Welcome to my blog and the 2013 WordCount Blogathon. If you are new to my blog, I'll quickly bring you up to speed.
This is my third WordCount Blogathon. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics, and my blog's title reflects that. Because I blog daily as an exercise in writing, I organize my week by several weekly features. You'll find a schedule at the end of this post.
As I wrote this post, I was watching live TV coverage of a tornado near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The meteorologists on site covering the storm were caught in the tornado, tried to escape and and their car was tossed about 200 yards. Everyone in the vehicle is OK - a bit bloodied, some broken bones but OK. But five other motorists died.
With climate change, many places that felt themselves safe from tornadoes no longer are (such as upstate New York, where I live now), but tornadoes have been a fact of life in Oklahoma for a long, long, time.
Tornadoes are unpredictable. You don't have much time to get away from one. Modern technology has allowed meteorologists to predict where there is a high possibility of one forming, but if you are on the ground, you usually don't see one coming. And, tornadoes can strike at night.
Sustainability includes living in some type of harmony with nature. We can't stop tornadoes, so how can we survive these superstorms?
There is one way, and only one way, to survive a tornado, especially the F4 and F5 storms, the most deadly of tornadoes.
You must get underground to survive. You can have an underground tornado shelter but even they have issues. In a recent Oklahoma tornado, the door ripped off of one and the people inside were lucky to survive. You'd also be surprised to learn how many homes in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas do not have basements. I did not have a basement when I lived in any of those states. And what about schools? The many people who live in mobile home parks? Shopping malls?
When I lived in Kansas back in the late 1970's, I wondered "why aren't we building underground houses?" I investigated the technology and was not satisfied by what I found.
When I moved to Arkansas, my spouse, with some help from me, built the structure we lived in. But it wasn't truly green, and it wasn't underground housing. Because of the nearly 10 years I lived in "Tornado Alley", I watch the weather war zone that Oklahoma has been in the past two weeks with special interest. We must do better in providing safe shelter for residents of those states.
Today, as one example, it is possible to build tornado-resistant housing that is also green.
So, why don't we build this housing? There are a number of reasons, based on my experiences of the past. Contractors would have to relearn how to build houses. Banks may not want to take a risk on a house that might not sell. Homeowner's insurance companies might not want to write them, with little data to guide them on rates to charge.
When they think of underground housing, especially, people think "dark, damp and tomb-like". If done right though, none of these are true.
Shelters, meantime, are expensive, and won't get built, I fear, without the force of law.
But, if we are to live in harmony with our changing weather, we may have no choice but to change the very way we build structures. This applies whether you live on the coast or in a tornado prone area.
Have you had experience with severe weather or earthquakes? I did survive being near a small (F0) tornado and may blog about it later this month.
And now, if you liked what you read today, here's my normal schedule:
Saturdays I blog about "sustainable" living - farmers markets,
community gardens, local food, local "green" businesses, and even
Sundays I blog about the United States Civil War. Why? Because it fascinates me.
Wednesdays is a seasonal feature, currently "Spring Things": anything to do with the season
15th of each month, I participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, with
pictures of whatever is blooming in my garden or in my house.
rest of the week it's "potluck", sometimes accompanied by my flower or