Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Disaster Preparedness, 2

Monday's post brought a very thoughtful comment from Rev Terrie Modesto, PhD, which I invite you to read. She suggests that we consider disaster preparedness as part of stewardship. This is a wonderful way to link our practical and spiritual lives.

I have continued to follow the news on the Southern California fires and am relieved to see that the weather is supposed to moderate. Still, I can't help but wonder what could have been done to care for the land in a better way that would reflect our stewardship and be preventative of quite so much destruction. Being willing to spend money to prevent catastrophe is part of stewardship too and this has been an issue in California, perhaps for decades. If we are willing to vote for the tax money necessary to pay the people who would keep our forests thinned (and willing to follow those policies)as well as for the equipment and personnel for firefighting, could the blazes have been contained more quickly? If our National Guard were not spread so thin would this have made a difference?

A little over two years ago as I watched the scenes coming from New Orleans, I thought that we need a national sales tax to fund disaster relief. I still think that would be a good idea. At the time I thought of the fund in terms of providing relief, rebuilding and premium reduction for insurers by taking some of the burden off of them and spreading it more widely. The last would make insurance more affordable to many who do not have it. In addition, now I see that such a fund could also help to pay for prevention--levees in flood prone areas, brush clearance and so forth in fire prone areas. Most people won't agree with this, but I put it forth and will try in the near future to blog about taxation--and how we spend our tax money as an extension of our stewardship.

Ultimately, preparedness and some types of prevention are up to us. To the extent that disasters are caused or exacerbated by human agency, so too they can be prevented and mitigated by our choices and our actions. Those are pretty powerful ideas, I think for they enable us to be stewards, to be strong, to build together.

Even though I don't see my blog as primarily political, I guess some politics are unavoidable, for I do not live in vacuum.

No comments: