February 29, 2020


When I check FB and read the “what’s on your mind?” prompt here, I usually make a quick check in and then consider what to share. I think about, write about, and research disasters. Usually, I don’t really want people I care about to be thinking about what I’m thinking about.

But today I’m going to tell you that I’m thinking about a variety of worst case catastrophic scenarios involving viruses and hurricanes and downed water supply and unpredictable disruptions in supply chains – resulting in a set of random shortages and instability in markets – and large complex systems behaving in nonlinear ways in response to disruptions. Thinking about constellations of vulnerabilities and adding to all of this a mix of people either in panic or denial. Dominoes.

I’m not inviting you into this house of horrors.

One simple thing you can do is follow all the preparedness guidelines. All of the ones you’re accustomed to hearing (and ignoring) about hurricane season for example. If you have resources and are relatively healthy and able-bodied then you have a responsibility to prepare to care for yourself – and – at least one or two other people who may be caught out by the next disaster. Don’t be sloppy. Don’t be selfish. Don’t burden systems that will be taxed by those who aren’t as fortunate as you are.

In the meantime, listen to official sources of information. Scientists. Meteorologists. Epidemiologists. Never ever ever spread hypotheticals or speculative messages as fact. Spreading fear is no different than sneezing on someone when you know you have the flu. Calm yourself. If you feel afraid, use that energy to prepare.

Don’t quake. Plan.

I wrote this for me and maybe for you too.

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