Thoughts on the Japan Earthquake

I remember when the Kobe earthquake happened in 1995. Back then, like now, there were the scenes of toppled buildings, the rising casualty counts, and the security camera footage of offices shaking themselves to pieces. Still, it all seemed so far away coming from hourly news broadcasts and newspapers.

Maybe it’s because of all the social networks I’m on, maybe it’s because I’m older and have a much wider network, but seeing my friends check in with their loved ones overseas is making this situation a new kind of emotional reality. It feels like this is happening to our neighbours instead of on another continent. I’m thankful for the good news. Most of the statuses have been about friends and family being safe and sound. It’s made donating a lot easier. I’ve already given to my local Red Cross, and I probably will again soon.


There have been a few insensitive remarks about the disaster from within and without Japan about how this disaster is somehow Karma. Typical baseless human pattern-seeking behaviour. It’s bound to happen any time a reasonably powerful developed country is in trouble. It happened during 9/11, and it’s happening here.  The Pacific Tectonic Plate doesn’t care what kind of economies are sitting on its edge. It’s going to move just the same.

All in all, I believe the major lessons of the Sendai Earthquake of 2011 are:

-Building Standards Save Lives.

-Donate to the Canadian Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 30333.

-This Earthquake prevention guide from Shizuoka prefecture is both handy and easy to read.

-Distance is no longer a factor in the human cost of natural disasters. No matter where we are, no matter how far away, we are all in this together.