Earth Must Be Pretty Frustrated

We’re fine down here, although it keeps quaking and shaking every day.  Geologists say that the earthquake wasn’t enough to release Earth’s pent-up energy and we must prepare for another BIG one.

Earth must be pretty frustrated if 8.2 on the Richter Scale isn’t enough to release all its energy.  But I suppose it can be Earth, or the neighbour next door, or ourselves… when you keep it in for long enough, something’s gonna come crushing down!

Earthquakes are pretty political in Chile, not just because it gives a chance for Earth to put her foot down and show all these carbon units walking around who the real boss is, but also because humans are shaken into action:

  • first, to run away from any structure that may potentially fall down on their heads;
  • second, by moving back in to check out the damage,
  • third, by checking out everyone else’s damage; and
  • fourth, by fixing the damage — or standing still.

Equating standing still after major damage to “action” seems like a paradox, but standing still provides the chance for some to silently demand action on the part of others… and that’s when the politics come into play.

You have the groups of people standing still, lamenting the damage; then you have the group trying to prove they are powerful enough to help; and there’s the group powerful enough to argue those standing still are simply opportunistic free-riders.

The political spectrum goes back and forth, and what was two minutes of 8.2 on the Richter scale, becomes weeks of powerful people playing a media tug-of-war on everything from the true extent of damage to the type of bid bond on building contractors.

In a small but organized country like Chile with an emerging economy than never quite clears its head above the extraction and sale of natural resources, a natural catastrophe is an ever-present actor that moves, shakes, drowns, buries or dries up power structures.

by Orietta Salinas
Santiago, Chile

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