Y2K could have been a divine warning | PostIndependent.com

Y2K could have been a divine warning

Out on a Limb

Do you realize that it is six years since the big Y2K panic? The year 2000 was supposed to be the beginning of the new century. In reality, 2001 was the beginning of the new century, and 2000 was the last year of the old. Anyway, almost everyone bought the idea, and the media ran with it.Even though it was a fizzle, it caused us to initiate a good exercise in emergency preparedness. We assessed the state of the utilities, water system shutdown, lack of sewage treatment, and food and medicine resources with special attention to the elderly and invalid members of the community. The thing that became apparent was how dependent everyone is on public and commercial services. Virtually no one gardens or cans food, or sews. If natural gas, electricity and gasoline are cut off, things will get desperate very quickly, especially in winter.Could it happen here? Obviously, hurricanes are not in the picture, but even a moderate earthquake could close Glenwood Canyon for months. We have had minor tremblers in this area in the recent past, and a major quake is not entirely out of the question. In addition, there is copious evidence of past volcanic activity in the surrounding area. A long-term closure of Glenwood Canyon would severely disrupt railroad and highway transportation and electrical service. The river would back up behind any significant rock fall, with serious consequences. Another drought period could be devastating in light of our rapidly growing population, and the attendant consumption of farmland and water resulting from that rapid expansion. There is also the possibility of an upriver dam burst. The Garfield County Incident Command Group (now defunct) spent some time considering the consequences of that scenario. A break of Ruedi Reservoir would send a wall of water cascading down the Roaring Fork River channel, picking up debris, mobile homes, sheds and vehicles. It would be like a linear tsunami.A natural disaster is a possibility, but there is the distinct possibility of hard times coming at a slower pace. Our wonderful technological society is consuming natural resources at an incredible rate, including farmland and water. It is difficult to predict the point where things implode, but it could very well be in your lifetime. Maybe even mine, if I live as long as Pete Mattivi (100 years). The more we become dependent on electricity and petroleum products, the more vulnerable we become. It might be wise to begin now to primitize our lifestyle and build relationship networks that could help sustain us in times of crisis. The whole Y2K thing could have just been a divine warning.Well, if your mind isn’t like concrete, all mixed up and permanently set, I recommend a book, “Hurtling Toward Oblivion,” by Richard A. Swenson M.D., a challenging look at the future from an economic perspective.I’ve been fat, dumb and happy for years, but now I’m trying to narrow it down to just happy. Remember, may your passing through this world leave it better, cleaner, safer, kinder and happier.Ross L. Talbott lives inNew Castle.


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