Tag Archives: disaster

Tired of the Lies and Politicization of the Fort McMurray Disaster

Have you seen this meme going around on Facebook?

trudeaumemeIt is a lie. It’s propaganda designed to make you hate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government of Canada. I’m not going to go through why this is a lie. Please read this wonderful explanation about exactly what’s happening with the situation and why the Canadian government will be spending a lot more on Fort McMurray than Syrian refugees.

Before you start sharing political memes on the internet, do a little research. Most likely, it’s not true. I’m finding several people I know are falling for these memes and sharing them, thinking they’re true. Well, they’re not true. I am honestly getting tired of all of the people who share things like this without thinking rationally about it. It’s all emotional. Please stop it.

Fort McMurray Evacuation Plans in Edmonton

The evacuation of Fort McMurray continues, but it’s not easy. There are a lot of people who can’t make it because of a lack of gas and the traffic is moving very slowly. Here’s a video with Courtney Theriault of City TV (he’s actually a former co-worker of mine) reporting before heading up to Fort McMurray himself.

People are coming forward to invite evacuees into their homes. Unfortunately, space is limited with such short notice.

Also unfortunately, I’m seeing some politically motivated comments about this. This is not political, so please leave it out. People are losing their homes.

Fort McMurray Evacuation Mandatory

The municipality of Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta is now under mandatory evacuation. With a population of 60,000 people, this is the largest evacuation due to a forest fire in Alberta’s history. This is the evacuation notice:

fortmcmurrayevacuationThe entire city is at risk. Several neighbourhoods are already being affected. There are several news stories about this, such as this one, which is from Calgary’s Metro. Or this one from CBC.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your home threatened like this. But an entire city is threatened. And Tracey, I’m glad you’re not there at the moment.

If any of you are in the area, stay safe. But you probably aren’t reading this, you’re probably evacuating.

Kumamoto Earthquake, Something I Left Behind

When I lived in Japan, I experienced earthquakes frequently. I went through the big one on March 11th, 2011. But on April 14th, Kumamoto went through its own big earthquake.

Nine people are dead, mainly because of collapsed houses. It’s really strange reading all the comments on Facebook and reading the news articles. I used to be the one to write those comments about earthquakes, but now I don’t feel them. There are no earthquakes here. It really is strange not going through them anymore.

In a way, I miss earthquakes. Does that sound strange? What do you think?

Tsunami Advisory in Japan Following 8.3 Magnitude Chile Earthquake

Wow. This was a first. My phone made a very loud warning sound at 3:06 am, and it turned out to be a tsunami advisory.

20150918-031033-11433153.jpg

This advisory was for Sagami Bay and Miura Peninsula. I live in Fujisawa, which is on Sagami Bay. However, after checking the Japan Meteorological Agency’s website, it says that the tsunami will be between 0.2 and 1 metre, and will not cause any damage. However, we are advised to stay out of the water due to strong currents from the tsunami.

Here’s an English report by the Weather Channel. The magnitude 8.3 earthquake in Chile caused a more than 4 metre tsunami to hit Chile’s coast. It appears that 10 people have died, while a million people were evacuated from the coast.

This brings back memories of March 11, 2011.

The Tohoku Earthquake Four Years Later

It’s now March 11th.  At 2:46 pm Japan time on March 11th, 2011, the fourth most powerful recorded earthquake struck northeastern Japan off the coast of Tohoku.  I was in Yokohama at the time, and never in my life have I felt such violent shaking of the earth.  It’s an experience I will never forget.

Looking back, I’m amazed that it’s been four years since the earthquake and tsunami.  15,889 people died, most from the tsunami.  The buildings held up to the 9.0 magnitude earthquake remarkably well.  It was the tsunami that was devastating.  Not only did it destroy or severely damage numerous villages, towns, and cities, it also crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and caused a level 7 meltdown.  The surrounding area was evacuated and is still restricted.  Few are permitted to enter the vicinity of the power plant.  60% of the people who lost their homes are still living in temporary housing.  The power plant is still leaking radioactive water.  And I still live in the Tokyo area.  But no need to worry here, as we’re not affected by the radiation.  The most immediate area around the power plant has dangerous radiation levels, and the seafood from the area is not recommended for human consumption.

I would like to show you, or rather remind you, of the earthquake and tsunami.  First, you can read my account of the earthquake here.  You can also read about what an earthquake feels like.  Now for some videos.  First up is an eerie video of the skyscrapers in Tokyo swaying during the earthquake.

Next up is a video from a sushi restaurant in Sendai, which was the closest major city to the epicentre.

Back to my area, this is from the 70th floor restaurant in Yokohama’s Landmark Tower, which was at the time the tallest building in Japan.  I’ve been up to the 69th floor several times.  Let’s just say that even though we were nearly 400 km from the epicentre, it was an extremely violent earthquake.

And here is an incredible video of liquefaction happening in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo.  He makes a comment that the movement of the ground made him feel like he was drunk.  That’s how it feels when you’re on the ground.  I was on the 4th floor of a building, so I felt much greater motion.

And this final video is of the tsunami itself as it struck Miyako in Iwate prefecture.  The incredible power of the tsunami can be seen and heard.  I saw cars driving on the street near the waterfront, and it’s quite likely some of the people in those cars died.  It should be noted that the tsunami reached 40 metres in some places.

After watching all of this, it brings back some of the powerful emotions I felt when watching it live on the internet.  I was at work and thankfully, we had power and internet access, so we could find out what was going on.  Even now, watching these videos, I could still feel the helplessness of four years ago.  This is something you never expect to go through.  Well, I sure didn’t expect it.  It’s something that changes your perspective on life.

I will never forget that day.

Influence of Climate Change on My Writing

Climate change is a big topic these days, especially since it was announced that we crossed over a fourth limit for Earth’s habitability, which makes the future look pretty bleak.

Although you may not see it, Journey to Ariadne actually has a lot of influence from climate change.  At the moment, the web serial is focusing on the people and what they are doing and thinking while preparing to go to another planet.  They don’t live on Earth, so the effects of climate change are not felt by them.  However, things are a mess on Earth.  What you see in the web serial will be adapted into a novel, but there will be a lot more focus on what’s happening on Earth.  You’ll get to see the other side and hopefully understand what effect climate change has on the environment.  It’s not pretty.

There are many things to consider when writing about it.  The temperature is likely to be warmer, but with wild hot and cold swings in summer and winter.  There will be extreme storms.  The sea levels will be up with many major coastal cities flooded and abandoned.  The amount of forests will have decreased, as will the arable land, so less food.  That means lots of starvation and a smaller population.  Pollution isn’t likely to be a problem, as alternative eco-friendly energy sources would be in use, but the damage was already done in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Deserts are likely to be bigger, as well.  Another problem is access to clean freshwater.  This can lead to conflict.  With a lot of people trying to leave areas that are not very habitable, refugees are a problem.  There’s going to be a lot of fighting.  Due to the lack of oil, oil-rich countries of the 20th and 21st centuries will either have to rely on other industries or find themselves in the company of developing nations.

So, it’s definitely not a very nice place to live 150 years in the future.  This will be the basis for the other half of Journey to Ariadne.  I’m only showing you some of the Mars side of things.