Hurricane Ian devastated Florida for the last two days, displacing millions of people to move away from the safety of their homes. Fort Meyers looks more like post-typhoon Bangladesh than a first world country.
Ian, back out to sea, picks up water and speed moving up the Carolina coasts threatening millions more.
Billions of dollars will be spent to recover, burdening the American workforce, their employers, the availability of natural resources. Thousands of businesses, ill-prepared, will go under, unable to recover from the additional strain. This is during an economy already stretched to the limits where individuals, half of whom in the U.S.A. can afford no more than a $400 dollar emergency, will be spending their last penny on water, food and gas at the order of the State demanding evacuation. Ian has come at a time when additional resources like, gas, natural gas, diesel, wood, food, water, are already having supply chain issues.
If the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent displacement of the Louisiana workforce is an indicator, millions of people will be leaving sunny Florida for their next, safer home.
Essential workers staffing HROs (high-reliability organizations) such as hospitals and elder care facilities, power plants and other utilities, as well as businesses we need day to day to survive such as convenience stores, grocery, restaurants, and gas stations will all be forming a line of mass migration to other lands.
HROs, critical to the systems that our civilization is based upon, are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the mass migration that follows any time business continuity is tested so violently.
They will have to do anything they can to incentivize their highly-trained workforce to stay the course, or return, and rebuild.
We think of the millions of people that drove out of Florida North to Georgia and other places, who stopped along the way, worried about their next meal and worse, the additional debt they took on to save themselves.
Thoughtful employers worried about the people they need so desperately to stay and take care of the critically ill, sometimes having to make a decision to allow the end of life for people who cannot be moved, or people taking care to shut down the power grid and help the overwhelming cleanup afterwards, or those looking after our grandparents.
Yet, isn’t this when we are at our best, when we step up and lend a hand, literally pulling people out of the water who have been stranded for days, or inviting strangers that have nowhere to go into our homes and giving them a few square meals and they morn their many losses.
Whether our own small family just trying to put bread on the table, or a nuclear power plant dedicated to keep our refrigerators cold, Hurricane Ian shows us again that our human lives are so fragile, our systems so easily threatened, and that compassion for our fellow human beings is the only good reason to do what we do each day.