Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tsunami


Today, Boxing Day 2019,  is 15 years since the Indonesian tsunami, the most destructive natural disaster in recent years.

Less well remembered is that its about 8000 years since the Storegga Slide, which caused a much bigger tsunami. It could happen again but we're not good at dealing with low probability high impact risks.

Should we have a tsunami warning system in the North Sea?

The idea will be dismissed.

1. It would cost money.
2. Politicians and other decision makers will be probably not be thanked for promoting the idea as they are likely to be retired, even dead, before anyone benefits.

However, as we learnt in Economics 101, there actually is a money tree. Money is created out of nothing more substantial than government policy and then circulates round and round the economy. The true cost is the amount of energy and physical resources used. And that would not be much.
Government takes seriously the defence of its citizens in the face of perceived threats from foreign powers and devotes substantial resources to the armed forces and even warning systems for low risk high consequence events such as nuclear missile strikes. Natural threats are given a lower priority.

The short term thinking of political decision making is a deep flaw in our system of governance. Decision makers get little benefit from taking decisions that benefit citizens beyond the time-frame of their period of office. 

The Storegga Slide and its consequent tsunami must have devastated the coastal communities of the already shrinking landmass of Doggerland. For those who are less familiar with the Early Holocene, start research on the Storegga Slide, as ever, at Wikipedia and take it from there.



The Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is developing a project, called 'Doggerland' that takes the long view from 10,000 years ago to 10,000 years hence, combing the arts and sciences to learn from history, inform current policy-making and prepare a future fit for our descendants. Find out more, and perhaps get involved yourself, at the Doggerland webpage.

Should we have taken the action on global heating that the science demands?

The idea was be dismissed.

1. It would cost money.
2. Politicians and other decision makers will be probably not be thanked for promoting the idea as they are likely to be retired, even dead, before anyone benefits.


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