Hope in a Hotter Time

Explorations in sustainability & justice

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Where will you be during the Big One?

Scientific research shows that a big earthquake is coming and is it inevitable. It is easy to discuss different steps to prepare for an earthquake at your own house, but what if you are in a car or at work? It is important to have different plans for different scenarios. Below are a couple of things you can do to prepare if you are stuck somewhere other than your house when an earthquake hits:

In a Car

If you find yourself driving while an earthquake hits, do not panic. Stop the car away from buildings ad other big infrastructures, as well as other vehicles as possible. Make sure you do not drive until after the shaking has stopped and maybe a little longer after as precaution for aftershocks.  Preparing an earthquake kit for the trunk of your car is a crucial component to ensuring survival. Here are a couple of things I recommend keeping in your car:

  • Spare Shoes/socks
  • Water-enough for each person for 72 hours
  • Emergency cash in small bills-ATMs may not be working
  • Dust mask/bandana
  • High calorie snack items
  • First aid kit
  • Multi-tool or toolkit
  • Car charger for your phone
  • A flashlight with batteries stored separately, or a solar/crank flashlight

In the Workplace

If you happen to be at work during an earthquake, it is important to stay inside the building. DO NOT go outside under any circumstances. Instead, stay away from anything that can fall such as ceiling fans, tall file cabinets, or shelves. Your best bet is to crouch under a sturdy desk and wait for the rumbling to stop. Ask your employer to have a training on earthquake preparedness in order to educate your entire workplace. Designating a leader to oversee survival tactics during an earthquake can make all the difference. A few things to keep in your desk are:

  • Water
  • snacks
  • first aid kit
  • flashlight
  • dusk mask
  • radio
  • solar powered cell phone charger

The diagram below published by the Seattle Time also gives you some more tips for survival anywhere during an earthquake: Quake-MAP.jpg

Author: Yareli Perez

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My rude awakening – Earthquake preparedness

I might not be your typical Portlandia citizen that had no clue about the earthquake risks when I moved here; I indeed am ashamed to admit that I did not know Portland, Oregon is exposed to a great risk of a high magnitude earthquake of 8.0-9.0, however, I learned I am not the only one who is oblivious to that fact. In actuality, many friends of mine – especially the ones that are from out of State – were just as flabbergasted as I was when they learned of the present danger that is likely to erupt beneath. Further, not to mention what horrific repercussions that would come with such an earthquake. At first, I was relieved I was not the only uninformed Portlandian, but when I put more thought into our actuality and what detrimental consequences the unknowing and unpreparedness comes with. I was shocked. Preparedness in terms of knowing how to prepare before, and react during as well as after an earthquake can be a matter of life and death when it comes down to it.

My rude awakening

 The eye opener played out one Wednesday afternoon when I was in my apartment and I realized that my water was shut off for a few hours. When the thirst hit me I could not find anything that would have satisfied my thirstiness. I was obligated to going to the store and buying something to drink. It seems like no big deal and at that given moment and it wasn’t. On the other hand, reality hit me hard when I realized how unprepared I was when I played out the scene of no running water under a state of an earthquake emergency.

Your first basic steps to earthquake preparedness


Firstly, make a plan with loved ones, where to meet and when to expect to meet. Further, have a kit with proper supplies in the event of an emergency. The American Red Cross advises building a kit. The bare minimum of the kit is supposed to include:

  • one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
  • Food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked (canned or fried food)
  • First aid kit, including prescription medication, if needed.

Image result for portland earthquake emergency kit

retrieved from: http://www.opb.org/news/blog/newsblog/5-things-you-might-have-forgot-to-put-in-your-emergency-kit/

Please, consider this is the bare minimum recommendation for an emergency kit advised by the Amercian Red Cross. For more information visit the links below.




I find it important to know how to react during an earthquake to save your life. Let’s just be honest, one can be prepared as much as one possibly could be, but if one jumps out of a window in the attempt to save ones live during an earthquake it would not be of any use anyway. On that note, let us get started: Assuming one is inside, according to the American Red Cross Cascades Region the go- to will always be “Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible”. A Red Cross representative highly suggests that not only one should know the drill but also practice it so the Amygdala (the emotional part of the brain, which takes over the brain functions and all rational thinking of the frontal cortex in an emergency situation) knows how to react in that given moment.


