Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Of What The Earthquake Taught Me

This quake taught me a lot about myself, and about modern society.
I learned that:

I am a greenwasher.  I always cultivated the image of environmental sustainability, but I am a hypocrite. I can finally admit it to myself.
Running water is not to be taken for granted. I never thought about it, really. But during the four day blackout, I can't count the number of times I tried to turn on the water to wash my hands, brush my teeth....
I turn on and off a lot of lights during the day.  Same as the running water- I would find myself flipping the switch as I entered the toilet, or the hallway in when it was dark.... Since the blackout, that has changed a lot. I think before I touch the switch.
Wood heat is very important. You can almost always go to the forest and get more wood, even just picking branches from the forest floor can supply enough in many cases. If you can't buy fuel oil or gas, you get cold quick.
Nights are soooooooo much darker without electricity. Not just the obvious overhead lights and bedside lamps. All the dozens of little standby lights, the light pollution from the cities....
The fourth candlelit dinner in a row is actually more annoying than romantic.Especially when the candles are squat and blocky. They just cast shadows on the plate and make it hard to see what it is you are eating.
We tend to get so much more done without electronic distractions. Early to bed, early to rise. No e-mail to check, no weather report to watch, no blog posts to write. Every day by 9:30 I thought it was time for lunch, since I had finished all the usual chores.
Always keep batteries on hand. Rechargeable, with a charging device that doesn't depend on the grid
Live within bicycle distance of your job and shopping. Thousands of people didn't go to work, because they believed they lived too far for bicycle commuting. Always live within 10Km (15-20 if it is all flatland) of your job and shopping. Your bicycle never waits in gas lines, and always gets a killer parking spot- next to the front door. And your bike doesn't need to be some super high tech mountain bike. Two wheels, one medium low gear, a big basket in front and a nice cargo rack over the rear. I used to have an 18 speed 28 inch cross bike, until I popped half the spokes (lightweight wheels, heavyweight rider, gravel road). Now I have a 6 speed, 26 inch mountain bike. My commuting times have not changed.
An AM radio is an important survival tool. We were going buggy wondering what was happening until I discovered that you can wrap cardboard around AAA batteries to make them fit a C or D cell appliance.
Try to keep your gas tank full, and have a spare gas can. You just never know when it will happen. We always filled the tanks on Saturday afternoon, when we made our weekly shopping trips. Well the quake was on Friday afternoon....
Dried or canned beans and rice are so much more important than a freezer full of meat. Your meat will stay frozen for one, two days in the winter. Not in the summer. You can keep rice on your kitchen counter for a year.

More on this later.

In other news, last night (Saturday) we had 6.1M quake, which gave us a "shindo" of 5+ here.
The epicenter (36.7N 140.7E) was less than 6Km from our house! I am starting to think this area might be dangerous. Since then, we can hear deep booming noises, like someone is striking an enormous kettledrum in the basement (well, we don't have a basement, but that is what it sounds like). At least once an hour, maybe twice, with the accompanying aftershock rattling glasses.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good list - I think Sergey and I will take it to heart. True about beans/rice vs. meat. Don't give up on trying to be as green as you can - every little bit helps! Take care -Amy