Saturday, April 17, 2010

Travel Disrupted by Mother Nature

Aviation experts are saying that the lingering ash plume from the ongoing volcanic eruption in Iceland has caused the worst travel disruption Europe and the world has ever seen. The most recent count shows that 16,000 of Europe's 28,000 daily airline flights have been cancelled, and that number was twice as many as just a day earlier. The International Air Transport Association announced that the volcano is costing the industry more than $200 million per day.

Alternative means of travel are being sought by anxious travelers. The railroad system has suddenly been overwhelmed. Eurostar reported that it was carrying almost 50,000 passenegers between London, Paris and Brussels. Thalys, a high-speed rail company, is allowing passengers to buy tickets even if the trains are already fully booked. Extra trains have been added in Amsterdam, and ticket lines are so long that the company is handing out coffee to hopeful passengers. Ferry operators in Britain are receiving a flood of bookings from passengers desperate to cross the English Channel to France. And even the London city taxi cabs have been recruited into the "alternate transport" game, receiving requests for travel to destinations as far away as Paris, Milan, Amsterdam and Zurich.

What does all this tell us? For one thing, it shows how easily a natural event, such as a volcano hundreds of miles away, can disrupt the normal rhythm of life. Transportation is one of those things we depend on, not only for our convenience, but for our survival. Every item on every store shelf must be transported from somewhere else, unless the shop owner is manufacturing those things himself.

Well, you might say, the bakery makes all their stuff from scratch. Some folks might be surprised to learn that the grain to grind into flour to make into loaves of bread has been transported from somewhere else. Likewise the yeast, the salt, and all the other ingredients. In today's world, urban dwellers are totally dependent on the continuation of the transportation system for everything they consume.

So, what do we learn from this event?
  • In order to continue with some semblance of normalcy, we must have our own supply of foods and other consumable items such as soap, toilet paper, etc., sufficient to carry us through a shut-down of transportation for at least 30 days. 
  • We should practice living solely from our own supplies for a short period of time, so we gain an understanding of what it will take to shift over in the event of a crisis. 
  • We should plan alternative forms of transportation for ourselves, in case the normal systems are shut down. It's not good to leave ourselves totally at the mercy of public transportation systems. 
  • If we can't travel at all, we should have contingency plans that will allow us to carry on as close to normal life as possible until travel is again possible. 
Examine your own situation, analyze your needs vs your wants, and figure out how to continue with life even if the transportation system were to become totally disabled for a time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment