People of an interconnected world
COW Library : Letters to the COW Team : Ron Lindeboom : People of an interconnected world
Creative COW is truly a worldwide body of interconnected people that reaches around the globe. So when something as tragic as Japan's catastrophic earthquake happens, it is not happening in a vacuum. The pain and suffering felt by a nation and its people, touches all of us who are a part of this community. In an interconnected world, distances have grown increasingly smaller and the pains felt by one people become the pains of all of humanity.
I have been watching NHK World news nightly after work, often for hours at a time, and I must admit that more than a few times, the pain and the sorrow expressed in the people of Japan has become so excruciating that I break at the heartache of it all. I had an altogether different Back Forty column ready to go for this issue but as we drew close to the print deadline date, I told Tim that "I have to delete it and deal with what's happening in our community."
As we worked on the supplement for Blackmagic Design, the pain became ever more real as the Blackmagic team shared with us that their Japanese office was destroyed, but that "thankfully none of our people were killed." Their words underscored how interconnected our world has become: here we are in California working on a project for an Australian company that operates worldwide, whose Japanese office had been destroyed.
Out of curiosity, as we began talking about this, Tim Wilson and I went online and looked at some of the Japanese companies and people from them that make up the Creative COW community.
As I listened to the NHK reports coming in in the background, out of curiosity I looked up server addresses containing NHK in Japan. In the past 30 days alone, over 35 people that work for NHK came to Creative COW -- including the technical supervisor for the service. When I tried the link to his personal website to see if he had firsthand news to report, the link to his site was dead. The entire service provider was offline. The solemnity of this catastrophe -- and its affect on individuals who are a part of our world -- kept increasing in its intensity and stark reality.
In the last 30 days, 9,857 unique people from Japan visited Creative COW. Of the nearly 1.6 million people that visited Creative COW last month, nearly 10,000 of them were from the beautiful islands of Japan. As individuals and people, they are important to us and their sorrow reaches and affects us because we truly are people of an interconnected world. We live in a world that grows ever smaller with every mile of fibre optic cable laid, every high speed jet that flies, and every freighter that plies our oceans.
Yes, we are losing parts of our individual uniqueness and cultures because of it, but we are also arguably enriched by it, as well.
It is hard not to feel the pain and suffering of people that you know you are working alongside. That pain and suffering grows ever more real when you look at the aftermath of a tragedy like this and see photos pulled from mud, homes ripped from their foundations and dashed to piles of rubble, and thousands upon thousands whose bodies are likely never to be found.
Humanity has always pushed its limits, and that is one of our greatest strengths but it is also one of our greatest weaknesses. This is playing out clearly in the nuclear reactor failures happening as a result of the earthquake. And as I watched the news on NHK World, they reported that the United States and Great Britain were sending crews to assist in the containment efforts. In an interconnected world, there is no such thing as "this is your problem." It is our problem. We have built a world in which the need for energy is great and there is always a price to be paid and repercussions to be borne in whatever we do. It is part of the ticket price, a ticket price that we are also sharing together and as we do, we do it with our thoughts, hopes and prayers going to Japan.