How did I get here?

What I am doing writing a blog about the work I do? Isn’t it enough just to do the work and come home to do something else. Probably. And I am not entirely sure about the whole blogging thing. Yet.

However, two things drive me. One is that I spend a lot of time thinking about disasters. All different aspects of them, some are existential things (which I often talk about with my colleague Kate, and have done in the past with my former colleague Greg), and some are very practical things. This is what I am about. i think blue sky, but I also want to know if that blue sky means sunscreen and hats. Strategic and practical.

Another driver is that the field I work in is not populated with thinkers. They are mainly doers, and generally fairly linear (they tend also to be white, middle-aged, middle class and overweight men, which if I look in the mirror, I at least qualify for the club). Thinking is not really encouraged or celebrated. Yet in our rush to “do”, the industry tends act like a fish in a fishbowl, swimming round and round going wow, I’ve never been here before.

We don’t learnt from the past (check out any review report over the last 50 or so years, and the same issues emerge time and time again), and because it is an industry that was initially very small, the gene pool was not huge. However, each time someone is thrust into managing a new situation, they often think that they have to manage from scratch. If they only took the time to find that someone else has been there before, might make things easier for people all round. And what we know, is many people say the disaster was bad, but what happened to them afterwards was worse.

OUr transfer of knowledge is poor, and slow, there are few opportunities to do it, so perhaps blogging is one way of getting some stuff out there. These are all my personal thoughts and reflections. I will be careful not to betray the trust that has been invested in me, from the people I have met and helped, that I have learned from, my colleagues, family and friends, and of course, the Red Cross. Trust is integral in this field.

Sastrugi are a contradiction, formed in a harsh environment, yet beautiful In form, challenging for those that try to cross them, changing in form, with the conditions, and the sunlight, and counter intuitively, form perpendicularly to the prevailing wind. Somewhat like disasters, not linear. See, I do remember something from first year geography. Oh, and I like the sound of it. Geographers had a great gift for naming things. Aeolian winds, anyone?

This is then, I hope, an opportunity to record some thoughts, get some discussion going, share some knowledge and because music is my thing, I’ll add a bit of music as well.



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