Monday, June 12, 2006

What If?

The Doomsdayers have been predicting the end of civilization as we know it since there were people around to make those predictions. In my lifetime the expected Doomsday was going to come from the Communists or from nuclear war. The Jehovah’s Witnesses said that the end times would come in October, 1975. Now it appears we will be driven back to the stone-age by the threat of terrorists, global warming, earth quakes, tsunamis and climate changes.

What if? Is the question many of us ask ourselves. It is a valid question. I wonder if anyone in New Orleans ever had a true concept of “what if.” So what if something like this were to happen in Clatsop County. One morning we wake up to find all bridges and roads destroyed, and both airports in the county under ten feet of water. (They are both slightly above sea level now.) The rivers are impassable because all the bridges have fallen in.

Let’s say the same event happens all over the Pacific North West. It is a major quake with a major tsunami and we are no longer able to drive up to Home Depot to get a pick-up full of building supplies; the Home Depots have collapsed upon themselves as well. Further more, we know how FEMA is going to work with all of this. New Orleans is still a disaster area after 10 months. What I am talking about is something that may very well be a disaster area ten years after the event, and the government too tapped out to help.

Let’s talk about the new buzz word, “Sustainability.” It seems this is the new demand from the consumer. They want their products to come from a sustainable source. OK then, why don’t we take it a couple steps above that and make everything come from a real sustainable source. Our community would have to employ sustainability or we would not make it.

How about if the community you lived in was required to operate fully from products that can be manufactured, grown or found within 100 miles, or better yet, within the county in which you live. How would we in Clatsop County deal with this?

If we wanted electricity we would have to build wind or water current generators. If we wanted to use internal combustion engines we would have to use the natural gas reserves in Jewell. It might be a tall order to think of bio-diesel since we don’t have the capacity to grow enough vegetation for that purpose. Maybe we do, though. Even if we can’t drive our cars and lawn mowers, Clatsop County is known to have more horses per capita than any other county in Oregon. We would have our transportation and burdens met.

We would be well set for fish and meat. There are a lot of dairy and beef cows, goats, sheep and chickens to supply us with food, fiber and leather. There is enough lumber for building and burning. There is enough steel in the county to meltdown and reuse in a small scale. Our water is clean and plentiful. We have enough fuel for wood fire heating.

We would have to build some green houses in order to raise salad and vegetable products through the winter months, but that isn’t insurmountable.

Our population could survive something very nasty and thrive in a more primitive environment. We are fortunate to live in an area that can sustain life. But one has to wonder how sustainable other locations in the country would be. There are people starving in Africa so how would people survive in places like Las Vegas, Southern California and Arizona? What if?


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