We live in an age when watching our fellow Americans suffer catastrophic loss is an almost daily occurrence. From the wildfires in California, the tornadoes in the mid-west, hurricanes along the eastern seaboard and the gulf coast, floods everywhere, and unprecedented snowfalls, the evening news is a parade of images of people suffering the loss of everything to these disastrous events.
When faced with such tragedies people’s first concern is that their loved ones, including their pets, are safe and accounted for.
Their second concern is not for their houses, their cars or their clothing. Once victims have determined that everyone made it out alive, their next thought is to their memories. If they realize they’ve lost everything, it’s absolutely heart-wrenching to watch their shock and grief.
We all know that we could be the next victims of Mother Nature.
The work to secure our family archive can be extensive and arduous, and yet, faced with the uncertainty of our age and the global crisis we face, we and our future forbears will be very grateful that all was not loss in the natural disaster your family faced during the Age of Global Warming. Whether you believe the root cause of the changes in our atmosphere is a result of earth’s natural cycles, or you think it’s based on an overload of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide being pumped into the air through human activity, it isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference when your standing in the shell of the building you once called home with not one picture of your grandparents left anywhere.
The disaster doesn’t need to be global or far-reaching for everything to be lost. A fire in your home, a burst pipe flooding your basement, a natural gas explosion in your neighborhood, a tree falling in your yard, a roof collapsing from too much snow, the boiler dying in the middle of winter, or a leaky roof are all
personal tragedies that can be just as devastating to our memorabilia as a county-wide disaster.
Beyond a digitization project, you probably have family heirlooms and collectibles that you will want to make sure survive a disaster. I’m not sure everything can be saved, but we should do our best to save as much as we can for as long as we can. Some weather events like hurricane provide us with days of preparation, while others are sudden and unpredictable like earthquakes, tornados and wildfires. In the event of an emergency we may be lucky to get out with our lives, in which case all our material objects, including our archives, becomes secondary. However, when prioritizing our tasks in the event of an impending disaster, knowing what to do before we are panic-stricken, will help to calm our nerves and focus our attention on what we CAN do in the moment.