We live in a society of huge constructions. The verticality is dizzying and the network vast. Its sometimes hard to imagine the natural alternative while living in the heart of San Francisco. However, we are constantly reminded of the power of earth. We receive news of earthquakes and we appreciate the fragility of earths crust. We receive news of landslide and we appreciate the content of the watershed. We receive news of hurricane, and we appreciate the splendors of the Coriolis effect.
I was asked once to define weather in my own words. I said, "Weather is the interplay of energy at all scales; from the pressure of the a salted cell to the magnetism of the universe, weather is the balancing act of life." I believe that nothing is static and that everything is always changing. The only way to have a sense of truth is to observe the long term patterns, often beyond the reach of a single life. Now, with history forgotten, and attention spans shorter than ever, our addiction to the next second may prevent our ability to understand weather.
Tribes in the thick of the amazon and the vastness of the Mohave seek alternative depictions of the current state. They use chemicals to induce a hyper sensitivity so they can see, hear, and feel what may be approaching. The shaman would be trusted to know when the next herd was coming due to a water-cycle, a rain storm, a crop cycle. They could sense the future based on the intense combination of factors. Its hard to say where science and spirituality become one in the same, but the state of the art will always be relevant.
Now, as I work with the Urban Risk as toward disaster preparedness strategies, my main goal is sensitivity and awareness. Teaching environmental awareness is kind of like adapting a 3rd grade curriculum to the everyday adult. Earth Science can be forgotten as we are obsessed with 2d images as media junkies. Very often are we stopping to smell, to feel, to taste, to listen, to sense. Preparing for a disaster is practicing to sense the changing weather constantly. Is it art that we are using to communicate science?
Folklore, storytelling, theater, books, illustrations, paintings, and poems are all methods to continue to tell the story of the past. How do we tell the story of where we are today? What pieces are held secret? What bridges are necessary to access the true narrative? How can we be prepared for what has always been happening and see way beyond our lifetime both backward and forward continuously. Preparedness is to be conditioned to the environment, always adapting and not falling back on old habits. The future is now. The future was yesterday. The future will be tomorrow. And I like rainbows. Aren't they beautiful?