Originally published in The Clarion | June 22, 2011
The recent loss and devastation from tornadoes and floods, not only in our area but across the country, brought to light several aspects of technology that maybe just weren’t very apparent, at least in scope, to many of us beforehand. From learning how to get by with no electricity for at least two generations of us to realizing the impact on life from lack of telephony, web and other communications services, a lot of lessons were learned during these events. It should go without saying that most of us, in one way or another, should be better prepared for when or if such an event takes place again. Along with being better prepared, there is also a good chance most of us will be more mentally strong and capable during such an event next time.
One of the biggest technological aspects of the recent storms I noticed was just how many people were able to get first-hand images and video of the storms as they moved in to and through their area. With our current technologies, Americans are documenting history via pictures and video whether they realize it at the time or not. Only a few decades ago, the scope and mass of such situations would easily have been forgotten simply because those who experienced such events only had the pen and paper for archiving their experience. The adage ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ undoubtedly holds true in 21st Century America. I can imagine folks decades from now scrolling through archives of amateur video, most of which was taken using smartphones and the like, reliving the events that affected all of our lives just a few weeks ago. From a technological viewpoint, to me this is simply amazing.
As a child, I recall stories from my grandparents of how things were when they were my age. To them, not having an electric home was simply the way it was – a far cry from how most of us feel when our lights go out today. As bad as the April storms were in our area, I almost feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience life, even if for only several hours at a time, without our modern comforts and conveniences. While the first 24 hours or so were a mental struggle for me, adapting to a completely dark house at night, no coffee in the morning and many other luxuries that I simply take for granted, proved to be a lesson in life. Simply put, we made it. We adapted to our new unknown environment and did whatever was necessary to see another day. Sure I would have preferred to sit in front of my television and watch the NFL Draft, but the lessons learned and knowledge gained from having to do without has made me, and I’m sure many of you, better and stronger people looking ahead.