Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricane

In Atlantic Canada, the moment you think you have everything nailed down, a Category 2 storm decides to pop in

Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricaneA word to the wise: A daily five-km fast walk and a nightly 15-minute endurance routine on a floor mat doesn’t prepare a 50-something body for a sudden dismount from a handstand – especially if said body lands on its tippy toes, like Baryshnikov on a really, really bad morning. “Crunch!” was the sound heard…

Only Trudeau could cause a PR nightmare while joining a relief effort

What would possess the ‘selfie PM’ to smile for the cameras at a flood zone with people’s lives hanging in the balance?

There are pros and cons to a national leader appearing at a natural disaster. For every act of goodwill, someone will question the motive behind this visit. For every bead of sweat on the brow, someone will wonder if he or she wouldn’t rather be somewhere else. By and large, the positives far outweigh the…

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate change

As spring beckons after four previous very dry springs and four summers of smoke, we should prepare for the worst

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate changeA funny thing happened in Powell River, B.C., the other day. There was a scheduled one-hour power outage that I heard about on the radio as I was driving the 30 kilometres into town to do some errands. No big deal, I thought. Lights out in the mall perhaps. My first stop was at the…

MedicAlert a voice for autistics in crisis situations

The MedicAlert Autism Program allows emergency responders to make better decisions to help people in times of need

MedicAlert a voice for autistics in crisis situationsThe silver identification bracelet that indicates an existing condition to first responders has been a valuable tool for decades. In 1953, a teenage girl named Linda Collins cut her finger badly. At the hospital, she received a tetanus shot, had a severe allergic reaction and almost died. After that incident, her parents began attaching a…

Fireplace ban endangers lives during an emergency

It's apparently more important to protect the environment than it is to allow humans the tools to survive in a crisis

Fireplace ban endangers lives during an emergencyOh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful. Since we've no place to go, Let it snow, let it snow, let it – ZAP! The power has suddenly gone out. Are you ready for such an emergency? According to the federal government's Get Prepared website, “you need to be able to…

The art behind making disasters manageable

The book Dull Disasters examines how we can get ahead of the inevitable cataclysmic events, rather than resorting to futile generosity after the fact

The art behind making disasters manageableI don’t know about your city, but everywhere I’ve lived in Canada, it snows. As we get past Halloween, I dig out my snow shovel, so one day I can dig out of the snow. I do this every year. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel or the shovel. Authors Daniel J. Clarke and…

How to cope with scarcity in a time of disaster

If a disaster wipes out a lot of inventory, that scarce or non-existent inventory has a higher value with more dollars chasing fewer goods

How to cope with scarcity in a time of disasterVery few researchers document the positive effects of disasters. But a few do note that a disaster also injects a lot of new money into a region. It’s a tough way to get a little economic activity going but the imperative is to repair. Per L. Bylund is one of the rare birds who explores this in his…

When public safety gets caught in the middle

In time of crisis, should governments rely on non-governmental organizations or should those groups be asked to stand aside for the greater good?

When public safety gets caught in the middleFormer Canadian Finance minister Jim Flaherty was once asked whether the government would be or should be providing a certain service. He cleverly said that if you could find that service in the yellow pages, the government shouldn’t be involved. (For younger readers, the yellow pages were a listing of businesses in your city.) Flaherty’s point…

When lending a helping hand becomes official policy

In emergency circumstances, we often help each other. But what happens when a municipality mandates that citizens need to help strangers?

When lending a helping hand becomes official policyThe great disaster scholar Joe Scanlon told me that individuals perform well and organizations perform poorly in crises. Anyone who has been in a big storm in Montreal has seen individuals and restaurants open their doors to people with a thick layer of snow on their heads. Anyone who has lived on the Prairies has helped…

How civic unrest can explode – and overturn status quo

The violent 1990 protest in London over the proposed poll tax resulted in a change in policy and the departure of Margaret Thatcher

How civic unrest can explode – and overturn status quoTORONTO, Ont., April 7, 2017 /Troy Media/ – By 1990, there’d been almost 600 years of experience with riots over taxes in England, so you’d think the poll tax might have been handled differently by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In 1381, a poll tax resulted in the Peasants’ Revolt. That was just the start. In 1990,…
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