Image result for earthquake preparedness                retrieved from: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/54418


Be aware, that the danger is not over! Aftershocks are common and can be very dangerous. Repeat “Drop, cover and hold on. Move as little as possible” for every aftershock. When leaving your safe cover the American Red cross advises to stay calm and check for injuries and assist any wounded. If possible change into longs sleeve pants and shirt, and durable shoes.

My personal action plan


I have come to the conclusion that I wanted to be prepared in case of an emergency. Therefore, I have started a list with important items that I will buy gradually to add to my kit. Also, I have planned to inform myself about my apartment building in regard to how earthquake safe it is. This information would help me assess the situation better in a case of an emergency in terms of how fast I need to leave the building. My last appeal: Be an educated and responsible citizen and check in with your friends to check up if they are informed of the risk of a possible earthquake. It might just save their life.


Further information on earthquake preparedness: 



 work cited:

Preparedness Portland | American Red Cascades Region. (2017). American Red Cross. Retrieved 25 April 2017, from http://www.redcross.org/local/oregon/preparedness


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Edible plants: What’s for dinner in Oregon

Hungry? Head outside and pick those pesky dandelions. On the coast? Grab that giant piece of kelp that just washed up. Yes! They are both edible and a great source of vitamins. Many of Oregon plants that you see on a daily basis can be eaten, some are even here on campus!


Recognize any of these? They can all be found here in Oregon. If you are ever on a trail and come across one wash it off and take a taste. Be careful of any plants that are near a road or buildings. Plants can be sprayed with harmful pesticides that you do not want to ingest. Having all of these plants right outside our doors is amazing and can be very useful if there is ever an emergency. You have food all around you!

Another tip if you want to go out and start eating random plants, make sure you are positive you know what it is. As there are many plants that are edible some are also deadly or poisonous and can have similar appearances to ones that are not.

Take Camas for example. This beautiful purple flower has very large white bulbs that can be eaten and boiled just like a potato.


These are the differences, but there aren’t too many. The right picture is the edible camas that is a vibrant purple, the other is known as “Death Camas.” The plant that is often mistaken as Camas and can be fatal if a lot is ingested. They are both a cone shape flower, with purple buds, and are generally the same height. We can understand why people might mix them up if that is the only criteria they are going off of.

Eating plants off the forest floor is a thrill and really makes you feel like you are one with the Earth. I would say try it, just remember to know exactly what you are looking for! Happy Eating!

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Emergency Preparedness: Don’t Forget About Your Four Legged Friend

With recent reminders that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake can rock the state of Oregon, people are taking these reminders very seriously, and assembling emergency preparedness kits and plans to prepare for the earthquake that can strike at any time. While thinking about preparing for an earthquake, I thought about my dog and how I should also assemble a kit for him. After doing some research, I found out that assembling an emergency kit for my dog was quite easy. In fact, I already had most of the things that should be included in the kit. Essential items to have in the kit include:

  • Medicine/medical records (stored in waterproof container)
  • Leash/harness/carrier
  • Food and water for at least 7 days, manual can opener (extra water gallon in case pet must be rinsed if they come in contact with chemicals)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Current photo of pet
  • Blankets and toys  
  • Information on feeding schedule, veterinarian contact information, any medical conditions/behavior problems, in the event the pet must be fostered or taken to a boarding place


Photograph courtesy of Mauiready.org

At the moment, I do not have a carrier for my dog, as I haven’t had a reason to have one, but it is something that I should purchase to crate train my dog. Crate training my dog is important so that my dog gets used to the small container of a carrier, in case my dog has to be transported in a carrier during evacuation.

Other important things that’ll help in the event of an earthquake, is knowing of safe places you can take your dog to. Due to health and safety regulations, pets are not allowed in disaster shelters. That is why it is a good idea to ask friends, or family members that reside far from the site of the disaster, if they can take care of your pet. You can also check in with your local animal shelter to see if they provide emergency shelter in the event of a disaster. Making sure your pet’s collar is up to date with contact information, and your pet is up to date with vaccines are also important.  

-David M.

