December 15, 2006

Storms Expose Urban Vulnerabilities

The recent storms that have knocked out power and blocked roads on Vancouver Island, the coast and the lower mainland of British Columbia further expose the vulnerabilities of our urban, energy dependent lifestyles. Not long after lower mainlanders witnessed scuffles over buying bottled water when we had a boil-water advisory for a couple of weeks, now many of us have not had power for several days, or in some areas, even longer.

I wonder what might happen if ever a more serious disaster hit the area, like the "big one" earthquake that could occur at any time. How many of us are really prepared?

And what would happen if we had to go longer than the 72 hours that emergency officials advise us to stock up for? We are so dependent on electricity, on running water, on food with long supply chains...

We've been lucky so far -- the power is still on at our house and since we work from home we haven't faced commuting in this mess. I ventured out this afternoon to pay our business licence and run some errands. The power was out at Burnaby City Hall, but they took my payment. Then when I tried to get to Metrotown, the streets were jammed because lights at intersections were out. With no pressing need to get my chores done, I decided it would be best to go home and wait it out.

We've had several wakeup calls over the last month or so -- are we listening?

Posted by Paul at December 15, 2006 02:11 PM