I have followed much of the reporting on Houston, Harvey and earlier, Katrina, Iraq, the California drought and rains. Obviously we are slow to imagine the scope of these events. As citizens and as governments. Houston faces the problem of – how many people displaced? We have two middle class family friends who live in Houston. Houses destroyed. Houston has 2.3 millian and the surround area adds up to over 6m. Food? Heath? These are obvious problems along with just getting dry. But schools? Jobs? Vehicles? Animals? Migrations out to other parts of the country? I don’t see much reflection that imagines into the future in what will turn out to be have been accurate. Why? fear of saying the obvious is part, but failure to imagine , failure to grasp scale, failure to grasp our human vulnerability also seems important. Our biological body which can only see at best most of the time about thirty feet without technology is not terrific at long-term big scale perception nor imagination.
I have spent time recently looking at the 1906 earthquake, not in San Francisco – we sort of know that story, but 60 miles north in Santa Rosa and up on the Russian River where I live. Mucho destruction, loss, ruin. Worse was the 1861 flood that took out half the state’s economy and turned the central valley into a continuous lake, deep enough that we did not get islands. Staggering death, half the cattle in the state drowned. Memory? Even hard to find in wiki if you don’t what you are looking for – and even then.
It seems to me utterly given that we will have another earthquake of 1906 size, and another rain -45 straight days = like 1862. But we hardly are aware. About the flood
The Great Flood of 1862 was the largest flood in the recorded history of Oregon, Nevada, and California, occurring from December 1861 to January 1862. It was preceded by weeks of continuous rains and snows in the very high elevations that began in Oregon in November 1861 and continued into January 1862. This was followed by a record amount of rain from January 9–12, and contributed to a flood that extended from the Columbia River southward in western Oregon, and through California to San Diego, and extended as far inland as Idaho in the Washington Territory, Nevada and Utah in the Utah Territory, and Arizona in the western New Mexico Territory. Immense snowfalls in the mountains of the far western United States caused more flooding in Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, and Sonora, Mexico the following spring and summer as the snow melted.
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Flood_of_1862 and the article says every hundred years average. It will happen here.
And for Santa Rosa. https://www.c-span.org/video/?328273-1/1906-earthquake
I have been noticing that city, state and regional planning move toward the future as though it is like the present plus ten percent. Like the present: sunday day, people going about their lives. But the planning is not discussing the inevitable earthquake nor such serious flooding.
I have the feeling that building for a future with earthquakes and floods would actually lead to better planning and building, not just for the future, but for the present. We would build for recoverability, flexibility and less loss of life and assets, and this would be better building anyway.
Of course we can expand this point of view out to include the planet and its people. Look at your current planning. Will it look pretty stupid post event?