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What the History of Ukraine Teaches us About the Risks of Mismanaging Climate Crisis

Ukraine has a long history of finding itself at the intersection of political violence — among them genocide inflicted by Joseph Stalin, joined later by German occupiers. This tragic history helps explain why Ukrainians have the will to sacrifice everything for their land, despite the odds, to fend off Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Sandwiched between German imperialism/Fascism and the Marxist/Leninist movements of the 19th and 20th Centuries, modern Ukraine continues to exist between a proverbial rock and a hard place. Consequently, it is unsurprising that the seeds of conflict still lie in this region to the present day.

If these historical undercurrents are acknowledged at all, it is to point out that President Putin engages in propaganda when he rationalizes his warpath to the Russian people as a purging of Nazis from Ukraine. Nevertheless, there is a kernel of truth to this history. An Israeli paper covered an “Embroidery March” last year in Kiev — one of several to commemorate Nazi collaborators — which some Ukrainians remember as allies against the Soviet Empire during World War II.

While it is tempting to compartmentalize the COVID-19 pandemic, the costly aftermath of George Floyd’s death in 2020, a 40-year high in inflation and the war in Ukraine as a series of random events, an uneasy sense that something more is afoot is widespread. Pundits, for example, have attempted to attribute these early 21st Century upheavals to Marxists. Still others have drawn attention to the World Economic Forum’s so-called Great Reset, to argue that “Stakeholder Capitalism” is the new face of fascism.

Whatever this is, we can no longer afford to remain passive observers.

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What to do If the Unthinkable Happens

If the past two years of global pandemic was not stressful enough, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added a whole new layer of uncertainty to our day-to-day lives. Still, it is not too late to take control of the situation to the best of our respective abilities.

Those who live in an area where earthquakes, wildfires or storms pose a risk of natural disaster may already be familiar with emergency preparedness basics: Prepare to go a minimum of three days without food, water, phone/Internet service and electricity — and for those who live in outlying areas be prepared to go significantly longer. Keep on hand emergency cash, medications, food, water, batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, a battery-operated AM/FM radio, blankets a list of important telephone numbers (in case it is not possible to access them digitally) and other essentials. For those who spend a lot of time away from home, take time to assemble a kit that can travel to school or work with you.

When deciding what to include in a home emergency kit, imagine what it will be like to go without basic utilities. To get an idea what that might look like, it is helpful to imagine something more familiar: camping. What would you have on hand if you were missing the amenities and comforts of home? As you imagine roughing it in the wilderness, other things will come to mind: a multi-tool/pocket knife, lantern, sleeping bag, map, lighter, camp stove, firewood and so on.

The typical emergency guide is focused on getting through the first 72 hours in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In the event of cyberattack or even a conventional act of war, however, it may take weeks to bring critical services back online. What then? Unless you are a hardcore “prepper” and/or have the ability to live off the grid in an undisclosed location safe from opportunistic criminals, this kind of scenario is one few of us care — or dare — to imagine. Indeed, it is virtually impossible for any one person to account for every possible contingency. Still there are steps each of us can take to mentally rehearse how to get through such a crisis — and, with any luck, help others around us plan for this contingency too.

Continue reading “What to do If the Unthinkable Happens”