Tuesday, August 29, 2006

One Year On

On this anniversary of Katrina I've been thinking. I am surprised that the slant of many media stories seems to be one year later and it's still not fixed. We are almost five years from September 11th - and while the Pentagon has been fixed, the rebuilding in New York is not. And while part of that is certainly due to bureaucracy surrounding building plans and zoning, all of those issues apply to the gulf coast as well. This is going to be a long process. As with so many things it takes less time to destroy than it does to rebuild and repair.

There were (and are) people who have suggested that parts of the gulf coast, parts of New Orleans should not be rebuilt. And while I certainly understand that people don't want to fix something only to watch it get swept away by another hurricane, I wonder. I don't recall anyone suggesting that California shouldn't be rebuilt, due to earthquakes. Certainly there were and are discussions about how to change buildings to make them better able to withstand the conditions. And it would seem that that would be the course here. Certainly no one wishes to live in a structure that is on borrowed time.

It is in our nature to view September 11th as preventable and Katrina as inevitable. But I don't think either of those viewpoints serves us well. Certainly looking to each event to find the lessons we can learn is useful. But we have no idea where the next threat - from nature or from humans - will come from. We can only do what we can to stay informed and to try to use what we have learned to try to mitigate the next one.