First I would like to thank all my family and friends for being there for me over the years. Your influence on my life through the good times and also the hard times has been invaluable and profound. I am immeasurably grateful for each of you!
Last year two circumstances aligned making it both possible and motivating for me to focus on moving forward with developing Green Kitchens. First my life settled down. Geographic moves were done, and family members are doing well.
Then early in September Hurricane Irma crossed over south Florida, moved north up through the state covering literally its entire width. From a little cabin up in the Colorado Rockies I did some of the directing of emergency preparation for my family back in North Central Florida.
Fortunately just two months prior to Harvey’s impact I had a dedicated generator outlet professionally wired into the electric panel at my family’s Florida home. We had a small 1,500 watt generator stored in the garage for just this type of emergency. Even so, hurricane preparations were still a challenge. Most all gas stations were out of petrol. When gas was located, waiting in line was time consuming. About 15 gallons were finally acquired with help from a family friend. Thus the fridge, the well, and a couple light circuits could remain operational for as long as that supply lasted.
Our electric stove would require too much current to be run off the size generator we had, so there’d be no home cooked meals. The local grocery store was mostly out of stock on the regular food items for making sandwiches. Even milk for cereal was all sold out. Some odd-brand items were found and purchased. An outdoor grill might have come in handy but charcoal and propane were long gone out of all the stores. By two days prior to Irma’s landfall one could forget finding bottled water. Thankfully we didn’t need it.
Miraculously my family was out of power for only twenty-four hours. Still with all the flooding, most roads to town were impassible for over a week after the storm was gone. Some communities in our area had power outages for a week or more.
On September 13th, 2017, five days after Irma hit, the Tampa Bay Times published an article titled Irma causes one of the largest disaster power outages in the nation. It states: “As of 6 p.m., about half of the Sunshine State was waiting for the lights to go back on. That’s down from Monday night when 62 percent of the state’s 10.5 million households were without power.” Further down the same article: “Many Texas residents are still without power (3) weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and coastal areas of the state, which shows just how long it can take to get back up and running.”
The next major hurricane to make landfall in the US was Hurricane Maria. Its effects on Puerto Rico have been an eye opener. About a third of the island still, to this day, has no power after five months. Could that ever happen here on the US mainland?
Planning for the Future
Our most recent hurricane season really brought home the fact that we as a family had been taking all of our modern conveniences for granted: stovetop cooking, baking bread in the oven, refrigeration, making coffee, doing laundry, taking a hot shower, and even having water. It became imperative to change course.
This is why ‘kitchen resilience’ was added to the vision for Green Kitchens. It’s a huge topic. The good news is there are a lot of new innovations and some older ahead-of-their-time innovations, all relatively easy to implement, which will help achieve greater kitchen resilience.
The topics of how to find ‘super energy efficient appliances’ and how to do ‘sustainable kitchen remodeling’ will also be in the mix of blog topics. So there is a lot to cover here on Green Kitchens’ blog.
I hope you will subscribe. Please share your comments, and also your own emergency preparedness experiences and insights.
Go Green, Barbara