Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Book Review: "The Big Ones" by Lucy Jones

Could there be a more timely book?

The Big Ones; How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Humanity (and what we can do about them) 
by Lucy Jones
Penguin Random House 2018

If you are paying attention in Southern California, you are familiar with both "The Big One" and Lucy Jones. Jones is the voice we hear following any large earthquake in Southern California. She is the former U.S. Geological Survey seismologist that can explain the complexities of an earthquake in a simple, but relevant manner to any audience. When we hear her voice, smart Californians, quiet their fears and listen.

Imagine my surprise when I came across Jones' book in a small book store in London. Despite luggage weight limits, I snatched it up and began reading.

In California, "The Big One" refers to the next expected massive earthquake on the San Andres Fault that jogs up through most of the state. When it hits, will we be ready for the shake and the aftermath? We will try to be ready, just like the people in Florida and the Bahamas attempted to be ready for hurricane Dorian. With Jones' help, Los Angeles has seriously considered how our response will play out.

What Jones adds to this discussion is historical perspective. There have been other Big Ones around the world–big earthquakes, big storms, big volcanic eruptions, even big floods that Californians have forgotten about. It behooves us to look back to these other events so we can understand how a city or community survives and successfully rebuilds. One of the necessary factors: people, public-minded people willing to make a positive difference.

There are some simple, but vitally important lessons detailed in this book. No matter the threat we must curtail corruption, put aside politics, and prepare intelligently. When catastrophe strikes, successful survival comes from making informed decisions, helping those that can be helped quickly, then recruiting those survivors to be part of the long-term solution for those who have suffered the most.

Worried about earthquakes? Read this book. You will have a better understanding of the real threat. Concerned about climate change impacts that will challenge what we know about storm response? Read this book. Looking for real world ways to approach problems? Read this book. Learn from those who succeeded and those who did not. Whatever "The Big One" is in your life. This book will give you insight and be a good read.

Other Good Books:
Survival of the Sickest