I am really happy about this volcano erupting in Iceland. It has disrupted air travel and maybe provided a wakeup call to our modern world. We rely much too heavily on our conveniences and by doing so absolutely put ourselves in peril. Up until the modern age of digital things and computers and internets and air travel, technology really did build upon itself. Now that we have developed all these things, people no longer have any sort of skills; computers do it all for us. What happens if one day a natural disaster occurs and all of our satellites and internet and telecommunications and electricity are knocked out? No one will be able to function. And yet, we somehow survived, with global trade even, hundreds of years before any of this. Without GPS people traveled the globe (in fact, even without maps or knowledge of what the rest of the globe was like), without internet people gained knowledge and did research (it’s called libraries and actual interrogative research) and without internet and telecommunications, people communicated across their own countries and across the entire planet. Why is it that since we can’t fly planes over northern Europe that all of a sudden we feel like we are all trapped? What happened to boats? You are capable of getting from the US to Europe without using an airplane, it is true. It’s really scary to think that this volcano is relatively small and it has caused all this mayhem. What happens if a truly global disaster occurs? We will, it seems, inevitably be thrown back into the dark ages, because no one any longer has any knowledge of how to use analog instruments or how to utilize navigational skills with just maps and compasses and sextants. In a way, people were smarter centuries ago. People had knowledge enough of stars to be able to travel the oceans even at night. It seems the more we rely on technology the more we become blind to our own universe, our eyes become shut off to what is in front of them. No longer do we understand the intrinsic movements of the stars, sun and moon. We don’t understand weather based on what we see outside, but instead, what we hear on weather reports. We don’t know what the plants and animals we see around us are and what they can be used for. People would literally starve if our way of life ended, even if they were surrounded by edible plants; they would just have no knowledge of what to do. We are really putting ourselves in a precarious position by relying so heavily on technology. This whole “GREEN REVOLUTION” thing is so big now, we was always big until a few centuries ago. We used wind power for our global overseas trade, we used horses to travel overland, that’s real alternative fuel sources. It’s just very scary to think that if somehow our satellites were destroyed and our electrical power plants stopped working that we would all be absolutely doomed. It’s even scarier to think that people survived and thrived for most of human existence without any of that and yet somehow, now, without it, we would be helpless. We learned all the knowledge we ever needed to learn, to survive without any of these modern amenities, we shouldn’t just forget about it; we may ultimately, one day, need to rely on it once more. And that knowledge isn’t precarious, it works no matter what happens, no ash in the sky or power outage is going to make that obsolete. All our emergency services should be trained to use the modern technology we have, but also be fully versed in how to function given the scenario of those technologies failing. Also, there should be contingency plans for essential necessities including global trade, in case we for some reason can no longer fly airplanes. And the people operating these transports should know how to navigate without computer and GPS aids. It is vital for our survival that we not forget all the things we’ve taught our computers to do for us.
Good for Volcanoes!