Surviving Disasters & Messing with Texas

I love when people read an article or hear a radio broadcast about community and think of Texas Schmexas. It warms my heart and reminds me that the “work” done in these parts is not done in vain.

Two items were brought to my attention in the last few days that might be of interest to you, if as I assume you are interested in community. (Why else are you spending your valuable minutes reading this blog post?)

The first was “The Key to Disaster Survival? Friends and Neighbors,” heard on NPR’s All Things Considered by my lovely sister-in-law and forwarded to me by brother Stephen, after she kept him up last night telling him about it. (Click here to listen to the story as an audio essay, as it was on the radio; you can also scroll down and read the text of the article.) The article title sums up the content, of course, but here are a few excerpts worth noting if you decide not to read or listen:

Aldrich’s findings show that ambulances and firetrucks and government aid are not the principal ways most people survive during — and recover after — a disaster. His data suggest that while official help is useful — in clearing the water and getting the power back on in a place such as New Orleans after Katrina, for example — government interventions cannot bring neighborhoods back, and most emergency responders take far too long to get to the scene of a disaster to save many lives. Rather, it is the personal ties among members of a community that determine survival during a disaster, and recovery in its aftermath… When Aldrich visited villages in India hit by the giant 2004 tsunami, he found that villagers who fared best after the disaster weren’t those with the most money, or the most power. They were people who knew lots of other people…

Aldrich has looked at disasters here in the US as well as abroad, and it appears to hold true–time and again it is community that matters in both the face of and aftermath following a disaster. If there’s a “so what?” application for the article, I find it here:

Instead of practicing earthquake drills and building bunkers, we could reach out and make more friends among our co-workers and neighbors.

Reach out. Make friends.

Because relationships, people, and community are what matter when life gets messy.


The second article is being included primarily for the sake of humor. J came across “Why There’s No Messing with Texas” on CNN, and it is perfect. Again, you can click “play” to watch it as a news report or scroll down and read the text of the article, though the two focus on different aspects of “messing with Texas.” The video emphasizes Texans’ pride at being from Texas. (It begins with the line, “Texas pride is about as subtle as getting smacked across the face with an iron skillet.”) The written article is mostly about how “Don’t Mess with Texas” was developed as an anti-litter slogan back in 1985.

My favorite part?

“We never say we’re from Houston or Austin. Every Texan, when they say where they’re from, they’ll say ‘Texas,’ ” McClure said. “Texas is not only a state of mind, it’s a state of heart, state of soul. There’s a sense of bigger than life here. … People here are tough and rugged but know how to have a good time. They work hard but know how to have a good time, and I think they enjoy the very simplest of things in life.”

I don’t know what a “state of soul” is but I believe ’em.


4 comments on “Surviving Disasters & Messing with Texas

  1. kelsie [the sister-in-law] says:

    Haha..I didn’t realize Stephen already talked to you about that article. He didn’t even complain while I was keeping him up; he’s so sweet. 🙂

    • elizabeth says:

      He was very kind about it. I think he said that you told him about it while he “was trying to go to sleep.” 🙂

      I’m glad you did! You’re good at passing along those tidbits. Remember the post about Cheerios?

  2. You know what’s kind of ironic? My family and I just discovered we’re moving to Austin. I had no idea this would happen in my life when I started reading your blog a few months back. Just one of those things, I guess…

    • elizabeth says:

      That’s great, Tamara. I hope you’re excited about it. Austin is a beautiful city. And really fun! One of my best friends lives down there, so maybe our paths will cross some day after all!

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