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Friday, August 17, 2007

Hurricane Dean: Another Katrina on the coast & my meager efforts to help

In what has become the usual morbid fascination with the track of a hurricane, Hurricane Dean is heading for the Yucatan Pennisula, then likely the Texas/Mexican border. It may track North, which, puts it right in line with the Katrina track of August 29, 2005.

I really do feel for people in Hurricane Alley. They get a yearly game of Russian Roulette, that must leave some quite frazzled. But they know it, and should not be surprised when a Cat 4 or 5 storm parks in their backyard, literally. With all the beauty that exists on the Gulf Coast, it must be pretty eye opening to realize how much of danger exists living in Hurricane Alley.

As we've crowded our population, economy (oil & construction concerns) and vacation spots south and west, each storm becomes more and more costly to cleanup. I duly hope - but I am realist about it - that whatever rebuilding project accounts for future hurricanes. (They usually do not...this was written in a earlier posting elsewhere.)

But what has been 'mentioned' but not 'tactically addressed' is the continued global warming caused or 'assisted' by using all the fossil fuels in manufacturing and transportation. Surprisely little will be done to combat it until our reliance on petroleum abates. I guess the example the U.S. would have to set would be so drastic many of us would be unable to comply with it. Global warming has been more than 'casually linked' to the increased occurrence and intensity of hurricanes.

Fact: The kinetic energy (in kilojoules) produced in a hurricane is more than the entire US output of electricity produced in one year.

During Katrina, I was glued to the Weather Channel, getting a feeling this storm was just impending doom from New Orleans to Pascagoula, MS, which is like 100-mile corridor of destruction. The following day, once we knew the storm had just beat the brakes off the coast, I looked up Charity Hospital and their address to make a donation...It was small, $25, but it was something I could afford to give.

It so happened that I had my 15th year class reunion in early October. So, I decided to email out a suggestion that we should try to fund raise for a relief effort. My suggestion was met with criticism and outright hostility by the Reunion "Coordinator" due to some thoughts that spending $30 per plate of food is not a waste. (I thought it was.)
Here is my suggestion (Sept 1, 2005):
Maybe it seems stupid of me, but why pay 37.50 to see each other? Even though 100+ classmates donating 50 dollars each is pittance compared to the rebuilding reality these victims in Louisana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida will see, it would be better served than paying it to eat over priced food and drink. We can all do both; but it doesn't seem very important to spend that cash for a reunion when we could cull together $5,000 (or more) to help a whole bunch of someones. You might disagree with that supposition. And I realize it is possibly too late to cancel it.
Here's the response I got (Sept. 2, 2005):
This is not your place to suggest or decide. We have money invested in this, and people looking forward to this. What you chose to do is your business. Please do not send anymore emails out titled anything close to"cancelling the reunion" It is your choice whether or not to come and spend the evening with us. If you would like to discuss donating money or items with the hurricane disaster, please do so on your own. Do not involve anything to do withthis reunion in that quest.
As a result, I will never attend another reunion, nor will speak to that particular person again. She isn't worthy of talking to.
But it brings up a condition: How much do we really care? Since it isn't my place to decide on anything, why should I care at all? Many people actually do feel this way; or don't want to admit they are not the caring, heartfelt individual deep down inside that people think exist.
From that situation I learnt a little more about people's hearts, and lack thereof. I'm sure she knew about my prior circumstances, and since that is the case, she despises me. Funny, in 2000, our 10th reunion, I was the first to donate money to get her ball rolling ($100) in sending out letters to all the goers. She asked me for a donation, and I gave it willingly. Sure, she mentioned it in some flier handed out at the reunion, but that wasn't special.
When I asked or suggested an idea, that was wrong. I guess it takes a Hurricane hitting your house before you'll realize how good you got it.

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