Mother Nature and Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day. Is Mother Nature deserving of some love this year?

When we think about the great outdoors, a lot of people think of pleasant images – sun, meadows, wildlife, and perhaps enjoying a nice peaceful afternoon. Mother Nature’s wrath is sometimes quite terrible, nothing you would ever find peace or solace in.

Let me present a few scenarios:

If a severe thunderstorm sweeps through my town and some homes are missing pieces of roofing, that’s bad for the homeowners. If they have insurance, it’s not so bad.

If an ice storm sweeps through my town and takes out powerlines, that could knock out power to homes and businesses for days, weeks, or more. Just like the first scenario, having insurance would probably help you out if there was any other damage caused by the ice.

If a fire rips through your town, everything could be gone. If you have followed international news over the past week, you’ll know that the fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta (Canada), have scorched a once mighty town off Canada’s landscape. Surrounding the town, acres of nature are burning away as the fire risks spreading east into the province of Saskatchewan.

At first, residents were told to evacuate north, but a lack of precipitation and poorly forecasted winds sent the residents straight into more danger. Luckily, many found their track south and have found some form of shelter.

The bad news as we look back on what the fire has already done, and what the fire has caused in the long run, is what the town of Fort McMurray now contains: scorched homes, cars, and the possessions and mementos that so many families cannot bring back.

An article by NBC News’s Elisha Fieldstadt posted this evening points out the stinging reality that the images of the charred town will be “dramatic.” The Premiere of Alberta, in some ways, like a governor to those of us in the United States, plans to tour the city tomorrow. I can’t imagine being in her position, having to witness such devastation and damage. Yes, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms frequently cause destruction, and we frequently see such events on the Great Plains – think Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This strikes me differently. So much will just be ash – no sense of a home, car, school, store, or photos can survive. Storms may break things apart, but fire eliminates the evidence of any such thing ever existing.

Not only does such a traumatic event take away homes and the personal belongings that so many people worked so hard for. Seeing the almost total destruction of such a large town takes a toll on economy, jobs, and infrastructure. Fieldstadt points out that the premiere and government officials will meet this week to analyze what steps the city and province take as they rebuild and try to provide much needed assistance not only to persons returning to what once was home, but also how businesses will pick up where they were forced to stop in the heat of the moment as the fire overcame the area.

In all of the damage, how much will repair claims on insurance come to? The Edmondton Journal talked to analysts predicting almost $9-billion dollars. That’s a lot. But it’s not enough to replace what some people have lost.

Another thing that surprised me, and was mentioned by Fieldstadt, is that no one perished due to the fire. Two deaths came from automobile accidents occurring during the evacuations of the town.

I was perusing the popular website Reddit late last week and came across a posting on the R/Starbucks thread about how managers and corporate officials with Starbucks took the time to check on all partners and management of Fort McMurray stores, trying to help in any way possible. I hope more companies will step up and do just what Starbucks has been doing to help their people.

If you are interested in helping people displaced and without shelter due to the fires in Fort McMurray, please check out this page on the website of the Canadian Red Cross.

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