Aaron Cortinas • Staff Writer
No one thinks it will happen to them. We tell ourselves “I’m a good person. I’m not vulnerable.” But we’re wrong. Suddenly, the sky is falling, and we’re left scrambling.
Although natural disasters seem like divine judgment, the reality is more terrifying. They’re completely random and inevitable.
In The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them), distinguished seismologist, Dr. Lucy Jones, chronicles history’s greatest natural disasters.
She concludes that preparation and empathetic responses save more lives than not preparing and victim-blaming. Unfortunately, history proves that the latter response is more natural for people during natural disasters.
Reading this book is like watching the same scene of a horror movie over-and-over: The reader helplessly yells, “Don’t split up when you know there’s a murder on-the-loose!” or, “Don’t ignore the tsunami evacuation warnings!”, and , “Don’t resist legislation for stronger infrastructure!” But the characters don’t realize their mistake until it’s too late. Then, others repeat the mistake to save money or preserve their world-views.
This book is also like a non-fiction version of The Plague by Albert Camus. In that book the characters face a plague that their religion can’t explain, and their science can’t tame. In crisis, the characters respond the only way they can. They take care of the sick and prepare for the worst.
Thankfully, Jones’s book isn’t all doom and gloom. She offers readers hope. Her last chapter is dedicated to what individuals can do before a natural disaster strikes. Additionally, she highlights legislation that she and the mayor of Los Angeles passed to help the city prepare for its future Big One.
Read this book if you are curious about natural disasters. Read this book if you’re interested in how different cultures throughout history have responded to them. Definitely read this book if you’re a freshman (come on it’s the Freshman book!)
You or someone you know will eventually be affected by a natural disaster. Natural disasters come rain or shine. Pick up this book to make sure that your head isn’t stuck in the clouds.
“Natural disasters strike us down together, and it is together that we will get back on our feet.”
Come see Dr. Lucy Jones, author of The Big Ones, lecture in the UC Theater on Monday, September 23. Her book signing is at 4:30 p.m., and her lecture is at 6 p.m.