Over the last couple of days Ireland has been experience the most freak of weather events. Polar air from the North East has been blanketing the country in snow while gale force winds of Storm Emma have been gusting up from the South East. This almost unique, certainly freak collision of weather fronts has pretty much brought the country to a stand still.
Given that we don't usually encounter such extreme weather conditions, here in Ireland, we really don't have to resources to keep the country going. As a result, the country has been under a form of voluntary lockdown for over 48hrs with no apparent sign of the weather abating any time soon. Some have argued that this was a complete over reaction and have expressed shock at the idea that the country can’t better handle this weather.
I absolutely believe that the approach of looking to minimise risk for all citizens, by suggesting that people stay home and avoid unnecessary travel, makes perfect sense. We simply don’t have the resources to cope with keeping the whole country snow free and why should we invest in such capacity when it is only needed very occasionally, if at all, and is also virtually impossible to predict when a system as sever as this is going to appear.
My advice to everyone is to work from home where you have to and rest where you can. I for one have been enjoying a healthy mix of said activities. Rather incredibly, I’ve managed to get out snowboarding twice already! It’s no Three Valley’s or Lavigno, however, it’s been so great to be able to get out snow sliding at all in a country where we don’t have any ski resorats due to the rarity of requisite winter weather events!
One other thing that I’ve really enjoyed doing is keeping the paths clear around my house. One thing that never ceases to amaze me though is how people react to an activity that is actually a legal requirement in most countries. Most of the interactions have involved praise but I have been told that I must be very sad and bored and that there’s no point because it’ll only come back later. It was even suggested that I was making the situation worse and could cause an accident!
To the praise givers, I thank and salute you. To the haters, please switch on and recognise that we all live as part of a wider ecosystem that is heavily dependant on a collective cooperation. In circumstances of crisis this becomes all the more obvious yet it is, in fact, always and ever present. The reality of life is that resources are scarce and we have to share them. It’s great when we see the positive side of people in a crisis but it can also bring out the worst in people.
I’ve been part of and heard of some tremendous stories of people coming together to help each other, and their communities, through this crisis. Unfortunately, I have also seen footage of an incredibly destructive collaboration which saw the looting and physical destruction of an actual supermarket in Dublin suburb. If there’s a lesson to be learned from this experience it is that humanity, in the grander scheme of things, is a very precious yet fragile gift and it is incumbent on us all to preserve it.
We don’t all have to live in each other’s pockets but we should all endeavour to be more aware of the needs of others around us and to reflect on how our actions, good and bad, can impact on the world around us. This weather system has gifted us all with an incredible opportunity to recharge and reflect on the lives we lead, the life around us and the impact of our behaviour on the ecosystem around us!
Governments do what they can but ultimately, when it comes to running maintaining a functional society the buck stops with each and every one of us as individuals to figure out how we can best live together as communities, locally, and as countries, nationally. So taking this current event as a metaphor, and an opportunity to action positive change, rather than waiting for the snow to melt or “the government to clear it up” why don’t we all take responsibility for at least keeping the snow cleared from around our properties?!
Better still if we can collaborate to help those that are more vulnerable than us, especially those who maybe physically incapable of looking after themselves. Let the history books record this period in our history as the time that people really came together to help each other out rather than the time the country stood still because it was equipped to deal with a freak weather situation. Got an idea for how people can add best value during this cold snap? Drop a note in the comments or mail me directly here if you’re looking for inspiration!!