I was watching an episode of a dark and brooding English countryside drama on PBS a few years ago and it struck how limiting the world was for poor people years ago . . . and then it hit me that this goes on every single day in many parts of our world. Here in America we simply turn on the lights or the warm glow of a computer or TV and we’re set for the evening. But elsewhere, the sun goes down and life comes to a standstill. Unless you have access to a fire, oil burning lamps or candles you are out of luck in areas with no electricity. In emergencies, we face the same problem . . . without light to guide us.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we are no strangers to windstorms. We don’t normally face hurricanes and tornadoes, but something similar might be coming with global warming. Each year we haven’t faced blanket problems, but we do see lots of pockets of outages all over King, Pierce, and Thurston Counties. We are proud of our trees, but trees often do come down on people, houses, roads, and power lines. We are being warned of the possibility of a category nine earthquake. It happens regularly (geologically). A major earthquake like that would cause major damage and loss of life. Help would be slow to come. Emergency responders can’t respond with bridge and overpasses weakened and trees blocking roads and knocking out power.
We still have time to prepare. Having all the supplies you need are costly, but you can start small. My solution begins at the Dollar Tree. You can buy packages of food, boxes of milk, and tools, but the first purchase I recommend is solar garden lights. Until disaster hits, a solar garden light could make your walkway safer at night.
When there is a power blackout, you could just go pull up some lights and bring them indoors. The lights generally work for two or three years. They charge up during the day. If you don’t have any power problems, you have at least been prepared. Solar lights could brighten up your home as you make needed repairs for any storm damage, play games with your family, or read a book. It would be just like camping . . . almost.