Permaculture for Disaster Mitigation

Disaster management normally focuses on severe, sudden threats (floods, earthquakes, storm damage). Some of the potential disasters for Cascadia could cause extremely catastrophic regional damage - most notably the inevitable Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, which could collapse dams, inducing a "Willamette Valley tsunami" that would kill at least thousands of people. Oregon's highway bridges built before the 1980s were not built to seismic safety standards (although some have been retrofitted since). Strengthening the "critical infrastructure" to withstand large earthquakes would take the remaining decades of the petroleum era.

Author James Howard Kunstler calls the converging crises of peak oil and climate change "The Long Emergency." While even the worst case scenario of the Cascadia earthquake would be a catastrophe that could level cities, it would be a terrifying couple minutes followed by years and decades of recovery and reconstruction. In contrast, the end of cheap oil and the end of a stable climate are problems that are likely to merely get worse and worse, without any end in sight.


Eugene's Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan
(original web link before the City "improved" its website)

Eugene/Springfield Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan

the new web address for this important document is much harder to communicate


Permaculture, Preventative Perspectives on Disaster Planing
(a response to the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan)

Disaster Severity Likelihood Timing Mitigation
Flood moderate to major certainty fluctuates due to climate don’t build hospitals in floodplains
Winter Storm moderate to major certainty erratic duck and cover, replace urban hazard trees with fruit and nut trees
Landslide localized certainty during floods or earthquakes don't cut into steep hillsides, ban clearcuts
Fire minor to major certainty droughts, July 4 fireworks risk ban clearcuts, restoration forestry, better rural zoning, ban fireworks, fire safety awareness
Earthquakes moderate to severe certainty could be years, centuries or next week seismic upgrades to bridges and critical buildings
Volcanic hazards moderate to severe certainty in our lifetimes? South Sister is dormant, not dead don't build hospital where lahars (mud flows) could flow
Dam safety catastrophic (the Willamette Valley tsunami) unknown most likely during severe flood or Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake strengthen or remove dams, publicize danger zones and evacuation routes
Utility and Transportation disruptions minor to major certainty winter storms, grid overload, drought, natural gas depletion, earthquake, flood redundancy is needed, increase local energy generation (solar, wind, etc), improve train service to Portland
Hazardous Materials minor to severe accidents happen low level pollution is ongoing and everywhere better emergency response for accidents on the railroad, highways and at factories, ban toxic technologies in favor of non-toxic practices
Terrorism minor to major if local or regional, catastrophic if nuclear or biological possible unpredictable more social cohesion in the community, better foreign policy to reduce anger, expose 9/11 covert operation deliberately allowed to happen to create pretext to grab Iraqi oil and Afghan poppy fields)