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“Today we have come to expect at least a week’s warning for an eruption, two or three days for a hurricane, twenty-four hours for its storm surge, at least twelve hours for (faster and harder-to-forecast) intense windstorms, six hours for flash floods, twenty minutes for a tsunami, and at least five minutes for a tornado.  But the deadly earthquake remains strangely, remarkably, almost admirably, resistant to all that forecasting science has thrown at it.” page 194 of The Cure for Catastrophe by Robert Muir-Wood.

Until recently no one could predict any of those natural catastrophes, they were just acts of God. Your best predictor was to look out your window and to listen to your local soothsayer. Nowadays, we worry about global warming, which is an attempt to predict the climate for the foreseeable future, and the usual prognostications are in the one-hundred-year range. Here in the US, the Democrats tend to believe the worst side of those trends coupled with the belief that we can correct the problem, while the Republicans are inclined toward the belief that it’s natural, and therefore self-correcting and no need to worry or take any action.

For many, there are other bigger personal worries, like paying ordinary bills and trying to cope with increasing debt and extraordinary college loan debt. Some of those people may have a vague feeling that they are entering into a lifetime of indentured servitude, even slavery, but most are probably just doing what others around them are doing. Spend to the limit of your credit is the new American ethic, and live for today because you will not live long enough to be forced to pay off your debt. The kids of the 1960s had a slogan, “Free sex, free drugs, free rock and roll.” Now many of them don’t own their own homes, and their social security won’t pay their rent and food expenses.

No one seems to believe that the current situation is good, while in fact, things are objectively better now than they have ever been, except perhaps for the short-sightedness of the public. Tomorrow the beaches of Florida will endure wind surge flooding and how many people will be ruined? They don’t have to live on a sand spit, they don’t have to stay there while a hurricane is coming their way, they don’t have to expect the public to rebuild their lives.

Until now all living creatures came into adulthood equipped to survive in their environment.