would have naturally migrated away from areas of danger as an example of evolution. There are patches of civilization that haven't altered their way of life in thousands of years. Some of these tribesmen live deep in the jungles of Brazil and Africa.  Some live in patches of land in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Yet this is nothing new.  On today's date in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius burst it's top in what was undoubtedly one of the largest single volcanic eruptions in history.  Over 3,300 people became part of the geology. If that wasn't lesson enough, in 1631, Vesuvius blew again, this time killing over 3,600.

Today is Vesuvius Day.  In honour of such natural disasters and the urge to live where one probably shouldn't, we should think to our friends in Insurance.  If you are not able to purchase flood insurance, you might be living in a flood zone.  If you can not purchase earthquake insurance, you might live in an earthquake zone. If you are unable to purchase volcanic damage insurance... well you know how this goes.

Myself, I live in one of the most beautiful parts of North America... a mere 100 miles from Mt. Baker - a volcano that has been known to spew and steam, a few kilometres from the San Andreas Fault, and blocks from an international Airport and a mass transit project.  I suppose I should know better, but honestly, I live in paradise. Ask Adam or Eve... even paradise is fleeting. One day I might look back on my decision to stay here and wonder if perhaps I too failed to learn from history.  In the mean time, I pay my insurance, and ignore the risk.  That could pass as a mantra for my life.  So far I am unharmed.

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