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Three Tips for Staying Safe in a Tsunami

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Listen to your Elders

While thousands were swept to their deaths and entire communities destroyed in the tsunami of December 26, 2004, the five indigenous tribes on Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Indian archipelago were fine. Why? They listened to their elders. For generations, going back as far as 70,000 years, these people have learned to listen to nature as intimately as listening to a lover. The children learn from the elders how to develop this "ear." The people knew the tsunami was coming so everyone went to high ground.

Unlike a Canadian couple who stood on a resort beach snapping photos of the 2004 tsunami. Here is a photo of that tsunami, later downloaded from the seawater-soaked chip of their camera found with their corpses. I am deeply saddened and angered at a society that teaches people that nature is an object to be consumed. The consumer value system, in my opinion, murdered this couple.

Don't Develop / Destroy your Coastline

Live at least 10 km inland. That is the rule of thumb of these wise people, the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas, Sentinelese and Shompens. Unlike their neighbors, they did not cut down the trees growing on the coastline. Their Western-style neighbors clear – cut in order to build luxury hotels and make expanses of sandy beaches for frolicking tourists. The trees are what hold it all together. Those photo-op sandy beaches on other islands turned into tourist cemeteries. Living in harmony with nature is more important, to these indigenous people, than being part of a "modern" tourist consumer economy.

Help Each Other

Rather than dreaming of living secluded in your own Malibu beach house, clinging to a cliff and with a security guard at the gate, form community. Get to know your neighbors. Help each other out. Mutual aid is scientifically proven to be the way for survival of the species. These true survivors, the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas, Sentinelese and Shompens, live in egalitarian hunter/gatherer societies. They lived while thousands died. Listen to indigenous wisdom and try to incorporate it into your life bit by bit.

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About Lynette Yetter

Lynette Yetter is the author of the books "72 Money Saving Tips for the 99%" and "Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace, a novel." Lynette is a permanent resident of Bolivia and a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Reed College.
  • Carolina

    Great article Lynette, I agree; first, listening to the wisdom of the first peoples who understand their connection to the cosmos, help us live in better harmony. In present time, we are deaf, numbed, disconnected, addicted to consumption, and the passive subjects to industry. Through in; headphones, dogma and isolation, everyone is out to lunch… See More. No one knows how to listen to the earth breathing, like the natives can, and know how to read nature. Second, I hear the common sense behind living at least 10 k away from coast lines, I will definitely consider, is ironic that most major cities are built on water fronts, I cringe at the thought! Thirly, Yeah! community building is the only way our this mess! But reverence is learned behavior, and people have to want to change their ways.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Thank you, Carolina, for your insightful comments. As we gather together, tuning our ears to hear the Earth breathe (ahhh, what a beautiful phrase!) we shift the tides of history. Don’t you think?

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The political angle is what?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    EB,

    There is no political angle in the article itself – unless you want to argue the politics of beach-front development. But the author has a point. An undeveloped beachfront is excellent protection against tsunamis that do not strike river-mouths, bays and harbors. To go further into Lynette’s politics, you need to go to her website.

    I did. Have fun!

  • Clavos

    Interesting you should ask, EB. As I edited this article, I asked myself the same question, and even considered placing it in another section, but it was a slow day in Politics…

  • Mark

    What could be more political than advocating mutual aid?

    Lynette, please expand on this: “Mutual aid is scientifically proven to be the way for survival of the species.” I’m not clear on what notion of ‘scientific proof’ you’re applying.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Clavos et al,

    When I re-read this article, I saw a rather strong political message, especially in its final paragraph. Lynette doesn’t say much, but she gets her points across with her brevity.

    Rather than dreaming of living secluded in your own Malibu beach house, clinging to a cliff and with a security guard at the gate, form community. Get to know your neighbors. Help each other out. Mutual aid is scientifically proven to be the way for survival of the species. These true survivors, the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas, Sentinelese and Shompens, live in egalitarian hunter/gatherer societies. They lived while thousands died. Listen to indigenous wisdom and try to incorporate it into your life bit by bit.

    This is very much a political message because it has major political consequences if followed. It means a paradigm shift in how you view the world around you – from the cars you drive to the ants crawling in ant-hills in your yards. If you are used to compartmentalizing everything, like some robot using a Harvard outline sheet, you will miss this. But if you think in a manner counter to the Greek compartmentalization mode, as Lynette does, you will see what I’m saying.

  • Clavos

    Ruvy, my comment to EB was facetious…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Clavos,

    Your comment might have been facetious, and EB’s might have been merely sarcastic – but I find, reading the long articles I see here on American politics, that this compartmentalized thinking is a crippler to seeing a greater reality.

