Not something that I really have thought about too much since moving to Los Angeles from Detroit, but I do keep a hard-hat under my desk.
I find it curious that for the most part, I have never really had to pay attention to extreme forms of weather living in Michigan – it’s probably the most moderate state in the union. Specifically Metro Detroit, there are very few tornadoes, very few violent thunderstorms, no volcanoes, no hurricanes, no earthquakes… and we typically don’t get blizzards that lay more than a few inches of snow at a time.
In Southern California, I have become vaguely aware of the fact that an earthquake, and specifically a destructive earthquake, could hit at any time. Droughts are commonplace. Wildfires burn every year and displace hundreds from their homes.
The real lesson here is to think about what different aspects of life do we need to be at least vaguely aware of? Are we in ‘safe’ spaces, literally or figuratively? And if we are not aware, what are the potential consequences when that 9.0 earthquake finally hits? For professionals like me in student affairs, do we have on-campus climates or environments that potentially have similar forces?
You better believe that I’m glad to have a hard-hat.