Several weeks ago, I had a great conversation with author Rebecca Lawton about her new book, “The Oasis This Time.” We covered a broad range of topics and I was sad that not everything we discussed made it into the final version up at Earth Island Journal.
We were talking about wildfires, and how she and her family had been evacuated because of the wildfires in Sonoma County in 2017, and then when she moved to Oregon for a new job (after 30 years in Sonoma), they were evacuated again in 2018 because of wildfires.
One of the phrases she used regarding how they managed the fires is that they had to “community-up.” I’ve written about this before but in a more theoretical sense – seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones got me thinking about it when she said in an article that the best way to survive a disaster of any kind, be it wildfire or earthquake, is to rely on your neighbours. To “community-up.”
Lawton talked about how her Sonoma community kept everyone up to date via text message and how they had a network of people to share the burden with. She said that, even though she and her family were new to Oregon, the same things happened – the community banded together to deal with the wildfires.
It’s at times like this that I wonder what would happen if a disaster like that happened here. We hardly know our neighbours, and the ones we do know we don’t really like because they’re really noisy and inconsiderate. I wouldn’t even ask them for a cup of sugar, let alone to band together in the face of a fire.
But maybe things change when things get “real,” maybe old grudges are put aside and everyone works together towards a common goal. Not having been in that situation, I don’t really know. I don’t really want to be in that situation, but if we were I would hope we could rely on our neighbours as a help rather than a hindrance. I hope we could truly community-up.
I’m keen to hear other’s stories of community-up-ing. When in your life have you – and others – benefited from connecting with your community?