Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lament for Japan

Everything I wanted to blog about this weekend now seems frivolous and insensitive in the face of the horror that is happening in Japan. Japan, my heart and thoughts go out to you, Island nation.

We who are in Canada, protected for now by our geography, are not immune to your suffering.
Tonight, while I look at the footage coming in over the internet, while I read the words on the paper I
can not find words to express my sorrow and chagrin for the people of this country.

Wake up. The poisons that are currently being released will not be contained nor isolated in a little corner of the earth. We, the offspring of Earth can no longer talk endlessly of change. We are being forced to change- our destructive ways,our greed for more, our egocentricity. Big changes are happening-whether we like it or not.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, I think we all have so many thoughts about what is going on it feels good to have someone put theirs down in a way like this. Sigh, the fears return let us not be washed down by them.

rfs said...

@echolage-thanks for commenting. My daughter has just had an idea to do her part to help- she is part of an anima Japanese Manga group at her school and yesterday she had the idea to do some fund raising for Japan through the group. She is already organizing a movie screening and 'twonnie' ($2) drive.
I work with an eco-NGO and I am trying to think about what we can do too.

crusty said...

Canada is not immune, as this article shows:

If big quake hits B.C., you have about 30 minutes to escape

VANCOUVER—While nearly half a million British Columbians ducked, covered and held on tight during a province-wide earthquake drill in late January, the other 90 per cent of the population sailed on with their day as usual.

After last week’s destructive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, authorities hope the gravity of being prepared for a potential natural disaster on the West Coast hits closer to home.

“We’re no different if we were to have an 8.9-magnitude, megathrust subduction-type earthquake here,” said Heather Lyle, director of integrated public safety for Emergency Management B.C. “We too would suffer significant impact. I’m quite certain this is an eye-opener.”

Were the so-called Big One to land a one-two punch starting about 250 kilometres off Vancouver Island shores, Victoria and about 75 coastal and First Nations communities would be the most vulnerable.

From the moment they felt the earth expel its great rumble, people living in places like Ucluelet, a tourist town along the Island’s outer coast, would likely have only about 20 to 30 minutes to escape to higher grounds.


The lurking cause of a massive quake and wave on the West Coast is called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a region stretching 1,100 kilometres from about two-thirds of Vancouver Island south to Mendocino, California. Should it rupture, an event likely every 300 to 600 years, the land mass could ultimately shift one to 1.5 metres west.

Its last burst was in 1700.

Lence and Bill Johnstone, with Spatial Vision Group in North Vancouver, brought the results of their models to Ucluelet and described the people’s reactions as “sobering.”

“I guess it dispelled quite a number of myths,” Lence said, explaining waves could reach 15 metres in height even though the name of the town means “safe harbour.”


Though the province has invested hundreds of millions of dollars retrofitting schools, bridges and other public buildings, he’s greatly concerned that thousands of multi-storey, privately-owned buildings weren’t build to a code that will hold up in a quake.

“It’s all a matter of how intense the ground is shaking,” Adebar said. “I actually am the person who hopes for an earthquake that scares everybody and does some damage because we’d be far further ahead ... (for) the possibility of larger earthquakes.”

Fortifying existing structures with concrete or more walls to reduce how much they would sway would go a long way to making them safer, he said.

After the Japan quake, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was widely quoted saying buildings in the city are indeed vulnerable.

From the federal government to the province to individual communities, there are a multitude of emergency response plans in place, though the level of preparedness ranges.


Kryzanowski said she hopes recent disasters around the world — from Chile to New Zealand to Japan — prompts the public to put preparedness front of mind.

“I think we’re starting to become more and more aware that this can happen to us,” she said. “We need to experience something to really understand it and that is a challenge we have.”

Canadian Press

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