Hurricane Relief

When I was in third grade, I remember reading a short story in which a hurricane took place. I never watched the news and was thus sheltered from the devastation of the storms. I was sheltered from the harsh reality, a reality that many people come face-to-face with each year. For ten-year-old me, this short story was eye-opening. For eighteen-year-old me, interviewing someone who has experience with hurricane relief was even more so. 

Josh Friers, a USDA Wildlife Biologist, was our interviewee for the Problem Pitch Project. In the media, we hear the most about how parts of nature have been destroyed, but Mr. Friers put forth a new perspective on the effects of hurricanes on the environment. He holds that most areas benefit from having hurricanes when it comes to “wild” areas. Mr. Firers explained that hurricanes help clear vegetation and create new habitat for wildlife, stating that “wildlife have been dealing with natural events longer than we have been on this earth.”

I found this outlook on hurricanes rather interesting. While Mr. Friers elaborated on the negative impacts of hurricanes as well, the idea that these huge storms could be beneficial in any way was shocking. Out of the destruction that results from a hurricane, pieces of the environment will come back better than before. It is inspiring in a way to know that out of something devastating and often deadly can come new homes for the wildlife in the area. I have always believed the same about life: sometimes it takes trials and tribulations to discover how strong you are. Out of the ashes of your struggles, a phoenix can rise.

Mr. Friers also mentioned that he believes the best way to educate the general public about hurricanes is through social media. I hear a lot about how much time people spend on social media, but it has opened communication lines between areas of this country and the world that haven’t always been open. Social media platforms are quick and effective ways to spread information. In the case of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, information about evacuations and real-time updates on conditions can be shared, and people can keep their families updated on their well-being. There is something I remember reading and, even though I can’t remember where I read it, it has always stuck with me. It went something along the lines of as follows. Social media is often condemned in society, but if the people of Pompeii, of any area impacted from a natural disaster, had the chance to reach out through social media to tell their loved ones that they loved them one more time, then they would have. They would have jumped at the opportunity. We are blessed to have global communication at the tips of our fingers. Hearing someone who works with hurricane relief acknowledge the importance of social media in the process makes me proud to hear how much easier it is for people affected by disasters to get the help that they need.