April 22, 2010
"An Eruption of Unresilience"
While we have heard a great deal over the years about the need to diversify our transportation systems to reduce greenhouse gases and to prepare for peak oil, the Eyjafjallajokull eruption demonstrates that our present transportation monoculture is simply not sufficiently resilient even under normal conditions, for it is incapable of responding adequately to unexpected stressors. The lack of diversity and redundancy in our transportation infrastructure thereby threatens the stability of every other system that interacts with it, including food, business, tourism and the countless human needs dependent on it.
The blogger, Michael Dudley, points out that if the volcano erupts for up to a year (which apparently it has in the past) it could make a dramatic difference in lifestyles and transportation patterns.
Since I don't have any current travel plans, I haven't been following the volcano very closely. I did live in Portland, Oregon when Mount St. Helens erupted, and I remember the strange and dramatic events during those days - including hosing ash into the storm sewers and wearing surgical masks around in public. However, the Eyjafjallajokull fallout is bigger, both literally and metaphorically. Will we adapt?
Jamie Baker Roskie
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