Out Loud: June 29, 2017

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When we started our local nature photography calendar years ago, very few local organizations/businesses offered local calendars. Back then, it was a hit because it was so specific to Idyllwild. We sold lots of calendars.

Now, others offer local calendars in town so we are unable to sell enough to make it worth the cost of printing. So, this year, we decided to scratch the photo contest calendar, unfortunately, so no one needs to submit their photos. Instead, we are launching a new calendar. Stay tuned.

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This week, we’ve learned from Dr. Lucy Jones that the farther away we are in time from the experience of a major earthquake, the less likely we are to prepare for another. The same is true of wildfires and this week, with the increase in earthquakes and the Manzanita Fire.

Our problem is that we’re not nomadic people like Native Americans were before we drove them onto reservations. We can’t just pack up our house and leave so easily if Mother Nature hits.

But that doesn’t mean these events didn’t have a profound impact on Native Americans. They did.

Stories handed down through generations tell of a Jan. 26, 1700, megathrust earthquake in the Pacific Northwest resulting in great loss of life due to landslides, major geological shifts and a tsunami with massive flooding. Through multiple stories both in the PNW and Japan, where a tsunami also occurred, not only the date, but the time of 9 p.m. also was pinpointed.

Wildfires also impacted Native Americans. A large wildfire in the San Diego County area prior to contact with Europeans resulted in a massive migration of peoples to the desert.

The Native Americans adapted. They even fought fire with fire, setting backfires the way firefighters do today.

When Dr. Jones talks about a magnitude 8-plus earthquake hitting this area, those of us surviving the tremor will need to survive the ensuing aftershocks. Then, the lack of housing if ours is destroyed. The lack of medical care if we are badly injured. Neighborhood Collection Points and trained volunteers are limited.

We will need water, food and shelter at the least. We won’t have resources to get those things if roads are destroyed. Supply trucks will stop, mail will stop, banks, pharmacies and stores will close, and our lives as we know them will completely change.

So, we need to stop thinking of our current comfort and challenge ourselves to prepare — whether it be to hunker down after an earthquake or evacuate from a wildfire.

Marshall’s interview with Dr. Jones was a wake-up call to me. Either I move out of earthquake and wildfire country, or I adapt. Because these issues aren’t things we can easily control. They can’t predict earthquakes or wildfires.

Native Americans were around for centuries before us. We’re newbies here in the West. We need to adapt to survive.

Becky Clark, Editor

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