    For example: article after article here deals with “health care reform” in the United States. And like so many pigeons chasing crumbs, or pigs feeding at a trough, commenters chase after these articles and leave all sorts of idiotic comments. Why are the comments idiotic? Not because the commenters are idiots – not at all. The idea of spending trillions of dollars that are not available to the American government is idiotic! And that is what “health care reform” is! And this is true whether you agree with it philosophically (like I do) or not.

    Applying my logic to the previous paragraph, if there is no money available for “health care reform”, why oh why are so many people meowing for it like cats meowing for milk?

    Fools don’t want to see the obvious. And Lynette’s points are less than obvious.

    Not that I agree with her 100%. But to argue with her, I’d have to go to her website. However, when she states arguments that make good sense, as she did here, it is wise instead to praise her, instead of being snotty and argumentative.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Thanks for reading this article and even taking the time to go to my website! :)
    Mark, to respond to your request, “Lynette, please expand on this: ‘Mutual aid is scientifically proven to be the way for survival of the species.’ I’m not clear on what notion of ‘scientific proof’ you’re applying.” please read my review of Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin, here on blogcritics.

    (When I went back to add this link to the original article, I saw it had already been published and I couldn’t change it. Thank you, Mark, for this opportunity to expand on the work) :)

    Ruvy, I applaud you!!!! I feel understood! Yes! It is a huge paradigm shift from Cartesian thought. Oh, how incredibly refreshing to meet a like-minded person. :)

    El Bicho and Clavos, I hesitated to put this article in the Political category. But, there was no other category offered that seemed to apply. In our compartmentalized thinking, “Political,” was the closest fit of the options available. :D

    What category would you create for this article and others that express this paradigm shift?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “What could be more political than advocating mutual aid?”

    Spoken like a true Foucauldian.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Hello Roger,

    Thank you for reading my article and posting your comment. Will you tell us more about your interpretation of what a “Foucauldian” is and how it relates to this article? I am intrigued to know how your thought has been influenced by Michel Foucault. What of his works have you read? Which made the biggest impression on you?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Lynette.

    I can refer you to the following thread.

    Don’t be alarmed, though. It’s over 2200 comments and still going strong.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Thank you, Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Lynette,

    You might want to consider the following article about William James on “Politics of Personal Freedom.”

    It sort of sets the larger context for Mark’s initial remark (concerning what is truly political). And although I disagree with the major premise in that politics is being reduced here to the level of ethics – which under ideal conditions it should never be so – it does, nonetheless, throw light on our present condition.

    As to Mark’s questioning your use of the term “scientifically proven,” it’s but a reflection of what both of us (I daresay) think about the validity of “scientific proof.” It’s greatly exaggerated.

    Interestingly though, Mark tends to discount here the notion of “scientific kind of proof” without having articulated any clear and distinct idea as to what other kind of proof might look like, presumably of a superior kind, I daresay, in order to stand as a viable contrast.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Thank you for your thoughtful and informative post, Roger. I appreciate you taking the time to provide the link and for your commentary.

    In general, I sense that there is a curiousity about my thought. To best respond, I invite everyone to:

    1. Read my novel Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace
    2. Check out my websitemusicandes.com
    3. Keep reading my future articles on blogcritics

    I am honored to have your participation in the dialog. Truly, I feel like we are all new friends encountering each other in the realm of mind and heart.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you for your comment, Lynette. Yes, it’s not often that it happens, but Cindy and Mark have indeed become my friends because of BC.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    How wonderful, Roger! I look forward to us all getting to know each other more.

  • Mark

    You misstate my position, Rog. I have no argument with causal analysis. My problem is with those who would use the logic and language of causation to deny (for example) inductive synthetic ‘proof’ as a legitimate alternative.

    Listen to tribal elders – seems like a good idea to me as several thousand years of observation yields one hell of an Anecdote.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The purpose is to draw you out (I’m certain you’ll forgive the ploy.

    The very same reason, I suppose, why ofttimes I misstate my own position.

    Once the caricatures and exaggerations are out in the open, there is a better chance, methinks, of getting down to bare bones.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Why must try, Mark, to say the unsayable.

  • Mark

    Agreed. And I knew you were ploying.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It would be somewhatdifferent face to face. At least I could hold you captive (for a stretch). But it’s so much more difficult online.

  • http://musicandes.com/ Lynette Yetter, author of the novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace

    Mark, I love your phrase – “…several thousand years of observation yields one hell of an Anecdote.” :)

    Thank you, Roger, for drawing Mark out. I look forward to hearing/reading more of your thoughts and intellectual exchanges.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, Lynette, at least you know where to find us.

    I will have another link for you later today, from the writings of Jean Paul Lyotard.

    It deals with a type of narrative that’s characteristic of traditional societies, and which typically results in knowledge-statements comparable to your bullet points.