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Jan 18 2013

Disaster Preparation 101

There’s a chance we’ll be demolished by an asteroid from space
There’s a chance a wayward comet comes our way
There’s a certain probability the dangers that we face
Mean tomorrow is our last surviving day

There’s the promise of a super-quake that shakes us to the core
Or the ultimate volcano of them all
There are dozens of diseases we are not preparing for
Even one would be a horror to befall

We are petrified of portents; we are terrified of signs
We are worried that predictions come to pass
Whether ancient Mayan calendars, or when the moon aligns
We’re convinced the cosmos wants to kick our ass

With the slightest provocation, we will panic in the street
Cos we’re utterly convinced that we are right
Spend our savings in convincing any strangers that we meet
That the world is going to end… and, yes, tonight.

But it isn’t really crazy—no, I’m skeptical, you know,
There’s some really stupid stuff I don’t believe
Like this global warming bullshit, while I’m shoveling the snow
And the vaccination doctors who deceive

Or a change in ocean chemistry, from acids in the air
That could stunt our biggest food chain at its source
There are scientists aplenty who will tell me I should care
But they’re shilling for the government, of course

So I’ll prep for Armageddon, or for zombies on the loose,
Or a multitude of aliens from Mars
But this climate propaganda is a thinly veiled excuse
For the government to take away our cars!

There are far, far greater dangers we are certain we might face
That would bring the population to its knees
So we fret about an asteroid destroying us from space
While we’re killing off our future, by degrees

I hope it’s just an availability heuristic thing, and a handful of unrepresentative stories in the media, but wow. People prepped bunkers for the Mayan apocalypse. Harold Camping convinced people the world was going to end…like, six times. On the strength of a splinter group’s interpretation of an ancient text, or a psychic’s premonition, or the ranting of a radio host who profits when you buy gold, guns, or dehydrated food, people are moved to prepare for the worst. But when the scientific consensus points to a far more likely (but long term and slower) disaster?

*sigh*

5 comments

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  1. 1
    machintelligence

    I just watched a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt. Apparently we all have our blind spots.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_how_common_threats_can_make_common_political_ground.html
    20 minutes well spent.

  2. 2
    Germanguy

    It’s a modified version of Rule 34: “If a point of view exists, there will be an extremist version of it.”

    Yes, that’s recursive. It’s meant to be.

  3. 3
    hexidecima

    climate change doesn’t make the special snowflakes feel special enough.

  4. 4
    jnorris

    Jimmy Buffet:

    Now I don’t know
    I don’t know
    I don’t know where I’m a-gonna go when the volcano blows

    let me say now
    Now I don’t know
    I don’t know
    I don’t know where I’m a-gonna go when the volcano blows

    I hope there’s rum!

  5. 5
    cazfans

    If you are looking for someone advocating the long way down might I recommend the Archdruid Report? He’s a historian of collapse and Apocalyptic prophecy (Apocalypse NOT) and a tree lover. He is evolution and thermodynamics compliant. He’s a fairly good writer. One of my favorite essays of his is Energy Funds, Energy Flows . He is a doomsayer of a different stripe. He’s selling mostly self help (Green Wizardry) and sustainability and of course his books.

    Caz Fans

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