July 2010

When we think of disasters as they affect Florida, we normally think of weather or climate-related events. But as we go to press for our Disaster Preparedness issue, Florida beaches are preparing for an unexpected turn. While Floridians are used to dealing with weather and climate events, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is something new. 

One of the most difficult aspects in dealing with the oil spill is the feeling of helplessness. In the event of a hurricane, there are checklists and preparation guides that help us prepare and minimize damage. But with the black tar beginning to wash up on our shores, nobody seems to know how to prepare. Nobody knows what will happen or how long the effects will be felt. It is a frustrating feeling. 

Usually, people flock to Florida in the summer months for the beaches, but this year is different, especially in North Florida. Things are changing quickly and by the time you read this, Central coastal Florida might even be affected by this disaster. Add to all this bad news the troubled economy and that experts are predicting this to be a busier than normal year for hurricanes, and we can quickly surmise, there will certainly be challenges facing Florida in 2010. 

The good news is this: Florida and Floridians persevere. Florida has proved its resiliency many times over. Through the years, the State has overcome hurricanes, flooding, fires, drought, and even freezes, and Florida will overcome once again. The sun will return, the beaches will recover, and the people of Florida will rise to the challenge of working together to make this the best place to live in America. 

Attitude plays a big role in how we approach trials in life. Although our circumstances are not ideal, there are examples for us to learn from. One of the memorable moments I took away from last year’s earthquake disaster in Haiti was the image of people, with little to begin with, who had lost everything, gathered together singing hymns. There was joy there that was not dictated by their circumstances. It is a good lesson.