High winds and residential flooding are anticipated from hurricane Idalia
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Don't fret, prep

Hurricane Idalia and More Frequent Hurricanes - How to Avoid Hopelessness in the Age of Climate Change

Kelsey Bourgeois
August 30, 2023

What’s happening with Idalia?

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Gulf Coast of Florida at 7:45 AM EST on Wednesday, August 30th. Fortunately, the area where the hurricane hit first is relatively sparsely populated. Unfortunately, the damage is still significant and only growing worse. While those directly facing its wrath grapple with submerged streets, property woes, and enduring power struggles, its impact will likely increase.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without power across Florida and Georgia as of Wednesday midday. Not only are power outages inconvenient for consumers, they can also be dangerous for people with various health conditions that rely on electricity to manage. Sometimes that means medical devices like CPAP machines and other times it looks like keeping medications refrigerated to prevent them from spoiling.

If you are able and would like to help victims of Idalia, you can donate to the Red Cross fund for Idalia or to a more local nonprofit working on aid.

Hurricanes and climate change

As our climate warms, hurricanes will only intensify. The warmer temperatures in the ocean fuel windier hurricanes and slow down storms, meaning they can dump more water in one place than ever before, resulting in increased flooding.

OhmConnect was founded with the express purpose of mitigating the worst effects of climate change by decreasing energy demand when power generation is at its dirtiest. It can feel overwhelming but by banding together with your community, you do have the power to make a difference.

Combatting hopelessness with action and preparedness

We all know how psychologically stressful it can be to read about natural disasters like hurricanes, especially when we know more will be on the way more regularly thanks to climate change. Maybe you know someone directly affected or it gets your mind thinking about all the ‘what ifs’ in your area. This is normal, but you can take back some peace of mind in two ways, and we’re here to help with both!

First, prepare for natural disasters on an individual level (don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the basics). Second, decrease your energy consumption overall and adjust how and when you use energy to limit your personal use of fossil fuels (which directly contribute to climate change).

Preparing for emergencies wherever you live

If you find yourself worrying about a potential natural disaster in your area, a great way to channel that energy is taking proactive steps to prepare you, your family, and even your local community for the possibility.

Homeowners and renters alike can take action to be prepared for a discreet emergency. It’s always worth having a 72-hour emergency kit prepared at your house. This will allow you and your family (maybe even a couple of neighbors) to survive and be as comfortable as possible for a few days should an emergency arise.

You can buy a kit or assemble one yourself. Here are the main things to include:

  • Water: The general guideline is 1 gallon per person per day. (Pro tip: water in plastic is good for about a year so opt for canned water when possible for the drinking portion)
  • Food: Several days worth of nonperishable food. We love protein bars or meals intended for camping! (If you have pets, don’t forget to stash a little pet food away as well).
  • Flashlight:
  • Whistle: You may need to signal emergency responders as to your whereabouts and if cell towers are down, a whistle is your best bet.
  • Paper maps of your area
  • First Aid Kit/Medications: Think about it this way, if you can’t get to a pharmacy for 72 hours, what are the staple medications or first aid supplies you and your family may need.
  • Sanitation: Wet wipes and hand sanitizer work great in these scenarios. Think about it like what you might bring camping.
  • Battery: A rechargeable battery to charge your essential items like phones and medical devices may be worth investing in, depending on where you live.
  • Bonus: copies of essential documents. Photocopies of IDs, bank account information, and insurance policies.

Remember, having a few items put together in case of an emergency is great peace of mind! Don’t get bogged down trying to make the perfect kit or worry about spending substantial money to set yourself up. Here are some more ideas of what to do should you find yourself without power for an extended time.

Doing your part to slow the impacts of climate change

Doing your part to decrease your energy consumption will help mitigate the impacts of climate change. The great news here is that doing this will save you money as well! In fact, that’s what OhmConnect is all about. No single one of us can halt climate change and that’s ok. Don’t let the fear that your actions are too small stop you from taking any action. The small actions add up.

Don’t know where to start? Even beginning the process of thinking about your energy consumption is a step in the right direction. You can’t make changes if you don’t have any understanding of your baseline. Take a second to look at your energy bills, and think about ways you can use less energy. Maybe it’s a programmable thermostat? Or smart plugs programmed to turn off appliances for a couple hours each day. It’s OK to start small. Together those small changes can make a big difference in your bill, and together with other folks like you, to the world.

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