In the past week, I have seen several stories that reflect changes in cultural, social, and technological values within society. For example, stories have been released about the death of AM radio, elimination of cursive writing education, and the death of Twinkees. In each case, I often saw doom and gloom statements associated with each -- "Our kids will never get to experience that", "How dare they stop that?", "This is just another example of how we're on the down slide", etc.
While it is understandable that we all fondly look back on these types of components that defined how we grew up and learned about the world, I don't think their elimination is a sign of anything more than change. In most cases, these changes are a result of something new replacing it. For instance, the use of AM Radio has declined with the rise of information on the go through the internet and social media. Likewise, cursive writing has been replaced by typing emails, texts, and other digital messages. Rather than being melancholy or downtrodden about the loss of these items, these types of news stories are opportunities for us to reflect on how fantastic the future may be.
This is particularly true in emergency management and disaster response. It is exciting to me to think that through the use of new (or yet to be developed technologies) and communication systems such as social media and crowdsourcing, the needs of disaster survivors and those impacted from emergencies may ultimately be addressed more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Likewise, to know that each and every person in the community is becoming more and more empowered in the emergency management process through more openly shared information is fantastic.
So while I do reflect on my past when things change, let's all try to reorient that energy to pushing the future and the possibility that a generation (or two) from now can look back and enjoy new memories of a network of communities who embraced changed for good.