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FEMA Survival Kit

After the presentation from the American Red Cross, I went home and went through the readiness handout, and it brought to my attention some major deficiencies in my personal readiness. The presentation did an excellent job of affirming the real and ever-present dangers that come from living in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. According to Living on shaky ground: how to survive earthquakes and tsunamis in Oregon, The next Cascadia earthquake may be similar to the earthquake that set off the 2011 japan earthquake or the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. This is crucial to understand and realize the importance of such a catastrophic event because of the impacts it will have on everyone near and dear to you. This is what FEMA recommends; every person should have a 72 hour kit, with water, food, and first aid on their person or in their car. Beyond this, every family should have a 2 week supply of food and water at their house. Proximity to aid is paramount, that’s why having a personal kit in the most visited places that you could be in at any given time, these places being home, work, and personal vehicle. According to the Red Cross, there is a high probability that a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, reaching  magnitude of nearly 9.0, will occur in our lifetime.

I am not up to the FEMA and Red Cross standard but me and my roommate and I have equipped ourselves in our own manor.

Though my kit is not complete, it is ever evolving as am I in my readiness for the inevitable events of the earthquake. I recommend that all my classmates take this seriously and I implore you to pick up the Resource guide and get started on your own survival kit.

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Medicinal properties in Drosera and Pinguicula

Of course, anyone reading this would guess that I’d find a way to tie in our blog assignment with carnivorous plants. I’m not shy to promote my love for them, and my hope is that sharing intriguing information and pictures of them will help get others more interested in them, thus helping to enrich the idea of conservation of preservation of our wild flora and fauna in others. I hope that this post may even get some of you interested in growing carnivorous plants yourself.

Anyways, I’ll get to the point of the post.

Having spent countless hours of my life reading up carnivorous plant literature since my interest in them was sparked during August of 2015, the fact that the leaves of two genera of carnivorous plants (Drosera and Pinguicula) contain medicinal properties is no mystery to me. However, for many new to carnivorous plants, this may come as a surprise.

Since the Middle Ages (and perhaps before then), the leaves of Drosera were used to treat wounds, and ingested as an herbal remedy to treat coughs. The leaves of Pinguicula were also used to treat wounds on cattle. The two plants are able to work their herbal magic due to the fact that their leaves are covered in sticky droplets of mucilage, used to capture prey. While it may seem insanitary to apply the leavse of a plant that traps insects to a wound, the glandular leaves are antibacterial, so that the prey they capture does not rot while being digested. This means that the leaves of Drosera and Pinguicula are a great natural way to disinfect a wound, or ingest as a tea to fight illness (the leaves of Drosera were also used to sooth muscles, and they apparently are most effective at soothing lung tissues, but I have not found much literature about this).

On a side note, Europeans also have a history of using Drosera and Pinguicula leaves to produce cheese, as the enzymes present on the leaves have the ability to curdle milk.

The leaves of Pinguicula longifolia, one of the many Pinguciula I cultivate

The leaves of P. megaspilaea, note the very large droplets on this one.

Two different Drosera are visible here. This is a good example of the diversity in the genus. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of the species of Drosera you might find here in Oregon, as they are temperate and are just now emerging from their hibernacula.

Uh oh, did I just mention hibernacula? This poses an issue…

While I may have previously hyped-up the healing (and cheese-making) properties of Drosera and Pinguicula, they are not actually very easy to find. While one of the reasons for this is the destruction of boglands, another reason is that the species that grow in temperate climates form hibernacula. Hibernacula are buds of densely packed leaves that enable a plant to better resist freezing and desiccation during the winter. As these leaves are not glandular, they do not contain their medicinal properties.

The hibernacula of Pinguicula grandiflora, a common species in Europe.

The hibernacula of Drosera rotundifolia, a species common across temperate Europe and North America (mostly found in a few places in Oregon, Washington, California, and along the East Coast).

The hibernacula of Drosera intermedia. This species is common in the bogs of the East Coast.

However, if you find yourself in need of some Drosera or Pinguicula in the SE united states, none of the species Pinguicula and most of the Drosera located in these states (which include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina) form hibernacula during the winter, as they do not experience hard frosts.

That being said, the crux of these plants’ usefulness depends mostly on whether or not you are actually in an area where you can find them. While it may seem like I’ve got us all good to go in the case of the “Big One”, the truth is, these plants need a lot of water, and they need not only a lot of water, but water that is low in salt content. That means, I’m going to need to find a way to get these plants water to keep them alive during our hot summers. The plants can also be relatively slow growing, and as I don’t have a backyard full of them, my stock of leaves would only last for about two or three people before I have to wait for more leaves to grow.

