The Technology of Common Sense
It’s a fact that when the tsunami hit Sri Lanka on December 26th, just days before the end of 2004, the number of animals that were killed was extremely low. There are stories about animals fleeing the low ground just before the giant wave hit the shore. There are other stories from people who usually take their dogs for walks on the beach about how their pets resisted going that particular morning.
Researchers are working to uncover how animals sense the various pending disasters, whether it be by hearing nearly undetectable sounds in the environment, sensing minute vibrations in the ground, detecting changes in atmospheric pressure, or whatever it may be. The hope is to duplicate the animal’s detection ability with technology since humans either never had the ability or lost the ability to detect such occurrences.
Whatever the phenomenon animals use to detect environmental disaster it appears that they all share it. So it may not be just one characteristic of pending destruction that animals detect. More than likely, the animals are simply more in tuned with the natural environment in its entirety than the humans who share their world. People are so out of touch with their environment that no technology can compensate for our indifference to the environment.
Researches have developed technologies that can calculate the path of a hurricane for days prior to its landfall. The technology predicted hurricane Katrina’s course through New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast states. But the technology was ineffective against the indifference of people who command and control all the resources to help those in need with little resources if any. Nearly two years after Katrina people are still waiting for help from people who have obviously little desire to help them. Unfortunately, the reality is that any technology developed to warn of approaching tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, or killer meteorites will not be used to assist the population of color. Black people have yet to realize that they we are not appreciated as an integral part of American society.
Katrina is old news. America doesn’t care about black people is old news, at least for those of us with our eyes open. Animals can instinctively detect environmental disasters because they are tuned to nature. All of this is old news. But what if the animals weren’t necessarily more in tuned with their environment but just more in tuned with their common sense? What if animals simply see what is happening in their environment and make rational decisions about leaving the area? People on the other hand see the changes in our environment, suppress their common sense, and simply shrug off the changes as nothing that our technology can’t handle.
For years medical institutions have been warning about the dangers of smoking yet people continue to learn to smoke to this very day. Why? Who knows? But it’s obvious somebody’s not practicing common sense. With so much evidence about the dangers of smoking and the practically zero benefit one wonders why as a society will continue to allow cigarette manufacturers to continue to sell their poison. A society that practiced common sense would not have a problem shutting the cigarette companies down to save their children.
For years people knew that New Orleans couldn’t survive a direct hit from an intense hurricane yet people in the area lived as if none of it mattered. Poor or not no one should’ve made the choice to live in that city with the threat of flooding so real on a daily basis. I remember being in New Orleans once and watching as a ship floated out to sea on water so much higher than my relative position. It actually made my heart skip a beat I was so shocked. I was uncomfortable for the remainder of my visit bothered by the notion that at anytime the levee could break and we could be inundated with water. Common sense says not to live in such a dangerous position.
But what happened to New Orleans is child’s play compared to the pending disasters looming on the horizon. Global warming is real. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t very important but since it will severely impact our ability to survive on this planet one would think everyone would take it a lot more seriously. But people scoff at the idea of a possibility that the Earth’s ability to sustain us is at risk. Where’s the common sense? These people wouldn’t acknowledge danger until it is scientifically proven that it is far too late.
The financial crisis that the United States has created with its crushing national debt is another impending disaster. According to the History of Oil by Robert Newman, the United States had to go to war with Iraq to keep countries buying and selling oil from changing their US dollars to the European dollars. Saddam Hussein wanted to conduct business in euros and once that ball started rolling and other countries followed suit the American economy collapses and the United States would dry up unable to sustain its self. The multinational companies rooted here will simply conduct their business where the money is good. It’s no accident that a lot of companies are doing their best to gain a foothold in China.
We see this coming. It’s not a question as to whether or not the economy collapses. The question we should be asking ourselves is that when the financial hurricane comes and bitch slaps the United States what have we done collectively to prepare for it. The fact that we may or may not have the resources of other people to prepare properly will be little comfort when our families and communities suffer from a nationwide inability to obtain food. And like most disasters that hit us as a society, usually it is the black communities that suffer the hardest and longest.
Like the animals in Sri Lanka and the other places that left before the tsunami hit we shouldn’t hesitate to move ourselves away from the disaster that we see coming. If at all possible people need to make a choice to minimize their exposure if they can’t get out of the way. A little common sense now will help us become better prepared for these and other disasters that our heading our way. If Katrina has taught us one thing it is the fact that people of color don’t have the luxury of waiting for technology or to wait until the very last minute.