However, resilience does not apply just to an earthquake, the information I’ve provided can help you should you find yourself lost or injured in the wilderness where the plants grow! While the genera Drosera and Pinguicula may be considered “common” plants in the US, their locations are often spotty, and it really isn’t feasible for me to research and list all the locations you may find the plants. What I can do, is describe common traits of their habitat.

  1. The majority of Drosera one would find in the US grow in marshes and bogs. A great indicator of Drosera habitat is the presence of sphagnum moss (I don’t have any good pics of it, but you can look it up, it is a fairly recognizable moss).
  2. Drosera are full sun plants, so the bogs where they grow will almost always be in clearings/open areas.
  3. Pinguicula in the Southeastern United States can be found alongside Drosera, however, many Pinguicula grow in cliffs, often those made of limestone. These Pinguicula are a bit harder to come by.
  4. In the Southeastern United States, a lot of developed land is build over suitable habitat for carnivorous plants, so Pinguicula and Drosera can occasionally be found in semi-urban areas. See this thread: http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/post289285.html?hilit=just%20a%20teaser#p289285

Here are a few pictures of a bog in Washington I visited with some friends from the carnivorous plant community. They are not my photos, so here is a link to the original thread, to credit the authors: https://www.terraforums.com/forums/general-discussions/141306-trip-goat-marsh-near-mt-st-helens-pics.html?highlight=goat+marsh

Drosera rotundifolia found at Goat Marsh, by Mount St. Helens.

That’s all the information I’ve got to share at the moment. I hope everyone reading this post found it to be useful and engaging. If I’ve peaked anyone’s interest, I’ve actually just started a blog about Pinguicula (and the other carnivorous plants I grow), so if my shameless self-promotion hasn’t already turned you away, I’d be happy if anyone interested checked it out: http://pinguiculacp.blogspot.com/


-Ben Siebenaler

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The Big One – (Lack of) Preparedness and a Plan

As a student living at home instead of on campus, I find it difficult to even attempt to imagine that a 8.0-9.0 magnitude earthquake could strike the West Coast at literally any time, and nobody in my family would know what to do or where to meet after the ‘quake has stopped. For the record, on average, the Cascadia Subduction zone likes to have a nice big ‘quake around every 250 years; it has been over 340 since the last one. I could be in class, my brother could be at home, and my parents could be working; where would we meet, and how would we communicate if we couldn’t find each other? To me, the scariest part of questions like this is that I have no answers to them. Since my attendance of the Earthquake Preparedness presentation given on campus by a Red Cross representative a couple of weeks ago, I have not stopped thinking “If the ‘Big One’ were to hit right now, what’s my game plan?, and constantly worrying about my family and boyfriend. I eventually figured out that living in fear is, in fact, not my jam, and sat down to talk with my dad about what we would actually do during and after the earthquake, if we were ready for the Big One or not- spoiler alert, we aren’t!- and finally, how to avoid the mass hysteria/panic that will probably happen directly after the earthquake.

(An example of the larger cities along the West Coast that the”Big One” is expected to impact: Vancouver CAN; Seattle WA; Portland, Salem, and Eugene OR; All along the California coast, as well)

We went through a rough outline of what our plan should be, but we definitely need to work on solidifying it together as a whole family. Basically, my plan A is that I should try to get home if possible, or (B) go to the nearest safe place (which is my boyfriend’s house, about 15 driving minutes away). Plan C is to stick it out wherever I am and not try to move, mostly due to traveling being dangerous for several reasons, until one of my parents gets to me; plan C only applies if I am on campus or already at home, because only then will my parents know where to find me.

“We can go to the store and buy some canned food, Honey,” was the next thing that he offered for my question about our physical preparedness. I responded by saying it would take a couple more trips to the store than one to be able to say that we’re decently prepared for a huge disaster. For four out of the five consecutive grocery store trips we have taken in the past two weeks, we have gotten at least 15 extra cans (of beans, corn, and various soups), four gallons of water, and per trip, along with getting together a couple of first aid kits. I would like to keep adding to our stockpile maybe every other grocery trip, because it is a lot cheaper than I thought it would be to tack on a dozen or so extra cans of food.

(The image above is not my pantry, but it looked very similar to this- somewhat bare, perishable foods, and random unhealthy snacks like Oreos). After I talked to my dad about what our plan was and if we were prepared, our pantry began to look more similar to the image below: tons of canned goods, non-perishable foods, and water).